Showing posts with label Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. Show all posts

Thursday, 21 February 2013

If only Circe* were around to set things aright...

In July of last year, after the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry presentations had been concluded and before Oppal's final report was released, I wrote a DJ! post about the controversy surrounding Coquitlam RCMP officer Cpl. Jim Brown.

In light of ongoing criticism of the RCMP, of charges of sexual harassment against female officers and of reported incidents of systemic and individual violence against indigenous women, I wondered what had happened to him. 

Brown's right to privacy, an entitlement to satisfy his transgressive sexual appetites and the privilege to separate personal pursuits from his professional duties were nimbly defended by a faux-menist blogger who declared private acts didn't "necessarily" impinge upon the public world, as though the dedicated practice of hard-core activities that featured the brutal degradation and humilation of women by a cop enmeshed in Pickton's network, belonged to a completely separate reality. 

By implying that an accountant's or a plumber's BDSM diversions wouldn't affect their work, ethical issues and red flags about the officer's conduct were smoothly dismissed by this blogger.  Interestingly enough, his response to a female cop's abusive deportment was not equally indulgent. 

A quick search reveals this, from last October.  Public reaction to Cpl Brown's activities triggered an organized campaign of damage containment by the RCMP.
In an affidavit filed in court describing himself as “not a mere informant” but “an agent” directed by the force, Grant Wakefield says he provided the RCMP with that material and accused Cpl. Brown of engaging in sex while on duty and being involved in bondage- and domination-themed websites.

The RCMP found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, but concluded “allegations of professional misconduct appear to be supported.”

The RCMP said Cpl. Brown has been suspended since July.

On Aug. 18, the Mounties raided Wakefield’s home and seized his computers.

Along with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and media outlets, the New Westminster man is asking the court to unseal the information police used to obtain the controversial warrant to invade his apartment.

One wonders what might connect the RCMP's innumerable undisclosed "failures" during the Task Force investigation into missing DTES sex trade workers, Cpl Brown's proclivities and Commissioner Bob Paulson's fast and furious response to the Human Rights Watch report last week.

Also, it appears Cpl. Jim Brown is suing Wakefield and lawyer Cameron Ward, who acted as counsel to several of the families of missing and murdered women during the Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry for damages.  His claim is the very demonstration of tactics an accused bully will use to shift focus away from the harm he may have perpetrated, to his own alleged suffering as a victim.
The claim accuses Wakefield, along with Jane and John Doe, of improperly obtaining photos of Brown in bondage, domination and sado-masochistic scenes from a fetishist website, and sharing the images with the police and media.

It further states the three were behind a "false and defamatory" online campaign that was "deliberately calculated by the defendants to expose (Brown) to contempt, ridicule and hatred, and to cause other persons to shun or avoid (Brown), and to lower (Brown's) reputation in the eyes of right-thinking members of the community, all of which has in fact occurred."

The court document states the officer, who remains suspended from his job, has suffered "substantial and persisting" injury to his personal and professional reputation as a result of Wakefield's alleged actions. His pride and self-confidence have also been damaged, the claim states. Ward, meanwhile, is accused of writing and publishing defamatory blog posts that questioned Brown's role in the investigation of serial killer Robert William Pickton.

According to the claim, Brown played a minor role in the Coquitlam RCMP investigation that later led to Pickton's arrest and conviction on six counts of murder.

The claim states Ward's conduct "is sufficiently egregious to warrant an award of punitive damages."
Oddly, he's not included the RCMP in his suit though it seems his colleagues instigated the events that led to the revelation of his off-duty amusements.

Meanwhile, Marnie Frey's family's request to secure her remains for burial - she was one of the DTES women killed during the Pickton farm carnage - was handled in a desultory and improper manner.

*The title is inspired by Circe's mythical sorcery which transformed men into swine.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Missing or murdered indigenous women and girls

[...]Michèle Audette, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) states that, “it is incredible that the RCMP is publicly doubting the number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls that has been documented in the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Database! The high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls that has been documented was based on accurate secondary source information that in many instances came directly from police reports that had further been corroborated by NWAC researchers with various police agencies.

