Sunday, November 30, 2008


Technical difficulties ...

Many Large Brains are pondering and tinkering, in an effort to rid The Legislature Raids of the annoying pop-up message announcing that "Google Maps API server rejected your request".

Apparently other blogs are being visited by this same message.

Koot's advice is "Just clear the dialogue box if this message pops up" then keep going as if nothing had happened. That's how I've kept posting myself, just by ignoring the dratted thing.

Browsers seem to be part of the problem. Use Firefox if you can. Avoid Internet Explorer.


Saturday, November 29, 2008


Paul Battershill (continued ... )

Many daily newspapers are braying about who did what to whom in Victoria Police Department. I've provided only one link here, the most unexpected (Financial Post) and also the most complete. - BC Mary.

Financial Post (Nov. 29, 2008) Police sergeant accused of leak that sank chief. By Rob Shaw.


Friday, November 28, 2008


The RCMP, the BC Rail Scandal ... Part II

Part Two: Up To Their Armpits in Sleaze. The RCMP, The BC Rail Scandal, the B.C. Courts, and the Case Against Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi, former B.C. Cabinet Aides.

By Robin Mathews

Thursday, November 27 saw what journalist Bill Tieleman calls a "wild day in [B.C. Supreme] court" as revelations of questionable RCMP activity [in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case] constituted the "bombshells" dropped.

Thursday, and those days surrounding it, have been particularly sensitive because they are taken up with the question of the RCMP's claims of privilege (meaning secrecy) over a few hundred documents.

One of the characteristics of this case - besides interminable delays - has been the denial of the open court principle, and secrecy. At all times, the public (meaning also the press) has been treated as if it is lucky to be admitted to the courtroom. The idea of regularly making transcripts of the day's proceedings and some documents available to the public is so far from the minds of the judge that every release has had to be almost pried from the court

With the handling of RCMP 'privilege' matters, secrecy is tightened. Special Crown Prosecutor William Berardino - who has fronted all matters of the kind until now - is not arguing for the RCMP. Rather, W.P.Riley of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada is doing so. His unfamiliarity with the case, self-described as a "stranger" to the case, has, in my observation, delayed matters while he has been learning - trying to exert secrecy, and then often accepting processes that the Special Crown Prosecutor could have dealt with much faster. Delay? Yes. Intended delay? Who knows.

Delay - as I have often said - is the continuing characteristic marking the case. Indeed, as example, Michael Bolton, Defence counsel, reported on November 25 that 4300 pages withheld from Defence for months as "privileged", when released in late September proved to have at most 100 pages that might be claimed to have any sort of privilege attached. Why the game with the documents? And then, on November 27, came the "bombshells" I will refer to.

That day of revelations - and hints of more - collided (almost) with the release two days earlier of the "RCMP Reform Implementation Council's" first report to the Minister of Public Safety "and all interested Canadians regarding the progress of RCMP reform". That process was set afoot by the earlier Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP headed by David Brown who spoke of the RCMP as a broken organization and whose Task Force made recommendations for swift action and change.

The press release from Public Safety Canada bubbles over with enthusiasm for what appears to be a Harperclone "Council", carefully managed, without, it seems, one independent critical mind present, consulting with the Commissioner William Elliott (alleged relation of Brian Mulroney and a Deputy Minister), in order to affect as little change as possible and to call it a major reformation of the RCMP.

Remember that in his latest book, Dispersing the Fog, Paul Palango leaves little doubt that Stephen Harper is manipulating to have the RCMP exist as what I call a Personal Palace Army. What better way than to make William Elliott [alleged relation of Brian Mulroney who has acted as advisor and confidant to Stephen Harper] the first civilian Commissioner of the Force.

Terminology and blather dominate the nineteen page Report of the Council. Everything is moving along splendidly; nothing is happening. The moves that the government must make to reconstitute the RCMP are not even on the horizon. A few simple steps would (A) prove to the public that action is seriously intended and happening, and (B) would begin a change in the RCMP that would reverberate through the whole organization.

For instance. A new, effective, responsible, and empowered Public Complaints Commission would begin the transformation of the force very quickly. All over Canada Canadians are concerned with serious breaches of behaviour by RCMP officers that go undisciplined. A Public Complaints Commission with power to pursue investigation, and to charge officers if they are deemed to have broken the law would be such a wake-up call to the organization that it would begin to look into many of its "broken" procedures and to mend chains of command.

Among the six elements the RCMP has listed as its "vision for change" (such is the ethereal language the force uses) many would be affected really, understandably, and in a way the public could recognize: accountability, trust, adaptability, outstanding leadership. That's four of six. A tough, fair Public Complaints Commission would concentrate the minds of those engaged in change and reform.

I have used my own experience to report the insulated, uninvestigated, coddled, and highly dangerous state of RCMP activity. Excuse me if I refer to it again - it completely damns the RCMP. At the time of the "investigation" of former B.C. premier, Glen Clark, delay was one of the watchwords. I registered a formal complaint about delay and investigation techniques. The so-called investigation was terminated (unconcluded) by two experienced RCMP officers. I pushed on. Three years later - get that, three years later - I received a Report from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP informing me that the investigation had been "wrongfully" terminated. The CPC's conclusion was they would leave it up to the discretion of the RCMP whether to reopen and continue the investigation!!

In the meantime, Glen Clark's political career was destroyed. There is reason to believe it may have been intentionally destroyed, partly by actions of the RCMP.

In the present Kelly Marie Richard dental malpractice case in Alberta, I believe the RCMP acted highly improperly, refusing to do a reasonable investigation, leaking confidential information, and misreporting. The CPC, appealed to, allegedly so harassed Ms. Richard that she withdrew her complaint. I filed a formal complaint on the matter to the RCMP. It reported it was doing an investigation, and a Report was sent to me of the findings. It was the nearest thing to farce that could be imagined. Some people involved were not even interviewed; casual statements gathered from others served as "evidence"; no records or documents were asked for or presented, no e-mail communications, and neither Ms. Richard nor me was asked for a shred of evidence. The whole thing was an embarrassing sham as I reported to R.R. Knecht, Deputy Commissioner of the North West. He never replied to my letter of assessment which asked for a re-opening of the investigation.

Kelly Marie Richard has been ruined financially, is in ill health, and is still being judicially harassed in what I believe is a total miscarriage of law and justice. The RCMP and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP are so "broken" there is nowhere to turn for satisfaction.

Though other cases of the kind I report exist across Canada, the RCMP Reform Implementation Council and the RCMP brass could not be less interested. It wants the RCMP to work - for Stephen Harper and his clones.

The happenings in Vancouver at the pre-trial hearings towards a trial of the three accused men has all the perfume of recognizable delay. They also have had all along a perfume of RCMP failures of accountability, and masking of actions. And more than that. The bombshells dropped on Thursday, November 27, followed one upon the other. The Special Crown Prosecutor of the day (December 2003) told the RCMP their planned news release to explain the Search Warrant "raids" on B.C. legislature offices was wrong. "Do not leave the impression that organized crime has penetrated the legislature", the Special Crown Prosecutor said. Nonetheless, two days later "RCMP spokesperson John Ward told media that 'organized crime has stretched into every corner of B.C.' and had reached 'epidemic proportions in B.C.'

Why the contradiction? Why the expression of different goals, apparently?

During his review of that and other matters to follow, McCullough made the point that indications of police bias in investigation or failure of investigation are of importance to the Defence. Even some documents declared of no interest by the Crown might well contain information that points to non-action where action should have been taken, but was not taken - out of RCMP bias.

One of the claims of the Defence is that the three men accused may well have been selected out, targeted, and in a sense set up to take the fall for others. To any reasonable Canadian (even without the slightest knowledge of law), the idea that "aides" (assistants) to cabinet ministers would take instruction and follow orders and the policy of those ministers is something that is taken for granted. If the aides then should be found to be engaged in kinds of wrong-doing connected with and having relation to their employment, any reasonable Canadian would quite properly think that among the first to be investigated and reported upon in the matter would be the ministers of the aides. Did they give orders? Were they in any way implicated?

