UPDATE: Dec. 11, 2015
A Damning Indictment of Canadian Mainstream Media Complicity
in RACISM, ACTUAL MALICE & GROSS NEGLIGENCE
“You can’t do that!!!”
I leaned forward in my seat and aggressively barked at the Chief Investigative Officer of the SIU (the Special Investigative Unit of the Ontario Government which is supposed to investigate every death involving a citizen at the hands of the Ontario Provincial Police.) It had only been set up in 1990, so in 1995, it was still a fledgling unit trying to find its way. Go to (The SIU)
It was 10:30 am, on Dec. 8, 1995, at SIU headquarters on Front Street in downtown Toronto, Ontario.
And he had just told me something that angered me – as a credentialed Canadian historian, and activist investigative journalist – hugely.
That – following the completion of a statutory 90 day investigation of an incident following a police shooting – the SIU had just finished its report and, on the morrow, would announce its findings and intentions, regarding the infamous killing of Dudley George, at midnight, by Ontario Provincial Police at Ipperwash on Sep. 6, 1995.
No further action was planned, no charges laid against any police officer…
THE OPP COMMITS A HATE CRIME
– That 90 days after the killing of Dudley George, an Aboriginal protester, during a massive midnight shooting attack by an OPP unit, totally armoured up and using steel batons, and automatic weapons on Aboriginal women, teens, children, babies, and men, at Ipperwash Provincial Park, he told me the SIU would not lay any charges against any police officer for wrongdoing of any kind, let alone complicity in the killing of Dudley George.
Dudley had been the local jokester, whom all the First Nations people at Ipperwash said had been repeatedly warned, by an OPP officer, in the weeks before the shooting, “You’re gonna be the first, Dudley” when the shooting started. When the shooting did start, out of dozens of Aboriginals on site, Dudley was targeted by the OPP sniper unit and killed.
“We’re going to announce our decision in a press conference on Dec. 11 (1995) that we will not charge any officer with wrongdoing. Case closed.”
This despite the fact that the SIU had done no investigation behind the barricades at Ipperwash…
(After the killing of Dudley the First Nations people locked out all outsiders from Camp Ipperwash, including ALL the Mainstream Media, and ALL provincial and federal RCMP and military police officers. When I asked the neighbouring Chief to help me – as an investigative journalist – to get “access,” he wailed that not even he, or his Councillors, nor their band members could get in. So the SIU had not investigated the vehicles involved in the shooting, or interviewed the dozens of Aboriginal women, teens, children, and men who were on site and had front row seats during the shooting.)
“We couldn’t get in…” the SIU’s Chief Investigative Officer, plaintively wailed to me, when I scorched the SIU for its incompetent investigation. His lame comment was supposed to be an excuse for a failed investigation.
Because of the mountains of research I revealed, done over weeks behind the barricades among the First Nations people at Ipperwash – how my wife and I got the only Media access is interesting – my strong objections, and the options I put before the SIU, that press conference was never held, and the 90 day reporting period was quietly allowed to lapse.
Some press comments at the time noted this curious SIU behaviour in non-disclosure. No journalist knew, noticed – or frankly gave a damn – that thanks to my intercession, the SIU had quietly restarted its investigation. Any public disclosure would have admitted malfeasance on the part of the SIU thanks to its failed – I consider it incompetent – original investigation.
I said restarting the investigation was the SIU’s only option, that I would act as liaison between the local Aboriginal community and the SIU investigators and arrange to get them access behind the barricades at Ipperwash and to its people.
He said he would discuss my offer with the SIU’ s Director, Graham Reynolds.
A week later he called to say that Reynolds accepted my offer and agreed to restart the SIU investigation, and in February, 1996 I accompanied the SIU into Camp Ipperwash, and filmed its officers doing interviews, and as they photographed bullet holes in people, vehicles, and tires, etc., “behind the barricades.”
The story that my research (and that of my fellow researcher Joan Goldi) uncovered, was the worst act of journalistic malfeasance, and of police and government anti-Aboriginal racism in Ontario in the 20th century.
Thanks to our timely and insistent intercession, the SIU did a genuine investigation the second time around – instead of the racist “whitewash” it had done before. This time charges were laid, and in a trial a year later, an OPP officer was found guilty for the first time in Ontario history, of the illegal killing of a civilian. (After our offer was accepted by the SIU, we had met with Reynolds and the entire SIU team to lay out our research.)
