Sep 11/97: Gustafsen Lake-Unhappy anniversary


The Martlet (University of Victoria paper)
Thursday, September 11, 1997
Collective Editorial

The two year anniversary of the Gustafsen stand-off is already upon us. The final scenes were paraded across front pages of newspapers across the country. Since then, this situation has produced a year-long judicial trial, a huge legal bill for the BC taxpayers, and several jail terms for the Ts'peten defenders. It has also produced startlingly little coverage by the mainstream media.

Why? The perception seems to be that this whole thing is over. Done with. Swept neatly under the rug so we can continue to live our 'Beautiful BC' lifestyle in this oh-so friendly, oh-so progressive place where Mounties paddle canoes next to native people on "tribal journeys." But it isn't over. And it isn't going to go away just because we no longer have screaming headlines in the Vancouver Sun or Province. There are still hundreds of questions to be asked, and most should be directed to the RCMP.

Not the individuals following orders to shoot, but the people responsible for giving these orders. The individuals who signed papers to purchase 50 calibre sniper rifles, who authorized the extensive surveillance and wire tapping of elders like Lavina White or Bill Lightbown. The RCMP is already conducting an administrative review [whitewash -- S.I.S.I.S.] of one shooting incident at Gustafsen Lake. They are looking into the decision of one of their "members" to open fire on one of the defenders on Sept. 12, 1995.

But what about the day before? What about the land mine that detonated a defender truck, sending the occupants scrambling for cover, while the RCMP opened fire? When do we get an answer for the fact that the RCMP fired 77,000 rounds of hollow point ammo at 18 people on their own unceded territory, employed the services of a "psy-ops" consultant who also assisted at Waco and the MRTA Lima matter?

So far there are no ongoing independent investigations. The Ts'peten defenders are asking you to make your government accountable by demanding a full and comprehensive public inquiry into the largest paramilitary operation in Canadian history. So far the demand has been refused. Draw your own conclusions. We've drawn ours: the criminals themselves control the process. And the process includes your acquiescence to accepting these atrocities and even agreeing to be taught by those who perpetrate them. UVic, the ball's in your court.

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