Comment to the Tyee article on this by Kevin barker:
I asked the cops about that: .
“The RCMP are not a paramilitary organization.”
“So who were the guys with the machine guns and sunglasses?”
“But you just said …”
“Screw off or I’ll run ya in for obstructing…”
RCMP Planned to Use Snipers in Assault on Wet’suwet’en Protest, Guardian Reports, Newspaper cites planning documents that called for ‘lethal overwatch’ to ensure pipeline built by Tyee Staff, Dec 20, 2019, TheTyee.ca
The RCMP were prepared to use snipers with shoot-to-kill orders when they launched a raid to remove Indigenous protesters slowing pipeline construction in Wet’suwet’en territory, the Guardian reported today.
The exclusive report by Jaskiran Dhillon and Will Parrish reveals RCMP planning notes included arguments that “lethal overwatch is req’d,” a term for deploying snipers.
The Guardian reports RCMP commanders instructed officers to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want” as they planned the Jan. 7 action to remove a gated checkpoint and camp about 120 kilometres southwest of Smithers.
The RCMP sent heavily armed officers in military-style fatigues to break down a gate, arrest 14 people and enforce a “temporary exclusion zone” that barred anyone aside from police from the area. The police were enforcing an injunction obtained by Coastal GasLink, the company building a pipeline to take natural gas to a planned LNG project in Kitimat.
The Guardian reports RCMP documents note arrests would be necessary for “sterilizing the site.” Plans included arresting everyone in the injunction area, including children and elders.
They also show the RCMP conducted surveillance in advance of the raid including heavily armed police patrols, drones, heat-sensing cameras and monitoring of protesters social media postings.
And the report reveals the RCMP and pipeline company officials worked closely together on strategy.
The Tyee has covered the blockade and the police and corporate response extensively.
- The day after the raid, Zoë Ducklow provided a primer on the protest, the pipeline and the Wet’suwet’en use of the land.
- Ducklow also prepared this report offering the views of Chief Judy Wilson, secretary treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and a community leader.
- Judith Sayers, a lawyer and former chief of the Hupacasath First Nation, wrote about why the Indigenous people at the blockade, not the RCMP, had the law on their side.
- Amanda Follett Hosgood reported on Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Na’Moks’ speech to the United Nations after the police raid.
- Follet Hosgood also reported on complaints by Indigenous leaders and families that police were doing little to investigate missing women cases while devoting a large amount of resources to protecting pipeline companies.
- Andrew Nikiforuk set out Canada’s history of using militarized police to monitor and shut down attempts to asset Indigenous rights.
Reports of RCMP snipers dispatched to Wet’suwet’en blockade ‘concerning,’ says Indigenous Services minister, U.K. news outlet suggests police were prepared to shoot protesters blockading pipeline by Jon Hernandez, CBC News, Dec 20, 2019
The Indigenous Services minister is calling for a review of how RCMP resources are deployed in “sensitive” conflicts over Indigenous land, after a report surfaced saying police were prepared to use snipers on Wet’suwet’en Nation protesters blockading a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.
In late 2018, Wet’suwet’en members set up checkpoints on a remote stretch of forest service road and a bridge, preventing people working on a pipeline project from accessing their traditional territory, which sits about 300 kilometres west of Prince George, B.C. The nation had previously set up an earlier checkpoint at a different location on the territory in 2009.
More than a dozen people were arrested during the conflict on Jan. 7. 2019.
On Friday, the U.K. newspaper the Guardian published notes from what was described as an RCMP strategy session, stating that RCMP argued for “lethal overwatch” of the site and officers were instructed to use “as much violence toward the gate as you want” in order to remove a roadblock erected by protesters.
CBC News has not seen the documents referred to in the Guardian’s report.
“There are a number of very deeply concerning words, phrases and terms used to a situation that is immensely delicate,” Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said Friday.
