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Open Letter to Taseko Mines Limited: Destruction of Fish Lake in Tsilqot’in Territory by Arthur Topham

by Arthur Topham Original Peoples, →Environment, →Dominion Stories

Tsilqot'in Government Homeland Security
Tsilqot'in Government Homeland Security

Also posted by Arthur Topham:

[Author's Note: The following letter was sent to the Editor of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer by myself after reading the front page article in their March 18, 2010 edition headed: “Public support key to mine project’s success.” (See article below as well)

The story covered an “appeal” given to the Quesnel Chamber of Commerce by Taseko Mines Limited vice president Brian Battison concerning Taseko’s controversial “Prosperity” copper-gold mine slated for development in what is known as Tsilqot’in Traditional territory, aka the Chilcotin area of B.C. located south west of Williams Lake, B.C.

The one major monkey wrench which Taseko Mines attempts to downplay while waxing eloquent to Quesnel Chamber of Commerce members about money and jobs and progress is the blatant fact that in order to build their mine they would have to destroy a lake (Fish Lake, also known as Tetzan Biny in the native tongue), held sacred by the indigenous residents in an area of B.C. still as yet unceded to the federal or provincial governments in any title settlement.

The letter, to date, has not been published by the Observer and considering its length may not appear in full should it actually be published. As such I decided to make it an Open Letter to Taseko Mines Limited so that the general public would have online access to its contents.

Interested and concerned supporters of the Tsilqot’in people are asked to pass it along to their friends and associates.]

——————

Open Letter to Taseko Mines Limited: Destruction of Fish Lake in Tsilqot’in Territory

By Arthur Topham

March 19, 2010

To:

Russell Hallbauer
President, CEO and Director

Ronald Thiessen
Chairman of the Board and Director

C/O

Investor Relations
Brian Bergot
Direct: (778) 373-4545
Email: BrianBergot@tasekomines.com

Taseko Mines Limited
#300 - 905 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada
V6C 1L6

From:

Arthur Topham
4633 Barkerville Hwy
Quesnel, B.C.
V2J 6T8

Phone: 250-992-3479
Email: radical@radicalpress.com

March 19, 2010

Editor
Quesnel Cariboo Observer
newsroom@quesnelobserver.com

Editor:

Re: Public support key to mine project’s success, Observer, March 18/10

Your article states that Taseko Mines Limited vice president spoke of many things but he might as well, as the Walrus in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, have spoke of “shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages – and kings – And why the sea is boiling hot – and whether pigs have wings.”

All Battison’s talk of “employment” and “millions in capital investment” and “sustainability” and “relationships” sounds no different than what the Walrus stated to the Oysters prior to gobbling them up for lunch.

The “key,” unlike what Taseko is proposing, is not “public support” for a flawed project but the realization, by all the players in this deceptive deal, that the land in question is legal in the hands of the Chilcotin people and that they, and they alone in the final analysis, have the last word in whether or not a mine will manifest within their traditional, unceded territories. Anything else is subterfuge and within the same realm of fantasy as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

Taseko is saying, “Essentially we’re building another Gibralter in the Cariboo,” but my response to that disingenuous statement would be: Actually, no. Due to the manner in which this process is being steam-rollered through the negotiations process what Taseko is laying the foundations for is another Oka Uprising or, an example more close to home, another Gustafsen Lake stand-off, like what we witnessed back in 1995 out of 100 Mile House when the former NDP government and the Canadian military attempted to lie to the public via the media and violently remove a small group of native Sundancers from off of their traditional territory.

For Prosperity the sacrifice of a relatively small lake, Fish Lake (Tetzan Biny in the native language), is not a big deal relative to their gargantuan plans for the future. This may seem quite normal to them seeing as they don’t live in the area or have any historic or spiritual ties to the land there, but for the people of the Tsilqot’in Nation this small, unassuming and placid lake symbolizes the essence of all that composes their culture, history and way of life.

When Battison stated that, “some First Nation chiefs have expressed ’strong and inflexible’ positions on Prosperity. Opinions, he said, they are ‘entitled to hold,’” we come to the crux of the issue; one that Battison and others would rather not acknowledge and deal with it.

