Dec 5/98: Civil Liberties Ass'n justifies silence on Gustafsen



Settlers In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty (S.I.S.I.S.)
Saturday, December 5, 1998

The BC Civil Liberties Association's notorious and obedient silence during the siege of Gustafsen Lake -- the largest paramilitary operation of its kind in Canadian history -- was matched only by its spectacular silence in the face of multiple complaints directed to it, by those only too aware of the abuses and violations of human and civil rights which emerged from the criminal trial.

Land mines, deprivation of food and water, shooting at unarmed Sundance campers in an agreed upon "safe zone", 77,000 rounds of hollow point ammunition, the beating and torture of political prisoners including the handicapped son of the imprisoned Shuswap elder Wolverine, the forced committal of native rights lawyer Dr. Bruce Clark to a psychiatric facility, denial of counsel of choice, the outrageous demonization and criminalization of the Ts'peten Defenders by the Attorney General in advance of the trial, not to mention attempts by the state TO KILL THEM, are just some of the areas one would expect any organization concerned with civil liberties to have investigated. Yet the BCCLA did not. The ridiculous and lame excuse offered to support their craven complicity was to suggest that these matters were clarified in court. This is patent nonsense. The kangaroo court trial openly refused to deal with the revelations of numerous outrages committed by the Governments, officials, police and others.

The following message from BC Civil Liberties Association in answer to a query regarding their continued silence on Gustafsen is simply a re-mouthing of the same excuse given by the NDP Government itself to an ever increasing clamour for a public inquiry into the whole affair. The NDP Premier also attempts to fob off inquiry demands by referring to the courts, despite the fact that all appeals are now dismissed and legal remedies exhausted. It is significant that even the trial judge, Justice Bruce Josephson of the BC Supreme Court, consistently rebuffed provisional defence counsel's attempts to probe deep into obvious police wrongdoings by insisting it was not the police that were on trial and that those matters were instead the proper subject of an inquiry, suggesting "there may well be an inquiry later". Even the RCMP Commander, Len Olfert, on their own police videotaped Gustafsen strategy sessions, is recorded telling members of the Crisis Management Team that "there'll be inquiries going on into this until hell freezes over."

Clearly, even the fascistic palookas of the RCMP didn't reckon with the formidable umbilical cords of piano wire, which link the various NDP mafias in BC, especially the human rights and civil liberties networks, of which BCCLA is pre-eminent.

What Mr. Westwood does not mention is BCCLA's composition: several of its members have a vested interest in keeping the Gustafsen story buried. This includes former NDP Premier Mike Harcourt, NDP MP Svend Robinson, and another former BC cabinet minister and CKNW broadcaster Rafe Mair. Conflict of interest? Not in BC - on the contrary - genocide of Indigenous resistors IS the interest. There is no conflict.

-----Original Message-----
From: BC Civil Liberties Assoc -
Date: Wednesday, December 02, 1998 3:31 PM
Subject: Gustafsen Lake

Dear Chris [Ts'Peten supporter],

You asked two questions. Here is our response:

(1) We are quiet on Gustafsen Lake because we have no direct first-hand knowledge of events there, and because the allegations were heard in a court of law.

(2) We are interested in video surveillance of city streets, although we cannot make the broad claim that all such surveillance is wrong in principle.

John Westwood
Executive Director
B.C. Civil Liberties Association
425 - 815 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6C 1B4
Tel: (604) 687-2919
Fax: (604) 687-3045


see also letter from BCCLA at

"The excessive force being used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the misrepresentation of the situation by the Office of Premier Harcourt, added to the fact that no food, water, or medicine is being allowed into the Ts'peten Sundance site calls for immediate intervention of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights."

- Coordinating Commission of Indigenous Organizations and Nations of the Continent, letter to UNHCR, Sept. 16, 1995

"There shall be no alien intervention in the affairs of this state"

- BC NDP Attorney General and Minster of Human Rights, Ujjal Dosanjh
September 15, 1995, Vancouver Sun, Page A1

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