Monday, June 11, 2007

 

Media manipulation: are they softening up the public for a mistrial?

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[From a Parksville ListServ this morning ...]

Hi all,
Anyone who's paranoid in 2007 has good reason. After ignoring the Basi/Virk case for almost three years (where was the media clamor for timely action during that time?), we can believe that newspapers and media in general (and to some extent their journalists) are willing participants in a larger scheme to soften up the public for a mistrial in Basi/Virk. The two very recent items below might lead you to think so -- the Ian Mulgrew story in today's Vancouver Sun especially. I found it interesting that the Vancouver Sun website, which is mostly subscription-only online -- today chose the Mulgrew story to put in its 'public viewing' category.

Voter manipulation at its best.

Berni
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BC RAIL TRIAL MAY NEVER GET OFF THE GROUND
The hearing was supposed to start in April. The current August date is off because the defence can't get ready



Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun - Monday, June 11, 2007

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett must be getting ready to admit defeat in the proceedings arising from the raid on the legislature 31/2 years ago.

She's still hoping to begin the criminal trial this fall, but the long-awaited breach-of-trust prosecution over the billion-dollar BC Rail privatization may never happen.

Bennett should be furious.

As I predicted months ago, she concluded last week the prosecution has not disclosed all the material it should have to the accused, two former provincial Liberal insiders, David Basi and Bob Virk. {Snip} ...

The trial was supposed to start in April -- a date now a courthouse joke.

The current August date is off because the defence can't get ready until it has all of the needed material.

The lawyers return to court July 16 to "see where they are at," but there are several outstanding pre-trial motions. {Snip} ...

Mark my words -- these concerns, along with scheduling conflicts, will prevent the trial from starting this fall, but they also may derail it completely.

It is simply taking too long, and justice delayed is justice denied in the eyes of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The unprecedented Dec. 28, 2003 raid on the provincial parliament sent shock waves through the B.C. and federal political establishments because those involved were powerful, longtime Liberals.

And the most recent disclosures have only proven what everyone suspected -- politics permeated the investigation.

We have learned that the B.C. finance minister was in police sights for a period of time and, more than that, we have learned there existed an unethical culture of cosiness between political appointees and lobbyists in Victoria.

But there has been little public discussion about these issues because Premier Gordon Campbell and the Liberals maintain they cannot answer questions as long as the case is before the courts.

This is a major scandal in which the main accusation is that the controversial railway privatization process was either rigged or run by yokels.

Basi and Virk -- two of the most senior aides in the Campbell administration who are accused of taking bribes -- could not possibly have been acting independently with so much at stake.

Moreover, no one has been charged with bribing them.

Special prosecutor Bill Berardino has failed to disclose tons of material and his tactics in these proceedings have brought them to the brink of collapse.

Berardino, in my opinion, has whitewashed outrageous exaggerations made by police at the time of the raid and pooh-poohed the political insinuations-- including the fact that former Finance Minister Gary Collins was under surveillance.

Justice Bennett was particularly troubled that Collins didn't appear in police notes provided to the defence until weeks after the surveillance -- and then he disappeared from the provided documentation again.

"It is clear that Minister Collins is under police suspicion in December 2003," Justice Bennett said, confirming what many have said all along but that the Mounties strenuously denied.

"Requests were made for briefings to the highest level of the RCMP, yet there is nothing that I have seen in writing that indicates who made the decision to stop pursuing Minister Collins as a suspect and when that decision was made."

There is much more the investigators have not revealed.

Justice Bennett last week called a spade a spade and her scathing ruling raised the spectre of proceedings being stopped because the constitutional rights of Basi and Virk to fair and speedy justice have been violated.

As I've been saying since these charges were laid, too many people have too much to lose in this case.

Many have an interest in seeing the criminal trial go off the rails.

I bet the Liberals will then hide behind the lengthy civil suit in the offing.

Regardless, by the time legal proceedings end in this affair, I think anyone even remotely splattered by the mud will have long retired from the civil service or public life.

