Monday, March 09, 2009

 

Expert: Street-level drug dealing and violence are only symptoms of organized crime activity that should be of far greater concern

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Target criminal fronts: expert

Cleaning up Calgary's downtown streets also means keeping a close eye on what's happening in the office towers, says an international expert on organized crime ...

"If we continue to fight organized crime on the street level, we will never dismantle these criminal groups." ...

In his 2001 bestselling book, Bloodlines, Antonio Nicaso documented how a prominent Mafia family in central Canada considered buying properties in Calgary and Banff.

"I believe sophisticated crime groups have tried to enter legitimate businesses to capitalize on Alberta's booming economy. . . . If they're coming here looking for business, they're not talking to the Hells Angels."

To infiltrate the legitimate economy, organized criminals need accomplices who can conceal dirty money in legal processes like real estate deals and other financial transactions, Nicaso said ....

Read the full story here:

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Comments:
For the police to clean up the streets, FIRST, CSIS,has to clean up the police force!
 
Mike has a good column on the BC Rail mess today Tuesday
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Sale of B.C. Rail a tale that needs to be told

History of Liberals' manouevres should come out in court

Province provincial affairs columnist Michael Smyth

Followers of the sordid B.C. Rail saga may point to Dec. 28, 2003 — the day of the infamous police raid on the legislature — as the date of the long-running scandal's genesis.

In fact, as the recent release of 8,000 pages of previously secret documents in the case reveals, this is a tangled web that stretches back even longer in time.

The paper trail detailing the government's obsession with selling B.C. Rail to private-sector competitor CN Rail goes all the way back to 2001, the year Gordon Campbell was first elected premier, partly on a promise not to sell the Crown-owned railroad.

"A B.C. Liberal government will not sell or privatize B.C. Rail," said the party's supposedly sacred "New Era" platform.

But, within months of being sworn in, the government had put together a privatization task force and Campbell was receiving briefing notes and e-mails urging him to sell B.C. Rail. "Now is the time to maximize the corporate return of the BCR Group of companies," said one.

While all this was going on, the documents show Campbell continued to spin his "not-for-sale" line — even to B.C. Rail employees.

"I assure you that the government is not looking at the privatization of B.C. Rail as part of our transportation strategy," the premier wrote to a B.C. Rail worker in 2002.

I'm sure that employee must have felt very reassured! Despite the spin, the documents show that the Campbell cabinet decided to sell the B.C. Rail freight division to CN Rail for $1 billion on Oct. 1, 2003, a decision that wasn't revealed publicly for nearly two months.

Meanwhile, CN's rivals in the B.C. Rail bidding war smelled a rat. Convinced the fix was in for CN, they fired off a series of angry letters to Campbell and his minions, complaining the sale was rigged in CN's favour.

"The process is fundamentally flawed because of the lack of credibility and ethics surrounding it," wrote Peter Rickerhauser, vice- president of Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway, noting his company was dismayed at the "blatant favouritism" shown CN.

All of which brings us up to 2003 and the raid on the people's house, leading to the present corruption charges against three former government insiders.

The case was back in court again yesterday, with the defence pressing for the release of even more government documents. This time, a lawyer for Campbell's Liberal caucus was present.

Why? Because now the defence wants all cellphone and e-mail records pertaining to the B.C. Rail deal from 17 Liberal backbenchers, mainly from rail-dependent northern ridings. The government, as usual, is fighting to keep the documents secret.

It's important to note that both the defence and government have a stake in delaying the case with these kind of procedural wrangles.

The longer this thing drags on, the higher the chance the case will never be heard.

That's why it's so critical for Justice Elizabeth Bennett to keep driving the parties toward a full and open trial. Her decision to release the 8,000 pages was a bold and welcome move forward.

Now British Columbians deserve a trial — and the whole truth.

msmyth@theprovince.com
 
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