NWAC collected and developed the Database of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women and girls between 2005 and 2010 through the Sisters In Spirit initiative, which was based on cases that were in the public domain. “Anyone can collect this information, it is there, but what is unique is that NWAC went beyond this general collection and spoke directly with many families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls and was able to augment the data to better determine what the needs and gaps are in terms of service delivery, programming, and policy services. I invite you to educate yourself, your family, friends and community, and visit the NWAC website and see the research for yourself,” said NWAC President Audette.
From here.

Last week Human Rights Watch released its report on the "Highway of Tears".
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in northern British Columbia has failed to protect indigenous women and girls from violence, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Women and girls Human Rights Watch interviewed also described abusive treatment by police officers, including excessive use of force, and physical and sexual assault.

The 89-page report, “Those Who Take Us Away: Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada,” documents both ongoing police failures to protect indigenous women and girls in the north from violence and violent behavior by police officers against women and girls. Police failures and abuses add to longstanding tensions between the [...] RCMP and indigenous communities in the region, Human Rights Watch said. The Canadian government should establish a national commission of inquiry into the murders and disappearances of indigenous women and girls, including the impact of police mistreatment on their vulnerability to violence in communities along Highway 16, which has come to be called northern British Columbia’s “Highway of Tears.”

“The threat of domestic and random violence on one side, and mistreatment by RCMP officers on the other, leaves indigenous women in a constant state of insecurity,” said Meghan Rhoad, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Where can they turn for help when the police are known to be unresponsive and, in some cases, abusive.”

Human Rights Watch conducted research along Highway 97 and along the 724-kilometer stretch of Highway 16 that has become infamous for the dozens of women and girls who have been reported missing or were found dead in its vicinity since the late 1960s. In July and August 2012, Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed 50 indigenous women and girls, and conducted an additional 37 interviews with families of murdered and missing women, indigenous leaders, community service providers, and others across 10 communities.

Indigenous women and girls told Human Rights Watch that the RCMP has failed to protect them. They also described instances of abusive policing, including excessive use of force against girls, strip searches of women by male officers, and physical and sexual abuse. One woman said that in July, four police officers took her to a remote location, raped her, and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

Women who call the police for help have been blamed for the abuse, shamed over alcohol or substance use, and have found themselves at risk of arrest for actions taken in self-defense, women and community service providers told Human Rights Watch.

“I will never forget that day,” said “Lena G.,” whose 15-year-old daughter’s arm was broken by a police officer after the mother called the police for help during an argument between her daughter and her daughter’s abusive boyfriend. “It’s the worst thing I ever did. I wish I didn’t call.”

Photo: 'Families of Sisters in Spirit'

This instance of systemic negligence, incompetence and, allegedly violence, by the RCMP with regard to missing or murdered indigenous women is not limited to BC.  It appears that the force in Manitoba has similar problems.
"While the stories in the Human Rights Watch report are based in British Columbia, they are eerily similar to the stories we hear from victims, families and friends affected by the missing and murdered indigenous issue in our territories," Nepinak said in a statement released Friday by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.[...]

A spokeswoman for Nepinak said the reference was about police dismissing reports about missing women.

"Most of the complaints we hear about against police is that they do not take missing reports seriously and even dismiss them," Sheila North Wilson said.

She cited a generally a poor attitude toward aboriginal people and aboriginal women. "Not all officers, of course, but (there are) some who make it hard for some of our people to trust police," she said.[...]

In Manitoba, approximately 80 cases of missing and aboriginal women date back decades. They are the long-term focus of a joint RCMP-Winnipeg police investigation set up a few years ago.
It happens in Ontario, too.  Thunder Bay for example has become the recent focus of activism for the purpose of making public, and mapping many flagrant cases of local police officers' complicity in an ongoing campaign of sexual terrorism directed at Indigenous women. Operation Thunderbird, it's called.

