Thursday, October 22, 2009

 

Speaking of news that isn't made public ... maybe it's time to revisit Ian Mulgrew's column in Vancouver Sun - February 17, 2009

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Public information that isn't made public ... it carries a special impact. Why was the information withheld in the first place? Who hid it? What's their excuse? Should the public tolerate this?

"Forgetting" for 4 days in a row, to provide the simple details of time and place for the next Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail hearing is one of those special silences. But it reminded me of another, much bigger one ... remember "Mr Big"?

There was only one casual remark (Neal Hall's remark, I think) in the 5 years between the raids on the BC Legislature and the trial of the man police were tracking: "Jasmohan Singh Bains comes up for trial in 2008" he wrote. I watched. I waited. I Googled. The man's name never appeared in the news again.

Then a clever citizen, attending the Basi Virk pre-trial hearings, heard a remark about the 9-year sentence Bains had received. Clever citizen indeed ... he looked around the courtroom, saw no media represented there, and decided to tell BC Mary. I have to admit that I really didn't believe it. How could such an important trial be silenced, overlooked, ignored ... censored?

I took the time to check thoroughly ... and found it to be true. The man who police thought was "Mr Big" on the West Coast -- big enough to embolden them to raid the People's Legislature -- had gone to trial (June 2008), been found guilty (Aug 2008) and sentenced (Sept 2008) without a hint of it being reported in the news media.

So I broke the story on The Legislature Raids in December 2008. I even took time to create a headline which Google couldn't miss. I figured that's all it would take for the story to go national. Ha. Silly me. Absolutely nothing more was said about Jasmohan Bains -- weeks passed -- until I happened to mention it while in discussion with Ian Mulgrew, very, very casually. I was actually talking about another column he had written; and I said something like "I just wish you had been assigned to the Basi Virk story - then maybe the Jasmohan Bains trial would have been reported." Something like that.


Next thing was the column by Ian, published a day or two later:


Drug dealer linked to legislature raid imprisoned
RCMP oddly silent about key victory against cocaine ring

Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The key figure in Project Every Which Way, the organized crime investigation that triggered the raid on the legislature half a decade ago, has been convicted and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment.

Jasmohan Singh Bains, the 33-year-old would-be Mr. Big of the Vancouver Island drug world, was also fined $242,170 and forfeited $12,718.11 seized by police at the time of his arrest five years ago. If he fails to pay the fine, Bains must serve another three years in prison.

Although then only 28, Bains headed a Victoria-based group that shipped kilograms of cocaine to Metro Toronto and remitted cash back via Federal Express.

His trial last summer focused on one shipment of 12 kilos, worth about $400,000, and Bains's boast that he could supply 50 kilos a week.

"Mr. Bains was the sine qua non of this conspiracy," Provincial Court Judge Robert Higinbotham said at the sentencing on Sept. 11.

"He was the initiator, the driving force, and the chief executive officer of the trafficking enterprise, and he answered to no other person."

This significant event went apparently unreported until it appeared on citizen journalist Mary Mackie's blog [http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/] and was brought to my attention Monday.

I was surprised no one in the federal prosecutor's office or the RCMP had issued a statement since this is the organized crime connection that led to the raid on legislature offices Dec. 28, 2003.

"Organized crime has stretched into every corner of B.C. and onto most city streets," RCMP Sgt. John Ward warned then. "It is not an exaggeration to say that organized crime is a cancer eating away at the social and moral fabric of British Columbia."

He was talking about Bains's seeming influence.

In separate proceedings about two years ago, a prosecutor told B.C. Supreme Court that police became interested in former Liberal insider Dave Basi when numerous calls were made to his cellphone from Bains, his cousin.

Basi and Bob Virk, also a former top government aide, are on trial for fraud and breach of trust.

Prosecutor Janet Winteringham explained in pretrial proceedings that police learned in May 2002 that Bains was expanding his underworld empire after the arrest of one of his rivals.

The RCMP targeted him and launched the massive operation that ultimately snared Bains, the two high-flying Liberal operatives and several others.

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 the sale of BC Rail. That auction process is at the heart of the breach-of-trust charges the former back-room operatives face.

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.

Basi and Virk are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for confidential government documents concerning the controversial sale of the provincial railway company.

Another cousin, Aneal Basi, who worked as a government media analyst, is accused of money laundering for allegedly accepting cheques from Erik Bornmann, then a partner in the lobbying firm Pilothouse, and transferring funds to Basi.

Pilothouse was retained by U.S.-based OmniTrax, one of the bidders for the BC Rail assets. Winteringham alleged that during a police search of Pilothouse's office, confidential government documents were found.

