Friday, December 30, 2011

RCMP Hunt for Son of Vancouver's Mayor - How hard are they trying?

Jinagh Navas-Rivas, Mayor Gregor Robertson's sonJinagh NAVAS-RIVAS is at large. Law enforcement across Canada and the U.S.A. are on the alert for Navas-Rivas and his partners in crime. This is the photo that accompanies the Canada-wide warrant issued by Richmond Detachment RCMP. Is the RCMP being coy? This man twice shared the stage with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson (2008 and 2011) A wealth of sharp images are available... and RCMP have to cut a corner off a grainy snapshot for their Wanted Poster?? Navas-Rivas and four of his associates are potentially armed and on the run. The RCMP is asking for public assistance in apprehending this group of armed cocaine traffickers but not providing law enforcement across Canada with the best available information. Strange that.

Wanted by the Vancouver RCMP - Jinagh Navas-RivasThis is a clearer photo of Jinagh NAVAS-RIVAS, age 21, foster son of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. The photo was taken at the Mayor's Victory Celebration on Nov. 19, 2011. Last night the Vancouver Mayor issued a carefully worded statement, from Hawaii, stating that Navas-Rivas left his family in 2009, when he came of legal age.

Wanted by the Richmond RCMPThese are some of Jinagh Navas-Rivas' co-accused. They are also at large, and quite possibly armed with hand guns. Richmond RCMP provided sharper photos for each of these wanted men.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fort Hood Massacre - "Workplace Violence" Claim seems Bogus

I usually devote about 30 minutes in the morning to read the overnight news. Starting with the DRUDGE REPORT saves me a lot of time, but it is just a launch pad, not the destination. This morning I was startled by a headline that referred back to the infamous Fort Hood Massacre, claiming that the Obama Administration had dismissed the massacre as an example of "workplace violence". The implication, nay the accusation, was that the Obama regime and its minions in the Defence Department were being painfully politically correct, avoiding the obvious... that the Fort Hood gunman is a cold blooded exponent of Islamic Fascism.

Well, as I often caution my students... check your sources before you quote. The DRUDGE link was to a Fox News piece (see below) and a Google News search indicated that everyone else was quoting the Fox article. Senator Susan Collins (Rep. Maine) yesterday testified in a Washington hearing on terrorism, and "referenced a letter from the Defence Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence". Heinous if true. But not. Collins either lied or misquoted her own report.

The report is called A TICKING TIME BOMB: Counterterrorism Lessons From the U.S. Government's Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack. It is archived HERE. The report is credited to Joseph I Lieberman, Chairman and Susan M. Collins, and dated for the record February 3, 2011. Much of the content is REDACTED, so don't expect to read secrets... just information you will not find reported by the commercial media.

The single reference to "workplace violence" in the Lieberman - Collins report is not a quote at all, but the authors' own characterization of DoD's intent. Further, there is no footnote for the alleged DoD position. What sloppy crap! This is the stripe of distortion all to common in the record keeping during this so-called War on Terror.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Launch of TAI YANG BAO- the VAN SUN publisher needs to lure readers of those pesky Chinese dailies which Hog all the Advertising $$$

Terribly trendy and eminently endangered, The Vancouver Sun , struggles to remain relevant in the 21st Century. Today Pacific Press launched a Chinese edition edition of the SUN which it is calling TAI YANG BAO. This is a screen capture from Vol. 1, day 1. Local Chinese readers can expect to read lots of puff pieces about real estate and plenty of propaganda from icky, sticky, tricky Vancouver City Hall.
There are many issues the TAI YANG BAO will not cover. It will not, for example, report on the crimes and misdemeanours of the "People's Government" (P.R.C.) or the Party, the C.C.P. The Chinese fleet could be off the coast of Vancouver Island, and you won't get any warning of it in the T.Y.B. For any insight in doing's in Beijing you might want to check out an alternative newspaper, the EPOCH TIMES. Here is a screen capture from today's edition. What! Didn't you know that Tibetans have been self-immolating in protest of Chinese military occupation?

The website for the English language EPOCH TIMES is here.

Chinese security police are shown here dragging out Tibetan resisters. Note the placards around their necks. The EPOCH TIMES regularly reports on Chinese repression in Tibet. The Vancouver Sun does not.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Television Documentaries on YOUTUBE - Taiwan Art Therapy and Cosmetic Surgery in the U.K.

Guardian Angel Wings, was a feature report broadcast in June, 2011 on the TVBS Taiwan magazine program "Taiwan Step By Step".

I only learned of the story of Taiwanese artist Chen Zirong because a kind friend passed the TVBS link to us. It's a moving story, and you don't have to understand a word of Mandarin to get it. Chen is a 28 year old woman suffering from amnesia due to a car accident at age 3, crash which also badly injured her father. Chen's case was rather hopeless until Prof. Zhao Si-Qiang came into her life. When introduced to Chen, Prof Zhao saw something in her which touched him deeply, and he became determined to try to help Chen regain some of mental function through Art Therapy. At first the protective mother was naturally leery of university professor offering to mentor a mentally challenged woman, but this is a story in which true generosity of spirit produces dazzling results.

When the story begins we assume that this will be another inspirational piece, where a character who was unfairly set back in life, is assisted to the point of learning to function and enjoy life. But it is more than that. Chen's routine became one of daily immersion in art lessons, followed by long hours of trial and error. She was at first a copier, as are all students, and then she progressed to experimenting with classical styles, Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. Some of the film recreates outdoor sessions in which Chen was taught to commune with nature, drawing the textures of tree bark, the grain structure of stones and the pattern of clouds as they scudded over the city of Taipei.

Zhao's diligence and Chen's hard work have paid off, and she has now reached the stage where her work is original, interpretive and a genuine insight into the active imagination of a woman coping with lost function in only a portion of her mind. Her work is now exhibited and it is selling. We are privileged to witness the birth of a genuine artistic talent in Taiwan, and also (not incidentally) of the restorative value of Art Therapy when applied by a sensitive and giving instructor.

In the story Guardian Angel Wings (TVBS Taiwan, 2011) we see the artist, coping with memory loss, progress from mere student to become a master of her own style and technique. The video is available only on You Tube. If the story moves you, look for two other videos on Ms. Chen, archived on You Tube.

The Perfect Vagina, a film by Lisa Rogers, uses this latex sculpture by Jamie McCartney as the title card. Rogers gets her "fanny" immortalized for the research.

Strangely enough, this story is not so repelling as it reads, except for the few chilling moments when a teenager gets her labia sliced off. I'm surprised now that it took me a week to get up the nerve to watch The Perfect Vagina, which is one a half dozen CHANNEL 4 TV Docs I had been meaning to view. Total sexual liberation in our time was bound to create casualties, and one of the negative effects was the sick desire to have a photogenic vagina. Lisa Rogers is brave and funny, which means she is admirably suited to tackling a subject which might repel many other filmmakers. More, she is prettier than any of the other women interviewed, so of course she becomes a character in her own film.

