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.

Name:
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: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year-end Wrap-up

As Day 366 of the year ticks down (what? you forgot it was Leap Year?), there's just time for our annual announcement of The Black Rod's Newsmaker of the Year.

The title for 2008 goes to----- Derek Harvey-Zenk.

Or Morden-Zenk. Or Harvey-Morden-Zenk. Or whatever the hell his actual name is.

It hardly mattered. He was better known as Public Enemy No. 1 for much of the year.

No man has been so demonized in as long as we can remember.

Jon Waluk, a Hells Angels-connected drug addict who was convicted of killing a young mother and her two little children--her daughter, 5, and her 19-month-old son--- ON CHRISTMAS EVE in 1987, is walking the streets of Winnipeg on parole with less negative attention from the press.

What did Zenk do to enrage so many people?

He was a police officer.

A police officer who made a deadly mistake.

In 2005 he went to a bar with fellow police to unwind after their shifts. When the bar closed he went to a house party at one of the officer's homes. Then, instead of accepting an offer to crash on the couch, he decided to drive to his own home. On the way he rear-ended a car, killing the driver who was on her way to work in the morning.

Zenk pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death. He was sentenced to house arrest for two years less a day.

But that's just the backstory. It isn't what Derek Zenk did that made him the newsmaker of the year; it was the impact he had on the press, the police and the courts of the province.

In 2008 the province convened a public inquiry into why Zenk wasn't charged with drunk driving and why he wasn't given a jail sentence.

Derek Zenk turned the news media into a slavering lynch mob.

All semblance of fairness, of impartial reporting, of telling a story honestly was cast aside. Radio, television, and newspapers universally reported the Inquiry from the unchallenged premise that Zenk was drunk when he ran into the other car, his police pals fixed it so he wouldn't be charged, and the independent prosecutor arranged a plea bargain to ensure Zenk wouldn't go to jail.

The much-vaunted separation of roles evaporated in an instant; reporters became editorialists, headline writers became propagandists. Columnists and radio hosts competed to outdo one another in spitting vitriol at the police. Rationality was replaced with passionate hatred directed at Zenk and any individual who even remotely crossed his path and didn't subscribe to the theory of a conspiracy to protect him from the law.

The spectacle of a media mob was both astonishing and frightening. It should be studied in journalism classes for decades. The participants will, in time, look back in shame on their compliance with the ravening horde. Journalism students could only watch the so-called professionals engage in the worst mean-spirited pack journalism imaginable.

The Inquiry itself was equally reprehensible.

It was the third show trial held in Manitoba by the NDP (following the Sophonow Inquiry and the Driskell Inquiry). They all run the same pattern. They start with a predetermined conclusion - in this case it was that police deliberately botched a drunk driving investigation against Zenk and, if they hadn't, he would have been sent to jail. Then they trot out witnesses to "prove" their conclusion. Then they pretend that the "evidence" led them to the conclusion. It's carefully choreographed and the mainstream press goes along with the illusion.

In the Zenk case, the Commissioner Roger Salhany ran into a problem. Their expert in special prosecutions refused to play ball. He said the sentence given Derek Zenk was proper according to the law and precedents in Manitoba. Salhany simply found another witness to contradict the first one and give the "evidence" the Inquiry needed to reach the predetermined conclusion. That's called Manitoba Justice. If you don't like the truth, change it.

Never reported before is how much of an ego trip the Inquiry was for Roger Salhany. His report concluded that Zenk should have been prosecuted for impaired driving on the grounds that Zenk had been drinking at some time before he started driving home.

Salhany reasons that the law on impaired driving doesn't insist a driver has to be drunk before he can be convicted. The slightest evidence of impairment, say bloodshot eyes, should be enough for a conviction, he said.

And where did he get this wisdom? Why, from none other than---himself.

Exactly twenty years ago, December, 1988, the Ontario District Court rendered a decision in the case of R. v. Winlaw which has been described like this:

"There, the learned judge went through the law, as was presented to him, with respect to the law of impaired driving… namely, s. 253(a), creates an offence of being impaired, not markedly impaired, but simply impaired, and it does not require evidence of a marked departure from a norm or standard of sobriety; any kind of impairment, even slight, was sufficient to constitute the offence."

The judge in that case? Why, His Honour Judge Salhany.

It took 20 years, but Salhany finally got to validate his own high opinion of himself by using his own ruling as the basis of a highly publicized public inquiry.

Justice Minister Dave "Six Months" Chomiak reacted to the Inquiry by disbanding the East St. Paul police department and ordering the over-stretched RCMP to take over. He said he would continue persecuting police by launching still another "investigation" into officers of the East St. Paul police force (who have already been cleared by the RCMP once) for alleged obstruction of justice in letting Zenk off the hook. And he announced a new agency would be created to investigate police, to treat them like the criminals they are--- in his eyes.


All this from the minister who has watched criminal gangs overrun the province and car theft turn into an epidemic because of his refusal to treat criminals like criminals.

The Inquiry into the actions of Derek Zenk serves as a terrible example of untrampled power of the courts and this government. There is another public inquiry in the pipeline, this into the 1986 murder conviction of cocaine kingpin Frank Ostrowski. He claims he's innocent and he got railroaded. Poor boy. And the Commissioner who will be in charge---why, none other than Roger Salhany.

That should be be fair warning to former Crown attorney George Dangerfield who is going to be Salhany's target in the Ostrowski Inquiry. If he hopes to avoid becoming the next sacrifice to Salhany's ego, he had better use the persecution of Derek Zenk to his advantage. Hire a pitbull lawyer, attack your detractors without hesitation, playing nicey nice is a guarantee to having the NDP destroy your reputation and your name for their own purposes. Remember, the conclusion is already written.

Manitoba Judge Ray Wyant sentenced Derek Zenk. At the time he made a prescient observation about justice and the law. His words were ignored by the press, the government and Roger Salhany. And we'll all pay the price. Judge Wyant's words sum why Derek Zenk became the newsmaker of the year:

"They want their pound of flesh. They want to hear the clanking of the cell door.

But let me make it absolutely clear, Mr. Zenk, those factors are not something this court or any court can entertain in deciding a fit and appropriate sentence. To do so would corrupt the very foundations of our justice system and plunge our system into chaos. So it does not matter what we think happened, what we must do is only sentence or decide cases on the evidence before us.

If we were to substitute our opinions or the opinions of others for proof and evidence, we would surely undermine fundamentally our system of justice. For to replace our feelings or opinions for facts would mean that any citizen could be the subject of arbitrary justice, of decisions based, not on evidence and proof, but on innuendo and personal biases.

Sentence delivered
October 29, 2007

****************
Looking back, we can't believe how busy a year it was for The Black Rod.

Something had to give, and we regret that it was our weekly coverage of the war in Afghanistan. We started it because there was a vacuum. We couldn't believe how the newspapers were ignoring a conflict where Canadian soldiers were fighting and dying, and making a difference, and demonstrating unmatched bravery day after day without any recognition.

In 2008 we dropped the ball. We promise to rectify that mistake and to redouble our efforts to cover the conflict properly, even if only through a weekly recap of events and analysis.

But we never expected to find ourselves staring down a lynch mob or breaking the biggest Manitoba story of the federal election or going behind the headlines and tripping over the secret plans of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. It's been quite a year.

* Covering the Taman Inquiry required reading hundreds of pages of transcript every night. But it was worth it. We were able to report how the Inquiry was inventing evidence, coaching witnesses, and twisting facts beyond recognition. And how the news media was letting them get away with it, including not reporting when Commissioner Salhany joked about the death of Crystal Taman.

The year ends with Chelsea O'Halloran, Salhany's star witness, charged with drunk driving. She had been a heroine at the Inquiry for confessing she lied to police investigators to cover up how, in her expert opinion, drunk the whole group of police were the night before Zenk drove into Crystal Taman's car. (It is also noteworthy that FP Legislature reporter Bruce Owen now concludes in his summaries of the Taman Inquiry, that Zenk "apparently fell asleep behind the wheel of his pick-up truck.")

* And the employees of the Winnipeg Free Press, who revelled at accusing the Winnipeg Police of a massive cover-up to protect Derek Zenk, ended the year engaged in a massive cover-up of their own to hide the truth of how they wound up with 1500 pounds of government subsidized pork in their freezers when it was intended for the poor and hungry clients of food banks.

* The Black Rod was nominated MVP Blog of the Election after we exposed former CBC radio host Lesley Hughes as a 911 Truther running for the Liberal Party in Winnipeg.

* Our three-part Hydro series examined in close detail the flood of red flags raised by the Public Utilities Board about Manitoba Hydro's multi-billion dollar plans for future power projects. The bottom line was that the plans were based on ideological wishes and were likely to result in Manitobans paying grossly higher rates to subsidize power exports to the U.S. that we're bound by contracts to provide. Hydro has to submit detailed reports to the PUB in January of how they reached their economic forecasts. Expect the mainstream media to be chasing our Hydro series after those reports are delivered, or excuses made why they can't be.

* The Canadian Museum for Human Rights was a regular topic for The Black Rod in 2008. We finally shamed the Winnipeg Free Press into discussing the true cost of constructing Gail Asper's white elephant project. For the first time ever, the FP published a figure-about $130 million. Then their editorialists conceded the cost was likely to balloon once the project moved from pretty pictures on paper to actual construction. Nobody now believes that the CMHR can avoid the 18 percent per year construction inflation that every other government project is facing.

