Saturday, October 25, 2008
Time seems to have taken on new characteristics lately. Events are moving so fast, they tumble over one another, get mixed, get left unresolved. Things that happened yesterday ought decently to take a decade, a century to unfold. Not any more.
Let me talk a bit. It might help.
Others may have been impressed recently by a lovely, strong young woman named Naomi Wolf. Author of 8 books, she is now raising the alarm about the state of the democracy in her country. Probably like others, I wasn't convinced but I was watching. She believes that the U.S. will go into crisis around the time of the U.S. election on Nov. 4, which will create the conditions for a massive smash-down of the U.S. population followed by the dictatorship of ... George W. Bush ... with Obama's election canceled. Somehow, after observing Dubya for 8 years, and especially what has happened to the U.S. media (remember those Weapons of Mass Destruction? and "Mission Accomplished"?), I wasn't rejecting her warnings either.
And so, yesterday ...
In yesterday's Globe and Mail, the leading editorial was headlined "A Premier Who Planned Ahead". It was all about G. Campbell. I couldn't believe it. Planned ahead? He had just demolished the Coquihalla Toll buildings right after renovating them? He had just thrown away the highway toll money while raising fares on BC Ferries? Like ... neglected or closed hospitals, schools, courthouses, children, seniors ... that premier? The Globe editorial was so mistaken, I was shocked. Could Naomi Wolf be right?
I know it's true that just before the federal election, The Globe had endorsed Harper as Canada's new prime minister. But this unabashed adulation for British Columbia's most hated premier was one wild leap into the unknown yonder. What were the editors thinking? But there it was: The Globe was obviously preparing to endorse for re-election the cruellest premier British Columbia has ever known. The premier who would sell the farm to build a circus. Or, more precisely, who would sell BC Rail to build a Convention centre. It was like there's an octopus of right-wing Harper/Bush/KarlRove/TomFlanagan/Campbell convergence wrapping us tight in its grip.
Then I read Harvey Oberfeld's blog. Harvey is the middle-of-the-road, respected and seasoned journalist, now retired but still caring. And yesterday he was passionately denouncing his former colleagues at CKNW, CTV, Global, and CHEK for failing to recognize that THE NEWS is a sacred trust; telling them in no uncertain terms that they had done serious injury to their own reputations by interrupting a NEWS program with 12 minutes of free TV political self-promotion by gordon Campbell (while locking the journalists up until it was too late for any opposition response to be published).
Good for Oberfeld, I thought, because it really was outrageous. Somebody had to say it. That's when I saw the octopus again: Oberfeld's is the only voice in the MSM to speak out in horror against this manipulated worship at Campbell's muddy feet. Bill Good did respond to Oberfeld on air, but only to defend Campbell again. Oberfeld had offered Big Media a way out. They could have apologized, promised to do fairer, less biased work. They didn't. It was sure as heck, the octopus growing bigger, stronger, ready to crush the life out of anything within its reach.
Next I hear Naomi Wolf ... I'll paste her YouTube below ... where she's describing the 10 danger signs of a crumbling democracy. Taking over the media is No. 7 on her list of sure signs of the death of free speech. She's urging her U.S. countrymen to "rise up" and say NO. To rise up and say NO before the octopus squeezes the life out of them.
I thought Canada was safer because we're saner. We still knew how to think for ourselves, I thought. But yesterday's events showed me that there may soon be only one point of view allowed. That was yesterday's news for me.
Yesterday's news was that there will be no other voices left in Big Media to speak freely -- that only the point of view of Harper/StockwellDay/TomFlanagan/GordonCampbell will be allowed. Naomi Wolf may be right.
All of a sudden, in this speeded-up universe, I think I saw the free press (the necessary basis of a democratic society) come under a united attack. Or had the free press already been attacked? Were they simply displaying the symptoms of their sudden collapse into willingness to conform? How else can we explain the overnight capture of every major news outlet in Canada?
