Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kim Bolan exposes a dangerous ex-Mountie

Suddenly Vancouver gang reporting is less boring. I urge you to read Kim Bolan in THE VANCOUVER SUN today: "Ex-cop allegedly pretended to be IHIT member to locate Bacon brothers". We knew that local gangs had infiltrated the real estate industry, that they have lawyers, accountants and even members of the Canadian Border Service on their payroll... but here is something of greater enormity - the precedent of a turned cop begins to make the storyline of local gang wars begin to smell like the legal debacle over the AIR INDIA terrorism case. Once again there is no clear delineation between the good and the bad. Mr. Sidhu needs to get his side of the story before the public, perhaps through a lawyer, because this story has pinned him to the mat.

Ms. Bolan has so thoroughly "outed" Mr. Sidhu today, on the first strafing of her target, that it appears she believes Sidhu is guilty of darker deeds than merely breaching RCMP operational security. That is my impression but you should read the article and form your own conclusions.

This Vancouver SUN graphic accompanies Kim Bolan's hard-hitting page one article. She strips away the official secrecy surrounding the prosecution of disgraced Mountie Rapinder (Rob) Sidhu.

Rapinder (Bob) Sidhu... once an ornament of RCMP "minority hiring"... eleven years an RCMP officer... resigned from the force in July 2003 as a result of domesticate violence complaints... charged with fraud soon thereafter, and known to associate with gang figures... Bolan paints a very murky picture, and then she dismantles Sidhu's front operation - a supposed Private Investigations business called IMAX Investigational Group.

Sidhu posed as a serving officer to successfully breach RCMP security on July 31, 2007 ... was charged in January 2008.... and will finally have his case presented in court on June 17.

Ms. Bolan, while serving a generous dollop of information, including the fact that Rapinder (Rob) Sidhu "had been an undercover operator" while serving in the RCMP, leaves many pertinent questions unanswered. Did Constable Sidhu work undercover here in B.C.? Did Sidhu contribute anything of consequence to the Air India Task Force (acknowledged to be Ms. Bolan's journalistic bailiwick) and if not, what important cases does he carry in his memory? And most important, had any Vancouver Sun reporters ever been briefed by Constable Sidhu or his immediate RCMP coworkers, during those eleven years he served with the Force? Bolan knows virtually every Sikh in Vancouver who has worn a badge, or timed out, so it would be useful to know her earlier impressions of Rapinder Sidhu. Such details have a bearing on how he has been handled to date, and how he will be dealt with in court.

P.M. UPDATE : I thought to take a peak at Ms. Bolan's blog, and I note that she specifies that Sidhu worked on drug cases. Bolan also says, and this is interesting..."I tried to get Sidhu, calling his home and even driving out there Friday evening to knock on his door and leave a note requesting an interview when no one answered. I did finally get a call back from his lawyer Matt Nathanson, who said Sidhu is presumed innocent and will defend the accusations in court. I'll be watching that trial."Mr. Sidhu is now represented by lawyer Matthew Nathanson, a legal beagle frequently mentioned in Bolan crime stories.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The New Mounties and Reefer Madness

Maintiens Le Droit... "Uphold the law". It's the official motto of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and, until recently, the reliable code of constable conduct. They're stern words from a sterner era. Most military and police units in our nation's history preferred to use Latin phrases on their badges but when John A. Macdonald deployed N.W.M.P. troopers to quell the Louis Riel's rebellious Metis, the Mountie motto was French. So it remains, as does the "iconic" red serge tunic.