* We also revealed how the CMHR had turned into the Incredible Shrinking Rights Museum. In January, 2006, proponents said it would bring 400,000 visitors to Winnipeg each year. By 2008, that figure had been cut in half and they conceded they were counting cybervisitors who would click on the museum's website.

* We looked at the museum's board of directors and found Grand Chief Phil Fontaine, who was on the record as opposing the extension of human rights laws to Indian reserves. And we looked at the museum's advisory committee and found Anthony Hall, one of Canada's most prominent 911 Truthers, an anti-Zionist, and a critic who called the Asper family's Canwest Global media empire almost "treasonous".

* Finally, after years of delay, there was an inquest into the police shooting death of Matthew Dumas. The mainstream media found themselves reporting what we revealed in The Black Rod THREE YEARS AGO. Way to go there guys.

* The anti-police lobby found new poster boys to replace Matthew Dumas in 2008. They fit the profile: aboriginal, criminal, stupid,and dead.

The Black Rod revealed that one of the main critics of police-public relations, University professor Elizabeth Comack, was a flaming Marxist who brings her class warfare opinions to her "research." We'll be watching to see if the news media mentions that at her next blame-the-police news conference.

* When Dr. Larry Reynolds was fired as head of Family Medicine at the University of Manitoba, we turned up the real reason, and it wasn't what the University and the Winnipeg health authority said it was. But we didn't know at the time that we had actually uncovered the tip of the WRHA's secret plans to take control of the University's medical school. We'll be keeping a very close eye on this power grab.

* The year saw a few old stories wrap up. The last whisper of the Driskell show trial was heard in 2008. Remember that the entire Driskell Inquiry was premised on the, ahem, fact that Ray Zanidean, the key witness, perjured himself when giving the evidence that convicted James Driskell of the murder of Perry Dean Harder. The government, in a fit of high dudgeon, announced they were launching a perjury investigation against Zanidean. But, when the Inquiry opened, the government revealed that, ahem, they had misplaced the plans for an investigation, but it would be launched as soon as the Inquiry was over. And it was. And in February, the results of that investigation were announced---there wasn't any evidence of perjury that would stand up in a legitimate court of law.


Ahem.

Since then, the Winnipeg Free Press, has been exceptionally careful to avoid using the word perjury in any of their subsequent stories about the Driskell case. Compare their stories before and after to see the stark differences in how they explain the case.

* And, of course, what would a year be without Krista Erickson, former CBC Winnipeg host and now reinstated CBC Ottawa reporter. Krista got in a pickle in '07 when it was revealed she had provided the Liberal Party with questions to ask former PM Brian Mulroney at a public committee hearing. Everyone, except Liberals, saw this as crossing the line between legitimate reporting and collaborating with a political party.

This year the CBC Ombudsman delivered his report on the incident. He said Krista's critics were the ones to blame---for daring to suggest there was some political favoritism involved in her actions.

She was a babe in the woods, an innocent nymph (in the classical meaning of the word) who just tried too hard to do her job. Sure, she went too far and overstepped CBC's own policy on getting cozy with politicians. But those are unwritten rules and Krista is blameless. Ombudsman Vince Carlin even blamed himself for Krista's predicament, because he should have been more vigilant in assuring young nubile employees like her know the rules.

In other, less star-struck words, the critics were right to challenge the CBC for collaborating with the Liberals. She did. She got caught. And after she got caught she confessed and threw herself on the mercy of the CBC court.

Carlin says there was political bias behind her cozy arrangement with the Liberals because there was no evidence of political bias. But, as he should know too well, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The evidence is that the CBC covered up then, and continues to cover up, the name or names of the Liberals that Krista was working with. And the CBC even allowed the Liberals to lie to the public without contradiction when the Liberals denied receiving questions from Krista Erickson at the Mulroney hearing.

Nice try, Vince. It didn't work.
*************

2008 was a watershed year. We welcome the new contingent of local bloggers that's popped up throughout the year. Aggressive, opinionated, and capable of breaking news stories of their own, they're rewriting the rules and history of journalism. The day of the gatekeepers is passing, and they hate it.

We wish a Happy New Year to all you bloggers out there.

And to all our visitors, especially the many thousands of new readers who discovered The Black Rod this year.

And to the many who people sent us notes of appreciation and encouragement.

And even to those whose regular jibes we accept with good spirit.

And to those who have offered help and support, don't think we've forgotten you. If we've failed to get back to you promptly, its because there are more things in the works than we can say right now.

Happy New Year everyone.

Now bring on '09. We're ready.

Monday, December 29, 2008

BR: The Crime Story as told by Crimestat Winnipeg

Hold the marble.

It's too early to be erecting a statue of Mayor Sam Katz---but a small bust might be considered.

Exactly two years ago we chose Sam Katz as The Black Rod's Newsmaker of the Year. He had just won election, crushing his opponents, and he was promoting the crime reduction initiatives he planned to introduce the following year. We wrote at the time:

"Where "the visionary" Glen Murray ignored the crime problem, Katz has promised it will be a priority in his next term of office. He said he will introduce Crimestat, a computer-aided dispatch system for police, of the kind that helped turn the tide against crime in New York City in the Nineties. If he manages to get the same results as New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, they'll be erecting statues of Sam at City Hall."

The end of 2008 lets us compare two years of Crimestat. It consists of two components.


The public half is a website which posts incidents of crime on a map of the city divided into districts. Check your district and you can see the car thefts, house break-ins, and robberies in your neighbourhood.

The other half is a system by which police resources are focussed on parts of town where computer analysis shows a concentration of crimes. So if there is an outbreak of garage break-ins in a section of the city, extra patrol cars are sent in and more cars of non-residents would be spot-checked, for example.

The public Crimestat is a dud.

The crime map is almost two weeks old. By the time you see there has been a rash of car thefts on your street, either your car has been stolen or the thieves have moved elsewhere. It does nothing to help citizens prevent becoming victims of crime.

The internal Crimestat is another animal.

There are signs that, when it works, it's working exceptionally well.

* The biggest surprise of Crimestat 2008 is the reduction of store and bank robberies by 49 percent.

Cutting robbery by half in one year is a success beyond anyone's imagination. In District 3, aka the North End, the reduction was 58 percent. Somebody is doing something right and not getting the applause they deserve.

For the record, the number of reported commercial robberies as of Dec. 21 was 338 compared to 665 the previous year.

But there's a related crime stat that's not so great.

* The number of non-commercial robberies is down, officially, by 7 percent. The number is irrelevant. The nature of the crime is not.

Robbery - Non Commercial / Financial is the formal term and it is a grab-bag of crimes against individuals in which theft was accompanied by violence or threats of violence. These crimes include purse snatching, being robbed of name brand clothing, carjacking, or home invasion.

People hear of a 7-11 robbery and shrug.

But a purse snatching, a home invasion, theft of your child's Ipod or jacket---these are crimes that impact people and steal their sense of public safety.

Crimestat has a record of 1173 of these crimes this year, more than three times the number of commercial robberies.
The best place to be robbed is in District 1, downtown and the Inner City, where 500 incidents were reported, almost half the city's total.

An alleged small reduction of these crimes means nothing, since it could simply be fewer people reporting having their goods stolen. The large number of these crimes means everything. It's a reflection of the expansion of gangs and of general lawlessness, primarily among youth, under the NDP's holistic approach to crime. It's something that needs to be watched carefully in the new year.

* The homicide rate in Winnipeg remains high. There have been 28 criminal deaths to date. But what's notable is the shift in where the killings are taking place.

The homicide rate in District 3, the North End, dropped 60 percent. Yes, SIXTY percent, from 15 last year to six this year.


But in District 1, downtown and the Inner City, the rate rose 80 percent, from 10 to 18.

The most violent of crimes is now a phenomenon of the Inner City (formerly known as the Core Area) and NOT the North End.

Can we attribute this to Operation Light Dusting, the Mayor's half-hearted version of Operation Clean Sweep which he belatedly introduced after an unprecedented number of murders and shootings on and around Magnus Avenue? If so, the worst decision the police department can make is to remove the extra police presence in the North End and send it to District 1.

If something is successful, you don't dismantle it, you replicate it. Sounds simple; lets see if the big foreheads paid the big bucks can figure it out.

* Let's turn to something closer to home, literally. The number of residential break-ins is down 25 percent in one year. That's a significant figure. But break-ins rose in District 1 by 4 percent. On the other hand they dropped 36 percent in District 3, perhaps demonstrating again how crime is shifting in the city.

For the record, there were:

632 house break-ins in District 3
584 in District 1.
381 in District 6 and
226 in District 2.


You might have noticed we are ignoring District 5. The new amalgamation of of East Kildonan and St. Vital creates a section of the city so large that crime stats for the entire area are meaningless.

Commercial break-ins in the North End were down a whopping 46 percent, perhaps indicative of the success of Crimestat analysis of crime patterns.

Other break-ins, primarily into garages we would guess, are down 26 percent citywide, and 38 percent in the North End. While many garage break-ins are never reported, reductions of this magnitude show a definite downturn.

While the North End, District 3, had the most garage and other non-business, non-home break-ins with 388, it was District 6 (Fort Garry) that came in second with 316.

* But what about car theft, you ask? Isn't that the big success story of the year?

Nope.

