Monday, November 08, 2010
The Long, Long Cover-Up in the BC Råil Scandal (Basi, Virk, and Basi) Case. Only the Beginning….
It started early.
Getting three ministerial aides screened out and charged from among the many light-fingered, larcenous, manipulating, quasi-mafiosa involved in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR took fast footwork. It needed the kind of skill in underhand operation the new Liberal government didn’t quite have in 2002, 2003, and 2004.
That government prepared – it would seem – by appointing as Special Prosecutor (in violation of the legislation) a former partner and colleague of the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General of the day. Not a bad start – until it was found out … and becomes more and more known (despite a Mainstream Press and Media determination to cover it up).
Then there were the now-famous search warrant “raids” on legislature offices – carefully planned, carefully limited, and generally misreported. The public might well have thought RCMP “raiders” swept through legislature offices. They didn’t.
On December 30, 2003, two days after the raids, the Vancouver Province reported that police “raided the offices of Finance Minister Gary Collins and Transportation Minister Judith Reid….”
The police didn’t. Police raided the offices of Dave Basi and Bob Virk only – two Order in Council appointed ministerial aides.
We remember that in pre-trial hearings the Defence insisted, and Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett accepted, the claim that Gary Collins, Minister of Finance, was under investigation and surveillance in mid-December, 2003. But his office wasn’t raided on December 28, 2003. The investigation of Gary Collins evaporated, disappeared without record. It began … but, apparently, never ended. It just … stopped.
The Collins case is only the most obvious, careful oversight (cover-up?) in the investigation and charges. Could it perhaps be also a careful oversight by the Special Prosecutor wrongfully appointed?
His is the next most careful cover-up. Wrongfully appointed – in violation of the legislation covering the appointment of Special Prosecutors - everyone in authority covered-up for him – passively or actively. All were approached with full information: Assistant deputy Attorney General Robert Gillen; Attorney General Michael de Jong; Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Associate Chief Justice (and trial judge) Anne MacKenzie; Stephen Owen of the Review of Special Prosecutor appointments; Chief Justice of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Neil Wittmann for the Canadian Judicial Council.
With supporters like those – the sky’s the limit.
One of the strangest matters of the whole affair concerns the search warrant “raids” and their scope. The “vetted” looseleaf binder covering the search warrants, wrested from Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm, was released only after nine months of delay and tussle, on September 10, 2004. It is made up, mostly, of page after page after page of completely blacked-out material.
Patrick Dohm, earlier, had a synopsis of the search warrants released to placate the public. In a strange move, he had Special Prosecutor William Berardino write the report because, as Patrick Dohm said, Mr. Berardino knows more about the subject. “To hell with the separation of ‘the Crown’ and ‘the Court’”, Dohm seemed to be saying, “We’re all one.”
And – as accident has it, nearly five years later, William Berardino and Patrick Dohm appeared in Supreme Court together. Mr. Berardino was – it seemed – making a motion to remove Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett from the case. Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm was enthusiastically supporting the idea – indeed, saying he had already chosen the replacement! When a Defence lawyer rose to object to the suggestion Justice Bennett had failed to follow correct protocol, he was cut off and told to sit by a bellowing Patrick Dohm.
That was not one of the better performances of the B.C. Supreme Court. Perhaps it is mere accident that when Mr. Dohm retired, he was replaced as Associate Chief Justice by Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie – who took over the Basi, Virk, and Basi case from Justice Bennett.
The looseleaf binder reports seven “Locations” of search warrant raid/investigations. There was, of course, no favouritism shown toward any of the parties. But according to reports at the time, Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm insisted that the residence of Christie Clark [Deputy Premier] not be “surprise” raided. He insisted, word had it, that she be telephoned in advance.
Also listed in the “raids” were her husband Mark Marissan and her brother Bruce Clark. We can be confident Christie Clark didn’t inform them (or anyone else) of the pending visit of the RCMP.
Gary Collins’ office was not raided, nor was his residence.
Bruce Clark, Christie Clark’s brother, is listed in the looseleaf binder as a fund-raiser for the (federal) Paul Martin campaign. In addition he was the director of VOBIS Consulting Group. In the looseleaf binder (p.85) Corporal Andrew Cowan also writes that he believes “CLARK received documents pertaining to a Request for Proposal and presentations regarding Roberts Bank. I believe that CLARK has had meetings with [Dave] BASI and received these documents from BASI.”
Then in the ‘statement of facts’ used as a basis for the foul-smelling “deal” made at the close of the trial (Oct. 18, 2010), Bruce Clark is identified as working as a consultant for the Washington Marine Group, owner of Vancouver shipyards. WMG was, apparently, interested in getting the Roberts Bank rail spurline – which OmniTRAX also sought to get.
It is mere coincidence (and touching), of course, that in 2004 Christie Clark decided to withdraw from politics ‘to be there’ for the raising of her child.
Bruce Clark has never been charged in relation to any of the proceedings concerning the BC Rail Scandal. What other “information”, we might ask, is buried in the mostly blacked-out Search Warrant looseleaf binder concerning other innocent people involved in the BC Rail Scandal?
