Monday, December 03, 2007

Tieleman's office broken in - BC Legislature Raid calling card left but nothing stolen

Over the weekend my office was broken into and trashed, with a clear BC Legislature Raid calling card left to make sure I knew why it happened.

As many will have already read on the Tyee or in 24 hours Tuesday edition, the Vancouver Police Department is investigating why a person or persons unknown went to extreme lengths to force their way into my office, go through my files and ransack the place without stealing anything.

But the message was made obvious - a copy of the press kit for Ken Merkley's fiction book about the BC Legislature Raid case was carefully removed from my desk and placed on top of the broken acoustic tiles from my ceiling - where the criminal or criminals entered. And my main file cabinet was opened and left open.

There is no other possible explanation for how that press kit for "The Raid" - with its cover photo of the actual police search of the BC Legislature - could have gotten from my desktop to a spot several feet away on top of a broken ceiling tile.

This was a message and it must have everything to do with my reporting on the long, winding case of breach of trust and fraud charges against former BC Ministerial Aides David Basi and Bob Virk and money laundering charges against former government communication aide Aneal Basi, all related to allegations the secret government documents were provided to lobbyists bidding on the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail in 2003.

Here's what happened: sometime over the weekend someone tried to first break in to my office by smashing through the drywall to reach in and unlook my door. They were unable to get through the wall despite making a large hole.

Then they tried with a crowbar or other tools to pry open the door, damaging it and the frame but not getting through.

Failing this, they took a crowbar to the office next to mine, succeeding in prying it open.

Upon entering this office, recently vacated, they attempted to force their way in through a deadlocked door between the two offices and failed.

They then pushed a leftover desk against the joint wall, pushed through the ceiling acoustic tiles, climbed into the roof and pushed my ceiling tiles through.

They then entered my office, opened my file cabinet and apparently went through my files - though on first examination nothing seems missing.

Two large bookshelves full of material were pushed over before the attacker or attackers exited back through the ceiling.

The lock on my door was so badly damaged that it had to be drilled out by a locksmith before police and I could get inside to examine the results.

As you can see from the accompanying photos from 24 hours photographer Rob Kruyt, my office is a disheartening mess. It will take some time to clean up and reorganize before it is usable.

But in addition to the BC Legislature raid calling card left as a message, it is also very clear that the intruders had no interest in stealing anything of value.

Two computers, fax machine, laser printer, scanner, spare cell phone, microwave, fridge - nothing was removed or even touched. I could find nothing stolen at all on first check.

Let me be clear - I find this break-in very disturbing.

But I will not let criminals intimidate me.

I have sources developed over four years of covering this story - their identities are protected and secure.

And I have information - some of which has been published, some which has not - it is also secure and is not vulnerable to break-ins.

I am cooperating fully with the Vancouver Police Department and thank them for attending quickly and investigating thoroughly despite obvious demands on their time.

This break-in only shows to me how important the BC Legislature Raid case really is, despite some efforts to relegate it to a minor story - it is decidedly not.

Lastly, I want to send a big thank you to everyone who has called, emailed or posted on this website, the Tyee website, the BC Legislature Raids website or anywhere else.

Your messages are very encouraging and I will continue to diligently investigate this story and report on it as fully as I am able.

Thank you and stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

I am absolutely shaken by the news of what has happened to you today at your office. Whatever the motives of those who have broken into your office, the chilling effect of their actions is palpable. I pride myself on being a participant in a democratic society, but I struggle with the apprehension that my confidence in the good will of my fellow men and women is misplaed. Be vigilent, Bill, in your efforts to learn the truth and communicate the truth.

Anonymous said...

Its shocking Bill. Words cannot accurately convey how truly shocking and disgusted I was after I read your story and looked at the pictures. You have obviously upset some very very powerful people who went to great lengths to send you a disturbing message.

This type of intimidation and bullying reminds me of darker times in our history when the rcmp ran rough shod over the rights of innocent people as they engaged in a "dirty war" with anybody they viewed as a subversive element in the 1970's.

