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:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tying together Lesley Hughes and her wacko conspiracy friends

The Winnipeg Sun headline reads "Dion Dumps 9/11 Nut."

Ouch. That's gotta hurt.

Lesley Hughes' world came crashing down in less than 24 hours.

One morning she's proudly representing the Liberal Party of Canada, rubbing shoulders with leader Stephane Dion, and sharing the stage at a major election event with her fellow candidates, and the next she's incommunicado, dodging allegations of anti-semitism and reading her career obituary---9/11 nut.

After being exposed as a 9/11 Truther, she got one chance from Dion to save her political hide. Convince the Canadian Jewish Congress you're okay, and you stay. Instead, Hughes issued an official statement through the Liberal Party of Manitoba in which she said:

"I am a lifelong friend and supporter of the Jewish community in Winnipeg and I am deeply distressed by any suggestion to the contrary. I find any interpretation of my journalism as anti-Semitic personally offensive and I heartily apologize for that perception."

What did that gobbleldygook mean? Well, as best we can tell she said SHE'S offended if you're offended by what she wrote and she's apologizing to herself on your behalf. Or something like that.

The CJC wasn't buying it either. And a half hour before high noon on Friday, she was walking the plank before she even knew there was a plank.

All that for writing that Israeli businesses got tipped off by Israel's intelligence service a week in advance that the World Trade Towers were going to be hit by a terrorist attack, giving the businesses time to break their leases and move, on the QT. The Israeli's didn't tell a soul, allowing thousands of innocents to be murdered on Sept. 11, 2001. And for sending readers to websites where they can read how the attacks were an inside job by the CIA and George Bush to set up an excuse to invade Afghanistan and Iran and seize their oil.

""It is an utterly unjust decision", said Hughes on Friday, ever the victim.

The continuing firestorm over Lesley Hughes has produced three emotions.

The Lesley Hughes brouhaha has been illuminating. It has been amusing. And it is disturbing.


It's been something to see the 9/11 Truthers come crawling out of the woodwork. Newspaper and blog comments threads are packed with them.

The Truthers can't decide whether the Liberals, the NDP or the Greens are the Truthiest.

Peacekeeper 29 wrote on
at 1:18 PM ETMr.Canada wrote:Posted 2008/09/26 at 12:49 AM ET

I have been a long time Liberal supporter, ardent defender of Stephane Dion and advocate for defeating Harper to ensure Canadian security, soverignty and integrity. I went so far as to join the party, volunteer, do what I can on a grass roots level to help promote change, however I am sorry Mr. Dion, it saddens me now to second guess supporting you in favour of the NDP now. this moment I even have one of those large Liberal signs on my front lawn and it may have to come down for this.

I am not going to support any leader or party who shuns from accepting the truth as is the case with Ms. Hughes. The facts are not in dispute about the warnings that the Mossad gave the company. If you were to do your research sir, I think you would find that there is more to what happened on 911 than meets than what the official story line is. A real leader would have said "although I don't condone what she said, I am not going to punish her for her rights to express her opinion and her beliefs as my government supports such expression.". What this says to me is that you are a lacky, weakling and a disgrace to the integrity of truth.


A major Liberal supporter in Vancouver Center.

Canadainmyheart wrote:

I read your post and I fully understand your feelings. There are too many things coming to light about 9/11 and it goes way beyond what Michael Moore had to say about it. That case is certainly worth re-opening and a new investigation SHOULD take place.

It is a shame if politicians feel fear to question 9/11. It is worse when politicians take the official lines as the utter truth. Worse than that, however, is politicians losing their jobs for speaking their opinions on 9/11. But I am not surprised.

By the way, I'm a Vancouver resident and I think the NDP are a very decent choice.

John Ishmael from Brampton ON, Canada wrote on Babble, the message board for the far, far left:

Did Leslie Hughes quote the known facts or fabricate them?
IF she did not fabricate them, why did that coward Dion fire her - and not even have the ovaries to tell her in advance.
Vote NDP or Green. The Liberals deserve to receive the Con shaft right up their ....