Then I got thinking. Yes, politicians are supposed to be the guardians of a free society; therefore our elected politicians are responsible. But maybe there are guns being pointed at their heads? Like, we know for example that there's a $6Billion/year illegal marijuana commerce in BC ... so how come nobody ever mentions that? How come nobody mentions Organized Crime when it's known that Organized Crime has an enormous presence throughout the world, and especially in Vancouver? Isn't that Clue #1?
Here's a quote dated Sept. 7, 2000. A newly-appointed RCMP commissioner spoke at his first Ottawa press conference: "For the first time in this country," Guiliani Zaccardelli said, "we are seeing signs of criminal organizations that are so sophisticated that they are focusing on destabilizing certain aspects of our society. There are criminal organizations that target the destabilization of our parliamentary system ..." [P.14, Dispersing the fog, Inside the secret world of Ottawa and the RCMP. By Paul Palango. Published Oct. 2008].
Another warning came from another significant RCMP press conference on 29 Dec., 2003:
RCMP raid followed organized crime probe
Updated Mon. Dec. 29 2003
CTV.ca News Staff
An organized crime investigation involving the cross-border drug trade led RCMP to raid the offices of two senior cabinet ministers, according to an RCMP spokesperson.
The offices of B.C. Finance Minister Gary Collins and Transportation Minister Judith Reid were raided on Sunday. However, police stress Reid and Collins are not suspects.
"Sometimes in the course of a complex and lengthy police investigation, other related and unrelated information surfaces suggesting possible criminal activity," Sgt. John Ward told a news conference.
"This was the case with the RCMP and the Victoria police department investigation into organized crime.
"As a result of drug information and organized crime, other information came to light and another investigation was begun," said Ward.
Corruption can and often does guide public affairs. Therefore, it's only logical to ask if Canada's media has come under the control of Organized Crime, isn't it? To prevent the NEWS from reaching the people?
How different is that, really, from stalling, delaying, and ragging the puck in the Basi-Virk case? Saddam Hussein was caught, charged, convicted and hung within 3 years. Somehow B.C. just can't seem to settle down and hear the trial of 3 accused B.C. government aides within 5 years. Yeah?
A tremendous burden of responsibility is shifting onto the shoulders of citizens to invent ways of finding, supplying and receiving the news. We must keep the light shining on issues like Basi-Virk / BC Rail and upon a government which, allegedly in its own defense, has kept hanging back for 5 years.
We must keep asking why.
Keep asking. Keep asking.
Like, why would the respected old Ontario Globe and Mail be stepping up to polish the tarnished image of Gordon Campbell right now? Why? - BC Mary.
Watch Naomi Wolf on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW9PulYpjGs
as she discusses the evolution of U.S.A. from a functioning democracy into a closed, fear-driven society with a terrifying absence of due process. She says that all dictatorships whether of the extreme left or extreme right, follow the same 10 steps to end a democracy. She shows her countrymen how close they are to completing the 10 steps.
Canadians please note: control of the press is No. 7 on her list.
- BC Mary.
Hmmm That would make a great blog to link to, along with the others that you have listed.
If you are going to mention Harvey's writings (like you do with the news media and show their Un-snipped versions) how about a Link?
Good morning, 8:09, thanks for your comment ...
Yes, Harvey Oberfeld's blog is a great blog for those who care about the media ... and that should be all of us. Imagine having NO media. But having a captive media is much like having no media, I think. A high standard of journalism is worth defending ... and Harvey does that emphatically and with goodwill. When you think how many retired journalists there are, it's sad that they're not up in arms about the way the NEWZ is being cooked.
As regular readers understand, I am no geek. Even with the generous help of Koot, NVG, and Gary E, I still can't do hyperlinks -- although Gary (who claims to be ungeeky too) has brought me the closest to mastery of that wonderful tool.
So while I remain in this unenlightened, unhyperlinked phase, I will ask you this: why can't you simply Google "Harvey Oberfeld's blog" and visit his site? That's what I did ... then bookmarked him ... and bob's yer uncle.
