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Police probe video on how to sabotage trains

(The following story by Bill Curry appeared on the Globe and Mail website on May 16.)

OTTAWA — A video posted on YouTube offering detailed instructions for disrupting train traffic has triggered investigations by the police forces for Canada's two main rail lines, CP and CN.

The 31⁄2-minute video surfaced on the Internet this week. The video was filmed at night showing a person standing over a train track. The person provides a step-by-step guide to setting off the red emergency lights that tell train conductors to stop immediately.

Mark Hallman, a spokesman for CN Rail, said the measures outlined in the video are extremely dangerous and urged YouTube to pull the video.

"[The video] depicts illegal activity and highly dangerous behaviour and this is obviously a source of considerable concern to the railway," he said. "This could have serious safety repercussions."

The anonymous video simply states that it was produced by "the railway ties collective."

The video begins with white words on a black screen stating that there are more than 800 native land claims pending in Canada and disrupting rail service could encourage provincial and federal governments to resolve them more quickly.

Though the video makes reference to Mohawk blockades in Tyendinaga and Caledonia, one sentence in the video suggests it might have been made by non-natives.

"By halting the freight and passenger rail service, we who support indigenous struggles for dignity and fairness will show governments that indigenous people are not alone," it states. "When Justice Fails, Stop the Rails."

Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice said: "I think it's irresponsible and I think it should be taken down. Someone is going to be hurt. I call on all chiefs, the national chief in particular, to ensure that doesn't happen."

Phil Fontaine, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, urged those who are viewing and sharing the video to hold off on such measures, but did not say how long that wait should last.

"I urge caution to those people that have accessed this information [in the video]," he told reporters yesterday. "Give us the opportunity to see if we can secure the kind of commitment that will change things here."

Both CN and CP have federally regulated police forces that have the same powers as other forces.

A spokesperson for the RCMP said they too are aware of the video but could neither confirm nor deny whether the RCMP is also investigating the matter.

The YouTube video

Entitled When Justice Fails, Stop the Rails, the video is a grainy depiction of how a copper wire can be used to disrupt train traffic. Canadian National investigators are trying to track whoever is behind the "railway ties collective." The group claims credit for the three-minute demonstration on an unidentified rail line. The video was still posted late yesterday afternoon despite requests from CN that it be removed. It cites the federal backlog of more than 800 native land claims. CP

Frame 1 - We hope to promote some means and inspiration for effective, non-violent pressure on provincial and federal government to act on First Nations land claims.

Frame 2 - By halting the freight and passenger rail service, we who support indigenous struggles for dignity and fairness will show government that indigenous people are not alone.

Frame 3 - When justice fails, stop the rails.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

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