"So we could have dead f***ing terrorists?" "No...not that lucky"
"The allegations of police and government wrong-doings are so serious that there is no question there should be a public inquiry into whether or not the rule of law was respected."
- Canadian Forum: April '97
Two years ago the governments of British Columbia and Canada were mounting the largest paramilitary operation in Canadian history against a small group of Indigenous and non-native resisters occupying sacred, unceded Sundance grounds at Ts'peten (Gustafsen Lake). A massive cover-up has thus far kept the truth from public view. After a corrupt and bizarre kangaroo court process during which they were denied their counsel of choice, an acknowledged expert in international and constitutional law, Defenders are being held as political prisoners. World-wide, supporters have called for their release and a full public inquiry with international supervision. In the interest of furthering this inquiry call - we look back.
Herb Gray, Solicitor-General Canada, to Ujjal Dosanjh, Attorney General BC:
Dear Mr. Dosanjh:
Thank you for your letter of August 25, 1995 requesting my assistance in obtaining the support of the Department of National Defence (DND) to provide the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in British Columbia with the equipment and services, described in your correspondence, as technical support to a criminal investigation into the activities of persons at Gustafsen Lake.
I have discussed the matter with the Minister of Defence, the Hon. David Collennette, who has advised that DND will provide the resources that you have requested.
August 27th, 1995, 0730 hrs; "Insp. Guy called and advised that he had been advised by Supt. Olfert that at 1:30 AM Mercredi feels that the police are sabotaging his efforts for talks by cutting off communications and flying the helicopter above them. Olfert feels it maybe better to allow Mercredi to exhaust his process before we move." [Notes of RCMP A/Commissioner Brown]
August 27th, 1995, 0825 hrs; "I called Stephen Owen [deputy BC Attorney-General] and briefed him on recent developments, he agreed we should have a meeting. It would involve a conference call with him as he is in Victoria. He feels the Attorney General should be involved in our meeting at our office as he does not live too far from it. He would call me back after talking to him and at the moment, 11:00am, sounds OK."
August 27th, 1995, 1100 hrs; "the meeting started at the CO's Office with the Attorney General; Chief Johnston; Insp.Guy; and myself...Insp. Guy advised that the natives are falling trees over the road some distance from the camp. The CO reviewed the current status at Gustafsen Lake..."
August 27th, 1995, 1105 hrs; "the CO called Stephen Owen and Maureen Maloney [Assistant Deputy Attorney-General, BC] and put them on conference call...we will continue to over-fly the site and also to control access to the roads. There is a continuing danger to the public and the A/G will state that peaceful resolution is what everyone is after but there are no guarantees of anyone's safety when the police start to move in."
August 27th, 1995, 1124hrs; "the CO continued to discuss the APC and the numbers of people involved...the peace consultation process would be exhausted when Mercredi says he cannot do any more. The Attorney General requests an overview time line...we will get on with our operational plan."
August 27th, 1995, 1200 hrs; "The CO briefed D/Commr. Beaulac on the current status at Gustafsen Lake. The military vehicles are under the command of the CO as of 2000 hrs (8:00 P.M) the night before. This was given by Major General Addy [LFWA: Land Forces Western Area-Canadian army]. Peter Montague [RCMP media liason] has to tighten up on what he says to the media..."
August 27th, 1995, 1220 hrs; "The CO put on a conference call with Supt. Olfert. We reviewed meeting with the Attorney General this AM. Everyone is on side."
August 27th, 1995, 1250 hrs; "Call placed to Insp. Earl Moulton by the CO he wanted to know if there is a problem with the military, the issue is, the military cannot seem to take overt action. CO advised that the troops and vehicles are under his control and if there is further difficulties to advise him and he would go back to Major General Addy."
August 27th, 1995, 1515 hrs; "Attorney General called and advised me that BCTV has just reported that three officers had been shot at Gustafsen Lake. He wants confirmation." [A/Commissioner Brown notes]
August 27th, 1995, 1650 hrs; "In the COs Office with Chief/Supt. M.Johnston, Insp.D Guy, and myself. The CO wants to set up on a 24 hour basis our DEOCC, asked that it be activated. We will use it as our central communications post. Have Kamloops set up a similar facility to ensure we got smooth communications. All NOC inquiries would be directed to DEOCC." [A/Commr. Brown notes]
August 27th, 1995, 1720 hrs; "2 ERT [RCMP "Emergency Response team"] & 1 PDV [Police Department Vehicle] Suburban, 1 Forestry. - Saw dog - mounted vehicles after recieving gun fire. Trailing ERT vehicle returned fire. Fire came through truck and lodged in members body armour. Full metal jacket 7.62cal. Will go through Bison skin [Armoured personnel carrier]. Earl does not feel the police can handle this situation" [A/Commr. Murray Johnston notes]
"Sergeant Peter Montague reported to the press that "two officers were hit by machine gun fire in an 'ambush' near the renegade native camp' and that they were saved from "serious injury or even death by their flak jackets". Subsequently, no evidence is presented in court to substantiate the story, nor has anyone been charged with the incident. "The manufacturer of the flak jackets has made a public statement that the light-duty vests that the officers were wearing were designed to withstand small arms fire and that rifle fire would certainly have penetrated into the body of the wearer." (Terminal City Newsmagazine)August 27th, 1995, 1727 hrs; "Comm'r Murray [RCMP Commissioner]. CO briefed the Comm'r. - full auto weapons, full metal jacket. - night vision equipment - ambushed from both sides - camp being resupplied on horseback - Comm'r implies outside assistance. 12 Mohawks coming from the East. - explained "shaming" session of Len Olfert. We will be asking for second WESCAM (ariel surveillance)" [Murray Johnston notes]
August 27th, 1995, 1728 hrs; "Dr. Webster consultant to FBI, psychologist"
"12 Mohawks coming from the East"
"D/Commr. Palmer - call from Isp. Potts, OPP - understand our position - total surrender - worst person Mercredi" "Media - speak to Montague - underscore seriousness of situation and ask the media to down play the seriousness (Johnston)" [TNG notes]
August 27th, 1995, 1810 hrs; "The CO also wants Insp Mahon to contact the members of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee to see if there is anything they could suggest we do with this situation."
August 27th, 1995, 1830 hrs; "Supt. Olfert called. The CO stated that we are confirming that the APC will stop the 7.62 millimetre round. We reviewed the offer from Potts to come out and assist us. Olfert is considering sitting down with Mike Webster and set up a discussion scenario with Wolverine." [A Comm'r Brown notes]
August 27th, 1995, 1850 hrs; "CO briefed A.G. Sol-Gen will call A-G" [A/Commr. Murray Johnston notes]
August 27th Peter Montague RCMP media liason in conversation with Staff Sergeant Martin Sarich:
Montague: "So we could have some dead fucking terrorists?""It's not the first time we've had to take flak jackets out to the firing range."
Sarich: "...No, no we don't."
Montague: "Not that lucky."
- RCMP archival videotape
"I have a wife and child at home. This situation is not safe for the
national chief or the RCMP."
"The Canadian Federation of Students condemns the hostile actions of the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the Aboriginal stand-off in Gustafsen
Lake.We further declare that Premier Mike Harcourt and the Attorney
General Ujjal Dosanjh are responsible...and will be held accountable..."
To sign the petition demanding an inquiry by email, send a message to SISIS@envirolink.org with "petition" in the subject header and "I support the petition for a full public inquiry into the events surrounding the Gustafsen Lake crisis," your name, and your city of residence in the body of the message.
For more information, contact Splitting the Sky - Phone/Fax: (604) 543-9661 Bill Lightbown - Phone: (604) 251-4949