The Truthers break down into two arguments:

* Hughes wrote about Israeli businesses moving. She didn't mention Jews. Any perception of anti-semitism is therefore wrong.

* Hughes is right. There was a conspiracy regarding 9/11 and she’s being punished to keep her from talking about it.

A poster on the Globe and Mail site wrote: one on this board finds it at all odd that Israel--and that's all this is about, not Jews but the policies of the nation of Israel--has crept into a Canadian election?

Not believing the official line regarding 9/11--which is full of holes, missing evidence, cover ups, and contradictions--does not make one a wacko or nut job, but a critical thinker.

Sebastian Ronin from Canada wrote on the same webpage:
Greetings from the other side of the Rubicon. What Ms. Hughes wrote are not 'allegations.' The pre-knowledge of the attacks is documented. Her dismissal goes much deeper than the knee-jerk claims of anti-Semitism.

The lesson here is that the Liberal Party has moved so far to the left of centre that its now fighting with the hard-left parties for voters on the political fringe. In that rarified atmosphere, the moonbat conspiracy theory seems normal.


It's been amusing to see the local news media twist and turn the story to protect former CBC radio host Lesley Hughes.

Reporting for CBC television news, Marissa Dragani painted Hughes as innocent victim. Dragani literally bumped into Hughes on the street near the CBC building and was the first to inform the Liberal candidate that she was now the former candidate. Didn't anyone tell you, you poor dear? wept Dragani. Noticeably missing was any attempt to ask Hughes about her odious 9/11 conspiracy beliefs. Or even to explain them in the story she filed for the 6 o'clock news.

That same morning CJOB radio host Richard Cloutier called Hughes one of the Liberal Party's star candidates. He said it was unfair, unfair damn it, to use someone's old writings to discredit her. Like Dragani, he never spent a second to explain the 9/11 conspiracy theories or to point out that Hughes not only didn't disavow her 2002beliefs, she encouraged people to read them today.

Equally funny was seeing the extent to which the Winnipeg Free Press went to avoid mentioning The Black Rod. Reporter Bruce Owen attributed the Hughes information to "a local blogger", while columnist Dan Lett said it came from "a Manitoba blog." Bwahahahaha.


On Cloutier’s radio show, as a guest, was Liberal Party campaign co-chair Sharon Carstairs. Hearing her trying to split the thinnest of thin hairs was disturbing indeed.

“Let me make the distinction between anti-semitism and conspiracy theories,” said Carstairs. “No one, including the Canadian Jewish Congress, has accused Lesley Hughes of anti-semitism. What they have indicated and what we supported was that her blog seemed to indicate that there was conspiracy theories that were supported, and that is totally unacceptable.”

And what exactly were those supported conspiracy theories, Sharon?

Only that the Israeli government tipped off their co-religionists who sneakily moved without warning those who don’t share their religion and letting them die in a terrorist attack.

Yeah, no anti-semitism there, not if you look at it with one eye closed and squint with the other while turning in circles till you get dizzy. We can’t wait to hear Sharon Carstairs make her wacko explanation to the voters of River Heights.

And for the record, here's what Bernie Farber, chief executive officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress, actually told CBC regarding Lesley Hughes:

"In an interview with following the announcement, Bernie Farber, chief executive officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said Dion did the right thing by demanding Hughes withdraw from the race.

"He did exactly what had to be done," Farber said. "Lesley Hughes crossed a line which just simply cannot be crossed under any circumstances. There is no room in Canada or anywhere for these modern-age twists on the age-old anti-Semitic calumnies with these odious and dangerous conspiracy theories.""

But that’s not all.

Lesley Hughes is an editor at the hard left magazine Canadian Dimension where she writes regularly and where she meets the nicest people.

Here’s a notice for a podcast discussion with 9/11 Truther #1 Barrie Zwicker who, it appears, is a member of the Canadian Dimension “collective.”

rabble podcast network - new voices in your head
Canadian Dimension collective members Barrie Zwicker, Ed Janzen and Brenda Austin-Smith head up the discussion hosted by Lesley Hughes.

