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May 2010 Attack on Ottawa Bank: Arson or terrorism?

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--- Quote from: Journeyman on May 21, 2010, 09:32:50 ---A group that abhors all systems of order is now demanding ID cards from its true members...lest pseudo-anarchists sully anarchy's fair name!
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Hey, it gets better - who REALLY speaks for anarchists, anyway?  Here's what a group claiming responsibility for the Ottawa RBC firebombing had to say:,92495.msg935487.html#msg935487

--- Quote ---Royal Bank Canada was a major sponsor of the recently concluded 2010 Olympics on stolen indigenous land. This land was never legally ceded to colonial British Columbia. This hasn’t stopped the government from assuming full ownership of the land and its resources for the benefit of its corporate masters and to the detriment of aboriginal peoples, workers and the poor of the province. The 2010 Winter Olympics increased the homelessness crisis in Vancouver, especially the Downtown Eastside, Kanada’s poorest urban area. Since the Olympics bid, homelessness in Vancouver has nearly tripled while condominium development in the Downtown Eastside is outpacing social housing by a rate of 3:1. The further criminalization and displacement of those living in extreme poverty continues apace .... On June 25-27 2010, the G8/G20 ‘leaders’ and bankers are meeting in Huntsville and Toronto to make decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people and the environment. We will be there.

We pass the torch to all those who would resist the trampling of native rights, of the rights of us all, and resist the ongoing destruction of our planet. We say: The Fire This Time.
--- End quote ---

Now, here's what's been posted to "a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists" (PDF attached in case link doesn't work) - highlights mine:

--- Quote ---Canada, Ontario, Anarchist Common Cause Statement On RBC Arson: Anarchists scapegoats for RBC arson
Date Fri, 21 May 2010 07:51:52 +0300

Despite widespread claims by the media, there is no indication that the recent "firebombing" of an RBC bank branch in Ottawa was carried out by anarchists. Nowhere in the statement or video that was published online was it claimed that those responsible were anarchists. ---- For the media to claim that this is the work of anarchists without any evidence is the worst sort of red-baiting and gets a F grade in basic journalism. We have no idea what the politics of those who did this are.  We also can’t rule out the possibility that this act was carried out by agent-provocators. ---- "This act should also be put in the context of the significant violence that is perpetrated on a daily basis by the state capitalist system such as the violence of war, poverty, colonialism and environmental destruction.

While we seek to build resistance based on mass movements of working and oppressed peoples, we understand why people are angry at the banks”, says Common Cause Ottawa member Kyle James.

Anarchism is not about violence and chaos. Anarchism is about creating a highly organized and democratic society, free of hierarchy and exploitation.

As anarchists, we support the building of revolutionary, democratic, mass movements that will challenge capitalism directly through labour and community organizing and mass direct action such as strikes, picket lines and occupations.

We believe in the power of millions of working-class people standing together against the bankers, bosses, and their state. Instead of isolated acts of property destruction, we need unlimited general strikes of all workers right across Canada and internationally to defeat the attacks on the working class by the capitalists.

Workers, including bank workers, have nothing to fear from anarchists. Together the working class has the power to shut this entire system down and work for our own needs instead of the profits of the bosses.
Common Cause is an Ontario anarchist organization with branches in Ottawa, London, Toronto and Hamilton.

For more information please contact:
Common Cause
--- End quote ---

Meanwhile, the authorities are getting closer - this from the National Post - highlights mine - shared in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright  Act:

--- Quote ---Police have identified suspects in Tuesday's firebombing of a Royal Bank as Ottawa residents linked to an anarchist group, FFFC-Ottawa.

The firebombing, which was filmed and posted online, was an unsophisticated attack, said detectives who have collected trace evidence from the burned-out building at Bank Street and First Avenue.

Investigators have obtained security video from storefronts along the streets, including high-definition images.

The suspects, of which there are believed to be at least four, said in the video that they firebombed the building because the Royal Bank was a sponsor of the Vancouver Olympics. They made their getaway in an SUV.

The suspects are linked to an online independent media site and an anti-establishment network that organizes protests against G8 and G20 summits, unfair trade and government cuts to welfare.

Police said some of the network's meetings are held at a coffee and juice shop in Ottawa's Chinatown.