In the Basi, Virk, and Basi case, those questions do not seem to have been investigatively treated by the RCMP, with the exception of the aborted investigation of Gary Collins, finance minister.

The year delay in laying charges after the raids on the legislature may, for instance, point in that direction, as if separating the three accused from their "connections" took a deal of doing.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough read from a document that said a former provincial deputy minister had approached the police and had alleged he believed Harris and Berardino had received confidential information leaked from Doman Industries. A little later McCullough added that it appears the former deputy minister was doing work for Doman Industries and so were Berardino/Harris and Pilothouse - Kierans and Bornmann. All that may be coincidental, but Defence has questions.

McCullough went on to report that Josiah Wood, briefly Special Crown Prosecutor (to December 8, 2003), had withdrawn because of conflict. Was the conflict investigated by police, especially if clients of the firm for which Wood worked were BC Rail, the TD Bank, CIBC, and the chair of BC Rail? (All involved, in some way, with the sale of BC Rail.)

McCullough refers to Gary Collins, B.C. Liberal Finance Minister at the time of the raids. Collins employed Dave Basi as his senior ministerial assistant. "Mr. Collins was a [RCMP] target December 5, 9, 12" of 2003. And McCullough quotes from one report of that time that RCMP, apparently, are to "assist with determination of Mr. Collins culpability".

It was not long after that the RCMP announced that no elected people were under investigation, though they took almost a full year to frame charges against the accused.

Mr. McCullough's remarks, overall, may have pointed to the RCMP as a "broken" organization and one that (as with the RCMP Reform Implementation Council) is more interested in cosmetics and disguised loyalties than in assuring the rule of law. All through the hearings dealing with the Basi, Virk, and Basi case the role of the RCMP has been doubtful. And all through the time of the hearings dealing with the Basi, Virk, and Basi case news in the country about the RCMP has been causing Canadians more and more concern. The Basi, Virk, and Basi case - now delayed by Crown appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada - may seem to be a strange, unique victim of off-the-rail (pun intended) RCMP investigations. But it may be, rather, quite normal for an RCMP investigation that involves people in power and wrong-doing.



Top Court agrees to hear appeal in corruption trial

The Globe and Mail (Nov. 28): Top Court agrees to hear Appeal in corruption trial. By Mark Hume.

VANCOUVER -- A political corruption trial that was expected to start before the spring provincial election in British Columbia will be delayed by a Supreme Court of Canada decision handed down yesterday.

The country's top court agreed to hear an appeal from prosecutors in the trial of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk. Although it's unclear just how long the trial will be delayed by the ruling, the NDP's justice critic, Leonard Krog, said it will probably set things back several months.

"It would be a miracle if this trial started before the election [in May]," Mr. Krog said.

"This appeal will cause a significant delay and that means the provincial Liberals will go into the next election with a cloud of suspicion hanging over their heads," he said. {Snip} ...

"This Crown will not breach this privilege in this case ... we will not resile from this position," Mr. Berardino said earlier this year before the B.C. appeal court.

Mr. Berardino later refused to elaborate on that comment, which generated speculation the Crown might give up its case before identifying the police informant.

He said earlier this week, however, that regardless of how the Supreme Court of Canada ultimately rules on the matter, the Crown will do everything it can to pursue the prosecution.

Mr. Krog was critical of the Crown for appealing to the nation's Supreme Court, saying it is in the public interest to get the case to trial, so the public can learn all the facts ...


The Province (Nov 28) Top court to hear appeal in BC Rail Case. By Keith Fraser.


Vancouver Sun (Nov 28) Basi-Virk takes a Dickension twist. By Ian Mulgrew. [Holy smoke, Ian, that's putting it straight! Good on you. Plus there's a time-line for the Basi-Virk trial. Recommended. - BC Mary.]

Basi-Virk trial takes a Dickensian twist
Proceedings in influence-peddling case reveal judicial rot of our times, leave voters to wonder

Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun

Think of the B.C. legislature as Bleak House after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling Thursday agreeing to referee a pre-trial squabble involving the unprecedented Christmas 2003 raid of government precincts and Liberal cabinet offices.

For five years, a special prosecutor has been shadowboxing with defence attorneys about revealing documents at the heart of serious corruption allegations and the informant who triggered RCMP charges that organized crime had infiltrated the highest levels of government.

Now the Supreme Court has waded into the mire -- and the result may be that we never learn what transpired during the $1-billion sale of BC Rail, a major privatization initiative of Premier Gordon Campbell's first term.

As is tradition, the Supreme Court provided no reasons for granting special prosecutor Bill Berardino a chance to argue defence lawyers should be blocked from learning the name of a police informant -- though they vow never to reveal it.

That process will further bog down the trial of former provincial Liberal insiders Dave Basi and Bob Virk, accused of influence peddling.

The Supreme Court will conduct an expedited hearing this spring, but the nine justices will probably require months to render judgment on an issue Berardino says could affect police across Canada and their relationships with confidential informants.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett ruled that if they vowed never to reveal anything to their clients, Basi's and Virk's defence counsel could attend an in camera hearing about the informant and other issues.

The private proceeding without the accused is seemingly necessary because the prosecutor can't talk about anonymity without fear of providing a clue that might reveal the informant's identity.

But defence lawyers, who are also officers of the court, argued they should be there to protect the rights of their clients.

Justice Bennett agreed, as long as the lawyers gave undertakings not to reveal what they heard.

Berardino said forget it -- adding he'd rather let Basi and Virk walk than risk his informant's identity at such proceedings.

Berardino insinuated he would throw in the towel if the Supreme Court of Canada upholds Justice Bennett's decision.

Just as the classic novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens exposed the injustice of the interminable process of 19th-century English courts, these proceedings reveal the judicial rot of our times.

All of this should have been thrashed out years ago. The trial should have been over years ago.

This latest delay turns the entire case into a festering indictment of the legal system -- imagine allowing such an important prosecution to moulder!

And there is a growing likelihood we're not even going to see a trial.

I expect we'll be back a few years from now in front of the Supreme Court of Canada hearing arguments about why charges should be stayed because Basi's and Virk's constitutional rights to a trial without undue delay were violated.

This entire affair is a veritable thumb of the nose to our right to know what happened during the sale of valuable public assets and our ability to hold our elected representatives accountable.

Although Basi and Virk have been accused of accepting money and perks, no one has been charged with offering bribes. Why not?

As well, Basi and Virk were not fringe players, they were stars in the Liberal regime. That raises a whole host of other questions about political accountability and the way Campbell ran his first administration.

Given the high court decision, provincial voters will go to the polls this spring for the second time without knowing what went wrong -- if anything.


Vancouver Sun. (Nov. 28) Dispute over informant goes to top court appeal. Neal Hall.


Dispute over informant goes to top-court appeal
Further delay could mean the case, in which government employees are accused of corruption, might not begin until after the B.C. election

Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun

OTTAWA - The nation's highest court said Thursday it will hear an appeal in a dispute over whether defence lawyers should be excluded from an in-camera hearing about a confidential informant in the Basi-Virk case.

The ruling means the corruption case against former government employees will likely not go to trial until after May's provincial election. {Snip} ...

Berardino, the special prosecutor, said: "We're going to make every effort to make sure the trial isn't delayed."

But Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog said he was extremely disappointed by the ruling because it will delay the trial yet again.

He expects the Basi-Virk trial won't start now until after the election, set for May 12.

"British Columbians want to know what happened," said Krog, a lawyer and attorney-general critic for the NDP. "Justice delayed is justice denied."

If the trial is delayed until after the election, it will leave a "cloud of suspicion" over the government handling of the 2003 privatization sale of BC Rail, he said. {Snip} ...

The Basi-Virk case is in [Vancouver Supreme] court now for a three-week "vetting" application involving 305 documents still sought by the defence.

An estimated 700,000 documents have been disclosed to the defence so far. The disclosure process has dragged on for years, delaying the start of the trial, which is expected to begin next year.

