Saturday, December 12, 2009
Basi Virk: Battle lines appear to be hardening
Paul Kennedy and Robert Dziekanski. The RCMP’s William Elliott, its Gary Bass, and the BC Rail Scandal.
By Robin Mathews
Battle lines appear to be hardening. Read the last paragraph of the Globe and Mail editorial (Dec 9 09 A16) on the Dziekanski fiasco:
“The RCMP brutally killed a new-comer to Canada, put out fake information into the public sphere while investigating themselves, then refused to correct the record and held on to the video that showed the horrible truth. The loss of public trust is no mystery.”
The Globe and Mail doesn’t mention that top man at the RCMP, William Elliott, telephoned the men involved to express solidarity with them. They are men whose conduct Paul Kennedy (with comic understatement) says in his 208-page Report “fell short of that [conduct] expected of members of the RCMP”.
Paul Kennedy always writes as if chewing a mouthful of cottonwool. His “scathing report” (the Vancouver Province) repeats what every decent observer has been saying for months – while adding a few busloads of padding.
Paul Kennedy has been a harboured bureaucrat for so long he couldn’t write a scathing report if he was the first investigator of the Nazi Death Camps. I imagine him writing – in a brief 2000-page report – that Death Camp employees followed to the letter the procedures set, and should be commended for that. I imagine him going on to say that Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, and Goring probably meant well, but somehow, the execution of their orders may not have been carried out in the best of public interest in the Death Camps.
The Globe and Mail doesn’t tell its readers that BC’s premier Gordon Campbell met top BC RCMP officer Gary Bass and expressed his personal feeling of sympathy for those guilty of serious impropriety (at least) in the Dziekanski fiasco.
The Globe and Mail doesn’t connect the Dziekanski cover-up with repeated RCMP cover-up of RCMP officer wrongdoing: Ian Bush, Kevin St. Arnaud, Kelly Marie Richard, David Ambrose, and…and…and….
Nor does the Globe and Mail mention that Paul Kennedy’s Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP frequently backed the RCMP’s dangerous folly – and its almost certainly manipulated “investigations of itself”.
Now being given the Heave-Ho by the Harperites (who I believe want a corrupt RCMP to match their own core values), Paul Kennedy unleashes his death-bed repentance. Too little. Too late.
Perhaps, at the other end of the scale, angry motorcyclists who rallied at Surrey provincial courthouse Tuesday carried too extreme a sign, saying “RCMP Canada’s biggest criminal organization”. Motorcyclists were there because Corporal Benjamin (Monty) Robinson seems to have been given special treatment by Crown prosecutors. Recommended for a charge of impaired driving by the Delta Police after he had hit and killed motorcyclist Orion Hutchinson on October 25, 2008, the charge was changed to the lighter “obstruction of justice”. That kind of action by the Crown appears to happen all too often in cases involving the RCMP.
The same Robinson is singled out in Paul Kennedy’s 208-page report – as senior officer in the Dziekanski disaster – for failing to take charge (implying, I suggest, a failure to regulate action to prevent death).
The population of B.C. (and of Canada and the world) is largely of the view that criminal charges should be laid in the Dziekanski affair.
But the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch, which decided not to lay charges earlier, is still holding to its decision – despite a growing flood of incriminating evidence in the matter.
And so Corporal Benjamin Robinson seems, now, to have been twice protected from facing criminal charges others believe his actions warrant. The actions in which Robinson has been involved are extreme – both involving the death of innocent people.
A reasonable Canadian must ask if we are facing a combination of RCMP cover-up and Crown prosecutorial discrimination that shields wrongdoing? If so, it appears to happen where RCMP investigates itself and finds no reason to censure apparent glaring improprieties committed by police officers. It appears, too, to happen when the Crown decides not to charge, or to mitigate charges, where allegations are brought against police officers.
Those recurring matters seem to happen, also, at much higher levels. Repeatedly, in pre-trial hearings of the Basi, Virk, and Basi charges in the BC Rail Scandal matter, Defence counsel has claimed delay and obstruction by the RCMP – and, as well, by the Special Crown Prosecutor.
Defence counsel – seeking disclosure materials relevant to the defence of their clients – have uncovered a large amount of material to support their position as Defence. They allege (as a part of Defence argument) that Gordon Campbell and senior others intended to transfer BC Rail to CNR long before announced, misrepresented the real and potential value of BC Rail, deliberately dismembered it, staged a phoney open, public auction of BC Rail, and did so with an expensive campaign using vast amounts of public money. Defence base their allegations on real, secured evidentiary material.
