One of the most dishonourable people I’ve met through the Occupy movement (right up there with Dave Vasey, Sakura Saunders and Maggie Helwig) was an American who lives in Toronto named Doug Johnson Hatlem. If you were reading this site back in March you’ll remember him as the ‘street preacher’ who made-up a story that he had a 11-12 page (he had a hard time deciding) document about all of the reasons that I should be considered to be a sexist, racist misogynist enemy of the people . He never released this document- even when Min Reyes asked to have a look (they were working together on a project) he promptly denied. It turns out there never was one.
Hatlem is rabidly anti-police to the point of believing that the existence of a police force is an act of violence in itself. He’s also a Mennonite- people who (officially) preach non-violence. Unfortunately, he had no reservations being violent with his attempt to smear me with false allegations of racism and sexism. I always figured Hatlem was part of some religious extremist cult. I’ve also always wondered what connections there were between people like Hatlem, Saunders, Vasey & Helwig that would lead them to engage in group bullying as they did…
Today I can expose another part of the puzzle- a religious extremist group called the Christian Peacemaker Teams. Most people I’ve talked to weren’t able to recognize the CPT by their name, but they were able to remember the political action they’re most famous for. Remember back during the Iraq war when some crazy Americans and Canadians who offered themselves up as human shields for Saddam Hussain? Those crazy people were the CPT.
In a nutshell, he CPT are Christian shit-disturbers. It’s questionable whether they’re anarchists- but, they most certainly aren’t shy of the anarchists. They’ve partnered and allied with a litany of pro-violence organizations including the Ruckus Society, Earth First!, [email protected], Rainforest Action Network, Anti-Racist Action (who I’ll be writing about in-depth soon), OCAP, and the Anarchist Black Cross. They’re also connected with one of the most racist and pro-violence organizations in Canada– No One Is Illegal.
The CPT have worked with the Anarchists from all the way back to 1998 when they joined them in an action at the School of The Americas. Peter Gelderloos was there (the author of How Non-Violence Protects The State), as were plenty of thugs dressed in black with masks over their faces. It was an essential moment in the Black Bloc ‘movement’.
When put into context with my first conversation with Hatlem all of this starts to make sense. We were talking about violence in activism under the concept of ‘diversity of tactics’ (anything goes.) He got quite upset with my rejection of allowing the use of violence. At one point he yelled-out “we sorted this issue out a long time ago!” When I asked him who ‘we’ is, he refused to explain.
Obviously, for Hattem, it’s acceptable to allow the use of violence in the pursuit of a non-violent world. Considering his, and the behaviour of bullies like Vasey, Saunders and Helwig- it appears that the CPT are tolerant of people who practice social violence in the name of the revolution too. The CPT’s behaviour is often not what one would describe as being ‘Christian’ nor ‘peacemaking’ at times- quite the opposite.
Take their adventure during the Iraq war. Members of the CPT made the decision they would independently fly to Iraq and offer their services to Saddam Hussain’s government as human shields. Their purpose was to cripple the fighting ability of the US military- what they accomplished was something entirely different.
Some of their members ended-up getting kidnapped by guerilla Iraqi soldiers. So, instead of being tactical barriers to US rockets, they ended-up putting the lives of soldiers at-risk with a dangerous rescue mission. The soldiers bravely located and rescued the kidnapped CPT members. When the CPT wrote a letter thanking the people who supported them during their captivity, they neglected to mention the soldiers (soldiers are, after all, baby killers and all). Finally, after some public pressure, they adjusted their letter to recognize the people who saved them.
How much money did that rescue cost? What if one (or more) of those soldiers died during the rescue? It appears that the CPT’s tactics can be rather selfish and self-promoting.
The CPT are also very interested in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Their members regularly travel to Israel and Palestine. Some of their activities have been peaceful- but, equally, there have been incidents where it appears they may be baiting Israeli soldiers. The CPT have received criticism for having a blind allegiance for the Palestinian side over Israel- even in situations here Palestinians have initiated violence. One would imagine a true peacemaker would denounce acts of violence on both sides.