Nobody can claim they achieved anything regarding auto theft in Winnipeg. Not the Mayor. Not the police. Not MPI. Not the provincial government.

Why?

Because all of them, except the police, are responsible for the high rate of car theft in the first place. Do we praise an arsonist for setting only half the fires he set last year?

The authorities all want credit for the reduction of auto theft by 45 percent in 2008. So instead of 6400 cars stolen, give or take, there were 3500 plus.

No one wants to address the obvious, why were there 6400 cars being stolen in the first place?

Because of the NDP's race-based justice system.


The NDP refused and still refuses to take native car thieves into custody. So they were arrested, then released to steal as many cars as they could before being arrested again. Only after a series of high-profile deaths of innocent people caused by car thieves was the province forced to act.

The result was the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy (WATSS). About 130 of the highest risk car thieves (l00 or more Level 4's and the rest Level 3's) are released from custody and heavily monitored to keep them from stealing more cars.

MPI boasts that "These Level 4 offenders are contacted up to 36 times per week under this program, compared to regular youth probation of two contacts per month." Or, in other words, we've turned highly trained police officers into round-the-clock babysitters.

We used to have an auto theft suppression strategy that was even more effective. It was called JAIL.

It was 100 percent effective in preventing car thieves in the program from stealing cars.
It was cheaper.
And it put police on the streets catching criminals instead of babysitting them.

The explosion of car theft in Winnipeg is a direct result of the NDP's race-based justice system.

Gord MacIntosh and Dave "Six Months" Chomiak will go to their graves with the blood of innocent victims on their hands because they refused to take the car thieves off the streets because of their ideological policies. They deserve no credit for a reduction of the number of car thefts which should not be taking place in the first place.

Neither does MPI. They have, for years, said the obvious---when car thieves are arrested, the number of thefts go down.

But they have refused to challenge the government publicly, permitting the NDP to dodge any accountability for the waste in lives and money their policies have caused.

MPI says that the "WATSS helps to control auto theft until the use of immobilizers becomes more widespread." Immobilizers are the other panacea being trotted out for the epidemic of car theft in Winnipeg.

The number of attempted auto theft incidents stands at 3385 compared with 6010 last year, a 44 percent reduction.

We're waiting for MPI to say what percentage of those cars broken into were equipped with immobilizers and what percentage were makes of automobiles at high risk of being stolen which could have benefited from immobilizers.

There are far too many unanswered questions about the alleged benefits of immobilizers for anyone to say they've had any effect on the level of car theft.

Crimestat so far says 2885 fewer cars were stolen in 2008, and 2625 fewer attempted thefts. Compare that to the 130 car thieves under round-the-clock watch at any time.

That's a ratio of roughly 22 fewer cars stolen for each car thief under watch. Police have said that Level 4 thieves steal up to 40 cars a year. Add the fewer attempts, and you can say the entire reduction in auto theft stats was due to keeping known car thieves from stealing cars.

Remove the thieves and you remove the thefts.

It's only taken the NDP 9 years to figure that one out.

And how many lives? Is MPI keeping count?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Anti-Zionist 911 truther = 'expert advisor' to Gail Asper's Human Rights Museum

One of Canada's most active 911 Truthers is advising Gail Asper on "guiding principles" for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Yup. You read that right.

Anthony Hall has been sitting on the museum's advisory committee since 2007.

"This group establishes general guiding principles and offers their expert opinions to Ralph Appelbaum Associates to enable the development of a proposed master plan." according to the CMHR's website.

Hall is formally described as Professor of History and Coordinator of Globalisation Studies University of Lethbridge.

He's better known as the biggest defender of Lesley Hughes, the Liberal Party's crash-and-burn candidate who was dumped for writing that Jewish businesses moved out of the World Trade Centre after getting advance warnings about the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.

Hall has started to use his connections to the CMHR to give credibility to his 911 Truther views.

"I have worked along with a gifted team of colleagues from across Canada to help Gail Asper and a New York-based consulting firm to develop suitable content for the great pride of Winnipeg, the soon-to-be-built Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Although this is only speculation, I would be surprised if Lesley Hughes has not also been involved in that project in some way," he wrote in September is a widely reprinted essay on the Hughes affair, A Clash of Conspiracy Theories, Reflections on the Decision to Disqualify Lesley Hughes from Running as a Liberal Canadidate in the Canadian Election of 2008.

Hall admits that Hughes was dead wrong about the advance warning allegedly given to Jewish business owners. Anyone with the most rudimentary Google skills can prove that.

But, he writes, "It is simply wrong to suggest, as some have done, that each and every individual trying to see through even the most obvious official lies of 911 is expressing some form of overt or latent anti-Semitism. This kind of counter conspiracy theory does a profound injustice to all concerned."

It's not hard to see why Hall makes that argument.

You need only read his October posting, Hate Speech as Political Rhetoric: Stephen Harper and 911 in the Canadian Election of 2008 (http://www.opednews.com/articles/Hate-Speech-as-Political-R-by-By-Anthony-J-Hall-081006-768.html
)

He writes:
"While Hughes was wrong in her details, she is far from alone in her more general position that many intelligence services had prior knowledge that something very drastic was about to happen in the days and weeks leading up to 911. One of those intelligence services was indeed that of Israel. The Israeli government's understanding of the situation was almost certainly connected to the activities of an Israeli spy ring posing as art students especially in the Hollywood Florida region. "

Here we go again:

Those sneaky Jews with their advance knowledge of everything is an integral part of the 911 Truth movement.

The 911 Truthers are divided into two streams.
* A. The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon were an inside job by the American government which wanted an excuse to launch a worldwide "War on Terror" that's really a cover for U.S. world domination.

*B. The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon were planned by the Mossad to force the U.S. to attack Israel's enemies, which would further the domination of the world by the Jews.

In Conspiracy B, the Jews play a leading role. In Conspiracy A, they're supporting characters; they know about the terror plans, they warn the U.S., but their warnings are ignored by evil Republicans who want the attacks to succeed to justify their plans to rule the world.

Anthony Hall is a proponent of Conspiracy A, although its sometimes hard for the layman to tell them apart.

A sub-group of Conspiracy B argues that the Israeli spies posing as art students were actually spying on the terrorists who launched the WTC attacks, but they failed to warn U.S. authorities.

Hall does his best to suck up to Gail Asper, whose influence he needs to validate his own anti-American conspiracy rants.

"Lesley Hughes has a history of deep involvement with (Canadian Dimension) this venerable old publication, one that is as deeply bound up with the long and fruitful academic career of the University of Manitoba political economist, Cy Gonig (sic). In my view Cy Gonig’s connection to Canadian Dimension is as significant an aspect of Canadian intellectual history as is the relationship of the Winnipeg-based Asper family to their Can West Global media empire. As I see both Gonig and the Aspers epitomize the continuing vitality and importance of old and illustrious Jewish community of Winnipeg." writes Hall in A Clash of Conspiracy Theories.

The good professor demonstrates his extensive research skills by mis-stating Cy Gonick's name. But more curious is his professed admiration for the "Can West Global media empire."

For, you see, when corresponding with a fellow 911 Truther, Hall demonstrated a different attitude.

Paul Graham is an editor and board member of Canadian Dimension magazine (and campaign manager for Marianne Cerilli in her 2006 mayoral election campaign.) He posted an article Sept. 30, on his website about the Lesley Hughes affair Conflating Anti-Semitism and 911 Truth (http://paulsgraham.ca/index.php/2008/09/30/conflating-anti-semitism-and-911-truth/
).

Hall responded with an email to Graham in which he revealed his real opinion of the Aspers' Canwest global media empire. Let us quote some choice segments of his email:

"In this case, false allegations of antisemitism are being used as a tool to discredit a journalist who has asked for answers about 911. Reminiscent of the tactic used by apologists for Israeli foreign policy who brand every criticism as evidence of antisemitism, this kind of smear campaign is a step in the direction of conflating the 911 Truth Movement and antisemitism."

***

"I have recently seen a TV piece done by Paula Zahn at CNN where she conflated any questioning of the 911 Cover Up Scam with “anti-Semitism.” In my view the indiscriminate use of this powerful word to advance anti-Muslim war propaganda does a terrible injustice to all of us, but especially to liberal Jews and to the memory of the terrible crimes committed by right-wing regimes in the Holocaust."

***

"Harper and his henchmen belong way out on the political margins with the likes of the white supremacists and anti-Quebec zealots here in Alberta that started the xenophobic political movement this Calgarian currently leads...From the timing of this election to the Cadman affair to their myriad involvements with the organized criminals swirling around Julie Couillard, the so-called Conservatives have played fast and loose with the rule of law in spite of Can West Global’s effort to spruce up and market this radical bunch.
***


"In all my years of watching Canadian politics I don’t remember seeing anything like the so-called Conservative Party’s unrelenting character assassination aimed month after month at savaging Stephane Dion. Unfortunately Dion gave into the rhetorical blackmail to which he was subjected with plenty of help from the Winnipeg-based war propagandists at Can West Global."
***


"Let’s try to hold Can West Global, the CBC, the robotic Globe and Mail, and the next Parliament of Canada accountable for their tragic or maybe even treasonable ineptitude."

Keep up the good work.
Anthony J. Hall

Hall, we're sure, understands that Gail Asper wants to inspire youth to become activists for human rights, although we wonder if they have the same goal in mind.