The case was expected to resume in early January with the defence arguing a constitutional challenge against police search warrants and phone wiretaps.

The court was told this week that defence lawyer Michael Bolton has to attend his client Dave Basi's one-week preliminary hearing on Jan. 12 for an unrelated matter.

In that case, Basi is accused of defrauding the government and breach of trust in connection with the Sunriver Estates case, which allegedly involves land removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Two developers, Anthony Ralph Young and James Seymour Duncan, builders of Sunriver Estates in Sooke, are charged with breach of trust and illegally paying $50,000 to Dave Basi.

Young and Duncan were ordered to stand trial last July after a preliminary hearing.


24 HOURS (Nov 28) Public's right to know off the rails. By Alex G. Tsakumis. Includes a major tribute to Bill Tieleman for his work on Basi-Virk.


Thursday, November 27, 2008


Basi-Virk: Bombshells in BC Supreme Court


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Basi-Virk - Bombshells in BC Supreme Court - Defence alleges RCMP instructed not to suggest organized crime connected to BC Legislature Raid but did


RCMP instructed by Special Prosecutor not to say organized crime was reason for BC Legislature Raid but did so anyway, defence alleges

More bombshells fired by defence in wild day of court pre-trial hearing

By Bill Tieleman

The following story will appear in Friday's 24 hours newspaper in a shorter version and on The Tyee's The Hook

The RCMP was directly instructed by a Special Prosecutor that “organized crime” had “not penetrated the B.C. Legislature” but used the phrase anyway to justify a December 28, 2003 raid there to seize documents, it was alleged in B.C. Supreme Court Thursday.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, representing one of three former B.C. government aides facing corruption charges, read from a recently disclosed document that indicated David Harris, a member of the Special Prosecutor team, told the RCMP their planned news release was wrong two days before the raid.

“There was a lengthy voice mail from David Harris regarding the news release – that it gives the impression that organized crime had penetrated the Legislature – this is incorrect,” McCullough read. “Do not leave the impression that organized crime has penetrated the Legislature.”

But one day after the raid RCMP spokesperson John Ward told media that "organized crime has stretched into every corner of B.C.” and had reached “epidemic proportions in B.C.”

McCullough said the fact that the RCMP disobeyed instructions was critical to defence arguments that the investigation into his client Bob Virk and co-accused David Basi and Aneal Basi was “tailored and targeted” against them and away from elected government officials.

“Despite being told in the new disclosure not to do that, they did it ...

Read the full, long report at


Question: Who would know whether or not Organized Crime had found its way into the Legislature or into every corner of B.C. ... the Crown Prosecutor? Or the police? I don't understand how the Crown Attorney would be giving instructions like this to the RCMP.
This alone is ample evidence that this trial needs to get started. - BC Mary.


The Tyee, The Hook: Bill Tieleman (27 Nov) RCMP told 'organized crime' claim wrong: Basi-Virk defence.



Top Court will step into BC Legislature Case

The Canadian Press
November 27, 2009

Top court will step into B.C. legislature case

OTTAWA — The country's top court will step in to referee a legal wrangle arising from a highly-publicized police raid on the B.C. legislature.

The Supreme Court of Canada, in a ruling released Thursday, agreed to hear an appeal by prosecutors who want to block defence lawyers from learning the name of a confidential police informant.

The high court, in keeping with tradition, gave no reasons for its decision to intervene. A full airing of the issues and a final judgment will likely take months, further delaying a case that has already dragged on for nearly five years.

The legislature raid in December 2003 led to charges of fraud and breach of trust against Liberal ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bobby Virk in connection with a $1-billion deal by the province to privatize B.C. Rail.

Aneal Basi, a government communications officer and cousin of Dave Basi, faces charges of money laundering.

Their lawyers want to be present at a closed-door, pre-trial hearing that will assess whether the Crown must disclose additional details of its case against the men.

Justice Elizabeth Bennett of the province's senior trial court ruled last year that defence counsel can attend the hearing as long as they promise not to divulge confidential information to anyone, including their clients.

Special prosecutor Bill Berardino has objected to that arrangement, saying the defence must be barred from the hearing because evidence there could identify an informant used by police to build their case.

The Crown argues that sharing the name at this stage of proceedings would fly in the face of established legal practice, and could have repercussions across the country in any criminal case involving a police informer.

[Excuse me, Learned Folks, but this case is already having repercussions across the country in matters of public perception, elections, governments, and accountability. Does the Basi Virk Basi trial hinge entirely upon this witness? Wouldn't it be better to move ahead without this witness? - BC Mary.]

The dispute isn't the only one that has dogged the proceedings. Defence and Crown lawyers have argued over disclosure of a wide range of documents, including provincial cabinet papers.

But the showdown over the informant is seen by some as having the potential to derail the whole prosecution.

Berardino has said in the past he won't back down on his contention that the identity of informers must be protected. That has raised speculation that, unless the Supreme Court agrees to bar the defence lawyers, the Crown could pull out of the hearing or even abandon the case entirely.


- The Province. Appeal of Defence ruling to go ahead. Keith Fraser. 27 Nov 2008.


Supreme Court of Canada to hear Special Prosecutor appeal to overturn secret witness ruling - will delay trial up to 1 year


The Supreme Court of Canada today granted the Special Prosecutor leave to appeal two lower BC court rulings regarding testimony of a secret witness in the BC Legislature Raid case.

The decision will likely delay by up to a year the start of the trial of former BC Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi on corruption charges related to the 2003 privatization of BC Rail.

The central issue is whether defence lawyers for the accused can be present in the courtroom to hear arguments as to whether a secret witness will give testimony in the trial.

The Crown argued that no one but Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino and his legal team and BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett should be permitted to hear the evidence, with defence lawyers, media and the public excluded in order to protect the identity of the witness ....

See Bill Tieleman's blog for the full story. Many thanks, Bill.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


BASI-VIRK: Wrangling over vetting and hints of techniques the RCMP wants kept secret, reports Bill Tieleman

Slow plodding, with glimpses of something interesting the RCMP wants hidden.

But tomorrow morning early, says Bill Tieleman, something momentous may be coming.

So it won't be another Seinfeld episode where the old gang gets together and ... yadda yadda yadda ... then nothing happens. No, tomorrow (we hope) will be different ...

Tomorrow, Thursday November 27, 2008, early ... something BIG may happen. Let's everybody be there?? Please? - BC Mary


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Robin Mathews - in courtroom 65, Nov. 25

Six lawyers and a gallery of four observers began the day in courtroom 65. Sparks flew, and disagreements ruled the morning. (I won't see the afternoon session). Mr. W.P. Riley for the Public Prosecution Services of Canada won the argument yesterday and was given "standing" in the court to argue the case for the RCMP's "privileged" documents.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett suggested (more than once through the morning) that a good way to begin the examination of about 302 documents the RCMP has claimed privilege upon (meaning that they remain sealed to the Defence and public) is to review the meaning of privilege - for the public interest, for solicitor client, for litigation and....

Defence argued that the documents should be identified by description, categorized as to type, and then argument could proceed about the meaning of the particular cases or case types. Defence is testy about the whole matter. For - to begin - they resisted giving Mr. Riley standing, insisting that the Special Crown Prosecutor had an obligation to conduct the argument for the RCMP since he always and exclusively dealt with their materials. But Defence lost that, and Berardino was not present at today's events, strangely since he is Prosecutor.

Defence is testy also because cooperation by the RCMP over a few years has been less than eager and helpful. In fact, Michael Bolton, for the Defence, reported that a huge number of documents were named privileged by the Special Crown Prosecutor and then when they were released, finally, there appeared no reason whatever for naming them privileged. In fact, he said of 4300 pages that were previously named privileged only 100 seemed to have any sort of material that might suggest that a claim of privilege could, seriously, be made.

Defence wants - because of past experience - to see lists, descriptions, an index. They were not about to be put by with assurances (even from the judge) that verbal descriptions might suffice.