That material, I allege, points to criminal breach of trust and to violation of fiduciary duty on the part of Gordon Campbell and associates involved in the transfer of BC Rail to CNR.
I have written to Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass requesting full RCMP investigation to determine the facts of the matter. Bass has written me mostly empty rhetorical bombast. He has suggested others, too, are interested in the matter.
Then he asks me to give him evidence that he can act upon. That is THE GRAND POLICE COP-OUT. When someone like Bass wants to kill allegations and to do nothing, he says “YOU get the evidence and YOU bring it to me” – when that is one of the main tasks of the police (and he knows it).
Responsible officers of the court have based Defence strategy on the integrity of their allegations about the gigantic fraud and misrepresentation undertaken by Gordon Campbell and his associates that they attest are revealed by hundreds of documents in the possession of the court.
I have pointed Deputy Commissioner Bass to that material – which I am forbidden to possess but which I have heard extracts of and arguments from for more than two years in court.
I have done my duty as a responsible Canadian. I insist Deputy Commissioner Bass refuses to do his. And his refusal – I sincerely believe – is a part of the whole, present refusal of the RCMP in British Columbia to uphold the rule of law.
I may be correct in believing that the present behaviour of the RCMP not only points to laxity in relation to unchecked criminal action among Force members at lower levels, but also to RCMP support for and prevention of investigation of possible criminal wrongdoing at the highest levels of government.
The administration of justice in British Columbia seems to follow a pattern of abuse that is seamless. From the so-called “cop on the beat”, through Crown prosecutorial agencies, up to (and including) the cabinet, the administration of justice seems deliberately faulty.
The role of the courts in what I believe is that seamless maladministration of justice casts huge shadows on the courts themselves. They cannot be untouched when general corruption is the milieu in which they work.
A lawyer, yes.
This is because the police will seal up, or destroy the evidence and put a gag order on that good citizen.
"Now being given the Heave-Ho by the Harperites (who I believe want a corrupt RCMP to match their own core values)"
The same thing is happening with the ending of Tingsley's (sp?)chairmanship of the committee looking into the detainee abuse issue. If politicians insist on stonewalling long enough about pretty much everything, eventually the people won't put up with it anymore and won't be satisfied by getting to eat some cake.
I'm working on a piece for the House of Infamy about the Injustice System in BC and this piece of Robin's both inspires and intimidates me in that effort.
Violence isn't a good option, but as Pres. Obama stated in his acceptance of the peace prize the other day, sometimes it is necessary. As old 1700s King George, the Russian Tsars, the various colonial powers in Vietnam (and Algeria,other parts of Africa, Ireland and more), the Brits and Russians in Afghanistan and many others over the ages have found - you can only oppress people so long and so much before they resort to other means of resolution of their grivences than panels, inquiries or commissions - unless you just kill 'em all and get 'em out of the way.
As Obama said the other day, non-violent resistance probably never would have stopped the Nazis, will it (political and legal means) be enough to stop the Campbell Crime Spree and take our province back?
That statement alone suggests to me that Bass knows there is evidence and that he knows where it is and how well protected it is.
Any suggestion of criminal wrongdoing is always investigated thoroughly by the RCMP, if it is perpetrated by the average citizen. And Bass' whole response to Robin, which I've read, suggests a massive cover up.
To my way of thinking, the "justice system" is at fault, and directly responsible for both deaths.
1) No, the RCMP did not invite Mr. Dziekanski to Canada, but whether they did or didn't doesn't matter. A persons safety while visiting Canada should not depend on whether or not the RCMP invited you. This is Canada - not a 4th degree banana republic.
2) No, they didn't have anything to do with his being stuck in the secured baggage area. Neither did he. If a visitor is lost (as he was), and it was documented that he had been there for 10 hours...should the officers not have taken that into account - and at the very least try to de-escalate the situation? Did they? Basic hand gestures could, and should have been used to defuse a frightened and disoriented man. Was even that attempted? No. The tazering started within seconds of their walking through the door.
3) Mr. Dziekanski was in possession of a legal passport, and was allowed into Canada. It seems his past prison history appears not to have been an issue to the powers that be - but to use that information as part of a reason or excuse in this case doesn't fly. The RCMP didn't know of his history at the time of this incident. It didn't contribute to anything at the time, nor can it be used as justification for actions taken. Obviously having a criminal record does NOT appear to be an issue in traveling or our premier wouldn't be in Copenhagen at the moment, would he?