He writes:
"In the long run one of the most devastating effects of the lies and crimes of 911 may reside in the prospect of alienating many of our brightest and most independent-minded young people who have good cause to question the potential for real democracy in even the most basic of our electoral processes... What lessons will be learned by the significant portion of Canadian youth who have decided to invest themselves wholeheartedly in the push for 911 truth? As demonstrated in scores of short clips on the Internet, many of the so-called “troofers” join their like-minded elders to head out into their communities, pamphlets, DVDs and video cameras firmly in hand.

They seek to make a difference in the public arena with the optimistic view that they can in the long run influence public policy through informed engagement with their fellow citizens, including workers, opinion makers, captains of industry and elected officials...what could be more reasonable, hopeful and democratic than this way of attempting to bring about meaningful change?"


What guiding principles does Hall have in mind for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights that would advance his goal to inspire and empower a new generation of 911 Truthers? Do his ideas have anything to do with the depiction of Israel in the new museum?

In a paper he read in September, 2008, at a 911 conference in Edmonton, The Lies and Crimes of 911: A Canadian View of the War on Terror’s Origins, Hall told how his view of the 2001 terrorist attacks changed.

"When I wrote the initial drafts of this section I accepted the reports that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks. I took the liberal line that the attacks had more to do with the injustices imposed on the colonized world than with political Islam. I emphasized this point by highlighting the conference which had taken place in Durban just days before 911. The South African government hosted this World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance. In my initial draft I advanced the idea that the attacks might not have taken place if the very serious issues raised at the Durban assembly had been more seriously addressed. While I still want to emphasize the importance of creating more just regimes of human relations as the best guarantee of global security, I also had to incorporate my changing understanding of the crimes and lies of 911. He’s an excerpt from the revised text.

The Durban conference highlighted issues that would be swept from the headlines only days later when the events of September 11, 2001 changed history..."


Note how he references the Durban conference. Now compare with how other people saw the conference:

* The Jewish Telegraphic Agency Inc., a not-for-profit corporation that's been reporting news and analysis about events and issues of Jewish interest for 90 years, was at Duban:

"On the grounds of the U.N. conference itself, the Arab Lawyers Union distributed pamphlets filled with grotesque caricatures of hook-nosed Jews depicted as Nazis, spearing Palestinian children, dripping blood from their fangs, with missiles bulging from their eyes or with pots of money nearby. Attempts to have the group's U.N. accreditation revoked were refused."

"Under the tent where the final NGO declaration was approved over the weekend -- a document that indicts Israel as a "racist, apartheid state" guilty of genocide and ethnic cleansing -- fliers were found with a photo of Hitler and the following question: "What if Hitler had won? There would be no Israel, and no Palestinian bloodshed."

"In a Palestinian-led march with thousands of participants, a placard was held aloft that read "Hitler Should Have Finished the Job." Nearby, someone was selling the most notorious of anti-Jewish tracts, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

* At a press conference,U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, declared: "I have been distressed and disturbed by the vitriolic words and inappropriate content in the NGO document." She found especially unacceptable, the accusations that Israel was guilty of genocide.

* With the United Nations gearing up for a new world conference in 2009 to review the outcomes of the Durban conference, Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote in Haaretz,

Durban: Not again
By Abraham H. Foxman
... governments and NGOs have a responsibility to say "not again." Not again to virulent anti-Semitism, not again to vile demonizing and delegitimizing of Israel, not again to incitement to violence against Jews, not again to the inversion of principles of human rights.

Anthony Hall, on the other hand, saw the Durban conference as raising "very serious issues" that needed to be addressed. This may explain his comfort at repeating the Israeli spy ring canard.

The Israeli art students spy ring is an article of faith in the nutty world of 911 Truthers, notwithstanding its official debunking. In Conspiracy-land, there's no greater evidence of the truth of the most whacko claim than when the government denies it.

Here's what the Washington Post reported:

Reports of Israeli Spy Ring Dismissed
By John Mintz and Dan Eggen
Washington Post
Wednesday, March 6, 2002; Page A06
A wide array of U.S. officials yesterday dismissed reports that the U.S. government had broken up an Israeli espionage ring that consisted of young Israelis attempting to penetrate U.S. agencies by selling artwork in federal buildings.


"This seems to be an urban myth that has been circulating for months," said Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden. "The department has no information at this time to substantiate these widespread reports about Israeli art students involved in espionage."

Several officials said the allegations - first reported by a French online publication and later by other news organizations - of a massive U.S. probe of Israeli spies appear to have been circulated by a single employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration who is angry that his theories have not gained currency.

This week, the Paris-based "Intelligence Online" service quoted from what it said was a 61-page report by a federal task force, led by the DEA, which said that 120 Israelis posing as art students had been deported as part of an espionage crackdown and that the spy scandal had been hushed up."

The reference to Intelligence Online perked our interest. The editor-in-chief of Intelligence Online, is none other than Guillaume Dasquié, who we wrote about just last month. http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2008/11/bruce-macfarlane-manitoba-agent-204.html

Dasquie is a hero of the 911 Truthers for an article he wrote in Le Monde in 2007 that they claim proves the French had advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

For a taste of the credibility of his sources, read the grovelling apology he had to write to escape defamation charges as a result of a 2001 book in which he argued George Bush blocked investigations of terrorists prior to advance the cause of U.S. oil barons who wanted to build a pipeline through Afghanistan.

But then, Desquie hasn't had his name attached to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Yet.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Porkgate suspects hear the hounds on their trail

Shhhh.

Do you hear that?

That's the baying of The Black Rod bloodhounds.

They've picked up the scent of government-funded minced pork. And you'll be interested at where the trail has led them.

On October 16th, a mystery man drove a pick up truck up to the picket line of strikers walking around the Winnipeg Free Press on Mountain Avenue. In the back of his truck he was carrying a hefty load of pork, the packages neatly labelled 'Winnipeg Harvest.' Here, he told the strikers, it's for you.

The strikers eagerly helped unload the boxes of meat and carry it to union headquarters nearby. They said so themselves on their union website the next day. The pork was doled out--- but not all of it.

One FP reporter, miffed at the criticism the strikers were getting for taking the meat, later posted on an internet message board that some of the meat had spoiled and had to be thrown out.

The FP union gloated at the pork delivery in a post by an anonymous writer on their strike website. It was, in her eyes, a sign that the public supported the strike against the newspaper.

Then the fit hit the shan.

First the union said the mystery man was a driver for Winnipeg Harvest and the food was surplus to the food bank's needs. Uh uh.

The Black Rod revealed the pork was from a highly publicized sow cull program which was funded by the federal and provincial governments with the processed meat designated for the poor and hungry who use food banks. It wasn't surplus and nobody ever imagined that the government-subsidized pork would wind up in the hands of people with jobs paying them up to $90,000 a year.

Their first story debunked, the FP union went running for cover to David Northcott, Harvest's frontman. Northcott said he was happy the strikers got the pork. He said he regularly gives donated food from Winnipeg Harvest to striking union members.

Uh oh.

That came as news to hundreds of people who had collected food for Harvest in the past. It seems the fact Northcott takes food donations and gives them to picketers was a well-kept secret which somehow never made it into Harvest's public food drives.

Now Northcott was squirming. He tried to deflect the criticism coming his way by declaring that the mystery-man-with-the-pork was not a Winnipeg Harvest driver. Oh yeah, said the FP reporter suddenly; he was a farmer, didn't we say that?

And the pork wasn't surplus, Northcott conceded. It had been delivered to Harvest as intended, and had then been farmed out to other food programs in the city and province.

And it wasn't spoiled when Harvest had it, he said. But, nobody would confess that the pork came from them. So why dwell on it, said Northcott. Let's forget it ever happened.

Because of the obvious health safety issue, David.

It's clear the pork had been stored in unsafe conditions. Some of it was tainted and had to be thrown out, said one eyewitness. And if some of the meat was bad, you have to assume all of it is bad until you know otherwise.

The strikers, employees of the Winnipeg Free Press, know who the man-with-the-pork was, but they're refusing to identify him. That cover-up alone makes the pork delivery suspicious, don't you think?

You know the saying: it ain't the crime, it's the cover-up that gets ya.

Then there's the continually changing story of the pork.


It was surplus. It wasn't surplus. The strikers were eager to take it. The strikers had the pork forced on them. If they didn't take it, it was going to go to the dump. It was bad and some had to be tossed.

Add the question of how much pork the Free Press employees walked away with.

It was half a tonne. It was 1500 pounds. It was one pound packages. It was 350 one-kilogram packages.

We've heard every one of these numbers and every one was the official story.

But we also heard something else. It's why we released the hounds.

It turns out that Winnipeg Harvest pork was indeed a surplus commodity to someone in Winnipeg as late as one week before a truck load was delivered to Free Press union members.

Somebody was phoning around asking people if they wanted free packages of minced pork from Winnipeg Harvest. The calls weren't directed only to poor or unemployed.

The caller was someone with a direct relationship with the North Point Douglas Residents Association.

That's interesting because the North Point Douglas Residents Association DOES NOT RUN A FOOD BANK.

So why was someone connected to the association giving away food bank food? Where did she get the food from? And why was that agency so anxious to get rid of it?

Is the fact that the caller also has a relationship with the aboriginal community, a clue?

David Northcott claimed he canvassed at least 40 satellite food banks, anyone with freezer space to handle 1500 pounds of frozen pork.

