High ranking Canadian government officials and other unindicted co-conspirators involved in an illegal paramilitary operation against indigenous Shuswap traditionalists are scrambling to contain an escalating political crisis. Both federal and provincial governments are co-ordinating a damage control strategy of cover-up, containment and evasion in the face of mounting international alarm over Canada's attacks upon aboriginals during the summmer of 1995.
For 31 days, a small but determined group of traditionalists and their supporters held off the largest joint military/police operation in Canadian history. The site, sacred Sundance and burial grounds at Ts'peten (also known as Gustafsen Lake, near 100 Mile House British Columbia), is located on unceded, unsurrendered Shuswap traditional territory. A vast American owned cattle company attempted to evict the Sundancers, claiming ownership rights to the sacred site. However, as a settled and binding matter of both constitutional and international law, the absence of either a treaty or sale negates this claim. A call for international adjudication of this dispute was peremptorally rejected by BC's Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh.
During the month-long summer standoff, the authorities employed an FBI psy-ops specialist, fired approximately 77,000 rounds of hollow-point ammunition, blew up a camp vehicle with a land mine, and conducted a vicious campaign of racist, media demonization against natives they called "terrorists," "renegades," and "squatters". Canada's national broadcaster the CBC participated in the RCMP's "Operational Plan" by directing a "psy-ops" broadcast into the camp, which the trial revealed was designed to provoke the Sundancers into a response against which the authorities could react with deadly force.
The recently concluded trial in a special "anti-terrorist" high security courtroom in Surrey BC, near Vancouver, was the longest criminal trial ever held in Canada and has been described by many observers as "a travesty of justice". Fifteen people were convicted and twelve imprisoned after bizarre and protracted proceedings which included the jailing of an internationally respected authority on native rights, Dr. Bruce Clark, the dismissal without reasons of key defence arguments in the final stages of the trial, and a four day steering session by the judge in a blatant display of jury tampering just before they were sequestered.
Clark is a legal scholar and an acknowledged expert on the subject of aboriginal rights law and Canadian constitutional history who argues that the present practices of the Canadian government and courts constitute "fraud", "constitutional treason" and "genocide".
"Canada is always first in line when it comes to pontificating and uttering sanctimonious platitudes about genocide in places in Bosnia, but not when it occurs at home," Clark said in a recent interview with Canadian Press. According to Dr. Clark and the indigenous traditionalists for whom he acts, independent, international intervention and adjudication is the only answer to a continuing genocidal colonization process.
Despite the best attempts of the BC Supreme Court and Attorney General, clear evidence emerged in the Gustafsen trial through selected portions of more than 50 hours of police video-taped documentation and other disclosures that the highest levels of the Canadian state planned and participated in a coordinated process of criminal conspiracy to kill the occupants of the Ts'peten Sundance camp, smear the person and arguments of their counsel Dr. Clark and suppress the legal arguments put forward. BC even attempted to have Clark disbarred, but the Law Society of Upper Canada vindicated him, stating: "The genocide of which Dr. Clark speaks is real. We are sympathetic moreover to his assertion that the courts have been unwilling to hear his arguments."
The arguments place a cloud on land title across the province of British Columbia and throughout much of Canada. The magnitude of the corruption and the revelations of the authorities' actions are so alarming that Gustafsen Lake has become something of an international cause celebre. Eminent human rights activists such as former US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark, the European Parliament's Green Group, and Indigenous organizations and representatives around the world have expressed outrage and demanded a comprehensive public inquiry with international supervision.
Most recently, 140 Department of Indian Affairs Band Council Chiefs signed a petition demanding an inquiry into "attempted murder against the Indian people" at Gustafsen Lake. Phil Fontaine, the newly elected Grand Chief of Canada's Assembly of First Nations, has also joined the inquiry call into "all aspects" of the Gustafsen Lake operation as well as into the Ipperwash incident, in which police opened fire upon peaceful protestors protecting a burial area in Ontario in 1995, killing one of them.
Members of BC's Native Youth Movement have promised "general mayhem" at the jailing of "someone who was defending their rights." The harshest sentence was reserved for a 66 year old Shuswap elder called Wolverine, imprisoned since the standoff ended. The organic farmer and old age pensioner was charged with attempted murder for attempting to shoot out the tires of a fourteen ton armoured personnel carrier which was attempting to run him down. He was sentenced to 8 years for the lesser charge of "mischief endangering life".
As the clamour for an internationally supervised inquiry grows, the perpetrators are already attempting to set the parameters to contain and domesticate any inquiry which takes place. The August 2 Vancouver Sun editorial supported the "stern sentencing", but conceded that "citizens should have their questions answered fully and publicly without a long, expensive public inquiry." They support instead using a complaints procedure recently developed by the BC government.
According to the Sun, "Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh wrote to Solicitor General Andy Scott two weeks ago, proposing specific amendments to the RCMP Act that would make the force subject to BC's complaint procedures." This follows recommendations by BC Supreme Court Justice Wally Oppal that "a single independent commission to handle complaints about every police force. Unfortunately the RCMP hasn't signed on."
The RCMP is a federal force and is presently accountable "to a complaint process that's based in Ottawa," a process that according to Justice Oppal "makes no sense". Oppal has a vested interest in keeping any investigation of Gustafsen Lake inside BC; he is himself one of the unindicted BC judiciary who stonewalled the jurisdictional arguments of Dr. Clark in a related case in 1994. Oppal says it is "crucial" that the force be "accountable to the same police complaint commissioner who will oversee municipal police forces and answer to the BC legislature."
This is a frightening thought given that the members of that corrupt colonialist body enthusiastically cheered on the 1995 invasion force into Shuswap territory. At the time, the ruling New Democratic Party government fomented and manipulated anti-Indian racism to the government's advantage in an attempt to demonstrate "firmness" and secure re-election in BC's interior "redneck" ridings.
Attorney General and Human Rights Minister Dosanjh, the NDP politician in charge of the RCMP in BC, is now desperately attempting to ensure the inevitable inquiry stays safely home in BC. The existing federally based complaint mechanism "risks undermining public confidence in our justice system," he maintains.
Dosanjh rejected international observers at the time of the standoff, asserting "there shall be no alien intervention in the affairs of the state". Now it seems, even Ottawa is not to be trusted to air the dirty laundry of genocide, even though the Prime Minister, the federal Defence Minister, the Solicitor General, the Governor General, the Commissioner of the RCMP, and high ranking military officials were also revealed to have been deeply complicit in the Gustafsen crisis.
We say a plague on both their houses. It is patently obvious that neither the federal nor provincial governmnets can be trusted to deal in an impartial manner with the issue and as pointed out, are themselves criminal co-conspirators and parties to the genocide alleged. These colonialist criminals shall not investigate themselves this time. We demand an independent, impartial, international third party to ensure a thorough and fair result.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien
Room 309-S Centre Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont. K1A OA6 Canada
Phone: (613) 992-4211 Fax: (613) 941-6900
Faxing by email: remote-printer.Jean_Chretien@16139416900.iddd.tpc.int
BC Premier Glen Clark
Room 156 Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC V8V 1X4 Canada
Phone: (250) 380-6506 Fax: (250) 387-0087