4) We do agree that the RCMP should not be carrying tasers at all. There have been too many instances of misuse, abuse and death as a result of carrying/using them.
5) Had Mr. Dziekanski been directed to the correct waiting area, we wouldn't be having this conversation I'm sure. Yes, it was daft to be waiting where he was for so long, but I don't believe the fault was his. YVR has already admitted there were things they could and should have done better, their changes were made immediately. The key there is..."they admitted their error."
6) Orion Hutchinson was killed a year AFTER Dziekanski, in a hit and run accident. The driver of the vehicle (Mr. Robinson) according to witnesses had two children in the vehicle. He was stopped shortly after the accident at the intersection of Gilchrist Drive and was taken to the Delta police station, where he was given a breathalyzer test. As a result of that test the Delta Police felt that a number of different charges were warranted against Mr. Robinson. He did lose his drivers license for 90 days, and appealed even that! Can we ask where his remorse is?
7) To blame the deaths of both Mr. Dziekanski and Orion Hutchinson on "allowing a man into the country who doesnt have the sense to figure out where he is, who is so clued out he hasnt the sense to know his mother would never be in a secured baggage area"...is disgusting. The deaths of both of these men have ONE common denominator: Monty Robinson. Who, IF the justice system had taken the Delta Police at their recommendation...may have likely been doing a short period in prison, or perhaps been removed from the RCMP altogether.
8) I have considered the circumstances, and still find the fault to be that of a non-working justice system, and an officer I consider to be a disgrace to the uniform and organization of the RCMP. There is NO justification for what happened in either instance...there is no excuse either.
The main circumstance is that Mr Dziekanski is dead, dead, dead, because of the overreaction of an overwhelming number of RCMP officers....men who, you'd think, would be capable of physically subduing someone without the use of weapons at all. One man against four, and those four (supposedly) trained in hand-to-hand combat, and supposedly also trained in conflict resolution....it's almost as if you're excusing his killing because he had a prison record (and no, people with criminal records are not banned from Canada....and that was Customs & Immigration's call to make - not, as you note, the RCMP's job.
That there were no signs in Polish, and no Polish translator available, is just as irrelevant to the RCMP treatment of him, as is the fact that he was confused and tired and jet lagged (Poland is about a 12 hour flight, not including the maze of Heathrow or Frankfurt airports and associated time delays there).
It was known what flight he was on, and where it came from, and that he was distressed even though nobody made an attempt to understand him (pity for him he didn't speak Cantonese or Punjabi, in which case translators are abundant). Knowing he was on a flight from Poland, surely there is at least one RCMP member in Greater Vancouver who speaks Polish, or knows someone who does....
All that being said, getting drunk because you're stressed out because you're in court for having killed someone is no reason for anyone to get behind a wheel (much less an RCMP officer) and thereby kill someone else.
Agaom. the main circumstance is that Robert Dziekanski is dead, and that he was killed by RCMP and that that killing clearly was not investigated properly nor where the officers in question treated in the same way as civilians would be.
Yes, they're a paramilitary force - "what else do you expect"? Hm - how 'bout just a regular ol' Mayberry-style police department, instead of a monolithic paramilitary force who not only behave as if they were above the law, but for which there are no laws nor procedures in force to indepedently control them....
Four men, by the way, are more than capable of killing a single man with their bare hands....tasers just make it easier.....especially when he's already been overpowered (as if very, very clear from the video).
This country needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.....
I see that the Straight writer makes the same comparison to the Catholic Church as I do, also!
Thanks for the link, Anon! Sometimes you wonder if you imagined stuff you heard on the radio, but didn't record, especially if you're just waking up in the morning!
All I can tell you is that there is nothing in the RCMP's dossier to the effect that Robert Dziekanski spent any time in custody for any crime as you describe. Considering investigators went to Poland I would be surprised if a detail like a criminal record escaped their scrutiny in this matter. As I've said before Canadian immigration officials also verified Mr. Dziekanski's admissibility. While I am told anecdotally that he was involved in some event as a juvenile I have to wonder what difference that would make anyway."
We can safely conclude that the misinformation offered in comments here anonymously is another part of an orchestrated campaign to defame the victim and thereby excuse the perpetrators and the superior officers who have shielded them.
Jeez Norm, this is absolutely SHAMEFUL! Is there no end to how low these people will stoop? Thanks for digging this up!