My thoughts are with you and your family. Please don't let these thugs break your will and intimidate you. We need journalists like you who aren't afraid to ask tough questions and refuse to follow the spin doctoring that is force fed to us by those in positions of authority. When voices like yours are drowned out and beaten down by thugs and bullies who are completely out of control thats when the very values we treasure as a civilized society where the rule of law applies to everybody including the elites and the powerful, thats when all of our liberties and freedoms are in danger!

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry that you have been forced to feel insecure for being a man of decency and integrity. Thank-you very much for all your courage and hard work. I hope that this terrible moment will inspire others to stand up for truth, and that the people who have negatively judged people like me for "conspiracy theory" tendencies as a result of my abiding interest in this case will start to open their damned eyes. Beauty is truth, and truth beauty, and to me you are beautiful. Can this really be Canada? Please look after yourself. Demand safety for yourself. You deserve it.

RossK said...

Jeez, Bill.

This is no laughing matter.

My apologies for being so flippant earlier.



Anonymous said...

I'm shocked as well. I don't know what to say, except that I hope the intruding party is revealed eventually, and the truth ultimately all comes out. I'd be very shaken if this happened to me; best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

soldier on my friend...there are more and more people out there who are slowly waking up to the significance of all this.

Thanks Bill...

Robert W. said...


I rarely agree with your point of view but my heart goes out to you. This is an absolutely egregious action by thugs of the worst type. They're not committing crime for profit, they're doing so at the expense of democracy. When journalists are pressured into silence then we have become no better than any 3rd World Banana Republic.

I hope that those responsible are caught ... no matter what political affiliations they may have!!!

Robert W.

Anonymous said...

so sorry to see the mess in your office. I wonder how they knew to go into the office next door to access yours? Maybe it was try anything.

Glad you're keeping your sources and unpublished information secure.

Take care and this intent to threaten you and shut you up may have the opposite effect and confirms for me, and others, how close the Basi-Virk trial is getting to some very unpleasant truths.

I think this is the biggest political scandal since BC became a province. (And makes me feel depressed to be a British Columbian).

Whether it ever sees the light of day is another question altogether and will be a very telling indication of whether principles of justice and truth apply in this province.

Anonymous said...

The Soviets used to say . . . There is No NEWS in ISVESTIA and No TRUTH in PRAVDA.
The way Railgate and this break-in is being "buried" by the bulk of BC's media shows that CanWest/Global domination of the News & Truth in BC is an absolute.

Budd Campbell said...

Jesus Christ.

A prominent New Democrat I know often says that "people underestimate the Liberal Party at their peril." I don't think the practioners of Watergate plumbing who broke into your office Bill was quite the sort of thing he had in mind.

I am reminded of an episode in David Mitchell's biography of WAC Bennett related to the Robert Sommers case. One morning a private detective who had been doing a lot of digging for Gordon Gibson Snr was found by Vancouver Police lying in a laneway behind the old Devonshire Hotel. At first they thought they had just found another drunk, but it soon became clear the man had been beaten unconscious.

He was taken to the hospital and a call was made to Attorney General Robert Bonner, informing him of the development. Bonner hung up the phone with the police and immediately called Sommers to ask if he knew anything about the beating.

I think most Canadians who have lived all or most of their lives in British Columbia are of the opinion that our business and politics here are far less likely to be affected by serious corruption and criminal violence than is the case in Eastern Canada, or in the United States or Europe. Most people here think bribery and influence peddling really are crimes, in marked contrast to the cynical attitudes that prevail elsewhere.

For the most part, I think we are right to believe that business and government do most of their work here without the added benefit of payoffs and greased palms, let alone threats or acts of criminal violence. But there have always been exceptions, and there is never a time when complacent attitudes are called for. What's worse, conditions may be changing in the wrong direction, as can be seen in the spate of mostly unsolved gangland murders.

Bill, I hope you'll be receiving all the support you personally need, and that this crime receives all the attention it deserves from your fellow pundits and the entire commercial mass media.

