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Big news came out of Occupy INAC last night. After eight days of occupying the Toronto office, seven days occupying Winnipeg and three days in Vancouver, protest organizers announced last night that they intend to stand down and walk away. That said, they haven’t vacated INAC’s offices yet. Further demonstrating their shameless quest to get their faces on TV, they’re delaying their exit until 4pm- allowing time for news of the event to spread out to the media.
A Facebook event page set up by the Toronto occupation claims that they decided to end the protest because “Youth of Attawapiskat” told them that they’re satisfied after recent meetings with members of parliament. The Toronto group previously stated that they wouldn’t leave the office until Justin Trudeau travelled to Attawapiskat and the government complies with a list of Attawapiskat youth’s “demand list” (which wasn’t really a list of demands). The page gives thanks to a motley crew of militants including Black Lives Matter, No One Is Illegal, Idle No More, and the Mohawk Warrior Society .
The Vancouver occupation, hot on the heels of their last misleading and self-promoting press release, took the opportunity to publish another alert on Wednesday evening. Sadly, it doesn’t appear they learned anything from their last blunder. Instead, not only did they double-down on exploiting Attawapiskat’s youth, but they didn’t even get the facts right. It’s an interesting story that brings back memories of the federal government funding an indigenous youth magazine linked to No One Is Illegal that taught kids how to sabotage infrastructure and make their own Molotov Cocktails.
The Vancouver press release was published in the name of the “Council of Mothers, Occupy INAC Vancouver.” It’s a common tactic with No One Is Illegal backed & led protests to use official-sounding names to add the illusion of gravitas to their statements- the reality is that it was published in the name of the people occupying the INAC office. Sadly, the mainstream media tends to get sucked into similar deceptions year after year.
The document kicks-off with the claim it was written “in solidarity with Attawapiskat youth,” and that it “acknowledges the needs of indigenous youth nationally.” It sounds great on the surface, but the reality is that the initiative outlined in the press release is in no way connected to, nor will it benefit youth in Attawapiskat or any other reserve. It does, however, open up a gravy train for the protesters and their supporting organizations.
The document explains that the protesters are preparing for a meeting with INAC and Canadian Heritage. Their goal is to call on the government to reinstate a controversial grant called Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth- a programme they say helped create some of their “strongest leaders and organisations.” The grant, so they claim, was “cancelled completely by the Harper government.”
But the government didn’t “completely cancel” CCAY. The grants were originally steered by youth councils who decided how the funds would be allocated. Unfortunately, the government discovered seriously concerning problems with the grant’s governance, their response was to restructure it into two new grants that were administered through the National Association of Friendship Centres.
The problem with the old grant was directly connected to the community backing #OccupyINAC. The most controversial allocation went to an indigenous youth-focussed publication called Redwire Magazine. Redwire was created in cooperation with the Native Youth Movement, an indigenous organisation connected to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and to Occupy INAC Vancouver spokesperson Chrisse Oleman.
The NYM is a racist hate group of sorts, their theme music includes lines like “take back the land, kill the white man” and “if whitey cross that line there’s gonna be some blood squirting.” The song’s music video was filled with masked militants and children carrying guns. Unsurprisingly, Redwire Magazine was entirely reflective of the hate group that helped create it.
The most concerning example of Redwire’s extremism was their Defending The Land issue, a magazine so shocking that many observers labelled it as “terrorist propaganda”, “hate speech”, and “a blueprint for sabotage.”
Stories in this issue included “Fighting Back Against The Pigs”, “Zapatistas Call For Unity With Northern Indigenous People”, “AFN Day Of Anti-Canada Action”, “War Against The Corporate Machine”, and “Sabotage Of The Corporate Colonial System.”
That last story gave detailed instructions how to “spike roads” with sharp metal rods, destroy roads by plugging drainage pipes, burn down bridges, tear down power lines, and build Molotov Cocktails. The story also provided helpful tips how not to get caught while committing these serious crimes- wear gloves, watch for cameras, don’t leave your cigarette buts behind.
The issue was published by Dustin Johnson of the Native Youth Movement, a close associate of Occupy INAC organiser Harsha Walia and co-organizer of the violent protests during the 2010 Olympics. Contributors included Angela Sterritt (a CBC Aboriginal contributor with a dark secret), John Rampanen (a friend of Walia’s and Occupy INAC Toronto’s Sakura Saunders), Melina Laboucan-Massimo (with Greenpeace, #OccupyINAC supporters), and Clayton Thomas Muller (an RCMP monitored extremist who works for #OccupyINAC supporter 350.org).