In addition, we know that the RCMP responded to calls for materials and for disclosure in a way which often seemed almost openly obstructive. And the very presence of W.T. Wiley has an aspect to it which could also be seen by some to be RCMP obstruction. For he is truly, as he said himself, "a stranger" to the case. Undoubtedly, his lack of knowledge of the case will slow down some of the action. That of course was not intended. In addition, he made clear he may well not accept the code worked out already for designating documents.

At least a part of the afternoon will be taken up arguing whether relevance should be considered in looking at documents, meaning that the judge can say that many documents, perhaps, are not relevant in any way to the case though wanted privileged by RCMP and so do not have to take time being discussed. That will be worked out. But Kevin McCullough and Joseph Doyle for the Defence pointed out that if Mr. Riley has a hand deciding relevance then he will be stepping into the role of Prosecutor.

Matters will not go quickly, as was made clear by the morning, interrupted by one break for counsel to work to agreement about procedure. Defence alleges that questions they asked, the answers which would have sped matters today, were not answered by the Special Crown Prosecutor.

All of this takes place in the shadow of Paul Palanago's new book presenting a chilling picture of the RCMP from top to bottom. It takes place as the RCMP and the Crown cannot seem to take action in regard to the officers involved in the Robert Dziekanski killing - the event now more than a year past.

If British Columbians wonder at the role of the RCMP in the BC Rail Scandal and the investigations which preceded and followed the Search Warrant raids on B.C. legislature offices on December 28, 2003, perhaps British Columbians have a right to wonder ....



Thursday, November 27, 2008 is the day to watch. Supreme Court of Canada decision will be delivered in Vancouver Supreme Court at 9:45 AM EST

Bill Tieleman says:

Supreme Court of Canada to decide on whether to hear Basi-Virk Special Prosecutor appeal on secret witness.

Bill Tieleman blog (Nov 25, 2008)

Well ... that should be interesting. Or not. Remember, folks, that's 6:45 AM PST, heaven knows what the Big Court in Ottawa was thinking. Will the Courier Service be standing on the steps waiting for the janitors to open up the Law Courts? What a Gong Show.

Thanks for the tip, Bill. - BC Mary.



More about the RCMP and Paul Palango


From: Prime Time Crime (Nov. 1, 2008)

Paul Palango Responds

Dear members and interested parties;

In recent days Commissioner Elliott and various commanders have issued statements attacking my book, Dispersing the Fog: Inside the Secret World of Ottawa and the RCMP. They claim there are distortions and errors in the book.

Please allow me to give you some background. This was a very difficult and comprehensive book. It was written and edited in an extremely short period of time. There are some typos in the book, but mostly in the index. The story was put together so quickly that I was not even given a chance to review the index, which would have helped me catch some of those problems in the first edition. I plan to make corrections in the next edition of the book.

I believe I have created a fair impression of the RCMP in my book. My main contact with the force has been DCOMM Bass. As I told him in an e-mail, the force is throwing up a smokescreen to conceal the real issues. To use a baseball analogy, the RCMP brass is arguing about balls and strikes when the real issue is the steroids and corked bats and the integrity of the entire sport.

Furthermore, I had an exchange of e-mails with Bass over the weekend when he alerted that the force would be issuing a statement.

Here is my response to him:

Gary: Glad you read the book. I think I’ve created a fair impression of the RCMP. You can quibble about details but when you issue your press release, please refer to the previous time(s) you have issued press releases about me and others that were inaccurate and misleading, like those detailed in the book.

You can also include former RCMP member Leo Knight’s review Tilting at windmills with effect on or Morley Lymburner’s from Blue Line Magazine. One said I had done a great public service while the other said I should receive the Order of Canada.

Meanwhile, as part of my response, please include the following excerpts from e-mails I have received in the past few days.

A RCMP member (edited to protect identity) had this to say:

“I am hoping this email will reach Paul Palango. I have read the book and am amazed to how well written and interesting it is. As an RCMP officer I would have first shunned your books and not believed that there is a "secret world", that is full of dysfunction…. Ottawa won't even return my calls. Anyhow, I realized in the last four years that they do not want someone doing the right thing if it means extra work for them. They do not want to believe there is corruption in the Force. And it does not get any better when dealing with higher ranking members.

Thank-you for writing a book that should be read by all Canadians. Hopefully some good will come from the RCMP in the future. There are some great men and women working the front line. I do not have anything positive to say about the upper management, here in … Div or Ottawa. I would love to say that I hope they learn from the book. But... I think that may be wishful thinking. I hope one day to have a book of my own out there discussing the corruption from the inside (cause God help there is a lot). Respectfully submitted…”

Or how about this one from another RCMP member:

Mr. Palango. I … have been unable to put it down…..As I have yet to finish the book, I have no doubt that the Government of Canada has diminished the organization that I worked for and continues to do so through it's political activities but, Commissioner Zaccardelli, in my view, was the worst Commissioner that I ever served under. The future doesn't look all that rosy either! I look forward to finishing and sharing the book with others.”

The following came from a retired RCMP Staff Sgt:

“Thank you for putting to paper what is long overdue.”

Then there is this one from a former Canadian police chief:

“The book is brilliant. I can’t believe how you touched on all the important issues and some that most have not even thought about. I’m very impressed. I hope Canadians read it and take the time to understand these important issues.”

A prominent former judge said this:

“Congratulations on an impressive piece of work…”

So, I will not engage at this time just as the RCMP has been unwilling to engage me in the past (see Curt Petrovich’s recent story in the CBC about e-mails). When I appeared on The CBC show the Current in November, 2007, the RCMP decided not to oppose me because, as the e-mail pointed out, the RCMP felt it was in a no-win situation.

Unfortunately, the RCMP through its own actions has lost credibility. It has a track record of speaking in “shades of truth” to defend itself. That the leaders of the force cannot see the evident problems and are unprepared to admit the shortcomings and failings of the force is one of the main points (and certainly not the only point) of the book I have published.

I could go on, but you should get the picture. There are good people in the RCMP but it is clear that upper management is more interested in protecting the institution than the public interest.

Yes, I stand behind my story. You are entitled to have your say, but I wrote this book in good faith and in a disinterested fashion. The RCMP was anything but co-operative.

I warn you in the clearest terms that if you or the force falsely and maliciously attack me for my professionalism or integrity in an attempt to diminish the sales of this book, I will respond in time and in a manner fitting the situation.

That being the case, Gary, please feel free to include this with your press release as my response to your inquiries. If you don’t, I will.

Thank you,

Paul Palango

November 1, 2008


RCMP Commanding Officer’s Communiqué .pdf


Press clippings - Basi Virk disclosure

The Globe and Mail (Nov. 25, 2008) Prosecutors can argue against disclosing RCMP documents. - Mark Hume

VANCOUVER -- A Supreme Court of British Columbia judge handling a political corruption case ruled yesterday that federal prosecutors can intervene in the trial to argue against the disclosure of RCMP documents.


Vancouver Sun (Nov. 25) Lawyers getting chippy as hearings drag on. Neal Hall.


Monday, November 24, 2008


Public Prosecution Service of Canada and Department of Justice, Canada, have interests in the Basi-Virk / BCRail Case


Courtroom 65, November 24, 2008

By Robin Mathews

Nine lawyers and some twenty gallery observers assembled today to hear the opening of the few weeks to be devoted to (especially) the claims of privilege for hundreds of RCMP documents which the Defence has asked to be revealed. (The swollen gallery crowd was made up of visiting students learning about the legal system.) The larger portion of the documents in question come from the famous "cabinet" in Victoria to which counsel went as the Crown looked at each RCMP document and described its subject to attending Defence representatives. Many of the documents are communication documents between RCMP personnel and probably, in some cases, to others.

The "inoffensive" Notice of Application the Defence filed on November 18 asking for an Affidavit describing the reasons for some non-disclosure decisions and asking to have overlap documents identified and removed from non-disclosure suddenly blew up into larger proportions this morning.

