(This column was published in the North Shore News on Sept. 22, 1999)


Finding friends in high places

By Leo Knight

"The world is a dangerous place to live. Not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."      -- Albert Einstein  


THE genius Einstein was recognized for his scientific prowess but, as the quote above shows, he had incredible insight into mankind as well.  


The quote was sent to me by Brian McAdam, the former Foreign Services Officer who, along with suspended RCMP Cpl. Robert Read, is fighting to get someone to pay attention to their allegations of corruption at the highest levels of the Mounties and External Affairs.  


McAdam first raised the alarm about Asian organized crime penetration of Immigration Canada's CAIPS computer system way back in 1992. When the matter was investigated and subsequently covered up, he did his best to get the senior people of External Affairs to pay attention to the corruption he'd uncovered. But he was lied to, marginalized then maligned for his trouble.  


Cpl. Read met much the same fate. After discovering huge holes in the original investigation, he tried to raise the flag, but the file was taken away from him and he was transferred to a paper-shuffling desk job.  


Being a tenacious, honest cop, Read kept trying within the system he swore an oath of loyalty to, meeting nothing but brick walls.  


He finally went to the media to focus attention on what is, arguably, the biggest story of the decade and was suspended from active duty and charged with a couple of trumped up service offences.  


Both Read and McAdam believed in the system they toiled in for so many years. Now they have found out the system itself is corrupt and the good guys have been made victims of the corruption.  


I have to admit, it's all I can do to write about this situation and contain the anger I feel.  


RCMP commissioner Phillip Murray should be ashamed of himself. While it's fair to say the genesis of this scandal began when Norman Ingster was the commissioner and not Murray, it's also fair to say that Ingster politicized the office of the commissioner to the point that he was little more than a lackey to his political masters, ultimately, the prime minister.  


Murray, for his part, appears to still wear his predecessor's knee pads.  


The question remains, as we ponder Einstein's quote above, why didn't Murray act on Read's investigation findings?  


Why did the External Affairs minister do nothing in the face of McAdam's stunning allegations? And why did the prime minister condone the inaction?  


Brian McAdam has written a manuscript that is, frankly, shocking.  


He outlines how elements of Asian organized crime have bought and sold this country with the knowledge and complicity of our political leaders.  


Stevie Cameron's book On the Take, the blistering condemnation of Brian Mulroney's term in this country's highest office, reads like a Boy Scout manual in comparison.  


One can only hope McAdam can find a publisher with the requisite "cajones" to take on the project.  


* * *  


While on the subject of leaders who deliberately ill-inform the public, can there be a sadder case than that of Edmonton police chief John Lindsay?  


In the spring, two veteran detectives charged that senior members of the police department leaked information to the Hells Angels, and Lindsay did little to investigate the allegations.  


The charges inspired an investigation by the RCMP.  


Lindsay, for his part, immediately filed a civil action in an attempt to limit the scope of the Mounties' investigation of corruption into his department.  


While circling the wagons, Lindsay was forced to pull his head out of the sand on the issue of gang activity in the City of Champions. With nearly 20 gang-related shootings over the course of the summer, Lindsay was finally forced to form a task force responsible for dealing with the street war for control of the lucrative heroin and cocaine trade.  


Last week, barely two weeks after the formation of the gang task force, Lindsay stood up in front of the media, and with a straight face, announced the gang problem was in decline.  


The bullets have been flying all summer in Edmonton. They are using weapons like Mac-11 machine pistols. One drive-by shooting resulted in a stray bullet narrowly missing a five-year-old girl in her bed.  


Another dealer was hacked open by assailants with a meat cleaver and there's the chief law enforcement officer for the city saying the problem is in decline.  


The Vietnamese gangs are duking it out with the Chinese. The native thugs like the Red Alert and the Warriors are struggling for recognition, while the West End Boys are doing their best to ensure Darwin's legitimacy and Lindsay says everything's all right folks.  


I spent an hour last week talking to a street cop who works out of Edmonton's West Division. He told me, officially, there is no gang problem in Edmonton. He then went on to tell me chapter and verse of the problems he and his colleagues have trying to keep the lid on a bubbling cauldron of organized crime wars trying to seize control of the lucrative drug trade in the gateway to the north.  


Considering every ounce of heroin or cocaine sold in Alberta originates in Vancouver and one of the shooting victims this summer is a suspect in a B.C. homicide, I'm thinking Lindsay had better extract his head from his anal cavity.  


Conversely, he may be trying to deflect attention from the allegations made by the two detectives who, like Read and McAdam, are just trying to do the right thing.  


Jim Fisher, the Vancouver Police sergeant recently gagged by the RCMP for doing his job, says the situation in Edmonton is identical, and with some of the same players, as Vancouver had five years ago.  


Organized crime is more prevalent in our cities -- all of our cities -- than ever before. It affects each one of us whether you realize it or not.  


The soldiers in the war against the forces of darkness are being gagged, maligned or condemned.  


Some of the people at the head of our governments, police forces and civil service are protecting the bad guys and, frankly, I don't understand why we are letting this happen.





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