Anonymous said...

Knowing you, Bill, such antics will double your resolve to keep, keepin' on....

Anonymous said...

To say that this is a most repugnant act by incredibly callous and evil individuals, is to understate the case by several leagues.

I would love to say that I can't believe it, but the motivations of those who wish to have you silenced for the exceptional reporting you are doing on Basi-Virk, are clear: the trial looks to move forward and their actions, all of them, will come into question. The tentacles could reach far into the current provincial government, and, most interestingly into the heart of the Martinite crew, who have currently stick-handled Dion the Dunce into a corner.

It is now abundantly clear that even if Messers. Basi and Virk were dupes (ultimately, the defense strategy) that this case will shine great light on why an otherwise performing public asset was sold in such a manner.

This isn't about Basi, Virk or anyone else being stupid enough to send emails to the Premier's Office about chat-show call stacking. Thanks to your exemplary insights, (and those of BC Mary and others) the public may one day soon find out what the hell really happened.
And let the chips fall where they may, regardless of political stripe.

I doubt the thugs who defiled your office will be caught. But my heart goes out to you, your wife and daughter. It's always tough on the family.

This is truly an abhorrent act, and I could tell when we spoke that you were shaken.

Do not let it shake your resolve for the truth though!

Hang in there my dear friend.

Anonymous said...

There is only one group in our "civil" society that has the history, means and the will to do this. Be careful.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

I am shocked by what has happened here. This sort of brutal act is unfortunately par for the course in what we have seen so far in the Legislature raid case. Thank you for shining the light,


Anonymous said...

This is shocking, but it only heightens the importance of what you're doing, Bill - this is an important story about the integrity of key governance structures that is of interest to us all. Clearly, the extraordinary lengths taken to break in and the failure to steal expensive equipment send a very clear message re intent.

I'm sure it won't deter you, and it will certainly expand the interest in your work (which should be a lesson to anyone naive enough to think intimidation won't backfire with a committed journalist!)

It also smacks of the stupidity and desperation that led to the downfall of the Watergate crew. Hopefully, the perpetrators in this case have similarly opened themselves to eventual downfall with a simple criminal act that could be far easier to prosecute & demonstrate guilt than a lengthy, complex fraud trial that could end up a stalemate.

It's also a good lesson to others re the need to secure confidential sources and other key evidence in any controversial investigation such as this one.

I for one look forward to reading your next instalment with heightened interest!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the break in. The first song that came to mind though was Billy Bragg's "All You Facists Are Bound to Lose" - they've already lost.

Thanks for all your great work on Railgate. It has already paid off, obviously.

Anonymous said...

It is so hard these days to tell the legitimate powers apart from the gangsters. It might be impossible to tell which group of thieves is covering their tracks!

Anonymous said...

Bill I listen to you all the time with Bill Good but this morning with Michael Smith I just could not beleive what I heard. I think your doing a great job reporting on an event all British Columbian's should be following. This is our government, the raid was on our parliment building this in it's self is a huge storie. All your hard work has sure struck a nerve with someone out there for them to go to this extreme, the pictures just can't beleive this can happen here. All the power to you Bill, I have always respected your opinions, not always in agreement but you have gained one more no longer quiet supporter. I will be following your blog every day now just watching and waiting as the truth comes roaring down the rails.

Anonymous said...

This is called Organized Crime. Check with Kim Bolan about protection. They've overtaken the Port. Terrorists caused the Air India bombing and those folks still live here. Take this seriously. Good luck. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Whoever committed this crime surely knows if the truth is found about the BC RAIL deal. Please do not stop your work until the shady back room deal that gave away our railroad is finally exposed!

Rob Cottingham said...

Eugh. Even setting aside the political implications, being broken into is just plain rotten. I'm so sorry this happened to you, Bill.

Anonymous said...

Fiat Justicia Ruat Chylum, let justice be done though the heavens may fall. Whoever did this was an idiot to think this would intimidate you.

Anonymous said...

