Canadian Adscam Scandel: The Gomery Publication Ban: Could we have been used?

Canada

Canadian Blogger Angry in the Great White North has this opinion piece as to whether Justice Gomery may have manipulated the MSM and blogosphere to bring world attention to the Adscam Scandel:

This has been a thought that first came to me during the Gomery publication ban. It keeps popping up in my head, so I’m finally putting it in writing for your consideration.

Could Justice Gomery had intended to have what happened happen?

If you recall, or if you are just tuning in, a publication ban existed during the explosive testimony of Jean Brault, when it was first revealed just how extensive and criminal were the activities of the Liberal Party under the auspices of the Sponsorship Program. Instead of merely being an example of government waste, and an example of contracts being given out to friends, the allegations re-cast the program as a money laundering scheme designed to move millions from the government purse into the coffers of the Liberal Party, paying off party debt and positioning the party for the next election.

Jean Brault was facing criminal charges, and not wanting to taint the jury pool in Montreal, Justice Gomery instituted a publication ban. That made it illegal for any media outlet to report on the testimony. But what made it strange was that the hearings are being held in Montreal, and that the ban did not include banning the public from attending the hearings. So even though it was illegal for a local newspaper in Vancouver to report on the story, any Montrealer could go into the hearings (and the audience chamber is packed every day), listen to what was said, then leave and tell his friends and family.

Word of what was said was destined to be common knowledge in Montreal, if no where else.

What happened though was that Captain Ed at Captain’s Quarters picked up the story, having had the details sent to him by someone at the hearings. Several Canadian bloggers (including yours truly) joined into to publish the material despite the ban, and over the next four days, hundreds of thousands of Canadians visited these various sites and learned what was said, and the allegations became common knowledge everywhere.

Noises were made about laying charges, but nothing happened. Before the end of the week, the ban was lifted.

Justice Gomery is no fool. We also know there is no love lost between him and former prime minister Jean Chretien. Prior to the ban, the Gomery Inquiry was barely a blip on the radar in English Canada, followed only by the chattering class and political bloggers. Now, of course, it’s all we’re talking about.

Did Justice Gomery manufacture the conditions for his revenge? When he lifted the ban, he had no angry words for bloggers who were defying the ban. Indeed, he echoed what many of us said about the danger a ban constitutes to our constitutional rights. Then the ban was gone, and the pressure that had been building in the main stream media as they watched the best political story in years being carried by amateurs was released in an explosion of front page in-depth articles from coast to coast.

If I wanted my commission to become front page news, I couldn’t have stage-managed a better sequence of events to make sure that happened.

OK, cue the X-Files theme.

A very plausible thesis! And, yes it crossed Flap’s mind as well!

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Police Finger Woman and Say Wendy’s Finger a HOAX

Humour

In a news conference Friday afternoon San Jose police investigating how a human finger ended up in a woman’s bowl of Wendy’s chili declared the claim a hoax Friday and arrested her on charges of attempted grand larceny.

The entire story is here (San Jose Mercury News, free registration required):

The arrest of Anna Ayala at her home outside Las Vegas was the latest twist in a case that has become a late-night punch line, taken a bite out of Wendy’s sales and forced the fast-food chain to check its employees for missing fingers.

Ayala, 39, claimed she bit down on the well-manicured, 1 1/2-inch finger in a mouthful of her steamy chili on March 22 in San Jose. She had hired a lawyer and filed a claim against the Wendy’s franchise owner, but dropped the lawsuit threat soon after suspicion fell on her.

When asked whether police considered Ayala’s claim a hoax, David Keneller, captain of the San Jose police department’s investigations bureau, said yes.

“What we have found is that thus far our evidence suggests the truest victims in this case are indeed the Wendy’s owner, operators and employees here in San Jose,” Police Chief Rob Davis said.

At a news conference, police refused to say where the finger originated and exactly how the hoax was carried out.