On the face of it, as lawyers like to say, the matter is simple. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the Department of Justice, Canada, have interests in the matter and so should have "standing" in the case. The PPSC (a renewed and renamed animal in the last few years) gave advice to the RCMP in some of the matters connected. It has conducted the drug trial recently in a connected matter that has resulted in a conviction and an appeal lodged. Mr. W. P. Riley of PPSC said that he has instructions to deny any waivers of privilege on RCMP documents and he intends to do so.

But the Defence stopped the activity. It made a day-long case (with interventions from Crown counsel) to argue that the Special Crown Prosecutor, William Berardino, has been the sole supplier of documents, has signed protocols of disclosure, has conducted all the business dealing with RCMP documents and it is he who should argue the case for privilege, not someone from PPSC who just stepped in and who describes himself as a "stranger to the case". Berardino and Riley both suggested as clearly as they could that the substance of the matter is what is at stake, not the form of it. (In effect, "so what" if someone other than Berardino handles the argument of privilege? (to use Berardino's quip in court).

Defence argued that all through the early stages of investigation there was no separation of drug investigators and commercial crime investigators, and so on. And all that material was handled by the Special Crown Prosecutor. Defence argument is probably, at base, that a PPSC lawyer is not really qualified or - perhaps - authorized (in law) to handle some of the materials. And so it should be the duty of the Special Crown Prosecutor.

Sparks flew when Kevin McCullough, Defence lawyer, said that Crown's (Janet Winteringham) suggestion that the PPSC has had a presence is nonsense.

There it stands until this evening when Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett has pledged to make her decision on the matter.

All that is "on the face of it". But a gloomier picture lurks in the background, perhaps. Readers of my column on this site on Sunday will recall that I refer to the dark picture Paul Palango draws of RCMP structure, power positions, general behaviour, and day-to-day cover-up and white-washing (just published). (See:Dispersing The Fog, Paul Palango, Key Porter, 2008). The book is a 'must' read.

My own experience in the Glen Clark case and the (present) Kelly Marie Richard case in Alberta has led me to face-to-face experience with what I believe is improper (and worse) conduct of RCMP officers at all levels - reaching to the office of William Elliott, Commissioner.

Palango alleges nothing is released from RCMP headquarters without being vetted by the political masters in Stephen Harper's group. He alleges the RCMP regularly fogs and covers up important information. And I add - in my Sunday column - that all those things suggest there is a much too close relation (in the Provinces) between the government in power and the RCMP.

My own sad experience (in both cases I have acted out of concern for the public good and have no personal interest whatever) leads me to a position in which I would not trust the action of a lawyer who has been instructed by the RCMP to "protect" its interests and its right to confidentiality. I say that with a heavy heart and genuine regret. The position of the RCMP in Canada is becoming so constantly in question, however, that I suspect more and more Canadians will come to adopt my view.



Defence loses argument to exclude new counsel for RCMP into case to argue legal privilege on evidence

Judge rules against defence over RCMP documents issue in testy day in court

By Bill Tieleman

Tempers flared ...

November 24, 2008,
VancouverSun: Frustrations flare among lawyers involved in Basi-Virk Case. By Neal Hall.



Today ... the biggest, most fancy hearing!

A major pre-trial hearing begins at 10:00 o'clock this morning, November 24, 2008, in the infamous B.C. Supreme Court Case #23299,

Her Majesty the Queen vs Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi, Bobby Singh Virk, Aneal Singh Basi,

with an estimated 11 lawyers including two new Federal lawyers appearing before Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett for an estimated three (3) weeks regarding Disclosure Application ... disclosure, disclosure, disclosure ... which could possibly lead to some startling conclusions. Or not.


A quote from Up to their armpits in sleaze by Robin Mathews:

... Paul Palango demonstrates that the RCMP covers-up, attacks opponents, misleads, and delays - parts of a systematic approach to its activities.

Delay has been the operative word in RCMP disclosure in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case. Almost a full year followed the Search Warrant "raids" on B.C. legislature offices on December 28, 2003 before the accused were charged. Among pages of Affidavit material released at the request of Leonard Krog, Justice critic for the NDP, a memo written during that year from George Copley, lawyer for the cabinet, records that he was asked by Special Crown Prosecutor William Berardino not to mention the already shaping delay when the two of them appeared before Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm (who also had the discretion not to mention the delay).

In the two years since pre-trial hearings began Defence has fought against delay after delay with applications for disclosure that have been badly received, shoddily treated, partially - and often inadequately - answered. Many of the requests were for disclosure of RCMP notes and other materials. To this observer in the gallery, the RCMP seems to have been a major source of delay and obstruction. The requests were, of course, made through the Special Crown Prosecutor.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, presiding judge, appears to this observer to have done very, very little to insist that the Special Crown Prosecutor and the RCMP produce materials in a full, fair, and timely fashion. The quotation from Paul Palango at the head of this column points out that a biased police force "compromises" "the integrity of the entire justice system". I believe that may well be what we have witnessed in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case ...


Sunday, November 23, 2008


More about that Palango book ... and our media

BC Mary received an e.mail message this morning which said: "Paul Palango thought you would like to see this page from the web site".

I had already seen Mulgrew's "review" in Vancouver Sun and felt like weeping; I sent a copy to Robin Mathews with the comment: "How to ride two horses traveling in opposite directions. It's easy, on paper."
So I was thankful to see Paul's message.

I mean, who needs enemies when we have people well-paid to tell us that black is white, down is up, and" just keep movin' along, folks, ain't nuthin' wrong here, nuthin' at all ..."

Paul Palango's rebuttal is posted in full below, as I wouldn't be surprised if his views might "disappear" from the Internet. - BC Mary.


Message from Sender:

After the Vancouver Sun ran a review of my book, Charlie Smith of the Georgia Straight was so outraged by what he read that he contacted me and offered space for my side of the story. Smith called the review by Ian Mulgrew a drive-by shooting. Smith also said it was the first time he had felt compelled to offer space for a rebuttal. Thank you,

- Paul Palango.

Straight Talk

Paul Palango responds to Ian Mulgrew’s review in the Vancouver Sun of Dispersing the Fog

> By Paul Palango, author of Dispersing the Fog: Inside the Secret World of Ottawa and the RCMP

Whenever one writes a book, criticism is expected. No matter how perfect an author might try to be, there will always be those who find something wrong.

A person who appoints himself or herself to the role of critic seems to feel that it is necessary to attack to be credible. I have been both praised and criticized in the past and I accept being slammed if I deserve it.

I used to work with Ian Mulgrew at the Globe and Mail. I thought he was a good reporter. I don’t believe we had any substantive differences between us.

In his review Mulgrew frames some of the key points in the book, but says nothing substantive about them. He says I am a good reporter, but then demeans much of what I have to say by intimating that I am the kind of person who believes George Bush somehow orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.

To make such a suggestion is not only vile but malicious. No idea in the book even comes close to something so ludicrous, so a reasonable person must ask himself or herself, why would a respected, mainstream journalist stoop so low to attack what many have described as a courageous and thoughtful piece of nonfiction.

In Dispersing the Fog I deal with a wide range of stories over the past 30 years and more which have served to confuse and confound Canadians. A common thread in each was the curious and often feeble work of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The overarching theme of the book is the concentration of unchecked power at the top in Canada. I am not the only one who has said this. Professor Donald Savoie wrote an excellent book on the subject in 2007: Court government and the decline of accountability in Canada and Great Britain. Jeffery Simpson of the Globe and Mail wrote a book in 2001: The Friendly Dictatorship.

Many others have commented on the evident dysfunction of Canada’s public institutions. A second and even more controversial theme in the book is the explicit and implicit depiction of how the “mainstream” media has lost its way and is failing to serve the public interest.

My original mandate in spring 2007 was to look at the RCMP and attempt to explain why things have gone so wrong for the force. In all three of my books on the RCMP, I have focused on the unholy relationship between government and the police in Canada.

Since 1984, the commissioner of the RCMP has been a deputy minister in the federal government, appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the prime minister. This is not the kind of relationship one would expect in a democracy, but it is what you find in some of your better banana republics.