The demand for vaginal cosmetic surgery has exploded in England, and she set out to discover why. It's an admirable piece of reportage, and Rogers will certainly have persuaded many thousands of women by now to be satisfied with how they look. Watch for the story of the 19 year old Muslim woman, in the third segment. She has been bartered away in an arranged marriage, and her goal is to have her hymen repaired before the ceremony takes place. What she fears most, is not life with a man she doesn't love, but that her parents might learn that she lost her virginity. (An actress dubs her voice in the film.) "If they find out they will will kill me, and then kill themselves." The fourth segment covers a therapy session which Ms. Rogers believes will be "New Age" or silly, but which surprises her. This is a video in which the horror and the humour are swirling in the same bowl. Well worth the viewing.

The Perfect Vagina - This documentary is served in four parts, so don't panic when the screen goes black. Use your mouse to move the bar past the gaps.

I just found this Doc on VIMEO, and I see it's had over a million plays since 2008. The link to VIMEO feed is here.

Jamie McCartney's completed art work The Great wall of Vagina can be seen here. One panel is on display in the documentary, but the whole is massive.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beast of Burnaby - the BCA behemoth swallowed its opponents whole

Official Results, 2011 Municipal Election, City of Burnaby, B.C. There are 146,123 registered voters on the Municipal list. Only 32,953 bothered to vote!! Clearly - No issues, no turnout.

Election Twins - Burnaby's free bi-weekly press - the NEWS LEADER and BURNABY NOW delivered their election editions to every home in the city on November 18, with wrap-around BCA - Corrigan advertisements. Very effective. Congratulations BCA!

BCA Sweep - All Candidates Victorious

Another civic election has come and gone. Results? A total BCA sweep. The BCA took the mayoralty, every council seat and every school board seat. In a democratic society that shouldn't happen... unless an angry electorate is throwing out a hated regime. But in Burnaby the opposite is the case. The electorate has returned a loved regime to power, rewarding BCA with a second total smack-down of the alternative civic party - TEAM Burnaby.

I don't object. I may not care for the council much, but I like Derek Corrigan, respect the job that he's done, and realize that we have the best mayor this side of the Fraser River. Still, democratic dictatorships are dangerous. The integrity of our mayor is the best hope we have of keeping individual councillors clean, and municipal spending within reason. The weekly press is not our watchdog, nor does it have to be. Vigilance is the responsibility of the individual.

TEAM is not a Team

"TEAM Burnaby" bills itself as a "non-partisan civic organization". The sad truth is that it is not a team, and it is not non-partisan, and that is why its candidates were destroyed on November 19th. Since its founding TEAM Burnaby has been hobbled by the fact that its power brokers (those who choose the candidates) don't even like each other. TEAM is composed of TORY and LIBERAL organizers who pummel each other during every Federal and Provincial election, and then make a token attempt at being friendly, in the hope of taking a few seats away from BCA. It's bizarre. Mismatched shoes will never become fashionable. The BCA prevails because it is an effective alliance of the local NDP machine, backed by the financial clout of the important unions. - You don't stalk a beast of that size unless you are packing an elephant gun.

I read in the BURNABY NOW today that "about 20 TEAM candidates and supporters" showed up at their Election Night Rally HQ to watch the results. The TEAM mayoralty candidate, Mr. Tommy TAO, didn't even bother to show up. Shame! Nor did perennial civic candidate Mr. Lee RANKIN. On the TEAM website today I read a promise to regroup and try again in 2014. That's one promise most of us hope they do not bother to keep. What is required, if we are to restore competitive democracy to civic politics in Burnaby, is a clean piece of paper, a new civic party, and hall full of people who stand for community and not tired old political allegiances.

23.3 % Voter turnout in Burnaby

The Burnaby NEWS LEADER, in its election post-mortem, reported today that VOTER TURNOUT on November 19 was 23.3 per cent. Only 34,035 registered voters in Burnaby bothered to cast a ballot on Saturday. The front page story on Friday was "Candidates pull out all the stops in the last days"(BURNABY NOW, Nov. 18) Maybe so, but clearly all of that pipe organ music did not draw much of a crowd. The truth is that there was no campaign to follow or to generate any interest among the electorate. Only some tub thumping among school board candidates created any sound at all. But that was all noise, and nothing resembling a march.

What comes next? You guessed it. Salary increases for mayor and council. The civic employees get their tickets punched. Taxes go up. Municipal fees increase. And TEAM goes back into its cave to hibernate for another three years. Somebody seal that den, while they're sleeping!

Monday, November 14, 2011

BEDBUGS - in Burnaby the vermin are German

We hit a new low in September when WALMART ran TV ads offering bedbug impervious sheets at its Vancouver area stores. I heard reports of The Bedbug Registry, but I was never curious enough to take a look. Actually I've never seen a bedbug, and I have no hankering to bump into one.
A SIX INCH BED BUG - courtesy of the Burnaby NEWS LEADER, Nov. 9, 2011.

I've been too busy of late to research Blog articles, or read local newspapers, but I couldn't ignore the NEWS LEADER delivered to my door on November 9th. You might have thought that the November 19th Civic Election would be the story worthy of page one.... but those of us who have been around a few years know that not until the protagonists and the antagonists start paying for large election adverts do the papers start narrating THE ELECTION STORY.
On P1 they printed a photo of a bedbug as big as a juvenile trilobite! A warning of such ghastly proportions simply could not be ignored. So I read the article. If you want to read "Avoiding the bedbug bite", its archived HERE.

Infestations at two of Burnaby's public libraries made the news recently, as did a report that BC HOUSING spent over $721,000 in one year fighting bedbugs "at 43 of 49 of its housing complexes" in Greater Vancouver. Lest you try to point a bony finger at "Welfare" tenants, I hasten to add that several were senior citizen buildings. Poverty and vermin don't necessarily go together. I spent much of my childhood on Welfare in Saint John, N.B. and we never once encountered lice, bedbugs or cockroaches. As my mother often said, "We're poor, but we're clean."

What did startle me in the NEWS LEADER report was one loopy comment attributed to a pest-control professional who said "the fall of the Soviet Bloc in the late 1980s and early '90s led to increased travel to and from Eastern Europe which had a nasty bedbug problem... Combined with the ease of travel today, it's led to a worldwide spread of bedbugs." I guess that in Burnaby the vermin are East German.

No, the spread of vermin including the rats which are also plaguing Burnaby, is actually due to the banning of chemicals and poisons which had largely defeated most of those ancient scourges by the mid 20th Century. When Environmentalism became a religion on this continent it lit candles to the Second Coming of Willard the rat and Benny the bedbug. Get used to it. The powers that be will not be arming for this war any time soon.