When he speaks of “some” First Nations chiefs he is referring to ALL the First Nations chiefs within the surrounding, unceded territories where the proposed Prosperity mine would be located if it were to ever materialize.

Fish Lake is located deep within the Tsilqot’in Nation’s traditional, unceded territory. As Black’s Law Dictionary clearly states, unceded means the land has never been yielded or assigned or granted by the Tsilqot’in government to either the federal or provincial governments in any legal and binding treaty. As such it is still legally in possession by the people who have lived in the area for thousands of years.

While this is, admittedly, a rather inconvenient truth for both levels of government and for the corporation that is desperately attempting to circumvent these established facts in order to build their mine it nonetheless is the actual reality rather than what all the rhetoric coming from Taseko’s vice president Brian Battison would have the gullible public believe.

It would be a grave error on Battison’s part to think that the adamant position of all of these chief’s is merely “opinion” that they are “entitled to hold.” Far from it. Their position is backed by history, tradition and legal precedent and for all of the public relations scamming that’s occurring in the media the facts still remain: the land belongs to the Tsilqot’in Nation and it is up to them whether they wish to allow corporate interests to destroy what they claim is a sacred lake. No outsiders have the legal or moral right to question the position taken by the chiefs. Taseko knows this. The Campbell government knows this. The Federal Conservative government knows this. And you can be bloody sure that the mainstream media also knows it yet refuses, as is their duty and responsibility to the public, to inform readers of this fact of life.

The Campbell government giving Prosperity the “go-ahead” is meaningless within the context of treaty rights and traditional ownership of the land in question.

Another fact, not mentioned, is that no outside body thus far has been able to buy off any of the chiefs and thus create the typical “divide and conquer” scenario among the local chiefs. This is a great problem for both government and Taseko as it’s normally par for the course that they manage to produce a red apple here or there to complete the signing and give-away process regardless of what the people  themselves desire.

The abject failure by government, Taseko, the media and the dumbed-down public to concede the fact that the land is still owned and controlled by the Tsilqot’in people and that they are fully within their legal rights to oppose this massive deception called “Prosperity,” will ultimately result in a clash if blindly pursued; one bound to explode into hatred and violence and potential bloodshed if these government and corporate entities don’t get a grip on the actual gravity of the situation.

The people of the Chilcotin territory are peace-loving and fair-minded but they are also extremely cognizant of the history of their people and past attempts by government to deceive them and exploit their territories. They have proven themselves to be a people strong enough and courageous enough to stand up for their land, their culture and their spiritual values. It would therefore, as I’ve already stated, be a remarkably foolish error to try and force this project upon a people who have stood in defiance of subjugation since the European settlers first set foot in their territory.

All the talk therefore about “working with” First Nations; providing “employment” and “partnerships” and “opportunities” for “training” and “advancement” is nothing but smoke and mirrors that the chiefs and the people they represent see through.

It’s time we stopped promoting all the feverish pitch for Taseko along with the selfishness and greed and lying and started respecting the wishes of our first people. That is the only true way to prosperity for everyone.

Arthur Topham

Cottonwood, B.C.

————————–

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Comments

Topham is a racist and at the very least a fascist associate

Arthur Topham promotes racist conspiracy theories about Jews and works with major fascist organizers in Canada, Paul Fromm and Douglas Christie.

"Paul Fromm and I have been working together on issues for close to a decade now after first meeting online while I was printing my hard copy edition called The Radical."

