TS'PETEN DEFENCE COMMITTEE
174-1472 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, Salish Territory, V5L 3X9
Phone: (604) 322-7934, Fax: (604) 323-0224
February 18, 1997
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VANCOUVER, Salish Territory -- The Ts'peten Defence Committee announced today the arrival of internationally renowned lawyer Dr. Bruce Clark. Dr. Clark arrived on Canadian Airlines flight CA989 and was subsequently arrested by RCMP on his way to meet Ts'peten Defence Committee officials and supporters. At the recommendation of Regional Crown Counsel Ray Hall, Dr. Clark was returning to Vancouver to meet his legal agent, Mr. Manuel A. Azevedo, and seek "early hearing dates of all matters."
Given that Sergeant Peter Montague, Chief RCMP media liaison in B.C., and other senior RCMP officials were disclosed in court to have planned a "smear and disinformation campaign" against Dr. Clark and the Gustafsen Lake Defenders, and that the chief RCMP negotiator Dennis Ryan is also on a video shown in court stating RCMP Command wanted to "kill this Clark and smear the prick and everyone with him", there are fears of more improper conduct of the RCMP and for Dr. Clark's safety.
When Dr. Clark attempted to represent Ts'penten Defendants at their first appearance on September 15, 1995, the RCMP denied him access to or communication with his clients, literally locking him out of the courtroom. When he finally gained entry, the presiding judge refused to hear him or to permit him to file a motion outlining that court's lack of jurisdiction beyond the treaty frontier. Clark was then assaulted by police, dragged away in shackles and leg-irons, and subsequently ordered by the judge into a compulsory fourteen day "psychiatric assessment". When he was certified sane and ordered to appear on charges of contempt of court and assaulting a police officer, he fled Canada on the instructions of his clients, to exile in the Netherlands, and eventually to New York.
Human Rights organizations world wide condemned Canada's outrageous abuse of indigenous rights at the time of the Gustafsen Lake siege. It now appears that the "crisis" was manipulated and deliberately provoked by BC's ruling New Democratic Party (NDP) as an election strategy designed to appease anti-Native voters. Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh, deputy AG Stephen Owen (ironically a former legal advisor to Amnesty International) and assistant deputy AG Maureen Maloney, coordinated the Gustafsen Lake "crisis" with senior RCMP officers and federal politicians. Regrettably, government sponsored native organizations like the Assembly of First Nations collaborated also.
Dr. Clark has returned to British Columbia at the request of his clients, including Shuswap elder Wolverine (Jones William Ignace, currently imprisoned without bail). They want Dr. Clark to present to the jury the evidence which will establish the "fraud, treason and genocide" (as defined in natural, international, and Canadian law) of the Provincial and Federal governments' unlawful invasion of the unsurrendered Indian Territories. So far the non-native legal system has acted with panic and viciousness at the threat this law presents to the powerful vested interests involved.
In a letter dated September 26, 1995, regarding the treatment of Bruce Clark by the Canadian legal establishment, the prominent US human rights spokesperson and former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark advised BC Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh and B.C. Chief Justice Allan McEachern "You have created the appearance of an outrageous abuse of judicial power to deprive persons accused of crime of their counsel... Have you no sense of judicial ethics or common decency?... You give the appearance of an arrogant and hateful tyrant determined to humiliate Indians and destroy the professional and personal reputation and the livelihood of their lawyer. Do you expect Indian peoples to believe they can receive justice in your court? And where will Indians obtain independent, courageous and effective counsel to represent them in your court?" (copy available by fax on request)
The Law Society of Upper Canada dismissed attempts by the B.C. legal establishment to have Dr. Clark disbarred, ruling that "the genocide of which Mr. Clark speaks is real... we are sympathetic moreover to his assertion that the Courts have been unwilling to hear his argument."
The Gustafsen Lake Trial, the longest and costliest in Canadian history, has produced stunning revelations of a criminal conspiracy on the part of the B.C. and Canadian establishment, to resort to state terror, smear and disinformation, political chicanery, judicial thuggery, and a complete disregard of the rule of law.
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Media inquiries: Ts'peten Defence Committee spokespersons:
Splitting The SkyGustafsen Lake Legal Team:
Phone/fax: (604) 543-9661
Phone: (604) 251-4949
Manuel AzevedoPress Kit Materials Available On Request:
Fax: (604) 687-0241
Letter from Dr. Bruce Clark to J. Ray Hall, dated November 4, 1996
Letter from J. Ray Hall to Dr. Bruce Clark, dated November 27, 1996
Letter from Dr. Bruce Clark to J. Ray Hall, dated February 13, 1997
Letter from Mr. Azevedo to the Law Society of B.C., dated February 11, 1997
Notice of Motion from Dr. Bruce Clark, dated February 15, 1997
Letter from former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark to BC Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh, dated September 26, 1995
The Law Society of Upper Canada, Convocation Hearing Report, November 23, 1995
Transcript of Supreme Court Hearing, dated January 17, 1997
Petition/Motion/Constitutional Question index, dated February 12, 1997
Vancouver Sun newspaper article, page A18, dated February 15, 1997
One of the most flamboyant figures in the Gustafsen Lake drama is expected to walk off a Canadian Airlines flight in Vancouver today, back to centre stage and into the arms of the RCMP.
Bruce Clark -- whose smooth bald head and flair for the dramatic put him in the media spotlight during the Gustafsen Lake standoff -- said he has mixed feelings about returning to British Columbia.
He faces two B.C.-wide warrants for his arrest as a result of his conduct during his defence of native Indians involved in the 1995 standoff.