Most, but not all, of the problems facing the RCMP can be traced to that relationship.

However, when I began to look at the Maher Arar case, my head was turned. There are good people serving in the RCMP, even if the force is dysfunctional. It became obvious to me that something else was going on, something I could not easily explain, so I did what any good journalist should do, I asked the basic questions: who, what, where, when, why and how.

The more I dug, the clearer the pattern was to me. In his review Mulgrew took aim at my thesis on Arar–that based on the evidence and the abundance of circumstances, it can be inferred that there was more to the Arar story than we were ever told by the government. Mulgrew makes light of the inference that Arar was likely a covert agent–likely for FBI counter-intelligence.

I didn’t make this up. It’s based on sound logic and facts.

Mulgrew ignored a key clue–a supposed typo in the O’Connor Commission report which, once unravelled, propelled me into his past where I found a link to a convicted arms dealer. Both the timing of that case and the events which happened afterward taken in their entirety could only lead one to the conclusion that Arar was much more than he seemed–a hero, perhaps, but not a victim hero.

The RCMP were clearly sacrificed by the government both in the name of national security and to appease U.S. intelligence agencies and the U.S. government in the days immediately after 9/11. Afterward, the O’Connor Commission became an elaborate charade to perpetuate the original sham.

Sound unbelievable?

My book was published at about the same time as one by former prime minister Paul Martin. In his book he devotes two pages to Arar. In it he says something important about what happened.

On Page 404 and 405, Martin writes:

"At the time, I suppose that I was like most other Canadians, including many officials, both elected and unelected: I had no idea whether Arar was guilty of something, or whether he was innocent, as he claimed. After I became Prime Minister, however, I quickly discovered that I still could not get a clear answer or explanation to my questions from either the RCMP or CSIS. No one would tell me precisely what had happened with Arar, or why. 'If you have evidence that the man was engaged in dangerous activities, then show me,' I said. Instead I got contradictory information about the role of our security services had played in Arar’s arrest and detention. It was muddy, very muddy…

“I wanted to put the system on notice that no one could play fast and loose with the lives of Canadians. This whole series of events only reinforced my views that in times of crisis you must fight the enemy; but you must also be vigilant to ensure that individual rights continue to be protected, or the enemy wins.

“In late January, I concluded that a public inquiry was the only way to uncover the facts on these events and reassure Canadians….

“There was real confusion around what role, if any, the RCMP, CSIS or others may have played in the U.S. decision to remove Mr. Arar to Syria.”

It seems clear to me that Mr. Martin’s instincts were right. Even the prime minister admits he could not get a straight answer about Arar. However, once he called the Commission, I believe it is reasonable to assume that he was informed about the true story.

In Dispersing the Fog, I clearly show all the steps that were taken to cover the trail, particularly the work of the curious so-called “expert” panel which concluded that Arar had been tortured.

The typo I uncovered–the name of a company for which Arar had supposedly worked–also served to mask what was really going on. I leave it to readers to come to their own conclusions.

In his review, Ian Mulgrew tries to paint a portrait of me as a wing-nut conspiracy theorist because I dared to describe a shadowy European group known as Le Cercle. I broached the Le Cercle part of the story with trepidation because I feared that “mainstream” journalists would immediately jump on this as an example of me being a loony.

In fact, an Ottawa Citizen editor said as much: “This story is too hot for the mainstream media,” as if I were writing about the aliens living among us.

In fact, it would have been remiss of me not to right about Le Cercle in the context of the Airbus scandal and the overthrow of Joe Clark by Brian Mulroney, who was clearly financed by foreign money. The movers and shakers in Le Cercle, like Franz Josef Strauss, had links to Mulroney through Karlheinz Schreiber.

As it turns out, Mulgrew ignored the evidence in my book. David Rockefeller–the David Rockefeller–described Le Cercle in his own memoirs as being a dangerous group. According to a respected former British defence minister who had been part of the group at one time, Le Cercle was financed by the CIA.

The point of all this is that Canada’s institutions have been weakened to the point whereby the country has been rendered defenceless against the manipulations of outside governments and foreign intelligence agencies.

Again, I am not the only one who has said this, but I have tried to put it into a modern context–the McDonald Commission, Airbus, Project Sidewinder–so that Canadians can better appreciate how our governments have failed us.

Finally, the book shows Canadians just how dysfunctional today’s RCMP really is. In the final chapter, I report on a November, 2007 study done for the force which reinforced earlier findings that the RCMP has a “sick culture”, is “dysfunctional”, and “not ready for change”. The researchers said it would take at least 10 years, if not more to repair the force, if ever.

That being the case, it would seem, any provincial or municipal government rehiring the RCMP in 2012 for another 20 years of contract work would be acting in an absolutely irresponsible fashion. Alternatives must be explored.

I have received much praise for the book by those who have read it. The only people who seem to have a problem with it are “mainstream” journalists.

The Globe and Mail, for example, made Maher Arar their choice for Canadian of the Year in 2006. When I worked at the Globe and a book came out like Dispersing the Fog, I would immediately have assigned reporters to track down the contentious issues and either confirm them or refute them. I invite reporters to shoot my story down with their own research.

I am proud of Dispersing the Fog. It is a serious work of journalism and, in many ways, unprecedented in Canada. At the very least I would have expected the Vancouver Sun to do a proper, considered review and not resort to mere heckling buttressed by venom and false and destructive imagery. I thought Ian Mulgrew was better than that.

The Sun’s approach, sadly, is exactly what I’m talking about in Dispersing the Fog–the failure of the media to serve as a check and balance against the unwarranted and dangerous concentration of power in this country.


Ian Mulgrew's review, "Lost in the fog", is in Vancouver Sun for Nov. 23, 2008.



Up To Their Armpits in Sleaze


Up To Their Armpits In Sleaze: the RCMP, the BC Rail Scandal, the B.C. Courts, and the Criminal Case Against David Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi, former B.C. cabinet aides.

By Robin Mathews

"If the police do not or are not allowed to operate independently under the law and treat every citizen equally, the integrity of the entire justice system is compromised." (Paul Palango, Dispersing The Fog. Inside The Secret World Of Ottawa And The RCMP, Key Porter, 2008, page 2.)

This case is about Gordon Campbell cabinet aides variously accused of Breach of Trust and Fraud, chiefly concerning the highly dubious "sale" of BC Rail by the B.C. cabinet of Gordon Campbell. The case throws into question the role and legitimacy of the Campbell government.

On November 24 hearings towards the trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi in the Supreme Court of British Columbia will begin two or three weeks devoted in large part to finding the basis upon which materials are being withheld from disclosure to the Defence. Significant among those materials are hundreds of items concerning the activities of the RCMP.

The RCMP is the federal police force, and it is a "contract" police force in B.C. and many other provinces. In both cases it answers to the Commissioner in Ottawa, and its members do not act under an oath of loyalty to Canada - but of loyalty to the RCMP. In B.C., for instance, RCMP behaviour is not governed by the B.C. cabinet but by Headquarters in Ottawa.

That apparently unsatisfactory situation suits many. Paul Palango expresses surprise that many provincial politicians seem to like the arrangement, but as a way of preventing action on criminal police activity it serves well. The Robert Dziekanski death in Vancouver International Airport at the hands of RCMP officers, for instance, still rests in limbo more than a year after the shocking, partially filmed event. Jurisdictions criss-cross and entangle. The Crown can't seem to put very simple evidence together to launch a case. The Attorney General is, apparently, for that reason, helpless to get his Inquiry started. Very convenient. If there's a cozy relation between cabinet and RCMP, it isn't disturbed by the Attorney General or the Solicitor General having to come down on wayward RCMP officers. The RCMP can investigate itself and fudge and fumble and procrastinate and delay -- until the public forgets.

Nevertheless, William Elliott, RCMP Commissioner phoned some of the men involved with Dziekanski's death and sympathized with them. He made no contact with Dziekanski's mother. And Gordon Campbell met top B.C. RCMP officer, Gary Bass, by accident and spent time expressing his sympathy for the RCMP in the matter!

