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.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

HST FOR DUMMIES - The YOUTUBE video, not the yellow covered book!

I am one of those who is fine with the HST. I didn't sign the petition, and I'm not interested in any referendum unless it guarantee's to lower sales tax by two or three clicks. What has been apparent to me is that a devil's legion of high school and university teachers have been proselytizing on the HST issue. I hear incredible renditions of it when I speak to young people.

Well if you are tired of being lied to, and REALLY want to know what those lies are, the answer is available in an easily digested YOUTUBE video created and narrated by Chris Thompson. Click on FIGHT - FIGHTHST and when it has finished playing you will be better informed than any reporter working in local print or broadcast media.

Chris Thompson puts the Vander Zalm HST lies to rest in a YOUTUBE chalk talk which he brands Fight-FIGHTHST . Try some of Thompson's brain food. It looks good, tastes good, and it's actually quite nutritious.

A tip of the Blogger's cap to film maker Phil Jack, who insisted that I give Thompson's "FightFightHST" a play. I'm glad I did.