Winnipeg Inner City Missions at the Anishinabe Fellowship Centre, 287 Laura Street, runs a food bank. How big is their freezer?

Indian Metis Friendship Centre at 45 Robinson Ave. runs a food bank, as do Ndinawe, 472 Selkirk and Flora House, 739 Flora Ave.

They're all close to the Free Press. Do they have big freezers? Have they had any problems with their freezers lately, say in late September?

If David Northcott is seriously trying to determine which food bank sprang a leak, he can re-start his investigation with the North Point Douglas Residents Association.

Maybe his old pal Sel Burrows can offer a suggestion.

Burrows is sure interested in a food bank now. The North Point residents association has a website, and on that website is a request for volunteers. And one of the volunteer "opportunities" is :

Campaigning for Point Douglas food bank, youth want to do it
Need adult volunteer to coordinate food bank


Who is coordinating the food bank volunteers? The Graffiti Gallery, 109 Higgins Avenue, Roslyn Dally, general manager.

This story gets curiouser and curiouser.

But what we know for sure is how the picket pork scandal has damaged some of the institutions Winnipegers once trusted without question.

* Winnipeg Harvest has a big problem. David Northcott confessed that Harvest has no way of tracking large quantities of food donated to it. 1500 pounds of pork goes missing and he can't determine from where.

How much donated food disappears from Harvest freezers and warehouses? How much winds up in the homes of volunteer drivers and their friends? And how much food donated by citizens to help the poor and hungry winds up on the tables of union members who have jobs but who are on strike at the moment? Where's the accounting?

Why doesn't the board of Harvest recognize the huge credibility gap they've got to work with?

* The City of Winnipeg Health Department has a bigger problem. An unidentified man gives out more than half a ton of meat out of the back of his truck, and the City isn't trying to find out who he is and where he got the meat.

The unsourced meat has obviously been stored improperly and city health officials show no urgency to find what wasn't thrown out and have it tested to determine if it safe. The city health department is willing to wait until someone gets sick before acting on a complaint.

If this is any indication of how the City of Winnipeg Health Department addresses health hazards, we're all in trouble.

* The Winnipeg Free Press has the biggest problem. It has lost all credibility with Winnipegers.

Its employees are engaged in a huge cover-up. They took government subsidized meat away from the city's poor and hungry who depend on Winnipeg Harvest for meals. Then they run a grotesque appeal for pennies to feed the hungry.

The person who gave them the meat might have stolen it, but they're hiding his identity. They gloated and swaggered and demonstrated their sense of entitlement to food intended for society's less fortunate; food bank users have to answer demeaning questionaires to get food, but strikers get their food delivered to them door to door, no questions asked, with David Northcott's full approval.

The FP employees are refusing to help health authorities investigate a possible food safety risk. They are literally gambling with the lives of their fellow union members and anyone who gets a Christmas hamper with the tainted pork, something suggested by one newspaper employee as a proper solution to the controversy.

The newspaper runs all sorts of humanitarian campaigns but refuses to address how its employees took food our of the mouths of the poor--- just because they could.

The North Point Douglas Residents Association may hold the key to unravelling the scandal that's come to be called Porkgate.

A lot of red-faced people are praying the cover-up holds.

To them, all we have to say is -- Sic 'Em.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Not the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. An out-of-this-world class tourist attraction.

A sham groundbreaking ceremony using dirt imported specially for the occasion to simulate the native earth that's frozen harder than tempered steel.

The symbolism couldn't be more appropriate.

If that doesn't sum up the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, then nothing will.

Nationwide focus groups have shown that pretty much nobody in the country intends to come to Winnipeg to see Izzy Asper's vanity project. And people who might come here anyway as tourists don't see wallowing in historical misery as a fun time.

Short of chloroform and duct tape, the museum's only hope for visitors is trucking in tens of thousands of luckless students and arm-twisting governments to force civil servants to attend.

That's what's known as a Manitoba success story.

For reasons unknown, Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to Winnipeg to participate in the phoney-baloney groundbreaking and, so, officially to turn on the money taps. There's obviously a reason for the pretence that the project has been started before Dec. 31, 2008, even though the private donors have failed to raise their required share of the funding.

Instead of asking the obvious, how the Friends of the Museum expect to fund the inevitable cost-overruns which they've pledged to cover, there's a rush to start pouring taxpayers' money into the black hole.

And what a money pit it's going to be.

Let's start with the fact nobody actually knows how much the Asper boondoggle is going to cost. Officially it's a $265 million project. That's their story and they're sticking to it.

Three years ago in Muse, the museum projects quarterly newsletter (which lasted one issue as far as we can tell), the fundraising goal was $311 million.

One year ago Gail Asper, managing director of the Asper Foundation, the private charitable organization that has led the project’s fundraising, said they had to raise all the money by April, 2008, or else.

“We have urgency because we have been given a budget and the budget will hold for a certain period of time,” Asper said. “If we have to extend our timelines extensively, then the budget will rise and that will put this building in jeopardy.”

The Winnipeg Free Press wrote this week :

"About half of the $265-million price tag is for the building itself. The rest is intended to develop the museum's exhibits and multimedia presentations." (Harper's visit brings museum closer to reality, Meghan Hurley and Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press, Dec. 17, 2008.) That would translate in roughly $133 million for construction.

That's interesting. In June, 2005, Canadian Architect.com, in a story on the awarding of the design for the museum, wrote "The total cost of the project is estimated at $243 million, with construction costs estimated at $126 million."

So the cost of construction has risen a measley $7 million over the past three-and-a-half years. Now that's a Christmas miracle.

By contrast, the City of Winnipeg has been experiencing construction inflation averaging 16-18 percent this year alone. (City hopes slump cuts cost of its public works, Bartley Kives, Winnipeg Free Press, Nov. 27, 2008.)

At that rate by the time its built the only exhibits the CMHR can afford will be a couple of postcards from Nelson Mandella and a videotape of Roots, in Beta.

And by the time the rest of Canada realizes its been suckered into paying the construction, the cost overruns, and $22 million a year in operating costs, the museum's 328 foot tower will look like a giant middle finger sticking up out of the heart of the continent.

It is to weep.

Then, Thursday, came the news that Nasa is selling its fleet of Space Shuttles. Once they're decommissioned in 2010--two years before the CMHR is finished at its earliest--the three shuttles will be sold off for $35 million apiece, plus $6 million shipping and handling.

For $41 million U.S. ($50 million Canadian at today's exchange) we could own a Space Shuttle.

For less than one fifth of the claimed cost of the CMHR we could have our very own, one-of-a-kind (okay, one of three of a kind) irresistable, unbeatable, world-class, out-of-this-world class, tourist attractions.

Winnipeg gets 2.7 million tourists each year. And you can bet that each and every one of them would visit a Space Shuttle. And every single one would tell a friend or relative who couldn't wait to come to Winnipeg to see the Space Shuttle. To have a picture taken beside the Space Shuttle. To walk into the Space Shuttle. To sit in the cockpit of a Space Shuttle.

And to dream.

To dream of the future. Not dwell on the past.

A future that's leaving Winnipeg--and Canada--behind at a rapid clip.

There are many people still alive in Canada who remember being urged to finish their suppers because "there are children starving in India." Manitoba grain farmers were heroes for growing surplus crops that could be sent to India. Canadians grew up proud that we as a country could help alleviate the grinding poverty in India through our foreign aid programs.

Last month India landed a probe on the moon. It was launched from India's unmanned moon-orbiting satellite Chandrayaan-1. India joins an extremely select group of advanced nations; only the U.S., Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and China have previously sent probes to the moon.

The Indian Space Research Organization plans to land an unmanned moon rover by 2012. In the third phase of their lunar program, another rover will land on the moon and return to Earth with lunar soil and stone samples in about 2017.

In between ISRO plans to launch satellites to study Mars and Venus.

Former president of India Abdul Kalam, a rocket scientist in his own right, said the landing of the moon probe -- time for the anniversary of the birth of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru -- "will kindle a dream in children".

"In 15 years I want to see an Indian on the moon," said Kalam, who conceived of the so-called moon impact probe.

Kindle a dream in children.

Isn't that what we want?

The Indian space program will do more to foster national pride and dreams of the future in home-grown scientists and engineers than all the museums in the world. There are already more students enrolled in engineering classes in India than in the US. Also there are more women engineers in India.
(With the museum, we're inspiring lawyers, social workers, sociologists, Marxist activists, and more millionaire panhandlers who dream of pet projects being financed by a bottomless public pit of money.)


But is it practical? AFP addressed that in their story on the Indian lunar mission:

"Critics say India, which has hundreds of millions of people living in deep poverty, should not be embarking on a space race with starstruck regional powers like China and Japan.
But the country has been keen to display its scientific prowess and claim a bigger slice of the global satellite business.
Not only has India "put our national flag on the lunar surface, we have also emerged as a low-cost travel agency to space," ISRO chief Madhavan Nair said, referring to the space mission's total 80-million-dollar price tag which is less than half spent on similar expeditions by other countries."


Ouch. For less than a third of what we're going to waste on the CMHR, India has positioned itself as a player in the space business world.

The Western Economic Diversification fund has been pumping $5 million a year into the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to keep them going and plans to keep doing it for another two years at least.

Obviously they think the way to wean Manitoba off its dependence on farming and fishing is to build a museum that depends on federal funding to survive.