Paul Palango demonstrates that the RCMP covers-up, attacks opponents, misleads, and delays - parts of a systematic approach to its activities.

Delay has been the operative word in RCMP disclosure in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case. Almost a full year followed the Search Warrant "raids" on B.C. legislature offices on December 28, 2003 before the accused were charged. Among pages of Affidavit material released at the request of Leonard Krog, Justice critic for the NDP, a memo written during that year from George Copley, lawyer for the cabinet, records that he was asked by Special Crown Prosecutor William Berardino not to mention the already shaping delay when the two of them appeared before Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm (who also had the discretion not to mention the delay).

In the two years since pre-trial hearings began Defence has fought against delay after delay with applications for disclosure that have been badly received, shoddily treated, partially - and often inadequately - answered. Many of the requests were for disclosure of RCMP notes and other materials. To this observer in the gallery, the RCMP seems to have been a major source of delay and obstruction. The requests were, of course, made through the Special Crown Prosecutor.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, presiding judge, appears to this observer to have done very, very little to insist that the Special Crown Prosecutor and the RCMP produce materials in a full, fair, and timely fashion. The quotation from Paul Palango at the head of this column points out that a biased police force "compromises" "the integrity of the entire justice system". I believe that may well be what we have witnessed in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case.

It appeared evident to me that the presiding judge needed to fall heavily upon the Special Crown Prosecutor and the RCMP. She didn't. Was that because she had to presume that the RCMP was working with unquestionable integrity when, perhaps, it was not?
Or did she have other reasons?

Whatever the motivations of the Honourable Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, the cast of characters involved does not inspire confidence.

The Special Crown Prosecutor, William Berardino, chosen for objectivity and distance from the principals in the case, is alleged to have been (earlier) a business associate of Attorney General Geoff Plant who made the Berardino appointment.

As the 2005 Provincial Election approached Plant appeared to develop a passion to manage a small, tin-pot, haywire airline - and he left politics. Christie Clark, Deputy Premier and Minister of Education, followed suit. Her brother had been found to possess apparently confidential government documents; and she discovered a passion to spend time with her family. She, too, left politics; though a very few months after that she discovered enough time on her hands to try to beat Sam Sullivan as NPA candidate for mayor of Vancouver, with her husband, Mark Marissen, as campaign manager. Marissen moved on to be Stephane Dion's campaign manager, and is now in that position for Michael Ignatieff.

Gary Collins, finance minister, and someone the RCMP was clearly investigating for a time (before announcing that no elected person was under investigation) followed Christie Clark. The passion that he discovered leading to his withdrawal is not as clear as the passions of the other two. Maybe he simply had a passion to save his skin.

(Remember that almost as the boxes of records and the computer hard drives were being dragged from the legislature offices and as homes and offices in Vancouver and Victoria were being searched on December 28, 2003, the RCMP made the surprising, clairvoyant announcement that no elected officials were being investigated or would be! Then the force took almost a full year to look at the materials gathered and charged three cabinet aides - whom one might reasonably think were following the orders of their superiors - but no elected people.)

Earlier Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett presided over the criminal case against former premier Glen Clark for, it was alleged, breach of trust in the matter of having an insignificant sun deck built at his small East End Vancouver house. Clark resigned as premier because of the investigation in 1999 and was acquitted in 2002. The RCMP reported to me that they had gathered 28 volumes of evidentiary material in the matter. And they wrongfully (by the judgement of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP) terminated the investigation I asked for into their delays and investigating techniques.

Perhaps something of a slow learner, Madame Justice Bennett sat for 136 days on the Glen Clark case (and the 28 volumes of RCMP-gathered evidentiary material) before acquitting him of any and all suspicions of wrong-doing. She did not apologize for seeing him dragged through hot asphalt and an unending Right Wing Press and Media assault which destroyed his political career. Rather - in what I judge was a thoroughly imprudent judicial remark - she scolded Clark for being imprudent in his choice of friends.

The first complaints against Clark regarding his sun-deck came - surprise - from the constituency office of Gordon Campbell. A key officer in the group investigating Clark was one RCMP sergeant, Peter Montague. He moved to the group after his stint in the never-fully-investigated (incredibly mismanaged and probably criminally conducted) Gustafsen Lake stand-off pitting a few dozen First Nations people and their supporters against a military-like gathering of RCMP and alleged army support (400 RCMP, helicopters, armored personnel carriers, etc.), described by Maclean's Magazine as "the largest paramilitary operation in B.C. history".

Peter Montague is recorded as saying (on a to-be training film at the site) that the RCMP are experts in "disinformation" and "smear". Does that statement bear any relation to the conduct of the action against Clark? At any rate, Montague is alleged to have been wooed more than once by Gordon Campbell to consider running for provincial office as a Liberal.

Those deeply disturbing facts have to open questions about the extent to which, if at all, the RCMP in British Columbia is a biased instrument of reactionary government. Beverley Busson was made acting Commissioner of the RCMP when Zaccardelli resigned the post, meaning that she had to be acceptable to the Harperites. Then she was placed, in March of 2008, on a RCMP Reform Implementation Council to supervise the overhaul of the force.

That Council is almost guaranteed to do nothing about significant reform of the force. It is a gathering of Harperclones. As Paul Palango makes perfectly clear in his book, Dispersing The Fog, Harper is working to cement political control of the force and to make it - in my terms - a Personal Palace Army. Palango claims that the RCMP in Ottawa now makes no statement that is not vetted by its political masters.

In the years that concern us Commissioner of the RCMP in Ottawa was the now-disgraced Guliano Zaccardelli, reported to be a dictatorial, lavish-spending autocrat who practiced favouritism and demanded sycophants around him. Those who did not toady were banished. Paul Palango calls him the Emperor Commissioner. Zaccardelli not only fell under the sword of the Maher Arar investigation but was tracked by allegations of - at least - knowing about misappropriations and other indiscretions.

Such was Zaccardelli's self-confidence (if not arrogance) that in 2006 he tied himself in knots before the parliamentary committee on Maher Arar and he was asked by MP Mark Holland "on which day you perjured yourself before this committee, today or September 28?"

In the years covered by the BC Rail Scandal the role of top RCMP officer in B.C. was filled first by Beverley Busson and now by Gary Bass. Of Beverley Busson, Paul Palango writes that: "Under her command in British Columbia, the RCMP was all but a disaster" (p. 513).

Bass was, apparently, one of Zaccardelli's 'favourites', and was made B.C.'s top officer in 2006. During the regime of the two named RCMP top officers, the reputation of the RCMP in B.C. sank to new lows. Officers whom British Columbians often believed engaged in criminal acts were shuffled into the shadows. Those accused of lesser offences were often placed on paid leave and then quietly returned and sometimes promoted. Almost none ever faced serious discipline or expulsion. The total inaction on the Robert Dziekanski taser death is just one of the more recent achievements of the RCMP in B.C.

Beverley Busson is reported to have attended at least one RCMP BC Rail Scandal meeting. Strangely, however, though there were, apparently, communications between RCMP officers, high civil servants, and members of the Gordon Campbell cabinet before the Search Warrant raids, records (even routine notes) were rarely kept. The oversight appears to have been general.

Busson filled in as Commissioner in Ottawa until William Elliott, the first civilian was named RCMP Commissioner. Who is William Elliott? In all the available information about his arriving in the Deputy Prime Minister's office in 1988 (Mulroney times), and moving rapidly until the departure of Mulroney in 1992, one key piece of information is missing.

William Elliott is alleged to be a close relation of Brian Mulroney - which would explain his rapid rise, then his more-or-less treading of water during Liberal years, and then his rocket rise to Commissioner of the RCMP, especially since Mulroney was appointed to Harper's transition team in 2006. Palango records that "Mulroney would become one of Harper's closest confidantes and most trusted advisers". (p. 47)

But no one seems to have been able to pin down the claim of Elliott's relation to Mulroney. And so I wrote directly to Stockwell Day, Minister in charge of Public Safety, and to William Elliott himself asking the pertinent questions. Is he a relation of Brian Mulroney? If so, what relation?