-Arthur Topham

http://www.radicalpress.com/?cat=206

http://anti-racistcanada.blogspot.com/search/label/Topham

Arthur Topham's Credibility

I am not entirely up to speed on Arthur's most recent political struggle, but he has a long history of activism that shows complete integrity and good service to social justice issues. Dismissing him outright without careful insight is unfair and defamatory. Perhaps a more close examination of the specific evidence for your opinion would be helpful to readers. Why not just address the issues presented in the letter, which certainly shows no sign of racism or conspiracy theory? As a resident of the Cariboo I appreciate such activism on behalf of our wilderness and watersheds.

a bit more about Douglas Christie

THE CHRISTIE FILE: ANATOMY OF A `FREE SPEECH' ADVOCATE
_________________________________________________________________

by a Canadian Correspondent, Antifa Info-Bulletin

MONTREAL -- Doug Christie is a hero to Canadian neo-Nazis.
The lawyer has made a career out of defending the stars of the
racist right in a series of headline-grabbing trials. There is
hardly a neo-Nazi leader in Canada who has not been defended by
Christie, who styles himself as a simple civil libertarian
defending well-meaning racists against "left-wing McCarthyism."

Malcolm Ross, the Holocaust-denying author of _Christianity
vs. Judeo-Christianity_ ; John Ross Taylor, a leader of Canada's
Nazi movement in the 1930s who was active in the racist right
until his death just last year; the infamous Ernst Zundel; Imre
Finta, who was accused of crimes relating to the deportation of
over 8000 Jews during the Holocaust; Tony McAleer, who ran the
Canadian Liberty Net in close cooperation with Tom Metzger of
White Aryan Resistance; Bill Harcus and Theron Skryba of the
Manitoba Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; Murray Gauvreau, an
associate of the racist Canadian League of Rights; Rudy Stanko of
the Church of the Creator; and, British Holocaust denier David
Irving: these are some of the people who Christie has represented
over the past ten years. His importance to members of the radical
right in Canada is heightened by the fact that most anti-racist
organisations in this country still see the courts as being the
weapon of choice to silence fascists. As liberals have pushed for
hate crimes legislation and the dismissal of teachers who are
active in the neo-Nazi movement, legal defense of these bigots
has become a priority for Canada's racists. Thus, not only have a
variety of groups have been set up to attack what is mistakenly
termed a threat to freedom of speech, but a man like Doug
Christie - himself sympathetic to many of the beliefs of the
far-right - is well-poised to play the role of white knight.

While Christie's value as a legal defender for the racist
right first became evident in 1984, when he defended Jim
Keegstra, a high school teacher in a small Alberta town who for
decades had taught his students that the Holocaust was a myth,
the federal government was controlled by Jewish-Soviet agents,
and that there was a life and death struggle going on between
Christianity and an international cabal of Jews. When Keegstra
was charged with willfully promoting hatred against Jews it was a
logical choice for him to phone up Doug Christie who, although he
was not registered to practice law in Alberta, had already met
the anti-semitic high school teacher through their activism in
Western Canada's tiny separatist movement...

In 1980 Christie had set up the Western Canada Concept
political party in order to oppose multi-culturalism, official
bilingualism, the metric system and "the demise of the Union
Jack." (1) The WCC sought to remedy these "ills" through the
creation of a separate state for what are presently the provinces
of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. A
typical right-wing populist formation. while the WCC attracted
some grassroots support from Westerners who opposed the Federal
Liberal government's economic policies it also became a hotbed of
racists. Keegstra became a member (2), as did future Aryan
Nations leader Terry Long (3), Aryan Nations associate Jim
Harding (4) and droves of like-minded Christian warriors. It was
through the WCC that Christie met Keltie Zubko (5), who he
quickly became romantically involved with and would eventually
marry in 1992. Although the WCC quickly lost any support amongst
mainstream voters, it remained a vehicle for the racist right for
several years. In 1990, for instance, Terry Long had members of
the Final Solution Skinheads provide security at a WCC meeting
where Christie was scheduled to speak. One of these, Daryl
Rivest, admitted that "The WCC was a political front for the Ku
Klux Klan here in Canada." (6)

Around the time of Keegstra's trial the anti-semitic school
teacher and Christie founded the Canadian Free Speech League.
Despite Christie's claims that the organisation merely intends to
"oppose censorship" (7) in Canada, it has yet to be active around
any of the cases involving the seizure of gay and lesbian reading
materials by Canada Customs (a major problem in this country) or
any other censorship issue not of immediate concern to the far-
right; in fact, it would be fair to say that it is nothing but a
support group for racists. Over the past decade the CFSL has
organized speaking engagements for British Holocaust denier David
Irving (8) and has had its press releases published in the
newsletter of the racist Canadian League of Rights (9). KKK
leader Gordon Daniel Ray (10), Christie's wife Keltie Zubko (11),
Holocaust denier John Ball (12) and Gary Botting (13), a defense
witness for Keegstra and Zundel, have all been associated with
the CFSL.