Yesterday, employees and patrons of the coffee shop spoke openly about the firebombing, and were quick to condemn it. They said the coffee shop, once a co-op, used to attract a small group of self-proclaimed anarchists who often spoke of taking action against the establishment, but their talk was dismissed as just that.

The group severed their ties to the coffee shop a few months ago after strained relations with staff and other patrons.

Investigators said they are confident that evidence will yield arrests. They have enlisted help from the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial Police.

Since 2007, RBC branches across Canada have been targeted in dozens of attacks by anarchists and other extremists. Until now, the actions have been limited to vandalism.

Several anarchist websites are threatening confrontations at next month's G8 summit in Huntsville, Ont., and the G20 summit in Toronto.

As police continue to investigate, some users of the indymedia.orgwebsite that hosted the firebombing video have alleged harassment by law-enforcement officials and have taken steps to preserve their anonymity. The site is described as "a network of collectively run media outlets."

John Hollingsworth, part of the "editorial collective" of the Ottawa Indymedia page, said editors provide a "janitorial" service by dealing with inflammatory or inappropriate postings as necessary.**

"Being an 'open publishing' model, users of the site typically post content themselves without us knowing much about it," he wrote in an email. "We take no 'editorial' position on [the firebombing] as that is not what we do.

"We're pretty much a passive but secure vehicle for activists of various stripes to post their news and views. ... it is not a specifically 'anarchist' website by any means."
--- End quote ---

** - we know at least ONE "inflammatory" statement's still on the site, don't we?

- edited to attach PDF -


--- Quote from: mellian on May 21, 2010, 09:41:34 ---Not all anarchists go around firebombing banks or throwing rocks at police, and not all those that do are anarchists.

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No, and I have no problem with those that use proper means of protest and social activism.  I don't agree with everything they stand for but I have no problem voicing their opinions the proper way.

Not all anarchists go around firebombing banks or throwing rocks at police and yes not all that do are anarchists.  But everyone who does is a criminal and should be treated as such.  This isn't about anarchists.  It's about criminals who are anarchists.  And don't think for a second that the MSM or the military community here is picking exclusively on anarchists.  We have our own criminals and we are just as critical of their actions and the MSM jumps on that as well. 

I find it funny that these groups, in their attempt to distance themselves from this, are using the old "where is the evidence" and it must be "a conspiracy by the man" and yet are so quick to use conspiracy theories and accusations (without evidence) to attack the "man".

Again, these yokels went too far.  Are now being labelled terrorists (rightfully so) and the extreme left is scrambling to do damage control (no pun intended).  They are victims of their own actions.   Actions, that the public in this country do not support.

Carcharodon Carcharias:
I would call it terrorism.


Retired AF Guy:

--- Quote from: Overwatch Downunder on May 21, 2010, 18:08:14 ---I would call it terrorism.

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So would I. It may of have consisted of a criminal act (arson), but the reason behind the act was not criminal (personal gain), but political. That makes it terrorism in my books.
National Post/CanWest version:

--- Quote ---Police detectives investigating Tuesday’s bold firebombing of an uptown Ottawa bank have now identified suspects, all of whom live in Ottawa and are linked to an anti-establishment network ....
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Globe & Mail version:

--- Quote ---Police are confident that they are closing in on the people who firebombed a bank in an upscale Ottawa neighbourhood on Tuesday and made threats against upcoming G8-G20 meetings.

“I believe we have this in hand. I’m confident that we’ll make arrests and I think our leads are on the right track,” Ottawa police Chief Vern White said in an interview on Thursday.

Chief White acknowledged that he is taking a rare step by making such a statement, but he said he wants to reassure the community that Tuesday’s attack will not be the first in a wave of bombings.

“I think that [members of the community] trust that if we feel they should be comforted, we should do that,” he said ....
--- End quote --- version:

--- Quote ---Ottawa police continue to investigate the recent firebombing of a Royal Bank branch and are denying that they have identified suspects in the case.

Ottawa police Chief Vern White had said Thursday that police were "extremely confident" they would make arrests in the case and that they had solid leads already, partly because the purported arsonists posted a video of the incident online.

But on Friday, police refused to confirm that they had narrowed the search to a group of specific individuals from Ottawa, as suggested in a report in the Ottawa Citizen.

