Triple threat: Matthew Ward-Jackson, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich at the Jane and Finch courthouse

Featured

No Moët  and hoes for Matthew Ward-Jackson aka Krucifix14. Bail was denied at a surprising hearing.

No Moët and hoes for Matthew Ward-Jackson aka Krucifix14. No Red Shoes for the rest of us. Bail was denied after a surprise development cut the bail hearing short.

Today I went to the Jane and Finch courthouse for the bail hearing of Matthew Ward-Jackson, charged, among other things, with selling Dellen Millard the gun allegedly used to kill his father, Wayne Millard.

The courthouse is located in the world’s worst strip mall, where the only food source is Swiss Chalet. You can’t get your nails done during the breaks or eat pho for lunch or buy a Somali cell phone, although there is a criminal law office and the court clerk told me about a great Caribbean buffet for $8 at Weston Rd.


Read also: A Day in Court with Matthew Ward-Jackson and his lawyer, Deepak Paradkar


Outside the courtroom, I ran into Ward-Jackson’s friend and occasional rapper, Rissy Riss, who asked me how my book was going. “It’s with my lawyer,” I told him. He nodded sympathetically. Lawyers.

Riss was with a blonde with a long braid, lots of eyeliner and mukluks. It seemed rude to ask if she was a Gotass Girl so I didn’t, but I think maybe she was. When we entered the courtroom, Riss and the blonde sat in the right back row with three other people who knew Ward-Jackson. In the left back row were the cops including Detective Mike Carbone from the infamous Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard press conference.

I have mixed feelings about that press conference. On the one hand, I feel like Carbone was sent on a suicide mission. He had just been assigned to the case and wasn’t responsible for the initial screw-ups. But, on the other hand, it was such a terrible press conference that I can’t really work up much sympathy for anyone involved.

There were two crown attorneys present because this was a joint bail hearing. Ward-Jackson has drugs and weapons charges stemming from a January drug raid in Mississauga and then the Millard-related weapons charges, which were laid in April. Jason Miller from Guns and Gangs was responsible for the January stuff and Laura Bird, who is in charge of the Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard murder cases, handled the April trafficking charges.

This is a good time to say that Ward-Jackson is pleading not guilty to all the charges against him and none of the allegations have been proven in court. His lawyer is Fariborz Davoudi, who had promised to tell me when the bail hearing was taking place, but didn’t. When he walked into the court and saw me, he was at a momentary loss for words. “Heeeeeeeeeeey,” he said, stalling for time. “You made it.” (Our last in-person meeting was back in June when I had showed him his client’s active social media life.)

The Justice of the Peace David Lippingwell imposed the standard publication ban at the request of the defence so I can’t tell you anything much else about what happened after that. I was the only reporter there.

At the break, Laura Bird and Mike Carbone went next door to see Dellen Millard and Mark Smich make their regular monthly video appearances. Smich looked his usual self, a little on the heavier side, but in decent shape with a buzz cut. Millard looked the worst I’ve ever seen him. He’s constantly changing his facial hair and, this time around, perhaps in Movember mode, he had a fu manchu moustache with the ends dangling down off his chin and greasy, chin-length hair. He’s gone native.

Millard also has a new attorney for the Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard murder charges. He is now being represented by Ravin Pillay, who has replaced Deepak Paradkar on those two cases. Pillay and Paradkar have been working together since early on and still are, but I wasn’t aware of this official change until today.

MIllard is pleading not guilty to both murder charges as well as the murder of Tim Bosma. Smich is also pleading not guilty to the murders of Laura Babcock and Tim Bosma. Millard and the Crown have agreed to an in-chambers judicial pre-trial December 19, but it has to be confirmed with one of Smich’s lawyers. Millard and Smich will both be back November 19 to try and firm up that date.

After the video appearances, we returned to the Matthew Ward-Jackson bail hearing, which for reasons I cannot report, was cut suddenly short. Bail was denied.

It was all very surprising, but who doesn’t like to get Friday afternoon off?

The snow is important: Serial podcast is not misleading anyone

Featured

There’s a lot of muttering about the journalistic ethics of Sarah Koenig’s Serial podcast. Is it okay to withhold facts to build suspense? Are we listeners being strung along for the sake of narrative? Could everyone please try to remember these are real people we’re talking about not fictional HBO characters. Scold, scold, scold.

After deliberating on the issue for several days, I’m voting that Serial’s ethical. My theory is that Koenig is trying to put us in the frame of mind she was in as the story unfolded. She didn’t meet Jay until eight months into her year of research. And we, the audience, don’t meet Jay until eight episodes into a planned 12 episodes. The goal was to have the audience feel what she felt. It’s not withholding facts but rather an attempt to recreate her investigation, to make us see things as she did. That’s why she hasn’t confronted Adnan. If you’re a reporter on a story like this, you don’t do the confrontation until you’re ready. We’ll see the confrontation at the point in the investigation that she confronted Adnan.

If you’re not convinced of my theory, go back and re-listen to Episode 1 or read the transcript. Then, consider the snow because the snow is important. Asia McLean, the girl that wrote the supposed alibi letter, said, “I remember that day, because that was the day that it snowed.”

Koenig responded: “Were there snow days after that, do you remember?”

McLean replied: “I want to say there was, because I think that was like the first snow of the year. I wouldn’t have even remembered if it hadn’t have been for the snow. And the whole – I just remember being so pissed about Derek being late and then getting snowed in at his house. And it was the first snow of that year.”

Asia is wrong. It didn’t snow that day. Look what happens when you google Baltimore weather ja …

Baltimore weather January 13 1999

There’s an auto-prompt because so many people are googling it to find out if McLean’s memory was accurate, and it wasn’t. The first snow of the year in Baltimore in 1999 had been the week before. It would be a mistake to assume Koenig doesn’t know this and that it hasn’t been fact-checked. (Remember, earlier on in that episode she told us she had fact-checked all of Rabia’s statements about Adnan. He was prom prince not homecoming king, paid EMT not volunteer, etc.)

That’s why Koenig’s next line is so artfully worded: “The snow is important. Hae disappeared on a Wednesday. That night there was a huge ice storm, which is unusual in Maryland. It ended up being a state emergency. And school was closed for the rest of the week.”

If you listen between the lines, Koenig is telling us that Asia got it wrong. She confused snow and a ice storm, which, if you’ve just lived through both of them, are definitely not interchangeable. Asia’s so-called alibi would have fallen apart on the witness stand. Picture the cross examination. Was it a snow storm? Or ice? You don’t remember? You’re confused? What else don’t you remember and are you confused about it?

Koenig knew at this point that snow was important, that she had to pin down the weather that day. But does Rabia Chaudry, who’s been Adnan’s chief advocate over these past 15 years, think the snow is important enough to check? Here’s what Rabia says about why she believes Asia McLean’s testimony was crucial: “And she remembered very specifically that that day she went to her boyfriend’s house with him, and they got snowed in. And it snowed really heavily that night. And she remembered that for the following two days, school was closed. So she had very specific details about why she remembered that day.”

In 15 years, Chaudry has never fact-checked this snow statement.

So is it unethical for Koenig not just to tell us that it didn’t snow, that Asia is wrong? What if she didn’t find out about the weather until much later? What if her point is for us to experience things the way she did? Is it still unethical?

There’s another example of Koenig’s and Chaudry’s very different approaches in Episode 1. When Koenig is discussing memory at the very beginning of the show, she says: “If some significant event happened that day, you remember that, plus you remember the entire day much better.

“If nothing significant happened, then the answers get very general. I most likely did this, or I most likely did that.”

Based on this theory, Adnan should have remembered what happened on January 13, 1999. Hae Min Lee disappeared that day and the police called Adnan to question him late that afternoon. That’s significant. And, according to Adnan himself, there was another thing that made that day special — it was his good friend Stephanie’s birthday. So Adnan should remember.

But here’s Rabia Chaudry describing talking to Adnan after the verdict: “And he’s like, she disappeared in January, you know? In March, you’re asking me, where were you after school for 20 minutes on a specific day? All the days are the same to me, you know?”

So Koenig has just explicitly stated that people remember days with significant events better, Adnan is saying there was nothing special about this day, and Rabia is not questioning that statement: “All the days are the same to me, you know?”

Really?

This reporting has been interpreted has Koenig being naive, credulous. Maybe, but I don’t think so. If anyone’s being naive and credulous it’s Rabia who failed to question the snow and Adnan’s failure to remember. We have pretty good reason to believe Koenig questions both.

Or at least, that’s my theory. And I’m sticking to it until someone tells me why I’m wrong.

