Iran TV station claims Alberta police abducted aboriginal kids, sold them adoption agencies

Steve Mertl
Daily BrewDecember 12, 2012

Iran's Press TV has taken another bizarre swipe at Canada's treatment of aboriginals.

The state-owned, English-language TV network this time alleges First Nations children in Alberta are being abducted from their parents by anti-terror police and then sold to adoption agencies, the National Post reports.

The report, which Press TV aired Monday, alleges children are taken on the pretext they're being neglected, then placed with non-aboriginal parents. It's part of a larger government policy to eradicate First Nations culture and keep aboriginals from claiming their rights to a share of Canada's resource riches, the report says.

It also ties the so-called abductions to the notorious defunct residential school system with wording that suggests it's still operating. The last school closed in the 1980s and provinces have also abandoned the practice of placing First Nations children in non-aboriginal homes unless there's no alternative.

[Related: Press TV continues its attacks on Canada's human rights record ]

The report, filed by Press TV's Canadian correspondent Joshua Blakeney, claims statistics show Alberta has a far higher rate of child apprehensions than Ontario.

He interviews a blue-eyed woman wrapped in a headscarf who claims her aboriginal children were seized by a squad of 32 heavily-armed officers, whom Blakeney says belonged to the RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET).

"They took the children at gunpoint, treated us like terrorists," the woman says.

A second veiled woman, speaking with a foreign accent, outlines the conspiracy.

"It definitely is a money-making scheme, because a lot of native children have been sold into adoption, but it is also used as an assimilation program [and] a genocidal program," she says.

Iran has exploited Canada's admittedly shameful track record in the treatment of First Nations in its propaganda war with the Conservative government, which severed diplomatic ties to the authoritarian Islamic state this year.

Earlier this year, the Iranian government hosted former Manitoba chiefs Terry Nelson and Dennis Pashe in Tehran, where they criticized Canadian First Nations policies.

[ Related: Nelson's comments during Iran trip the latest in a long line of provocative stunts ]

Blakeney's report was quickly dismissed as fiction, the Post says. A spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada laughed off his allegations, as did a aboriginal family advocate in Alberta.

"I have never heard of that — never heard of that," Cindy Blackstock, associate professor at the University of Alberta and executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, told the Post.

Blakeney, a British expat, files stories regularly to Press TV, often reports that reflect badly on Canada.

But he's also known to some as a member of the so-called Truther movement, which claims the 9/11 terror attacks were an inside job aimed at justifying the war on terror, the Post reports.

On his web site, Blakeney boasts about being awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship at the University of Lethbridge to research his masters thesis on the origins of the war on terror.

The Post reported in 2010 that the Alberta government-funded scholarship handed Blackeney almost $8,000 to research his conspiracy theories about 9/11, suggesting the U.S. government and Israel were behind the deadly attacks.

[ Related: Canadians support government's decision to close Tehran embassy ]

The experts he cites are a "who's who" of influential 9/11 Truth conspiracy theorists, Post columnist Jonathan Kay wrote. His research was overseen by Prof. Anthony Hall, the university's co-ordinator of Globalization Studies and a prominent Canadian in the Truther movement, Kay noted.

Blakeney says on his web site that he's much in demand as a writer and TV guest but his work is regularly excoriated elsewhere.