Swamp Line 9 | June 2013
Using Direct Action to Stop Enbridge's Line 9 Pipeline Expansion Project | | June 20th - 26th, 2013

Call Out for Court Support for Gary: Solidarity with Swamp Line 9 Defendants!

On Tuesday, March 4 at 10am Gary Wassaykeesic will be appearing in court on charges of Break and Enter from the Swamp Line 9 action this past summer. Gary is accused of climbing over a fence while carrying a Haudenosaunee confederacy flag.

Gary had been under the impression that he would be able to plead guilty to mischief and that the B&E would be dropped, but as of his last court date, it seems that the crown is still taking him to trial for carrying a confederacy flag into traditional Haudenosaunee territory.

It’s not clear what to expect on March 4th, and so a strong show of support will be extra important for demonstrating to the crown and to all of so-called Canada that we will not tolerate the criminalization of land defenders!

Gary will be appearing in room 306 of Hamilton’s courthouse at the corner of John st and Main st at 10am on Tuesday March 4. We hope you will be able to be there with him.

SWAMP THE COURTS: callout for support

hey all you super swampers – we’ve got TWO court dates coming up we hope you can join us for!

we know it can be hard to get out to these things (especially when banned from the courthouse… ) but these rad peeps could use some support after months of…well, sitting around courtroom 100.

Join ‘em if you can & keep ragin’!

on TUESDAY JAN. 7 th ( @10 am, court room # 306) Trish Mills will be entering into a plea on the charge of mischief. She was charged for her part in stopping construction at an Enbridge oil station for 6 days. She expects 3 other (bs) charges –received after a heavy-handed crackdown on a showing of court support - to be withdrawn.

on THURSDAY JAN 9 th ( @ 9am, check the board for room number) Gary Wassaykeesic will be taking his charge from Swamp Line 9 to trial! His appearance Thursday will be to set a trial date. Gary is a first nations activist passionate about many things and was initially charged with “break & enter” for asserting his indigenous sovereignty on native land.

John Sopinka Courthouse
45 Main St. East.
Hamilton, ON

Trish’s Statement to the Court

(or at least it was supposed be, but the judge would not allow her to address the court.)

Today I plead guilty to the charge of mischief.

It is a charge I received for interrupting operations at an Enbridge oil pumping station for a total of six days.

I accept responsibility for my actions, and all which that entails.

My understanding is that this is the type of personal accountability the court wishes to hear.

That said, it is this same moral strength which saw me charged in the first place.

I believe in honouring the land, water and all living things, and that they deserve our respect and protection.

I believe that the communities, treaties and teachings of first nations people deserve our reverence.

Enbridge’s line 9 is a risk to all of these things – both here in Ontario and in a broader context so I see my actions this past summer was nothing less than a harmony between my actions and my principles.

I believe in what I did then and I believe in it now, and I understand that that is not what the court wishes to hear.

But this action was one of necessity, borne of a failed and exclusionary regulatory process. Other means were tried, and failed, because today’s political climate encourages the exploitation of land, water and people.

I know that it would be easier –and safer – to stand here and lie. To show full remorse and voice regret as I’ve been told to do. But I can’t’ do that because, no matter what sentence is handed down today, I have to be able to live with my actions and their implications.

This isn’t to say I have no regrets at all; I have several.

I regret that this action may have put some people of Westover in a difficult situation.

I regret if an individual was hurt by my actions.

I especially regret that action like this must be taken at all, and that people are being criminalized for defending such fundamental things.

And so in making a decision about sentencing today, I wish to remind the court that despite a lack of remorse I have consideration fir others. I do positive things for people and my community through activism, education, advocacy and volunteer work.

I aim to work in animal rescue, and have deferred acceptance into a program.

There was also no person hurt by my actions – physically or financially. It is Enbridge policy to pay their workers in these situations.

Finally, I gained no extrinsic reward for my actions, however I did risk -and I stand here risking - plenty.

My journey these past months has been both interesting and challenging, though not impossible. I have learned much.

To my supporters here today –in case for some reason I can’t tell you later – take note.

NOT. Impossible.

There may not ever be any real victory in the courts, but there is always victory in doing what you feel is right.

Don’t give up.

No tarsands. No line 9.

not quite as planned.

Everyone is okay.

Let’s start with that.

They accept what has happened because they must. 

They accept, with traces of anger and disappointment [and a multitude of other emotions], that the state’s position is not one of truth or justice but rather one of ingrained colonialist power, open to rampant abuse and personal egotism [my words, not theirs].

As previously posted, three of the #‎SwampLine9 blockaders were to appear in court Tuesday to accept a one-year peace bond offered to them Monday by the assistant crown attorney, Stephen O’Brien.

Yesterday however, O’Brien stood before the court and recanted that offer, outright lying about the deal’s existence and instead asking for two years because of a public callout for court support made on this page – a callout not even made by the three appearing.

While the capricious and arbitrary punishment was mitigated when a fourth blockader came forward [at risk to herself] and took ownership for the “provocative and confrontational” callout, Ed, Mae & Sigrid were still bullied into accepting an alternative proposal, and all because O’Brien was convinced that autonomous action does not exist.

Ultimately the entire process was a shit-show.

At one point O’Brien was so visibly incensed that he threw documents across a table.

He then stood in front of the court and lied about the deal, and lied about lying to the defendants. Then he claimed that none of it mattered, because ultimately he could do what he wanted.