Both men to whom I addressed the questions are public servants who have an obligation to communicate with Canadians. Much time has passed and neither Day nor Elliott will even acknowledge my inquiries. From that silence, I presume consent - meaning the two men refuse to answer the question because they would have to confirm that the new, civilian Commissioner of the RCMP is in fact a political lackey so close to the Inner Inner political circle of Stephen Harper that he is a relation of Brian Mulroney.

That does not bode well for either policing or justice in Canada. In fact, it places the whole population under threat of living in a more and more dangerous Police State.

On Monday, November 24, two new faces will appear in the courtroom of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett to participate in the pre-trial hearings related to the charges against Basi, Virk, and Basi. Both men are concerned with disclosure of RCMP materials. G. Stark represents the federal Department of Justice. W. P. Riley represents the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (essentially concerned with litigation involving the federal government).

The two men may well respond to the desire of Defence counsel to understand the role of the RCMP in the BC Rail Scandal as it relates to their clients in such a way as to provide one more depressing chapter to the story related here.



Saturday, November 22, 2008


Basi ran the Media Monitoring Contracts??? Including Prem Vinning's 'performance'?

It's the weekend ... Grey Cup weekend at that. So some of us can take time for a look-back. It's amazing, the things which suddenly stand out.
See Neal Hall's story "Premier gets 'softball' call from Basi", showing how the Media Monitoring Service actually works in B.C. Recommended, at this point in the Basi-Virk trial.

[I'm having computer problems again this a.m., so I hope readers will click onto the URL to review that important article by Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun, April 21, 2007 ... but first, a few tidbits:

VANCOUVER - Former B.C. Liberal government aide Dave Basi, now on trial for accepting bribes, used a phoney name when he called a Victoria radio station to ask Premier Gordon Campbell a "softball" question about BC Rail, a defence lawyer revealed Friday during legal arguments.

While Campbell was appearing on CFAX radio on Nov. 27, 2003, Basi called from his home phone to praise the government's controversial privatization of BC Rail, lawyer Kevin McCullough told the criminal trial of Basi and Bob Virk.

"Basi calls CFAX, disguises his voice and said his name was Don from East Saanich and puts a question to Mr. Campbell," the defence lawyer told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett, who is sitting without a jury.

"It was a call from Mr. Basi to the premier, lobbing a softball for the premier to hit out of the park," the lawyer said.

He pointed out that before Basi asked his question, he told the radio show host: "I think the BC Rail deal is the best thing you could have done for the province."

Basi, the lawyer added, then asked Campbell: "I just want to know, as far as Prince Rupert is concerned, if you could maybe let me know when those projects are going to start there?"

Two days before Basi's call, the government announced Canadian National Railway was the winning bidder for BC Rail, which was sold for $1 billion.

McCullough questioned whether the call to the radio station was an organized event that Campbell or Basi's boss, then-finance minister Gary Collins, knew about.

What the phoney call showed was how political operatives such as Basi were being used by their political masters, the lawyer said ...

At the time of the phoney call to the radio station, Basi was in charge of administering "media monitoring contracts" that were paid for by the B.C. Liberal party, McCullough said.

The contracts were "a highly political effort" to sway public opinion through radio talk shows and other media, said the lawyer, who is representing Virk, the former ministerial assistant to then transportation minister Judith Reid.

And all these things got me thinking some more ...

Remember the name "Prem Vinning"? Wow. I had another look at that story ... ! And was able to copy some remarks from VoiceOnLine, as follows:


voiceonline - April 28, 2007



I wrote this piece in The VOICE of January 29, 2005, about how Prem Vinning made a fool of himself (and of our whole community) by misrepresenting himself on a TV call-in show to ask Premier Gordon Campbell a soft question. These kind of low tactics were brought up this week at the preliminary hearings in the Dave Basi-Bob Virk-Aneal Basi case where lawyers for Dave Basi and Virk quoted wiretap evidence collected by the RCMP that appeared to show that Campbell KNEW about these dirty tactics. I have always said that Campbell knew that Vinning was the caller on the TV show. Thanks to The VOICE's fearless reporting, most Indo-Canadians turned against the Liberals and voted in NDP MLAs especially in Surrey in the provincial elections in May, 2005.

The Voiceonline editorial begins:

What kind of characters are Prem Vinning, a man whose political influence in the community is close to zero although he desperately pretends to be an Indo-Canadian "leader" with his smooth tongue, and Premier Gordon Campbell, who has angered Indo-Canadian Liberals because of his neglect of our community?

Vinning took so long to finally admit he misrepresented himself on a Channel M TV call-in show and Campbell still won't admit that he knew that "Peter" was Vinning.

"Meanwhile, Liberal sources told me that Prem Vinning had started making calls this week to the Liberal old guard trying to win their support for Campbell. But these sources tell me that they will wait and see what concrete measures Campbell actually takes vis-a-vis Indo-Canadians."

Vinning was present at the two special meetings that Campbell held with top Indo-Canadian Liberals on December 11. I wrote, "The Indo-Canadian Liberals gave Campbell hell" and "wanted to know why it took Campbell almost four years to consult Indo-Canadians, why no renewal notices are being sent out to members whose membership have expired, why blank membership forms are not readily available, why riding associations have become exclusive clubs with no proper notices for meetings being issued and so on." ...

Later, Rattan Mall, editor of Voiceonline, wrote more:

Hats off to Sean Holman of the Public Eye website for exposing Vinning and Campbell.

On January 26, this outstanding journalist reported that he had learned that Campbell's new director of Asia-Pacific trade and economic development Vinning had quit his job "three days after being hired." He wrote: "That decision comes hours after Public Eye revealed Mr. Vinning used a different name other than his own when phoning in a question to a weekend Channel M call-in-show featuring Premier Gordon Campbell."

Holman in a taped interview made Vinning admit that he was the "Peter" who had phoned in a question to the Channel M show. He asked: "I'm in the trucking business and, you know, the economy is going great guns and that's good. But to get my products from the Cariboo into the harbour, the time I lose on my trucking business is just an enormous amount of time. When are you going to do something to move the traffic so we can keep our business going?"

Premier Campbell called that "a very good question" and went on to answer it with great delight.

Any idiot would know that Campbell knew it was Vinning and that he was ready with his answer to please the Indo-Canadians who dominate the trucking business.




... Mr. Basi emerged as an early person of interest in a drug investigation that was triggered when informants told the RCMP that the arrest, in May, 2002, of U.S. drug dealer Cirilo Lopez had created an opening for a new drug boss on Vancouver Island.

"The word on the street was that Jas Bains was going to be the person taking over," (Crown prosecutor) Ms. (Janet) Winteringham said.

Mr. Bains is Mr. Basi's cousin.

That drug investigation identified Ravinder Singh Dosanjh, who was then a Victoria police constable, and Mandeep Singh Sandhu as other persons of interest. Both are related to Mr. Basi.

While tapping the phones of Mr. Dosanjh and Mr. Bains, the police intercepted calls to Mr. Basi, and soon formed a suspicion that he was being used to launder money, Ms. Winteringham said.

The police drug operation later spun off several investigations, and soon, the RCMP's Vancouver Island drug team and commercial crime units were developing different theories about what was happening.

Some investigators, she said, thought that Mr. Basi's boss, Mr. Collins, was a suspect in a scenario related to the alleged leaking of confidential government information about the pending sale of BC Rail.

But other investigators argued Mr. Collins wasn't a suspect, she said, and the defence contention that he was dropped because police didn't want to implicate any politicians was incorrect.

"Different investigators had different views as to whether Mr. Collins was under investigation," she said.

RCMP Inspector Kevin DeBruyckere, a lead investigator, "held the view that Mr. Collins was under investigation and he wanted to interview him immediately," she said.

From a Mark Hume story quoted in The Gazetteer, May 8, 2007.