The Guardian, “The activists sabotaging railways in solidarity with Indigenous people”

Police recovered a bag containing a drill and wire when they arrested Samantha Brooks and Ellen Brennan Reiche. Photograph: Seattle federal district court

People coming to the aid of the Wet’suwet’en nation to stop a pipeline are using direct action that is prompting terror charges

Hilary Beaumont, July 29, 2021

The night of 28 November, Samantha Brooks, 24, hunched over the railway tracks near Bellingham, Washington, about 32km (20 miles) south of the Canada-US border and installed a “shunt,” according to trial documents obtained by the Guardian.

A shunt is a wire stretched between the tracks that mimics the electrical signal of a train, causing oncoming trains to engage their emergency brakes. Shunts can cause derailments, which is especially dangerous for trains carrying explosive materials.

As Brooks installed the shunt, a Burlington North Santa Fe (BNSF) railway officer received an alert and photo from a game camera (a motion-sensing camera) near the tracks. Police arrived and found Brooks and another woman, Ellen Brennan Reiche, on the tracks with a bag containing a drill and wire, and arrested them.

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