There is, in my humble opinion, a form of misogynist terrorism directed against all women, but it is specifically racist in the way that it targets women of  First Nations, Metis and Inuit ancestry in Canada. Elements of our Parliament's Committee on Public Safety and National Security definition apply: a “terrorist activity” is an act or omission undertaken “in whole or in part for a political, religious, or ideological purpose, objective or cause” that is intended to intimidate the public or compel a person, government or organization to do or refrain from doing any act, if the act or omission intentionally causes a specified serious harm. Specified harms include causing death or serious bodily harm, endangering life, causing a serious risk to health or safety...

As the HRW report underlines, indigenous women in BC are the target of sexual terrorism that appears to be aided and abetted with impunity by members of the RCMP.

Fundamentalist, gynophobic christian ideology fuelled the violence directed at aboriginal children sequestered in residential schools, as it continues to contaminate the murderous impulses of men bent upon doing harm to women.  I wrote about a little-known report regarding Robert Pickton's justification for his femicidal campaign.

I believe there are many other predators like Pickton across Canada, working alone or with the help of accomplices, some of whom might be cops.

I want to know where Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander are, and what happened to them. Their mothers, their families miss them.

This woman is my choice to head a National Inquiry into Missing or Murdered Indigenous Women and girls.  When she spoke at the Downtown Eastside Missing Women Inquiry, many RCMP and Vancouver Police staff attended with their pricy lawyers.

In an internal email sent by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson last week addressed the Human Rights Watch report on police mistreatment of indigenous women and girls in northern British Columbia, he said: “...don't worry about it, I've got your back.” 

It's likely this information was leaked to HRW.  Imagine the reaction of officers who are not complicit with RCMP systemic misogyny and racism.  This was a clear message from the Commissioner to those officers who acted as alleged by the HRW report that they would not be held accountable.  It was an implicit threat, silencing those who don't condone nor engage in such actions, a declaration that Paulson would protect the guilty - but not the whistle-blowers from retribution.

The RCMP went into attack mode when the HRW report was released and tried to discredit it or obtain the names of those who had provided information.

This is their default operating mode when the force is criticized; this is the plan to discredit female officers who have charged the RCMP work environment is toxic to women.

Imagine if the force used its considerable resources to actually investigate and stop crime, instead of allowing the thugs inside its ranks to run roughshod like unchecked mini-warlords. 

The last word goes to Chris Andersen and his hard-hitting post about what needs to happen.
Ultimately what is needed here is a national public inquiry on missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The RCMP could play a powerful role in such an inquiry, since they sit on the front lines of these events. A public inquiry would not only allow a sober exploration of the structural inequities that has produced this national tragedy, but it could, as many inquiries do, represent a powerful moment of reconciliation and trust-building between Aboriginal nations, communities and families, on the one hand, and policy agencies, various levels of government and the public, on the other. However, this would require a level of introspection and acknowledgement of responsibility that seems permanently beyond the reach of the RCMP, as most policing agencies. And in remaining so, the RCMP continues to reveal its own heart of darkness: not only its inability to protect Aboriginal women from colonialism’s darkest moments, but its inability to admit its own responsibility in producing the events themselves.
The photo above is from here.

Monday, 9 July 2012

On the *healthy* priapism of privileged androcentrism

Erotizing and fetishizing the dehumanization of women is a necessary instrument required by any form of social conditioning that reinforces a man's *right* to an erection - and his *right* to breed.

Mark Steyn proclaimed here that gendered sexual terrorism was the exclusive domain of one belief system; Robin Morgan proposed in "The Demon Lover" that all three Abrahamic religious traditions are responsible for promoting such ideals.

There is this, my emphasis.
During a brief telephone call Wednesday at the detachment, Brown declined to comment about the pictures and the "Kilted Knight" persona featured in them.

He acknowledged being aware of the material.

"I am familiar with an internal investigation that was conducted," Brown said tersely. "It concluded in March or April and it was decided it was a non-issue - There was no victim."

Lawyer Jason Gratl was astounded by the images and said Brown's even peripheral involvement in the missing women investigation was troubling.