The Liberal administration announced on Nov. 25, 2003, that it had accepted CN Rail's $1-billion bid for the bulk of railway assets. An auction for the Roberts Bank spur line was cancelled in March 2004 after police advised that the process had been compromised.

The trial on the breach-of-trust issues remains mired and awaiting a Supreme Court of Canada decision about whether defence lawyers but not their clients will be allowed to learn the identity of a confidential informant.

This conviction nevertheless is an important victory for the Mounties and they deserve credit for it.

imulgrew@vancouversun.com

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Can anyone see any reason for silencing news of "Mr Big"? ... because I sure can't see it. Yet 5 years had passed with scrupulous non-mention of him, his trial, or his conviction.

In the same way, I can't see any justification for BCSC withholding the simple facts needed by the public if they're to attend pre-trial hearings this week leading up to the most significant trial ever to be held in the Province of British Columbia. Maybe once, court clerks could "forget". Maybe twice. But for 4 days in a row? I don't think so.

- BC Mary.


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Comments:
'Theye're holding back, so they don't have to go public with, and treat, the many vicims that build up the bank accounts of organised crimesters, which,(not witch), becomes the proceeds of crime, which, goes to the federal goverment. Except in BC, where in 2006 Harper allocated a % of the POC to stay in BC.Cocaine is one of many drugs. This isn't even close to the real problem.

They're still covering up their dirty deeds!
MOre to come...
 
I just checked for today 2 20,and the case is listed Oct 22nd, it states on page that directs you to the page "Last Updated: Thu Oct 22 14:00:00 PDT 2009 "
Yesterday it was updated(or I found it at just after 12)

I had hoped when I contacted them this morning, they would have updated it then, guess they were swamped still. :)

EM
 

I had hoped when I contacted them this morning, they would have updated it then, guess they were swamped still. :)


Gee, and what might that have to do with the Libs cutting back on courthouses, court staff etc province-wide...another example of cutbacks costing money - and the patience of the public.....oh, but wait, most of the public's been conditioned to (a) not pay attention and (b) assume the system's unfixable.

In the Fraser Institute/BC Liberal vision of the future, the justice system would just go away (with the rest of the government) and let the free market rule the world; like some kind of prophesied god, confounding all logic and as fervent (and destructive) as any religion before it...
 
Perhaps they thought that if Mr. Big was tried, convicted, sentenced and sent away with NO fanfare whatsoever, it would draw no interest to the real issues surrounding the sale of BC Rail...and they could pull the same stunt with it.
 
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Anon 10:00,

Perhaps you're correct - "they" were hoping it would all go away, is one possibility I guess.

But who has the right to do that?

Serious public money was spent in arresting and convicting J.S. Bains. History was made when police entered the people's Legislature in the search for evidence on J.S. Bains. So presumably the public interest would have been best served by letting the public KNOW what this criminal had done, how he was caught, what was learned in evidence at his trial, and the consequences he eventually faced under our current judicial system.

As Ian Mulgrew said, "This conviction is an important victory for the Mounties and they deserve credit for it." So there's another puzzling clue: who would deny them that credit?

But none of that explaining happened ... which is bad enough, but

I can't help comparing it to the relentless (and virtually groundless) bashing of the former Victoria Police Chief, who was everything we hope for in a good cop ...

There's something terribly wrong with this picture.

NOBODY should be deciding that there are certain things that the public is allowed to know ...

and there are certain other things which people must not be allowed to find out ...

and worse still: that it's OK in normal news media format to publicly bash certain people for virtually no discernible reason whatsoever.

Have we completely lost any concept of what it means to have a FREE PRESS as the key element in supporting a FREE AND DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY?
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"In the Fraser Institute/BC Liberal vision of the future, the justice system would just go away (with the rest of the government) and let the free market rule the world; like some kind of prophesied god, confounding all logic and as fervent (and destructive) as any religion before it...

In this new world as envisioned by the GordKnots and the Fraser Stink Tank individuals have to resolve their own disputes without recourse to the then non-existent court system ala Wild West/Dodge City - as we all know from the only news that Canned Waste covers, it has moved quite aways in that direction down in the lower Vainland - with the almost daily gang shootings and drug deals gone bad.

Just wait until everybody resorts to resolving all their disputes with their neighbor, their lawyer etc. in a "personal" manner - it is the option to a genuine justice system. The law and the justice system are a contract entered into by the members of society to replace the law of the jungle with a more civilized law - if the civilized law continues to degenerate into a mockery, the natural justice will return and then the hungry will be temporarily satisfied by eating the rich!
 
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