How evil triumphed in Argentina and British Columbia


Riddle me this: What does this…

“It wasn’t one or two cases, or one or two officers involved, but many, thus there was a pattern, a plan” to take away those babies from their biological families which they considered “non trustworthy or communists”, said Elliott Abrams former US Assistant Secretary of State.

He added that during his post as Under Secretary for Human Rights issues, from 1982 to 1985, he “does not recall any case” of systematic stealing of political prisoners babies in any part of the world as the one implemented by the Argentine military.

“It was the worst of all cases” among all dictatorships and military regimes in those years both in Latin America and in Asia said the former Reagan administration officer who added that it was his task “to advance the human rights issue in those countries”.

Abrams made the statements on a video conference from Washington as a witness in a case in a federal court in Buenos Aires. He also revealed that in talks with then Argentine ambassador Lucio García del Solar he suggested that “the Church could help to solve the matter”.  

The issue was “very difficult to address not only for the military but for any future democratic government” said Abrams who described Garcia del Solar “not as a representative from the dictatorship but rather as a member of the future civilian government and deeply democratic”.

…have in common with this?

Mainstream media like CBC, The Tyee, Vancouver Sun, and Seattle’s weekly, The Stranger, easily uncovered the fact that former Port Coquitlam Mayor, Scott Young, and hundreds of other people had attended events at Piggy’s Palace, the party venue operating for several years at Pickton’s pig farm. I asked some of those Vancouver rock/punk bands playing in the 1990s what they’d heard about Piggy’s Palace. I was relieved to hear my friends say they had refused to play there because, as one said “even though we’d played some shitty places, we’d heard Piggy’s was totally sketchy bikers, blow, you name it.”

Others describe Piggy’s Palace as “rough,” “very very badass.” One man interviewed in 2003 by The Stranger said: “There were lots of women, who looked like hookers…. The party spilled all over the grounds and there were people in the house and in the trailer doing the wild thing. I recall walking by a shack with a 40-watt light bulb hanging over the door and machinery was running inside. Here, I got a death chill. The hairs raised on the back of my neck and my feet froze to the ground. I didn’t want to be there anymore, so I left and walked home.”

This is what is most chilling to me: literally hundreds of people, from East Van rockers to off duty cops to the Mayor of Port Coquitlam, knew that Piggy’s Palace and its proprietors were trouble – specifically trouble for prostituted women. Yet the venue remained in operation for years without intervention by neighbours, police, or concerned members of the public.

Former Mayor Scott Young’s disregard for women is already public, evident in his guilty plea for an assault on his ex common-law partner and for breaching a no-contact order intended to protect her. But what about the bands who decided that, despite the “rough crowd” and the rule to “check your knives and other weapons at the door,” playing repeated gigs at Piggy’s Palace was worth it because the money was good? A few Lower Mainland bands’ websites still list their Piggy’s Palace gigs in their band bio. One even has the gall to highlight the notoriety of the Pickton case.

At first glance it seems like the two stories aren’t related, does it? But look a little closer. Baby-stealing Argentine fascists and hooker-killing Canadian misogynists have, in fact, a great deal in common. Starting with a reckless disregard for such trifles as humanity, the rule of law, and common decency, and extending all the way to deviousness, and a willingness to enlist outside authorities in covering up for them.

And cover up for them, the outside authorities did. The RCMP as much as covered up for Robert Fucking Pickton. And the US governments of Richard Fucking Nixon and Ronald Fucking Reagan were more than happy to cover up for the Argentine junta. Those were governments composed of nothing but evil men.

The government of Jimmy Carter, who was and still is certainly a good man, was not so willing; it sent an investigator to Argentina instead — a serious one, not a sham — and what she found was utterly vile:

Doesn’t what Pat Derian describes sound an awful lot like what happened at Pickton’s farm? Women disappeared, tortured, horribly murdered, sexually violated, fed to animals even. Pictures of the missing could paper entire walls. And for years, nothing got done about it. Even though the evil was widely known, and secretly whispered about by those in the know.

Yeah, tell me again that they had nothing in common!

Anyone who thinks fascism and misogyny are not somehow related is a damned fool. The RCMP in BC not only knew what was going on, one of their own actually warned Pickton that there was an investigation coming. This gave the killer a chance to cover his tracks and impede the investigation. They didn’t give a damn that women were dying by the dozen at Piggy’s Palace; those women were “only” prostitutes, and probably drug addicts as well — the flotsam of the streets of Vancouver. And the cops were no doubt as eager to be rid of them (after having used them, too, I bet) as the Argentine junta was to be rid of “communists”, “subversives”, and anyone who didn’t meet their criteria for “upstanding citizens”. So they looked the other way, with a wink and a nod, while Pickton killed women, ground up their bodies, and fed those precious pearls to the swine.

Edmund Burke was wrong about what it takes for evil to triumph. It wasn’t good men who did nothing. It was evil men — venal, opportunistic, complicit, cowardly — who knowingly looked the other way. That’s why Piggy’s Palace and the Dirty Wars claimed all the victims they did.

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