Finally I Googled the infamous online resource known as THE BEDBUG REGISTRY. I predict it going to become more popular than GAS BUDDY. You better have a look. You'll find that bedbugs are EVERYWHERE!! Feeling itchy?

A couple of typical reports on The Bedbug Registry. For a look at Burnaby Metrotown
infestation patterns go HERE.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

UBC PERSONAL PROFILE - Screening the Internet Generation for Coveted Admission

Among friends, it's no secret that I prefer SFU's compact Burnaby Mountain campus to the sprawling UBC burbclave growing on the shore of Point Grey. It's not because SFU wins any prize for beauty. Most people I speak with agree that the grey concrete SFU campus is butt ugly. And though I live in Burnaby it's not civic loyalty at play. SFU has thrown a satellite campus into both downtown Vancouver and central Surrey, so it's now a stretch to claim SFU as "Burnaby's university". I guess it's really a matter of size and accessibility. Even folks who live in Vancouver find it a pain in the ass to commute into and out of UBC, and once you do get there you need GPS and good muscle tone to get around.

For years I have assisted students in competing for admission into SFU and UBC, as well as popular universities in other provinces and states. This past spring my assistance included helping a half dozen young people to write the new UBC "Personal Profile" online. All they had to was bring their laptop to my office and type what I dictated. (Dictating the profile saves me time.) I didn't think much of it. Just helping out. Imagine my surprise to catch the following story in this morning's Vancouver SUN:

UBC Personal Profile - report in Vancouver SUN

"This year almost every direct-entry program at UBC Vancouver offered applicants the opportunity to submit a personal profile, and in total over 2,500 students were admitted on the strength of their personal profile, not on high school marks alone," James Ridge, UBC's associate vice-president and registrar said in an email.
Next year we expect all faculties will use [personal profiles], and the total number of admission decisions made this way will again grow significantly," he said."
Wow! I think I'm going to get a lot of phone calls next spring. I live near Burnaby's biggest high school. Read Tracy Sherlock's story here - UNIVERSITY ADMISSION. (Reading time - 2 Minutes)

To illustrate what the SUN is talking about, here is the description of the UBC Personal Profile clipped from the university admissions website:

UBC Personal Profile

UBC has added a number of other online innovations this year, many of which are an obvious attempt to jump on the "social networking" bandwagon. For example the IT boffins have posted a video on YOUTUBE which was created to help students use the new UBC BLOGS which were "launched" on August 11th. I like the fact that the term "cool" still pops up frequently in UBC campus chatter. The UBC Personal Profile is also "cool". I'm going to be writing many of them.

So this will be our future. "20 something" teachers, raised on a diet of Gerber's and Google, will not teach without a comforting screen of technology between themselves and the demanding mob they face everyday. Smart screens in the high schools, Wiki knowledge at a key stroke, our public school teachers are now lobbying to have the cellphone jammers switched off, so they and their squirming students can Twitter to their hearts content. (If curious, you may read the story HOW TWITTER CAN BE A GOOD THING in the SUN.) Here's a thought - Perhaps next year's crop of Grade 12 students might like to invest a Saturday morning in a two hour session of Creative Nonfiction, the sole subject of which will be their UBC Personal Profile.  I'm up for it.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Betty's Choice - In Burnaby an email blunder opened a rare breach in a bureaucratic Stone Wall

After a month of glorious R & R it is time to scratch that itch. George Orwell, a writer whom I idolize, described four reasons for needing to write. His list included (i) Sheer egoism (ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm (iii) Historical impulse (iv) Political purpose. Blog articles must have purpose, and because I am an historian I favour Orwell's number (iii): "Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity."

Tomorrow the B.C. government will release the 2011 HST Referendum Voting Results. The media have already lined up a cadre of well tanned opinion leaders who will tell us what the poll numbers mean. In fact by Friday night we will have heard the opening salvo of a cold blooded campaign to finish off the wounded B.C. Liberal administration. We will start with battles for control of British Columbia's cities in the November 2011 B.C. municipal elections, to be followed by the end game, after the provincial associations have regrouped and rearmed. With so much at stake at home I have decided to ignore the Wide World and focus on local issues and personalities over the coming three months. In the doing, I will point readers to pertinent articles or websites which mainstream media may ignore.

On August 23rd the Vancouver SUN published an interesting story under: ERRANT EMAIL SHOWS BURNABY SCHOOL DISTRICT IS ILLEGALLY WITHHOLDING INFORMATION, FATHER SAYS. The article disclosed news that Betty Choi, executive assistant to the superintendent of schools, [Burnaby SD 41] had accidentally sent a copy of an incriminating email, to the very citizen (George Kovocic) she was in the process of stonewalling. You can read the full SUN article here - "Errant email". The relevant Choi quote is: "I don’t think we should get in a flap over this, we should just let him initiate his complaint to the Privacy Commissioner, and then wait for them to contact us, that will delay him even further, maybe past the [November civic] election. I heard he is running on the new civic team taht (sic) Parents Voice is forming for election of trustees!"
Ms. Choi was asked by the SUN to explain herself, but she stone walled the reporter. Old habits die hard. After a huddle at the School Board offices, Choi's boss told the Sun the email was a purely personal exchange between colleagues. His answer smells.

Betty Choi certainly knows where she stands. After months of resisting George Kovacic, a researcher for a Burnaby group called "The Parents' Voice," the United Front guarding the files at School Board offices have won. By wearing down and wearing out applicants for information, they subvert democratic access to the Public record and control public debate.

A decade ago I was a frequent attendee at meetings of The Canadian Alliance for Social Justice & Family Values Association, an advocacy group spearheaded by lawyer K-John Cheung, his wife, and a band of dedicated workers. I didn't agree with every point on their program but agreed with enough, and I did admire their guts and a dedication to core values, especially as they frequently took abuse for what the Media term "Christian conservatism". I had kids in the public school system, and as an educator myself I appreciated the opportunity to work with folks who believed in ideas which didn't have a dollar value attached. Since then I have noticed that similar groups have formed up, some of which are now taking hits from the Gay press. The local congregation which draws the most heat is the Willingdon Church, which earned television coverage last April when members packed a meeting of the Burnaby School Board which was discussing "anti-homophobia" policies. You can read the story here, which was published April 27th in XTRA! the Gay and Lesbian News. George Kovocic is quoted in the XTRA! article.
Packing a meeting of Burnaby School District 41. Media reports suggest that Christians of Asian descent (Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean) have refused to adhere to the tenets of Canadian political correctness, and that really drives some people wild. The rest of us learned to shut up years ago, for "the greater good" if not for our own.