In 2015 I cannot be more passionately praising of the SIU of 1995, its Chief Investigative Officer, and its Director, Graham Reynolds. It’s totally unheard of that a top government bureaucracy and its officers would respond as they did, to the entreaties of a private citizen, consider his research, and run their department with it. Their conscientious attitude to their job regarding Ipperwash will always be, to me, the high point in the history of the SIU. They made a material improvement to the quality of life of all Ontarians as a result.
At a time that racist agendas against Ontario’s Aboriginal People motivated the top bureaucrats in government (Premier Harris on down), in the Mainstream Media (Toronto Star, The Globe, the CBC), and in policing (Ontario Provincial Police, RCMP, CSIS – all had anti-Indian commando spy teams illegally operating at night inside both Camp Ipperwash and Ipperwash Provincial Park), Graham Reynolds and the SIU alone, rose above the widespread public anti-Aboriginal fray and mounted an investigation that was free of the racist hate that tainted other white bureaucracies that attacked, demeaned, marginalized, and vilified – ENTIRELY WITHOUT CAUSE – the First Nations families of Ipperwash.
In those dark hours of December 1995, when every establishment voice spoke against the people of Ipperwash, and what the SIU was trying to do, that singular act of personal courage and professional dedication was no small feat. Ontarians should be proud…
THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA COMMITS A HATE CRIME
It was totally the opposite with the mainstream media of the time – including the CBC which originally hired us, because of our long track record with Aboriginal issues – to go “digging” at Ipperwash, in the days after the shooting, because none of its own journalists could get “access.” CBC offered to give us a documentary if we could “get in.”
And “access” we got in spades. Stunningly so… (How we managed what no other journalist was able to do, is an interesting story. What is more interesting is how it exposes as a stark reality the malevolently pervasive establishment and institutional racism that continues to victimize Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples.)
On the same morning that we presented our research to the SIU on Front Street, we walked next door to CBC Headquarters, to top CBC honchos Don Richardson and Jerry McIntosh, and told them the same story, a spell-binding story of Aboriginal victimization and of a renegade police, and government lying and corruption. The research detail was truly stultifying – we knew every Aboriginal protester, man, woman, and child by name, and what each was doing the days before, during, and after the shooting. And had it down on paper. It’s what we told the SIU and CBC both on Dec. 8, 1995.
How different was the response.
The CBC suits high above Front Street scorched our weeks of hands-on, on-the-ground research censuring us with a dismissive and decidedly belittling “You are too much on the side of the Indians.” They cancelled our documentary and that was that…
From exactly the same set of facts that restarted the SIU investigation.
The CBC was exactly like everyone else in the Mainstream Media, racist and sneering at the “Indian side of the story.” They preferred the police version of truth. And scorned those who had a different set of facts.
The mainstream media had refused to investigate or cover the story – there was NO COVERAGE OF THE IPPERWASH STORY IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA, AFTER THE SHOOTING, FROM October 1995 till April 1996, UNTIL word leaked out of the SIU’s renewed investigation. And that perhaps a revision of sorts was in the offing…
Before that from September 1995 till April 1996, the Mainstream Media never revised the original story that Indians were behaving illegally and violently, that Indians had guns, that Indians shot at police, that police fired back in self-defence; that loyal Ontarians should rally behind the police. That was the story that the media fed into the racist frenzy that marked Ontario, in the wake of the shooting, in the fall of 1995. (Note: No Mainstream Media articles were published about Ipperwash from October 1995 till April 1996.)
As a university-educated friend of mine told me during a dinner party at the time, “Good riddance to Dudley. They should have shot a lot more of them.” It was a universal sentiment among non-Aboriginal peoples in Ontario, on all levels of white society, thanks to what the Mainstream Media published.
When CBC executives got the jump – thanks to our research – on every other Mainstream Media journalist, on a huge story of a massive Human Rights violation, they just sneered off our credibility, and decided to bury the truth rather than expose it. The Public Broadcaster refused to counter the racism by publishing our hugely documented account, preferring to run along with the anti-Aboriginal tide in all the other media outlets.
All of what the CBC preferred to believe and the Mainstream Media published – as our voluminous research proved, and I laid out to the SIU – was utterly false in every detail. The truth was, the facts were, that the police were utterly racist and lying about it all. As confirmed years later, when a judge who found an OPP officer guilty of the unlawful killing of an Indian, would say in open court, that the cops were lying under oath in his court.