And who else does Lesley Hughe rub shoulders with? There's James Petras, whose views on Israel sparked a lively debate in Canadian Dimension in 2002, right around the time Hughes was writing about "the truth" of the 9/11 conspiracy. Here's a snippet of comments left on the CD website regarding that healthy debate from Google:

When does criticism of Israel become anti-semitic? (CDebates).
Canadian Dimension
, July, 2002

Follow up to the debate begun in Canadian Dimension vol.36 #3 (May/June, 2002) on the U.S. Israeli lobby and Middle East foreign policy
As Abbie Bakan points out in her rejoinder to Petras and Herman, it is shocking to read "Jewish conspiracy" arguments in a left-wing magazine. "Shocking" is an apt term.
Petras and Herman talk about "Jewish money," "affluent Jews" and "powerful Jewish organizations." Petras says, "There is no power in the U.S. that can counter the money and influence of the ...
Canadian New Democratic Party Leader embraces the lunatic fringe by Brian Henry
Added by David Zarnett on September 15, 2008 03:30:10 AM.

You can read how James Petras believes the Mossad was behind the Muhammed cartoons in Denmark here:

and how Canadian Dimension collective member Ed Janzen supports the boycott of Israel here:

Turning up the heat an Israel. From: Canadian Dimension Date: September 1, 2006 Author: Janzen, Ed COPYRIGHT 2006 Canadian Dimension Publication, Ltd.
The DBS (divestment, boycott and sanctions) campaign against Israel comprises a diverse group of organizations. Their actions range from boycotting Israeli products to divesting from Israeli companies to boycotting Israeli academic institutions.

Lesley Hughes wrote her column about the 9/11 conspiracy for Winnipeg's community newspapers such as the North End Times and the Lance, and NOT in a blog.

The column was so well received by the Justice, Economy, and the Integrity of the Earth, a committee of Winnipeg Presbytery (301G Weston Street, Winnipeg) that they put it on their website Eyeopener where reporters are finding it.

The United Church's Eyeopener is so in love with the 9/11 canard that they reprinted it in 2003.

EyeOpener March 2003page 2

The Silence by Ear-and-Eyeopener
Why did the massive international intelligence (from Israel, Pakistan, Germany and elsewhere) about a coming attack on America about September 11 not issue in preventive measures in the US?
Why did it take almost 2 hours for the US Air Force to act on September 11, when they had standing orders to scramble instantly in such hijacking situations? Were there countermanding "stand down" orders given to the US pilots on September 11 to allow a plot only vaguely known to go ahead and happen? For what reason? Why have the derelict airforce officers not been disciplined?
Why did Israeli businesses, which had offices in the World Trade Center Towers, vacate their offices a week before the September 11 attacks, breaking their leases to do so? What did they know?
It was immediately apparent after September 11 that the official line of explanation had many holes in it.

The United Church, you may remember, is one of the proud leaders of the Boycott Israel/ Israel Apartheid movement.

And there's more.

Lesley Hughes, it appears, teaches some sort of journalism course at the University of Winnipeg. The president of the U of W is none other than former Liberal foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy who is no stranger to conspiracy theories himself.

Way back in July, 2006, the Winnipeg Free Press published an interview with Axworthy on the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon crisis. The story by their then-Ottawa reporter Paul Samyn concluded this way:

"Axworthy also took a shot at Winnipeg's Asper family, saying they are using their media empire to advocate staunchly right-wing positions when it comes to defending Israel.
"The Aspers are increasingly playing a far more important role in shaping Canadian foreign policy."

To some, this looked like a reference to the Israel Lobby, another favourite topic of Canadian Dimension magazine and the far left.

But within days, a second and very different version of the interview was published. In this version, Axworthy had actually been talking about disaspora, not the Aspers. Samyn, in this version, botched it royally.

At the time, The Black Rod came to Samyn's defence. We noted that there was a tape recording of the interview. Why not put it online so confused readers can listen to it themselves and decide which version of the interview was correct? Ha ha. You know where that suggestion went.

But now that we see how warmly Lesley Hughes is held by Axworthy and Co., we can guess which version of the disputed interview comes closest to --you guessed it -- the truth.

But we're not finished.

