Captain's Quarters Blog - Adscam Gomery Commission day 4
April 05, 2005
Adscam And Media Updates
My source for the testimony for the Gomery Inquiry has told me not to expect an update today on yesterday's or today's hearings tonight. The actions of the Attorney General have spooked some people in the courtroom, and apparently Justice Gomery has threatened to clear out the spectators and the TV feeds if the leaks continue. Things may change tomorrow, or even later on tonight. If I get an update, I will post it as soon as I'm able.
Just as yesterday, I did a number of interviews with Canadian media today. Most of the questions were the same, but the people with whom I spoke were uniformly friendly, courteous, and gracious. This has been true across Canada, as I believe I have spoken with media in almost every province now. It's been quite impressive. The last Canadian interview I did was for a magazine in Montreal, and they asked me what kind of impression I have of Canadians after this, and I told him that after doing a number of interviews and reading the thoughtful comments and e-mails from my site, I have a new appreciation for Canada.
The last interview of the day was with News.com's Declan McCullagh, who interviewed FEC commissioner Bradley Smith and touched off the blog reaction to the new Internet regulation that the FEC proposed. The interview became more of a chat, and Declan has already posted his take on our talk:
Morrissey now has laryngitis as a result of a rapid-fire series of interviews from Canadian news organizations. He's found them a bit bizarre. "They can't ask me about the case itself because they can't reproduce anything that has to do with the testimony," Morrissey said in an interview. "They can't ask me about my blog because they can't reproduce the URL."
Canadian publications and bloggers have been left in the difficult position of attempting to describe the violation of a judicial order without revealing which Web site did it. The National Post claimed it could not mention Morrissey by name, and one blogger in Toronto wrote that "I have avoided linking to the U.S. blogger in question. I also deleted a comment someone posted" with alleged Adscam testimony.
Canada's attorney general is investigating the legality of the U.S. blog posting. Government lawyers may charge Canadian Web publishers with contempt of court if they reproduce some of the Adscam testimony or perhaps even link to Morrissey's blog, the Toronto Sun reported.
That announcement is prompting Morrissey to worry about two possibilities: his confidential source being scared away, and a vacation that his family has planned in nearby Canada. "They can find me in contempt of court," he said. "That's fine. I just won't travel to Canada until it expires."
Actually, I was kidding about the vacation in Canada, although I'd certainly love to visit there again sometime soon without getting pinched at the border. I do have to keep in mind, though, that Justice Gomery can issue a contempt citation against me. It would have little weight here in Minnesota, but if I crossed the border, it would become a bit more of a problem.
Finally, let me again apologize for the difficulties in connecting to the website. Hosting Matters found a problem in my logfile this evening and corrected it, so you should see a marked improvement in access this evening.
UPDATE: Please note that I am not reluctant to post material from my source or another one that I can reasonably verify. The source from which my material has come wants to ensure his/her own safety at the moment from exposure and legal action, which I find reasonable. Hopefully, more material will come soon.
In the meantime, Aaron at Free Will got notes from a Quebec reader regarding Brault's testimony from last Thursday. It's more detailed but a bit more difficult to follow, but our two accounts appear to match up pretty well.
Posted by Captain Ed at 07:51 PM Comments (30) TrackBack
Canada's AG To Take On Bloggers
In an odd display of twisted priorities, Canada's Attorney General may start investigating the Canadian blogosphere to find bloggers who have linked back to CQ and broken the publication ban:
CANADA'S attorney general is probing possible breaches of a publication ban set up to protect explosive testimony at the AdScam inquiry. Justice spokesman Patrick Charette said federal lawyers are looking into the Internet sites reproducing excerpts of Montreal ad exec Jean Brault's testimony and providing a link to a U.S. blog featuring more extensive coverage of the hearing.
"We have to decide what the best course of action is," Charette said, adding federal lawyers could charge Canadian bloggers and website owners with contempt of court or suggest AdScam Justice John Gomery issue warning letters.
So instead of chasing down felons or prosecuting violent criminals, or perhaps investigating government corruption, the AG intends to start delivering contempt citations ... or even sillier, warning letters. For what? Writing about testimony to which their politicians have complete access and the media can watch but not report.
Don't get me wrong; American AGs often have their own screwed-up priorities, too. It just seems to me that prosecuting Canadian bloggers for creating a hyperlink to my site realistically ranks rather low on the threat level for most Canadians. However, perhaps the chilling effect on Canadian bloggers from this government intimidation should be taken as an ominous sign about the future of free speech in Canada by all of its citizens.
UPDATE: People keep asking me if I worry about the Canadian government cracking down on my blog. Not with these guys on my side, I don't...
Posted by Captain Ed at 02:06 PM Comments (8) TrackBack
G&M Shows Why Publication Ban Is A Farce
Jane Taber reports in this morning's edition of the Globe and Mail on a second interview I gave her yesterday, when I had a moment and my voice could handle it. It's meant to give Canadian readers some background on me personally, and Taber does a fine job of presenting that information. However, more importantly -- perhaps for American readers -- it explains one of the reasons I found the publication ban so ridiculous.
One of my commenters last night asked why Americans should be so offended by a publication ban, considering that grand jury testimony is often kept secret here. However, grand jury testimony is truly held in camera, meaning closed off to the public. As Taber reports, that's hardly the case with the Gomery Inquiry:
His contact could be anyone as the commission hearings are open to the public. Indeed, the Brault testimony is an open secret in political Ottawa. Ask any political staffer or MP and they seem to know some, if not all, of the details of the testimony. The television feed from the commission can be picked up in some Ottawa newsrooms, and other information is being passed through e-mails, transcripts and phone calls.
Political leaders are being kept abreast of the story, with the exception of Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe who asked his staff not to tell him anything for fear he will divulge information and run afoul of the ban.
Last week, the NDP dispatched their man, Pierre Ducasse, to the hearings when the publication ban was imposed. He reports the testimony back to the senior staff. Party leader Jack Layton, however, is briefed only on the "gist" of the information, his spokesman, Karl Bélanger, says. Again, it is to ensure that he doesn't let details slip.
In other words, every politician has access to the testimony, and even most reporters can get the transcript or at least hear it as the witnesses reveal their secrets. The only people whom the publication ban affects are the Canadian voters who elected these people and whose money got siphoned off. It has no analogy to grand juries whatsoever.
Others have pointed out that Justice Gomery wanted to keep the information private to keep the testimony from souring a jury pool for Jean Brault, Chuck Guité, and Paul Coffin. This sells Canadian citizens short, ethically and intellectually, and unfortunately this attitude exists in courtrooms south of the border as well. Jury selection these days apparently means finding twelve people who never read newspapers, books, or watch the news on television, and then putting someone's life into their hands. It's rubbish. Jurors take the job seriously enough that they can determine the validity of the evidence presented in court -- as opposed to the often-inaccurate information presented in the media -- and render a decision based on meeting a threshold based on reasonable doubt. When lawyers empanel the twelve most ignorant people they can find, we wind up with juries like the OJ Simpson jury: people who get manipulated by lawyers with sing-song slogans ... which is probably exactly what the lawyers on both sides wanted in the first place.
In order for a citizenry to remain at liberty, they have to know what their government is doing, and the press needs to report it without fear of government reprisal. The notion that Brault's rights had to be protected over the rights of all Canadian citizens is not only ludicrous but a false choice at its heart.
UPDATE and BUMP: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for all his links and supportive commentary at Instapundit. I just want to remind everyone to be a bit patient with load times today, due to the heavy interest in this material. If you want to read through all of my Adscam posts, click on this category link.
Posted by Captain Ed at 07:38 AM Comments (8) TrackBack