Robert Robideau Confronted in Vancouver
[By Lyn Highway, Anishinabe Nation, April 1, 2007]
Throughout this past week, Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice front group ‘Indigenous Rights Action Project’ has been hosting a speaking tour by Robert Robideau. Robideau is the current head of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. He is also one of the two others arrested on the same charges as Peltier, but were tried by a different judge and were acquitted.
Robideau has been at the forefront of the US government’s pursuit of John Graham for the murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash. Graham has been living under house arrest in Vancouver since Dec. of 2003. He is appealing the Canadian court’s order to extradite him to South Dakota to face trial. One man, Arlo Looking Cloud has already been convicted and sentenced to life in prison in an extremely faulty trial.
(Some clarifications on the groups mentioned: [added later by author]
Fire This Time has a long history of distruption, abusiveness, and divisive activities in Vancouver. IRAP (Indigenous Rights and Action Project) is a front group for Fire This Time, which is not a native organization. ‘IRAP’ itself was created in reaction to ‘IROC’ (Indigenous Resistance Organizing Coalition) which organized an Anti-Canada Day feast and march last year. After Fire This Time failed in its attempts to infiltrate IROC, they formed this new group and counter organized an event at the Friendship Centre conflicting with the Anti-Canada Day event.
Robert Robideau is not the head of the LPDC, he is co-director.)
Report from: Friday March 30, 2007
On Friday March 30, Robideau spoke at a meeting at UBC. A small group (native and non-native) arrived to confront Robideau.
One Ojibwe woman walked up to where Robideau was sitting at the front of the room and spat at his feet and called him a traitor and a rat. She said to Robideau;
“You are a collaborator with the US and Canadian governments, you are a traitor to the indigenous resistance movement. You are working with the FBI and their COINTELPRO operation to undermine native resistance. You bring shame to the history of AIM, which people currently engaged in resistance rely on for inspiration. You are spreading divisiveness, suspicion and demoralization.”
The woman read out a letter Leonard Peltier submitted to support John Graham’s defense against extradition to the US.
One woman in the audience stood up and stated that she had received a letter from Peltier more recently than the statement saying, “Don’t let what happen to me happen to John Graham.”
Robideau approached the group, on two occasions, shoving one of them. Both times he was shoved back.
A man stood up and identified himself as Rex Weyler, author of the book ‘Blood of the Land.’ He confronted Robideau about his position toward Graham and Robideau stated,
“John Graham killed Anna-Mae Aquash”
Weyler pressed Robideau for evidence, and even though Robideau repeated that he did have evidence, he refused to say what it was.
Aaron Mercredi of IRAP, called security to have the four people removed, including a 10 year old girl. Security arrived, and with the support of IRAP called in the RCMP.
Four RCMP pigs stood guard around Robideau. Mercredi scrambled to prevent Robideau from further assaulting members of the audience in front of the police.
The group told security and the pigs that they were leaving, and began to exit the building. One woman who was holding the child’s hand was grappled by police and thrown up against a wall and handcuffed. The police cuffed another man and the 3rd woman and child managed to leave. Police restrained the other two, preventing them from leaving the building -threatening them with imprisonment and also threatened the woman with tazers. After the pig’s ‘investigation’ the two were released without charges. The woman’s hand was left bloody and swollen from the pig’s deliberate grating of the handcuffs.
The obvious irony of this situation is that Leonard Peltier was arrested 31 years ago by the RCMP and based on fabricated evidence presented by the FBI extradited him to the US, were he remains imprisoned to this day.
The RCMP is a violent and deadly force the colonial state uses to control and repress indigenous resistance to colonization and genocide.This group ‘Fire This Time’ did not hesistate to use the very same state apparatus that oppresses indigenous peoples and destroys our lives. They used the RCMP to defend themselves and others from simply hearing the truth, or being confronted by thier own lies and treachery.
