A short while ago I reached the age of 71 and I’ve been online since the mid-1990s with three blogs (actually, two to be strictly accurate; one was a purely a webpage, one was a customised WordPress site — p2pnet.net, which achieved quite a bit of notoriety (fame?) When I took on Wayne Crookes, a wealthy grouch with political pretensions who tried to sue me for defamation because I’d inked to a site he didn’t like.
The case went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, but fortunately for the Internet in Canada, and elsewhere, I won 🙂
The third was a site I launched long before there were such things as blogs. It was called OTRICS (short for On The Road in Cyberspace)
Although p2pnet is still online, the new owner hasn’t made any attempt update or develop it and it hasn’t been updated for more than a year, and I no longer have anything to do with it.
I do, however, publish another WordPress blog; it’s myblogdammit It, too, is all about freedom of speech and expression, online and off.
Lately, I’ve had a couple of things on my mind — the Bohemian Grove club, which I only recently came across ccidentally when I was going for metaphoric stroll on the Internet; and, the Highway of Tears, about which I’de heard plenty, mainly because I live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
However, this Freshly Pressed item will attempt to venture into territories I’ve only touched on previously, but territories I feel strongly about.
Hope you won’t mind, but I’ll also include a few stories I’ve already covered in Dammit 🙂
Just plain horrifying
The Wikipedia has a substantial section on the Highway of Tears, which comes under ‘ just plain horrifying,’ and I’m going to take the liberty of directly quoting most of it.
It says »»»
The Highway of Tears murders is a series of unsolved murders and disappearances of young women along the 800 km (500 mi) section of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. Official sources list the number of victims at 18, but aboriginal leaders estimate the number could be as high as 43.
|1||Gloria Moody||26||Homicide||Williams Lake||1969||She was last seen on October 25, leaving a bar in Williams Lake. Her body was found in the woods at a cattle ranch 10 km away.|
|2||Micheline Pare||18||Homicide||Hudson’s Hope||1970||Last seen on Highway 20 at the gates of Tompkins Ranch situated between Fort St. John and Hudson’s Hope. Two women who had given her a ride had dropped her off there.|
|3||Gale Weys||19||Homicide||Clearwater||1973 (October)||Disappeared while hitchhiking from Clearwater to Kamloops. Her body was found in a ditch on Highway 5 south of Clearwater. Bobby Jack Fowler prime suspect|
|4||Pamela Darlington||19||Homicide||Kamloops||1973 (November)||Vanished from Kamloops while hitchhiking to a local bar. Her body was found the next day. Bobby Jack Fowler prime suspect|
|6||Colleen MacMillen||16||Homicide||100 Mile House||1974||Last seen leaving her home in Lac La Hache to hitchhike to a nearby friend’s house. Suspect Bobby Jack Fowler’s DNA was found on her body in 2012.|
|9||Shelly-Ann Bascu||16||Missing||Hinton, Alberta||1983||Several days after disappearing, personal items including clothing and blood droplets matching her bloodtype were found near the Athabasca River.|
|10||Alberta Williams||24||Homicide||Prince Rupert||1989|
|11||Delphine Nikal||16||Missing||Smithers, British Columbia||1990||Vanished while hitchhiking eastbound on Highway 16 from Smithers to Telkwa, British Columbia, where she lived.|
|13||Roxanne Thiara||15||Homicide||Burns Lake||1994|
|14||Alishia Germaine||15||Homicide||Prince George||1994|
|15||Lana Derrick||19||Missing||Terrace||1995||She was last seen at a service station in Thornhill.|
|16||Nicole Hoar||25||Missing||Prince George||2002||Fowler was imprisoned in 1996 until his death in 2006, and could not have committed this or later crimes|
|17||Tamara Chipman||22||Missing||Prince Rupert||2005||Last seen in Prince Rupert, British Columbia while hitchhiking east on Highway 16.|
|18||Aielah Saric Auger||14||Homicide||Prince George||2006|
|19||Madison Scott||20||Missing||Vanderhoof||2011||Went missing after camping|
|20||Loren Donn Leslie||15||Homicide||Vanderhoof||2010||21 year-old Cody Legebokoff was identified as murderer|
In 2009, police converged on a property in Isle Pierre, in rural Prince George, to search for remains of Nicole Hoar, a young tree planter who went missing on Highway 16, on June 21, 2002. The property was once owned by Leland Vincent Switzer, who is currently serving a prison sentence for the second-degree murder of his brother. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) also searched the property for the other missing women from the Highway of Tears; however, no further actions followed the investigation.