All of the research we had uncovered in 1995, and put before the SIU and the CBC – my wife and I spent 73 days behind the barricades collecting it – was later corroborated as accurate in every detail by courtroom disclosures.
When my wife scorched Peter Edwards in a phone conversation about the Toronto’ Star’s negligence on this story, and for just complicitly swallowing, and publishing, hook, line, and stinker, all the crap the police were feeding the media, for six long months, Edwards was plaintively defensive. “Well, you know we rely on the police for our stories.”
That was his lame excuse for the fact that he and the Toronto Star – like all the other members of the Mainstream Media – ignored this story from October 1995 till April 1996, until word started to leak out that the SIU was on to something and they better find out what (the SIU was about to charge a cop with killing Dudley).
Then Edwards started to regurgitate what we had told the SIU and the CBC five months before. For his later “Peter-Come-Lately publishing,” Edwards – you can gag here if you like – would later be awarded a Humanitarian Award, to add to the royalties from a book deal he wangled out of the affair and his cut from a movie deal that also helped flush up his pocket book.
Ripple effects from the disclosures we had made to the SIU and its resulting investigation, would result, years later, in the establishment of the Ipperwash Inquiry. It’s investigative lawyers would sit at our house for two days looking at documentary footage I had shot a decade earlier. One damning Inquiry conclusion: that the racist lying went all the way up to Mike Harris, the Premier of Ontario at the time.
THE PREMIER COMMITS A HATE CRIME – That was not a surprise to me. In 1995 Kettle Point Chief Tom Bressette (he’s again chief in 2015) told me that only hours before the shooting, he got an urgent warning phone call from Queen’s Park that something was up, that Harris had snarled at his police chiefs at a cabinet meeting, to “get those fucking Indians out of the Park.” A decade later a cabinet minister, the Attorney General Charles Harnick, confirmed the Premier – who denied it under oath – had indeed barked out the order. Said Justice Linden in his report, “the statements were made and they were racist.”
At the Inquiry others denied Harnick’s claim, which was ludicrous, because a decade before, not only Tom Bressette was aware of the Premier’s outburst, before the shooting occurred, but many others working or visiting at Queen’s Park on that day had heard about it…
How in 1995-1996 the Mainstream Media promoted the police lies, sneered at the truth, and vilified the Aboriginal people of Ipperwash, is the worst racist stain, and the most heinous act of professional malfeasance among the practitioners of what was passed off as journalism among the white Mainstream Media in Ontario in the 20th century.
Go to RACIST SCANDAL AT IPPERWASH (Avoid the Wikipedia article which has many false statements in it.)
GUILTY OF MORE RACISM, ACTUAL MALICE & GROSS NEGLIGENCE
In the 21st century the worst act of journalistic malfeasance is how the same pool of incompetent Mainstream Media journalists became duped and gullible putty in the hands of art fraudsters and compliant promoters of a HOAX alleging that thousands of Norval Morrisseau’s BDPs from the 1970s – his high period – are fakes, produced by a fraud ring.
Not a single bit of it was true, of course, but was still published – without researching, or producing any real proof for any of it – by willfully negligent, gullible dupes and dopes at The National Post stable, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The CBC, and CTV.
Together, incompetent Mainstream Media journalists, hand in hand with the fraudsters, have destroyed some $100 million in valuation in Norval Morrisseau’s art. (Just like in 1995 journalists, hand-in-hand with the lying police, had vilified an entire Aboriginal community without proof of any kind.)
And they persisted despite the fact that every single judge and forensic expert who has been called to rule on the so-called “forgeries,” has scorched and discredited the claimants, their credentials, and their claims, and found every “fake” they’ve been asked to rule on totally authentic with DNA certainty. Not a single forgery, not a single forger, has ever been proven.
Just like in 1995 truth didn’t stop the Mainstream Media from publishing utter crap, so it continues to desecrate Norval Morrisseau’s art and Canada’s Aboriginal art heritage with unforgivable journalistic acts of cultural genocide.
It’s no wonder that newspaper subscribers have been burning up their subscriptions at an unprecedented rate in the 21st century, and publishers have been forced to lay off tens of thousands of journalists. Because the public will just not pay any longer for the incompetent, patently false, and racist crap Mainstream Media journalists routinely produce and pass off as reliable “news” for their corporate masters. Many are now relegated to doing something they’re – hopefully – more competent at: driving taxi, sex trade workers, and flipping burgers at KFC.