Now what I find really interesting in my background reading, is that on this single public issue -Values Based Education - the Catholics and the Protestants are finally working together. I don't know how long amity will last, but it is a healthy development. Nobody can say if their political Crusade will really translate into seats at the School Board but it is a noteworthy phenomenon. Gay rights and equality are fully guaranteed by our laws, but the jury is still out on whether adults should be allowed to discuss sex of any stripe with someone else's children, be it in a playground or within the confines of a classroom.

Nothing in our culture is permanent. I sometimes inform students that my ancestors were warrior Celts who took enemy heads as trophies. Then the tribes became subjects of the Holy Roman Empire and the Christian communal sacraments replaced our ancient customs. Who would have thought that in the 21st Century the taking of heads (Mexico, Afghanistan, etc) would make a comeback. In Canada nothing is written in stone. In fact most of what we write, as Betty Choi could attest, is only recorded electronically, and can be made to disappear with a key stroke.

An interesting contribution to the story can be found in the August 19, 2011 edition of the NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER, an American publication with regular Canadian content. Steve Weatherbe covered recent work by B.C. Catholics which clearly dovetails with efforts made by several Protestant denominations over the past decade. The Weatherbe story can be read HERE. One gentleman quoted is Gordon World, a spokesman for The Parents Voice, and a possible candidate for the School Board in the November elections. Also interviewed for the REGISTER was Sean Murphy, who is B.C. director of the Canadian Catholic Civil Rights League. [It takes just ten minutes to read the 3 articles I linked to.] The website maintained by THE PARENTS' VOICE is here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Axe murders in Canada - Yes, but who gets the house?

In my youth I took courses in Criminology alongside working policemen and at one time I seriously considered taking up the profession. While at university I also did my service in the Militia - in a military police platoon. Since graduation I've conducted research into how crime is perceived and reported, and I recently completed a book on the life of a very clever Canadian criminal. In addition I've filmed a documentary on a prison and am working on a project which will feature some of its most notorious inmates.

With these experiences in my background I feel entitled to comment on the recent news that Statistics Canada have declared Canada's crime rate to be at a 25 year low. You can read a summary of the finding in "Canada's Crime rate lowest in 25 years: StatsCan report" on this CBC webpage. The figures, much hyped by politicians and their parrots in the news media, are a snapshot of where we were in 2006, or five years ago. Those who pay attention, know where we are at today. Gang suppression in B.C. has temporarily reduced the incidence of drug related ambush killings, and engine immobilizers are finally put a dent in epidemic levels of car theft. As to property crime at the retail and residential levels, few are reporting it and as a society we no longer even have an interest in policing it. Being "ripped off" from time to time is simply a condition of living, and how many of us want to compound the loss by lining a lawyers pocket with our remaining cash?

We are told that as a percentage, violent crime is down in Canada. I have met many young men grown to maturity without having participated in a single fist fight. That's incredible to someone of my generation for whom schoolyard knuckle bruising was the norm, and 'fighting your own battles' was the expected neighborhood etiquette. Of course these days so many anxious parents are delivering and picking up their kids at school that there is no risk they will ever encounter a bully on the field behind the building . And of course adults who have never risked their skin in boyhood, will be afraid to stand up to aggression when they encounter it, or even fail to see it coming. We delegate the safety of our neighborhoods and our nation to a very tiny cadre of trained professionals.

Charles W. Moore is a Nova Scotia based columnist who dismisses the "proof" that falling crime numbers mean we are living in a safer country. In a recent opinion piece he pointed out that because home alarm systems are now the norm in this country, and fewer people venture out on foot after dark, crime stats are dampened. Social engineers jump to take credit for it, yet "Children don't have the same freedom and security outside the home their grandparents enjoyed 40 or 50 years ago."

There are many who claim that the news media over emphasizes crime, playing up the violence and the blood. That's not true. Crime in Canada is in fact under-reported. It is too often sanitized and explained away. Here in B.C. there are many cold blooded murders take place for which we never even see a photograph of the victim or the killer. What the media is guilty of is reporting crime with personal bias. Cherry picking is the norm. Reporters and news editors choose which few criminals they are going to hold up for public examination, and those of the majority whom they will let off the hook. The media's power to decide what goes on the public record and what stories get buried, does more to skew public perception of crime than any StatsCanada report ever could.

"AXE MURDERERS" are not just creatures of urban myth. They are an "inconvenient truth" of Canadian crime. (I had to abuse this Gore-ism.) We have our share of haters and our share of Lizzie Borden's. We had two axe murders in July, on opposite sides of the country. The media doesn't like to report grizzly killings and it pours water on the coals of murders stoked by too much hatred, unless of course it's "right wing" political hatred. (That commodity does sell.)

Consider the case of Richard (Dick) Oland, scion of the brewery clan in Saint John , N.B. Had Mr. Oland simply been shot, every local official from the Mayor and Police Chief to the coroner and Fire Chief would have turned up for the press conference. "Ground Zero- type" media scrums are an annoying reality of a society obsessed with celebrity, but the Pros know when it's best to avoid the podium.

Richard Oland murder - Saint John, N.B.
Richard (Dick) Oland was murdered on July 7th, in his office, located in the business district of Saint John, N.B. Friday's edition of MACLEANS magazine offers a few lurid details, while the S.J.P.D. has been very tight lipped: "This week, a professional cleaner specializing in mopping up after suicides, homicides and unattended deaths spent days vigorously scouring the premises..." The suspect? Some point to the son, others to a loan shark, and most hope it was a transient.
Ravinder Kaur Bhangu murder - Surrey, B.C.
All of the news outlets reported that Ravinder Kaur Bhangu had been "stabbed" to death, but THE PROVINCE (temporarily) reported the horrifying truth. The husband went to her office armed with an axe and a meat cleaver and committed a public atrocity.

If crime statistics sank further off the chart, would that prove anything? What if statisticians are failing to monitor entire swaths of felonious behavior? The federal government employs thousands of trained investigators to detect and prosecute tax cheaters and is exceptionally vigorous in making a public example of many of them each year. But far more Canadians engage in pension fraud - faking and feigning their way to unearned settlements or incremental increases. There is no attempt whatever to take the measure of it, and yet it robs working taxpayers of $$billions that would help sustain their own families. Query a reporter on the subject of pension fraud and you will learn that they don't know enough to engage in a five minute conversation about it.

An even more macabre problem to ponder is the vulnerability of those elderly citizens who happen to own real property. How many accidental deaths of our seniors are not so accidental? And is anyone in law enforcement paying attention? With the average price of a detached home in Vancouver getting closer and closer to a million dollars, how great is the temptation for some impatient heir to arrange a little misfortune in the home or in the park... a fall, an accidental over dosage, an electrocution, an exposure to inclement weather? StatsCanada says that fatal accidents are more common in the north than in urban Canada. I have no reason to dispute their numbers (see chart below) but the agency admits that it is held hostage by the quality of information reported to it by the provinces, and by systemic anomalies. For example, all of our military personnel blown up in Afghanistan are not included in national reporting, because their deaths occurred overseas. Odd, eh?

