Sunday, September 09, 2007

 

Vancouver Sun's managing editor said they were working on a piece about Basi, Virk, B.C. Rail. That was 3 weeks ago. This isn't it.

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But when B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett brings Courtroom 54 to order next week, on 17 September, we might begin to hear some answers to the questions raised (below) in Vancouver Sun 4 months ago:


DEFENCE SEEKS DRUG INFORMANTS' REPORTS
Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - May 11, 2007

VANCOUVER - Defence lawyers representing three former government aides accused of corruption want to get access to hundreds of reports concerning 11 confidential informants who provided information to police during a drug investigation.

The Vancouver Island drug investigation, codenamed Project Everywhichway, targeted a criminal organization shipping kilograms of cocaine to the Toronto area and sent back cash by courier.

Police learned during a wiretap operation that the alleged drug ringleader was repeatedly calling Dave Basi in the summer of 2003.

At the time, Basi was the ministerial assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins. The man calling Basi was his cousin, court was told earlier.

One of the confidential informants told police Basi was allegedly laundering drug money for his cousin and was trying to get him a government job.

Janet Winteringham, a member of the legal team prosecuting Basi and co-accused Bob Virk, told the court Thursday there were 448 briefing reports stemming from the 11 informants in the drug investigation.

"It was three of those informants who provided information about Mr. Basi," she explained.

The Crown has already disclosed to the defence 21 of the reports that included information from the three informants, Winteringham said. {Snip ... snip ... snip)


http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=28b68872-823e-4c37-b554-1e135a5baade

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... and from Victoria Times Colonist, 4 months ago:

DRUG LINK ALLEGED IN BASI CASE
Phone calls from suspected dealer led to raid, prosecutor says
CanWest News Service - May 08, 2007

VANCOUVER -- A former B.C. government aide from Victoria, probed by police for his involvement in the B.C. Rail sale, appeared to have links to the illicit drug trade, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Police became aware of Dave Basi when calls were made to his cellphone from his cousin, Jasmohan Singh Bains of Victoria, prosecutor Janet Winteringham said in B.C. Supreme Court. {Snip} ...

Winteringham said police heard that Bains was head of a Victoria-based criminal organization that was shipping kilograms of cocaine to the Toronto area and shipping cash back by Federal Express. Bains is still facing trial, set for 2008.

The Victoria drug investigation began in May 2002 after the arrest in the U.S. of Cirilo Lopez, which resulted in "word on the street" indicating Bains was going to take over Lopez's drug operations, Winteringham said.

Tips from an informant suggested Basi was laundering money for Bains by purchasing real estate, Winteringham said.

After a wiretap operation was in place for the drug case, police overheard Basi discussing B.C. Rail matters.

At the time, Basi was an aide to Gary Collins, then B.C.'s finance minister. Virk, Basi's brother-in-law, was an aide to Judith Reid, then B.C.'s transportation minister. The province was in the midst of trying to sell B.C. Rail.

Prosecutors haven't decided whether to pursue the drug allegations against Basi. {Snip} ...

http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=82eeca7a-4f77-49f4-ad9b-949c6e66795c

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Questions, questions, questions ... questions which must be asked -- and answered -- if society is to continue as an open democracy. Why hasn't Bains been put on trial yet? Wouldn't it free up evidence in the Basi Virk trial? Or have crime and commerce become so entwined, it's hard to know where to begin? See what you think of the following story by Jonathan Manthorpe in today's (10 Sept 2007) edition of Vancouver Sun. Strange to say, this shocking story was in the Business Section. - BC Mary.



POWERFUL INDIAN GANGSTER A STRONG BACKER OF TERRORISM

Jonathan Manthorpe
Vancouver Sun - September 10, 2007

... Dawood Ibrahim [is an] extraordinary character, an Indian national about 52 years old, is an entrepreneur with a mind-boggling portfolio of enterprises.

Ibrahim is don of Mumbai's major organized crime syndicate, the fabled D-Company, beside which the Mafia seems like a corner store operation.

Much of the D-Company's street cred stems from movies glamourizing Ibrahim and his gangsters as folk heroes, produced just down the road from Mumbai in Bollywood and financed, of course, by Ibrahim. As much as anyone, Ibrahim symbolizes that grey area between India's movie industry and the underworld, and which has seen several Bollywood stars as famous for their courtroom performances as their on-camera action.

Ibrahim is also a fervent Muslim. And it is this that has catapulted him into the world of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, international drug dealing, money laundering, and a star spot on the U.S. government's list of global terrorists.

It's not only Washington that wants Ibrahim dead or alive -- so does the Indian government. New Delhi believes the Pakistani government, and especially the military's Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI), is sheltering him.

Ibrahim and his financial empire are seen as essential ingredients in the survival of al-Qaida and the Taliban insurgents whom Canadian, British and Dutch forces are battling in southern Afghanistan. [Remember Rich Coleman speaking as Solicitor General when he described B.C. Bud (marijuana) being traded off in the U.S. for guns which were then exported to places like Afghanistan where Canadian soldiers are engaged in battle? - BC Mary]

Opium grown in Afghanistan and trafficked through Taliban networks is believed to be transported to Europe, where it is processed into heroin before being sold locally or moved on to North America. All of this travels through Ibrahim's courier systems in Central Asia.