 

 

 

 

Matthew Ward-Jackson aka Big Iish not guilty of coke trafficking, still faces Millard-related weapons charges

Featured

For those of you following the Matthew Ward-Jackson aka @Krucifix14 aka Big Iisho affair, I owe you an update so here goes.

Last Wednesday (October 29), Mr. Ward-Jackson was found not guilty of cocaine possession and intent to traffic while conceding that he had indeed been in possession of a few grams of marijuana for personal use. This finding opens the door for a bail hearing to get Iish “out of the bin,” as the Gotass girls would say. Or as @Krucifix14 himself puts it on his Instagram account: “!!!COMING HOME SOON!!! Title: New Video ” RED SHOES ” ~Out Soon~14 hoes n moét For Booking: krucifix14@gmail.com.”


A Day in Court with Matthew Ward-Jackson and his lawyer, Deepak Paradkar


What else? A while back on Websleuths.com, an eagle-eyed sleuther identified the fellow with his eye blacked out, who is tattooed on the side of Iish’s head. It is none other than Sir Robert Laird Borden, the eighth Prime Minister of Canada, of interest to the Krucifix14 crowd not so much for the Conscription Crisis or any other historical stuff, but rather for being the face on the $100 bill.

As it turns out, it is quite popular in certain circles to have famous people from money — Jacksons, anyone? — tattooed on your body. Not only does Iish have a Borden tatt, so does Dubs Banger, one of his two co-accused in the Millard-related weapons trafficking case, which is how I came to discover Iish and Dubs in the first place.

Robert Borden $100 bill tattoo

Iish’s Robert Borden tattoo (left) is like a bad courtroom sketch. But Dubs Banger’s Borden (right)  is a much better likeness to the $100 bill (middle).

The Websleuths’ identification of Borden led to an aha! moment of my own. I realized, upon close examination of the evidentiary photos, that the person on Borden’s left (above) and right (below), who I had earlier thought was an androgynous pixie, was in fact Queen Elizabeth II. Given that she also has a money connection, it all started to make sense.

Queen Elizabeth II tattoo

Looking at things from a different angle, it’s possible to recognize Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

What still hasn’t been explained, however, is why Sir Robert Borden should have a big black eye and why Big Iisho has such an ongoing fascination with people being shot in the eye. For example, in this “creep ass ontario south toronto” recording circa 2007, he sings the lyrics are “shoot a man in his eye socket twice, he be quick to start jerking, twittering, twitching and moving.” This has been a disturbing obsession of Big Iisho’s for quite some time. And it’s all the more peculiar, given that Matthew Ward-Jackson is accused of selling Dellen Millard the illegal gun he allegedly used to kill his father, Wayne MIllard, who is reported to have been shot in the eye.

Matthew Ward-Jackson

Matthew Ward-Jackson has a disturbing fascination with people being shot in the eye. This photo appeared on Twitter some two weeks after Wayne Millard’s murder.

But here’s the thing, despite the Millard-related weapons charges, and the fact that Iish is also facing a different set of charges for owning an AK-47 and a whole lot of other drugs, no one (excluding the cops and various Crown attorneys) has a bad thing to say about him, including some people who should be very, very angry at Big Iisho.

At this point, I am going to interrupt this blog post to stress that Ward-Jackson is pleading not guilty to all the charges against him and none of the allegations have been proven in court. Also, the Crown is going to have to do a whole lot better job than it did with the recent drug case, for which MJ was found not guilty, if they want to make any of these other charges stick. Interruption now over.

So, as I was saying, Matthew Ward-Jackson is a pretty popular guy, described variously as polite, educated and sweet. Now, I know, you’re probably thinking that, based on all those tattoos and the social media and the creep ass ontario song, that none of this makes sense, and you would be right. But the facts are the facts. While none of Iish’s friends, acquaintances and colleagues were fond of the facial tattoos, they all liked Iish.

Based on this diverse but unanimous chorus of character references, I have concluded that Matthew Ward-Jackson, more than anything else, resembles a character in an Elmore Leonard novel, one of those aspiring small-time hoods and con artists who — thanks to dumb mistakes and bad judgment — unwittingly get caught up in far more dangerous and deadly capers.  Where the Elmore Leonard comparison falls short, however, is that Leonard doesn’t let innocent people get killed. (Again, Ward-Jackson is pleading not guilty to all he charges against him.)

And finally, one last piece of information about how Matthew Ward-Jackson is connected to Dellen Millard. Friends of Iish and Mark Smich tell me that Iish often hung at Smich’s place. They were on good enough terms that Iish would even comment on one of Smich’s sister’s Instagram accounts and interacted on Facebook with Smich’s BFF, Cora. Iish also knew Dellen Millard, who hung out Chez Smich from time to time as well. So, that’s the connection.

And for the record, Millard and Smich are pleading not guilty to all the charges against them including the murders of Tim Bosma, Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard (Smich not charged with this one). None of the allegations have been proven in court.

 

 

Crown seeks direct indictment in Laura Babcock murder case

Featured

The Crown is seeking a direct indictment in the Laura Babcock murder case, raising further questions about the original investigation into her disappearance by Toronto police.

If the direct indictment is granted, it should be announced over the next few weeks and the case against the accused, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, will proceed directly to trial without a preliminary hearing.

A direct indictment was granted last July for the related murder trial of Tim Bosma, where Millard and Smich are also charged. At the time, Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur commented: “I’m not going to speak about the case, but when this procedure is supported, it’s because there is good evidence that the person being accused will become convicted.”

Brendan Crawley, a spokesperson for the Attorney General, said the ministry does not comment on whether requests for direct indictments have been made in a specific case.

Smich and Millard are pleading not guilty on all counts and none of the allegations against them have been proven in court.

The Babcock case is very different from the Bosma murder in terms of what the public knows about the evidence. Police have said that Tim Bosma’s remains, burned beyond recognition, were found on Millard’s farm near Ayr, Ontario, and that Bosma’s truck was found in a trailer parked in the driveway of Millard’s mother, Madeleine Burns, in Kleinburg, north of Toronto. The Hamilton Spectator has reported that the victim was incinerated in a livestock incinerator found on Millard’s animal-less farm and purchased through Millardair.

In contrast, none of the evidence in the Laura Babcock case has been made public. There is also no body although the Hamilton Spectator reported that its sources believe Babcock was incinerated shortly after her disappearance in July 2012.

Many questions have been raised about how the Laura Babcock investigation was originally handled by Toronto police, who have been severely criticized for not following up on a mobile phone bill showing that the last eight phone calls she made were to Dellen Millard.

Sgt. Stephen Woodhouse — who was the lead detective in the original 2012 search for Laura Babcock told the National Post in May 2013 that investigators were never aware of any relationship between her and Dellen Millard. Contradicting her parents and ex-boyfriend, who said they had repeatedly brought the phone records to police attention, Sgt. Woodhouse said police did not see them until after Millard was arrested for the Tim Bosma murder. (Although, according to TPS operating procedures, investigators should have acquired the phone records of anyone missing under such circumstances, whether given to them by the family or not.)

“In this case we had no idea where Laura was living at the time, who her circle of friends were, what she was doing,” said Sgt. Woodhouse, who has since taken another position within Toronto Police and is no longer assigned to the case.

“In a city of 3 million people, where do you start?” he said. “We did the standard press release and put her picture out there… We followed the leads that we had.”

That the Crown would apply for a direct indictment indicates that they think they have a very strong case against Millard. This means that once police got serious about the Babcock disappearance investigation they don’t appear to have had too much difficulty finding evidence. It raises the question once again of why the investigation into Laura’s disappearance was so different pre- and post-Millard’s arrest.

In addition to the Bosma and Babcock murders, Dellen Millard has also been charged with the murder of his father, Wayne. No direct indictment is being sought in that case. Given that the Babcock and Bosma murder cases are being handled by different jurisdictions, it’s highly unlikely they will be joined and tried together.

Once again, none of the allegations against Millard and Smich have been proven in court. They are innocent until proven guilty.

What happened to Jeffrey Boucher? Read my new e-book on the case of the missing runner

Featured

Read my new e-book: The Mysterious Death of Jeffrey Boucher

You can buy it on Amazon

It’s an account of the events surrounding the disappearance of the Whitby dad and my theory on what happened to Jeffrey Boucher.

Buy The Mysterious Death of Jeffrey Boucher (or read the free sample)

Matthew Ward-Jackson: Believed to have sold Dellen Millard the gun used to kill his father, Wayne Millard

Featured

Matthew Ward-Jackson

Matthew Ward-Jackson, not as he appeared in Toronto court via video earlier today

Full story tomorrow. Here’s some background in the meantime.

Update June 10: My story is now up at the National Post. The first two paragraphs are below and here’s another photo of Matthew Ward-Jackson.