In Manitoba, that's called economic planning.

It is to weep.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

U of M Prof has a secret agenda for her cop-bashing research

What's that saying? You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

Somebody tell that to University of Manitoba professor Elizabeth Comack, who demonstrated Wednesday that being a tenured academic means you can live in your own little fantasy world and still collect a big fat paycheque from the taxpayer.

Comack was disturbed by the facts of the Matthew Dumas Inquest. It turns out the facts don't fit into Comackland.

So she simply invented new facts.

And the Winnipeg Free Press gave her an op-ed slot to spew her divisive theories under the headline "Racialized Policing."

Judge Mary Curtis heard the evidence and ruled that Matthew Dumas bore all the responsibility for his own death.

He was on the run from a warrant for his arrest. He suckerpunched a police officer. He approached another policeman with a screwdriver in his raised hand and refused to drop it despite repeated warnings. He threatened to stab one witness, then lunged at the officer to stab him too. Only then was he shot and killed by the policeman in self-defence.

Race had nothing to do with the death of Dumas, said Curtis.

It's different in Comackland.

In the blinkered mind of Elizabeth Comack, Dumas was so obviously a victim of racism it hardly needs to be argued.

"Like too many young aboriginal men, Matthew had been subject to a police stop because he "fit the description." Knowing the fear, distrust, and resulting hostility of police among aboriginal people helps in understanding why it might be that Matthew decided to run from an officer," she wrote.

Wrong.

Dumas ran because he didn't want to go back to jail.

He was a familiar face at the Manitoba Youth Centre. His most recent charge was for possessing a dangerous weapon. He was out of jail barely three months later and he had already breached his probation. He was armed with a screwdriver, though the police didn't when they spotted him and he bolted. Was he planning on tightening some screws? Or stealing a car?

Oh, is that a racist assumption? Why should we assume that a criminal like Dumas would be involved in criminal acts?

Oh, and Dumas was shot by a Metis police officer. And the witnesses to his interactions with police in the minutes before he died were predominately aboriginal. Judge Curtis noticed that. Comack ignored it.

"For the past five months I have been engaged in a research project that involved interviewing aboriginal people about their experiences with the police," said Comack to give some credibility to her inflammatory accusations against the police.

She failed to mention that her research partner is Nahanni Fontaine, the "director of justice" with the Southern Chiefs Organization, who has written that gang members should be accepted as "family" and that police are tools of the state to enforce colonial interests.

You can guess how objective that research is.

Comack said she and Fontaine interviewed 79 aboriginal people for their research project.

"Aboriginal men who live in the inner city are regularly stopped by police and asked to account for themselves. Asked "What did I do wrong" the typical response from police is "You fit the description."

Uh, and your point is...? The description of criminal suspects is too often "male, aboriginal in appearance, black hair, blue jeans, tattoos on neck or arms, and wearing a hoodie" or some other gang outfit.

Did Comack bother to ask some relevant questions of her interviewees?

Like, how were you dressed? What time were you stopped? At 8 in the morning when you were going to work or at 3 a.m. after the bars close? Were you on probation? Parole? Are those gang tattoos on you neck or did you spill some ink on your shirt?

The rules are simple. If you dress like a gang member, expect to be treated like a gang member. If you're acting suspicious, expect to attract police attention. Matthew Dumas learned that the hard way. We addressed this question in more than a year ago in The Black Rod, July 19, 2007 "Wrong. Wrong. Wrong."
http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2007/07/wrong-wrong-wrong.html

"The city spends a lot of money maintaining sidewalks and street lighting, so people who walk down back lanes should expect to be stopped."

"People with jobs or who go to school aren't ususually found walking the street at 3 a.m. People on the street at pub-closing time are not breaking the law, but they should expect to be questioned."

"People can legally wear the clothes they want, but if you're wearing gang clothing--bandanas, I Live Tupac t-shirts, your baseball cap backwards and you don't look like you play baseball--- you're demonstrating that you identify with the values of these outlaw groups, and you should expect to be stopped."

"If you're on parole, on probation, or on the street with a criminal record, you've demonstrated a propensity to commit crimes, and you should expect to be stopped. Quit whining. You should have thought of that before you decided on breaking the law."

Comack wrote,"Aboriginal women reported that they cannot walk to the grocery store without being stopped by police who assume they're prostitutes."

That's probably because the neighbourhoods where these women live are infested with aboriginal prostitutes. In those neighbourhoods mothers complain their daughters, of all ages from 10 to 19, can't walk to school without being solicited. They want more police to deal more aggressively with the pimps and johns and street whores.

Why do we suspect Comack and her pal Nahanni never interviewed a single one of those mothers?

"Drugs, gangs and violence are pressing problems in the inner city. But strategies that police use to deal with them can be problematic. Several told of being picked up and coerced to tell the names of people in the drug trade."

Oh, horrors. Police trying to identify drug dealers. What's this world coming to?

Somehow we don't think police sweep up people at random and give them the third degree, although that's the impression left by Elizabeth Comack. What if the police picked someone up on some charge or other and leaned on him to give up a crack dealer or two? That's wrong, how?

Only if you're a university professor who thinks aboriginal men should be stand-up bro's who never rat on anyone. Word.

"Several were offered money." sniffed Comack.

Uh, Liz. It's called Crimestoppers. Maybe they've heard about it in the sociology department of the University of Manitoba. Ask around.

Comack had to do some fancy footwork to spin the facts to fit her perverted world view.

"Part of the problem is the racialized frames that police use to interpret situations," she wrote to introduce one anecdote: A man visited his stepsons. They went to buy cigarettes. One stepson was stabbed by "a man on a bicycle." The wounded man was taken home and an ambulance was called.

"When police arrived they (wouldn't listen to how the man was stabbed and) simply assumed that this was the proverbial "aboriginal drinking party" that had turned violent," Comack huffed.

Why would they think that? Maybe because here was a group of grown men "having a celebration" (as Comack so carefully framed it) at 3 a.m. when one of them was stabbed.They said he was stabbed somewhere else but instead of using the phone at the gas station/ scene of the crime to call an ambulance, he was allegedly taken back to the party house.

It makes perfect sense--to someone studying inner city life from the ivory tower.

Elizabeth Comack was described by the Winnipeg Free Press as a professor of sociology at the U of M and a research associate with the (far left) Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. She is actually the Department Head of her faculty. But that hardly tells the real story.

Back in May (2008), Comack made a keynote address at the Joseph Zuken Memorial Association Award Evening hosted by the CCPA. Her topic--"Whose Law and What Order?" There, among friends, she revealed the real motivation behind her "research."

"The title for my talk tonight actually comes from a book called Whose Law? What Order? Published in 1976, the book was authored by a noted American criminologist, Bill Chambliss, and was one of the key works in an area known as radical criminology. Radical criminology drew its inspiration from Marxism. It came to prominence in the 1970s as part of the rise of the New Left in academia. At that time I was a young university student and my work - including my honours thesis, Master’s thesis, and PhD dissertation - was very much influenced by this approach."

".. in following on the Zuken tradition I want to use tonight as an opportunity to get back to my own “Marxist roots” - especially in terms of exploring how a Marxist or class analysis can inform our understanding of some of the issues that seem to be so prominent in the media these days. "

snip

"I think we need to seriously question why this call for more ‘law and order’ is happening. What kind of ‘law and order’ are we talking about? And will more ‘law and order’ actually resolve the pressing social issues that confront us?


I believe that a Marxist analysis can assist us in getting a handle on these kinds of questions. Adopting a Marxist approach means that we put the issue of the class inequality under capitalism front and centre."

snip

" So it seems that more ‘law and order,’ ‘getting tough’ on crime, ‘zero tolerance,’ ‘cleaning and sweeping,’ and increased surveillance are being touted as the solutions to the social problems of our times. In Marxist terms, these initiatives could be interpreted as an effort to use the strong arm of the state to bolster a capitalist social order. And it’s pretty clear that such initiatives are being directed at those who are the most marginalized and oppressed within that social order."

It's certainly illuminating to learn that sociology students at the University of Manitoba are being indoctrinated into proper Marxist ideology. And that's a fact, Jack.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Winnipeg Foundation: Attacking the root causes of poverty with low-flush toilets

You've spent $3 million on an innovative project that lasted five years from start to finish.

You've achieved next to nothing.

But now the funder wants to know what you've accomplished with the time and money. So what do you do?

That's right. You BLUFF.

Anyone reading about the Centennial Neighbourhood Project in the newspaper (Neighbourhood investment pays dividends, Winnipeg Free Press, Dec. 17, 2008) was left thinking "That's nice."

Anyone who knew anything about the Centennial Neighbourhood Project was left sputtering "What the hell?"

It was obvious from the get-go that the reporter knew nothing about the project. (Note to newspaper reporters: Google is your friend.)

He regurgitated what he was fed without realizing what a sorry pack of excuses he was handed.

The Winnipeg Foundation announced the Centennial Neighbourhood Project (CNP from now on) in 2003. The Foundation said it, in concert with the Moffat Family Fund (a donor-advised fund at The Winnipeg Foundation), would spend $500,000 a year to "address the root causes of poverty through a neighbourhood renewal project..."

The focus of CNP would be Dufferin School.

The CNP "is based on the premise that 'education is the ticket out of poverty'," said the Foundation.

