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YouTube video shows how to sabotage a train

(The following story by Jorge Barrera appeared on the Cnews.Canoe.Ca website on May 15.)

OTTAWA — An Internet how-to video on sabotaging railway lines in support of Native land claims has drawn the attention of the RCMP and triggered investigations by the country's two main rail companies.

The video, posted Sunday on YouTube, illustrates how a single wire can trigger full-stop red light signals on the lines.

Experts say the tactic works and could have a serious impact on the economy by throwing train schedules into chaos if it doesn't cause derailment. Train conductors are directed to stop immediately if faced with the signal.

Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway said their police divisions had launched investigations to track down the source of the video. The companies would not say whether they have had any recent phantom signal light incidents.

PULL VIDEO

CN and Transport Canada asked YouTube to pull the video, which was created by a group dubbing themselves "The Railway Ties Collective."

The video was still up last night.

"This is extremely dangerous behaviour," said CN spokesman Mark Hallman.

CN and CP said they discovered the video through their own monitoring processes.

An RCMP spokesman linked the video to the planned June 29 national Native day of action spearheaded by the Assembly of First Nations.

LAND CLAIMS

"We want to make sure that these demonstrations are done as least disruptive as possible," said Sgt. Nathalie Deschense.

Native leaders have warned of possible violence this summer stemming from frustration over land claims and perceived government disregard for persistent high levels of First Nations poverty.

The video opens by referring to "more than 800" unresolved land claims, recent rail blockades by members of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation and the Six Nations reclamation of a 40-hectare residential development in Caledonia.

"The Mohawks have shown the vulnerability of a major trade corridor for people and material. While few other communities could hold off a frontal assault by the OPP, there are other ways to close the rail lines," says the text heavy video as an eerie piano soundtrack plays in the background. "When justice fails, stop the rails."

As the text fades and a rougher electronic beat emerges, the video moves to a pair of gloved hands illuminated in the night by the light of a video camera. After the procedure, the camera pans to the sudden flash of six lights on the tracks.

Joe Bracken, president of the Canadian Heartland Training Railway in Alberta, said if the tactic is employed on a large scale, it could cause serious damage to the nation's rail industry.

"They go through hundreds of Native territories," he said.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

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