Do you see the man with the blacked-out eye in the top righthand corner?

Do you see the man with the blacked-out eye in the top lefthand corner?

The active social media life of a man believed to have sold a gun to accused triple murderer Dellen Millard has added another layer of mystery to what was already a bizarre case.

Matthew Ward-Jackson, charged with weapons trafficking in April, has almost no web presence  under his own name. Instead, the 27-year old with a tattooed face and body uses  the online aliases @Krucifix14, Krucifix North and @BIGiisho to document his life as an aspiring gangsta-style rapper. Instagram photos, YouTube videos and Facebook posts show him pouring champagne over women’s thong-clad backsides, literally throwing money around, driving classic cars and, more incongruously, taking bubble baths in a heart-shaped red tub.

Read the whole thing at the Post.

Keep up to date on the Dellen Millard investigations. Receive my newsletter. Just add your email address below:












Accused murderer Mark Smich lived at home of Wayne and Dellen Millard

Featured

Accused Murderer Mark Smich

Houseguest Mark Smich (above) and his host Dellen Millard are charged with the murders of Tim Bosma and Laura Babcock. Dellen Millard is also accused of murdering his father Wayne. (Photo: Facebook)

Since I wrote my Grid article on the Toronto Police investigations into the murders of Wayne Millard and Laura Babcock, a number of facts have come to my attention.

Mark Smich and his girlfriend, whose name cannot be printed due to a publication ban, were living in the basement of Wayne MIllard’s Etobicoke home for several weeks (at least) before he was allegedly murdered. They were not in a separate apartment, but right in the same house.

In the past, Dellen had had other friends live in the basement, and although his father was not happy with this communal living situation, he never kicked anyone out. Instead, Wayne used tactics like not stocking the fridge in the hopes that this would make the basement a less attractive crash pad.

After Wayne MIllard was allegedly murdered, Dellen; his mother, Madeleine Burns; and his ex-fiancee were all present as police investigated the death that night. Smich was not there.

The Hamilton Spectator reported last month that Wayne was killed with a trafficked gun.

At the time of Wayne’s death in November 2012, basement resident Mark Smich had  two convictions from drug possession charges, two fail to comply convictions and one conviction for impaired driving. The previous month, he had been charged with mischief under $5,000 for spray-painting an Oakville overpass.

Smich and Dellen Millard are charged with the first degree murders of Tim Bosma and Laura Babcock. Millard is also charged with the first degree murder of his father Wayne. Both men have pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them.

If you have more information, please contact me at ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com.

You can get the latest on all these linked cases by subscribing to my newsletter.  Just add your email address below:










Relax, dog lovers, Popper cheats death in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

Featured

If you are, like me, a dog, book and movie lover, you will feel a sense of dread when reading Donna Tartt’s new book, The Goldfinch. This is because it features a small white fluffster of a Maltese dog — called variously Popper, Popchik and Popchyk — who appears doomed from the moment he makes his entry into the novel, greeting with desperate shrieks the evil owner who has left him home all alone for almost two weeks.

Luckily for Popper, things change for the better thanks to Theo, the new teenage addition to his household,  and Theo’s bad-guy buddy, Boris. These two drug and booze-addled dudes let the little dog hang out with them, ending his life of isolation. The downside  is that their activities don’t exactly provide a safe and secure environment for the family pet, provoking many anxieties that he will go missing forever in a deserted Las Vegas subdivision.

Worse yet, when Theo and Boris encounter a mobster, it seems predestined that Popper will get what happens to so many movie dogs and end up lifeless on the front door stoop or kitchen counter with a threatening note attached to his collar.

Any half-serious movie goer knows just how often the loyal family dog meets a gruesome death, enough that there exists an entire website — www.DoesTheDogDie.com — devoted to answering this “most important movie question” and mentally preparing dog-loving movie goers for what’s to come.

That there is no literary equivalent to  www.DoesTheDogDie.com can be seen as a good thing  in as much as it  shows that tear-jerking pet death  has never been as big an issue for books as it is for movies. On the other hand, it also means there’s no quick reference guide to turn to if a reader does start to worry about a fictional dog’s future.

Therefore in the interests of calming the nerves of dog and literary fiction lovers reading The Goldfinch, I am hereby informing you that Popper survives this almost 800-page novel unharmed despite his many brushes with danger and long absences from the narrative.

And no, I did not forget the spoiler warning. The only thing this knowledge will spoil is a sadistic ride on the roller coaster of fear for an innocent little Maltese dog. Knowing Popper’s fate does not in any way affect the outcome of the rest of The Goldfinch.

Rest reassured dear Reader, Popper lives to a ripe old age.

Fed leak rumours shine spotlight on bigger problems with ‘media’ lock-ups

Featured

Government never intended to become part of the high-speed trading infrastructure, but it can’t extricate itself without alienating Wall Street

Lock-ups, like the one the Fed is now investigating for a leak, make no sense in the age of the internet. The Fed and other agencies that announce potentially market-moving data could far more easily release it on the web, as Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt argues they should in this interview. But this is unlikely to happen anytime soon due to the simple fact that lock-ups have, over the past few years, become part of the infrastructure for so-called high frequency trading or HFT as its known.

Wall Street, a major donor to both U.S. political parties, would go ballistic if it no longer had access to the lock-ups through special fibre optic lines and, as of late, microwave networks. Instead of the data travelling straight to the Street via so-called machine readable feeds that allow profitable trades to take place in milliseconds, hedge funds and traders would have to figure out a way to get the data from the internet so they could then trade on it. It might take seconds like it did in the past and this is something, the masters of the universe wouldn’t be prepared to live with.

As a result of this most recent Fed leak investigation, several other leak and lock-up stories this year, and various ongoing SEC and FBI investigations, we’re likely to see two things happen in the very near (but far longer than milliseconds away) future. One, expect to hear more and more that lock-ups — originally conceived  to ensure the public received clear information in a timely fashion — have become obsolete in this era of global communications. And two, prepare for Wall Street to push back and tell us there will be market chaos if lock-ups are done away with. Financiers will argue that such a change would make the system unfair and susceptible to the horrible vagaries of regular old internet connections.

Access to lock-ups is so important to the HFT crowd that over the past decade, several trading companies have set up their own “news agencies” (yes, those are scare quotes) to gain the coveted entry key. Chicago’s JED Capital funded Need to Know News and then sold it to the Deutsche Börse. The Montreal-based proprietary trader Vigilant Global (formerly Vigilant Futures) founded the now-defunct Canadian Economic Press (CEP News) and, as a result, received direct feeds from lock-ups in Ottawa, Washington, London and Frankfurt. A Slovakian firm, World Business Press Online, cropped up in Bratislava, and started attending lock-ups around the world. Then came Econolive, also know as Empire News, which appears to be an Israeli firm, but this can’t be confirmed because no one there will return phone calls and their reporters don’t have the foggiest idea who owns the company. And last but not least there’s Buffalo-based RTTNews which — unlike many of the aforementioned new players — has been around since early internet days. In recent years, it’s had a makeover, however, and it too is now an active lock-up attendee.

All this activity eventually attracted the interest of the FBI, but failed to result in any arrests or prosecutions. Apart from the U.S. Department of Labor’s decision to kick Need to Know News and RTTNews out of its lock-ups in the spring of 2012, everyone’s still attending Washington’s other lock-ups and many go to similar lock-ups in the UK, Germany and Canada.

According to anonymous but proven-to-be reliable sources, it was never clear that there was indeed any illegal leaking by the new “news agencies.” Despite the suspicion and investigations, no evidence of malfeasance was ever found. Multiple insiders, who did not want to give their names, said the new “news agencies” profited simply because they were both more nimble and more sophisticated than bigger, better established news operations, which made them significantly faster in the age of HFT.

“While I can’t say if any of these (new) news companies were cheating, I can say they were light years ahead technology wise over DJ, Reuters, Bloomberg, AP, etc,” said one source in an email.  “They built highly optimized networks to transfer this data through ultra low latency switches and lines that the other guys never thought of.  They also were optimized to this single rifle shot of data through a network where the big legacy guys were using systems/networks optimized for throughput and continuously publishing hundreds or thousands of stories simultaneously and continuously.”

Since the invasion of the small news agencies beginning in 2005,  the big players have mostly caught up and just about everyone now offers machine readable feeds (you program your computer with algorithms that allow trades to be carried out in the blink of an eye) and low latency (ultra high-speed) services.

Many of the traders associated with new “news agencies” are said to have their own microwave networks, which are supposedly faster than even the newest fibre optic lines. In a study released after reports of the September 18 Fed leak, the large trading firm Virtu Financial confirmed that certain companies receive their data via microwave radio signals, a topic that traders usually don’t mention in public.