Fatal Accident rates - Northern vs Southern Canada

Friday, July 1, 2011

THE BRIDGE ON THE DRINA - Genocide and Literary Glory

This past week we spent four nights in a splendid corner of America - the coastal cities of Astoria and Portland, Oregon. Our first stop on the Interstate (I-5) was a chance to pick up a cheap paperback to read in the tub. I was anticipating a visit to the stacks of POWELL'S BOOKS in Portland, which is a mecca for devoted bibliophiles. The book I found was THE BRIDGE ON THE DRINA , an unusual novel which spans a period of 350 years in the life of a bridge located on the frontier between a Muslim Empire and Christian Europe. The community of Christians, Turks and Jews all depend on it for their existence. There are no continuing characters, but rather a fabulous cast of residents, occupiers and travellers whose lives intertwine with that of the bridge at Visegrad, which was the legacy of an Ottoman noble who never forgot his humble origins.

My Summer reading kicks off with THE BRIDGE ON THE DRINA, by Serbian author Ivo Andric. This 51 year old paperback was in pristine (ie. unread) condition, a $2 find in Tacoma, Washington. It provided light reading on my journey through Oregon, and even offered up answers to a few nagging historical questions. If you've ever wondered how those evil torturers of the Middle Ages (like Vlad the Impaler) managed to ram a fence post up a man's bottom and yet keep him alive to suffer, the bloody answer is here.

Since returning home from Oregon I've done a little research on the author and his novel, and it seems he constructed his epic on an immovable foundation of historical fact - the kind of details which are likely to draw me into a story. Consider the motivation of Mehmed Pasa Sokolovic, the Ottoman Sultan who sent his engineers to build the bridge, and paid for the entire project from his own fortune. Though he had wars behind him and a rich sixty year store of memory to draw from, childhood trauma remained - "always the same black pain which cut into his breast with that special well-known childhood pang which was clearly distinguishable from all the ills and pains that life later brought to him." He wanted to rid his kin of a hated ferry on the Drina which operated at the whim of the river men.

A rare postcard, published in Visegrad circa 1900, depicts their beloved bridge, which was completed in 1577 A.D. Frequent flooding, including total immersion, was never able to damage the bridge, but three of its eleven arches were blown up during WW1 and five arches were damaged during WW2.

The Ottoman Empire required a constant supply of manpower for its armies and did not waste time with conscription. It was far easier to send columns of cavalry into mountain valleys to cull young Christian boys from the villages - a "blood tribute" for the Pasha in Constantinople. "The chosen children were laden on to little Bosnian horses in a long convoy. On each horse were two plaited panniers, like those for fruit, one on each side, and in every pannier was put a child, each with a small bundle and a round cake, the last thing they were to take from their parents' homes. From these panniers, which balanced and creaked in unison, peered out the fresh and frightened faces of the kidnapped children." The boys' mothers did, as mothers will do, begging and following the horse column for miles, some falling to exhaustion or the blows of angry soldiers. Most were stopped on the bank of the fast flowing Drina River, where they were not permitted access to the ferry. The Sultan, risen to an exalted human being, never forgot his origins and the experience of being snatched from his native village. He was haunted by the anguished face of a mother he never again embraced. In her memory he built a bridge.

IVO ANDRIC, (1892-1975) was a Yugoslavian diplomat and novelist. He is most widely known for his book THE BRIDGE ON THE DRINA, published in 1945 and made available in English translation in 1959. Andric was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961.

No Canadian reader should ever be daunted by a story set in Bosnia. After all, the Canadian Forces fought in Bosnia less than twenty years ago. Our Foreign Policy was fixed on supporting the Bosnian Muslims and our CF18s bombed the hell out of the Serbs. [For a take on the stupid mess the Canadian government invested in, see a 2008 video interview with retired General Lewis Mackenzie - WE BOMBED THE WRONG SIDE.] In fact our government still holds the names of CF18 Hornet crews of the Balkan deployment a secret, lest there be reprisals made against them or their families. The same cloak of secrecy has been invoked for the CF18 crews who are currently bombing the hell out of the Libyans. Ottawa has good reason to anticipate revenge attacks against Canadian fighter jockeys where they eat or sleep or live, as the Libyans have no ability to knock those jet aircraft out of the sky. .A German map of the town, published in 1911, shows the historic stone bridge across the Dvina, on the road to Sarajevo. It also shows the shorter, wooden bridge across Rzava and the "sandy tongue of land between two rivers, the great and the small." Note the presence of "Militar-Lager" or military camps overlooking opposing sides of the bridge, a reminder of its strategic importance. It was the site of a massacre in 1992, fueled by age old racism.

I usually find that when I immerse myself in a book, like I did with this one, a number of coincidences will pop up. 'Connections' are predictable and explicable when the mind is engaged. On Sunday night as I lay reading in a motel room in Astoria, I glanced at my wife who was sitting at the table consulting her iPhone. Behind her head I noticed that the massive Astoria-Megler Bridge which looms over Astoria and connects it to the north bank of the Columbia River. The structure filled the entire window, and I paused to consider how much that bridge contributed to the life of its host community. The next morning, as we drove out of town I spotted a restaurant we had missed in our visit; it is called the DRINA DAISY and sports the famous image of the Mostar Bridge on its signboard. We did enjoy meals at two other Astoria eateries - the SHIP INN and the SILVER SALMON but I will certainly make a point of trying the DRINA DAISY when I return to Astoria. It's a safe bet that the owners know of Ivo Andric's novel. I can't think of a better way to start up a conversation with them.

The Andric novel is still in print and the author would be gratified to know that he still inspires its readership. On June 22 the bridge at Visegrad made the news - BIG news. Construction of a modern town has just begun at the bridge site, to be named "Andricgrad" in honour of the Nobel Prize winning author. In addition, a feature film based on the novel is in development. The Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday Bosnian Novelist has town built in his honour .

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

UN Gangster and Game 7 rioter juxtaposed - Which one would make a better neighbour?

At the risk of being the last person in the world to give an opinion on the Stanley Cup Riot, I will throw in a few observations of my own. Rarely do my views coincide with the "Main Stream" so I will not be repeating what's already been written. The initial riot was staged between the CBC building and the Post Office, and created countless photo opportunities as the V.P.D. dispersed the crowd harbouring small pockets of experienced thugs, who roved the downtown seeking soft targets for vandalism. Not so destructive as North American riots go, this event was rather tame, but it stings local pride because of the premium Vancouverites (and their government) place on "image".