If the government really cared about the insidious problems here, it would call a public inquiry into the BC Rail bidding process and the disquieting relationship between lobbyists and senior civil servants.

But don't hold your breath.


http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/columnists/story.html?id=726c50d4-7381-43ea-ad93-9e2c62d12dac

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[Wouldn't a responsible media be issuing a call for immediate action? For the establishment of a Public Inquiry the moment the B.C. Rail trial ends (no matter how it ends)? Surely British Columbians aren't expected to watch, gawp-mouthed, as this whole charade passes into political oblivion? Like, just the simplest of questions could be answered for us: the Special Prosecutor appears to have disappeared off the Basi Virk Basi
BC Rail case; where is he? is he coming back? should the AG appoint somebody else? Like, even CanWest should serve the public interest -- and not by just sitting there with folded hands telling us it's all over before it begins. - BC Mary.]
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Berni's second nomination:
JUDGE ORDERS RELEASE OF BC RAIL EVIDENCE

Victoria News - June 8, 2007

The trial of former BC government aides Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi took a controversial twist this week when the judge in the case slammed the ... [Final paragraph] However, some observers have suggested that investigators and prosecutors have mishandled the vetting of evidence badly enough to cause a mistrial.

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Comments:
Good morning Mary

We have known for some time that the Liberals have major support from the MSM. In the past six years they have proved us correct time and time again. So it really doesn't surprise me that they are soft soaping a possible mistrial.
But I think they may be doing too little too late. Hundreds of people every day are clueing into the trial and its outfall. The whole idea of stonewalling in the leg and the lack of reporting in the MSM (until they were embarrassed by statements that they had been manipulated) is not working. Thanks to this blog and a few others interest is being kept alive. Also in The Tyee this morning they mention that they have won a journalism award (I beleive the category was for readers under a Half Million). In winning this award it is possible that the readership could double. Think of it. Over a million people reading a BC based online newspaper. This thing isn't going to go away and I predict as soon as the masses start raising arguements for a public inquiry, (not a whitewash)the MSM will first try to derail that idea then failing that will finally jump on the bandwagon. The problem is, before they wake up they are going to lose a lot of advertisers. There is already a movement to boycott advertisers in the two Vancouver papers. And people are writing those sponsers to advise them of that fact.
 
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You're absolutely correct Gary e, when you say that we've known for a long long time that a corporate media aligns with a corporate group such as a government, a political party, even a very wealthy individual.

That's exactly why I thought today's demonstration would be useful. See how they take a bite of real news and re-shape it ... to their liking ... as if the public interest hadn't entered their minds. And imo, Ian Mulgrew is one of the best. But he can't be his own one-man band and still be marching to a different CanWest tune. Sad, but true.

So, like I keep saying, the real responsibility for truth-seeking rests with us. People must find ways to make themselves seen, heard, considered. We must defend the public interest.

During the past week, I've been told by two B.C. working journalists (who get paid for their work!) that this web-site is having an effect. Both insisted on anonymity. Do these words fit together: - real journalists - too frightened to speak - must remain anonymous?

That's all I can say except: don't imagine we in B.C. today are living in a free society supported by a free press. Maybe some day. But right now, these are dangerous times.

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It certainly isn't isolated to the "big papers". There were allegations on Vancouver Island that a mayor visited the offices of a local paper, met with the GM and editors and had a reporter fired for writing a piece that was, to say the least, not favorable to said mayor. Scary indeed.
 
Mary,

The MSM have been negligent in their duties to report on the facts of this case. But Mary, to be fair, I think that Ian Mulgrew's column has more to do with Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino not handling the case appropriately. I mean the man has been missing in action since February/March of this year! Why would he delegate such an important case to juniors?

Or does he think that by not being in court the questions from concerned citizens will be kept away from him?

Regardless, Justice Bennett has clear questions that he must answer to at the end of the month.

Bill Berardino has not lived up to the obligations of the Office of the Special Prosecutor!

Surely Mary you can see this all the way in Parksville.
 
