Splitting The Sky speaks on Gustafson Lake and the new documentary "Above The Law: Part 2"

Shunpiking Magazine has received the following excerpt from a talk that was presented by Splitting The Sky after a screening of the documentary, Above The Law: Part 2 at Café Simpatico, in the Fernwood Community Association hall, Victoria BC.*

(11 October 2000) -- Sisters and brothers good evening. First of all I would like to thank the indigenous peoples of the region for welcoming me onto your land. I would like to thank the organizers of this evening for inviting me. Particularly brother Carlos Fuentes. And for my friends, Allen, Erika and Cliff for always being there and when I come to this part of the country.

I’m going to start off by reading a little article for you (maybe two). This article is from the Globe and Mail dated April 29, 2000.

“Film Suggests Dosanjh manufactured a Crisis: Gustafson Lake arrests made to show tough image, documentary suggests” - by Robert Metis.

A new documentary on the armed standoff at Gustafson Lake, five years ago has accused BC premier Ujjal Dosanjh of playing a prominent role in manufacturing a crisis to justify the involvement of the Canadian military in the incident, a confrontation at Gustafson Lake about 358 km NE of Vancouver, was one the largest police actions in Canadian history, involving about 400 police officers. Previous reports stated that the Canadian military provided equipment but that the RCMP was in charge of dealing with the intense standoff. The incident began after a group of Shushwap natives claimed part of a rancher’s land as a sacred ancestral site and held a Sundance ceremony at the site. After a 31-day siege police laid charges against 18 people ranging from mischief and trespass to attempted murder. In a 90-minute film broadcast yesterday on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Mr. Dosanjh is shown making inflammatory statements at the beginning of the confrontation, establishing his reputation as law and order politician. Mr. Dosanjh accuses Natives of shooting at police officers, hunting them and that they actually pursued them to kill.

Now I’m going to inject a little a thought. For the Attorney General of a province or a state, to make allegations, prejudicial statements as such was completely unethical and outside his mandate and portfolio. And racist to say the least! Hard to believe, since we have the new multicultural premier sitting at the head of this province.

He (Dosanjh) also says that its not part of the aboriginal rights to pick up AK47's and start shooting at police officers. Another prejudicial statement. Asserting as fact. I bring your attention to this now as I’m dissecting everything that is stated. That’s part of my book, soon to be released. Dissects all the lies and misconceptions that we are told in order to justify the state sponsored incursions.

Reading from Globe and Mail:

The film, called Above the Law Part 2, a sequel to an earlier documentary on the same subject also shows correspondence between premier Dosanjh and form (federal) Solicitor General Herb Gray requesting an increase in support from the Department of National Defense based on incidents of violence. But BC videographer, Mervin Brown who wrote and produced the film alleges the violence did not come from the Shushwap sun dancers. The film juxtaposes clips from an internal RCMP training film with previously available material to allege incidents of violence were concocted by police to overcome federal reluctance to engage the army in a confrontation with natives.

By the way I provided that film which I stole from the prosecutor during the trial. Which is what you could call a “progressive” associate producer.

Reading from Globe and Mail:

The film also includes an accusation from former RCMP officer Bob Woods that the RCMP escalated the level of violence. Mr. Woods says in the film that he retired from the Mounties after 8 years of service because they did not treat native officers properly. He was one of the 3 officers assigned to monitor the Shushwap Sundance ceremony in the early summer. He was in contact with the natives for 2 months before events escalated in mid-August. He said in the film that the sacred ceremony had ended and natives were leaving the site when the RCMP began the siege. “The RCMP made up their minds that they were going to go in to use force. It didn’t matter what I said”, the former RCMP officer said.

He (Bob Woods) happens to be, not Mohawk but part of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy…and his conscience got the best of him for his people…because he realized that they weren’t acting as peace-keepers up there but had the intention to go in there and murder. While they systematically pulled him off on the morning they were going there to execute on August the 18th, 1995. Which was bungled (you’ll get that story soon enough).