Gratl, who represented Down-town Eastside community groups at the public inquiry into the Pickton police investigation, wondered why Commissioner Wally Oppal wasn't informed when he was conducting hearings at the very moment the RCMP learned of the material.

"This pictorial enactment of a kidnapping and torture by an RCMP investigator crystallizes the ethical nexus between the detachment and the farm," Gratl said.

Victim: A person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.

Then there's the "innocent" victim, a distinction which implies a person had no control, influence or role with regard to the event that caused them harm or injury.

I loathe how the use of the term victim has been co-opted by the aggressors, the predators and the bullies.

BlobBloggingWingnut recently wrote a more bizarre than usual post that was consistent with HER religious zealot approach to blaming and shaming victims. SHE declared "You had it coming!" is an appropriate response to any circumstance where the victim might have somehow contributed to the negative outcome.

"They had it coming!" is the implicit subtext to the expensive theatrical production recently staged by the BC government - The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry - which was directed by its lead performer Wally Oppal.

There was little, if any evidence allowed to counter the dominant view that the women who were savagely murdered by Willy Pickton, and by other alleged participants involved with the activities at the pig farm, "had it coming".

Requests to secure all relevant information were stonewalled, again and again.

A. Cameron Ward, the lawyer who valiantly tried to advocate for the Missing Women's families, blogged here about his ongoing efforts to monitor the proceedings, and to intervene effectively.

As I stated in the comment thread after this post, it seems to me much of the bloviating about Cpl Brown's gawd-given right to damn well get an erection in whatever way he wants, circumvents questions relevant to his professional deportment.

Nobody has said Brown would actually mutilate and murder a woman in the name of his liberté d'érection, but that possibility evidently stimulates his libido. As it would for many men who avidly devour p0rn0graphy that features the continued debasement of women and the depiction of violence exerted against their humanity, in every conceivable way.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

It's an insult to pigs to call cops by their name.

News that Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Jim Brown (aka the “Kilted Knight”) posted graphic photos of himself holding a knife to a woman’s throat on a website devoted to sadomachism has prompted significant public concern. Although this appears to be just another black eye for the nation’s police force, there is potentially a much bigger issue here.

Cpl. Jim Brown isn’t just a police officer who is a sexual deviant on his own time and who likes to connect with other like-minded individuals to share their twisted experiences. He is the RCMP member who produced informant Ross Caldwell in mid-July, 1999, almost three years before the RCMP accidentally discovered evidence that Robert Willy Pickton had been disposing of women’s bodies on the Port Coquitlam property he shared with his brother David. Caldwell was an acquaintance of the Picktons who reported that Willy Pickton had been seen skinning a woman in the barn, that he kept handcuffs under his bed and that he owned night-vision equipment, a semi-automatic rifle and wigs that he wore when he went trolling downtown.

From here.

Xtra and Dan Savage have weighed in on Twitter, claiming that CBC news coverage about RCMP Cpl. Brown is an invasion of his privacy and that his personal sexual preferences should not be a public concern.

Given his close connection to the Pickton investigation - and that someone in the fairly tightly-knit and protective BDSM community found his photo re-enactment of actual crime scenes where women were tortured, murdered, dismembered and fed to pigs, disturbing - Brown's professional deportment should be scrutinized.

During the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, a number of police officers who worked on the investigation that eventually led to the trial of Willy Pickton were exempted from examination.
Willy Pickton didn’t kill up to 49 women by himself, not according to the jury who convicted him of six counts of second degree murder. The women whose remains were found at the pig farm were likely the victims of a group of sexual sadists and torturers, who likely included convicted murderer Willy Pickton himself.

How did Cpl. Jim Brown meet informant Ross Caldwell? Was Cpl. Jim Brown one of the sexual sadists frequenting Piggy’s Palace? Why didn’t the RCMP act on the important information he brought forward? Were the RCMP monitoring the gang activities, including the Angels’ visits to Piggy’s Palace? Why did the RCMP seemingly ignore a ten year string of serial murders? Did they have bigger fish to fry? How many murderers remain at large?