“This is something that we need to revise as a government and take a look at that, because the terminology is entirely unacceptable.” [Just more empty placating politico words? I’m not holding my breath for action from him or any Canadian big oil sloshed politician (all of them)]
The RCMP falls under federal jurisdiction. Miller said police deployment tactics need to be reviewed “in these very, very sensitive situations.”
Ron Mitchell, also known as Wet’suwet’an hereditary chief Hagwilnegh, says he was alarmed by the report. He recalls meeting with the RCMP’s Indigenous liaison during the protests.
“I was shocked,” he told CBC News. “[The RCMP] assured us that they were there to protect everyone, including us. That was the message we received from them.”
[Unwise to believe a word the RCMP say, or for that matter, any word any Canadian politician says. When the squad came to terrorize me at my home in 2009, they spouted all kinds of fancy words. I believed not one, and trusted not one, not even one word in the six apologies from one of the interrogators as he shuffled off, heavily embarrassed at the failed mission – likely ordered by Gwyn Morgan and his buddy Steve Harper, with giddy AER blessings.]
Mitchell is calling on RCMP officials to address the matter directly with Wet’suwet’en members.
“The question that comes to mind is, who are the RCMP working for?” [THAT’S OBVIOUS! THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY, AMERICA, AND CANADIAN FEDS.] he added. “They weren’t nice to our people, especially the elders.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Martin Peters, a lawyer representing protesters arrested at the blockade.
Peters said the RCMP acted as “security guards” for Coastal GasLink, the company behind the pipeline. [Coastal is only a tiny bit player in this. Bigger kahoonas are leading the hideous charges, using taxpayer-funded “protectors” of “law and order” to abuse any ordinary citizens saysing “NO” to the endless lies, abuses and pollution by oil and gas]
“They seem to be acting at the beck and call of this private corporation,” he said.
However, Peters said officers “conducted themselves fairly admirably” during the arrests.
“They had people screaming and yelling for hours and they did not rise to the bait,” he said. “[They] maintained their composure and did their job.” [Did their job serving the pipeline company? Wow. Typical synergy lawyer!]
Molly Wickham, a spokesperson for the protesters who was arrested at the site back in January, said in a written statement that the facts reported by the Guardian “reveal the reality of the relationship between Indigenous Peoples protecting our lands and RCMP.”
“Here we are, nearly 2020 and we are still being threatened with violence, death, and the removal of our children for simply existing on our lands and following our laws,” she wrote in part.
Police denied documents [Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Ha, now you know what it’s like to be frac’d!]
RCMP have not verified the documents that have been referred to in the Guardian report. A spokesperson said they were denied a request to review them.
“We have not had the opportunity to determine in what context any of the alleged statements may have been made or by whom,” said RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet in a statement.
“There are a number of terms referenced in the article that are not generally used by the RCMP during operational planning and others that may be used, but in our opinion have been taken out of context — both of which are concerning,” she said.
- Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders level human rights complaint during speeches at United Nations forum
In particular, police said “lethal overwatch” does not necessarily imply that police were prepared to use snipers on protesters, noting that the practice is often used at demonstrations or community parades to ensure public safety. [Ha ha, if you believe that, Santa is on his way to your house]
“Police officers who occupy the position of lethal overwatch are tasked with observing, while other police officers are engaged in other duties which occupy attention,” said Shoihet.
Police were ordered to enforce the site after the B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction order against people interfering with the pipeline. [Canadian judge and court working for the oil patch, just like the RCMP?]
B.C.’s public safety ministry would not comment on the incident. [Maybe they like the heavy RCMP hands?]
Refer also to:
Oh Racist Colonial Canada: As vile under Trudeau as Harper! Police prepared to shoot Wet’suwet’en land defenders; Documents show Commanders argued “lethal overwatch is req’d” – a term for deploying snipers – like in Elsipotog in 2013. RCMP commanders also instructed officers to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want.” PS Merry Christmas