Recent reports say Afghanistan now produces 95 per cent of the world's illegal heroin, and is the major source of financing for the Taliban insurgency.

At the same time, Ibrahim is believed by Indian police to control much of the "hawala" system in Pakistan and India. Hawala is an ancient but still very popular invisible method of transferring money from country to country by use of credit guarantees. Washington has often railed that the system is tailor-made for financing terrorist operations.

That Ibrahim is still at the centre of a spiderweb of criminal enterprises is in itself a testament to the man's perverted genius. His empire should have crumbled in 1993, but instead he seems to have rocketed ever upwards.

In December 1992, extremist Hindu nationalists attacked and demolished the Babri Muslim Mosque at Ayodhya in northern India.

Ibrahim, it seems, was incensed by this outpouring of anti-Muslim violence, although there are also strong suspicions that he already had links to Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI, which persuaded him to seek vengeance.

Using his D-Company network and scores of unemployed Muslim street youths, Ibrahim launched a massive terrorist attack on Mumbai. Thirteen bombs exploded in the city on March 12, 1993, killing at least 250 people and injuring another 700. {Snip} ...

As the U.S. assessed the al-Qaida network after the 2001 terrorist attacks, Ibrahim came into view. In 2003, Washington designated him a terrorist and ordered financial sanctions imposed on anyone doing business with him.

This does not seem to have cramped Ibrahim's style.

Pakistan does not have a film industry offering Ibrahim stars and starlets with whom to consort. In Pakistan, the megastars are cricket players, and Ibrahim's daughter is married to Javed Miandad, Pakistan's greatest batsman and one of the great cricket players of all time.

The Indian police are not allowing Ibrahim to live in peace, however. In November of last year, Mumbai police managed to get 10 of Ibrahim's gang members extradited from the United Arab Emirates. {Snip}

jmanthorpe@png.canwest.com

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=61a8bbef-88da-485b-

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Comments:
Perhaps the time has come for us to follow a little money ourselves....

And while the press and the judicial system has made it very difficult, so far, for us to follow the cash flow associated with project Every Which Way, we can start with this, from the BC Liberal Party's declaration of campaign contributions for the 2005 election cycle (filed with Elections BC:

Donor #1905, Canwest Media Inc - $50,000, which is $11,630 less than donor #1887 (CN Railway Co; David McLean) but still, not chump change.

OK?

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Good point, Gazetteer. The money. Which got me wondering about why Dave Basi's cousin Jasmohan Singh Bains hasn't been put on trial yet, if he was under suspicion at least 4 years ago.

And especially if Bains is suspected of being Mr Big, wouldn't there be sufficient evidence to put him on trial months ago? So why not immediately? And by doing so, wouldn't that reveal further evidence which might be used in the Basi Virk Basi BCRail case?

I wonder why we haven't heard much about Bains. According to this 4-months-ago CanWest report, Bains is allegedly a key figure in the illicit drug trade. So why would Dave Basi be taking his calls at the Ministry of Finance knowing -- even if the rumours were only rumours -- how risky the Bains link would be for his own career?

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Should we infer from the fact that this article (Indian Gangster) is in the business section that criminal activity is pretty well just "business as usual?"

And then there are politics where some accuse critics of various neo-con governments of "criminalizing" politics. From where I sit it looks to me like politicians are taking over the crime industry and leaving old style biker, Mafia, Asian, Latino etc. gangs in the dust, unless they partner up.

"Opium grown in Afghanistan and trafficked through Taliban networks is believed to be transported to Europe, where it is processed into heroin before being sold locally or moved on to North America. All of this travels through Ibrahim's courier systems in Central Asia."

This is like reading history, that is how it used to be. Nowadays, not only is Afghanistan setting new records annually for opium production, but more and more they are getting into "value added" and processing the opium into heroin locally and cutting out the Marseilles middlemen and European processors.

Maybe those stone age Taliban understand out-sourcing and its dangers better than say Americans and/or Canadians. NATO acting in the interests of the US (whatever the hell they are) has certainly put a dent in the Afghan heroin production........NOT!
 
Speaking of following the money. I was hanging out at Canada.com (actually Mary pointed me there) and had a look at Kirk LaPointe's 'blog' - is it really a blog if no one ever comments?

Kirk looks a bit like Tom Cruise to me - he's got his picture posted there against a backdrop of exploding star shells - and now I know what he's been up to and why he's just been too busy to get anyone to work on that big story be promised you about the Basi/Virk trial. Our Kirk has been using his 'extensive knowledge' of things 'cultural' to help him with the judging of the 'symphony of light' in Vancouver this year...

Priorities, gotta have priorities when you're in the news biz.

Here's the evidence:
http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/theshow/archive/2007/08/05/whoa-canada.aspx

And tell me, don't you think our kirk is the spittin' image of Tom Cruise?
 
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