May 11, 1997
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VANCOUVER, Salish Territory -- The real story behind the RCMP-initiated siege at Gustafsen lake is contained in 50+ hours of "training tapes" shot by Norm Torp of the RCMP Training Branch during the Gustafsen Lake Siege. Ominously, the tapes were intended as a learning tool for RCMP members training for Stand-off situations. The tapes were edited by the Crown before the remaining 50 hours were disclosed to the defence, in December of last year.
Despite the defence's insistance that the tapes contain vital evidence confirming the defendants assertion that the RCMP lied to the press through-out the Stand-off and fabricated incidents in order to justify their escalation of aggression against camp members, Judge Josephsen refused to allow the jury to view any more of the tapes after defence lawyer George Wool aired the notorious six minutes portion within which Sgt. Denis Ryan asks Is there anyone who can help us with our smear and disinformation campaign? and Media Liaison Officer, Sgt. Peter Montague is heard to respond: Smear campaigns are our specialty.
Mr. Justice Josephsen explained his reasons for suppressing the evidence was their length is an unwarrented burden to the jury and further, selected clips would be taken out of context and could be "misunderstood" by jury members. He also slapped a publication ban on them to prevent media from broadcasting the tapes in audio or video format, effectively protecting RCMP and government officials from problematic public exposure of their activities.
The jury would have had no difficulty understanding the segment offered here:
Sgt. Montague Are you sure Rocky returned [fire] if he was driving?
S/Sgt. Sarich Ya, he was firing out there too.
Sgt. Montague So we could have some dead fucking terrorists?!
S/Sgt. Sarich Then, then.... no, no we don't.
Sgt. Montague (laugh) Not that lucky.
-Sgt. Peter Montague and Staff Sgt. Martin Sarich in the process of creating the press release for the fictional ambush in hail of bullets incident of Aug 27, 1995. Excerpted from RCMP "training tapes." See Addendum 1.
On Aug. 27, 1995, RCMP Media Liaison Officer, Sgt. Peter Montague held a press conference in 100 Mile House to announce that two officers, Cst. Gorden Molendyk and Cst. Lorne (Rocky) Clelland had been ambushed in a hail of bullets by Gustafsen Lake camp members, and shot in the back while escaping.
The "training tapes" reveal the behind the scenes manipulation of information and dark intention of the RCMP in the candid interaction between officers Sarich and Montague as they prepare the "official" version of events for the press.
And there can be no mistaking the meaning of Cpl. John Ward's on-camera statement that this isn't the first time that we've had to take flak-jackets to the firing range. (50 hours) Testimony, material evidence, forensics and high-ranking RCMP member's notebooks also contradict the RCMP's official story and point to a shady RCMP operational plan, headed up by Supt. Len Olfert to create an incident in order to lend credence to his numerous requests for military and APC deployment.
Wescam footage of this event, which should have confirmed the officers' story, is mysteriously and specifically absent from the otherwise complete aerial video record of the "Stand-off."
No evidence has been introduced into the court which substantiates the supposed "ambush" and no one has been charged in connection with this incident. The defendents have been denied a fair and impartial trial. Although they are assured of a not guilty verdict from the sympathetic jury, the trial itself has been marred by wholesale perjury on the part of the RCMP witnesses, numerous procedural irregularites, including the Crown's reticent disclosure of evidence and two-person summation to the jury as well as Mr Justice Josephson's suppression of evidence and his unprecedented third-time summation of the Crown's case to the jury.
Given the onerous implications of this horrendous example of Police-State violence and the ongoing State-sanctioned genocide of Indigenous peoples, we call for a full and comprehen- sive public inquiry. The RCMP and all levels of government must be held accountable.
Addendums which follow Include:
Transcripts of 50 hours of training tapesFor further information contact:
Excerpts of notebooks of high ranking RCMP officials
Summaries of testimony of Constables Molendyk, Clelland and Leslie
Ts'peten Defence Committee spokespersons:
Bill Lightbown, phone: (604) 251-4949
Splitting The Sky, phone/fax: (604) 543-9661
S "Orders an evacuation."