The CPT have been deeply involved with political issues of indigenous people in Canada, the US and South America. In my research, it’s almost inevitable that wherever there’s a high-profile indigenous protest that the CPT or some other Mennonite organization is somehow involved. Here’s a video that explains the CPT’s views on the CPT’s Aboriginal Justice Project- it’s quite radical, and worth having a look at this link.
There are many interesting things to see in the video. First, notice how they tried to mix images of Palestinians facing Israeli soldiers and how the Canadian government oppresses first nations people. You’ll also notice a familiar figure in the video- Sakura Saunders.
The Mennonites and the CPT have a big interest in ‘mining justice’. Canadian mining companies, including Barrick Gold operate near Mennonite communities in Canada and South America. In fact, the Mennonite Central Committee specifically mentions Peter Munk of Barrick Gold on their mining justice web page.
Sakura, and the Mennonites get two targets at once with Barrick Gold. First, of course, they object to current practices in the mining industry. But, perhaps more important to them is the opportunity to attack Israeli interests. Peter Munk, the chairman of Barrick, is also on the board of directors of the Jewish National Fund. Curiously, if you attend a Toronto Jewish National Fund meeting in Toronto, you’re likely to be met with the same protesters as at one of Barrick Gold’s annual general meetings.
Saunder’s religious beliefs are unknown- but, this isn’t the first time she has worked closely with Mennonites. She previously worked with Prometheus Radio- a group that conducts community radio ‘barn-raising’ projects, helping build low-power radio stations in only a matter of days. Prometheus’ office was in a Mennonite Church (that was shared with another church). The Mennonites have built many radio stations like this in South America- often for broadcasting religious & political propaganda to their own communities.
The CPT’s efforts towards mining are only a single part of their involvement in Indigenous affairs. After reading the CPT’s and the Mennonite’s position on first nations, it’s obvious they have a lot of guilt over their (limited) involvement in the horrors of the Indian Residential Schools. Seemingly as a result, wherever there’s an indigenous conflict in Canada, one is likely to find members of the CPT.
Their video concentrates on the conflict with the Grassy Narrows first nation- who are famous for running Canada’s longest running blockade. The CPT were there, as was the eco-terrorism supporting Earth First! (which became the Rainforest Action Network, and currently appears is being rebranded as Rising Tide). Much of the protest occurred in Kenora, Ontario- curiously (or not) this is the city where Dave Vasey ran for MP under the Green Party. Vasey is also active with the Rainforest Action Network.
The Mennonites, and the CPT have also been criticised for their relations with the Iranian government. And, perhaps coincidentally, they’ve also been involved with the Sto:Lo fishing rights fiasco being orchestrated by University of Lethbridge professor Anthony James Hall. The Iranian state-run PressTV broadcasted professor Hall’s outrageous story about the Canadian government trying to kill-off the country’s indigenous population by killing the country’s salmon. Like the Mennonites, PressTV (and Iran) have put a lot of effort into backing radical indigenous organizations.
The CPT have also been involved with the CAW and CUPE 3903 with the mess at the Six Nations reserve- all have connections to the infamous Mohawk Workers. The CPT were also on the scene at the Sarnia rail blockade where Vasey, Saunders and a few anarchists helped block a CN Rail line. They published an interview with Saunders during the blockade on their website. Sarnia was one of the most controversial actions during Idle No More- many people were upset with the bad press it brought to the movement.
This leads us to an important question- are the CPT a religious or a political organization? If you look at their policy statements, the CPT very decidedly lean towards the left. Then there’s their partisan leaning on the Israel/Palestine issue- they aren’t denouncing violence on both sides equally. And, if you watch their video, it probably perked your ears when you heard them criticising ‘McGuinty’s policies’. It’s also interesting to know their headquarters are in Toronto’s (Marxist) Steelworker’s Hall.
