Mr. Peter Warren:

Re: Odynsky Case

My understanding is that Wasyl Odynsky, is a Canadian citizen of Ukrainian background. He has committed no crimes. He was never a Nazi. He has lived a productive and peaceful life in Canada for decades, a country which he has called home after being a victim of both Nazis and Communists in the Soviet Union. Based on a court ruling that Odynsky may have lied to a government official who may have asked questions some 50 years ago (and the court found no hard evidence for either one), the Cabinet might be considering to denaturalize and deport Odynsky.

My further understanding is that to keep Canada safe, the Canadian government has spent millions of dollars in searching for so-called Nazi war criminals, since the time of the Deschenes Commission. I use the term “so-called Nazi war criminals” because from the cases that I have seen, such as the Odynsky case, the individuals were neither Nazis, nor criminals, despite being frequently labeled as such by the media. Furthermore, having initially failed numerous times in the criminal courts with so-called Nazi war criminal cases because there was no evidence of guilt, the Canadian government then changed its policy to one of “denaturalization and deportation” using the civil courts where the burden of proof is much less. Since a civil court can not make a finding of criminality, these cases became “immigration” cases, not war crime cases. Nevertheless, the media persists in using the erroneous label of “Nazi war crimes”.

The pressure for the Canadian government to create an investigative “Nazi war crimes” unit came primarily from Jewish lobby groups and reports in the media that Canada was a haven for Nazi war criminals. The tactics employed were similar to those used in creating pressure for the Deschenes Commission. For example, in the 1980s, Sol Littman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center began “crying wolf” that Dr. Joseph Mengele had applied for a visa to come to Canada. Littman’s cry was echoed by Ralph Blumenthal in the New York Times (23Jan1985). This then led to a public outcry and the creation of the Deschenes Commission.

The Deschenes Commission later found that according to Sol Littman’s testimony, his assertion of fact about Mengele was no better than “speculation, impression, possibility, and hypothesis” (Deschenes Commission, Part 1; p. 68). The same Commission also found that Sol Littman was Blumenthal’s source for the erroneous information about Mengele, and that the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles had directed Blumenthal to Littman.

Various organizations and individuals provided the Deschenes Commission with hundreds of names for alleged Nazi war criminals, and in almost all cases, the Commission found no evidence. For example, correspondence was addressed to the Honorable Robert Kaplan from Simon Wiesenthal, but contained no evidence of war crimes. Nevertheless, an investigation was then carried out by the Deschenes Commission, and in almost all cases the search responses were negative. And when the Deschenes Commission asked Simon Wiesenthal to provide additional information, “he was unable to do so”, so the case was closed.

According to the Deschenes Commission, alleged names were provided by Joseph Riwash (707 names supplied by Yad Vashem), the Canadian Jewish Congress (and Professor Irwin Cotler; 209 names), Simon Wiesenthal (Vienna; 219 names), Sol Littman (171 names), B’nai Brith Canada (and David Matas; 100 names), and a few others..

The Deschenes Commission also documented how dubious the majority of the allegations were. For example, on Page 261, one reads from the Deschenes Commission, that:

“In any event, of the 217 officers of the Galicia Division denounced by Mr. Simon Wiesenthal to the Canadian government, 187 (i.e. 86 per cent of the list) never set foot in Canada, 11 have died in Canada, 2 have left for another country, no prima facie case has been established against 16 and the last one could not be located.

By the 1990s, another public outcry about Canada being a safe haven for war criminals was triggered by Steven Rambam (aka Rombom). He appeared on television programs such as CBS’s “60 Minutes” and PBS’s “The Editors” as part of a panel including representatives from the Canadian Jewish Congress (Professor Irving Abella and Bernie Farber). This was followed by Steven Rambam’s numerous meetings with Jewish community groups across the country.

The media did not provide much background about Steven Rambam. However, he was mentioned by the Jewish author, Robert I. Friedman, in the book “The False Prophet: Rabbi Meir Kahane; From FBI Informant To Knesset Member” (1990). In writing about Rabbi Kahane, the leader of the terrorist group Jewish Defense League (JDL), Friedman says the following about JDL bombings and Steven Rambam (known as Rombom at the time) on pages 182-183:

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The False Prophet: Rabbi Meir Kahane; From FBI Informant To Knesset Member”

For nine months in 1975 and 1976, JDL extremists calling themselves the Jewish Armed Resistance attempted to emulate past glories. In New York, pipe bombs exploded outside the Iraqi Mission to the UN, the Polish Consulate, and the Amtorg office. Shots were also fired into the Soviet residential complex in the Bronx; into the homes of two Soviet diplomats in suburban Maryland; and into the Soviet Mission to the UN, piercing two fifth-floor windows in the Ukrainian section. On May 2, 1976, in the early morning hours before a march for Soviet Jewry in Manhattan, five low-yield pipe bombs caused minor damage to the American Communist Party national headquarters, two midtown banks that did business with the Soviet Union, a Russian-language bookstore, and a subway exit near the United Nations Library. On June 23, 1976, vehicles belonging to Pan American Airlines were destroyed by incendiary bombs. In Washington, D.C., a bomb blew a hole in the retaining wall at the State Department, shattering several plate glass doors and windows, causing more than $15,000 in damage. A JDL spokesman announced that the explosion was to protest the "sellout of Israel to Sadat."