In August of 2012, the Chicago Tribune reported:

These microwave networks require a dish every 30 miles or so and Federal Communications Commission approval. High-speed traders, however, try to cloak their routes in secrecy. FCC filings do not list the traders themselves but limited liability companies with such nondescript names as Webline Holdings.

For this reason, it was unusual to see Montreal’s Vigilant Global publicly named when it requested antennae permits in both the U.S. and Great Britain. According to a source, Vigilant, Virtu and Jump Trading are confirmed to have their own microwave networks. Other firms who may own them are Allston Trading, Tower Trading Group, which owns the mysterious Latour Trading, and Final, an Israeli company that is a top volume player on the CME.

While some traders have said that they think the ongoing investment in proprietary millisecond-shaving networks is a costly war of diminishing returns, others are not yet ready to lay down arms. Jump is supposed to have “bought a de-commisioned NATO telco tower in Belgium to secure the fastest London-to-Frankfurt route,” said the source.

The source added that any one of these trading companies might own and/or be (exclusive) clients of the smaller news agencies accessing lock-ups. This conflict-of-interest situation is a huge annoyance to the legacy news agencies, who don’t make multi-million dollar trades on the side and must earn their profits solely by providing news. They’ve tried on many occasions to have the new players booted out of the lock-ups and their press passes revoked, but these efforts have been foiled partly due to governmental bureaucratic inertia and partly due to haphazard media accreditation systems devised by press gallery members themselves.

The whole situation is further complicated by the fact that it’s not just Wall Street that would be in trouble if lock-ups were abolished; Bloomberg,Thomson Reuters and Dow Jones would be cut right out of their profitable middleman role, which would undermine their entire business model. Last year, when Statistics Canada attempted to put information on the web before it was released from lock-ups, it was immediately forced to back down. Reuters reported that it and other news organizations had made “strenuous representations” to StatsCan and the minister in charge to block the change.  StatsCan was supposed to come up with an alternative proposal shortly, but there’s been radio silence ever since.

As much as the internet makes it possible to do away with lock-ups, powerful vested interests won’t let go of the keys to the money-making chambers without a fight.

Dellen Millard’s letter from jail

Featured

Here is the full text of the letter Dellen Millard, accused murderer of Tim Bosma, wrote from prison to one of his fans, a 31-year-old woman from the Kitchener area. For details on how it was authenticated see these two earlier posts:

If you have information on the Dellen Millard, please contact me at ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com.

Text of the letter

Dee,

The prisoners here call me ‘Big D.’ So I kind of feel like I’m writing to someone who has highjacked (sic) my nickname. I’m going to take it as a meanningful (sic) coincidence. Pleased to make your aquaintance (sic)!

I’ve never before found myself in prison. It’s been an uncomfortable experience so far. One of the worst parts has been that everyone seems to think I am a murderer. (Which I’m not, I go out of my not to step on ants.) I always suspected the news papers (sic) were full of shit, but until recently I had no idea! Another surprise was how the police conduct themselves. They formed their theory, and then went about making it a reality. I’m somewhat horrified at imagining how many innocent people might be imprisoned right now. Police corruption is nothing like Hollywood portrayed, truth really is stranger than fiction.

My closest friends and family stand by my side, which is really all I need. But I must say it is uplifting to get your letter! That someone out there who has not known me cant still see what’s being said about me just doesn’t addup, gives me confidence a jury can see it too.

continued…

I’d like very much to continue to write to you; to have your support and to have a proper conversation once I make bail.

(Which I hope will happen in September).

But for that to happen, I’m going to have to meet you first.

I get two twenty minute visits per week. Because I only get two, you can bet one will be taken every week by family.

I invite you to drop by :

tuesday 9am – 11am 6pm – 8pm

I look forward to meeting you Dee!

-Dellen -(BigD)

H.W.D.C.
2B left
cell 7
165 Barton St E
Hamilton On
L8L 2W8

Dee Letter page 1

Dee Letter page 2

Thoughts on Toronto and Rob Ford

Featured

I have an article on Toronto’s travails in Chatham House’s The World Today magazine. It carries on where my La Presse piece from three years ago left off.

Here’s the start of my new article:

Toronto is a city that knows its place, or at least it did until recently. It had earned its nickname ‘Toronto the Good’, and was used to compliments from visitors who praised it for being ‘so clean’ and ‘so safe’.

Although Toronto overtook Montreal to become Canada’s largest city in the mid-Sixties, it always accepted it lacked that certain je ne sais quoi. Torontonians were content to forgo glamour and a home-grown independence movement for their booming job market and rising house prices.

It has helped, too, that over the decades Toronto, once seen as an uptight anglophile enclave, has succeeded in rebranding itself as the world’s most multicultural city – more than half of its inhabitants were born outside Canada. Toronto has gained enough confidence to ignore the barbed comments from the rest of the country.

Read the whole thing and see the very apt Rob Ford picture the editors chose to accompany the article.

Vigilant Global builds new wireless network in Europe, North America

Featured

Vigilant Global builds new wireless network in Europe, North America

Planning applications are underway in both the U.S. and U.K.

Earlier this month, city councillors in Castle Point, England, a town 30 miles east of central London, turned down a proposal from Vigilant Global, the secretive Montreal-based proprietary trading company, to add two new dish antennae to the local water tower.


How HFT firms access secure government briefings to get the jump on market-moving data
The mystery ending of Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys: FCC License No. 1215095


The plans called for 60cm and 1.2m dishes – the latter of which would have been the biggest antennae on the building so far.

The failed application appears to be one of several Vigilant Global has made over the past 12 to 18 months including one in London’s Crystal Palace ward and another in Westmont, Illinois, just west of Chicago where Michael Bieniek of Lora, Chanthadouangsy & Castellanos, LLC, requested a permit to place more than three antennas on a structure on behalf of his client.

A Minstead Parish council report for another application states:

The dishes would aid the business of Vigilant Global, a company which serves the electronic finance sector. They are currently in the process of designing and implementing a wireless network to replace their existing fibre infrastructure.

The application further notes:

Vigilant Global is a Montreal-based R&D and IT firm that designs and deploys high-performance systems for the world of electronic finance. Vigilant Global operates a proprietary communication network across the UK for the transfer of information between various sites. They are currently in the process of designing and implementing a wireless network to provide redundancy to their existing fibre infrastructure. As such, they need several links and sites in order to establish a connection. The dishes at this site are essential to allow them to use this location as an intermediary, but network critical, link for the overall end to end connection.

The scheme merely seeks to install 2 new dishes, onto the existing mast, and one which is already populated with a significant amount of telecommunications equipment.

The most interesting information about the network, however, can be found in a statement  submitted on behalf of Arqiva and Vigilant Global in support of an application for full planning permission at a site off Cuckoo Lane, Bulbarrow Hill, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 0HQ. This existing electronic communications site is controlled and managed by Arqiva, which is “a radio site management company which provides much of the infrastructure behind television, radio and wireless communications in the UK and has a growing presence in Ireland, mainland Europe and the USA.”

I’ve linked to a cached version of the statement, which appears to have been removed from the website where I found it 10 days ago (cached versions are temporary so this link may die too). Below I’ve picked out some of the juicy bits — or at least what I found to be the juicy bits.

From Section 1, INTRODUCTION:

1.4 As explained in more detail in the accompanying Economic Statement, the transmission dishes (point to point radio links often known as ‘microwave’ links),will form part of a wider network of low latency dish backhaul solutions for Vigilant Global, a company providing network solutions for clients operating within the London and global financial securities and trading markets.

From Section 2, LOW LATENCY DISH COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK:

2.1 As set out in greater detail within the supporting Economic Statement, within the financial securities markets there is an ever increasing demand for faster trading speeds through advanced communications technology. In particular, high frequency computer-based trading (HFT) has grown in recent years to represent about 30% of equity trading in the UK and possibly over 60% in the USA.

2.2 The key factor in high-frequency trading is ‘latency’, a term used by trading firms to define delays that occur in transmitting buy and sell orders. The “millisecond environment” in which today’s financial markets operate mean that computers respond to each other at a speed 100 times faster than it would take for a human trader to blink. This is extremely important. The US TABB Group estimates that a five millisecond delay in transmitting an automatic trade can cost a broker 1% of its flow; which could be worth £2.6m in revenues per millisecond.

2.3 One of the major restrictions to latency is the use of fixed line fibre optic networks. This is now leading to significant investment in the UK to improve trading speeds through the use of low latency wireless dish communicationnetworks.

