Thursday, February 17, 2011
BC Rail in Courtroom 54 on Feb. 16, 2011
By Robin Mathews
February 16, 2011, Vancouver, B.C.
The morning was gray. Rain ran in dirty streams into the catch basins. A barrier was up against part of the Law Courts. Fitting symbols for this last (?) headache-filled hangover day after the years-long drunken orgy of the Basi, Virk, and Basi case. (A party costing upwards of $20 million, with nothing to show but damp party hats ... and hang-overs.)
The day was long. An air of unreality was present ... as should be. A lot of the Basi, Virk, and Basi "old gang" were there. Joseph Doyle, Erin Dance, Janet Winteringham, Claire Hatcher, Kevin McCullough, George (whisper) Copley, Robert Deane, Andrea MacKay, Roger McConchie and son....
Michael Bolton was missing.
William Berardino - wrongfully appointed Special Prosecutor - was absent.
Something didn't ring true.
Perhaps a person needs to think - quite simply - about what, in fact, the gallery faced in courtroom 54 today. It faced the winding-down of a case in which a thousand unanswered questions remain. It faced a 'completed' trial which was a disgrace to the administration of justice in Canada - not so much having ended as (like Shakespeare's MACBETH) being "torn untimely from his mother's womb". It saw an argument that "the Crown" regain all documents from Defence. And the prophets in the room said Associate Chief Justice MacKenzie will order that to be done.
And when that is done? (Read the rest of this column.)
The trial, remember, ended with a flood of graceless and disgraceful disinformation and buck-passing - from William Berardino up into the cabinet and beyond - about who made the decision to okay the odious "deal" and to have taxpayers' pay all the Defence costs of men convicted of wrong-doing in the Public Service. An odious deal ... done quickly before leading actors in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR could take the stand and be cross-examined. Before something like the real story of the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR could get out.
It finished today with the wrongfully-appointed Special (Crown) Prosecutor not there. Rumour has it he is packing and primping for a three-month sabbatical and - many will surely agree - a much-deserved rest.
The eerie nature of the day was haunted by that fact - that William Berardino was appointed in December of 2003 in violation of the legislation governing the appointment process. The wrongful appointment - I insist - invalidated his every act as Special Prosecutor. And he was then supported in that wrongful position through equivocation, silence, or disinformation by the trial judge - Associate chief Justice Anne MacKenzie, the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, the assistant deputy Attorney General, the formal reviewer of the "Review" of the appointment process conducted recently, and the Judicial Council of Canada.
The mind boggles. People might readily say that with that many "ranking" people approving the appointment, surely it must have been proper.
In an insane society, the sane person is named a lunatic.
Except ... except a part of the day sparkled. Light was let in. Information. Information ... at long, long last was released to the public (in fact to selected Mainstream Media people, not to "the public" at all. But the disinformation is - of course - that the material was released "to the public".)
The strange, strange thing about the release was its ease, the smooth access to the material by "approved people", happily pretending they are acting in the name of the British Columbia public when, in fact, they act for the corporate interests that, for the most part, have always supported Gordon Campbell and his chorus of dancing clones.
The application was carefully made in the name of the Globe and Mail and CTV by the accomplished lawyer, Roger McConchie. But it was a breeze, You or I could have done it. The Crown which has a history of - to say it mildly - failure to cooperate, suddenly had nothing to say about the request. Sure. Go ahead. Mr. McConchie seemed almost embarrassed at the ease with which he won the morning. Without a crease to her brow, Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie unleashed the materials.
And a story of the unblemished state of Liberal government officials is revealed for all to see. The story of a clean, clean, Liberal team can be read in today's Globe and Mail.
All the suspicions of nasty, jaded, jealous, envious, carping, negative people are proved wrong.
Except what about BC Rail? What about "the failure strategy" to wear it down, to sell it off in pieces, to wreck it, to construct books that showed it losing money. What about the gigantic alleged Breach of Trust involving powers so far above Basi, Virk, and Basi that they need a telescope to look down on the accused?
What about the disinformation that went on and on about the 60 year lease - which turned out to be an almost flat-out lie?
What about the still secret aspects of the transfer to CNR?
What about the famous potential tax refund CNR got at 9% interest which is building and building and could end up costing B.C taxpayers more than the stated (which may not be the actual) sum received for the line?