In an important development Botting, himself a lawyer who
represented the League in 1986, left the group denouncing it as
"a front for an antisemitic, pro-Nazi agenda." In a letter to
Christie dated April 19th, 1996, Botting returned an award that
had been presented to him by the CFSL and told Christie that,

In the Canadian Free Speech League, the only opinions truly
allowed are those which conform to your own. And those
opinions, as you well know, are antisemitic and most
blatantly pro-Nazi. It is no coincidence that both you and
Ernst Zundel usually celebrate your birthdays on April 20,
Adolf Hitler's birthday. It is no coincidence that most of
the Canadian Free Speech League annual awards ceremonies
have been held as close as possible to that date.... The
George Orwell Free Speech Award was presented to me by you
in 1986 "for outstanding courage in challenging censorship
and historical orthodoxy." If I showed courage, I now
realize that it was misplaced and misdirected. Believe me,
it takes much more courage to admit that I was duped ten
years ago. (14)

Botting wrote that he doubts Christie knows what free speech
really means. Christie's work on behalf of the Eileen and Claus
Pressler is a clear indication that this is in fact the case.
Eileen Pressler is the founder and leader of the Council for
Public Affairs, a group which actively promotes the writings and
activities of several of North America's leading racists.
According to the Salmon Arm Coalition Against Racism (SACAR),

In the May/June 1992 issue of the CPA Digest she refers to
Jews as "world-destroyers who have been perfecting their
techniques for centuries." In a 1992 publication of the
Canadian League of Rights... Pressler has written that the
United Nations is the product of a Jewish conspiracy that
involved financing the 1917 Soviet revolution and forcing
Germany into fighting the Second World War. (15)

The CPA has organized speaking engagements for David Irving,
Ernst Zundel, James Keegstra, Malcolm Ross, Murray Gauvreau as
well as American Holocaust denier Fred Leuchter, homophobic
fascist Paul Cameron, and many others (16). Not surprisingly,
Doug Christie gave a banquet address at its 1991 Leadership
Conference. In 1993 Christie filed suit on behalf of the
Presslers' against Dr David Lethbridge, the director of the
Salmon Arm Coalition Against Racism. They are suing Lethbridge
for "malicious defamation of character" (17) for allegedly
spreading rumours in the small community they all live in and for
having stated that they run a racist and antisemitic
organisation.

The Presslers' lawsuit, whether it is successful or not,
sends a chill through society far greater than any of the hate
crimes legislation Christie has so often bemoaned. SACAR now
estimates that the final cost of its legal defense will be more
than double the initial estimate of $100 000. And even if the
Presslers lose, SACAR's legal fees would only be partially
reimbursed. All of this for publicly opposing racist organizing
in one's community! And the plaintiffs are being represented by a
man who heads a "free speech league"!!!

Christie's work defending racists and suing anti-racists,
organizing speaking engagements for the likes of David Irving,
and running organisations like Western Canada Concept and the
Canadian Free Speech League, has indeed made him a hero to
fascists across Canada and beyond, too. Kirk Lyons, the racist
lawyer for many American neo-nazis, has described him as an
"associate" (18) of his organisation CAUSE (stands for: Canada
Australia United States Europe). Christie has also been invited
to speak at the Institute for Historic Review, a Holocaust denial
outfit based in California. He has spoken to a variety of far-
right groups, and booklets of his speeches are distributed by
Gostick's Canadian League of Rights as well as the racist
Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform. When he spoke at an event
organized by the latter, its director Paul Fromm - who has
himself been a speaker at events organized by neo-Nazi groups
like Canada's Heritage Front and the United States' National
Alliance - introduced Christie as "my friend, our leader." (19)

