Saturday, October 29, 2011
Operation Phoenix Revisited
Operation Phoenix was a significant police operation targeting the Hells Angels in the 1990's. I think it's time to revisit that case since it is the very nature of the legendary Phoenix to rise again from the ashes.
Allen Dalstrom was fired by OCABC chief officer David Douglas in 2004 after concerns were raised about Dalstrom's handling of Project Phoenix, a multimillion-dollar investigation of the Hells Angels that was never prosecuted, and over comments Dalstrom allegedly made to a journalist writing a book about the Angels.
Dalstrom alleged in court documents that Phoenix failed because of a turf war between the RCMP and the OCABC. His trial threatened to expose deep divisions between the RCMP and municipal police in B.C. and call some of the most senior officers in the province to the stand.
Insp. Andy Richards, a former investigator with the OCABC who now works for Port Moody police, said Wednesday that Phoenix targeted nine suspects, including three full-patch members of the Hells Angels, and the case should have gone to trial.
"It was a very compelling case and ... highly prosecutable," Richards said. "But because so much baggage had been raised and so much mud had been thrown, Crown was not willing to proceed because ... it was not in the public interest to publicize the level and extent of the infighting."
Richards said that in his view, Phoenix was scuttled by senior RCMP officers because they were jealous another agency had succeeded against the Angels on what they saw as the Mounties' turf.
Asked if he thought the RCMP had learned from the Dalstrom case, Richards replied: "I hope so. But I'm just not convinced they're an organization that necessarily learns from these lessons. ... I'm not sure they learn unless they take it on the chin publicly."
RCMP Supt. Pat Fogarty said Wednesday the four-member board that fired Dalstrom had only one RCMP member on it, with the other three from municipal police forces. "The decision to do what they did was not exclusively the RCMP," he said. "They were only one vote out of four."
Pat Fogarty, the man from space. I am told he is a buffoon. Literally. It is a great concern how someone so completely out of touch with reality could have risen so high in RCMP leadership. It's as though the RCMP didn't want cases against the bikers to proceed so they promoted an idiot to be in charge.
After the VPD caught two Hells Angels in a drug ring, the NDP government created OCABC, a provincial gang task force that was effective at it's job. The RCMP were jealous and did everything in their power to successfully scuttle it's operations. It is a travesty of justice that after the RCMP sabotaged OCABC, it was the provincial taxpayers that had to pay the $2 million settlement to hide what the RCMP had done. Pat Fogarty's allusion to the claim that it wasn't the RCMP that fired Allen Dalstrom is further evidence of that cover up. RCMP Bev Busson was the chair. She fired Dalstrom.
According to Mr. Woodall’s opening statements, Allen Dalstrom’s troubles began when he opposed the RCMP’s attempt to shut down a major drug investigation by the OCABC. Mr. Dalstrom was the lead investigator on the probe, called Project Phoenix, which was targeting Hells Angels.
Rob Gordon, head of criminology at Simon Fraser University, said if Dalstrom’s allegations are true, and key Hells Angels members escaped justice because of police infighting, the provincial government needs to take a hard look at how B.C. is policed.
“It’s outrageous,” he said. “And no professional police service anywhere else on the face of the earth would tolerate it.” Gordon said the current patchwork of RCMP and municipal police in Metro Vancouver simply isn’t working. Gordon added that he suspects Phoenix isn’t the only B.C. investigation that’s been derailed by police turf wars. “If there was an inquiry into all of this, we’d probably find a lot more,” he said.It’s time that we have a very thorough look at the issue of regional policing,” he said.
Project Pheonix never went to trial because they thought it wasn't in the "public's" best interest to air all this dirty laundry. To show how vindictive and controlling the RCMP administration could be in preventing an organized crime case going to trial.
I may be naive and I may be cynical but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Yet I do believe in the three strike rule. The RCMP scuttled Operation Phoenix and the provincial gang task force called OCABC. Strike one. Then the RCMP through Richard Barszczewski stopped an investigation against the Hells angels dead after 2 1/2 tons of cocaine were discovered aboard the Western Wind. Strike two. Then Pat the Buffoon Fogarty has the brazen audacity to make the amazingly absurd statement to the press that the Hells angels are no longer a threat in BC. Strike three you're out!
There is no reason Operation Phoenix can't proceed. The evidence has been collected. We don't care what the RCMP did to stop that investigation. Stopping it let's them accomplish their misguided goal. Proceeding with it is in the public's best interest. Suppressing it is not. BTW I'm told one of the three patch members that were targeted in Operation Phoenix was the ridiculous Weird Hal Porteous.
I think we should preserve the RCMP. If Jim Chu won't take the commissioner's job then Robert Paulson should get the job. Barbara George is dishonest.
However, I do not think the RCMP should be in charge of investigating the Hells Angels or be in charge of the gang task force any more. After three hugely successful attempts to stop cases against the Hells angels going to trial, their misdeeds have proven they should not be in charge of those investigations and the authority over the gang task force should be returned to the Provinces.
It was an act of Provincial legislation that created OCABC in the first place. That legislation still existed as does OCABC. It has loaned out it's members to the RCMP because of their campaign of dirty tricks to gain control then promote a buffoon who makes sure nothing gets accomplished.
BTW One of the reasons cited by Douglas for firing Dalstrom is that he believed Dalstrom was the “OCA insider” quoted in Julian Sher’s book about the Angels, The Road To Hell, How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada, who said that, when it came to organized-crime investigations, the RCMP had done “f--- all here for 25 years”. So once again we see someone fired for telling the truth. The Ontario Biker Enforcement Unit is successful because the RCMP doesn’t have anything to do with it’s administration.