Why is it important whether they are political or not? Well, if you look on the CPT’s webpage, you’ll see that they ask for all of their donations to be sent directly to “Mennonite Church Canada” through the CanadaHelps.org website:
People who donate to the Mennonite church will be given a tax receipt. The website that takes the money records the fact the donation is for the Christian Peacemaker Teams. According to what’s written on their website- that money will go to the CPT. Does this remind you of anything familiar?
If you’ve been following the controversy with funding at TIDES Canada it will. Until they were exposed by Vivian Krause, TIDES ran a similar ‘money laundering’ scheme. TIDES was accused of taking money from donors, giving them tax receipts, and then handing the money over to organizations who didn’t qualify as non-profits. Once the scandal was exposed, TIDES made a number of changes to the way they operate.
The Canadian Revenue Agency warned the Mennonite church about their political activities back in November when they reminded them that it’s not acceptable for a charitable organization to engage in political activities. I am, by far, not an expert on Canadian tax laws, but it appears to me that the church’s funding of the CPT may be crossing the same line.
We should also question the CPT’s close connections with people and organizations that espouse the use of violence. They pronounce themselves as crusaders for the cause of non-violence- yet, they’ve partnered with some of the most violence promoting organizations in the country. Sakura Saunder’s husband, for example, promoted that people ‘smash shit up’ during the violence of the G20. The gap between who the CPT and the Mennonite Church say they are, and who they support, needs to be explained…
By far, one of the best articles I’ve read here…so many loose ends tied up…
Thank you. :)
Greg, Mr. Hatlem like to use the human shield here as well. If you see him at any number of protest events, you always see him with his kid strapped to him . Why would he want to bring an infant to a protest that has the potential to get violent other than to use as a human shield? ( my opinion ) He himself stated once that his other kid wanted nothing to do with protests so he only brings the infant. Its a tactic he uses , again, in my opinion, so that the cops would hesitate to arrest him since they would have to address the welfare of the kid as well, which can be a very touchy subject.
Now that’s just sick- let’s hope it’s not true…
Don’t worry I see a trend coming from government, that has cops turning their heads to criminal actions and government officials and agencies at worst slapping the left’s hands when they get caught at their ever-so typical sketchy and illegal behaviour.
My guess is, revenue canada will be nice and give them another warning, when had it been anybody else they would tear them a new asshole for the same sin.
Let’s hope the church decides to fix their practices before their charitable status actually gets taken away. There are many good people in the Mennonite church I’m sure- it would be a shame for them to pay the dues for the few bad people among them…
You are a right wing shill who has managed to unite all the social justice groups from a wide range of backgrounds, faith-based, poverty, immigration, tenants, seniors, anti-zionist, workers and environmental against YOU.
You are so fucked!
It’s messages like this that inspire me to continue my work – thank you.
Your message,and the behaviour of other activists, shows us that there’s obviously a (very) serious problem with the activist community in Canada. If I was a right-wing schil all I’d have to do is sit-back, make popcorn, and watch the left self-destruct. I’m a centrist, and I’m trying to help…
An interesting fact for my readers- this comment was posted from Nurnberg, Germany:
Also means it is working. The country is waking up to these groups and seeing them for what they are. Most actual “left wing” (If people are still foolish enough to believe in the old left-right political spectrum) have been hijacked. And here are the hijackers:
Poverty, immigration, seniors, tenants groups = Public service union schills. All their solutions include plenty CUPE hiring.
Anti-zionists = Anti-semitic racists. Has been infiltrated and are pursuing an anti-Semitic agenda without the hoods as swastikas.
environmental groups = a mix of union schills looking to create job for CUPE, naiive activists being manipulated by multinational corporations or unrealistic extremists.
Workers = Ivory tower academics who have never worked a day in their life but have all kinds of theories on what they think the world should be like.
These are the people killing the “Left” in North America
So you are stalking GenuineWitty and threatening him? I hope he reports you to the police and that you get thrown in jail where you belong. What and idiot.
Digging deeper I see a real anti-semtic trend to a lot of their activity. First, support of Saddam Hussein who wanted to wipe Israel (Along with Shia Muslims and the Kurdish) off the map. Hussein also rewarded families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Now they are allying with the Holocaust denying Iranian government and their Canadian agents Professor Don Cherry and Joshua Blakeney. Also they are giving blind support to anyone calling themselves Palestinian who wants to attack Israel.