2.4 The proposed development will form part of larger network of ultra high speed (low latency) wireless dish communications sites which will support the UK financial services industry. The low latency network being developed will be very high speed and is critical to enable competitive trading undertaken on an automated basis. The value of such trading runs into the millions each day and without such networks, City based financial institutions would find themselves at a disadvantage compared to other world financial centres. At best this would result in reduced profits, but at worst could mean financial institutions relocating from the UK.

2.5 The proposed new communications dishes at the existing communications site at Bulbarrow Hill is absolutely critical to meeting this low latency microwave networkand ensuring that London remains the world’s leading financial centre and hence a major contributor to the UK GDP. It is for this reason that achieving sustainable growth in the UK Financial sector and embracing new infrastructure requirements such as low latency communication networks is embodied in the former and present Governments UK growth agenda.

From Section 3, OPERATIONAL NEED – BULBARROW HILL:

3.3 The height of the mast, at 70m, and its geographical and topographical position on Bulbarrow Hill, make it an ideal technical solution for Vigilant’s requirements as it provides a direct and unobstructed path towards suitable other communication tower locations in the low latency network. These links form part of a transatlantic route that will run overland from Cornwall, Devon and Dorset (to/from the US) to the City of London and thereafter to routes across theChannel into Continental Europe, linking with financial centres there, particularly Frankfurt.

3.6 This is an important financial and operational benefit, as it executes the principle that the smallest number of radio sites connected by dish links will ensure lowest latency times due to shorter travel time for trading information. In the millisecond trading environment, this is very important to the successful operation of these low latency networks in the UK and will ensure that the UK securities and trading markets and wider Digital Economy remains highly efficient and globally competitive.

From Section 7, SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS:

7.1 In summary, the application seeks full planning permission for the installation of additional electronic communications apparatus that will form a critical role in Vigilant Global’s low latency network. This network, which supports the UK’s financial services industry, provides a nationally important communications infrastructure route linking the UK to USA and Europe.

These quotes strike me as especially interesting given that the FBI has now reopened its investigation into how media companies transmit government data to investors. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that one of the reasons the multi-year investigation had finally been shut down was because the government had concerns about whether it could prove in court that a time advantage for a trader of a sliver of a second—as little as a few thousandths—was enough to conduct profitable trades on confidential information.

Seems like someone should get hold of a copy of the Arqiva document not to mention the TABB Group’s estimates.

Despite its multi-year investigation, the FBI has never found any wrong-doing and no charges have been laid against anyone. There is no indication at all that anything illegal has ever taken place.

Based on my research, certain players in media lock-ups had a completely legal speed advantage.

Dellen Millard: Four articles that shed light on Dellen Millard, accused murderer of Tim Bosma

Featured

Here are four articles that provide insights into the character and motivations of Dellen Millard, the 27-year-old man accused of murdering Tim Bosma.

Suspect in Tim Bosma’s death was always ‘a little different’ and did ‘odd stuff’ at private school, classmate says

And one of the odd things he did was to seek attention by eating dog biscuits straight out of the box. This is a great Dellen MIllard profile from the National Post. Read all

Whoever killed Bosma is abusive, exploitive and a risk-taker: profiler

James Van Allen, former head of the OPP’s criminal profiling unit, tells the Spectator:

(Tim Bosma’s) killer is someone who is exploitive, abusive, lacks any empathy and is a risk-taker.

The murder deviates from what is typically seen in the car theft racket, he said, where excessive violence is not the norm.

“This is too elaborate to steal one truck; to have these allegations of multiple people involved, multiple attempts to access a truck.”

What doesn’t add up, he said, is why anyone would murder for a truck. And “is the crime incongruent with the person charged?”

Read all

Tim Bosma’s murder may have been “thrill kill”: source

The Sun has someone in the police leaking information to them. This article appeared early on in the investigation:

Police are looking into a small, “close-knit group of friends” that hung around together.

Dellen Millard, charged with first-degree murder, was part of that group.

“Social media was a big part of their activities,” the source said…

…On one hand, this murder had the look and feel of something out of the movie Fargo, but a police source said a new TV show , The Following, may be closer to it.

The show depicts a number of people following a leader involved in nefarious activities, including homicide.

Read all

Declining Dynasty: More about Dellen Millard and his father Wayne

This is my article from the National Post dealing with, among other things, the mysterious death of Wayne Millard

In his role as a business development consultant to Millardair’s new Waterloo airport venture, Al Sharif was happy to have only limited contact with Dellen Millard, the boss’s son and the guy in charge of hangar construction. As far as Mr. Sharif and other executives at the company were concerned, Dellen and his red mohawk spelled trouble.

“I thought he was just a spoilt little brat who had his way all his life and didn’t appreciate what his father was doing for him,” said Mr. Sharif. “He was an impediment to the hangar operation” who didn’t meet his deadlines, almost never arrived at work before noon, and refused to clear his collection of cars, jeeps, hot rods, jet skis and personal airplanes from the business premises.

Read all

Declining Dynasty: The Family of Accused Killer Dellen Millard

Featured

Wayne Millard with young Dellen Millard

Wayne Millard with young Dellen Millard

I have a story on the Millard family and Millardair’s new Waterloo business venture in today’s National Post. It doesn’t seem to be online yet, but I’m sure it will go up eventually. Here’s the link.

The story focuses on Wayne Millard and his mysterious death.

If you have any information on any of the different angles relating to this story and Tim Bosma’s horrific murder, I would like very much to hear from you. You can reach me at ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com or @AnnB03 on Twitter.

In the meantime, here are the first two paragraphs from my article:

In his role as a business development consultant to Millardair’s new Waterloo airport venture, Al Sharif was happy to have only limited contact with Dellen Millard, the boss’s son and the guy in charge of hangar construction. As far as Mr. Sharif and other executives at the company were concerned, Dellen and his red mohawk spelled trouble.

“I thought he was just a spoilt little brat who had his way all his life and didn’t appreciate what his father was doing for him,” said Mr. Sharif. “He was an impediment to the hangar operation” who didn’t meet his deadlines, almost never arrived at work before noon, and refused to clear his collection of cars, jeeps, hot rods, jet skis and personal airplanes from the business premises.

CSIS hacking story appears in National Post

Featured

The Post picked up my story on the CSIS hacking.

I’m still perplexed by the comment from Tahera Mufti, a media liaison officer at CSIS, who said the websites are fine, when they clearly aren’t. I can only think of two explanations:

  1. The charitable explanation: CSIS fixed the sites after I first posted about the problem here and the search engines just haven’t caught up.
  2. The non-charitable explanation: CSIS really does not understand the nature of the problem and didn’t see they had been hacked.

I also learned on the weekend that developer Sean Walberg had noticed the Viagra spam as far back as January. He took a screenshot of the hacking that shows it differently from my examples.

Screen shot 2013-04-29 at 2.58.02 PM

Sean Walberg’s screenshot of the CSIS hacking

On Friday, you could still see this kind of result by viewing the Google cached versions of the infected www.csiscareers.ca pages but now those pages show a 404 message, which indicates to me that CSIS is actively clearing this up. As of this afternoon, Yahoo cached pages still show the infection, which makes sense since Yahoo (which is powered by Bing) doesn’t crawl as often and is slower to take account of changes.

Wattpad, What Pad, WTF Pad???!!!

Featured

Wattpad is a bit of a tech darling as of late. Not only does it have the venture capital crowd on its side, it’s also got Margaret Atwood. In fact, credit where credit’s due, Atwood’s the one who coined the name “what pad,” which inspired WTF pad, whch sounds a lot like making reading and writing social, which is what Wattpad’s supposedly about. Or one of the things Wattpad might be about.

Except nothing about Wattpad, beyond the fact that it seems to have some very solid traffic and useage stats, makes much sense. If you don’t believe me, just go to their site and see if you can figure it out. I can’t and I’ve been dropping in once a year for a while now.

Although he makes a valiant attempt, this interviewer (I believe it’s Michael Healy)  seems equally perplexed by Wattpad. It’s almost as if he should have subtitles that read, “I don’t get it.”

In an attempt to get its story across, Wattpad often describes itself as wanting to do for writing what YouTube does for video. But that analogy doesn’t work for me for a number of reasons that I’ll only go into if someone asks.

Publicly at least, the Wattpad business model seems to be if we keep building it and they keep coming, we’ll find a way to monetize it. Think Twitter and Facebook. Fair enough, but we’re all still thinking about Twitter and Facebook, wondering if the former’s even profitable and if the latter’s ever going to live up to the hype.

Wattpad CEO Allen Lau is on the record for being a fan of  free and freemium (see video for just one example) and for talking — not all that clearly — about transactional relationships (the old way) versus gifting (the new way). Although at one point in his video interview he seems to advocate the write-for-free, sell-the-t-shirt-and-souvenir-book model, during the question period, he says he doesn’t want to get into the shrinking paper book market. It’s confusing if not contradictory.