What about things like the allegations concerning Patrick Kinsella that (in conflict of interest) he was working at the same time for BC Rail (to be sold) and CNR (buying)?
What about the persistent allegations that the bidding process for the transfer of BC Rail was corrupt - in fact, in a fairly run society - enough to cancel the whole thing? Remember CPR went public that it was withdrawing because it believed the bidding process was "tainted" - a delicate word?
No documents covering any of those things? Apparently none. Why not?
We got nothing about the drug investigation in today's release of materials. We got nothing about the allegations of money laundering in the process of huge Liberal bulk membership purchases - in a two-year period about $2 million worth some estimate.
The Globe and Mail story ends with a Defence lawyer's comment. "Michael Bolton, a lawyer for Mr. [Dave] Basi, cautioned that the material provides only a partial picture of a complex case. 'These are investigative materials that are created by the police with advice from the Crown ... they necessarily contain one-sided information', he said."
The "Crown" who was giving "advice" was, as I have insisted for months, appointed in a violation of the legislation governing the appointment of Special Prosecutors. He was appointed by a ministry containing an Attorney General and a Deputy Attorney General with whom he had been a partner and colleague for years. Advice.
The release of documents today was, some might say, a huge victory for the very worst forces in Liberal and Corporate B.C. That is because the BC Rail Scandal - like a railway train - always ran on two tracks, intimately linked. One track was the sleazy, almost petty, leaking of confidential documents for benefits and - in one case - a bribe. But even on that track, all close observers are not satisfied - by a long shot - with the settling on the three accused involved as the only ones deserving of charges. If you don't investigate, you can't charge.
The other track of the BC Rail Scandal was the monster track, was the basis for the huge betrayal of the people of British Columbia. Through the four years of pre-trial and trial, Defence counsel tried to force that story - the real story of sell-out and betrayal - sell-out and betrayal of gigantic, continental proportions - into the front and centre of the case. But how could they, I ask, (as I see it) with a government resisting, RCMP resisting, the mainstream press and media resisting, and - of course - "the Crown" resisting every step of the way.
And so today the wraps were taken off the everywhichway investigation - except the wraps came off the onlyinoneway part. Now watch the mainstream press and media whitewash the Liberal machine in British Columbia. Now watch the mainstream press and media prepare for a lily-white rebirth of a Party so scummily degraded that not a single Liberal member should be elected in the next election.
I am not permitted to look at the released documents - not being in the inner circle of approved mainstream press and media (nor can any other British Columbian. The release "to the public" was not a release to the public at all, but to a selected, chosen few.)
That little fact, in itself, probably tells everything that needs to be known about the real story of "the BC Rail Scandal". It's a tiny little fact in a huge caldron bubbling with thousands of facts - but if you dip your spoon into the caldron and pull out that little fact, you probably have the taste of the whole brew.
Like dirty rainwater draining into a catch-basin, the day in courtroom 54 leaked away today. Familiars left with tired farewells. And like dirty rainwater draining into a catch basin, the actors and the watchers in the four year disgrace to Canadian justice called "the Basi, Virk, and Basi case" left the Law Courts, mingled with the larger flow of humanity, and were lost to view.
BC Rail documents released Thurs., Feb. 17, 2011.
... At the request of Winteringham, [Justice Anne MacKenzie] ordered that the material be released to accredited media only.
Kevin McCullough, a lawyer for Bob Virk, said any member of the public should have access to the documents.
The material is expected to be available Thursday morning.
In a second application before the court, Winteringham argued that the massive amount of disclosure provided to the defence should be returned to the Crown.
She said the defence had no right to use the material for "collateral" purposes, such as a civil claim by Aneal Basi and to challenge a bid by key Crown witness Erik Bornman to be called to the bar in Ontario.
Winteringham also applied to have the defence return all materials associated with applications the accused made in court for disclosure, an application vehemently opposed by McCullough.
The defence lawyer argued that those defence materials were referred to extensively in court and should be available to the public.
Read it on Global News: Court orders release of Basi-Virk documents
How Erik Bornman went from powerful B.C. lobbyist to star Crown witness
The Globe and Mail - Feb. 17, 2011
Erik Bornman, the lobbyist who became the Crown’s star witness in the successful prosecution of ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk, was at a nexus of political power in British Columbia when the police came calling.