#OccupyINAC Toronto & Saskatoon Flook Out!
#OccupyINAC Toronto felt a lot like an Occupy Toronto reunion. Indigenous spokespeople Davin Ouimet and his anti-Semite wife Cathy Walker were Occupiers, both were connected to the sacred
provocation fire set In St James Park. Convicted G20 ringleader Alex Hundert was at OT where he was filmed threatening women, trans, and disabled people. Livestream operator Dee Shangar filmed at both protests.
The first night’s occupation also included a professional protester named Taylor Flook (who also works in the film industry). Flook is a member of the notorious “Love Is The Movement” cult, a group of elite protesters working across the country who all share the same tattoo (Clayton Thomas-Muller of 350.org is one). Flook was one of the Leaders at Occupy Toronto. She was also at #BlackLivesMatter where she let the AstroTurf cat out of the bag when I saw here- yelling out at me, “see, our movement is still growing!”
#OccupyINAC Saskatoon was launched on April 18th. They weren’t as successful as the other occupations, never made it inside of the building, but they did the next best thing and set up tents outside. The response to the Saskatoon occupation wasn’t as passive as it was in Toronto and Vancouver, it didn’t take long before the building management trucked in and installed a temporary fence to keep them away from the windows.
On April 18th, Global Regina reporter Blake Lough tweeted out a short video of a rally at #OccupyINAC Saskatoon. A familiar face shows up 14 seconds into the video, Chelsea Flook, Taylor Flook’s sister. Chelsea is a professional protester who was one of the primary leaders at Occupy Edmonton, she’s also worked with the Sierra Club, and used to run around wearing Black Bloc gear (a “CUPE joke“) at York University. She’s currently working a gig as Special Events Coordinator for the Saskatchewan Abilities Council.
Chelsea is a hardcore, mask-wearing, “fuck the police” anarchist who hangs out with the likes of convicted G20 organizers. But despite the fact she’s one of the worst youth role models imaginable, she was recognized as one of Alberta’s “Top 30 under 30” activists in 2014. Demonstrating parallels to the cock-up with Redwire Magazine and the CCYA, the award was funded by a grant from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. NDP MP Linda Duncan was there to help celebrate, the two have a long history together.
Leap Manifesto: Is Justin Trudeau The New Stephen Harper?
My most disappointing discovery after five years of reporting on protests like Occupy, Idle No More, and Occupy INAC was how mainstream media coverage is almost universally dismal . I spent a long time trying to rationalize why this is happening, asking myself questions like “perhaps they’re too caught up in the 24-hour news cycle to see through the AstroTurf?”
One of the most interesting things about the Toronto media’s coverage of #OccupyINAC was how they mistakenly labelled them as Idle No More. The protesters never identified themselves as INM, they were quite clear that they weren’t but the media got it wrong. It’s hard to blame them for the mistake, they interviewed the very same people at both protests (and Occupy, G20…).
After spending the past week following #OccupyINAC, there’s one question that keeps spinning around inside of my head- are NDP activists using #OccupyINAC against Justin Trudeau the same way Idle No More was used against Stephen Harper?
It doesn’t take much research to realize that the majority of organizations backing #OccupyINAC, and many of the organizers, are directly linked to Naomi Klien and her Leap Manifesto.
The Vancouver occupation was organized by Harsha Walia, an original signatory of the Leap Manifesto, leader of manifesto endorser No One Is Illegal, and a close associate of Naomi Klein. Walia’s husband Harjap Grewal works for the Council of Canadians, an organization that’s endorsed both the manifesto and #OccupyINAC.
#OccupyINAC Saskatoon organizer Chelsea Flook was mentored by manifesto cheerleader and NDP MP Linda Duncan. Her fellow tattoo cult member Clayton Thomas-Muller has been cheerleading for the INAC occupations, currently employed by manifesto endorser 350.org, and was previously employed by Leap Manifesto endorsers Defenders of the Land and the Polaris Institute.
Black Lives Matter Toronto and Idle No More were credited for helping make #OccupyINAC possible, both have signed the manifesto. Greenpeace, the Council of Canadians, and CUPE have all both signed the manifesto and endorsed the INAC occupations.
The evidence is only circumstantial at this point, time will tell, but it’s hard to ignore so many consequences. The NDP is lost in Trudeau’s shadow, they used to be a contender but now they’re struggling to survive. NDP activist’s tactics and dirty tricks were highly effective against Stephen Harper, it makes sense they’d try them out against Justin Trudeau.
Stay tuned for more reports on Leap Manifesto activists in the near future, I’ll be following them very closely.