Reading from Globe and Mail:

The RCMP dismiss the allegations in the film as totally unfounded." The contents of the police training film have been distorted so much that it is difficult to make any comment”, RCMP sergeant John Ward said yesterday.

Now, how can that statement assault your senses. You saw for yourself them making the statements. Now they are saying we took the film and twisted it around to say whatever we wanted it to say. John Ward is very clearly seen saying in the film that it was not the first time that we have taken flack jackets to the range and fired on those flack jackets in order to put bullet holes in a vest to justify a concocted incident that never happened. Why? Because in a police state in order to get consent by the public, by the people through the use of the mainstream media you have to manufacture consent by putting out lies. One sided reporting by the police.

Reading from Globe and Mail:

“The portrayal of events in the film was not accurate”, he (John Ward) said. “The training film has been edited in such a way that a lot of things are out of context. There were hours and hours of video tape. With selective editing you can make it say whatever you want.”

Well, didn’t we just see the selective 6 minute piece on the smear and disinformation campaign? Orchestrating a co-ordinated smear and disinformation campaign. Which is according to (RCMP officer) Peter Montegue, their specialty. Calculated, cold-blooded liars! To say the least.

Reading from Globe and Mail:

The police did not provide the tapes to Mr. Brown. Although film credits include a special thanks to the RCMP.

Ya, thanks for thanks for leaving them around so I could steal em from your ass!

“We’re unsure where the tapes came from”, he says. Well I know where they came from. And I’ve never denied not taken them. You know where they came from. You just don’t know what to do because you are being put on point right now to justify the lies. And you’ve been exposed. Your lies have been exposed and not 1…10…100…1000…100,000 people know that you lied! Because for the last 5 years that is what we have been doing…divulging every single lie that we have been told of Gustafson Lake to justify the manufacturing for the consent of the good, common Canadian people to murder us up at Gustafson Lake! And we have effectively turned that around as I speak here today.

Reading Globe and Mail:

Sergeant Ward also disputed Mr. Woods’ comments “the former officer did a good job” sergeant Ward said “but he had to be pulled out when the danger increased”, although Mr. Woods claimed the event was winding down sergeant Ward insisted the incident was in fact escalating and tension was rising. Neither Mr. Dosanjh nor a spokesperson for the department of national defense was available yesterday for an interview on the allegations in the film.

Why would not the then attorney general, the now premier of this province refuse to give response to those allegations, which he does of course in the next day, and I’m not going to read the whole article because it’s called Dosanjh defends his role in 1995 standoff and here’s what you’ve basically got him saying: “I had to do the right thing and enforce the law”, Mr. Dosanjh said in an interview, “the RCMP decided what had to be done and how to do it” Mr. Dosanjh said. His responsibility as attorney general was to ensure that the law was enforced appropriately and to speak out if necessary to ensure British Columbians that everything was okay. That’s his justification, he had to assure you everything was okay up at the lake. Huh? Everything was okay for who? The bourgeoisie? The petty bourgeois establishment?! The colonial regime known as “Canada”?! Who was it good for? It certainly wasn’t good for me at the other end of those goddamn snipers!!…so no, it wasn’t good for anybody that was up at Gustafson lake in 1995!! No, it wasn’t good, even today as we sit down and talk I usually have a paparazzi of CSIS intelligence following me everywhere I go and probably with their snipers ready to hit me at any moment, but to me it doesn’t matter, because to me we won! We won at Gustafson Lake! Because we exposed the lies and we exposed to Canada that there is one law for all and that one law for all was misrepresented by the bourgeoisie, by the colonial courts, by the colonial masses of this regime, that it was misrepresented, you had been misinformed about what the law is, and we’re here tonight to tell you…what the rule of law was and is up at Gustafson Lake at that day, at that particular time, which has been the law since 1763!...

*To make donations to help STS put out his book or to order a copy of the video send $27 (cheques or money orders payable to John Boncore) to: c/o Splitting The Sky, John Boncore, PO box 1492, Chase, B.C., V0E 1M0

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