I was born and raised in a much grittier province - New Brunswick, so I saw a few riots in my youth which were not recorded by cameras. I recall black versus white rioting, and recall the happy hell raising when this or that police union walked off the job, effectively surrendering a town to the mob. My home city of Saint John, N.B. has a history of rioting and killing (ethnic hatreds and labour clashes) which extends back to the 1840s. I was thinking of the "bad old days" as I watched on TV a pair of Vancouver policemen permitting a crowd of jubilant jerks in Canucks jerseys burn two new patrol cars. Now, we have all seen what four motivated federal troopers can do to an unarmed Polish immigrant at the YVR airport, so this surrender of authority was disheartening to say the least. Were the cops intimidated by this mob of happy hooligans? Really? NO. Something else was going on.

None of the hate inspired ugliness of historical Canadian riots can compare to the Game 7 Riot in Vancouver. This is a new phenomenon. A handsome crowd of middle and upper middle-class British Columbians trashed a downtown district for fun, and for the benefit of the media which had deployed staff to cover an eruption of emotion - win or lose, and was not to be denied. Healthy, happy and fashionably dressed, the rioters photographed themselves for hours, committing acts of vandalism, arson and theft. The media had a hot story to peddle worldwide.

Vancouverites are a boastful bunch, seemingly starving for attention. What were the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games if not a recklessly expensive exercise in self-promotion. What my generation fails to recognize is the latent hostility and aggression in their children, which is manifested in wasteful and destructive behaviors. The fact that so many outraged citizens sought to shame the rioters, bu outing them online, was a healthy process. It would be a powerful social trend - IF - it continued. I ask myself who ultimately is the more dangerous, a teenager ("elite athlete") who brazenly tries to ignite the gas tank of a police car in the midst of crowd of people, or a gangster cold blooded enough to shoot a rival in the parking lot of an IGA? Another question might be, "Who would you prefer as a neighbor - a teen arsonist or one of the bosses of the U.N. gang?" I would rather have the gangster next door, and the reasoning is simple. The gangster has no reason to harm me, or destroy my property. But who is safe from a brazen teen who has torched a police car in front of cameras and in front of the policemen?

I am just one of many cynics who knew the Game 7 Riot was going to take place. I know that the police prefer containment over suppression, and no doubt the Blue Wall recognized many nieces and nephews in the crowd. Still, the sight of policemen standing by as Nathan Kotylak and his buddies torched their ride, was jarring. I might have preferred one of the cops pull his pistol and warn him "Back away from the taxpayer's property, lawless youth". But they didn't. Now it is left to the general public to respond to an expensive new phenomenon - anarchy as entertainment.

Both premeditated crimes - a destructive riot and a planned murder, evidence a callous disregard for human life, so it might be hard to choose between the thugs. I watched those two police cars being torched on Live television, as did a half million others. We all knew that riot would occur, just as we know that there are still thousands of bored youths in our city who fantasize of their own opportunity to put one over on Vancouver law enforcement. With the proliferation of video and cellphone cameras, it's only a matter of time before a local TV station gets the "scoop" of broadcasting someone being stomped to death, just as we got to witness Robert Dziekanski being electrocuted by RCMP tasers.

Nathan Kotylak, wearing the uniform of the Vancouver Canucks, went downtown to wage war. We don't know all he carried in that backpack, but the old dress shirt he is stuffing into the gas tank of the police cruiser did not materialize from thin air. The "star athlete" does not smoke yet he carries tools to light up. He is wearing a hoody, standard gear for the urban anarchist, but at the Game 7 Riot he chose not to conceal his identity. [Photo scraped from the Net, but attributed to Gerry Kahrmann] Video taken at the crime scene, showing Kotylak throwing burning newspaper through the window of the $50,000 police car, is available on Youtube, as is the press conference Kotylak gave to express his regrets for his part in the riot.

Nathan Kotylak, of Maple Ridge, B.C. , is once again under parental spervision. He is shown here posing with his mother Josephine Kotylak, (a Nurse), and his father Dr. Greg Kotylak. (a Surgeon) After the teenage arsonist was "outed" by Social media, he lawyered up and contacted the Vancouver Police Department. As these are his first criminal acts of record, Kotylak will not be punished. Dr. Kotylak told a reporter that "Nathan's behavior that night does not reflect his true character."

Kim Bolan
is the famous Vancouver Sun reporter who specializes in local Asian criminals, violent street gangs and Sikh terrorists. Her reports are particularly interesting when she uncovers linkages to the white bread stakeholders in the drug trade - businessmen, lawyers, accountants, realtors, etc. who (witting or unwitting) provide capital or services to the outlaws. On June 21 she shared some of her knowledge of the visit to Burnaby Metrotown of Conor Vincent D'Monte, who is key figure in the UN Gang. Bolan's article is here: Real Estate Council of B.C. probes gang leader's house transactions.

In brief the story is this. A young, healthy male walks into a law office and requests the lawyer witness documents. He wants to transfer sole ownership of his valuable property (7350 Pandora Street , Burnaby) into the hands of his wife, who was said to be a "house wife". It transpired that Ms. Kong had secured employment as a licensed real estate sales person, for the firm which listed the property which D'Monte had transferred to her. The lawyer told the SUN that he did not know that he was witnessing the signature of a local man wanted for murder, and more - he wasn't curious. The SUN published the document on its web page: Had lawyer Larry Routtenburg simply Googled his client "Conor D'Monte", as I did after reading Bolan's story, he would have found on the first page of results an RCMP WANTED Bulletin, complete with colour photograph. The SUN was not implying that the legal profession should begin to 'rat out' clients to FINTRAC or the RCMP, but as a reader I was struck by one more telling juxtaposition - In the same week of saturation news coverage about a widespread effort by law abiding folks to assist their police in identifying the looters and arsonists of the Game 7 Riot, we also read of a professional man with a trained mind, who was not moved to question the motives of a couple who wanted to swap identities on a property.

Conor D'Monte, of Anglo-Indian ancestry, has a Middle Class background shared by several other UN Gang members. He was raised on the west side of Vancouver and his parents were initially involved in the purchase of the Pandora property in 2006. (Ref - Global TV webpage) It was listed In April for $1.58 million. Conor's late father Vincent D'Monte was a family therapist (registered with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy) and his mother Therese is said to be a photographer. Clearly the D'Monte brothers chose the life of a gangster for reasons other than poverty.

AND FINALLY THIS USEFUL LINK TO GAME 7 RIOT IMAGES- A revealing set of photos taken during the Stanley Cup Game 7 Riot was published on CRYPTOME last week. It's worth a look. VANCOUVER RIOT AS PERFORMANCE ART.