RCMP wiretaps of his frequent conversations with Mr. Basi show he was busy linking wealthy donors with Liberal Party officials, trying to influence government policy in favour of clients to his firm, Pilothouse Public Affairs, and discussing taking over riding associations. Two veteran MPs they talked about targeting were Herb Dhaliwal, disliked because he was not a Paul Martin loyalist, and David Anderson, whose strong voice on West Coast environmental issues wasn’t appreciated.
Read Mark Hume's full column HERE.
The very least that those same Press should do is publish on line that which the public have been barred from seeing except through the Press' eyes.
In BC, we live in a golden age of the golden rule - He who hath the gold rules.
Corruption, thy name is BC.
I was stunned by my first brief exposure to this "release" of documents when I caught it on CeeTeeVee (hardly the)News last night. I had the impression that this was a "custom" document dump concentrating on ONLY documents that incriminated Basi and Virk - just in time to give all the filthy corrupt LIEberal leadership candidates the appearance of new born purity. They also went for the most titillating stuff they could find such as Dave Basi arranging sexual services for a contact. How can Bob and Dave just lie there in their comfortable homes and see themselves portrayed as the REAL sleazebags in the case - I guess six million buys a lot of willingness to be publicly shamed - or put another way, just another form of prostitution!
Christy Clark is apparently as pure as the driven snow, indeed I'm beginning to suspect even Hamish is the result of some immaculate conception. That doesn't seem to jib with information out there that even though they were conducted more "politely" searches were executed at Mark Marissen's (wasn't that Christy's also at the time?) and Bruce Clark's offices or residences around the same time as the search warrants were excecuted at the Ledge(with plenty of forewarning to the Premiers office, including an infamous meeting with the then occupant of the musical chair Solicitor General's office in an airplane hanger somewhere)?
Now we hear that the public is on the verge of not caring about the HST anymore, the stalling and mis-information is working just fine thanks. The recall in Kamloops is going poorly and the campaign to dump Donna Barnett in the Cariboo is being abandoned. Maybe people are really too dumb to practice self government and will always be fleeced by the sharp grifters and tyrants and even learn to love it!
Well, the forces of evil (the BC LIEberals and their cohorts) have really circled the wagons and upped the ante and unfortunately it appears the people are going to lay down and take it in whatever orifice they choose.
I guess they are really confident because they've apparently managed to shut down the House of Infamy. I'm currently trying to get some kind of explanation from Google as to why the House has disappeared and all I've managed to get so far is that there has been "suspicious activity" on my blog (this at a time when I haven't posted since January 25) and that is must have been "disabled" due to "perceived" violations of their standards. Unless I get something a little more cogent than this nonsense Google will just naturally join Stephen Harper, the BC liaRs, and Republicans as one of my targets from a different platform.
However for the present I am giving Google a chance to respond to my questions and demand for an explanation - I am perfectly willing to believe that they have been gamed as well as myself. It wouldn't hurt if anyone who used to visit the House (http://houseofinfamy.blogspot.com) took a moment to contact Google and ask them why in the Hell it disappeared. The last visitor was around 12:30PM on Tuesday, February 15 from PoCo, according to my visitor logs which are kept elsewhere and thus still accessible.
They say the pen (or the keyboard, today) is mightier than the sword, but sometimes I wonder if that might not just be another lie promoted by the forces of evil to protect themselves from the justified wrath of those they exploit. Tyrants always figure they hold all the cards, but eventually they always fall, once those they exploit have had enough, however much that is in any given situation.
I am continuously looking at court lists and there are always results entered.
Raises more questions than answers.
This corrupt bunch may think it's over, it's not.
Comments have been disabled
Editor's Note: We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. We appreciate your understanding.
What legal reasons? That the public should not have the right to comment on what is clearly a contrived, stage-managed "coup de presse" by the RCMP??
which is what you get when you try to go to the comments on http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/bc-politics/police-documents-clear-elected-liberals-in-bc-rail-case/article1910627/ as I just tried to do.