The flurry of activity stopped when the FBI arrested twenty-one-year-old Steven Ehrlich, seventeen-year-old Steven Rombom, and Thomas Macintosh, a thirty-six-year-old convert to Judaism, as they drove across the Goethals Bridge between New Jersey and Staten Island with four pounds of gunpowder. Macintosh, who turned state's witness, testified against his friends and also implicated thirty-five-year-old JDL leader Russel Kelner and one other person in the spate of Jewish Armed Resistance terror bombings. The JDL men were subsequently convicted and received prison sentences. According to government documents, at least two dozen people were investigated for their roles in the JAR bombings, including Kahane, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Steven Rombom was a particularly tragic example of the sort of psychopaths Kahane attracted to the JDL. The violence-prone youth, who, according to court records spent eight years in psychiatric institutions from the age of six, joined the JDL when he was twelve years old over the frantic objections of his doctors and social workers who called JDL officials, begging them not to allow Rombom to get involved in the militant organization. Following Rombom's conviction, his mother spun into a deep depression. His father, Abraham, wrote to the judge pleading for his son's early release from prison, saying that "my marriage has been completely ruined. There is no interest in marital relations on the part of my wife. I cannot talk to her about any subject but Steven." As late as 1985, Rombom, who now works in New York as a private investigator, was handling security on the East Coast for Rabbi Kahane.

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According to Friedman, in New York City, Rabbi Kahane was an FBI informer and friends with Mafia boss Joseph Colombo, Sr., the head of one of the Big 5 New York mafia crime families. Kahane also was arrested in a conspiracy to manufacture explosives and pleaded guilty. He left New York for Israel where he founded the Kach movement, and later won a seat in the Knesset. One of the close associates of the Kach, was Dr. Baruch Goldstein. Goldstein committed the Hebron massacre on February 25, 1994 by shooting into a crowd of about 500 Muslims kneeling in a Ramadan prayer at the Isaac Hall of the Cave of the Patriarchs located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank town of Hebron. Goldstein unloaded 111 bullets, killing 29 and wounding about a hundred. Kach colleagues said that Goldstein was engaged in kiddush hashem (“sanctification of the name of God”). Kach members regarded Goldstein as a martyr. The Israeli government declared Kach as an illegal terrorist organization.

Steven Rambam’s earlier ties with the JDL terrorist organization, did not prevent him from working together with the Canadian Jewish Congress in setting up a telephone “snitch line”, whereby suspected Nazi war criminals would “rat” on Nazi colleagues. The plan was condemned by the B'nai Brith Canada as being "morally reprehensible."

The JDL was in the news again in December, 2001, when its chairman, Irv Rubin was arrested in a bombing conspiracy to blow up a Los Angeles mosque and the California office of the American congressman, Rep. Darrell Issa (who is of Lebanese background). Rubin has been arrested more than 40 times. I also understand that the JDL of Canada has a regional and chapter office in Downsview, Ontario.

In his book, Friedman provided a connection between Rubin and Rambam/Rombom by writing that the chairman of the Jewish Defense Organization (JDO), Mordechai Levy, had an “increasingly bitter feud with two rival Jewish militants, West Coast JDL boss Irv Rubin and convicted JDL terrorist Steven Rombom.” All three were involved in a shoot-out on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village on August 9, 1989. Friedman quoted one Jewish militant as saying, “I think Rubin and Rombom went to Levy’s to rub him out.” Regardless, the FBI arrested Levy for attempted murder of Rubin and Rombom.

[ Robert I Friedman was on the CKNW radio show talking about his book Red Mafiya 2 years ago]

In addition to Kahane’s mafia ties, Robert I. Friedman has written about the Russian Mafia in a separate book titled “Red Mafiya: How The Russian Mob Has Invaded America”. The book deals with the “Organizatsiya” (the Russian Jewish Mafia in Brighton Beach, New York). A full chapter, titled “The World’s Most Dangerous Gangster”, is devoted to Semion “Brainy Don” Mogilevich, a Jew born in Ukraine, who has been involved in nuclear material trafficking, drugs, prostitutes, precious gems and stolen art. “His contract hit squads operate freely in the United States and Europe.” Mogilevich has been described by the British MI5 as “one of the world's top criminals." One of Mogilevich’s “lieutenants” was Vyacheslav “Yaponchik” Ivankov, the godfather in Brighton Beach (now behind bars) who was sent to take over the Russian Jewish mob’s operation in USA. Ivankov’s relative was Vyacheslav Sliva who moved from Moscow to Toronto to “take over the Russian Jewish mob’s Canadian operation”. Sliva is known to the RCMP. Both Sliva and Ivankov had spent ten years in a Soviet prison for extortion and torture. Yet both were able to get through immigration/customs to come to Canada and the USA respectively.