Well, there is some consolation. As usual, they display utter incompetence. All that mucking around just to break into an office?! Such grace! Such finesse! (not)
If these Liberal clowns didn't have all that money backing them they couldn't get themselves elected dogcatcher. It is, mind you, intensely annoying to realize that if you slavishly push the agenda of the rich and powerful you can be the veriest dimbulb and wealthy media owners will make sure you look like Aristotle.

Anonymous said...

Coincidence?, I doubt it.
Its interesting that I have heard virtually nothing in the news about the '03 raid on the BC legislature happening simultaneously as the raid on the Hells Angels clubhouse in Nanaino.

Anonymous said...

"nothing stolen"

I wonder if they left something behind?

No, not the calling card... I'm thinking of things like microphones, cameras, spyware on the computer, tracking gear etc.

Just because I'm paranoid, it does not mean they are not watching you Bill.

Unknown said...

You've obviously hit a nerve here Bill. Whatever the motivation, this type of third World nonsense has no place in this Country.

Anonymous said...

This act of personal invasion is really disturbing. Sending you and yours support and encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Dont get mad, get even.

mel Lehan said...

What a shock to hear about this violent act in your office. It is obviously meant to intimidate. I have always admired your courage and determination to seek out and write about the real stories behind the public story.
I can imagine how horrific it must be to be so invaded. I know that this will not deter you. But it is nevertheless a shocking incident. I want you to know that there are many of us out here who admire and support your reporting. If there is anything that we can do to help, please let us know. Mel

BC Mary said...

So many people have asked if there's anything they can do to support and help Bill Tieleman.

I wonder if I might suggest one way to do that ... namely, to begin or increase your e.mails, letters, and telephone calls to those who write about this break-in. Tell them you think they should stand up for their profession.

What's just as shocking as the break-in is the media silence. So let's ask: where are the headlines? "One of our colleagues has been assaulted," the journalists might say. Tell them that's what you expect.

Or if CanWest and The Globe and Mail continue to pretend Bill's break-in didn't happen, write to them to say how you feel about that, too.

Attend Supreme Court Hearings for Basi Virk Basi & BC Rail. Bill will be there. Give him a thumbs up.

Show him that he's on the right track and that we're with him, all the way.


Frédéric Van Caenegem said...

Hi Bill!

Just saw what happened in your office. Just wanted to say keep on writing (but I'm sure it wont stop you) and me, and many others, will keep on reading.


Anonymous said...


This break-in is eerily reminescent of a former raid of the federal Liberal Party office with the perp scurrying through the ceiling area to gain illegal entry... Anyways, so sorry to hear of this but am e-mailing everyone on my list with this news--including the corporate media "scribblers"/writers(?). Take care Bill and know many are willing to assist you whatever way possible. Vive le Internet !!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Tieleman,

I would like to express my thanks and gratitude for all your efforts and hard work to the benefits of all of us hoping for a just society. I would also like to extend my wishes of calming peace to you and your family for the holiday season and throughout the New Year. May this strengthen your resolve as well as the strength of your family. Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about the break-in at your office, Bill. I eagerly look forward to your columns every week, no matter what the topic. Thanks for your tenacity and above all your courage in pursuing this case. Best wishes.

Gord F.

Anonymous said...

Please keep up the good work, Bill! If you don't do it, no one will! As may writers mentioned, is it not amazing that this story is virtually untouched by the two big papers, The Province and The Sun? it is obvious who's side they are on! If this was the NDP who had sold the railway and were being investigated, it would be all over the papers, 24/7! Such hypocrisy!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tieleman,

I only learned of the break-in at your office this morning and wanted to drop a line to tell you that your work is far more important than any "stuff" in a filing cabinet. If the criminals understood this, they could have saved themselves some time. Joke's on them, as far as I'm concerned.
Best of the season to you and your family and thank you for your integrity in journalism.

Anonymous said...

Who has, in the past, (and is very related to the BC rail fiasco) climbed through ceilings to get into offices of political opponents?

Anonymous said...

This government is obviously corrupt and will stop at nothing to hide some of their actions.