"As a former investigator myself, if [investigators] had positively confirmed their suspects, they would be in our cellblock," said Ottawa police spokesperson Kathy Larouche in an email to CBC Friday.

"The investigation is advancing. That is certain. However, it has not concluded." ....
--- End quote ---

Meanwhile, other responses to the response to the original claim of responsibility, one from "Red Power United" (which says it's organizing protests for G8/G20), attributed to the creator of the Facebook page:

--- Quote ---Red Power United (Native Rights Movement) does not support such Anarchist behaviors nor has anyone in our Native networks or Native communities ever heard of a Aboriginal group called FFFC.

As a non violent movement and a social activist group, these acts of violence are unacceptable.
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and another from (PDF attached, if you can read the dark-font-on-dark-background graphics):

--- Quote Statement on RBC Arson Attack

May 21, 2010
Occupied Coast Salish Territory
(Vancouver, Canada)

The May 18, 2010, arson attack on the Royal Bank of Canada in Ottawa was clearly an anti-colonial and anti-capitalist action. It has had a strong impact across the country and invoked the wrath of the state. As both sabotage and propaganda, the attack was highly successful: the bank was almost totally destroyed while the RBC's funding of the genocidal Tar Sands was once again highlighted.

The attack appears to be by non-Native militants acting, in part, in solidarity with Native peoples in both BC (the 2010 Olympics and its aftermath) and northern Alberta (Tar Sands), both of which the RBC has been a main funder for.

The action and communique from the FFFC-Ottawa speaks for itself. In the days following, others (besides the government, corporations and pigs) have also taken the opportunity to speak; not against the RBC or genocide of Indigenous peoples, but against those who carried out the action.

Some have done so by invoking the struggle of Indigenous peoples itself as a way of condemning the attack. Some Native reformists and bureaucrats have attempted to impose themselves as some kind of 'leadership' over Indigenous peoples and resistance. One jet-setting actorvist has stated that those who support the struggle against the Tar Sands must abide by the 'leadership' of those on the 'front lines,' including nonviolence (although the only 'front line' he's familiar with is that at the airport check-in).

I personally know Dene from the Fort McMurray area who rejoiced at the news that an RBC had been fire-bombed as an act of anti-colonial solidarity. They are the real people—they have seen, and are seeing, family members die of cancers, their land and water toxified, their traditional way of life destroyed, as a result of the Tar Sands and RBC's financial support.

Not every Dene, or Indigenous person, will agree with the attack. Nor will every 'actorvist.' But then, not everyone agrees with flying around the world attending conferences or rallies. Or walking around in circles with flimsy placards. Yet, we know, or should know, that all these activities are necessary at times to build awareness, consciousness, solidarity, action, and to achieve our objective(s). That is why the principle of respect for a diversity of tactics is promoted.

It is ironic that in this year of 2010, the 20th anniversary of the 'Oka Crisis', when armed warriors confronted Canadian soldiers in the Kanienkehaka communities of Kanehsatake and Kahnawake, there are Indigenous 'defenders' now attempting to impose codes of 'nonviolence.'

Our peoples have engaged in over 500 years of resistance to colonization using a diversity of tactics, including armed resistance, blockades, occupations, protests, land reclamations, etc. Yes, people have died and many more have been injured, property destroyed, etc.—but colonialism is by its very nature violent.

Indigenous peoples in Canada suffer many casualties today. Suicides, drugs and alchohol, disease, toxic water, prisons, police violence, thousands of missing or murdered Native women. These are not the result of anti-colonial resistance, but that of colonial genocide. Yet, neither Canada nor the corporations involved in destroying land and life are ever described as 'violent.' It is only when there is a militant attack against them that there is a moralizing cry of violence.

To support the institutionalized violence of colonialism, or the state's monopoly on the use of violence, while condemning those who resist such violence, is nothing less than hypocrisy.

Yes, there is violence in resistance, there is love and joy, there is heartache, there is bitterness and hatred as well as hope and passion. Sounds like life, doesn't it? And those who risk their freedom in this life and death struggle should be respected for their courage and committment, not condemned.

In the Spirit of Total Resistance—Smash Capitalism!
Long Live the Class Warrior!
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