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Well, jd, I've been nagging Ol' Bill for weeks now ... even suggesting that we'd better get a new Special Prosecutor if he doesn't explain himself pretty damn quick ... so don't blame me for "not seeing" this situation.

Btw, I'm not Berni and I don't live in Parksville.

But surely YOU can see that if the Special Prosecutor hasn't lived up to the obligations of the Prosecution, then this trial is careering downhill toward a crash -- a mistrial -- and that's what Ian Mulgrew and others are writing about, I think (as does Berni) -- preparing the public for a stay, a mistrial, a dismissal of some kind.

It doesn't need to be that way, jd. You know that.

Twist it and turn it any way you like, then tell me if there's been anybody in Courtroom 54 who isn't hoping the whole case is dumped. Anybody except in the public gallery.

And if the case is thrown out, then British Columbia is stuck with whatever rot may exist, whatever allegedly went wrong with BC Rail, whatever outrages may have been perpetrated within the corridors of the legislature ... all intact and eroding the civil structure we live under ... if the litigators slack off and let the case fall apart.

It'd be a slam dunk, wouldn't you say, jd? You OK with that?

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Good grief.

The NDP has been riding the Basi - Virk trial for months now alleging corruption and Liberal misdeads and where has it got them - the lowest polling numbers in years.

Quite frankly I am more concerned about the alleged sale of ALR land to the highest bidder (briber) then I am about whether the Government received the best value for BC Rail or not.

Focus on what is important to the average person or all you will receive at the end of the day is a big thank you card from Basi and Virk when their case gets kicked.
 
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Anonymous 3:11, looks like you've wandered onto the wrong web-site.

This is about the Legislature raids and B.C. Rail. And good grief: "whether the government received best value?" Uh uh. Wrong. This ain't Shoppers' Secrets or something. Where did you get that idea?

Thanks for your advice, but you're about a year late, if you were thinking of trying to change our mandate, which you'll see posted right at the top of the home page here.

Plus, TLR especially -- firmly -- isn't a political blog. We don't pick sides and we don't run election campaigns here. Everybody's welcome. And I'm sure you didn't mean to come on here just slag the N.D.P., did you?

Here's an thought: With all your ideas, YOU start a web-site. Fulfill all your expectations. We'll come and visit YOU. OK?

Meantime: this is The Legislature Raids. And folks tell me it's a useful, helpful little blog, too. I have a feeling you'd be totally amazed to know some of the ordinary and extraordinary people who read it regularly.

Because, you know, many of us care a lot about B.C. Rail.

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Mary,

Not sure why you are so negative, good ol' Bill is the former partner of former AG Geoff Plant who appointed Bill in the first place! Maybe he is doing his best to get this thing tossed for his old friend. The Campbell government can't afford to anser questions, right? So Bill should use the 'take a dive' routine. My that is sooo Machiavellian!

So when is "pretty damm quick" for old Bill to explain himself? Have you contacted him Mary, actually on second thought you better not. I remember the post where you showed that the RCMP, Toronto, Ottawa, the Legislature have been monitoring your website. I can hear John Ward now, "The public DO NOT have a right to know!" Remember this commment from the Ian Bush scandal?

Mary puhlease tell us lowly citizens what more to do to get good ol' Bill in the driver's seat!

Maybe Mulgrew knows something we do not....
 
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jd:

This web-site has a machiavelian fetish against slagging individuals ... in this case, RCMP Sgt John Ward.

God help us if we each had to live or die according to one stupid thing we said in the past.

I suggest, re Bill Berardino's non- performance and unexplained absence, that there are numerous ways for you to begin enquiries which might lead to activating Ol' Bill. Numerous.

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To Anonymouse (the one I will call "good grief")

If your comment above is indicative of your ability to discern, evaluate and generally perceive reality - I have a slightly used porch/deck in East Vancouver that I am sure you would like to purchase. Call Mrs. Glen Clark to view the deck - if you decide to purchase, remit $500,000 to kootcoot over at the House of Infamy

June 12, 2007 6:23 AM
 
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