Their recent article by some pair of nobodies mentioned only Collins and Reid as the cabinet ministers who would have been called to the stand if the trial had proceeded. It's not surprising that they're not giving anyone the chance to say "but the police investigation was corrupted".
It's not accidental that only the police version of the story is being released, and the police and Crown are wanting the return of all of everybody ELSE's version of the story to be "returned" to their control......
Welcome to Cairo, British Columbia.
They might as well have put "comments have been disabled for political reasons".
including kootcoot's comment. Thanks, let me know if this is a problem. Kim
this makes Basi a PIMP!
Like the story of sex offender Martin Tremblay whose drug of choice was/is date rape drugs(GHB),the whole story gets left out. Tremblay was arrested at the BC/Washington border('05?)for attemping to launder one billion dollars. Tremblay hid 3 million in a company that manufactures date rape drug KITS!!!
The fact the evil trumps the good works of honourable police, so it seems to be in BC, it is up to the police to bring justice to this gross miscarriage of injustice.
This is more than a whitewash; it is a hosejob. With a power-washer, organized by the RCMP and the Crown and aided and abetted by the patsies and stooges in the media.
Journalists I once respected such as Hume can now go burn in hell for all I care. He said, in response to my repeated "Shame, sir, shame" and also "you're a disgrace to your family's good name":
I won’t be replying to further notes, as you seem more interested in hurling personal insults than having a rational exchange.
Which is his way of saying he's not interested in dialogue, nor does he care to acknowledge any of the facts I hurled at him, which he will continue to pretend are rumours rather than the facts that we know them to be.
History will not be kind to the Canadian media any more than it will be to Canadian politicians, once the eventual outcome of all this has befallen us. It may take years for deprivation resulting from endemic corruption in BC brings hungry people into the streets as happened in Tunisia and Egypt, or people angry enough at their quadrupled hydro bills and continuing lies and deceptions from those who have a stranglehold on our autocratic system of government do something about it at the polling booth, in the courts, or in the streets. But it WILL happen.
You can't take it with you, but you sure as hell can make a lot of enemies along the way to acquiring it. And as far as dupes or, less kindly, stooges like Hume and other mainstream journalists are showing them to be, you earn only scorn in your path of deception and half-truth. Scorn and spite. How many journalists refuse to work for major papers in this country because of the leash and the yoke that publishers and major advertisers have placed around their necks and nailed through their tongues?? Too many.
I know several young, talented Canadians in business and the arts who have emigrated or are emigrating to other countries, in despair of the way this country is run and the money-grubbing, corrupt people who run it. The media feed our people a diet of hockey, car crashes, drug raids, sick babies, lurid murder stories from the US and abroad and lots of hype about corruption in all other countries except our own.
The Globe article by Hume does exactly what the script written by the Premier's Office has been doing for years - focussing on Basi and Virk and doing what it can to discredit what they have to say about the larger scheme of things. It's a piece of crap....very pointed, hair-standing-on-end crap, but a piece of crap.
Hume, I know you're reading this; your responses this morning were those of a wheedler and apologist. Disgraceful. If you were a real journalist you would join the ranks of those who have left the major media and now speak the truth. Yeah, no doubt you'd not be able to pay that expensive Toronto mortgage anymore....nor have perks such as exclusive access to material that unaccredited citizen journalists do not, or invitations to cocktail parties with the rich and powerful.
The Globe's shutting down its comments section on reportage of this farce is a clear demonstration of the lack of free speech in this country, and of the institution of a controlled and highly muzzled press. The age of the newspaper is over; the internet shall reign, just as it has in Tunis and Cairo and shall yet reign in Tehran and Beijing....and Victoria.
"Seven years later after an unprecedent raid on the legislature and an aborted trial, the public finally got an uncensored view of the backroom shenanigans that occurred in the controversial $1-billion sale of BC RAil assets in 2003."
Did Mulgrew miss the most important part, that its only accredited members of the press who gets to see all of the documents, the public gets their view of the documents, CENSORED by the press now.
The Judge made the point, perhaps because before her ruling there were more bloggers in the public gallery, than there were accredited press.
The words used by Ian Mulgrew to describe the shenanigans behind the scenes activities goes on to say that the two "cherry picked" the jobs and who of their friend should receive "plum jobs". All that the Press is doing with the documents is censoring them, just like the justice system of British Columbia has done for the past seven, going on eight years, cherry picking and looking for plums.
