by Gary McHale - The Regional
May 13, 2009
Many people may not remember Trevor Miller or the reasons he was in US court but his case is symbolic of the problems in Caledonia. In fact, Miller’s conduct and the OPP response to it is the reason why I got involved in Caledonia.
Trevor Miller was once heralded by Native Protesters as the great Mohawk Warrior who protected woman and children while defending the rights of Six Nations. While Miller sat in a Hamilton jail a few protests were held supporting him claiming he was a political prisoner. He was first called a 'prisoner of war' but I guess the Native protesters realized that wasn't a good image for them to spread. Jan Watson, who ran against Toby Barrett for the NDP, and several members of the Steelworker's Union carrying their Local 1005 flags joined these protests to support Miller who appeared before the court wearing the traditional native headdress and carrying an eagle feather all the while refusing to recognize the Court's Authority.
Occupation supporters rallied behind Miller as if he was the great symbol of the Native struggle against colonialism - a word I didn't think was used anymore.
Here are the facts about Miller: First, I have no problem with any culture appearing in court or in any public forum with their traditional spiritual symbols, but please spare me the propaganda that Mr. Miller was in any way representative of a noble cause.
On June 9, 2006 Miller was involved in two separate crimes in Caledonia. His first criminal act was assaulting a CHCH camera crew by Canadian Tire. The second was assaulting an USA ATF agents and border guards by DCE at Thistlemoor St.
I got involved because both events, along with the swarming of a senior couple, were done in full view of the OPP and they did nothing to prevent the crimes. Every community has crime and a degree of lawlessness; the difference in Caledonia is not that crimes are committed but that police watch and do nothing. This is done nowhere else in Canada and cannot be allowed to happen in Caledonia.
For me, June 9th dramatized the seriousness of the problem: First, swarming senior citizens is unacceptable. Second, media must be free to report the news or democracy itself suffers so the attack upon the media was a direct attack on democracy. Third, the attack upon OPP officers and US agents demonstrated there was no limit these protesters were willing to stop at. If they could attack armed officers with impunity then who of us is safe from their thuggery?
In each case the OPP watched, did little to defend against it, and then spread the propaganda that everything was peaceful. I started CaledoniaWakeUpCall on June 17, 2006 long after there was no peace in Caledonia.
When the OPP officer and US agents were attacked there was already an OPP checkpoint stationed 24/7 just 50 feet away. So what did these OPP officers do when they saw their fellow officer attacked and a knife being pulled on the US agents? Did they draw their guns or run to the aid of fellow officers? Remember, the OPP did finally lay attempted murder charges so this clearly was a serious situation.
When the van that the OPP & US agents were in was stolen and driven past the checkpoint did the officers make any attempt to block the van to make an arrest? When Clyde Powless returned the van – filled with porta-potty contents - and left it on a resident’s lawn (later towed away) did the OPP do anything?
Police officers were willing to watch one of their own almost be killed without taking any steps to help. What message did this send to the people living on Thistlemoor and Braemar? If OPP officers will not come to the aid of one of their own then who can have any faith that OPP officers will come to the aid of the public?
However, some Natives still saw Mr. Miller as a great protector because he was charged. So far Miller has pleaded guilty in three separate courts while proclaiming he doesn't recognize the authority of the court. In early 2006, before he assaulted CHCH workers and attacked US agents, he pleaded guilty to beating his pregnant girlfriend, telling the court he had a serious drug abuse problem.
You got it folks: the great symbol of the native struggle for justice attacked a pregnant woman.
And if you're wondering how supportive he is of the Native community consider the fact that Mr. Miller, his sister and his mother filed a lawsuit in Brantford court for $4.4 Trillion against the Confederacy and several prominent people involved in the ‘reclamation’ - yes trillion.
To date three key native protesters involved in Caledonia in the early days have been picked up by US border guards. Michael Laughing is captured in the photo printed in the Spectator showing him throwing bread and cheese on May 22, 2006 at residents - he now sits in a US jail after trying to cross the border with over $100,000 in drugs in his car. Stacey Boots, (a.k.a Bear Paw) who was arrested during the April 20, 2006 raid, was arrested in 2005 for having $269,500 worth of illegal tobacco in his vehicle and we are told he now sits in a US jail.
American ATF agents were videotaping the so-called land claim on DCE because several of the key figures were already known to both Canadian and US authorities. What is most interesting is the US government really didn't make much noise about their agents being attacked in Canada, then suddenly one day Mr. Miller was picked up trying to cross the border into the USA. Warrants had already been issued for Mr. Miller and others and the US was just waiting for these people to cross the border. What has not been reported in the media is that CANACE played a role in Miller’s prosecution by directly assisting US authorities when the Canadian Government refused to cooperate.
On January 2, 2009 the National Post ran a story about the Conservative Government denying a US request for evidence to prosecute Mr. Miller. The next day I phoned the Assistant US Attorney who was heading up the prosecution against Mr. Miller.
The US Attorney acted quickly and passed on my name to US Border & ATF agents. Meetings were arranged and Merlyn Kinrade, my wife and I travelled to Buffalo to provide them with evidence regarding this case. Over the following 6 weeks, we arranged for eye witnesses to contact US authorities and for several Caledonia residents to travel to the US to give evidence. Much of this cannot be talk about because of other on-going investigations.
The refusal of the Canadian Government to help prosecute a violent Native protester meant that – once again - average people had to step forward to provide evidence to ensure that Miller (and others) didn't escape justice.
Some CANACE activities and sources cannot be reported on in the media. This story, however, provides some insight into how we, despite our limited resources, gather and share evidence as we use every available democratic tool to force an end to Race Based Policing.