Even while yearning for the nifty hyperlink, I always provide the URL where needed, so that people can go to a source that way, too.
So what's the big deal when you say "how about a link?"
If you mean a permanent link in the left margin, Harvey's blog wouldn't fit into that strict category which focuses -- like this blog -- on BC Rail.
Here's another question. Why do my wonderful commentors go silent on the subject of Organized Crime? What's your guess?
My guess is that people are deeply distressed even having to think about Organized Crime in our midst. Although we fully suspect it's all around us, driving the stock market, pressin policies we dislike, inflating the price of real estate, launching weird new public enterprises, we're thinking "Oh no. Apocalypse not right now, please!" .
And this is what really puzzles me ... movies and TV are so much about some form of Organized Crime. I understand "The Sopranos" -- all about a crime family and a criminal lifestyle -- is a huge success.
I don't like cop shows either, but I decided to watch a new one originating with CTV (and yeah, their "Due South" suited me just fine). This one is called "Flashpoint" about cops ... Toronto cops, working the streets one hair-raising event at a time. I actually learned stuff from it, about police procedures. It's getting the Thumbs Up from Toronto Police, too. But so far, it's saying nothing about Organized Crime.
All I'm saying is ... how come we have all this crime stuff in the media, on our TV screens for "enjoyment", we're told that it's as big a BC "industry" as forestry used to be ... and that it has the obvious ability to influence every aspect of life in B.C., but we go silent when there's the opportunity to express our thoughts ...how come? Why is that?
Granted, Big Media's current crime reports are filled with crime stories. But about this crook or that gang, about murders or missing persons, but rarely about Big Organized sophisticated, well-educated, highly successful Crime.
Jeez, look at the coverage of the depraved Pickton. There's the special permanent segment for Polygamy at Bountiful. But no talk, no permanent special feature in CanWest newspapers about the shape and extent of Organized Crime in B.C. and Canada.
It's Sunday morning ... more coffee ...
"Here let me try to put forward the case that: (1) “organized crime” does have a place in political science, and it is not only of concern to sociologists, criminologists and law enforcement officers, (2) it deserves to be incorporated into the discipline of political science so as to give a proper, fuller and more realistic (and therefore less idealistic) understanding of today’s world—a world awash in guns, drugs, people and body parts for sale, pirated CDs, and stolen cars—and (3) it properly fits and can be accommodated within many sub-fields of the discipline: Canadian and American politics, democratic transitions, comparative politics, advanced industrial democracies, developing countries, international relations, and even political theory (empirical and normative). I am suggesting that we lift the carpet, and along with the world of legitimate power which has been in our usual field of vision we should take a look at and account of the world where illegitimate power holds sway. The two are not only complementary; they are connected."
The term Organized Crime now, rightly, belongs to the political arena as well as the traditional interpretation so often used.
Anonymous 1:42, Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
I've raced through that document (hoping to see Canada's predicament analysed). I saw enough to give me hope that somebody is guarding the compound and we're not ... not all of us ... sitting quietly with bags over our heads.
"Organized crime, properly understood, is attached to political institutions, personnel, and processes!" [Quoted from Page 3].
University of Calgary, eh.
Thanks very much. This is greatly appreciated information. I hope we hear from you again soon.
I think you've brought up some important questions about the now ubiquitous presence of organized crime. There has been a process of normalization about criminal activities across the spectrum. Think Enron, Conrad Black, the actions of those behind the US global meltdown. Think "pimp" and marijuana culture and the glorification of these as viable and desirable "career" options.
Here is a link to the first part of a story I've written about some of what you've referenced in your blog. It is an analysis of both the signs in the US and Canada of the closing of our society. It is amazing some of the things I'm learning as I research these things and most Canadians have no idea how close Stephen Harper is moving to change Canada's sovereignty forever.
Silent Coup: America's Dying Breath - Part 1
Here is another story about the abuse of democracy by the media, this time the CBC:
Omar Khadr Documentary: CBC violates Canada's Rights to Freedom of the Press
Yesterday many of us "celebrated" Media Democracy Day, although it was in many ways more like a dirge. We still celebrated what many of us are doing to get around the lockdown of the mainstream media.
