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 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:

Friday, February 09, 2007

Another missing piece of Driskell Inquiry puzzle; TV news and notes; Delacourt squashes rumour

The federal Department of Justice has been showing a lot of interest in The Black Rod this past week, and we're pretty sure it has to do with the final report of the Driskell Inquiry.

The Black Rod is the only news outlet that hasn't joined the media circus in glorifying the stacked "inquiry" into the alleged miscarriage of justice in the conviction of James Driskell for the murder of Perry Dean Harder.

We've carried stories from the Inquiry that you haven't read anywhere else, ranging from how defence lawyer Greg Brodsky interfered with the prosecution to how the Winnipeg Free Press fabricated a quote for their front page to "sex up" a particular story.

Today we'll present another piece of the story that's being ignored by the mainstream media. Let us introduce you to Ashif Madatili Kara.

Kara was a witness for the prosecution at Driskell's trial for murder in June, 1991. On the stand he testified that Winnipeg City detectives threatened him, intimidated him, wrote up a phony statement and forced him to sign it without reading it. He also testified that in a private conversation James Driskell told him he was furious at Dean Harder for "ratting on him."

"I want to get even with that guy. I'm going to kill him."

That's interesting.

Logic would say that police who were trying to railroad Driskell, would coerce a witness into saying he heard Driskell make a death threat.

Yet this witness says police coerced him into saying a lot of things, but not Driskell's threat to kill Harder.

That, he said, was the truth. He repudiated his signed statement yet still confirmed that Driskell threatened to kill the very man who wound up dead in a shallow, unmarked grave.

And his testimony corroborated the evidence of Ray Zanidean, the chief witness against Driskell and the person the commission counsel most wants to discredit.

Imagine that.

The only parts of his statement that Kara recanted were those implicating himself and his brother in a plot to kill Harder. In his statement he says Driskell asked him to help drug Harder to make it easier to kill him and asked his brother to lure Harder to a location where he would be killed.

But you won't read about Kara in the final report of the Driskell Inquiry because HE WASN'T CALLED AS A WITNESS and his existance wasn;'t even acknowldged.

The inquiry was intent on painting Zanidean as a liar and didn't dare call someone who would support Zanidean's trial testimony. Needless to say they DIDN'T CALL Ray Zanidean to give evidence either.

It's so much easier to call someone a liar when they aren't allowed to defend themselves.


Thursday, Global National finally got around to doing a story about plans to restrict oil sands development in Alberta.

It's only been a week since Liberal M.P. Mark Holland declared on talk radio that the Liberals intended to force limits on oil sands development, and oil companies better go along or "there will be consequences."

Only that wasn't Global's story.

No, Global reporter Francis Silvaggio did an entire piece on how the oil sands are threatened by----the Conservatives.

Yes, with the Liberals in full damage control mode and with Alberta Premier Ed Stelmack calling a news conference Monday just to address Holland's statements, Global did a whole story about the oil sands without a single Liberal in it.

Kevin Newman introed: "Under growing pressure to react to the growing proof of climate change, the Harper government is weighing tougher measures that many in Alberta's oil patch worry could mean an end to the oil boom."

Francis Silvaggio said Prime Minister Stephen Harper "appeared to single out Alberta's oil and gas industry." Silvaggio ran a clip from a speech by Harper at the Canadian Club about regulating greenhouse gases and commented: "Combine that with recent statements by Opposition leaders calling for increased controls on Alberta's resource industry, you can understand why Alberta's premier is getting a little ticked off."

Those Opposition leaders went unnamed and unclipped.


Susan Delacourt covers Parliament for the Toronto Star and she wants to put an end to persistent rumours that her husband worked for former Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Delacourt's husband has never worked for Paul Martin. He and current Prime Minister Stephen Harper were once employed by the same think tank.

We would like to join her in putting a stake through the heart of this rumour, and anyone coming across this post while researching the rumour should leave knowing once and for all --- IT'S A MYTH.


is how deep the influence of the Parliamentary Press Gallery extends into the Liberal Party of Canada.

Here's how Susan Delacourt's colleague and fellow PPG member Chantal Hebert puts it in today's newspaper; (emphasis ours)

Ideological compass still eludes Liberal Party
by Chantal Hebert
OTTAWA (Feb 9, 2007)
No one would ever accuse Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's research team of lacking the journalistic instinct to dig into a story.
After all, some of the best former elements of the Parliamentary press gallery make up the group that lays the groundwork for the official opposition's daily onslaught on the Conservative government these days.


CTV Winnipeg finally woke up and realized that former anchor Janet Stewart may take more than a few loyal viewers with her to CBC News at Six.

Glossy ad spots extolling the CTV team approach to news and featuring residual anchor Gord Leclair and his new co-host Marilee Caruso are all over the station's broadcasts, as CBC sets to roll out their hourling format on February 19th and duel head to head with the longtime ratings leader.

Stewart has done well in her new post, replacing the scowly looks of her days beside Leclair with a new 'do, softer lighting and a more relaxed attitude.

One thing that is inescapable is the negative chemistry (if there is such a term) between her and CBC sportsfella Mike Beauregard. Viewers of the last 7 minutes of the newscasts have noticed that when Stewart tries to do the happy-chat style banter thing with him, she is often left floundering to find a way to gracefully exit the interaction. It's like Mike is the dry-witted guest who overstayed his welcome at the party two hours ago and won't take the hint.

Even though Janet finds a way to manouever around the dreadful live hits of some of the reporters she is saddled with, there is no escaping Beauregard's tired old act -- because he's sitting right beside her.

So realizing that something was missing from the ambiance of the newscast and faced with an extra 30 minutes to fill, CBC honchos pretended to conduct extensive auditions to add another on-camera face, before surprising everyone and no one, with the resurrection of 24 Hours original Murray Parker as local weather specialist.

Parker, 70, retired from CBC years before the newsroom even had computers, so hopefully he will remember to leave his chalk at home, and that global warming is the cause of any and all -40 windchills.

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