The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Libranos deny being organized crime

For the best example of why the blogosphere has become the cutting edge of news, a reader has only to turn to the stories carried by the old media about the threat by the Liberal Party of Canada to sue the Conservatives for linking them to organized crime.

* "Grits fire legal warning shot toward Harper" read the headline in the Winnipeg Free Press to the CP story by Alexander Panetta.

* "Liberals threaten suit over Harper's rhetoric" was the headline for the Globe and Mail story by Brian Laghi and Campbell Clark, "with a report from Michael Valpy", whatever that means.

* "Harper links organized crime, Grits" was the Free Press headline to the previous day's story by Anne Dawson from Canwest News Service.

Variations of the same headline preceeded the story on radio and television newscasts. What's sad, and disturbing, is that all of these mainstream reporters, and pundits in their wake, have it wrong.

They have completely missed the story, a story that anyone who has been reading the blogs since the start of the Gomery inquiry, knows fully. These reporters jumped to the wrong conclusion and, of course, joined the pack in reporting the error as if it was the truth.

The fact is that Steven Harper wasn't saying the Liberal Party of Canada had ties to the Mafia. He was saying the Liberal Party of Canada was a mafia of its own. It is the organized crime he is refering to. And the Liberals know what he's talking about; they're playing on the fact the reporters don't.

Here's what Harper said on Thursday:

"If I belonged to an organization, and led an organization that was found to have been involved in a massive corruption ring using organized crime to defraud taxpayers, I cannot understand why anyone found in that position would want to be associated with that organization."

He said the Liberals had lost their moral authority to lead the country due to the sponsorship scandal.

"(Liberals have) been found guilty of breaking every conceivable law in the province of Quebec with the help of organized crime. The Liberal party has no desire to change, no intention to change, and no ability to change.''

Readers of the blogosphere know that he's referring to the Libranos, the name branded on the Liberal Party of Canada by blogger Kate McMillan in her well-read blog Small Dead Animals.

"The Libranos" sticks so well to the Paul Martin/Jean Chretien Liberals because it accurately describes an organized crime organization as defined by the Criminal Code and as revealed by evidence before the Gomery Commission.

Here's that legal definition found within section 467.1(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada:

A "criminal organization" means a group, however organized, that:

(a) is composed of three or more persons in or outside Canada; and,

(b) has as one of its main purposes or main activities the facilitation or commission of one or more serious offences, that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group or by any one of the persons who constitute the group.

Uh, Liberal Party of Canada, anyone? Fraud, money laundering, kickbacks, bribes and extortion extending over years.

Harper could have just said "using crime to defraud taxpayers" but he was, indeed, more correct to say "using organized crime." Yet the Ottawa reporters had no clue. Because they don't read the blogs. Like most MSM reporters, they think they are the be-all and end-all of news gathering.

Now, consider the threat to sue the Conservatives.

It isn't directed at Steven Harper.

It's a threat directed at the newspapers and television reporters who will be covering the coming election campaign.

The Liberals don't want anyone knowing the crimes committed by their members and supporters. They want to stop even the hint that the Liberals were ever engaged in kickbacks and fraud. So they're firing a warning shot over the heads of reporters and editors.

Don't mention the crimes uncovered by Judge Gomery. We might sue you.

And they're trying to muzzle Conservative Party candidates across the country. Don't link us to criminal activity, despite the evidence presented in public for months. We might sue you, too.

This is how the Liberal Party of Canada defines democracy and freedom of speech - Tell the truth and we will sue you.

The truth is that the Liberal Party of Canada fits the legal description of organized crime.

The Libranos is an accurate title.

And the reporters who cover politics in Ottawa have no clue how passe they have become.

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