I don't think it is possible to say that the media is controlled by OC, it doesn't have to be. It is controlled by the foot soldiers of the market system. We the people still view media as a tool of democracy. It was always a vehicle for businesses to sell their goods & services. Newspapers didn't start for the interests of the public, they were good ways to develop larger customer bases for advertisers. Now media is corporate, they are BIG business. BC has one of THE largest media concentrations of ANYWHERE on the planet. That has been purposeful and strategically planned, but by whom is the real question, as is why. Is it the same people who stack the CRTC deck to allow these kind of abuses of democracy to continue?
That's why citizens such as ourselves have to continue to develop our sites and networks and offer the public what they hunger for: real news, real opinions and diversity and the behind the scenes information. It is through social media that we see that democracy still exists when all other systems are failing us.
I say the time is right for a new OC, Organized Collaboration for the survival and enhancement of democracy through independent and social media. Who's in?
I thought that I would just start the ball rolling on your post by mentioning that it would be nice to have Harvey's blog as a link. As it turned out, it was your response, which had more meat to it than what you have quoted from others.
I can say the same, 5:12.
Thank you for trying again. I think you'll feel encouraged by the 20 page presentation sent by 1:42 at the top end of these comments.
I'll keep trying too. I think many of us feel alarmed -- and have done so since Dec. 28, 2003 -- fearing that crime had been discovered within the walls of our Legislature. That's what makes the government's stalling so irresponsible. Responsible leaders would want to clear the air as quickly as they could.
It just goes to show how important a neighbourly discussion can be ...
because, after our conversation, I was thinking more about Harvey Oberfeld's blog.
It's all about media.
And the background to this blog is that the media had let us down so badly, with regard to BC Rail.
Well, Harvey is on the job, trying to fix those things. In that way, we are connected.
You're correct and the link to Harvey's blog will be included in the left margin.
Good morning 8:42,
Bill Berardino doesn't look federal to me. BC Rail wasn't a federally-owned railway. Basi, Virk and Basi were employees of the provincial government. The Campbell administration is definitely not off the hook. And won't be off the hook until this trial clears them.
Do you mean the RCMP has jumped from its provincial contract and into the federal realm? How exactly would that work??
You haven't made your point clear enough ... please tell us more.
bc mary, there are probably many other commenter's who have themselves also thought or felt this way. Encouragement and assurement may be the order of the day.
The drug trade is more than likely organized crimes main driving engine. All commodities and drugs alike have to moved from their manufacturing source to their markets. Were all are aware of the huge profits in the drug trade. OK now my spin. Would it not be a wise business decision to invest in buying a containerized railway system that runs both sides of the border for transporting your wares to and from offshore or within the continent. just a thought.
Good to see you back, 1:46. I see your point and I raise you an airport. 18 of them, in fact. It got my hair standing on end, on reading this morning's Province and thinking exactly what you're thinking. Here the story:
YVR makes bid for Gatwick
'A significant step forward into a very, very large hub'
The Province - Monday, October 27, 2008
Passengers arrive at Vancouver International Airport, which is already involved in managing 18 other airports around the world.
The Vancouver International Airport Authority is part of a $3.1-billion bid to purchase London's Gatwick Airport.
YVR Airport Services Ltd., a subsidiary of the Vancouver Airport Authority owned jointly by the airport authority and the infrastructure division of U.S. banking giant Citibank, is putting in the bid for London's second-largest airport, The Times of London reported yesterday.
If successful, the move would catapult YVRAS into the big leagues of airport management, say industry experts.
"It would be a significant step forward into a very, very large hub airport," said Rick Erickson, managing director of R.P. Erickson and Associates, a Calgary-based aviation consulting group.