Report from: Saturday March 31, 2007
After using the RCMP at UBC, Fire This Time again used the police to eject their critics –this time from the Friendship Centre. Fire This Time, along with Kelly White, used the Aboriginal Policing Liason, a member of the VPD to bar and lock out 2 native women from the Friendship Centre while Robideau spoke inside. The reason given was what had occured yesterday at UBC, even though one of the women was not at the UBC event and arrived at the Friendship Centre seperately. A small number of non-natives were also locked out of the building.
“When I arrived at the Friendship Centre, I walked into the Simon Baker Room and was immediately blocked by a large male member of Fire This Time who attempted to initimidate me and physically prevent me from entering the room. Kelly White then came up and pushed me out of the room with her gut. I called her a rat right to her face. She tried to interrogate me on my identity, but i told her i wasn’t going to talk to a known police informant -who had turned John Graham into the police. An unknown man, a friend of White’s then grabbed my wirst and tried to push me backwards. They tried to get me to say that they might let me in the room if i promised to respect the event, i said all i was going to do was hand out pamphlets, but i was under no circumstances going to respect Robert Robideau, who is a traitor to the indigenous resistance movement and actively collaborating with the FBI to destroy John Graham and his family. I also informed them that yesterday, i had left the meeting and was on my way out of the building when the police detained and assaulted me in front of my daughter.
I said, ‘ I’m not the cause of this probelm, i am bringing this problem out in the open to be dealt with.’ I’m not going to sit back and silently let a collaborator and a traitor speak unchallenged at a public meeting while John Graham is confined under his thrid year of house arrest. I also said that yesterday, Robideau openly and directly accused John Graham of murdering Anna-Mae Aquash, and that was abhorant behaviour that should not go unchallenged.
Members of Fire This Time then called security. There was a seperate event in the Gym, with the Aboriginal Policing Liason, who interfered in the Robideau event and became a self appointed bouncer, counselling the building manager on barring us from the building and locking the doors. When i and my daughter were allowed by the building manager to use the bathroom, a second VPD pig followed us to the bathroom and waited outside the door for us. I told him he must be some kind of pervert to follow a woman and her child to the bathroom.” Lyn Highway.
Fire This Time were quite happy to have the assistance of the VPD and were fully supportive of and cooperative with his interference in this Native buisness at the Native Friendship Centre. When confronted with barring natives from the Friendship Centre later that evening, Ali, the leader of Fire This Time said that being native doesn’t matter, that this is an ‘internationalist struggle.’
Members of Fire This Time and thier personal security had to be physically restrained from shoving and pushing a 6months pregnant woman when she attemted to interview Robideau on video in front of the building. Other natives were also intimidated from entering the building by the locked doors and presence of the police. Eventhough we made no attempts to re-enter the building, the VPD pig and Shannon Boondock of Fire This Time continued to lock and unlock the doors every time someone left and tried to direct people out the side doors to prevent us from distribruting our information.
IRAP also presented an event at Capilano College on March 28, where Wolverine challenged Robideau. Obviously they couldn’t call security on him, a traditional elder and warrior. There was also an event at the University of Victoria on the 29th, where Peltier and Graham supporters distributed leaflets in support of John Graham, and Harriet Nahanee’s support for Graham. Graham’s supporters were followed around and harrased to the point where they had to wait outside. (Harriet Nahanee recently passed away as a direct result of imprisonment for defending Eagleridge Bluffs against 2010 Olympics development. She has also been a strong supporter of John Graham and a long term and central organizer for Leonard Peltier Support in Vancouver).
Lyn Highway, April 1 2007
[Note by Our Freedom editor: In a May 2007 letter Leonard Peltier said he did not support Robert Robidideau’s efforts to have John Graham railroaded into prison and that he was waiting for Robideau’s resignation from his defense committee. Robideau did resign soon after this. He had also resigned from the Committee in 2004 because of its support for Graham against his extradition, but Robideau later rejoined only to exploit Peltier in order to spread disinformation around the case.]