Here in B.C., with a boring provincial election underway, at least one party is advocating something novel - the cancellation of long standing Federal policing contracts and the reinstatement of the old B.C. Provincial Police. Jane Sterk, leader of the B.C. Green Party added that little gem to the Green plartform, along with a banning of Tasers. The predictable response of Gordon Campbell, Liberal party boss was "The fact of the matter is the RCMP is the provincial police force and it does an extremely good job across the province." Gordo will never discuss any idea which his own policy wonks did not originate. A pity that, because if the gold plated security component of the 2010 Olympics Budget shows us anything, it is that the real cost of federal troopers is unsustainable in the 21st Century.
You'll find a taste of the bitter truth reported in todays SUN: "Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit has announced it will pay $79.8 million for three cruise ships to house about 5,000 security personnel in Vancouver during the 2010 Games."
This doctored image, created by Taylor Rivard for his "Proud Smoke" cannabis webpage , depicts the RCMP insignia modified to reflect the current hiring policy of Canada's national police force.

One of the most popular Vancouver news stories last week was a piece written by Chad Skelton for the SUN [April 13]. It described Mr. Amyn Dharamshi, the inept ex-Mountie who lost his fat wallet back in 2005, which contained his RCMP ID, a baggie of marijuana, a package of Zig Zag cigarette papers and his "RCMP student-loan documents". (Who even knew there was such a thing an RCMP student loan!) The tattling tale, sans photo of course, was the delight of the Internet. Dharamshi was "suspended with pay"and used the appeals process for four years (on salary) before finally resigning. What I found astounding was not that he smoked dope or lied about it, but that he tried to implicate his brother, whom he claimed had "borrowed his wallet for a few days". There was an avalanche of opinion-posting when the story appeared, but the Net-signature is fast evaporating, and soon you will need the Wayback Machine to excavate the bones.

The wretched Dharamshi story must be assessed in combination with a CBC report which was published two weeks earlier, because the two are directly related. I say "published," but hasten to add that it was completely ignored by other media. An internal memo acquired by the CBC has revealed that RCMP recruiters will now "permit consideration of mitigating factors in all cases of criminal activity, which may include drug trafficking, etc." In other words we are living in a country where the heavily armed illegal drug industry has the upper hand, but also where the national police cannot manage to find recruits who have lived a life without illegal substances.

Screen shot of the March 27th CBC story revealing that RCMP recruiters no longer plans to exclude all drug users from serving on the force.

I have a big problem with the current decline in RCMP culture. Watering the vintage to serve a self absorbed population is unacceptable. I for one have never used any illegal drug, including marijuana, and I am proud of having lived my life with no more serious encounter with the police than a few speeding tickets. Quite frankly, we should be able to expect that an officer who approaches the car window has a character equal to, if not exceeding our own. That is not too much to ask. The RCMP and the poll-addicted politicians have to understand that if they lose the trust and cooperation of my generation, it matters not if they regain physical control of the streets. We have a thousand subtle or subversive ways of expressing our dissatisfaction with public employees who have lost their way. All of them legal.

A crowd of 5000 (VPD estimate) gathered in solidarity for National Pot Smoking Day, the "420" protest in Vancouver, held on Monday afternoon. The banner reads "HELP MAKE CANNABIS THE LOWEST POLICE PRIORITY". Clearly that was the case, as uniformed VPD officers politely observed the happy assembly.

TV Video of yesterday's "420 protest" was broadcast at noon today and it was obvious that the happy crowd was dragging extra hard on their cannabis in order to produce an impressive cloud of smoke. Bravo! Perhaps they could be persuaded to re-assemble and perform the feat at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics. Now that is a stunt which would garner their cause some "World Class" media coverage, and for only a half hour of effort. They already know the VPD and RCMP will not intervene. Legal precedent is truly a modern marvel.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Vancouver

Vancouver's gang war, the UN Gang vs Red Scorpions, got boring, so I had stopped commenting on it months ago. The police chief recently admitted on camera that local politicians had been twisting his arm, demanding he not admit what all the bodies in the gutter imply... that it is a war. Many of you get your daily drip of gore from the Vancouver SUN, which gooses each edition with crime news, and links news coverage to Bolan's Blog on the same website. The SUN is now requiring its writing staff to participate in building a web-presence for the newspaper...The inevitable is just over the horizon. The expensive printing and distribution crews will get their pink slips... look for it in 2012, and the paper will go to online subscription.