And so he did.

O’Brien insisted that being of First Nation should have no bearing on sentencing, and then tried to assert that the land currently occupied by Enbridge facilities or pipelines belongs to Enbridge – not to Six Nations or any other First Nations group the land has been stolen from.

Unbelievably, Stephen also seemed to believe that two of the defendants should change places of residence and not use sections of the TTC because of their proximity to Enbridge’s Line 9.

If S/SGT Hahn, who has reappeared and seems to be riddled with obsessive rage issues of his own, was truly interested in protecting “the decorum” [ahem.] of the court he probably should have been arresting people like O’Brien instead of threatening supporters of the blockaders with arrest – including a woman using a mobility device – for failing to rise for the JP.

Ultimately all of this was -in my opinion, of course - a result of an overzealous court officer with what seems to be a personal vendetta, and a crown prosecutor unwilling to believe for even a moment that people are capable of independent thought and action.

The thing is – and this part is for you, O’Brien – that just because you operate within an exceptionally inefficient and oppressive hierarchical structure doesn’t mean we all do.

I write this now, for example, independently and I sincerely hope that you don’t attempt to displace blame or penalty onto undeserving people.

You once said to someone, Stephen, that you didn’t want to make a decision against the public interest.

You said you wanted a reason to go easy on one of the defendants, indicating that a promise they would never do wrong again might be sufficient.

But what you really meant is that you wanted them to say they would never break the law again, because protecting the land and water is in the public’s interest, and defending the land and water will never be wrong.

And so you find yourself on the wrong side of this battle. Because you subscribe so purely to the idea and system of law - to a thing that is inflexible and inconsiderate - instead of to something that allows for empowerment, concession and humanity.

You, Stephen, subscribe to a system, instead of to people, and as a result, you bullied three very kind and caring people into accepting a deal because you were too ignorant and angry to see the truth. You lied to them. You displaced unwarranted anger towards them, and you abused your systemic authority.

That all of this was allowed to happen in a courtroom really just shows us that the system is a sham.

But people aren’t – and people will call you on your shit.

Like this post does.

And the next bit? 

That’ll be the public calling you out on your shit.

Stephen O’Brien
Crown Attorney’s Office, 4th Floor
441-45 Main St. E.
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 2B7
Phone: 905-645-5260 Ext: 3807
email: steve.obrien@ontario.ca

posted by an @utonomous individual capable of individual thought and action.

because that happens in real life.

Court Support Needed!

Three of the #SwampLine9 blockaders will be appearing in court to enter into a resolution agreement with the crown.

Thanks in part to some amazing letters of support, the crown changed their final position and offered a way for Ed, Meaghan & Sigrid to avoid a criminal records for their amazing & brave actions!

After months of frustrating bureacracy these rad folks could really use your support one last time!

Tuesday November 19th.
10 am, courtroom #200
Join Sopinka Courthouse
45 Main st. East.

Swamp ‘em with support!

Today the folks facing criminal charges stemming from the Swamp Line 9 action in Westover met briefly with the crown attorney.

After a bit (a lot) of persuasion the crown was finally willing to see them collectively, and take some of their submissions for consideration. Over the next two weeks the crown will be reviewing their final position on the charges, and whether they are open to offering any type of plea agreement.

NOW would be a great time for all of us to let the courts know that we are fighting against this pipeline for a reason, and that a community stands behind our land defenders!

We are asking anyone who is able – fellow swampers, land defenders, friends and allies – to SWAMP the crown attorney’s office with letters of support for the SL9 occupation:

Stephen O’Brien
John Sopinka Courthouse – Crown Attorney’s Office
4th Floor
441 - 45 Main St E
Hamilton ON L8N2B7

Please remember that what you write could have an impact on the crown’s position! Use your best judgement and don’t hate on anyone too much!

Many, many thanks to you awesomely rad folks!

Education/Panel Discussion
September 26th @7pm!

Education/Panel Discussion
September 26th @7pm!

Activist How-To: Modifying Bail Conditions | Toronto Media Co-op

We have recently seen an upswing in the persecution and political repression of activists by police and the courts.

In this time of increased criminalization of dissent we sometimes find ourselves released from custody with unreasonable bail conditions (really, they’re all unreasonable).

It’s important to know how to counter them if you intend to represent yourself or are using duty counsel.

Here we go again…

On Tuesday August 20th the five individuals facing criminal charges stemming from the Swamp Line 9 action will be appearing at 9am in courtroom #100 at John Sopinka Courthouse once more.

One will be facing a charge of break & enter, three will face a charge of mischief to property and one other charges of mischief (from the swamp line 9 action) and assault police, obstruction and cause disturbance (stemming from the last court support action for those facing trespass charges).

Individuals expect to find out what the crown is seeking, receive additional disclosure and argue for a variation of unreasonably strict bail conditions.

As always support would be greatly appreciated, though none of these cases are yet in trial.

Additionally, those appearing on charges that day want to make clear that they respect the autonomy of individuals in regards to how they may choose to express support and solidarity with those in this struggle, either in or out of the courthouse.

They also feel it is important to point out the recent highly disproportionate criminalization of supportive actions - not to incite fear or promote discouragement but rather to encourage making conscious and informed decisions.

(compiled & written on behalf of the 5 individuals facing criminal charges)