The Judge, for some unknown reason, doesn't want the documents in full view to the public. Maybe she hasn't had time to read a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision that stated that bloggers are no different that the MSM.
"Welcome to Cairo, British Columbia."
Except in Cairo the people decided to quit rolling over and taking it, little sign of that here! Everybody seems to be buying yesterday's whitewash.
There is no "evidence" (that hasn't been destroyed) of any illegal acts by "elected officials" because no elected officials were investigated, OR SEARCHED without advance warning. Hell, that is the same thing the cops said right after the raids and now after seven years of obfuscation and two witnesses who could barely remember how to get to the courtroom much less the answer to any inconvenient questions, we should know more? Give me a break!
Did you really write this Mary?
"Mark Hume's column in today's The Globe and Mail is a good one. It's intended to have our eyes on sticks, and there's nothing wrong with that if the information is factual and relevant, which it seems to be. "
Even if this is all "factual," it is questionable how "relevant" it is - what about the facts that were never disclosed because the questions were never asked, or if they were the answer was "It's before the courts" - you are unlikely to come up with evidence against anybody if you refuse to look for it - it would appear that the elected officials were warned when to hide stuff and the brother in law of the Liberal Party Chairman was probably guiding the investigation away from whomever the chairman wanted to avoid having to come under scrutiny.
Nobody said that Basi and/or Virk were "good" guys, but they certainly didn't rig the giveaway of BC Rail, or cook the books to make it appear to be a loser or benefit from all the real estate opportunities opened up by the BC Rail Scam. But hey a six million dollar legal bill is a big hammer hold over somebody's head and they are told to shut up, they probably will if it will incur six million in debt to do otherwise.
Meanwhile, it won't hurt the REAL criminals if some gratuitous slagging is heaped on the token bad guy scapegoats - it all helps to divert attention from the actual crooks, especially the risque stuff like getting contacts laid......
BTW, I remember when the "rented" home grow show bust went down and the charges were stayed. I would imagine it would be more accurate to call those referred to as the "tenants" engaged in crime, by the more accurate name of employees or partners of Basi, there to do the grunt work of managing the grow (high quality BC Bud doesn't grow itself, after all) and take the fall if necessary. Sort of a mirror image of the role Basi himself played for his superiors in the BC Rail scam and other shady deals.
sometimes a kind word goes a long, long way ... which is what yours just did.
Hume writes (I only report) "on the facts placed before me".
There you have it in nutshell what is wrong with the msm - exposed in Hume's revealing choice of the word 'placed'. As Skookum 1 asks him to re-consider... placed 'by whom' ?
How happy the msm is to be fed the so-called 'facts'.
They eat it up far too quickly without a second thought or second look.
Drive-thru journalism - all pre-packaged for their convenience.
How easy they make it for the corrupt to thrive.
Just a quick note on the silence - so far - of Gary Mason on this story.
I know he reads TLR so I'm sure he won't mind my mentioning that there's a huge black hole opening up between what's been disclosed by his colleagues and what he wrote about this case on December 23, 2006...As I recall the headline on that story was 'There is nothing to these charges'.
I notice Gary is avoiding the subject entirely today - concentrating his attention on the importance of Twitter and Facebook as aspects of the professional journalist's toolkit.
I won't bother posting a link - it's not worth your time.
I will say, however, that I must respectfully disagree with your assessment of Mark Hume's little essay - as cribbed from his exclusive session with the crown in the RCMP's document room...unlike the public, some journalists seem to 'get' all the luck.
I'd also like to mention that there's still a huge elephant in that room in the form of the documentation and discovery proceeds of years of work (which the public has also paid for) on behalf of the defence.
Don't you find it passing strange that there was little or nothing in Hume's material about another aspect of this case which was front and center for years?
The fact that there has been absolutely nothing said - or written - about the evidence that CN had this deal in the bag from the word go.
Basi and Virk were corrupt little soldiers - but they were pitching for Campbell's team - and Campbell's team had picked the winner in this game before the first ball was thrown out.
I simple cannot accept, without some hard evidence, that the Basi Boys and their defence counsel didn't have a lot more in their briefcase as they prepared to go for trial.
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