Given his aggressive style in cross-examination - bringing
the racists' victims to tears on more than one occasion - and his
outspoken hostility to anti-racists, it is understandable that
few outside of the radical right take his claims of being a mere
"civil libertarian" seriously. According to a February 1993
investigation into Christie's conduct at the Zundel and Finta
trials, the discipline committee of the Law Society of Upper
Canada found that Christie's comments showed anti-Jewish bias.
According to the discipline committee, his statements were
anti-semitic and he has made "common cause" with like-minded
"lunatics." (20)

There is a great need to watch what Mr Christie is doing and
oppose his activities. Due to Canada's hate crimes legislation
Christie plays a useful role within this country's racist right.
Furthermore, as his suits against SACAR and The Martlet (see
below) show, he is capable of making himself a thorn in the side
of those who would truly exercise freedom of speech, not by lying
about historical events in order to whip up hatred and whitewash
fascism, but by speaking the truth and opposing the
rehabilitation of Europe's most odious political movement.

SACAR needs help meeting the astronomical costs of defending
itself against Christie and the Presslers. Make cheques or money
orders out to:

SALMON ARM COALITION AGAINST RACISM
SACAR Defense
1481 Okanagan Avenue NE
Salmon Arm, BC
V1E 1N5

-----

ENDNOTES

1. W. Kinsella, Web of Hate, Harper Collins, 1994, p. 75
2. Ibid., p. 77
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid., p. 137
5. Ibid., p. 76
6. Ibid., p. 278
7. "B.C. group denies anti-Semitism charge," by Maurice Lucow,
Canadian Jewish News April 11th 1991, p. 6
8. "Holocaust author told to leave," by Scott Sutherland,
Montreal Gazette, October 31st 1992
9. "Criminal Prosecution of Holocaust Denial," The Canadian
Intelligence Service, Vol. 42 - No. 11, November 1992
10. "Candidate did research for Zundel," by Stewart Bell,
Vancouver Sun, September 23rd 1991
11. Kinsella op cit., p. 78
12. Bell, op. cit.
13. Ibid.
14. Letter from Gary Botting to Doug Christie, April 19th 1995
15. Lethbridge D., The Council of Public Affairs: a case study,
SACAR 1994, pp. 2-3
16. Ibid., pp. 7-9
17. "Fascist sues B.C. anti-racist leader," by Kimball Cariou,
People's Voice, February 1994
18. Kinsella op cit., p. 85. While Christie represented David
Irving in Canada during the latter's ill-fated 1992 tour,
Lyons represented the world-renowned Holocaust denier in the
United States ("Irving pourrait etre deporte au Royaume
-Uni", Canadian Press November 3rd 1992)
19. "Doug Christie Counsel for the Damned," by Paula Kilig,
Canadian Lawyer, November 1990
20. Kinsella op. cit., p. 86

*****

http://kafka.uvic.ca/~martlet/oped.html

-----

* THE MARTLET *
P.O. Box 3035
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC
V8W 3P3
Phone (250) 721-8361 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (250) 721-8361      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
e-mail Martlet@UVic.ca

-----

respond this post

One knows that humen's life is expensive, but some people need cash for various issues and not every one gets enough money. Hence to get some home loans and just sba loan would be a right way out.

Taseko Management group = Charlatans

From top to bottom, they are bunch of idiots; egoistic, narcissist deaf psychopaths.

And that's not all.  If you ever meet John McManus, the VP of operations, you will know right away what I mean.  He hides behind the pleasant faces such as Russel Halbauer, but they both share the same mentality.  They also have a great ability to attract similar personalities to work for them and do their dirty deeds. They are in the business to dig, make a mess, cash-out and never look back.

Traditions, cultures and the emotional attachment of the local people to their ancestral grounds is none of Taseko's business.  If they can find a chief that can be paid under the table to agree with their destructive plans for the Fish Lake, they will.

I just hope that there won't be a day that a chief will go for it.

If the Prosperity Project (which should have been named Paucity Project) goes ahead, we will loose a landmark that truly defines the area and the beauty of the region.  All the promises that Taseko makes: jobs, indirect jobs, etc. are just a decoration on a crappy idea to make it look attractive.  Just imagine a horrible tasting cup-cake which is decorated with nice icing sugar.  It just doesn't work.

