Wednesday, November 01, 2006
RCMP issues blistering attack on media
October 31, 2006
GLOBE AND MAIL PAGE: A15 (NATIONAL NEWS)
[This item came to me as is, partially unsigned, but I'm posting it because it represents a strong bias which I think we'll see more of, as the Basi, Virk, Basi trial gets under way. The defence will first try to discredit the prosecution's case, then it will try to discredit the police. It's what they do. We should keep our cool, read everything, weigh it up, and wait some more. - BC Mary.]
Top B.C. Mountie bashes lawyers, reporters
SHANNON KARI The head of criminal operations for the RCMP in British Columbia has issued a blistering attack on the news media, defence lawyers and even the justice system itself, in an internal memo to all RCMP employees in the province. Assistant Commissioner Gary Bass says the RCMP is the victim of unethical and inaccurate news reports, "baseless personal attacks" by defence lawyers and a justice system that puts witness officers, instead of defendants, on trial.
The senior officer and lead investigator in the Air-India bombing explains that he felt compelled to write the memo because of what he considered "biased, inaccurate, unfair and in some cases, highly unethical media reporting within recent weeks."
The memo, dated Oct. 23, says it is a "relatively small number of journalists" who have done a "great disservice" to the RCMP and suggests that some of the reporting may be intentionally inaccurate.
"I don't need to name these individuals, you know them from their sensational headlines and stories which do not even make an attempt to follow the ethical codes of their profession."
The only news report specified in the memo is a recent story about 81 internal disciplinary cases involving RCMP officers in B.C. over the past two years, based on an Access to Information request.
The assistant commissioner's memo refers to a number of review processes which, he said, will "exonerate" the RCMP in the wake of what he describes as unsubstantiated allegations. "It will be interesting to observe whether these same journalists follow their code of ethics to correct erroneous reporting," he writes.
"I will give you my assurances that I will be monitoring those responses or lack thereof and bringing them to public attention."
"This was a private communication to our members," to tell them not to be discouraged by unfair news reports, said Staff Sergeant John Ward, the senior spokesman for the RCMP in B.C. "It was intended to tell our members to keep your chin up."
There is a high degree of public support for the RCMP in B.C., said Staff Sgt. Ward, who stressed that he is not suggesting there should only be positive stories by the press. "All we ask for is balance."
There are more than 6,000 RCMP employees in B.C. Earlier this year, the head of the civilian agency that oversees the RCMP said that the agency, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, cannot provide adequate oversight on its annual budget of $5.1-million.
Increased police powers must be balanced by more effective civilian oversight, the agency said in its annual report, released in August.
The assistant commissioner's memo flatly rejects any suggestion the RCMP is unaccountable. "There is no one more accountable in the province of B.C. or in Canada than a police officer," he writes. "We choose our profession proudly and we live in a fish bowl every day."
"Our force has the highest internal and disciplinary standards in Canada, if not the world," says the memo, noting that in the RCMP, internal investigators are not referred to as the "rat squad," but are respected for their work.
The memo also refers to comments by an unidentified judge in Ontario, who suggested criminal proceedings are now a "trial of the investigation" and not about the accused.
"Not only are police officers expected to account for their actions, under oath, they are also called to account for their thoughts," the memo says.
"In that process, baseless personal attacks on the integrity of the officer are frequently resorted to by defence counsel."
The memo concludes with the assistant commissioner reassuring RCMP officers they have the support of the province and municipal governments and urging them to ignore "irresponsible" news reports.
[BC Mary says: I don't know who wrote this (below). Not a professional journalist. Obviously somebody pushing a particular agenda. It came to me via a ListServ. I post it because it echoes some of the comments we've all heard going around. So we can read this and weigh it, too.
I repeat (as I've already been complimented by a working journalist for it -- but BC MARY DID NOT WRITE THIS (BELOW):]
Quick, call Peter Montague. Have BCTV stake out his home from the back ally and then force the Premier to resign! Heck, the last one did for a lot less than this!
Seriously, I can't imagine the Crown winning the case now; seeing as they are this badly hiding evidence in the disclosure phase (always a sign they are looking to deal and don't have enough ducks lined up). I just hope the judge doesn't throw the case out before it hits the courts so the public can finally figure out exactly how deep this Basi guy had his hooks into the Team Martin and provincial Liberal infrastructure. Maybe he didn't commit a crime, maybe he did. But I want all the dirty laundry aired out and I'd like that party to be exposed as corrupt as any other.
Also interesting in that they tried three times to get a warrant but were refused. Guess the cops didn't like taking 'no' for an answer. How can they claim his work cell phone was an extension of his home address? Especially after they gathered evidence that a Minister (and indirectly the Premier) were using the phone and this would make the phone beyond the reach of the criminal investigation? Shameful! If it wasn't the Disney Corporation (RCMP) and was a real police force, heads would roll on this one alone. I want to know who ordered that wiretap and how high up the RCMP chain of command that order was authorized. If Zacadelli didn't resign for Arar, he should for this!
Whether or not it was wrong to finesse parliamentary privilege in this case is a moot point. One wonders if the RCMP had NOT moved whether Messrs Basi and Mr Virk would still be toiling away on the 'peoples' business.
I'm not suggesting that the RCMP are blameless, but let's not forget this is an influence peddling corruption case that strikes deep at the heart of the way we govern ourselves. The main lesson we've gotten so far is that the current crop of jerks in Victoria couldn't give a damn about the welfare of their citizens.
The insiders are busy looking after themselves. Can you imagine what Dave Barrett would do with Gordon Campbell in a Fall sitting - if there were one?
Throwing out this case would NOT serve the public interest.
Dave Barrett, yes. I was thinking of Joy MacPhail yesterday too.
Talk about serving the public interest ... the job seems to have landed on the public's shoulders now.
BTW, a reporter at a minor BC newspaper just asked for my opinion of today's Vaughn Palmer column which she herself didn't think much of, I gather. But it's behind the subscribers' lock ... does anybody have access to it? This is all I could pick up:
Police surveillance of former finance minister raises puzzling question
VICTORIA - Last spring, a government staffer moving into a new office discovered a stack of documents associated with David Basi, the fired ministerial aide who was a focus of the police raid on the legislature buildings.
Registered 6-day subscribers to the The Vancouver Sun newspaper or electronic edition enjoy full access to The Vancouver Sun Online.
Defeated in the House of Commons (2003) but Adopted by the Province of Quebec (2004)!
(always a sign they are looking to deal and don't have enough ducks lined up).
Yeah, and when defending a defendent on a Murder charge it's always good to try the old
"Whatta ya mean? Old so and so is still alive, what the hell are we even doing here!"
If a lawyer with a reputation like Beradino "loses" without a trial, I'll never be convinced the fix wasn't in from the get go.
And Mary: Dave Barrett, yes. I was thinking of Joy MacPhail yesterday too.
I think Joy, Jenny and later the other guy provided better opposition than the current crop. I know Carole has been ill, but hey, isn't there anybody, anybody at all, other than Dix occasionally, with anything critical to point out ever? It's not like the Campbell Crime Family doesn't provide any issues to ask questions about. They should at least be forced to tell lies as often as possible! I'd pay money to watch Davy and Joy, each shouting in one of Gordo's ears, even from across the room.
Listen: WE are the Opposition these days. We just gotta start drilling and all that.
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