On September 25, 2012, the RCMP announced a link between the murders and deceased United States criminal Bobby Jack Fowler. His DNA was found on the body of Colleen MacMillen, one of the presumed victims. Investigators first compiled a DNA profile of the perpetrator in 2007, but technology available at the time did not yield a strong enough sample. New technologies allowed police to reexamine the DNA in 2012, leading to the identification. Fowler is also strongly suspected to have killed both Gale Weys and Pamela Darlington in 1973. The RCMP believe that he may have also killed as many as ten of the other victims.
Despite identifying Fowler as the killer in these cases, investigators are doubtful that they will ever solve all of the murders. They do have persons of interest in several other cases, but not enough evidence to lay charges.
Accusations of racism
Some critics argue that the lack of results arising from this investigation is the result of systemic racism. This was also believed to be an issue in the case of Vancouver’s Missing Women and the Robert Pickton Murders. The issue of systemic racism in these cases is explored in “Finding Dawn”, the 2006 documentary by Christine Welsh whose film includes a section on the Highway of Tears’ victim Ramona Wilson, including interviews with family and community members. Often overlooked in reports on the Highway of Tears is the fact that over half of the missing women are Aboriginal. Proponents of the concept of systemic racism argue that media coverage of these cases has been limited, claiming that “media assign a lesser value to aboriginal women”. Furthermore, despite the fact that these disappearances date back as far as 1969, it was not until 2005 that Project E-Pana was launched, investigating similarities between the cases. In addition, the individual case which has received the most media and police attention thus far is that of Nicole Hoar, a Caucasian woman who disappeared in 2002. Hers was the first of the Highway of Tears cases to be covered in the The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, and Edmonton Journal. Gladys Radek, a native activist and the aunt of victim Tamara Chipman, “believes that if it weren’t for Hoar, the police would have invested less effort in investigating cases, and the media would have done little, if anything, to inform the public about the tragedies along the road.”
- ^ Lee, Miyoung (November 17, 2009). “BC’s infamous ‘Highway of Tears'”. CBC Digital Archives (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 10 December 2009.
- ^ a b “Highway of Vanishing Women“, Daily Beast, July 10, 2011
- ^ Fricker, Martin (June 15, 2012). “Highway to hell: Serial killer being hunted after FORTY young women vanish on same remote road in 30 years”.
- ^ a b c d e Culbert, Lori (September 26, 2012). “Victim’s family still heartbroken after dead U.S. sex offender linked to Highway of Tears slaying”.
- ^ “DF – 771BC563”. Missingincanada.angelfire.com. 1983-05-03. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
- ^ a b Posted: Sep 25, 2012 10:59 AM PT. “Deceased U.S. convict linked to 3 B.C. cold cases – British Columbia – CBC News”. Cbc.ca. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
- ^ http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=94d7de21-376a-463f-ab96-f41ab1258cee
- ^ a b Rolston, Adriana (2010). “Highway of Tears Revisted” Ryerson Review of Journalism, http://www.rrj.ca/m8461/
- ^ O’CONNOR, JENNIFER (Winter 2009). “FINDING DAWN”. Herizons (Bnet).
- ^ de Vos, Gail (January 11, 2008). “FINDING DAWN”. Canadian Materials (Manitoba Library Association) XIV (10).
- ^ “Episode Detail: Highway of Tears – 48 Hours”. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- Image of Bobby Jack Fowler
- Highway of Tears website
- Highway of Tears Symposium Recommendation Report
- Map showing last known location of victims
The Bohemian Grove — very weird, very scary
Probably, most Americans and Europeans have heard of it. It’s the kind of male-oriented coterie popular with the ancient Romans and Greeks, and British nobility today, and in the past.
A place where, apparently, boys could, and can, be girls and not worry about it.
