Free Speech and Press Taken From Indigenous People
Independent voices being silenced one by one
By Greg Szymanski, JD
Aug. 12, 2010
Freedom of speech and the press is all but over in the U.S. and Canada and the following article illustrates how independent voices are being shut down, one by one like clay pigeons in a carnival shooting gallery.
Latin America is fully aware of how the global New World Order silences free speech and rarely a news week goes by without a journalist being gunned down or ripped apart in a car bombing.
PASTOR KEVIN ANNETT
This story comes from Pastor Kevin Annett fighting for the rights of indigenous people all over the planet. His long running radio show is about to be taken off the air and government thugs have now taken to impersonating him on the streets of Canada in order to discredit his good name.
Here is the story sent by the Indigenous Elders of The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared in Canada:
We are alerting the world to a serious threat to our efforts to bring to light and challenge the genocide of indigenous people in Canada .
For nearly ten years, only one media venue has consistently told the truth of the Canadian residential schools genocide: Kevin Annett’s program “Hidden from History”, which he established at Vancouver Co-op Radio in the spring of 2001, and has operated weekly ever since.
Last Monday, August 9, at 2:10 pm, right after Kevin had spoken on the air about the documented involvement of the Canadian government in child trafficking, and had referred to the government as “treasonous to the people of Canada”, the staff at Co-op radio unilaterally informed Kevin Annett that his show was facing revue and possible cancellation, and that he faced banning from the station.
Vancouver Co-op radio is a government funded agency whose broadcasts are heavily monitored by the state-run Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC).
Ron Barbour, a Cree journalist and former broadcaster at Co-op radio who worked closely with Kevin before his sudden death in 2007, described the importance of Hidden from History, and the opposition it faced, in an interview just before he died of an apparent “heart attack”:
“I resigned from Co-op radio because of the racist discrimination I experienced there from the staff, but also because they just didn’t like Hidden from History and Kevin. All his talk of murders of native kids got them really upset. The program director, Leela Chinniah, told me on more than one occasion that she didn’t want to have the station closed down because of Kevin. She even told him to stop bringing homeless Indians into the station. I saw that happen more than once.
“If it wasn’t for Hidden from History, the world would never have learned about the genocide against us. It’s that simple. Kevin keeps hammering away, every week, when no-one else will. I’m amazed his show has lasted this long.” (Interview given to Louie Lawless and Kevin Annett for documentary “Unrepentant”, May 13, 2006)
Generations of our people owe a sacred debt to Kevin Annett and Hidden from History for forcing Canada ’s apology for residential schools and holding it and the Catholic, United and Anglican churches responsible for the massive killing of 50,000 or more of our relatives.
Now, on the verge of Kevin’s trip to Europe to organize an international inquiry into the Canadian genocide, his main public voice to the world is about to be strangled. We do not think this is accidental.
Kevin’s show has been the only one in Canada to serve as an open microphone for residential school survivors, the homeless and others. He regularly invites these outcasts into the station not only to speak on the air but to meet and find support, and a purpose in their lives. For this warm hearted practice, he has been repeatedly threatened by program director Leela Chinniah.
To quote Kevin, “I served with Leela on the programming committee for over two years, and faced constant challenges from her to my programs, especially if they featured eyewitnesses to murders in residential schools. I was told by Leela several times directly not to have such eyewitnesses speak on my program. She also said I shouldn’t bring homeless people into the station because it would “hurt our credibility’. Last year, she even ‘ordered’ me not to have Reg Argue, a fellow programmer, on my show, because he had criticized one of her friends at the station. Since her demands were unreasonable and exceeded her powers, I ignored them, but I tried to get her to see that our mandate was to be controversial and give free speech to those who were denied it. She has remained unreasonably hostile.”
This latest effort to silence Kevin and his radio program follows a recent, heightened assault and smear campaign against Kevin that has seen the death or disappearance of a dozen activists and members of our network.
Bingo Dawson, Chief Louis Daniels, Phillipa Ryan and two other residential school survivors who helped Kevin lead protests against the government and churches have all died since the new year. Others have vanished. Kevin’s email communications have been increasingly disrupted. And recently, a man claiming to be Kevin Annett has been seen in Vancouver ’s downtown eastside, making false statements and abusive comments to native people as part of an obvious discrediting campaign.
The use of impersonators has happened before in relation to Kevin’s work. Royce White Calf, an aboriginal judge at the June, 1998 Tribunal into residential schools organized by Kevin, told him that in 2001, a man claiming to be him operated in aboriginal circles to bring discredit and disrepute to his name.
“It’s an old FBI tactic called bad jacketing. It gets even your best friends to hate you. That’s how they destroyed the American Indian Movement. The fact that they tried it against me after the Tribunal shows they’re worried about what you’re surfacing. You can expect them to use the same tactic against you.” (Statement of Royce White Calf to Kevin Annett, June 1, 2004)
According to Annett, “Apparently a white guy resembling me and who claims to be me has been circulating on the streets of Vancouver, offering natives money, making sexist and racist remarks to them, and has even gone into Co-op radio late at night and pretended to be me. It’s all designed to not only alienate me from my base but discredit me personally to the world. I’ve been through this before, at the hands of the United Church , but this is on a much bigger scale now.”
Since the interior of Vancouver Co-op radio is heavily monitored by close circuit television cameras, we are concerned that the presence of this impersonator on the station premises is part of a plan by station staff to discredit Kevin and give themselves an excuse to ban him from the premises.
Kevin believes that at least one of the station staff has actually colluded in these assaults against him.
“In early 2007, two people physically assaulted me in the downtown eastside. They were both paid agents of Chief Ed John, who is suspected of involvement in child trafficking. These same two assaulters, Frank Martin and Helen Michel, appeared the next week at Co-op radio on Charles Boylan’s program. I asked Leela to ban the two of them from the station while I was present, for my own safety, and because they violated station policy. She not only refused to do so, but spread the rumor that I was discriminating against Indians! So she definitely colluded in their assault on me.”
Recently, another associate of Ed John, a native woman named Gunarjee who is a programmer at Co-op radio, has also been libeling and discrediting Kevin and his work among alternative media stations across Canada.
If Kevin Annett and Hidden from History are banned from the airwaves of Co-op radio, we will all lose. This recent attempt by the government and other parties to discredit and destroy Kevin is outrageous and disgusting.
We call upon the Co-op radio staff not only to allow Kevin the common law right to view the evidence against him, and face his accusers, before they proceed further, but to halt their harassment of him and his program.
We also call upon them, especially Leela Chinniah, to cease and desist from their efforts to interfere with the exposure of genocide and other crimes against our people, and to keep the airwaves open to Kevin Annett and the residential school eyewitnesses.
Finally, we announce that any removal of Kevin Annett or his Hidden from History program from Co-op radio will be met by our extended network of aboriginal people with public protests at the radio station, a boycott campaign directed against Vancouver Co-op radio, and other forms of direct action.