Saturday, August 16, 2008
O Lord, send us another rainy week so that we can read the many clues hiding under the google heading "Political corruption + British Columbia". I found 246,000 hits with (believe it or not) former Premier Glen Clark listed first!!! And he was innocent!
So ... when it rains, check http://www.bcrevolution.ca/bc_government.htm where I found these excerpts mentioning then-Chief of Victoria Police Paul Battershill's activities during the Project "Everywhichway" investigation and eventual raids on the B.C. Legislature etc.
" ... What began 20 months ago as a joint RCMP-Victoria police investigation into the sale of B.C. marijuana in the U.S. has ballooned into a massive police probe that reaches into the highest ranks of the provincial Liberal party.
Details are slowly beginning to emerge about an investigation that has already involved some of the biggest names in provincial and federal politics, including the husband of Deputy Premier Christy Clark.
While some of those involved so far are well-known Liberal activists at provincial and federal levels, Ward stressed the parties themselves are not under investigation at the moment.
Ward said an investigation was launched by police in the spring of 2002 into the involvement of organized crime in the sale of B.C.-grown marijuana in the U.S. in exchange for cocaine, which was then re-sold in Canada.
But in the course of its investigation, Ward said, police came across evidence of other crimes -- which led to Sunday's raid on the offices of two ministerial assistants at the legislature.
"As a result of our drug investigation into organized crime, other information came to light and another investigation was begun," Ward said.
Both Basi and Virk were political appointees given their jobs by cabinet.
Basi is a prominent organizer for provincial and federal Liberal parties and is a well known supporter of Minister Paul Martin .
The legislature was just one of several premises searched by the RCMP and Victoria police during the weekend.
Also searched was the home office of Mark Marissen, husband of Deputy Premier Christie Clark, and Pilothouse Public Affairs Group, a private lobbying firm doing business in Victoria and Vancouver.
Marissen, who is a long-time supporter of Paul Martin confirmed Monday that police visited his home, where he operates Burrard Communications, his personal business.
Marissen, who was Martin's campaign chairman in B.C. and will now lead the federal election campaign here, would not comment on the ramifications to the federal Liberal party of key insiders being drawn into the scandal.
He said only that the B.C. chapter of the party "has to figure out what our next steps are."
While her husband talked to police Sunday, Clark said she "has not been questioned or interviewed".
Also raided over the weekend were the two offices of Pilothouse Public Affairs Group.
Pilothouse's two directors are Brian Kieran and Erik Bornman.
Kieran has an office in Victoria while Bornman works out of his home in Vancouver.
According to Pilothouse's Web site, Bornman has more than "a decade of political experience inside both the B.C. Liberal party and the Liberal party of Canada."
"I've been made aware of the concerns that these circumstances have raised. I don't fully understand all the issues, and at this time I am simply trying to collect further information that I will be discussing with our advisers," said Bornman, who worked as an aide for Martin when the "prime minister" was finance minister.
Bornman is currently communications director for the B.C. chapter of the federal Liberal party.
RCMP Sgt. John Ward said nine search warrants were executed on Sunday. Ward said the information that police presented to the courts to obtain the search warrants has been sealed.
While no arrests have been made in connection with the weekend raids, Ward said nine people -- three in Toronto and six in Victoria and Vancouver -- were arrested "about 10 days ago" in connection with the sale of marijuana.
Victoria police chief Paul Battershill confirmed the drug investigation is connected to the suspension with pay on Dec. 15 of Victoria police Constable Ravinder Dosanjh .
Battershill said there is an "indirect relationship" between the suspended officer and either Virk or Basi.
The drug probe is targeting a suspected influential Victoria trafficker related to Victoria Police Officer Dosanjh.
The alleged trafficker is also a relative of a Vancouver resident who has worked on provincial and federal Liberal campaigns and was involved in Martin's B.C. campaign.
Speaking by phone from Maui, Hawaii, Premier Gordon Campbell said he is concerned about the investigation and the taint it could have on his government.
"Obviously it's troubling to everyone," he said.
Campbell said he has every confidence in Collins and Reid and doesn't believe they need to return to B.C. from their vacations, as the NDP [Themselves decimated in the last election for their own numerous brushes with criminal activities involving high level Ministries] allegedly "demanded".
Coleman said he didn't think the raid would damage "his consistent message about getting tough on crime".
Ward guessed that the province's marijuana industry alone is worth about $6 billion a year. A figure which reflex [reflects] the self-serving policies produced by both the police and various levels of federal and provincial governments which experts admit only serves to make the product highly lucrative to organized crime. See link for related story
Over two dozen officers -- including uniformed Victoria police and plainclothes RCMP -- were involved in Sunday's search of the legislature. [My emphasis added. Can anyone explain why the RCMP while on official duties were in plainclothes? - BC Mary]
The officers took several hours to search the large offices of Collins and Reid, and the smaller offices of their entire staff, before emerging with nearly three dozen large cardboard boxes that needed an entire van to carry.
Vancouver lawyer William Berardino has once again been appointed "an independent special prosecutor" in the case, which is a common procedure when criminal investigations may involve politicians. This makes cover up easier, when you have a 'go to guy' we can rely on - said a crown source who wished to remain anonymous. [Wow! Wow!! Sorry, couldn't help that. - BC Mary.]