“Conspiracy theorists believe the Bohemian Grove’s idyllic grounds, in northern California, are host to right-wing, old-boy machinations about the New World Order. Honorary member Richard Nixon, meanwhile, called it “the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine.”
For VF (Vanity Fair) contributing editor Alex Shoumatoff, who was arrested for trespassing at last year’s encampment while investigating the club’s forestry practices, the most suspicious activity that takes place in the grove is the alleged logging of old-growth redwood trees, says the magazine, going on »»»
But common to all reports from the two-week-long gathering of the country’s rich and powerful old guard—members have included every Republican president since Coolidge—is an account of profuse outdoor urination. With gin fizzes being poured at seven a.m., so many enlarged prostates, and such majestic natural urinals, who’s surprised? We present to you a guide to the Bohemian Grove, including a map of the premises, highlights of the events, and a list of prominent members and regular guests, from the club’s founding, in 1872, to today.
Members of the ultra-exclusive Bohemian Club—2,500 of America’s richest, most conservative men, including Henry Kissinger, George H. W. Bush, and a passel of Bechtels, Basses, and Rockefellers—are known to urinate freely against the ancient redwoods that cover their 2,700-acre property. Have they been chopping down the trees as well? According to one former member turned whistle-blower, the San Francisco–based society may have logged some of its old-growth forest, ”Shoumatoff writes, going on:
Is this really what I want to be doing? Sneaking into the exclusive Bohemian Grove, on the Saturday night when roughly 2,500 of America’s richest, mostly right-wing Republicans are kicking off their annual July “encampment”? The members of the San Francisco–based Bohemian Club are mostly all here, partying boisterously in this primeval stand of gargantuan redwoods 75 miles north of the city, or will be during the next 16 days. Over the years all the usual suspects have made appearances: Rumsfeld, Kissinger, two former C.I.A. directors (including Papa Bush), the masters of war and the oilgarchs, the Bechtels and the Basses, the board members of top military contractors—such as Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the Carlyle Group—Rockefellers, Morgans, captains of industry and C.E.O.’s across the spectrum of American capitalism. The interlocking corporate web—cemented by prep-school, college, and golf-club affiliations, blood, marriage, and mutual self-interest—that makes up the American ruling class. Many of the guys, in other words, who have been running the country into the ground and ripping us off for decades.
The summer high jinks begin, as they have for more than 100 years, with a macabre, hokey ceremony—with Druidic, Masonic, Ku Klux Klan, and Aryan forest-worship overtones—called the Cremation of Care, which is starting in 40 minutes down by the lake. I squeeze through a hole in a chain-link fence onto the 2,700-acre property and follow an old overgrown railroad bed. To my left, below a dense tangle of California bay laurel, big-leaf maple, and understory shrubs, the muddy-green Russian River is sliding by. I didn’t see any posting on that side of the property, but I know I am trespassing.
While many in the world see this gathering of the military-industrial high command as the bad guys—a sort of rogue state operating outside the constraints of democratic institutions, a favorite watering hole for what Peter Phillips, a Sonoma State University sociologist who has published extensively on the Bohemian Club, calls “the global dominance group”—this is not how the members imagine themselves. They see themselves as the moral underpinnings of America’s greatness, whose central tenets are the Protestant work ethic: work hard and prosper and you’ll get into that great club in the sky. The Bohemian Club is like the Opus Dei of the Protestant American establishment. Very few Jews have made it in, and even fewer blacks.
The encampment is more of a drunken blowout and an opportunity for bonding than a serious roundtable like Davos, although there is a series of lakeside talks that are enlightening about what the government has up its sleeve for the upcoming year. Kissinger is a perennial favorite. His speech nine years ago, “Do We Need a Foreign Policy?,” was music to the ears of the Bush administration. In 1942, Edward Teller is said to have planned the Manhattan Project here. There’s a lot of dark history in this forest retreat. It’s rumored that during the presidency of Gerald Ford one Grove employee was a charming, impeccably mannered ex-Nazi, who used to drive around in a jeep that had the decal—a palm tree with a swastika on it—of Rommel’s Africa campaign, which he had served in. Ford made him take it off.