But Clark said Monday he now regrets some of his actions and is prepared to apologize.
Putting his chances of being arrested as he gets off the plane at "about 50/50," Clark said fate has dictated that he return to represent some of the defendants in the Gustafsen Lake trial.
"I don't particularly want to carry forward this message, but it just so happens that I am an expert on this issue," he said of the legal argument he hopes to present, challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
Clark, who obtained a PhD in jurisprudence at Aberdeen University in Scotland, has spent much of his legal career arguing on behalf of native Indians.
One of his recurring legal themes is that conflicts between the Crown and First Nations should not be settled in Canadian courts, but by an independent tribunal that draws its authority from a royal proclamation issued in 1763.
Before he can attempt to make that argument at the Gustafsen trial, however, Clark will first have to deal with the two outstanding arrest warrants.
Sergeant Peter Montague, the RCMP's media representative, said police will execute those warrants as soon as they can. "If we see him, we'll arrest him," said Montague.
He said the RCMP are aware Clark's supporters have issued a press release announcing which flight the controversial lawyer will arrive on today.
Montague said the warrants for Clark's arrest relate to incidents that occurred in a 100 Mile House provincial courtroom in September 1995.
During a bail hearing for five Gustafsen Lake defendants, papers were thrown, Clark accused a judge of running a "kangaroo court" and became involved in a struggle with police officers.
"Kangaroo court -- that term is not seemly. For me to say to him [Judge Nick Friesen] 'this is a kangaroo court,' that's inappropriate," Clark said Monday in an interview from New Brunswick.
But he denied he'd thrown papers at the judge and said when he struggled with police officers, it was only to defend himself.
One thing Clark is adamant about -- he will not accept the jurisdiction of the court.
It was that argument that dragged him into an angry exchange when he sought to derail the court process, arguing the proclamation of 1763 was still valid and the matter had to go to a third-party tribunal.
Clark hopes to use that argument to open the defence case Wednesday in the Gustafsen Lake trial. But if he's arrested and taken to 100 Mile House to face his own charges first, he'll raise the jurisdiction issue there instead.
Clark's view is that Canada is engaged in a campaign of genocide against native Indian people and that makes it impossible for the government to impartially deal with First Nations in the courts, especially on issues related to possession of land.
"The problem with genocide, wherever it occurs in the world, it is a state crime. The apparatus of the state is always involved and therefore the state cannot deal with it in the state's courts," he said.
For several days during the Gustafsen Lake standoff, Clark was the key to an RCMP strategy aimed at negotiating a surrender. At one point, he crossed through police barriers and walked into the encampment. Police thought he was going to come out with a peaceful settlement. Instead, when he emerged on a logging road to address reporters, he shocked the RCMP by accusing them of being the aggressors.
After he was charged with assaulting a police officer and contempt of court, Clark moved to the Netherlands, but he has since travelled widely.
He appeared before a Supreme Court of Canada panel last month on behalf of Indian groups from New Brunswick and Ontario.
Clark said Monday that he didn't leave to avoid arrest, but under instruction from his clients to continue to represent them abroad.
Clark plans to act as primary counsel for three Gustafsen Lake defendants, including William Ignace, also known as Wolverine.
But Clark, who is not licensed to practise law in B.C., needs permission from the province's law society and the presiding judge before he can represent the defendants in court.
Eccentric lawyer Bruce Clark is back in B.C. today to pick up the gloves on Gustafsen Lake.
But first he'll get some tight metal bracelets to match his steel-rimmed spectacles.
The lawyer whose shaved head and flamboyant, space-age eyeglasses attracted as much attention as his legal arguments is fresh from reclaiming the Statue of Liberty for New York Indians. He's keen to argue that Canadian courts have no jurisdiction over B.C. First Nations.
But RCMP Sgt. Peter Montague says he has Clark's Canadian Airlines flight number and the Mounties plan to meet his plane.
"We have B.C.-wide warrants for Mr. Clark for contempt of court and assaulting a police officer," said Montague. "We plan to take him into custody right away."
In a telephone interview from Robinsonville, N.B., Clark vowed he'll be in B.C. Supreme Court tomorrow acting for 10 Gustafsen Lake defendants.
He admitted he may be shipped up north instead to face the 18-month-old charges. "If the police start pushing me about and mount another smear campaign, and if the media participate, it's conceivable they may keep me away from the Gustafsen Lake trial," he said.
Clark has been in the east for a year working for the Micmacs, the Algonquins and the Mohegans, whose chief has just claimed New York's Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
"They've been absolutely charming in Washington, the authorities who look after Ellis Island," said Clark. The same cannot be said for the RCMP, whose Gustafsen Lake commander was quoted at trial as saying he'd like to "kill Clark and smear the prick and everyone with him."
But Clark says police are "just being scapegoated" for "profound corruption in Canada." He blames the Gustafsen fiasco directly on Prime Minister Jean Chretien, his cabinet and the courts.
If he's not in jail, Clark will tell the court tomorrow that Canada has no jurisdiction over aboriginal people because it conducted a genocidal war against them instead of protecting them as decreed by a British royal proclamation in 1763.
The 30-day Gustafsen Lake standoff in August 1995 centred on a dispute between a rancher and traditional sundancers, many of whom became Clark's clients.
Clark's confrontational behavior later led to a fracas that saw him wrestled to a 100 Mile House courtroom floor. A court-ordered psychiatric exam found him fit to stand trial, but he fled to Europe.
Clark says he'll apologize to the judge for using the term "kangaroo court," but he claims the court was up to "misprision (concealment) of treason, fraud and genocide."