Many years ago I left/was chased out of the Palestinian rights movement when I found it had been hijacked by anti-Semitics. They just are just using Palestine as an excuse to attack Jews. They have a problem with Israel being an apartheid state but have no issue allying with Iran which is also an apartheid state.
Not the first Christian group to be involved in anti-Semitic activity. Also not the first radical Marxists organization to be anti-Semitic. Marxists tend to hate non-conformists. And Jews are notorious for being non-conformist throughout history.
Call this group what it is. A hate group.
I know one thing for certain- they sure have thrown a whole lot of hate against me….
Thank you for this information. ARA is definitely a problem, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they are ‘protected’ (though, I’m still skeptical on that). I’ve gathered a lot of information on ARA and there connection to religious organizations, political parties, and even Iranian PressTV. I’ll be writing an in-depth report on them soon…
1) The Sarnia blockade was started by the Aamjiwnaang people. Vassey and others didn’t get there for at least a full day after it was up. They came down in support, and to offer non violent resistance training, to document it, and to lend a hand.
2) Be careful what you publish about ARA. Many members have death threats from Canada’s rising Neo-Nazi contingent. I’d advise against publishing personal details, unless you want to be accomplice to any crimes that are committed by racists. If you want a story that deserves to be exposed in this country, and are not afraid like you pretend to be, than I’d go poking holes at that group instead. Paul Fromm and his connections to politics in Canada would be a good place to start.
Please publish as much as possible about ARA. The wikipedia record is very curious—ARA apparently grows out of a South Minneapolis street gang called “The Baldies” who apparently named themselves c. 1986 without any awareness at all of the prior South Minneapolis street gang of the same name (The Baldies) that wikipedia says operated from the middle 50s until an abrupt cessation in 1975.
http://www.citypages.com/2008-02-20/feature/skinheads-at-forty/ gives an “in our own words” description by one of “the Baldies” that rings inauthentic to my ear. In the article, we find the recounting of an extra-judicial beating inflicted by a proud member of the Baldies:
“The riot had lasted more than two minutes when the neo-Nazis relented. “Let’s go!” one yelled, and they all jumped into a white pickup belonging to the guitarist of local white power band Mass Corruption.”
So, how does Mass Corruption define itself? Well, you know, thanks to the Internet, we have at least a snippet:
“We have not get [sic] to open for any out-of-town bands yet, because the only club that bills out-of-town bands thinks we are NAzis. We are NOT Nazis. We are not a peace band. We are not a political band. We are simply a mean, aggressive band that likes to have a good time tearing it up live.”
I cannot help but see a similarity between the Baldies and their treatment of Mass Corruption and our As-Yet-Unnamed Canadian Gang’s treatment of Greg, which has included extra-judicial beating designed to put a “chill” on expression. Keep in mind that right or wrong, that is just what the Baldies are documented here as doing to Mass Corruption. So, do our unnamed Canadian Gangsters behave in this way because there are only so many ways for violent little gang-personality-type nitwits to behave? That’s possible. It is also possible that they have these behaviors because they have learned from others who have used these behaviors to oppose free expression.
Careful with Metapedia. It is a white supremacist encyclopedia.
Ouch! That’s good to know- thanks for sharing, I’m removing that link from the above post now.
I am always delighted to hear more about Hatlem Johnson. I’ve written to the Mennonite Church in Canada and the US, highlighting some of his activities and asking them how they feel about them. I wonder how popular he is with them…probably not very.
I love how he’s always threatening to sue people or take them to court. Perhaps it’s a legacy of living in a litigious nation like the US. Or perhaps he studied law at the prestigious Liberty University (good to know this guy went to a university founded by one of America’s most bigoted religious figures).
Yeah, Hatlem is quite the character. I’ve also contacted the Mennonite Church, it doesn’t seem to me they are too bothered by his behaviour- personally, I think they may look at it positively…