UPDATE: One of the two people in this picture was originally identfied as Taylor Flook, who has written to me to say it wasn’t her. I am currently waiting for comment from her on who the other person is alleged to be…
It’s been frustrating watching CBC Hamilton’s coverage of the Enbridge pipeline hijacking. On the one hand their reporting has been useful- though it appears unintentional, Adam Carter’s picture of Trish Mills locking the gates helped expose we’re dealing with the usual suspects. But, his lack of naming names was embarrassing- particularly with infamous protesters like Alex Hundert and Ruby Montour taking visible leadership roles.
Today the CBC did a follow-up story titled National protests will support Hamilton Enbridge activitists [sic]- a piece showcasing how people ‘across the country’ will be protesting in a “day of solidarity’ for the hijackers. But, unfortunately, the quality of Ryan Mallough’s reporting was no better than CBC editor’s spell-checking skills. Like Carter, Mallough must have completely missed that he was being taken for a ride (or, not).
Solidarity rallies are a well worn activist tactic. Each time there’s an occupation activists will organize with their friends/partners in other cities to gather together for a photo-op. Idle No More was an great example where people held rallies in as far flung places as remote northern Alaska and Papua New Guinea. Observing these rallies is a great way to understand activists and their networks.
Mallough’s article starts by quoting Chelsea Flook, an activist with the Sierra Club who’ll be leading the solidarity rally in Edmonton. Flook, and her sister Taylor, are both professional activists with connections to CUPE, the Canadian Federation of Students and the Occupy movement- Chelsea was a leader in Edmonton and Taylor in Toronto. Taylor has a working relationship with at least three people connected to the Enbridge Occupation.
Next the article interviews Maryam Adrangi of Rising Tide Vancouver and the Council of Canadians. Adrangi is a member of the same tight knit club as the Flooks, the Derangers, Alex Hundert and Sakura Saunders. She once wrote an article on the Media Co-Op celebrating a banner drop that said “Free Alex Hundert”.
Are you noticing a pattern yet?
Next, Adam Carter published a provocative article about the Hamilton Police, discussing how officers have been involved in 4 fatal shootings over the past 7 years. Had Carter planned this article to coincide with the pipeline occupation he couldn’t have done better. The ‘activists are scared’ angle he took will no doubt assist the occupiers:
“But there’s a feeling amongst activists and people living downtown that police have changed the way they interact with the general public, says Lee Reed, a local musician and activist.”
But Carter neglects to mention something very important- Lee Reed is a supporter of the Line 9 protests and a close associate with anarchists who are running the occupation. He even played on-site at the Enbridge station on Saturday. Reed’s an active participant in an action designed to cause embarrassment to the Hamilton police. Why didn’t Carter disclose this important conflict of interest?
This isn’t the first case of CBC writing (seemingly) manipulative stories about activists and law enforcement. They put out another scaremongering piece in February- this time about activist Ken Stone receiving a visit from CSIS officers. The article left the reader with a feeling that Stone was visited because of a story he wrote supporting the Iranian Government. The reality was more complex- Stone has a long history working with a hostile foreign government.
It’s hard to say what’s going on at CBC Hamilton- they may just be clueless, the timing of the Hamilton Police story could be coincidental, Carter may have been tricked into quoting Lee Reed- perhaps they don’t have enough time to research the people they write about. Regardless, their lack of detail and inadequate disclosure are deeply disturbing.
Something to keep an eye on…