For a company that’s all about story sharing, Wattpad either doesn’t have a very good story to tell, or they do but they’re not about to share it, which is kind of strange given that they’re hiring a PR manager when they’re not ready to divulge the plot.

In the past, I’ve called BS on some bizarre internet media companies — including Geosign which may have suckered U.S. venture capitalists out of a large chunk of the $160 million they invested — and I’ve turned out to be right. But I have a tendency to be overly sceptical and not see what I don’t know — like how Google was going to make a profit. Cough, cough.

In the case of Wattpad, I do think there’s a potentially viable business and this quote from the video (approximately 26 minutes in) is a clue, or one clue at least , to what the business model that Lau declines to talk about, might be.

A lot of people believe that on the internet we are going to get rid of all the middle men. I don’t think so. If you look at YouTube they are still a middleman, but the role of the middleman is quite different from the traditional world. (With the old model) the middleman is basically the gatekeeper, they would control the flow from the content creation side to the end user side. But for digital or for internet companies that role is changing. We are no longer the gatekeeper. We are the facilitator.We want to remove and reduce the friction between content creation and content consumption.

Lau also puts a lot of emphasis on being first and how one mega-player often reigns supreme on the internet in industries where competition used to be more vibrant. He cites Amazon and book-selling as an example.

My theory is that Lau wants to turn Wattpad into some kind of publishing marketplace where writers can use the social network as a focus group, get cover art, hire an agent, get publicity, find translators and much more.  Wattpad would collect commissions and fees from freemium users all along the publishing chain including present partners like Smashwords and Lulu.

Instead of helping writers monetize, which Lau says he doesn’t want to do, writers would help Wattpad monetize by paying for the freemium services they need. While only a handful are ever likely to break even or break out, they’re the ones who’ll provide the bulk of the revenues.

Wattpad has recently been asking published writers to put previously published works on line for free. Those who give it a whirl, like Jon Evans, have access to information about how readers read that they never had before.

Wattpad provides data

Lau  emphasizes the importance of data multiple times throughout the video. He also says on his blog that “the current ebook ecosystem is quite clearly just another bridge product” like Microsft’s Encarta encyclopedia on DVD. “Except for the output, the way ebook is written, edited, published and sold are more or less the same as the old traditional publishing system,” he writes.

That indicates to me that he’s aiming to make Wattpad the new ecosystem. I would be very surprised, however, if Amazon doesn’t understand all this just as well. Not only does Amazon likely have stats on how readers read every single ebook it sells, it’s also got its own publishing house and employs people who understand both traditional and “bridge” publishing models. It’s hard to believe that they wouldn’t understand that “the book” is evolving and that the future will be different.

As for the community aspect, Kindle Direct Publishing could build that out pretty fast and the big social reading sites have strong communities that are older and wiser than Wattpad’s mostly teen audience. They could move into the “new ecosystem” pretty fast if they wanted to.

End of Chapter One. I can now see if anyone’s interested and, if they are,  move on to Chapter Two in the Wattpad saga.

The curious incident of the dog in the courtroom: Proceedings delayed due to Ari Goldkind’s vet visit

It was a sexual assault case with two defendants. Pre-trial motions were scheduled to begin at 10 o’clock. Everyone was present in the courtroom and, outside in the hallways, police witnesses were ready to testify.

There was just one problem. Ari Goldkind, the criminal lawyer who recently ran for mayor of Toronto and who is representing one of the accused, was nowhere to be found.

“He had an accident with his dog,” said the other defence lawyer, explaining that Goldkind had to make an emergency trip to the vet.

As a result, Justice Michael Quigley, who was and was not amused, called a recess until 11:15. “If he gets here sooner, please call me,” said the judge. “Any message, I want to know.”

As the fur parent owner of an OCD Scottish Terrier, whose pre-breakfast stick eating habits have triggered more than one early morning emergency vet visit, I am not unsympathetic to dog lovers. But the idea that an entire court proceedings could be brought to a halt by a lawyer’s pet astonishes me.

Ari and Ziggy

Ari and Ziggy

Goldkind is not without resources. Why on earth couldn’t he get someone else to bring Ziggy, his 13-year-old black lab mix, to the vet? Sure he’s single, but doesn’t he have a trusted dog walker or boy Friday or intern to take care of matters like this?

I’d heard Goldkind interviewed during the mayoral campaign and he had seemed like a smart, no-nonsense guy, who was going to be realistic about taxes and finances and Toronto’s future. This was definitely not the kind of behaviour I would have expected from him.

It was pure chance that I had stumbled across this curious incident of the dog delaying the courtroom.  I was taking a break from covering another case and took the opportunity to peak into another courtroom. It was such an unusual situation, however, that after my trial wrapped up for the day, I decided to try and get to the bottom of the dog situation.

I returned to Justice Quigley’s courtroom just in time to catch him telling everyone to arrive on time tomorrow and to ensure that their “parenting issues” were taken care of. He then exited stage left.

“When he mentioned parenting issues, was he referring to your dog?” I asked Goldkind.

He nodded.

“What was wrong with him?” I inquired. “Accident at the dog park?”

“No, he has kidney disease,” said Goldkind.

“Kidney disease?” I repeated, dumbfounded.

“You’re freaking kidding me,” I thought.

While this was an extreme case, it’s not an isolated one. I see lawyers regularly showing up late for court or failing to arrive at all. Hearings are recessed, court dates are bumped, prisoners are transported for nothing. It’s a giant waste of money, and it makes the justice system even slower than it already is, which is way too slow.

It boggles the mind that it’s allowed to keep on happening. Except for one thing — the only offenders worse than the lawyers are the judges, although, not by any means, all of them. Justice Quigley was quite punctual.

If I were the supreme ruler of the courthouse world, I’d make the judges stick to a schedule and fine lawyers for lateness, just like parents who fail to pick up their kids at daycare on time — by the minute and enough money to make it painful.

Delays like I saw today are far too common, although this is the first time I’ve ever seen court recessed for an ill dog.

Get well, Ziggy.

Read more: Ontario Standard Judge Time

Jay’s and Jenn’s police statements suggest Mr. S might be more than a Serial red herring

Until I read Jay’s statements to the police, I was pretty convinced that Mr. S was a red herring. But no more.

Both Jay and Jenn say the reason they confessed is that they didn’t want an innocent man — that would be Mr. S — to go down for murder.

But that’s hard to fathom even if you believe, as I do, that, despite its inconsistencies, Jay’s story is overall credible.

Until the body is discovered, Jay and Jenn have not exactly shown themselves to care much about Hae’s murder let alone justice and right and wrong. Jay continued to hang out with Adnan after he killed Hae. And Jenn watches reports about Hae’s death on TV and does nothing. Remorse is missing in action.

So why do the two of them care so much about Mr. S? And why do they care before he’s even been charged?

My theory is that Mr. S has to be tied in some way to Jay or Jenn and possibly Neighbour Boy or even Stephanie. Somehow Mr. S heard about the murder and went to the grave site to see if the talk was true. This explains how he found a body, that we have been told was so well concealed even the surveyor, who had been informed of its exact whereabouts, could barely spot it. Someone who knew about the grave had to have told Mr. S exactly where it was.

Mr. S then did the right thing and reported it, causing Jay to panic when he learns this fact, very possibly, from Jenn, who has a number of inside police connections which are never fully explained (see below). Depending on how much Mr. S knows and reveals, it could be far bigger trouble for Jay than just accessory to murder. Perhaps Jay had even told Mr. S (or told someone else who passed the information on to Mr. S) that he had a bigger role in Hae’s murder than just helping with her burial.

At this point, Jay realized that if he didn’t step in, the whole, entire story would come out as opposed to just his sanitized version of events. Jay could even go down for murder while Adnan went free. This is why Jay decides to go to the cops. It’s almost certainly not out of any sense of justice. He’s likely very scared of what Mr. S might say and where it could all lead.

If — and big if here — this theory is correct, it leaves the following  questions. Did the cops know about Jay’s Mr. S connection? If they did, why did they let Jay take a plea, instead of, possibly, getting Mr. S to send both Jay and Adnan down for murder? How come, if there is a Mr. S connection, beyond finding the body, the cops stopped pursuing it? Why do they never appear to follow up on Jenn’s multitude of police contacts leaking what should be confidential information about the investigation?

The producers of Serial have said that they believe they know more than the defence knew about the investigation at the time of the trial, and that they may now have more information than the prosecution had. Could this knowledge be that Mr. S had more to do with the case? If my theory is correct, it also explains why Jenn’s full name is used. Maybe after all these years, she just decided to tell the whole truth and she’s ready to live with it.