All of these questions should have been answered by the just-concluded Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. We tried our best to pry the lid off and get the evidence out, but our attempts to have Cpl. Brown, Ross Caldwell, Bev Hyacinthe and David Pickton testify (among others) were rejected, as were our attempts to get access to the records of the Organized Crime Agency of BC that would reveal the nature and extent of police surveillance and gang infiltration activities involving Piggy’s Palace.

The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry is patently incomplete. Now it has been revealed that the Coquitlam RCMP had a sexual sadist in their ranks who was sufficiently connected to the Picktons to produce a key informant, someone who tipped the police what Willy Pickton was up to three years before he was arrested. The Commission hearings must be re-opened. If it does not re-open the hearings, it will be perpetuating a police cover-up of the circumstances surrounding Canada’s worst serial killing case.

Instead, the Commission targeted a number of minor players, including this police clerk. It was a travesty of justice miscarried in order to protect Pickton's buddies-in-crime.

The RCMP has become emblematic of the worst examples of male sexual entitlement and privilege.

Added: Rabble has a long screed regarding Brown: "Private fantasy, Public Reality". It's not that great. The author is clearly not familiar with the premise of 'safe, sane and consensual' activities that informs ethical practitioners of BDSM. As well, she misrepresents Terri-Jean Bedford who is a professional dominatrix - not someone who currently experiences abuse, exception made for the violence of a "justice" system that criminalizes sex trade workers to "protect" them.

Competent research, precise knowledge of legal questions, including the criticism directed at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry and a better understanding of boundary issues would have been highly helpful to Meghan Murphy and it would have made her rant referral-worthy.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Christian pathologies and serial killers.

What's the connection between women murdered by serial killers, a judge's legal pillory and the physical abuse of a girl?

Men. Men - Dominique Strauss Kahn-types - who declare they “love” women but in fact practice a range of manipulative tactics that have one purpose: to ensure a woman is available, willing or not, to service their needs.

Men who sexualize women, who can casually say about a friend of yours: "I'd fuck her!"

Men who offer to pay their wives for sex. Men who use their status and power in the work place to elicit "favours". Men who feel that if they've provided dinner, they're entitled to a roll in the hay.

Men who fetishize *exotic* women of African, Aboriginal, Asian, Middle Eastern, South Pacific ancestry. Men who project their needs and desires onto women and assume their raging fantasies are shared.

The stink of male entitlement and privilege oozes up from news stories these days.

This, for example:
A Manitoba man has been spared a criminal record for whipping his 11-year-old foster daughter with a riding crop as punishment for bad school behaviour. [...]

He admits striking the girl 10 times in the buttocks, which caused her to go to hospital with minor injuries. [...]

Crown attorney Debbie Buors told court the man quoted Bible verses as he struck the girl, who was put in his family’s care by Child and Family Services after being seized from a distant relative.

He was telling her "Spare the rod, spoil the child" and "When you are evil you go to Hell," while dishing out the punishment on the family’s property in eastern Manitoba. [...]

"Verbal words were not having an effect on her. She was going to have to have a spank," the man told court on Monday. He said he’d used corporal punishment in the past on his other children as a "last resort."

"I don’t think (at the time) it was out of order. I’m finding out now maybe it was," he admitted.

The man said the criminal case has ripped his tight-knit family apart because he hasn’t been allowed to see the girl for the past three years while on bail awaiting trial.

"I feel like my child has been abducted from me," he said.
That girl was probably removed just in time from his clutches. In a few years, he would have probably moved on to sexual assault, and quoting Bible verses in support.

Such overweening proprietary, misogynist behaviours manifest themselves in a multitude of malevolent actions.

This, for example.
Judge Douglas is facing four allegations of wrongdoing here.