M "OK orders evacuation. "
S "Forestry get in their vehicle, heading out, BSD and Kohut...individuals observing running through the trees on the encampment side.
M Morrison and Kohut get away, right?
S Or they are leaving cause everyone's kind of all...leaving
M Yeah, leaving. Molendyk...
S Rocky's driving an unmarked Suburban, Molendyk is the passenger. And they have to back-up. As they are going in reverse. It would appear, they came under fire on the encampment side. Fire was returned, by Molendyk and Rocky, towards the encampment side.
M Are you sure Rocky returned if he was driving?
S Ya, he was firing out there too.
M So we could have some dead fucking terrorists?
S Then, then...no, no we don't.
M (laugh) Not that lucky.
S All of a sudden fire started on the other side.
M Oh it did! In a cross fire?!
S They were attacked from both sides. They were flanked. It is believed that as the first three departing vehicles passed the two individuals, the two then jumped down, or either gone on the road or from the bushes which are near by, open fire on the rear of the Suburban as it was coming towards them. A window were lost, a slug one or a round that passed through the rear door, the shield and the back seat, struck the driver in the left shoulder, low shoulder blade area, below the shoulder blade, high back I guess, left high back. The bullet, the vest served its function. Leaving the member with a large or a bruise, a welted bruise. The member, members after providing statements, have been examined.
M That's the driver shot!?
S Molendyk picked up a fragment of shrapnel or shell.
M I was going to say shell.
S Disc fragment and there were no injuries sustained.
M He was hit in the back?
S Yeah, the rear tire was...
M And the shell fell into his pants?
S Yup. The rear tire was deflated, gas tank punctured, windows were shattered, members continued in reverse for approximately two kilometres.
In this excerpt, Montague is refering to forestry workers who were close-by during so-called "ambush in a hail of bullets" incident.
M: They're gonna put out like a news to their employees to discuss which employees were in there and what had happened and it would hit the media you know.
UM: Oh yeah, their families...
M: Yeah, but I think that if any type of that information gets out there, people...in other words, if they become available to the media they may say things there that we wouldn't want out.
UM: Yeah, cause they're just gonna set their people...they'll be barraged, you know, with calls and eh...and yah, you know they're gonna start commenting on our people, our equipment, what they're seeing, what they heard...cause...Jesus.
OK I just want to bring you all up to date, on what transpired today. Our detail were sketchy when this first happened. We gave you some detail, but we'll give you an accurate version of what we can tell you at this time.
At approximately 1450 hours today 4 of our members, 3 ERT team members and one dog master, escorted three forestry workers to a location on the logging road approximately 1.4 km. from the armed encampment at Gustafsen Lake. The purpose of the patrol was to clear two large trees which have been felled by the camp occupants in order to restrict police patrols.
While the forestry workers worked on the trees, the dog master observed a yellow dog in the forest. The dog master gave the order to evacuate. 2 ERT members were successful in escorting the forestry people in leaving the area. The other 2 ERT members had to back the vehicle up in order to get it turned around. And as they were backing up they encountered a cross fire from semi-automatic weapons.
The members continued to back up taking rounds through the back of the vehicle which knocked out windows, pierced the gas tank, and blew out the tires. The members continued to back up in the disabled vehicle and attempted to return fire in a random manner in attempts to keep their attackers at bay. After backing up the disabled vehicle approximately 2 kilometres, the danger of leaking gas and hot metal required the members to abandon the vehicle and run a considerable distance down the road before being assisted by other their team members.
When the members encountered the cross fire they were both hit in the back. Their vests saved them from serious injury and or death. One of our members has severe bruising where he was hit with a slug, and the other member retrieved a hot slug from between his belt and his bare skin, where he received a minor burn from the slug.
Both members are well, and have received medical clearance. The RCMP's operational plan with respect to dealing with this matter continues to progress and advance, and of course other considerations are being taken as a result of todays' shootings .