This morning's SUN story on the Bacon family appearing at the courthouse, featured handsome Jarrod Bacon looking like he wanted to audition for a part in a Bond movie. His photo prompts an anecdote shared with me last week by a Grade 12 student who had just taken his Transitions Exit Interview, a process required by the B.C. curriculum. The student wanted to impress, so he bought a new suit and had his hair cut for the interview. He told me that when he walked into the room the first words out of the teacher's mouth were, "Wow, you look just like a UN gang member!"

I found his story a tad funny because it indicates an apparent shift in local perceptions of criminality. We have a whole new image of what might now be making many local women jittery. Good looking young men... those who keep themselves fit and are well groomed and well dressed, may now be deemed physically threatening.

This prompts the question, "What is the investigative profile of the man who killed Wendy Ladner-Beaudry at Pacific Spirit Park last Friday?" The brutal death of Ms. Ladner, who was a member of Vancouver's ruling elite, has shocked fellow residents of the West Side, those who have always believed that money and class insulated them from the more sordid aspects of Vancouver's social evolution. Are the police looking for some bedraggled, long haired transient, or are the looking for some buffed up young bloke, who was seen in expensive runners and designer sunglasses? Ms. Ladner's husband insists that his wife would have met any attacker with a barrage of blows. It was interesting to read that, in spite of their being overtaxed by almost daily gang killings, the V.P.D. was able to deploy 75 officers and 20 vehicles to the scene of Ms. Ladner's murder, and maintain those assignments ever since. Apparently we have more law enforcement capability than we've been told.

And what to make of the recent Paul Rogers story "FROM HEAVEN TO HELL" published in the THE INDEPENDENT ? (Many opinions held by Vancouver residents are posted online under Rogers' article. Have a read.) Rogers, a visiting scholar at SFU, bit into some tender political flesh with that story. Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell offered reporters an identical denunciation - "a cheap shot", apparently annoyed that foreign media are unwilling to fall into lockstep with the local media.

Mr. Beaudry, who is distraught and angry, told the Vancouver Courier "If there's any good in this, it's that we can't give in to terror. We can't fold. Terror is a great tool, but we can't let terror take over."

Linda Lorraine Howe (seen here in Dec. 2008 Xmas party photo) alleges that she was allowed to slip through the mesh of Canada's social safety net.

What are we to make of Linda Howe? This is the woman who recently brandished two weapons inside a nursing home at Gibson's B.C., when attendants tried to evict her from a room she was no longer entitled to. Ms. Howe's response was to barricade herself in the room. After shooting an attendant she had to be taken down by a police tactical unit. I can understand how Ms. Howe managed to conceal a small Argentinian auto pistol in her room, but how did she manage to cache a .303 Enfield Rifle?

Ms. Howe is here seen in a surveillance photo, taken inside her room at the care home.

Linda Lorraine Howe of Gibsons, B.C. was armed with a 7.65 Bersa auto pistol, which was manufactured in Argentina in the 1970s. Which of her beau's was stupid enough to give this gun to a woman with emotional problems?

Ms. Howe has been alleging for years that our "system" has let her down. Which node of the system in particular? DND, ICBC, BC Health, et al. Howe has told anyone who will listen that she is a Canadian "veteran" of the Gulf War, suffering from "post Traumatic Stress Disorder". Her family have told news media that she made up the Gulf War service but I read in today's GLOBE AND MAIL that she enrolled in a Vancouver Military Reserve Unit for a few months in 1990. On the strength of that abortive attempt to fit in, the GLOBE today dubs Ms. Howe a "Veteran". How does someone who doesn't take enough reserve training to get Trade Qualified, warrant the honour of "Veteran"? Gee whiz !

This screen capture is precious, isn't it? Ms. Howe's crimes are deemed "alleged" but the neophyte reporter confirms her supposed status as a "military veteran". (Based on a few months on the nominal roll of reserve unit.) Ouch. I guess we really did let Linda down.

DEC. 20, 2010 - we learn today that Ms. Howe was sentenced to seven years of detention.