Standard Disclaimer: This theory could be totally 100% wrong.


For a regular gal, Jenn has a hell of a lot of inside connections

Asked if she had ever made anonymous calls to the police about Hae’s death Jenn says on page 29:

No I thought about it but I never did ’cause I have friends that work at Woodlawn Precinct and I know a couple detectives there and a couple of officers but I didn’t, I told um, what I did is probably about two weeks after the information I told my friend that I knew about um this, I knew that this girl was killed.

McGillivary later asks Jenn about having discussed Hae’s death with someone named Josh. She says on page 31:

Yeah Josh, his name’s Josh, ’cause the minute they found her body um the day that, what I had heard was that that found a foot in Leakin Park. somebody had found a foot sticking up out of the ground in Leakin Park um and I you know, I didn’t even think that it was Hae’s body at all. I mean dead bodies always get dumped in Leakin Park but you hear about it all the time. Um so I happened to mention something to (name redacted). We were in her car and Josh was in the car. Josh is (name redacted)’s boyfriend. He oh and he and I said to (name redacted), I said,”yo, did you hear anything about that body” and um he’s like um, she was like, she’s like “yeah my mom found a body at the gate this morning when she unlocked it.” Her mom works at inaudible. It’s in Leakin Park. And I said to (name redacted) I was like, I was like “you know what else.” And I don’t know whether (name redacted) or Josh had mentioned that the bod was strangled. Um and I was like if it was strangled I was like I bet you it was her body. I bet you they found Hae. And that’s all I said so I guess at that point then, Josh and his friend Mark who was in the car as well inaudible.

When she is asked by the cops what she and Jay did once they learned Hae’s body had been discovered, Jenn says on page 39:

Um maybe we talked about it but we still, we still decided that not to talk or say anything to the the police yet but then like I was at work one day and um I was talking to this lady named Lisa XXXXXXX. I think is her last name, and I know her husband works for Baltimore City Police, I believe his name is Chris, and I believe Lisa, like Lisa had asked me um did I know anything about the murder, she just asked me if I knew Hae from Woodlawn ’cause they all knew that I inaudible and I was like “yeah I know here” and um and she had mentioned something to me about um there being a possible suspect um a person that found the body in the park and then I remember that and I remember going to Jay and saying “hey yo, they think they got a suspect for Hae’s um murder and they think it’s the person that found the body because apparently the body was found, this is what I got from Lisa, that the body was found so off in the park that why would anyone be back there, so that the original suspect was a person and when I told Jay that Jay was concerned. He was like “yo, that’s no good.” He’s like “we can’t let the wrong person go down for this” and I was like “alright” and then that was I mean that was pretty much ah at that point. It was like then I was to a point that when I knew there was a different suspect that might be going down for this I was thinking now I’m ready, theat’s when I told my mom um and that’s when I was well maybe I should see if I can call into Detective Dawn in Woodlawn and maybe talk to her and see how I can, let her know what I have to know and not go through any of this.

Had you done that?

No I did not do that because I was still thinking just keep your mouth shut because that’s what Jay asked you to do, you’re Jay’s friend and then I felt like this was a point like now I had started feeling bad again cause I felt bad for Hae’s family like I think that would be horrible for ’cause I know if I had inaudible if I did. You know like inaudible like they hadn’t, I mean they had no idea as who had done this to them and I was like well maybe now since I know as a law biding citizen I should go and tell then what I know, but I didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Jian Ghomeshi and the anonymous women: What’s next?

Update, Oct. 29: I have just heard Carol Off’s interview on CBC with a woman who said she was attacked by Jian Ghomeshi. I found it completely convincing because Carol Off asked all the questions that needed answering. I have not one shadow of a doubt that this woman’s account is true. I also really, really wish she had reported it to the police. And so does she. And, just one more thing, I wish her nurse friend had encouraged her to go to the police too.


Many people are outraged when I tell them that Jian Ghomeshi’s accusers lose credibility with me because of their failure to report his alleged assaults to the police. How dare you say such a stupid thing, they say. You support rape culture. Or, if they’re kind, they just face palm.

“Why didn’t they report it?” has become the new “Why didn’t they just leave?”

Please don’t tell me how hard it is to report a sexual assault. I get it. I’ve been following this issue for 40 years. And when you go on and on about how difficult it is, you’re ignoring decades of progress. You’re acting as if nothing can ever change. And you’re discouraging other women from coming forward. So, yes, when I hear a woman didn’t report an alleged sexual assault, I do wonder why.

Now please take note again, and understand that that does not mean I’m accusing this non-reporting woman of being a liar. But it does mean I have some questions for her.

In the Jian Ghomeshi case, the answers the Star provided from the three women who said they were violently assaulted, did not answer those questions. The Star stated:

None of the women filed police complaints and none agreed to go on the record. The reasons given for not coming forward publicly include the fear that they would be sued or would be the object of Internet retaliation. (A woman who wrote an account of an encounter with a Canadian radio host believed to be Ghomeshi was subjected to vicious Internet attacks by online readers who said they were supporters of the host.)

Here’s the problem. The women are more likely to have their identities revealed and be sued by having gone to the press instead of the police. If charges had been laid, their names would have been protected by a publication ban and anyone breaking the ban would have been subject to criminal prosecution. For some reason, this  was not mentioned in the Star.

Nor was the fact that the vicious internet attacks sparked by the woman who wrote about her date-gone-wrong with Ghomeshi were equal opportunity. Anyone who reads comment threads can go see for themselves that Ghomeshi was vilified right alongside the writer.

It also deserves to be said that the Carla Ciccone article — a blind item published in 2013 and designed to generate buzz — was probably where this current mess began. It brought the talk about Ghomeshi out onto the internet in a way it never had been before. It’s why people were speculating before his Facebook post went up that this was going to be a sexual story.

To come back, however, to the specific allegations of violent assault made in the Star article, I find them shocking and disturbing. But I also find it shocking and disturbing that, for the accused, there is really no way to defend himself against this type of anonymous accusation in a trial by media.

Of the four accounts given by the women to the Star, the one I actually found the least credible was the story of sexual harassment at work.

The woman said she complained about Ghomeshi’s behaviour to her union representative, who took the complaint to a Q producer. As the woman recalls, the producer asked her “what she could do to make this a less toxic workplace” for herself. No further action was taken by the CBC, and the woman left the broadcaster shortly thereafter.

As a former employee of the CBC (a very long time ago), it just defies belief that the union rep would blow something like this off and that the Q producer wouldn’t know it was a ticking time bomb. And why was there no complaint to HR? (Yesterday, both the CBC and its main union said they had never received a formal complaint against Ghomeshi.) Where were the sympathetic women colleagues? This is, after all, the CBC we’re talking about not the NFL. Given that the Star says it had several detailed interviews with this woman, how did these questions not come up?

I know that by now some of you readers are very angry at me for putting the alleged victims on trial and being part of the whole rape culture apparatus. So once again, I get it. I know that, in a criminal action, even if the accusers are highly credible, they would be up against a defendant who, as an immensely talented broadcaster, knows exactly how to tell his story. It could very well end up a “he says, she says” case with a jury unable to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

I have no solution to propose to that problem just like I have no solution to the problem of murderers who walk on a technicality or the inhumane delays in getting cases to trials. I don’t, however, much like your solution where due process is thrown out the window, we accept that women never ever lie about sexual assault, and we forget about that whole right to face your accusers thing.

Speaking of which, in his Facebook post, Ghomeshi made a comment that hasn’t really been picked up on. “The ex has even tried to contact me to say that she now wishes to refute any of these categorically untrue allegations,” he wrote.

Given that his statement was highly strategic and very well planned, I can’t help but wonder if hearing from the ex won’t be the next instalment in this awful story. The internet outrage machine will soon be ready for its next stoking once the election news has died down.

Jian Ghomeshi, Me and Sex and Scandal at the CBC

Update, Oct. 29: I have just heard Carol Off’s interview on CBC with a woman who said she was attacked by Jian Ghomeshi. I found it completely convincing because Carol Off asked all the questions that needed answering. I have not one shadow of a doubt that this woman’s account is true. I also really, really wish she had reported it to the police. And so does she. And, just one more thing, I wish her nurse friend had encouraged her to go to the police too.


 

My first full-time job was as a researcher at CBC radio, ex-home of Jian Ghomeshi. Not long after I started a call came through from the ex-wife of the host of the show. She demanded I find her ex-husband and put him on the line. He hadn’t paid child support — or so she said. I placed the call on hold and turned to one of the more senior researchers for advice. “Get used to it,” she told me.


