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Anti-Terrorist Unit Uses Excessive Force On Indigenous Family

by chapparal Wednesday, Oct. 09, 2002 at 3:52 PM

INSET, the RCMP's new post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorist team, which raided my home and office on July 30, continues to target political dissent in Canada. This latest raid, carried out against Native rights activists on Sept. 23, shows more of INSET's true colours. David Barbarash

Press conference at UVIC MacLauren Bldg

Education Bldg room D114, 11:30-1:00 Thurs. Oct.3rd

Re: Anti-Terrorist Unit Uses Excessive Force On Indigenous Family

At 6:00 am Saturday, September, 21st 2002, members of the Integrated

National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) raided the residence of Nitanis

Desjarlais and John Rampanen in Port Alberni, British Columbia. With the

assistance of the RCMP Emergency Response Team, local RCMP, ambulance, and

fire departments, a warrant to search for unauthorized firearms was

executed.

This police raid was conducted as a follow-up to allegations that Mr.

Rampanen was "stockpiling arms". The quiet neighborhood of Mr. Rampanen

and his common-law wife Ms. Desjarlais, located on the outskirts of Port

Alberni, was evacuated during the early hours of September 21st, as a

safety precaution during the police raid. Fortunately, Mr. Rampanen and

Ms. Desjarlais along with their twelve year old son, two year old daughter

and new-born son were not present in their home during the time of

incursion.

At 9:45 am on the same day, members of INSET along with local RCMP

officers, visited the residence of Mr. Rampanens' parents, also located in

Port Alberni. Upon arrival, INSET officers became aware of the presence of

Ms. Desjarlais and Mr. Rampanen and immediately began questioning Ms.

Desjarlais. Ms. Desjarlais was taken outside of the house and asked if she

knew that John Rampanen was involved in Native Issues. She replied that

she did and that she herself was involved and sarcastically asked if it

was a crime to be involved in Native Issues, to no reply from INSET.

Approximately 10 minutes into the questioning, the inquiring INSET officer

received a telephone call reporting that the searched residence was

"clear". At which point Ms. Desjarlais was informed by an INSET member

that "it would be a shame for (her) children to grow up without parents".

At this point, INSET officers approached Mr. Rampanen and informed him of

the execution of a search warrant on his residence. They further informed

him that allegations were made that he was "stockpiling arms" and that

they did not know the identity of the person or persons behind the

"malicious allegation". They included that there was considerable damage

inflicted upon the front entrance to the house and that any damages

incurred would be covered by the RCMP. Mr. Rampanen was reminded of the

"concern that he should have towards the safety of (his) children" and

that if he was in possession of any unauthorized firearms that he would be

given the opportunity to surrender them without repercussions. Mr.

Rampanen replied that he does not possess any firearms, that his house and

all of his belongings had already been thoroughly searched, and that that

should be evidence that he was not "stockpiling arms".

When asked if this sort of action was to be expected every time a

malicious allegation was made in regards to Mr. Rampanen, INSET replied

that, "after today's actions, we would have to say yes". Mr. Rampanen

stated that "it was because of (his) concern for the safety of (his)

children that he did not stockpile weapons", and further, suggested that

there are more civilized methods that could be applied when dealing with

these types of concerns.

Mr. Rampanen and Ms. Desjarlais have been actively involved in Indigenous

issues for a number of years through organizations such as; the Union of

BC Indian Chiefs, United Native Nations, Native Youth Movement, Indigenous

Sovereignty Network, and the Westcoast Warrior Society. Mr. Rampanen has

also been actively involved in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs

directed towards Indigenous youth, as well as, educational and

informational workshops throughout Indigenous communities. Ms. Desjarlais

is an emerging videographer and specializes in documentaries focusing on

concerns and issues arising from various Indigenous Nations. The young

couple have just recently moved to Vancouver Island where they plan on

raising their children.

Later, during the evening of the same day and the morning of Sunday,

September 22nd, other members of the Westcoast Warrior Society and their

families were also approached by INSET officers. Similar remarks regarding

the safety and concern of their children, and suggestive statements

regarding firearms were also expressed during these visits.

After incidents arising from the weekend of September 21st, Mr. Rampanen

and Ms. Desjarlais are still trying to ensure that these types of

aggressive actions are not wrongfully exercised upon those involved within

matters relating to Indigenous rights. They feel that these sorts of

unnecessary tactics only contribute negatively towards the already fragile

relationship between Indigenous Nations and the Government of Canada.

INSET is a unit that emerged after September 11th and has a budget of 64

million dollars for a five year period. more info on INSET at RCMP

website.

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