Police Chief Battershill said the investigation is "likely to take several months".
"We're in for a lengthy investigation," he said. "It will take several months to develop before the entire file is presented to the special prosecutor ."
And, October 12, 2006:
Victoria police officer Ravinder (Rob) Singh Dosanjh has been found guilty of obstruction of justice in a case linked to the December 2003 police raids on the B.C. legislature.
In North Vancouver provincial court yesterday, Judge Carol Baird Ellan found Dosanjh counselled his cousin to lie about the ownership of $35,000 in suspected drug money found in his cousin's home during an undercover operation. He dismissed claims by Dosanjh that his taped telephone conversation with his cousin Mandeep Sandhu on Dec. 9, 2003, was an attempt to console him and give him "false hope" that he would get the money back.
The conversation came after police raided Sandhu's home earlier that day and confiscated the cash and three ounces of marijuana.
According to evidence, Victoria police had suspected Sandhu of being a drug dealer since the late 1990s, and friends within the department had warned Dosanjh -- who was on the force 13 years -- to stay away from his younger cousin. By early 2003, the police department came to fear that Dosanjh was leaking information to Sandhu and set up an undercover operation with the assistance of the RCMP's anti-corruption unit.
That operation led to the December 2003 raid. A drug charge laid against Sandhu as a result of the raid has since been stayed.
After hearing about the verdict yesterday, Victoria police Chief Paul Battershill said that members of the force "are sad for Rob and his family. He was well regarded here."
But, he added: "There's also some realization that the department was able to deal with it properly when it came to our attention."
Dosanjh, who was suspended without pay from the Victoria police department in January 2005, still faces a Police Act investigation, which will eventually be reviewed by the police complaint commissioner.
"The police act has to proceed because of his employment status," said Battershill. "He's still technically a police officer."
The chief did not know whether Dosanjh planned to appeal his conviction.
According to the judge, although Dosanjh was given a dozen opportunities to feed false information to his cousin and other associates, there was no indication Dosanjh crossed the line.
The investigation wound down in the fall of 2003, but wiretaps were still in place on both Sandhu and Dosanjh's phones. The wiretaps captured their conversation concerning the raid on Sandhu's home.
A transcript shows Dosanjh asking his cousin if the police found anything. Sandhu tells him they found more than $30,000 in cash. Dosanjh tells Sandhu he shouldn't have kept the money at home and tells him to say it belonged to his father. He later advises Sandhu to say it belongs to his uncle or to say he'd been saving it up over the years.
Ellan said it was clear from the conversation that "Dosanjh believed the cash was proceeds of crime."
"At the end of the conversation, Dosanjh left Sandhu armed with advice that if accepted and acted upon would obstruct justice," said the judge.
Dosanjh left the courthouse yesterday with tearful family members. He told reporters he had nothing to say.
A date for a sentencing hearing has yet to be set.
The investigation of Dosanjh and Sandhu was part of a large police probe that also led to the Dec. 28, 2003, police raids on the legislature after which drug charges were laid against several people. Those were followed by breach of trust charges against former ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk, whose offices at the legislature were searched. Their trial date has been delayed.
"Lowe said that, as a result of the probe, the board had suffered a loss of confidence in Battershill".
What a trashy thing for Lowe to say in the light of being cleared by the RCMP and with no specifics of why he would use these sleezy suggestions to try to besmirch Battershill soon to be a big messenger if the Raid on the Leg/BC Rail trial proceeds. The Victoria Police Board should retreat under a rock and stay there. Just how 'Lowe' can they get????
So let's look at the real reason - the real context of that "loss of confidence"?
Perhaps does the answer lie more specifically because Chief Battershill refused to play by the rotten rules of the Campbell Gang - the 'big boys' who are in the middles of this rot uncovered - with the Victoria Police Board being a tool doling out the punishment?
My guess is Battershill 'gets it' - big time. We will see what the rest of the story brings forward . . .
Thanks again, BC Mary for your persistence in shining a spot light on this disgusting chapter linked to a much larger 'corrupt' agenda that British Columbia is being held captive by.
It is the only way forward . . . while the members of the club continue to look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives - they cannot run from their own consciences.
Many thanks, Bristlebeard. In very broad terms, I guess most of us understood the point you've made.
It's just that ...
Well ... I'm pretty sure there's an RCMP protocol for uniforms. Like: when to wear the red serge, for example; and when plainclothes are either appropriate, necessary, or merely helpful in police assignments. All that stuff.
So that, on the morning of 28 Dec. 2003, somebody decided that the day's work at the B.C. Legislature was very low-level in terms of public perception. So Victoria Police wore their official uniforms, RCMP didn't.
Just trying to understand this.
In terms of public perception, I can't imagine a higher priority for being correct in every detail -- even to wearing the uniform -- while raiding the People's Parliament. That's all.
It's simply that a never-before-in-Canadian-history raid upon a provincial Legislature (which is understood to be sacrosanct) is, well, a lot different from most investigations. A very big lot different.
And that the official uniform would have been the first choice. Would have been appropriate, in the circumstances.
Please explain more.
I especially liked your 3-word sign-off. Many thanks. I will.