Updated below after the Star’s report on sexual assault allegations

Read: Jian Ghomeshi and the anonymous women: What’s next?


This was the pre-voicemail era so we got a lot of calls. Along with the ex-wife, there was the ex-girlfriend, the new girlfriend, the landlord and more. I dined out on the tales. I also learned Barbara Frum had leukaemia, a very different type of secret, but a ‘Corporation’ secret none the less. There were lots of them.

Peter Gzowski — or affable old Peter Golly Gee Whiz as my late mother used to call him   — was, cough cough, exceedingly difficult to work with, a fact that was kept carefully hidden from the public to whom he was supposed to be an avuncular Canadian hero. It’s true, he could be as nice as in real life as he was on the air when he wanted to, but almost exclusively to members of his inner circle or Mordecai Richler, another notorious grump. To suck up to Mordecai, who was coming in for an interview, Peter once ordered a bottle of Scotch to be purchased and presented to him just before they began their chat. Once the “on air” button lit up, they were the best of buddies. The rest of us were still nobodies delivering the expensive whiskey.

There are many other CBC scandals that I learned about in my six very educational years there. Some of them did  end up in the headlines, like Peter Mansbridge and Wendy Mesley splitting up and Cynthia Dale taking the latter’s place. Others, far more juicy, remained strictly for the consumption of insiders unless revealed by Frank magazine.

Earlier this year, when I attended a dinner party with some of my colleagues from the old days, I told them how much I loved Jian Ghomeshi for his amazing interviews and ability to get people to talk while asking the tough questions. They told me what a pompous ass he was. I said that I didn’t care. T’was ever so. The talent is almost always two faced. It’s the nature of the beast.

What I do care about, however, is the smears of people who malign others on the internet. There but for the grace of God go you and I and everyone else. If what Jian Ghomeshi says is accurate he is being punished for his kinky sex life amid a societal hysteria about what constitutes sexual consent. It’s McCarthyism meets lack of due process at a corporation where one of the stars cheated on his dying wife with…

No, I didn’t just say that, because I don’t believe that anyone’s personal life should be put all over the internet unless those in question choose to overshare it themselves, which Jian Ghomeshi absolutely did not — until he was forced.

Update October 27The Star has published its article on some of the sexual assault allegations made against Ghomeshi. It starts by noting that the the three young women who made them are all about 20 years younger than him. They were fans who met Ghomeshi at public events that he had promoted on CBC radio and who he contacted through Facebook for dates.

The age gap bothers me, because of what it says about the power dynamics.

The three women allege Ghomeshi “struck them with a closed fist or open hand; bit them; choked them until they almost passed out; covered their nose and mouth so that they had difficulty breathing and that they were verbally abused during and after sex.”

This is clearly grounds for going to the police but none of the women did so or was willing to go on the record using their names. The Star says “the reasons given for not coming forward publicly include the fear that they would be sued or would be the object of Internet retaliation. (A woman who wrote an account of an encounter with a Canadian radio host believed to be Ghomeshi was subjected to vicious Internet attacks by online readers who said they were supporters of the host.)”

I understand these fears. I’m scared of being sued and becoming the object of an internet hate campaign, but it would never stop me from reporting a violent sexual assault.

When asked by the Star why they hadn’t contacted the police, “the women cited several reasons including fears that a police report would expose their names and worries that their consent or acceptance of fantasy role-play discussions in text or other messages with Ghomeshi would be used against them as evidence of consent to actual violence.”

Sexual assault charges are covered by an automatic publication ban which prevents the victim from being named. Those who break a publication ban face criminal charges.

The content of the texts and messages is indeed central to the question of what happened.

The Star also reported on an incident of alleged sexual harassment at work, a woman who says Ghomeshi “approached her from behind and cupped her rear end in the Q studio, and that he quietly told her at a story meeting that he wanted to ‘hate f—‘ her.”

The woman said she complained about Ghomeshi’s behaviour to her union representative, who took the complaint to a Q producer. As the woman recalls, the producer asked her “what she could do to make this a less toxic workplace” for herself. No further action was taken by the CBC, and the woman left the broadcaster shortly thereafter.

I find these allegations quite incredible. As someone who worked at the CBC for years, the whole scenario simply does not ring true in any way. Why was the union rep not contacted by the Star or the producer ? Why was there no HR complaint? This is the CBC we’re talking about not the freaking NFL.

As for the Carla Ciccone article, which is cited repeatedly as proof of Ghomeshi’s skeeviness, even though it never names him as the man in the article, well, being a bad date isn’t criminal. And yes, the author did get lots of hateful blowback for the article, but so did Ghomeshi.

The charges that the women interviewed by the Star have made against Ghomeshi are serious ones for the police and a court of law. The fact that the women didn’t go to the police weakens their case in my eyes. And, yes, I know what you’re going to tell me about rape culture, but due process is due process.

My years on this earth have taught me that there are abusive men and women scorned, and hell hath no fury. I’m aware there are many contradictory studies about the rate of false accusations in sexual assault cases. After reading much on this topic, I have concluded that the rate of false reports is probably in the 3-5% area. Unlike some people, I can’t just brush this off.

I don’t know what the truth about the Jian Ghomeshi situation is. I suspect over the next few days we’ll find out a lot more and, at the end, we still won’t know, but that won’t stop an awful lot of people from being absolutely convinced that they do indeed know the truth about what happened.

What I believe in is due process and the right to face one’s accusers. And if those accusers make potentially career and life-destroying accusations, but won’t go to the police, they do not deserve to be granted anonymity unquestioningly.

 

Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau attended Burnaby mosque

Mother Susan Bibeau is deputy chair at Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. TVA reports father, Bulgasem Zehaf, has criminal record for assault

After meeting a man he believes was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau at the Masjid Al-Salaam mosque in Burnaby, B.C., Dave Bathurst offered him some work at his family’s landscaping company. Unfortunately, things did not work out and a few days later, Zehaf-Bibeau moved on.

“I thought he was really, genuinely mentally ill and not firing on all cylinders,” said Bathurst in a telephone interview. “He had a kind of loud, obnoxious personality.”

As Bathurst, a convert to Islam, remembers it, the man who called himself Michael Zehaf had come to the Vancouver area in about 2011 from Squamish, B.C. When news broke today about the shooting on Parliament Hill, Bathurst examined the photo of Zehaf-Bibeau holding a gun and wearing a keffiyeh. While he believes it is the same man, he cannot be certain. @michaelzehaf follows Bathurst on Twitter.

Bathurst says Zehaf-Bibeau told people his father was Libyan and his mother was a higher-up in Ottawa.

According to the Montreal broadcaster TVA, Bulgasem Zehaf, the father of the shooter, was found guilty of assault with a weapon in 1987. Corporate records show he also owned a now defunct Montreal restaurant called Cafe Bistro Tripol.

Sources confirm that the shooter’s mother, Susan Bibeau, is the deputy chairperson at the immigration division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. The Ottawa citizen reported in 2010 that her appointment was one of several investigated after an audit found serious flaws in the board’s hiring practices. It’s not clear what the results of the investigation were.

Bathurst says the Masjid Al-Salaam mosque is a moderate one and he believes that if Zehaf was radicalized, it was most likely online. An official at the mosque, who did not wish to be named, said that he did not know Zehaf-Bibeau, and that he and other Muslim leaders had attended a meeting with RCMP officials to discuss the dangers of ISIS and radicalization as recently as this past Saturday. He said the British Columbia Muslim Association also cooperates with CSIS.

Aasim Rashid, spokesperson for the BCMA, said police had contacted him trying to assess Zehaf-Bibeau’s connection to the community.

Zehaf-Bibeau has a lengthy criminal record including multiple drug and robbery convictions in Quebec. In 2011, he was found guilty of uttering threats in Vancouver.

CBS is reporting that he was born Michael Joseph Hall, meaning Bulgasem Zehaf could be his adoptive or stepfather.

 

 

Latest on Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, accused murderers of Laura Babcock, Tim Bosma

Dellen Millard and Mark Smich will appear by video in Toronto court Friday Sept. 26 for a short session related to the murder of Laura Babcock. These monthly appearances typically last only two or three minutes while the defence lawyers and crown attorneys update each other (or don’t, as often happens) on the status of the case.

The murder case of Millard’s father Wayne is also on the agenda tomorrow. Millard is accused of killing his father without an accomplice while both he and his friend Smich are charged with murdering Laura Babcock. All matters related to the Babcock and Millard murders are heard in Toronto.

Millard and Smich — who are pleading not guilty to all the charges against them — are also accused of killing Tim Bosma. That case is being heard in Hamilton.