Almost gone from the memory of even close BC Rail watchers is the “benefit” Dave Basi and Bob Virk were to receive from the passing of information to the OmniTRAX lobbyists at Pilothouse Public Affairs consulting group. Erik Bornmann, the looseleaf binder material says, “promised or offered a benefit to BASI and VIRK in the manner of facilitating Federal Government positions”. Corporal Cowan goes on that he believes “that Basi and Virk, along with associates, falsified employment CVs”. Cpl. Cowan suggests Bornman had knowledge of the “flaws and fabrications….” Earlier Cpl. Cowan wrote that “Mr. MARRISSAN [Christie Clark’s husband] was in receipt of a list forwarded by BORNMAN containing the names of Basi and Virk for federal government jobs”.
There is no suggestion in any of the few parts not blacked out that any financial reward was offered. When Erik Bornmann became a Crown Witness granted immunity from prosecution, that allegation entered … and the job promise faded from view.
Almost as if to head off ANY suggestion of improper involvement by cabinet members, RCMP Corporal Andrew Cowan, in charge of the search warrants, writes something quite strange. He studied the so-called “Fairness Report” on the bidding for BC Rail. It was prepared by Charles Rivers Associates for Judith Reid, Transportation Minister. Corporal Cowan writes that the Report stated : “A. All proponents had access to the same information at the same time, ensuring no proponent gained an unfair advantage.” What follows that statement is blacked out.
We know that the statement is false, that CNR was given special advantages, and CPR withdrew from the bidding, claiming a soiled bidding process.
Did Corporal Cowan include that seemingly unrelated material to protect (cover-up for) Liberal cabinet members … and others? And did he do that to make the single-minded focus on Basi and Virk seem appropriate?
We know now that Brian Kieran of Pilothouse lobby group (acting for OmniTRAX Rail) has stated publicly that he knew nothing of the alleged Bornmann bribe of Dave Basi. But, by happenstance, the ‘statement of facts’ used as a basis of the deal to stop the Basi, Virk, and Basi illegitimate trial states that Brian Kieran was given by Bob Virk the bid values for CN’s, CP’s and OmniTRAX’s bids three days before the government’s Evaluation Committee had them.
Giving away information under an oath of confidentiality is apparently a crime. Receiving such information is apparently no crime. No one in the Pilothouse Public Affairs lobby group has been charged. Not even Erik Bornmann who is repeatedly described in the looseleaf binder as implicated in the offering of benefit. Both Dave Basi and Bob Virk, according to the search warrants, “did accept from Erik BORNMAN for himself a benefit, to wit assistance in gaining employment, as consideration for assistance in connection with a matter of business relating to government….”
The federal context of the BC Rail Scandal has been as nearly erased as the B.C. government and the Prosecution can manage. And so have the illegal drug “associations” possibly suggested by the looseleaf binder. Both – as alleged by corridor talk in the Law Courts – connected to deep dealings in illicit bulk membership buying, federal Liberal Party aspirations, and … perhaps … BC Rail manipulations.
Cover-up seems to have involved the cover-up of people outside cabinet and in it, cover-up of the relation of drug activity to political activity, cover-up of the wrongful appoitment of the Special Prosecutor, and cover-up to protect Private Corporations engaged in highly questionable manoeuvrings related to the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CNR.
The final cover-up came with the brutal, unacceptable, desperate shut-down of the illegitimate trial. That was the latest – and perhaps the boldest and visibly most ugly - move in the cover-up process begun long before, begun, it seems, even before the famous December 28, 2003 search warrant raids.
It is the stuff revolutions are made of - it is stuff of armed rebellion!
I wouldn't trust this man (if you can call him that) w ith anything these days. What we see happening is like a bad dream that is quickly getting out of control - a nightmare.
So Campbell is going after Anti HST activists - hhhmmmmm! I wonder if this is not just another "create a diversion to make a point" tactict ??
No matter what, the sooner Campbell and his dismal "troupe of circus clowns" are out of office, the better it should be for British Columbia.
I, and I am not alone, paid for your denial.
Ten freaking years of exposing what is only now beginning to sink in
A top ditty in town to be sure.
Was thinking that somebody should conspire to get the job of ghost writing his memoirs, and then just start letting his files get loose, only to go flying off into cyber-space, where we might find them. Telling all. About what has gone-on in this province over the last two or three decades
A guy can dream--can't he?
Nice compliment, thank you, and I hope Stevie Cameron picks up on your suggestion. She did TWO books on the pig farm murders (for cryin' out loud) ... !
I've talked to Robin Mathews about doing a book on the BC Rail Political Corruption trial. He didn't exactly say "No!" but he didn't say "Yes" either. How we lost BC Rail is such a deep, dark, ugly piece of BC history that it needs someone with Robin's skills to do it justice.
I definitely agree with you, however, that there's at least one good book which should carry this title. Perhaps a half dozen.
I hate to think that Big Bought Media might succeed in wiping out the topic so completely. According to them, Basi & Virk are crooks and Campbell is a saint, end of story, just move along folks, nuthin' to see here ...
for example, I nearly fell off my chair today when I turned on CBC News and the first item up was "RCMP IS INVESTIGATING HST PETITION SIGNATURES", as if suddenly the citizens of BC are the crooks ... honest to gosh ... !!!
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