September 18, 2021

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Washington: far left activists convicted of interfering with track control systems – Roce Today

Last year I wrote about two far-left activists who were caught tampering with train tracks near Bellingham, Washington. Samantha Frances Brooks, 24, and Ellen Brennan Reiche, 28, were caught placing what is called a shunt on the tracks. A shunt is basically just a piece of wire that is connected from one side of the track to the other. That action mimics the electrical signal that is generated when a train passes over the tracks and confuses the automatic control system which is designed to prevent trains from crashing into each other.

As I noted when the pair were captured, there were over 40 such detours placed on the tracks near Bellingham last year. In one case a train carrying hazardous materials was tricked and broke down automatically (assuming there was another one ahead). The break was so sudden that one of the joints came loose and the train was separated into two parts. Authorities noted that this may have led to a derailment in a residential area. Fortunately, this did not happen.

As local authorities and a joint terrorism task force (JTTF) tried to figure out who was responsible, someone wrote an anonymous letter to He’s going down, the pro-Antifa news site. That letter described the closure of the tracks in Washington and encouraged others to do the same to show solidarity with an indigenous protest taking place in Canada at the time. I wrote about the Canadian protests here.

In any case, Brooks and Ellen Brennan Reiche were caught accidentally last November for standing in front of a gaming camera:

The camera broadcast a photo showing one person standing on the tracks and what appeared to be a second person crouching on the tracks. Officers were sent to investigate and as they were heading to the location a deputy chief opened his laptop and witnesses a trace signal appear and disappear in the place where people had just been seen, as if someone were tampering with the traces. At that point he contacted the JTTF task force.

When authorities arrived at the scene, Brooks and Reiche tried to escape but stopped after police identified themselves. They claimed they lost their keys and were looking for them on the tracks. Asked if they had a flashlight or a phone to help them watch, Reiche said she left the phone in her nearby car. Authorities examined the car and took a photo of the “Indigenous Land” sticker above on the bumper (see above). Remember, these trail-offsetting actions were originally done in solidarity with indigenous protesters in Canada.

Police found a shunt on the tracks exactly where the photo had been taken earlier and Reiche was holding a paper bag that contained rubber gloves, a Makita drill with a wire brush and some insulating wire “similar to that. that had been used in previous shunting accidents. ”Authorities noted that in previous accidents the tracks had been scratched with something like a wire brush to ensure a solid connection to the wire.

They were caught red-handed. Brooks pleaded guilty on July 9 this year and Reiche, who was a former field organizer for the Washington State Democrats, was tried and found guilty by a jury last week:

A 28-year-old woman from Bellingham, Washington, was convicted today by the United States District Court in Seattle for violence against a rail carrier, interim United States Attorney Tessa M. Gorman announced. Ellen Brennan Reiche, was one of two people arrested on the BNSF railroad tracks near Bellingham, near midnight on November 28, 2020. Reiche was convicted of placing a “shunt” – a device that interferes with train signals – On Tracks. The jury deliberated about three hours after the two-day trial. Reiche faces up to 20 years in prison when he was sentenced by United States Chief District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on December 17, 2021 …

In his concluding discussion, US Assistant Attorney Sok Jiang told the jury that Reiche “disrupted the signal system designed to prevent trains from colliding with each other or crashing into cars … A ‘car crossing the intersection (near the shunt) would not have warned of the arrival of a train ”.

Brooks will be sentenced next month and she too risks up to 20 years, although I assume, since she has pleaded guilty, her sentence will be lighter than Reiche’s.