"The aim of the Centennial Neighbourhood Project is to demonstrate that with appropriate school and community supports, the prospects of students in one of Winnipeg's least advantaged neighbourhoods can be significantly improved," The Winnipeg Foundation declared.

Are you paying attention? Did you highlight the central theme of the CNP?

Root causes of poverty.
Education.
Dufferin School.

Instead we were told the project "helped build the foundations needed for (the neighbourhood's) continued comeback." Huh?

Rick Frost, CEO of the Winnipeg Foundation, said the project "made a difference in the neighbourhood."

Rick Lussier, the Foundation's director of community grants, said "There is more of a sense of hope in the neighbourhood now."

Could they be any more lukewarm in their praise for the project?

It took a while, but we finally found the bottom line of the 5 year, $3 million project.

"Literacy levels of grade one to six students at Dufferin School have improved substantially, with the majority at or above the literacy level for their grade."

That sounds pretty good. Why didn't the Foundation trumpet this success?

Was it because someone would then ask "improved from what?"

What was the level of literacy at Dufferin School five years ago? How substantial was the improvement?

You've now got the kids at Dufferin School reading at the level they're supposed to be at.

Is this an indictment of the school board for failing the students all those years? What element of the CNP can you point to as the springboard for improving literacy? What part did the Dufferin School Literacy Project, started in 1999 by teachers at the school, play?

Nursery teacher Kim Hewlett learned that Starbucks Coffee Shop, based in Seattle, donated money to schools promoting family literacy in inner city neighbourhoods.

Eight Starbucks employees in Winnipeg agreed to volunteer at Dufferin School to read to kindergarten and nursery students. An application for funding was made to Starbucks Seattle. Was the program a go?

The Winnipeg Foundation trotted out a lot of "highlights" of the project for the Winnipeg Free Press. But none of them could reasonably be seen as addressing the basic premise of the project--improving the prospects of students at Dufferin School.

* Creation of a police advisory board.

Double huh. What nonsense is this? A useless police advisory board that has done nothing in its one year of existence helped improve education in Dufferin School?

* Vacant lots have dropped from 30 to 18.

That's because a dozen houses were built with funding from the Winnipeg Housing and Homelessness Initiative (WHHI), a partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg. Those homes would have gone there whether the CNP existed or not. Any claim the housing was part of the CNP is bogus.

* 120 homes have been retrofitted for energy efficiency.

So Global Warming is a root cause of poverty in the Centennial ward of Winnipeg? Installing high-efficiency toilets and compact fluorescent light bulbs improved literacy levels of local school children? Who knew?

Maybe they meant that, as the government news release put it:

"It is estimated though that, on average, (can you fit in more weasel words?... ed.) each home will see a reduction in their energy bills of $300 each and every year. It is also estimated that each family will see their water bills reduced by over $200 per year for a total cost savings of over $500 per family."

That works out to an estimated, on average, $1.36 in savings per day. Or maybe 25 cents per person per household.

And that's assuming they got the retrofitting for free. If they were forced to sign up for Manitoba Hydro's Power Smart programs, they'll be using their "savings" to pay Hydro for all that efficiency.

There's nothing like putting poor people deeper in debt to address the root causes of poverty, eh.

So what was $3 million spent on?

- Two groups of local residents have been trained as teacher assistants.

- An Aboriginal Head Start early childhood development program was established.

- An Aboriginal Elder was put on staff at Dufferin School.

Is his salary paid by CNP? Did CNP pay for training the TA's? Is it picking up the tab for the head start program?

The Winnipeg Foundation doesn't say, blurring the alleged achievements of the five year project.

They tried to take credit for the projects of others (housing); they lauded useless programs that had no relevance to their goal (low-flush toilets/improved literacy, what's your beef?); and they've dodged the central questions: did the project significantly improve the prospects of students attending Dufferin School? Yes/how? No/why?

And why should you care?

Because the director of the Centennial Neighbourhood Project was Tom Simms, one of the activists behind the Winnipeg Citizen's Coalition, the hard-left, union dominated group that wants to take control of city council in the next civic election.

Simms was nominated to be co-chair of the WCC but declined at their inaugural meeting in June.

The CNP is a perfect model of the WCC's plans for Winnipeg.

That's why you should care.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Matthew Dumas Inquest sinks hopes of the victim industry

You know the economy is in trouble when even the Native Grievance Industry is in recession.

Projects being cancelled, lawyers laid off. .. Oh, the misery.

Just look at the Matthew Dumas Inquest. It had such promise once.

The Inquest would be followed by a lawsuit. Ka-ching.

The lawsuit would be followed by a public inquiry. Ka-ching. Ka-ching.

The Inquiry would be followed by mandatory "sensitivity" and "cultural" training for the police for as long as the rivers flow and the grass grows. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. Ka-ching.

Oh, the per diems to be filed. The hotel rooms to be booked. The travel time to be paid, the studies to be made, the elders to be consulted, committees to be formed and funded. It was such a growth industry.

And now, all lost. Oh, woe. Where did it go wrong?

Matthew Dumas was a petty criminal with great potential---to enter federal prison. Arrested in October, 2004 for possession of a weapon, he was back on the streets three months later, eighteen years old and armed with a weapon again, in breach of his probation, and threatening to kill a police officer. Too stupid or too doped up to follow simple instructions (Drop the screwdriver or I'll shoot) he was killed by the officer.

Matthew Dumas immediately became the poster boy for the Native Grievance Industry.

The Indian Chiefs rushed to spew their own brand of hate. They hated the police, for starters.

The city was on the brink of a race war, they shouted. The police were out of control, killing "our children." Ka-ching...uh...boo hoo hoo.

The mainstream press ate it up. The Grievance Industry was a bull market in 2005.

But the Bear was ascendant by the time of the Inquest three years later.

The public heard that Dumas was solely to blame for his own death. He attracted the attention of police by bolting when he saw them. He sucker punched a police officer who caught up with him and was walking with him to a cruiser car. He armed himself with a screwdriver and refused repeated demands to put it down.

The family lawyer, seeing hundreds of thousands of dollars being washed down the drain, screamed RACISM. But to no avail. Inquest Judge Mary Curtis found the police blameless. Why Dumas made his fatal choices, no one will ever know, she said.

The long faces at the expected news conference after the inquest report told the tale. The boom was over; the Grievance Industry was in trouble.

Sure, the family went through the motions. Blah blah blah, public inquiry, blah blah blah, racists blah blah blah, lawsuit. Nobody was buying. Internet comments were unsympathetic to say the least. Even the television stations which usually love Grievance Industry bombast hardly mentioned the news conference.

And it's over when it's over. Justice Minister Dave "Six Months" Chomiak said it's over. There will be no public inquiry, he said.

The Native Grievance Industry still has a couple of projects in the works. Police shot 26-year-old Craig McDougall to death in one confrontation, and in another Michael Langan, 17, died after being Tasered by officers. Both carry so much negative baggage that it's proved impossible to sell them as replacement poster boys for Matthew Dumas.

Canadian Press did its best to stoke the Grievance Industry Wednesday when it reported "Police said both men were brandishing knives, but the explanation has done little to quell the outrage."

Uh, what outrage, CP? The one you're inventing?

Because the only outrage out there is that being spewed by the native "leaders" and they've lost all credibility. Even the Winnipeg Free Press headlined their editorial on the Dumas Inquest "Irresponsible Chiefs."

The one thing still missing is a full return to common sense and decency.

It's time to stop treating the police as criminals.

Treat criminals as criminals. That means the police have to be given the benefit of the doubt when confrontations turn violent or fatal unless there's strong reason to think otherwise.

Criminals like Matthew Dumas aren't innocent people walking down the street minding their own business. Their business is preying on innocent people. We want people like this to be scared of police. We want them to sweat when they see police officers.

The public is outraged.

They're outraged at the uncontrolled gangs, the graffiti marring their neighbourhoods, the drug trafficking, the public shootings.

They're outraged at the lack of police in their neighbourhoods, not their presence.

They're outraged that the criminals aren't scared enough of the authorities.

They're outraged at seeing spokesmen for the Grievance Industry like Nahanni Fontaine embrace gang members as "family" while condemning police as the enemy.

They're outraged that city council gives people like Fontaine a place of influence and respect by putting her on the Winnipeg Police Advisory Board -- where she can spew her anti-police views behind closed doors away from public scrutiny and exposure, and accountability.

Fontaine, the Dumas family, the Southern Chiefs Organization were all in attendance at the post-inquest news conference to make their best pitch for the Grievance Industry.

The market report is in....Sell.

*************

The Southern Chiefs Organization and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, meanwhile, have a little scandal of their own to address.

Chief Hector Shorting and four councillors from Little Saskatchewan First Nation (which is in Manitoba) have been removed from office by Ottawa following an investigation into vote-buying during the last band election.

"It was determined there were contraventions of election provisions of the Indian Act that affected the result. Individuals were found to have committed corrupt practices," a federal spokeswoman said, reading from a prepared statement.

This shouldn't be confused with the charges of vote-buying laid against the former chief of Saskatchewan's Red Pheasant First Nation in June.

Or the allegations of vote-buying on the Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton which have still to be investigation.

Hey, you don't think there's cause for a public inquiry into corruption on Indian reserves, do you?

Monday, December 08, 2008

CBC Ombudsman: Krista was just a babe-in-the-woods and ya can't blame 'er

We've got to say this about Krista Erickson---she's not afraid to take her lumps.