"This will put them in a new league and it may open other substantial doors for them in the future." YVRAS manages 18 airports around the world, mostly in the Western Hemisphere, including Chile, the Bahamas, Jamaica, as well as smaller airports in Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kamloops, and Moncton. It reported $440 million in revenue last year.
The company has set its sights on bigger airports farther afield.
In 2006, it partnered with Dutch company ABN Amro for an unsuccessful bid to run London's City Airport.
In May, it partnered with Citibank and, just last month, backed by the bank's considerable financial heft, it won a $2.52-billion US, 99-year-lease to operate Chicago's Midway Airport.
But Gatwick, by far, would be the largest gem in the YVRAS airport empire, said Erickson.
About 35 million passengers pass through the London airport's terminals annually -- double the 17.5 million that went through Vancouver airport last year.
Its acquisition would open doors for future management contracts with airports in Asia or the Middle East, said Erickson, making it well poised to capitalize on a trend that began 10 to 15 years ago when governments began to divest airports and airport management to the private sector.
"With a great track record, in three or five years, there's no doubt they can go after other major airports," said Erickson, who added the well-managed Vancouver International Airport is one of the stars in the airport world and makes for a great calling card.
YVRAS officials refused to confirm the bid yesterday.
In an e-mailed statement to The Province, CEO George Casey said that the "primary focus of Vancouver Airport Services's immediate efforts is on operating and developing Chicago Midway Airport," and that it "continues to monitor other opportunities, but has no immediate additional plans." Gatwick owner BAA put the London airport on sale last month following a ruling ordering them to get rid of three of its seven U.K. airports for competition reasons.
Other potential bidders include Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport, German construction firm Hochtief, German airlines Lufthansa and Global Infrastructure Partners, a consortium made up of Credit Suisse and General Electric Co., which bought London's City Airport two years ago for $1.5 billion US.
Erickson said the fact that the bid is being made during today's struggling economic times might not be a big factor as airports, which have near-monopolies within their geographic areas, have proved to be consistent, attractive long-term investments.
It should come as no surprise about government collusion in drugs and organised crime.
The Opium War are case in point and I dare say those connections are still as firm as ever.
“By the 1830's, the English had become the major drug-trafficking criminal organization in the world; very few drug cartels of the twentieth century can even touch the England of the early nineteenth century in sheer size of criminality. Growing opium in India, the East India Company shipped tons of opium into Canton which it traded for Chinese manufactured goods and for tea. This trade had produced, quite literally, a country filled with drug addicts, as opium parlors proliferated all throughout China in the early part of the nineteenth century. This trafficing, it should be stressed, was a criminal activity after 1836, but the British traders generously bribed Canton officials in order to keep the opium traffic flowing. The effects on Chinese society were devestating. In fact, there are few periods in Chinese history that approach the early nineteenth century in terms of pure human misery and tragedy. In an effort to stem the tragedy, the imperial government made opium illegal in 1836 and began to aggressively close down the opium dens.”
To gain insight into the ongoing connections of government organised crime and the normal garden variety I suggest a Google search of Michael Levine a former DEA agent and whistleblower also please shift through Google’s info on, DEA Whistleblowers + Drugs. http://www.narconews.com/Issue34/article1063.html
Sandalio Sandy Gonzalez recently retired after a 32-year career in law enforcement, 27 as an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), eventually ascending to his highest-ranking position as head of operations in South America.
Three years ago, Gonzalez’s career came to an abrupt end after he blew the whistle in a horrifying case now known as the “House of Death,” in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stand accused of looking the other way while one of their drug informants participated in torturing and murdering at least a dozen people in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
I only dream that similar information was as readily available from Canadian sources.
It pains me that so many Canadians believe life is neatly compartmentalised.
Yes, I've read about the Opium War, a shameful blot on British history. That was Queen Victoria's Royal Navy with their big guns primed and aimed, protecting the opium traders as they offloaded their India-grown poison into China. It makes painful reading.