But according to a person knowledgeable about the case who spoke on condition of anonymity, the attempted larceny charge stemmed from San Jose police interviews with people who said Ayala described putting a finger in the chili. The source said the interviews were with at least two people who did not know each other and independently told similar stories.

The source added that investigators still did not know where the finger came from.

Ayala – who has a history of bringing claims against big corporations – has denied placing the finger in the chili……

Read the rest here.

Read the background of this story here, here and here.

Well Wendy’s is relieved…. after losing tons of money:

….The furor caused sales at Wendy’s to drop, forcing layoffs and reduced hours in Northern California. Joseph Desmond, owner of the local Wendy’s franchise, called the ordeal a nightmare.

“It’s been 31 days, and believe me it’s been really tough,” he said. “My thanks also go out to all the little people who were hurt in our stores. They lost a lot of wages because we had to cut back because our business has been down so badly……..”

Flap is positive the D.A. will make an example of this woman!

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Martin vows to fight Chrétien challenge to probe

Canada

The Globe and Mail has the latest machinations of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and the Adscam Scandel:

Prime Minister Paul Martin returned to the airwaves Friday, expressing regret that he did not know about the sponsorship scandal sooner and vowing that the government would go to court to keep the Gomery inquiry going if necessary.

Only 12 hours after delivering a national, televised address, Mr. Martin appeared on CTV’s Canada AM, again saying that Canadians need to hear all of the Gomery commission’s findings .

He also said Ottawa would take legal recourse if a challenge by former prime minister Jean Chrétien to the proceedings proves successful.

Mr. Chrétien has mounted a legal challenge to the sponsorship inquiry, which he has called biased. The court has agreed to start hearings June 7.

Mr. Martin also said Friday that his office has not contacted Mr. Chrétien, asking that the former Prime Minister apologize for the situation.

“We are going to fight to keep the inquiry going and there’s no doubt in my mind that the courts – if, in fact, it came to that – will allow the inquiry to keep going,” Mr. Martin said.

“It’s very, very important that the inquiry be allowed to continue its work.”
On Thursday night, Mr. Martin – faced with a faltering Liberal minority government and the threat the Opposition members may force an election – said he would call a vote within 30 days of Justice John Gomery’s final report on the inquiry, due in December.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, who called Mr. Martin’s TV address a “sad spectacle,” has suggested that his party may look to send Canadians to the polls this spring.

He reiterated his criticism on Friday. “It’s great to say we’re trying to fix this scandal, which has been going on for two years, and we need another eight months,” Mr. Harper said in a later appearance on the CTV program.

“That really doesn’t provide me a very good reason to morally, ethically or politically to prop up this government.”

Mr. Harper would not say specifically that he would press for a spring vote. He said instead that his party would “listen to the people in the next week, and our caucus will meet when we return, and we’ll probably have a pretty good idea of the timing.”

Earlier reports in The Globe and Mail have suggested the Conservatives have set May 19 as the day they will most likely attempt defeat the minority government, paving the way for a June 27 election, although the dynamics of the House of Commons suggest a no-confidence vote would be close.

Meanwhile, the acrimony over the situation again spilled over into the House of Commons, with Conservative MPs grilling the government over what they say are discrepancies between Mr. Martin’s testimony before the Gomery inquiry and that of other witnesses.

Claude Boulay, one of the ad executives embroiled in the sponsorship scandal, testified Thursday that he met with Mr. Martin at least twice a week when he worked on the politician’s election campaign in 1993.

Mr. Boulay’s wife Diane Deslauriers testified she saw Mr. Martin daily during that campaign.
“How can the Prime Minister, with these glaring on the record expect Canadians to believe him,” deputy Conservative leader Peter MacKay asked.

Finance Minister Ralph Goodale, however, challenged the Tories’ interpretation of the situation, saying Mr. Martin stands by his testimony and again called for the Opposition to wait for the commission to do its work before drawing conclusions.