Either that or she thinks we're as big pushovers as Winnipeg's daily newspapers. Shame on you, Krista, if that's the case.

We often get email tips from readers, but the one from embattled CBC reporter Krista Erickson was still a surprise. Read the CBC Ombudsman's report clearing me, she said.

So we did.

We read it from the beginning.

"The CBC’s Office of the Ombudsman received 66 complaints about a reporter supposedly feeding questions to a member or members of the Liberal Party during a committee hearing featuring testimony by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney."

Then we read it again. And again, and again. We took notes. We parsed the sentences. We took a break and re-read it with fresh eyes. We have never seen such a carefully crafted attempt to confuse, bewilder, and befuddle the reader.

The CBC Ombudsman apparently succeeded with the Winnipeg press.

Here's what he wrote:

"In my reading of policy, both written and unwritten, Ms. Erickson clearly did go “over the line” in allowing the appearance that she was providing “script” for certain sources to use."

Here's what Jan Skerritt of the Winnipeg Free Press wrote:

"A Review by the CBC ombudsman has cleared former Winnipeg anchor Krista Erickson of any wrongdoing for feeding questions to an MP during a committee hearing."

Here's the Winnipeg Sun's headline: "CBC ombudsman clears reporter." (Sigh. File under Professional reporters at work.)

CBC Ombudsman Vince Carlin actually said Krista did the wrong thing with the right intentions. She didn't know she was breaking CBC's rules of ethics, so cut her some slack, he said. Blame the CBC management for not having a hard and fast rule on secretly feeding questions to politicians to use to embarass other politicians.

And, Carlin said, there was no evidence that she did what she did out of political bias as claimed by most of the people who bitched to the CBC.

Then there was the rest of the report.

How the hell did she get posted as a Parliamentary Reporter? asked Carlin. (Okay, he used different words, but there's no doubt to his meaning.)

"By all accounts I have heard, Ms. Erickson proved herself to be a journalist of exceptional energy and tenacity. I do note that she had not actually spent a great deal of time as a “street” reporter and, as far as I can tell, had never covered a legislature on an on-going basis. Neither of those factors is necessarily a barrier to being a Parliamentary reporter, but in earlier years, the Bureau was usually staffed with people who had already served as National reporters or who had established significant track records as journalists in one of CBC’s regional centers."

Here's what Carlin skips in his narrative.

* Krista Erickson started at CBC Winnipeg as a researcher in May, 1999.
* Until the end of 2001 she worked as a researcher for the local supper hour show, a chase producer for some current affairs program, and a researcher for a national investigative journalism show that nobody watched and was soon cancelled.
* In January, 2002 she started as a reporter with CBC Winnipeg. Her total reporting experience lasted about 19 months (assuming she took no vacation time) before she became the host of Winnipeg's supper hour show in the fall of 2003.
* She never covered a beat of any kind, never mind the Legislature. But somehow in "late 2006" she leapfrogged into the prestigious Ottawa job.

"Before promotion, CBC journalists should be able to demonstrate a grasp of the ethical requirements of the position for which they are being considered." sniffed the Ombudsman.

But it was in the details of the affair that Carlin outdid himself.

You could tell instantly he spent a long, long time getting it right.

That is, picking exactly the right words to pepper the sentences that were carefully crafted to say something without saying too much while looking like they're saying a lot.

Think we're kidding? Here's a sample:

"Through journalistic inclination, and with encouragement from other journalists, she widened her circle of discussion to find out whether the Liberals intended to follow up her stories in some way, and whether they had significant information to add."

Journalistic inclination? Widened her circle of discussion?
Who talks like that?

Find out whether the Liberals intended to follow up her stories?

C'mon. Who do you think you're kidding?

Here's the translation for human beings: Some other journalists (not reporters?) told her to start working with the Liberal Party and she thought it was a good idea.

Why does the name Harvey Cashore, producer for the Fifth Estate come to mind? Oh, maybe because he's been chasing Brian Mulroney for the past 15 years or so, and Krista Erickson has been chummy with Fifth Estate producer Morris Karp since starting at CBC Winnipeg. Or is it because his father was John Cashore, the former British Columbia NDP minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Here's what we can piece together from the jungle of language Carlin uses to strangle the facts.

It was being suggested Mulroney had acted as an unregistered lobbyist by arranging a meeting between then Industry Minister Bernier and the CEO of Quebecor Media. Krista Erickson spoke with a "source" who gave her a "series of questions that had not been answered".

"Other journalists" suggested Krista work with the Liberal Party. She contacted "one source" in the Liberal Party and sent him "a note" including the questions sent to her by her "non-Liberal source."

(Why does the name Stevie Cameron come to mind? Oh, because she's been searching for years for a smoking gun to link Mulroney to illegal activity.)

Erickson "had removed any identifying information before sending."
That not only makes no sense grammatically, but its a fine example of saying something without saying anything.

Removed any identifying information? What does that mean? She hid her CBC employment? Or she removed any trace of her "non-Liberal source."
What trace could there be in a series of questions?

The Liberals got back to Krista. They told her they intended to raise her questions at the committee meeting called to investigate the Mulroney-Schreiber matter, and they tipped her off to which MP would do the asking.

And on committee day, wouldn't you know it? Gosh darn golly, by sheer coincidence, there in front of the news cameras was Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez asking questions that sounded exactly like the note Krista sent the Liberals.

But, honestly, it was pure coincidence, whimpers Carlin.

"Some of the questions are quite similar to those posed by Ms. Erickson’s source which she shared with sources in the Liberal party and discussed with other sources of both Conservative and NDP sympathies."

"I should note that Pablo Rodriguez appears to have written his own
questions based on material supplied to him by his colleagues. Due to the nature and specificity of the subject matter, it is not surprising that the language would be similar to the original questions shared by Ms. Erickson. "

BWAHAHAHAHAHA.

Yeah, right, Vince. We're not surprised in the least. It must have been the Vulcan mind-meld technique taught all CBC Parliamentary reporters.

Note how cleverly Carlin slips in that Erickson discussed the questions with "sources of both Conservative and NDP sympathies." Look, ma. No bias.

"Conservative and NDP sympathies." That's strange wording. It's intended to suggest she talked to Conservative and NDP MP's, but a close reading shows he's not talking about politicians. Harvey Cashore's father was an NDP cabinet minister -- does that count as NDP sympathies?

The affair blew up when, says Carlin, "later that day a former Member of Parliament, Jean Lapierre, now a radio host, said on the Mike Duffy Live program on CTV that Mr. Rodriguez had been fed the questions from a CBC journalist."

Not quite. Lapierre said he knew the night before what questions the Liberals were going to ask and his Liberal sources told him that a CBC reporter had provided them.

Busted, Erickson tried to deflect criticism. She was just trading information with politicians, she supposedly told more senior journalists. It's done all the time Carlin said.

"These varied communications could be seen as the stock-in-trade of Parliamentary reporting-“what do you know, here’s what I know.” Only, said Krista, her trading "was in the form of direct questions."

She was advised to come clean, and she did. Kinda, says Carlin.

"Although several people with knowledge of her first conversation with CBC News management say that Ms. Erickson admitted that she may have “crossed the line,” in subsequent meetings Ms. Erickson has maintained that she did not knowingly commit an error. "

Well, which is it? She knew she done wrong? Or she didn't? Is management lying here, Vince? Or...?

Carlin doesn't care. He has another agenda.

Remember what he's investigating:
"The CBC’s Office of the Ombudsman received 66 complaints about a reporter supposedly feeding questions to a member or members of the Liberal Party during a committee hearing featuring testimony by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney."

What did his investigation determine?

A reporter fed questions to the Liberal Party during a committee hearing featuring testimony by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Seems pretty open and shut, eh? Not in the eyes of the CBC Ombudsman. Carlin uses the Dan Rather gambit.

You will remember that when CBS bigshot Dan Rather got caught using forged documents to slander George Bush, he responded with the argument: I don't have to prove the documents are true; you have to prove they're false.

Carlin proves a keen student of Dan Rather.

"The reaction to this episode does little credit to most of the parties involved: the Conservatives who complained loudest appeared to be trying to distract attention from the solid reporting that Ms. Erickson had done, raising questions that have still not been answered.

Nyah. Nyah. Nyah. So what if Krista Erickson was collaborating with the Liberal Party. You can't prove Dan's documents are forged.

Carlin concluded:
"Trading information in developing stories is not, per se, a violation of policy. However, when trading can be viewed as direct prompting to action by someone else, CBC’s policy on Credibility comes into play since such an action could cause “a reasonable apprehension of bias.”

Isn't that exactly what the 66 complaints were about?

Oh, wait, there's more.

"It is clear, however, that there was no bias at play, no matter how perceived by partisan interests. "

So, if it looks like there's bias at play, it doesn't matter, because if you say there's no bias, then anyone who sees bias is partisan, and biased themselves, so you can't say they have a valid complaint even if what they're complaining about is true, except for the bias part. Or something.

Nevertheless, Krista Erickson is off the hook. In fact, she's going back to Parliament Hill next month.

It makes sense to the CBC

A reporter who lacks both the work experience and knowledge of CBC ethics to work as a Parliamentary reporter is being sent to work as a Parliamentary reporter to get the experience she needs to work as a Parliamentary reporter.

As we said, professional reporters at work.