Monday, May 23, 2011

Wikileaks Cable: Mohawks, Kanesatake, May 2004



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04QUEBEC80 2004-05-17 22:52 2011-05-03 09:30 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Quebec
Appears in these articles:
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text

of the original cable is not available.
172252Z May 04id: 16992
date: 5/17/2004 22:52
refid: 04QUEBEC80
origin: Consulate Quebec
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 04MONTREAL68
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text
of the original cable is not available.
172252Z May 04
----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 QUEBEC 000080




E.O. 12958: DECL: 5/17/2009




CLASSIFIED BY: susan keogh, consul general, Quebec, State.

REASON: 1.5 (B)

CLASSIFIED BY: susan keogh, consul general, Quebec, State.

REASON: 1.5 (B)

¶1. Confidential - Entire text.

¶2. (C) Summary: The situation within the Mohawk settlement of

Kanesatake, a territory (not a reserve) bordering the U.S.,

remains tense and complicated but some progress has been made in

keeping the peace in the past week. Quebec's provincial police

force (SQ) has taken the lead in mounting day and night patrols

in Kanesatake without incident in close coordination with the

RCMP. Grand Chief James Gabriel, burned out of his house in

January by a mob, remains in a hotel in the Montreal area.

Quebec's Miniistry of Public Security told DCM Kelly and CG

Keogh that the tripartite strategy is to avoid counterreaction

by the heavily armed "warriors" and to deal with criminal

elements through the court system. The Quebec authorities have

asked for greater coordination with the FBI on the situation.

End Summary

¶3. (C) In a meeting with Deputy Minister Luc Crepaualt and

Director General Georges Beauchemin May 14, the two told DCM

Kelly and Quebec Consul General Keogh that the situation in the

Kanesatake territory bordering the U.S. is calm but fragile.

"Warriors" among the 1,400 inhabitants continue to pose major

security headaches for the Quebec Ministry of Public Security,

however, with a very aggressive, confrontational approach,

although some progress has been made in the last week.

¶4. (C) At the request of the aboriginal authorities, Quebec's

police force (SQ) has been conducting regular day and night

patrols in the territory for the past week, apparently

well-received and breaking several weeks of no-man's land

lawlessness. There is solid cooperation with the RCMP

including daily telephone calls. While the 7-week-old

tripartite policing agreement between the SQ, RCMP and Grand

Chief James Gabriel's Band Council is now being implemented,

Gabriel remains in a hotel near Montreal ("living high at

government expense") with a troop of several dozen Mohawk

warriors, unable to return to Kanesatake. An election to see if

Gabriel can continue as Grand Chief is planned for July 7.

Meanwhile, Mohawks from other reserves continue to arrive in

Kanesatake, including some from Colorado, to join in the


¶5. (C) Apart from the patrolling, Beauchemin said any police

operations would be interpreted as an "invasion." The Quebec

Government wants to avoid a 1996 Oka-type situation where a

mechanized brigade had to intervene and there were costly social

and political reactions. "Anything we do to squash a fly will

give rise to huge problems." The strategy is to avoid

counterreaction and "psychodrama" by keeping a low profile.

¶6. (C) The Charest Government has refused a $1.5 million

request by Police Chief Ed Thompson to increase the native

police force to 38 people. Thompson and his peacekeepers have

never been able to patrol and had to retire after being pelted

with rocks and sticks, with minor injuries. Having funded the

first group of warriors/police that Gabriel hired earlier this

year, who were virtually taken hostage inside Kanesatake, we

understand Ottawa is also hesitating to provide more police


¶7. (C) The role of Quebec security forces is prominent because

Kanesatake is not a reserve but a settlement ("etablissement").

The patchwork of land belongs to the federal government but it

does not have the status of reserve territory. Federal law

applies to governance but the province canene ito agreemens

ith th BandCunci on olicin. The Qubec police (SQ) are

more accepted than the RCMP. With long memories, the Mohawk

remember that the RCMP killed one of theirs in 1916. Beauchemin

described the situation as akin to a family quarrel with people

held hostage: the two embattled factions have been warring for

200 years, he added. A 5-year old law to consolidate the area

in a new juridical arrangement has not been implemented. This

ambiguity has contributed to the current anarchic, destabilized

situation at Kanesatake. It started as a governance problem

with related Band Council members refusing to talk to each

other, but degenerated into a law-and-order problem with a lot

of firepower involved. Beauchemin spoke of rocket launchers,

among other weaponry, in the hands of the warriors, seen in the

newspapers in military fatigues and with faces covered.

Beauchemin noted that these weapons were easy to acquire: he had

spent 15 minutes on line and was able to purchase a whole range

of weapons: "You can get anything on the Internet from the

United States," he said. In his view, the Mohawks were

prepared to use them.

¶8. (C) The Quebec side acknowledged that a breakdown of law

and order of the magnitude that has happened at Kanesatake would

be intolerable outside of an aboriginal area. Trying to avoid a

costly confrontation, yet dealing with scofflaws, they have

launched three criminal investigations, infiltrating the highly

criminalized elements and using the courts to prosecute

offenders. One investigation involves those charged with

offenses during the riot of January 12; another involves the

burning of Chief Gabriel's house; a third involves a mixed squad

of police in a longer-term investigation of organized crime.

Asked about U.S. role, the Public Security Ministry officials

requested (as Minister Chagnon has asked us in the past) better

coordination with the FBI in a situation where U.S. interests

are involved and the SQ is taking a lead role on the ground.

Some "gun slingers" have already arrived from the U.S., and more

could come. Beauchemin said in this case, the situation could

evolve negatively, although he thought this to be unlikely.


=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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