These guys are in it to win it, and that's at any price possible.  It's up to us, public, the locals, the people with conscious and normal human logic to stand up and put a stop on this kind of behaviour from corporations and government.

The current economical down turn is not a good reason to let a destructive project to proceed.  We will have to think about future generations and think about how will we be perceived in their eyes for the mess we left behind for them.

Taseko Management = Joke = Charlatans

From top to bottom, they are bunch of idiots; egoistic, narcissist deaf psychopaths.

And that's not all.  If you ever meet John McManus, the VP of operations, you will know right away what I mean.  He hides behind the pleasant faces such as Russel Halbauer, but they both share the same mentality.  They also have a great ability to attract similar personalities to work for them and do their dirty deeds. They are in the business to dig, make a mess, cash-out and never look back.

Traditions, cultures and the emotional attachment of the local people to their ancestral grounds is none of Taseko's business.  If they can find a chief that can be paid under the table to agree with their destructive plans for the Fish Lake, they will.

I just hope that there won't be a day that a chief will go for it.

If the Prosperity Project (which should have been named Paucity Project) goes ahead, we will loose a landmark that truly defines the area and the beauty of the region.  All the promises that Taseko makes: jobs, indirect jobs, etc. are just a decoration on a crappy idea to make it look attractive.  Just imagine a horrible tasting cup-cake which is decorated with nice icing sugar.  It just doesn't work.

These guys are in it to win it, and that's at any price possible.  It's up to us, public, the locals, the people with conscious and normal human logic to stand up and put a stop on this kind of behaviour from corporations and government.

The current economical down turn is not a good reason to let a destructive project to proceed.  We will have to think about future generations and think about how will we be perceived in their eyes for the mess we left behind for them.

 

Thanks.

About the author and more

Don't be fooled by either side, especially the propaganda and beliefs of the author of this article.  A quick search on google about Mr. Arthur Topham reveals how racist this man is:

http://anti-racistcanada.blogspot.com/2009/06/more-topham-looniness.html

he also stated he is anti business and beliefs in conspiracies like the illuminati, which may i point out has never had one piece of evidence that supports its truth to date.

I speculate his seeming support of first nations in the taseko article is a show to counter his tarnished reputation of endorsing racist and fascist beliefs, as can be viewed in many of his writings prior 2010.  Like the link above or a quick google search supports.  It's also written in  parallel with his anti corporate beliefs.

Yes this project will have a large negative environmental effect on one lake, like every other mine made in the past.  And it's obvious the duty that the CEO of Taseko has for his majority Canadian shareholders.  However it is outweighed by a much larger economic benefit.  It is a fact that the surrounding area has strong public support, but don't take my word for it, or the word of the neighboring town and city newspapers, or the mayors that represent the people in those towns, or the MP's and MLA's that say its vital to the economic 'prosperity' of the majority of people in the area... 

Get real Arthur Topham, the land dispute is a decision that should be decided by the Rule of Law in the courts of our legal system.  

A perfect example of this here in Saskatchewan where our first nations are suing for potash revenue produced due to the fact they have never ceded rights for minerals below the depth of a plow!! I want every reading to think about this, as it mirrors to the story above haven't not ceded the land when there is no official agreement that they own it either.  They are just as greedy as the Corporations, but without wanting to put in the work to create there own revenue.  

I would side in favor of the decision made by the courts as to land claim.   i have more faith in our legal system than i do in the political, and especially more than that of fringe anti establishment groups like this that never have a NET positive effect on society. 

On a macro scale the sentiment in the business, economic, and investment world would be very negative for Canada if this was not approved.  Our domestic stock market, the TSX is hedged significantly with commodity firms, and the TSX Venture which is almost entirely mining and gas firms.  It's what drives our standard of living, pays for our healthcare, and many Canadian family incomes. 

I hope the feds properly weigh the economic vs environment benefits, and leave the courts to decide the land title dispute.

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