Another crime figure linked to this mob group is Joseph Sigalov. The RCMP has overheard him on wiretaps planning to attend a Russian Mafia summit meeting in Puerto Rico. Sigalov was joined by Vyacheslav “Yaponchik” Ivankov, Joseph Kobzon, Viktor Averin and Sergei “Mikhas” Mikhailov, various alleged leaders of the Solntsevo (or Solntsevskaya) global criminal familia, described as the Russian Mafia’s largest and most powerful criminal organization in the world. Friedman writes that Robert Kaplan (a former Liberal Minister and Canada’s solicitor general in charge of the RCMP and CSIS from 1980 to 1984), worked for Sigalov as his adviser for over a year sometime around 1994. Reports also indicate that Sigalov contributed campaign funds to various Liberal MP’s. For example, Toronto Life (June 1997; P.81-86) reported Sigalov contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the Liberal Party including federal ministers such as Art Eggleton and Paul Martin.

Crime Digest is a report produced by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. It has reported on both “Mikhas” Mikhailov and “Brainy Don” Mogilevich reports indicate they are high-ranking members of Solntsevo. Mogilevich is better known in Canada as the mastermind behind the YBM Magnex scandal on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The approximate $1 billion fraud was one of the largest in Canadian history. YBM Magnex was but a front shell company set up by Mogilevich to launder money for the Russian Mafia. Incredibly, YBM Magnex had such prominent Board of Directors members as the former Liberal Premier of Ontario, David Peterson.

In addition to having influence in Canada, Mogilevich has also been linked by the media to the $15 billion Russian Mafia money laundering scandal at the Bank of New York (BoNY) which broke in 1999. This BoNY money laundering operation has been described as one of the largest in U.S. history. Some BoNY executives have already been convicted. A class action lawsuit has been launched against the BoNY Chairman, Thomas Renyi. Mogilevich is mentioned in the lawsuit as having ties with and doing money laundering for Colombian cocaine drug cartels. Mogilevich’s link at BoNY was the husband and wife team of Peter Berlin and Lucy Edwards. Berlin ran a company named Benex, which arranged the wire transfers through BoNY, while Edwards was an executive at BoNY. Mogilevich allegedly money laundered some $500 million through Benex. He met Berlin at least twice, once in London and once in Ukraine. Both Edwards and Berlin were Russian Jewish emigres and have been convicted. They seemed to have had no problem with immigration/customs.

Benex was also mentioned last week as being part of an estimated $9 billion Russian Mafia money laundering operation uncovered by “Operation Spiderweb” which was run by a European multi-jurisdictional anti-mafia police task force based in Italy. As a result of “Operation Spiderweb”, an arrest warrant was issued for Grigori “Lucky Loutchano” Loutchansky, the head of a company called Nordex which was allegedly set up by the KGB to launder capital and funds into Europe from the Communist Party after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Police have arrested more than 50 people, seized almost $100 million in cash and froze some 300 bank accounts. Some of the arrests were made in Canada. Loutchansky also has ties to Solntsevo and Mogilevich.

The New York Review of Books (16Nov00) reported that both Grigori Loutchansky and Vadim Rabinovich are the "lieutenants" of Semion "Brainy Don" Mogilevich, the "world's most dangerous gangster". Although TIME identified Grigori Loutchansky as the "son of poor Ukrainian Jews", "he is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the person making money faster than anyone else in Europe." Vadim Rabinovich ran Loutchansky’s Nordex office in Kyiv, Ukraine. Vadim Rabinovich is also the president of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress in Ukraine. He is often referred to as an “oligarch”.

Loutchansky has been referred to as “the world’s most investigated person” and has the distinction of being the subject of a two-day Interpol conference. Both Loutchansky and Rabinovich have criminal records and have spent years in Soviet prisons. Yet both Loutchansky and Rabinovich were able to pass immigration/customs screening and attend fundraisers for President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Gore.

According to Friedman, Mogilevich made huge sums of money smuggling heroin from Canada into Russia. He even bought an airline in Georgia to smuggle heroin from the Golden Triangle into Europe. Friedman writes that Mogilevich also sold millions of dollars of pilfered weapons, including ground-to-air missiles to Iran, one of the countries labeled by President George Bush as an “axis of evil”. Reportedly, Mogilevich travels on Israeli and Canadian passports.

So while the government contemplates to denaturalize and deport people, peace-loving, non-criminal people like Odysnky, it allows the mafia to operate with free rein. Perhaps our immigration minister, should get his priorities straight.


Stefan Lemieszewski
2002-06-23