Photo: Party lights at Vancouver’s Pacific Central train and bus station mark the opening of the Winter Olympics

The struggle to put a stop to the alleged persecution of bloggers by the City of Vancouver has now reached the White House. President Barack Obama has been asked to back bloggers when he sends Vice President Joe Biden to the Opening of the Vancouver Olympics in his place today. Downtown Eastside residents contacted Obama at the White House in writing on Thursday, Feb. 4th to ask that, “as leader of the free world”, he ensure that Biden and other members of the U.S. Delegation avoid providing photo ops or other endorsements to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in front of an estimated 3 billion people.

For several years, the blogosphere has been exposing the City of Vancouver’s record of overriding democracy by banning an elected official from performing his duties as a penalty for being associated with bloggers, carrying on a “witch hunt” for bloggers, and operating a “security” database in which names of people criticizing City management are entered along with manufactured “witnesses” – all in Canada’s lowest income neighborhood, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, just a few blocks east of the Olympics media center.  

President Obama was also made aware that a criminal investigation is being requested next week into alleged fraudulent witnesses and other material that Mayor Robertson and his bureaucrats have knowingly maintained in the City’s “security” database operated out of the Carnegie Community Center on the Downtown Eastside.  The pending criminal investigation may be news to Obama but it is not news to Mayor Robertson.  Robertson’s administration has known since early 2009 that a Downtown Eastside resident had discovered that her name had been entered into the security database along with, according to the official security report, “15 witnesses” — all anonymous — who could allegedly “corroborate” the fact that she deserved a security report.  The City avoided interviewing a man who had information to support the woman’s claim that these 15 witnesses had been fabricated.  The witnesses were fabricated, the woman claims, as part of ongoing harassment she had been experiencing since late 2006 when she had allegedly become the target of a witch hunt for bloggers at Carnegie Center.  A neighbor told her that he had been interrogated by 5 City management and supervisory staff about whether she was blogging or talking to bloggers.  He said she was not a blogger.

Mayor Robertson did not respond to requests to his Media Room for comment on the request for a criminal investigation.

Another Downtown Eastside resident who had allegedly been the target of the same witch hunt managed to get himself elected to the Board of Directors of the Carnegie Center.  A couple of weeks after William Simpson was elected in June 2007, he was banned by City Hall managers from entering the building or even attending Board meetings. He received a letter on City of Vancouver letterhead notifying him that he had been banned because he operated a website which “features links” to a blog which had been critical of City management.  Mayor Robertson has continued the ban on Simpson entering the building, thereby preventing him from exercising his right to run in future elections.

The above issues haunt Mayor Robertson at a time when his administration has gone to great expense to ensure that the message coming from the Downtown Eastside to the international media is controlled.  The City’s manager at Carnegie Center, Ethel Whitty, against whom bloggers have published evidence of misleading the mainstream media, has been given funding to hold a festival for the poor at Oppenheimer Park during the Olympics. The Homeground Festival has been billed as an oasis to ‘protect’ Downtown Eastside residents from prying by the international media. Critics say it is actually a way of corralling the poor to minimize unscripted chatter to the media.
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