Q: Has the RCMP asked for help from the Army?
M: The RCMP has not requested....as far as I know we have not requested any military assistance, this was going to be completely an operational matter, and handled by the RCMP.
Q: Is the RCMP satisfied that they can deal with this without any outside assistance, like from the army?
M: Of course the force felt that they could go in there and handle the situation in a very effective manner, and we are prepared to do that. In light of todays' shootings of course, things will be discussed at the executive level...
Q: You might not have asked for the army, but are army members in town right now?
M: Not to my knowledge.
Q: How big of an area is it that is controlled by the renegades?
M: Just to give you an example, when we seized the weapons from 2 of the camp occupants almost ten days ago now, they were 40 kilometres from the camp. That's when we seized the AK 47 and that impressive arsenal of weapons, so that gives you an idea of how far they can travel in a given period of time at night or whatever. It's a large area that they have access to. (Ed. Referring to arrest of David Pena and Ernie Archie, August 11, 1995)
Q: But they haven't been out that far in the last few days?
M: I don't know. I can't answer that.
Q: Can you confirm that they complying within an area of a few hundred acres? I mean in the sense of public security. You have no reason to believe that they are travelling further out from the camp at this time?
M: The public security has always been a major emphasis by the RCMP. That's why we went out with our new conference last Saturday, eight days ago. We felt very important the public were aware or is aware of this very, very dangerous situation which exists in this area.
Q: Was this an intentional ambush?
M: An intentional ambush? It had all the earmarks of an ambush, they were on both sides of the road. The rounds were coming from both sides and they were caught in the crossfire. We have no idea how many slugs hit our vehicle. The vehicles been abandoned at this point and time we are not to sure where it is and our members if you can imagine in the course of this they couldn't tell how many bullets hit the vehicle, but we are talking about considerable, considerable rounds being fired. Considerable.
August 27th, 1995 0730 hrs: Insp. Guy called and advised that he had been advised by Supt. Olfert that at 1:30 Mercredi feels that the police are sabotaging his efforts for talks by cutting off communications and flying the helicopter above them. Olfert feels it may be best to allow Mercredi to exhaust his process before we move... (pg. 18)
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. (pg. 21)
August 27th, 1995 1703 hrs: ...The rear vehicle of the ERT group returned the fire, there were more semiautomatic fire and bullets went through the back of the suburban and lodged in the dash. It was recovered and it appears to be a 7.62 millimetre full metal jacket. Which is a concern with the APC's as it, according to Earl Moulton's information, it would go right through them. (pg. 22)
Aug. 27, 1995: We have not received any representation from any political level to back off and therefore we must proceed with our plan to further the investigation .
(Ed. Olfert does not provide his notes from Sept. 6, 1995 to Sept. 21, 1995.)
Cst Lorne Rocky Clelland's testimony, Sept 9, 1996. Cst. Clelland told the court a dramatic story of driving backwards as fast as possible for a kilometre, under a rain of semi-automatic and rifle fire from three or four different weapons while shooting his M-16, past Molendyk, out the passenger window. Clelland was photographed with a small bruise on his back, shortly after the incident. Officer Clelland's statement of the incident includes him making reference to the KKK and the "Hanging Tree."
Cst. Gordon Molendyk's testimony, Sept 12, 1996. Cst. Molendyk, looking visably nervous, testified that upon retrieving the bullet, which had purportedly struck him in the back, from under his belt his "training took over and [he] felt [he] didn't need this any more and tossed it out the window". On the stand he identified "it" as a rifle slug, although it was identified in the training tapes by Sarich and Montague as a shell casing. Molendyk was photographed with a small bullet-shaped burn on his lower back.
Cst. Laughlin Leslie's testimony, Aug 21, 1996. Cst. Leslie was the exhibit man for the August 27th incident. He testified that he seized a 9 mm hollow point round from the breech of Clelland's MP5. He also seized a total of only eight .223 and three 9mm spent casings from the cab of the suburban.