I'm not sure we can leap 100 years forward, though, to apply those lessons to Vancouver today. I don't mean to suggest that the drug trade isn't happening; rather, I mean that it's much more subtle. Banks are involved now. Transportation links are involved. Police, businessmen and politicians have been quietly corrupted. Then there are the puzzling clues: For example, when the special port police were removed from Port of Vancouver ... inexplicable unless you begin to wonder about the possibilities of a shadow government or infiltrators or some kind of corrupting process for key individuals.
To bring matters back to Basi-Virk, I would begin with our need to know what happened to Cirilo Lopez. Remember the name? It showed up only a handful of times when police had wire taps on Dave Basi's cell phone. Lopez was Mr Big on the U.S. West Coast. He was arrested in 2003 and street talk around Victoria was that Jasmohan Bains (cousin of Basi) was the new Mr Big for a portion of that area, i.e., Vancouver Island. I find it remarkably odd that Bains made 26 calls to Dave Basi at his office in the Ministry of Finance during the summer of 2003. Then Bains was arrested. I saw one mention that Bains's trial would take place in 2008. Nothing further. An almost complete silence surrounds Jasmohan Singh Bains. Now that's worrisome. How could that NOT be important news?
Trafficking charges against Dave Basi were dropped. Maybe the charges against Bains were dropped too?
I hope I don't sound harsh when I say this, 5:17, but I won't be reading a ton of stuff about drug trafficking and corruption in China, South America, or elsewhere. I've read enough to understand that Organized Crime is everywhere, and especially in Vancouver. So I'm going to focus my limited energy on British Columbia.
The BC Rail Case promises to reveal any possibility of Organized Crime. With the evidence given under oath at the trial of Basi, Virk, Basi, we might even possibly correct the damage done to British Columbia. The challenge has been for people to understand this before it's too late.
For myself, I only needed to hear RCMP Staff Sergeant John Ward's warning on 29 Dec. 2003 to accept, in my heart, that we could very well be dealing head-on with Organized Crime in the provincial government. And I'm sorry to say this, but the more Gordon Campbell twists and turns and to avoid speaking honestly or taking up the battle to protect our province, the more certain I am that he's hiding something terrible.
I no longer think that Case #23299 in BC Supreme Court is so much about Basi, Virk or Basi. No matter how competent a government aide may be, he can't decide to sell off a railway; he can't negotiate the terms; he doesn't sign the final documents. Only Campbell and his Cabinet could have done that.
Thank you for coming forward. Let's see what we can do.
As a watcher of you blog I admire your sticktoitivenes. The service you have done for BCers and Canadians should be an incentive to those who might follow your lead
Shucks, 7:06, no apologies required.
You've done us a world o'good, just by taking part in this discussion.
Thanks for your comments; thanks, too, for the good work that you are doing.
There's no simple definition for Organized Crime but I do believe that its essential characteristic is secrecy and/or subterfuge. Conrad Black for instance may have fallen off the ethics parade but he's never going to hide or take orders from any "lesser beings". You can say his risk-taking wandered into illegal realms but it's more difficult to pin anything more on him.
As with Enron. They crossed the line into serious cheating but I doubt if they set out to be criminals. So not everybody with a criminal record is automatically part of Organized Crime.
On the other hand ...
I thought of your comments this morning when I read the following story in Vancouver Sun. Maybe I'm mistaken ... tell me if you think so ... but I think I see the black hand of Organized Crime guiding this dreadful sequence of events with "malice a forethought" from start to finish. The very basis of O.C. activities is human misery.
It has no connection to Basi-Virk or BCRail so I'll just give you the link. See what you think:
because in my view, this is the modus operendi governing how Organized Crime goes about its cruel, evil business ... whenever, wherever it finds opportunity.
The major questions being asked by this web-site, however, are: does Organized Crime function within the BC Legislature? If so, how? Who? With what results?
These questions were first raised on 28 December 2003 and for the life of me, I cannot understand a premier or a government saying nothing ... who doing nothing ... not even so much as a word of sympathy for the people. What on eareth prevents them from show that they support an investigation with a view toward repairing the damage (if any).