One is that she allegedly participated in her lawyer husband Jack King's scheme to entice a client of his into having sex with her and thus sexually harassed the man; that she failed to disclose this in her application for the bench; that she altered a diary entry and thus tried to thwart the CJC investigation, and that, as a result of the public availability of intimate sexual pictures of her on the web, posted there by Mr. King and Mr. King alone, she is unable to continue sitting as a judge.
More information about the case from today's piece by Blatchford, whose focus has been true and rigorous on this story. As I pointed out in a tweet earlier this week, this is a cautionary tale for women who believe in the "justice" system. There are men who relish the adversarial tenor of the law and will exploit it to screw women, with or without their consent.

And then, there is this:
Shawn Cameron Lamb, 52, has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Tanya Nepinak, Carolyn Sinclair, and Lorna Blacksmith, police announced Monday morning. Police are also investigating whether the accused could be involved in other unsolved cases of murdered or missing women, the source says.

All three women worked in the city’s sex-trade industry. Police said the bodies of Sinclair and Blacksmith have been located – reportedly in dumpsters and wrapped in plastic – while the search for Nepinak’s remains is ongoing.

Court records obtained by the Free Press show police believe Nepinak was killed Sept. 13, 2011, Sinclair was killed Dec. 18, 2011 and Blacksmith was killed Jan. 12, 2012.
By the way, Lorna Blacksmith was not a sex trade worker. That fact is important to her family though probably irrelevant to her killer.

No woman is safe from predatory men who, (paraphrasing the words of Mark Steyn) can conveniently use institutions to justify their pathologies.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

This is what CONs do

From serial sexual predator Vic Toews' office:
The federal public safety minister's office tried to scale back an apology the RCMP delivered earlier this year to the families of serial killer Robert Pickton's victims, Postmedia News has learned.

A senior adviser to the RCMP commissioner later wrote that the government's proposed revisions — which ended up not being adopted — drained the apology of its "purpose" and "impact," according to internal emails obtained under access-to-information laws. [...]

On Jan. 27, just days before RCMP investigators were scheduled to start testifying at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry in Vancouver, British Columbia's top Mountie, then-assisstant commissioner Craig Callens, released a statement to media regarding the force's handing of the Pickton investigation.

"I believe that, with the benefit of hindsight, and when measured against today's investigative standards and practices, the RCMP could have done more," the statement read in part.

"On behalf of the RCMP, I would like to express to the families of the victims how very sorry we are for the loss of your loved ones, and I apologize that the RCMP did not do more."

Pickton, a pig farmer, was arrested in 2002 and eventually convicted of six counts of second-degree murder, though the remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his property in Port Coquitlam, B.C. He once told an undercover officer that he killed 49.

Email records show that shortly before the RCMP statement was issued, Julie Carmichael, press secretary to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, wrote to Daniel Lavoie, the RCMP's executive director of public affairs in Ottawa, requesting changes to the text.

"Daniel — please find attached the revised product," she wrote. The next line was underlined for emphasis: "Please ensure the statement issued is reflective of these changes."

The revised statement did not include any acknowledgement that the RCMP "could have done more" in the Pickton investigation and the apology was limited to saying "how very sorry we are for the loss of your loved ones."
Is the Conservative Party of Canada accountable? No.

But it's clearly abject, callous, venal and odious.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Too little, too f**king late!

This is not a sincere apology and only slightly, a recognition of responsibility. It smacks of a CYA attempt by RCMP lawyers to head off litigation as damning details keep tumbling out, in spite of officials' attempts to do damage control.
The RCMP issued a public apology Friday to the families of the women murdered by Robert “Willie” Pickton, admitting the “RCMP did not do more” in the investigation before he was charged.

The prepared formal apology came after days of testimony at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, in which the way that the RCMP and Vancouver police handled the investigation into the murders of six women Pickton was convicted for -- as well as the disappearances many other women -- has been challenged.
According to this revelation, the RCMP tipped Pickton off; they let him know that he was a target of their investigation - a "known subject".

Incompetence and malfeasance, that's what it appears to me. Isn't it obvious - particularly in light of allegations that women working for the organization suffered systemic discrimination and ongoing, unofficially sanctioned, sexual harassment at the hands of fellow male RCMP officers.