BREAKING NEWS- WAS JULY 7th BURNABY ARSON RETALIATION AGAINST U.N. GANG LEADER D'MONTE ? In the early morning hours of July 7th, one or more intruders placed two propane cylinders against the wall of the Burnaby luxury home owned by UN Gang leader Conor D'Monte, and ignited them. There were two people in the home at the time of the attack. They escaped but the property was heavily damaged. Was this just retaliation in the form of an arson, or attempted murder? We'll never know. D'Monte is currently on the run, and no doubt his wife's phones are all tapped. Burning her out, won't smoke him out. The SUN story, with photo is here. A recent Metrotown arson, the penthouse blaze on Grange Street, was definitely an attempted murder by arson. I recall Blogging that fire in March. the story is HERE.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cyber War - the cuteness factor juxtaposed

Every few months a friend comes over for a "Japanese film night". He is a Taiwanese, very bright, and has a degree from UBC in Film Studies. We enjoy juxtaposing two wildly different films because such pairings are guaranteed to generate ideas and unpredictable conversation. The only "rule" we agree to is viewing films in their original form, with English subtitles. Michael is fluent in Japanese and I rely on him to offer insights as they occur to him during the viewing. This past week we started with a documentary on famous Japanese cannibal (and pop-culture icon) Issei Sagawa, [Sagawa Issei Wikipage] and moved on to an animated film entitled SUMMER WARS [Summer Wars on Wikipedia] directed by Mamoru Hosoda. I have no interest in Hosoda's previous work, but I did find this Anime interesting, and I enjoyed watching the story unfold.

SUMMER WARS starts from two premises. The first is that Social Networks not only stake out a massive territory on the Internet but that members will be persuaded to route most of their daily tasks through the network and become very dependant on the service. The second premise is that such networks (in this instance OZ, a Japanese version of Second Life) can and will be hijacked by malignant entities. In the film a Japanese programmer named Wabisuke, (who is a half blood-member of the family), is implicated, when in fact it is the United States military which decided to hijack the OZ network, perhaps as a tactical exercise.

There is much more to the story, including a teen romance, designed for a teenage market, but nevertheless SUMMER WARS has broader appeal. (A very detailed overview of the movie is on Wikipedia.) What I found most interesting in the script was the treatment of Japanese concepts of family, especially the valuing and sharing of family accomplishments. The story is largely set in the rural home of 90 year old family matriarch Sakae Jinnouchi, where family members have assembled to celebrate her birthday. Simple meals and conversation strengthen the bonds, but several characters have advanced technical skills, and the wired world is ever present. At table there are several discussions of family heroes and clan contributions to the nation during feudal times. Certainly nothing like the conversation heard in most Canadian homes. When the OZ network is hijacked, the family understands that it is a rare opportunity to offer a public service, and in the process strengthen and heal their family, which suffers the wear and tear common to most modern Japanese families. The Cyber-warfare sequences are entertaining and unique to me, but not perhaps, to anyone who enjoys a life in video gaming.

SUMMER WARS - Issei SagawaSUMMER WARS was flop at U.S. cinemas. The advertising budget (minuscule) greatly exceeded its box office return. The Anime was never theatrically released in Canada, but was published in Blu-ray and DVD editions on Feb. 15, 2011, and on disc is now outselling many Hollywood clunkers. The cover art of the DVD box shows the girl Natsuki brandishing her family crest or mon, and not the Japanese national flag. In the film the U.S. Department of Defence Pentagon building appears onscreen, but not the U.S. flag.
When we finish watching a film, we do what all film fans do - share our immediate or "gut" responses and then we get into the details of the story and technical aspects of its production. I have an aversion to the "cute" in Japanese Manga and Anime but I didn't find Hosoda relying overmuch on the cuteness factor here. Strangely, one of the odd juxtapositions that popped into mind was triggered by the original premise of a multi-generational family of Cyberwarriors, including children, standing in defence of the nation, was a photograph taken inside the super-secret precincts of Fort Meade, Maryland. It is a group photograph taken in 2010 of General Keith Alexander, and his extended clan, including twelve grandchildren. General Alexander is the Director of the National Security Agency, and also the C.O. of United States Cyber Command.
The capability of the N.S.A. is legendary. Its records include for example records of almost two trillion phonecalls made by Americans over the past ten years, and the images of millions of Mexicans and Canadians, duplicated from their motor vehicle licence photos.
The obvious reason for taking the photograph (below) was to allow the General's family to share in his joy of assuming the powerful office of Director of the N.S.A. It is a strategic post which, we recall, can lead the right man to the White House, if he is ambitious enough. The less obvious motive here is to wrap the political moment in the trappings of what are held to be wholesome American values - marriage and child rearing, a career in the Armed Services, and certainly loyalty to country. Another thing which struck me about this photo is that all are intent on the moment, including the children. They look at the camera - but General Alexander is staring at someone offstage. Perhaps his mind was already in Afghanistan, Iraq or Beijing.
General Keith Alexander - displays his whole family General Keith Alexander is both head of the N.S.A. and the C.O. of USCYBERCOM. The general is shown here at the investiture ceremony for USCYBERCOM at Fort Meade, Maryland on May 21, 2010, in which is entire family joined he and Secretary Gates on the podium. John Young, the gutsy investigator and owner of the CRYPTOME website, suggested that the whole WIKILEAKS fiasco was actually CYBERCOMS' "first defeat" and he urged Gen. Alexander to resign. [more Alexander photos here]

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New York Real Estate vs. Vancouver Real Estate, Part 1 AFFORDABLE HOUSING

New York has gently intruded into many of my conversations of late. Sandy, a girl from Burnaby Central Secondary whom I have worked with, is heading off to a prestigious art school in Manhattan come September. She just gave me a lovely example of her work for my office wall. Over the March Break a group from Burnaby South High School toured New York and returned wildly enthusiastic about their experiences. I got the same-day copy of The Village Voice I had requested, and Chloe, a South student, gave me a very detailed trip report which included video recorded in Times Square and the Jazz band which played in the hotel restaurant. Kids today have got it made!

New York is also in my thoughts because recently we were told that Vancouver has rolled past the Big Apple, taking the dubious position of posting higher real estate prices. It's a good time, I think, to take a peek at a few comparable scenarios. It might do us to start with "Affordable Housing," a favorite topic with municipal politicians here in the urbanized S.W. corner of B.C.

THE MELODY is an eight storey co-op at 853 Macy Place in the Bronx. It has 63 units, including 6 1BDRM, 47 2BDRM and 10 3BDRM apartments. 14 units have been reserved for the New York chapter of Habitat for Humanity, who require their buyers to put in a few weeks of volunteer labour to defray some of the cost.

