Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The McAdam file: Bribery, Chinese gangsters and betrayal

The McAdam file: Bribery, Chinese gangsters and betrayal

Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen

Brian McAdam, a former public servant who was a whistleblower in the 1990s, and spiralled into depression after his career abruptly came to an end.
Brian McAdam was a seasoned Canadian diplomat when he was posted to Hong Kong in 1989. He became the high commission’s immigration control officer two years later, and soon uncovered what he believed was a major scandal.
Members of Chinese criminal gangs, known as Triads, were applying to enter Canada as entrepreneurs under the country’s business immigration program. And many were getting visas.
“What was very, very disturbing to me was I kept seeing all these connections of these people to certain people — politicians — in Canada, and the odd name in our embassy,” McAdam says.


He started writing reports — there were ultimately 32 — documenting the names of the gangsters who were getting into the country and related concerns.
The reports caused panic in the immigration minister’s office and at headquarters in Ottawa, McAdam alleges. “I was exposing incredible negligence. I was exposing incredible corruption. And I was exposing the flaws in our whole immigration system.
“People in Ottawa didn’t want to investigate anything. They just shut their eyes to everything.” Most of his reports were destroyed, he says.
McAdam returned to Ottawa in 1993, lured by the promise of a job in a new organized crime unit at Foreign Affairs. But when he showed up for work, the job didn’t exist. He alleges the personnel manager urged him to take a retirement package, though he was just 51. Days later, he went on sick leave and never returned to work.
In 1996, RCMP Cpl. Robert Read began investigating McAdam’s allegations that employees at the Hong Kong mission had received bribes and that Triad criminal gangs had infiltrated an immigration computer system.
After finding gaping holes in earlier RCMP investigations, Read urged his superiors to authorize a thorough investigation, but was taken off the case. Concerned that his bosses were suppressing his findings, Read went to the media with his concerns in 1999, which led to his dismissal from the RCMP in 2002.
McAdam’s allegations also sparked a joint RCMP-CSIS investigation known as Project Sidewinder, which probed the threat posed by the purchase of Canadian companies by Triad members or associates with links to the Chinese Intelligence Service.
In a secret 1997 report, Project Sidewinder’s investigators supported McAdam’s concerns, concluding that “China remains one of the greatest ongoing threats to Canada’s national security and Canadian industry.”
Days after the report was submitted, CSIS ordered all copies destroyed, dismissing it as “conspiracy theories” and “rumour and innuendo.” It was later drafted and a toned-down version was produced in 1999.
According to documents released in 2001 under access to information to researcher Ken Rubin, the RCMP believed the spy agency shelved the report because it was uneasy with its message that Beijing’s spies were working with Chinese criminal gangs in Canada.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments always welcome!