This debacle only raises more questions which the mainstream press has so far failed to answer.

Remember, Stephane Dion flew into Winnipeg in his flying air-pollution-mobile to help Liberal candidate Anita Neville.

Ever since Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff declared Israel was guilty of war crimes in Lebanon in 2006, Neville has been trying to mollify the Jewish voters in her riding. So in a week where he was making billion dollar promises every day, Dion flew into Winnipeg to announce a promise to spend a measly $75 million to protect Jewish (and other religious) institutions from racists.

What does that tell you?

That Neville's campaign is in deep trouble. That she has to call on the least-liked leader in the election campaign to come to her aid. The mainstream media may be as surprised at the outcome in River Heights as they were when Reg Alcock bit the dust in '04.

And we're not done with Lesley Hughes. While Dion got a lot of press for bumping her off the Liberal ticket, no reporters asked the right question.

The Liberals are dead broke. They can't pay their debts from the last leadership campaign. They're running the current election campaign on borrowed money, money supported by the collateral of used Lesley Hughes campaign signs, unsold copies of the Protocols of Dion, and the $1.75 the Liberals expect to collect from taxpayers for each vote cast for a Liberal on the ballot.

Lesley Hughes is still on the ballot as a Liberal candidate. It's was too late to take her name off. So will the money for votes case for her go to the Liberal Party anyway? If she got as many votes as the Liberal candidate got in Kildonan-St. Paul in 2004, that's almost $24,000. Or will Hughes get to keep the money as an Independent?

The Liberals pretend they're hurt by her dismissal. But the National Post wrote Saturday that party insiders have conceded the election and are now considering ways to save money to run the next time. One of the ways was to stop spending on local candidates. Lets see, scrap the Hughes campaign which she wasn't going to win anyway, save some bucks, and collect the cash from votes cast for her anyway.

A win-win for the Party. But is it a conspiracy? Somebody call the Israeli embassy.

And FINALLY, a rejoinder to the 9/11 nutbars who jumped to the defence of Lesley Hughes, like this one.

Globe and Mail
gary elliott from Canada writes: That 'whack job' Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that instant messages were sent to Israeli employees of Odigo, with offices in the WTC, before the demolitions happened.\

Smug ignorance never wins out over evidence.
· Posted 26/09/08 at 12:48 PM EDT

The leade on the original Haaretz story (we can't find the original publication date) reads:
Odigo, the instant messaging service, says that two of its workers received messages two hours before the Twin Towers attack on September 11 predicting the attack would happen, and the company has been cooperating with Israeli and American law enforcement, including the FBI, in trying to find the original sender of the message predicting the attack.

An interview with Odigo Vice President of Sales and Marketing Alex Diamandis published on Sept. 28, 2001, carried more information.

Two employees of Odigo got popup messages two hours before the New York attacks which "did not mention the World Trade Center specifically, or any other targets."

"Without going into details, the message was most noteworthy due to the timing, not due to the substance of the 'warning.' It could easily be coincidence," Diamandis said. Citing the ongoing investigations, Diamandis declined to provide specifics of the actual messages or the identity or location of the sender.

Odigo's New York office was not in the World Trade Towers. It was four blocks away. And the warning may not even have come there.

The only apparent update on the story that we could find was this: -Agents Following Suspects' Lengthy Electronic Trail
The story is no longer available on the web, but there's this excerpt on another website:

The Washington Post briefly reported about the evidence of Israeli prior knowledge on October 4, 2001 on page A-24:

"Another possible hint of the plot came two hours before planes crashed into the World Trade Center, when two employees of Odigo Inc. in Herzliya, Israel, received electronic instant messages declaring that some sort of attack was about to take place. The notes ended with an anti-Semitic slur.

"The messages said something big was going to happen in a certain amount of time, and it did -- almost to the minute," said Alex Diamandis, vice president of sales for the high-tech company, which also has offices in Lower Manhattan. He said the employees did not know the person who sent the message, but they traced it to a computer address and have given that information to the FBI.

This story says the warning came to employees of Odigo in Israel. And they ended with an anti-semitic slur.

We do the research, so you don't have to.