I have discussed taxpayer-funded housing initiatives before. New York politicians share Vancouver's "vision" of a future where the lion will lay down with the lamb. Both like to mix "market housing" with subsidized housing, although New Yorkers give no thought to protecting forestry jobs by erecting wooden apartment buildings. If you don't catch the reference you might check out a Blog I wrote one month ago INFERNO OBLITERATED CONDO PROJECT IN RICHMOND
The more obvious comparable to THE MELODY is the False Creek Fiasco in Vancouver which saw the Moorlocks of Vancouver City Hall mating their affordable housing concept to the 2010 Olympic Games Athletes Village. The "social housing" component of the billion dollar project was originally estimated to cost 320 per square foot. That ballooned to roughly $400 per square foot, and ultimately the City apportioned (you can't say "paid" with a straight face) $110,000,000 of the debt to 252 social housing units. These apartments are, I hasten to add, far cozier and better located than any apartment I ever put my family into. But then I have never registered with B.C. Housing. I always used the Classifieds.

The New York Times reports that THE MELODY cost just $18 million to develop, the money raised through a bond issue initiated by the Borough Council and the State of New York. Granted, the False Creek behemoth is a more complex site mix, but the New Yorkers have to contend with far more. There land is just as expensive, they deal with far more militant community activism and their unions are far more dangerous. New York planners followed Vancouver's Olympics greed-fest in the pages of the New York Times, and they are doing a better job of assisting the working poor and lower middle class families to revitalize historic neighborhoods.
THE MELODY - A nice touch are the blue window bars in the form of a musical score at sidewalk level. (There is a Vancouver policeman who crafts this type of ornamental security grill. An example of his work is the window of the Community Police Station at Joyce Skytrain Station.)

As of last week THE MELODY was just over 40% sold, with prices ranging from a low of $104,435 for a one bedroom unit, and climbing to $219, 997 for a three bedroom unit. Those prices are bargain basement compared to what working families face in B.C.


In Vancouver it is simply impossible for the working poor to ever consider buying a co-op property in the downtown. Even businesses have been evacuating the towers due to ferociously high taxation and gridlock during the sunshine hours. So what do the working poor have to pay for "affordable" units in the former Olympic Village, (now grandly renamed Millennium Water)? According to an article published last year in the National Post, "In Vancouver 'affordable" housing means $1,600 a month" it's $1,601 per month for a 640 sqft 1BDRM and its $1,902 per month for a 902 sqft 2BDRM. What's the criteria for winning the downtown rental lottery? "To be eligible, workers can not earn more than five times their annual rent..."

Here is the view from one of the first "affordable" units rented out at Millennium Water on False Creek. (The Post made a crack about the rent being so high the tenant had reverted to an old typewriter.) In Vancouver the planning goal is to force incoming Chinese condo buyers hungry for short term investments, to live side-side-side with less fortunate locals. In the New York's Bronx, the media made a big deal out of the fact that THE MELODY has design features which encourage tenants to exercise more, but the goal is to revitalize a depressed neighborhood by offering incentives to two classes of local buyers who have inhabited the area for generations, and who were being held back by skyrocketing property values.

The South Bronx is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States and badly in need of projects that offer hope to working parents with small families. Adults living at THE MELODY will have access to the building's fitness centre, and their kids are provided with a playground facility at ground level, behind the eight floor lowrise.

Friday, June 3, 2011

GANGSTER GUN BUST IN BURNABY - silencer fitted weapons may relate to bust at Burnaby EIGHT RINKS in 2006

A police raid in Burnaby on May 30 uncovered an arsenal of weapons, which included three handguns and a baby Uzi machine pistol equipped with suppressors ("silencers"). Yesterday the Vancouver news media, and today the two Burnaby newspapers, reported on the lucky haul. Well... actually the news media simply published the RCMP handout text, in some cases even adding a reporter's byline. (Hey, it's only plagiarism when students do it.)

What I find strange is their failure to provide any context, as if it is now routine to encounter an armourer living in a middle class B.C. neighborhood. I would like to see local police do what the Federal Police do in Mexico - put the arrested gangsters on display along with the weapons seized. You are never going to see the faces of the hundreds arrested each year in British Columbia for serious crimes, and that is exactly why they live amongst us with impunity.

This photo shows a table dressed with weaponry seized from the 7000 block Curtis Avenue, Burnaby on May 30, 2011. The auto-loading 12 gauge shotgun and the .44 Magnum revolver are the most lethal. Smaller calibre pistols have been threaded for improvised suppressors (silencers) as has the baby Uzi, which looks like it wouldn't have sufficient internal volume to handle the hot gases in auto fire. Note that the ammunition is displayed in the black metal box which comes with the collector edition of Grand Theft Auto 4 for X Box. I guess the 24 year old who was arrested on Curtis Street with the guns and the half pound bag of Marijuana, has a thing for hot video games as well as destructive devices.

Two significant weapons seizures in Burnaby, though five years apart, seem related as both involve crudely fabricated suppressors (silencers) for rifles, pistols and submachine guns. In July 2006 it was revealed that the parking lot at Burnaby EIGHT RINKS, 6501 Sprott, was the favored spot for arms transfers, because it is a high traffic location where muscular men are commonly seen taking bulky hockey bags out of large vehicles and stuffing them into others. Note that EIGHT RINKS is less than ten minutes from where another batch of home-made silencers, of very similar manufacture, was discovered earlier this week.

This crudely made suppressor, fitted to an Uzi SMG, was seized in Burnaby, May 30, 2011. It bears close resemblance to suppressors trading hands in the parking lot of nearby EIGHT RINKS in 2006. I'm convinced that these devices are not properly made. Perhaps the RCMP would arrange a demonstration of these basement built silencers lately turning up in Burnaby? If you would enjoy watching some PRO gunsmiths at work, check out the fascinating new show on Discovery Channel. It's called SONS OF GUNS.

Here we see a wall of weapons confiscated during PROJECT E- PORTAL, and put on display in Abbotsford in July of 2006, for the media. The operation was conducted by twelve Canadian and American agencies, which targeted a network of outlaws whose stock in trade is modified or refurbished weapons. They were selling their skills to drug gangs in Western Canada, most notoriously to the infamous UN Gang which was based in Abottsford, B.C. The weapons included (in one seizure) 27 WW2 era STEN guns seized in Winnipeg and several ex-Canadian Army BREN guns seized in B.C. and assembled in one place for the news conference. Noteworthy in the photo are weapons fitted with sound suppressors (silencers) made from commonly available metal tubing. They are crudely made, with no attempt to apply a non-reflective finish. Essentially these devices are made to impress or intimidate. One STEN has been used in a Surrey murder, but I do not recall the police claiming that a silenced automatic weapon has been used in our area. A badly made suppressor actually risks injury to the shooter and increases the chance of a jamming. Not good if you are a small assassin targeting some behemoth of a drug dealer fresh from the gym.

Professionally manufactured suppressors (this example is used by NAVY SEALS) have screw threaded caps at each end so that the device can be easily disassembled and cleaned out. In addition the suppressor is blued to match the firearm. The gangland armourers of B.C. seem to lack the skills to manufacture military grade suppressors. If you want to know more about these simple devices, read which includes illustrations of several types. Your nearest public library has much more.