Earlier Friday, Mr. Martin said again that Canadians need a full picture of how the sponsorship scandal played out before drawing their conclusions.

“They want to know what happened,” Mr. Martin said. “I think they want to know who is responsible and I think they want to know that the government’s going to punish them.

“I’m going to do that and I think they want Judge Gomery to report before they have to pass judgment on the government.”

Although Mr. Martin acted as Finance Minister while the sponsorship program was in place, he said his job at the time was to set the nation’s fiscal framework.

“It is not the minister of finance who follows where the money goes,” he said. “And none of the senior officials, the deputy minister of finance didn’t know about this and therefore there’s no way the minister of finance in that capacity would have known.”

That being said, he added, he doesn’t believe that is the way governments should work and, once he became Prime Minister, he brought in “a whole new set of spending controls so that won’t happen again.”

As well, he said he doesn’t believe members of his department kept information from him in an effort to protect him at a time when his rivalry with Mr. Chrétien was coming to a head.

“If that were the case, I would be very, very mad.”

But, Mr. Martin also said he was sorry that the situation arose in the first place.

“I do regret very, very much that the government – and I was – not more vigilant in checking it out,” he said.

“But the deputy minister of finance didn’t know, therefore it’s very hard for the minister to know.

“But I now take my responsibilities as Prime Minister and I changed that fact and I do very much regret that we did not know.”

Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, meanwhile, was ready to pull the election plug, saying Mr. Martin has “no more moral authority or moral legitimacy.”

He said there would be no need for a vote if Mr. Martin resigned. NDP Leader Jack Layton, on the other hand, struck a conciliatory note when asked about an election.

“Ultimately, Canadians will let us know when they think it absolutely is time, but in the meantime let’s try to do something positive for the Canadian population,” he said during an interview on CBC.

He has said he would like corporate tax cuts removed from the budget bill: “I’d like to see a budget, an improved budget, passed by the House.”

Paul Martin should cut a deal and resign post haste.

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Santa Clara County District Attorney: It’s Safe to Eat at Wendy’s

Humour


Anna Ayala
The San Jose MercuryNews reports:

It’s safe to eat Wendy’s, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office said today, hours before a scheduled 1 p.m. news conference at which San Jose police are expected to disclose details behind the arrest of the Las Vegas woman who claimed to have found a partial human finger in a bowl of Wendy’s chili.

“America should go back to eating at Wendy’s,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu. She declined to discuss the matter further, saying San Jose police will release affidavits at the 1 p.m. news conference at police headquarters. “We’re being very mindful of the defendant’s rights.”

A Wendy’s spokeswoman, Irma Seaholm, said company representatives would also be present at the news conference. The company has said business has been off sharply, especially in the Bay Area, since the finger incident.

Wendy’s officials say their internal investigation eliminated the possibility that Wendy’s, its suppliers or employees were involved with the finger.

Thursday night, police arrested Anna Ayala in connection with the case. Last month Ayala said she bit into the partial finger when she was eating at the Wendy’s on Monterey Road a month ago while visiting family in San Jose.

Ayala, 39, is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center in downtown Las Vegas as a California fugitive until her first court appearance, at which time it may become clear whether she will fight extradition, according to Sgt. Chris Jones of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Ayala’s case is slated for review Tuesday. A Nevada judge has the authority to allow her to bail out, Jones said.

Looking forward to the afternoon’s news conference. Wonder what her counsel will say?

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Online Freedom of Speech Act Update

Politics

Mike Krempasky over at RedState.org has this update on the Online Freedom of Speech Act:

First, in the House – HR 1606, introduced by Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling can not only boast a few co-sponsors – the better news is this – Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan has become the first bipartisan cosponsor of the legislation. As you can imagine, getting leaders from both sides of the aisle on a bill early is key.

But frankly, I have to say – the news in the Senate is the real gem. S 678, introduced by Minority Leader Harry Reid, has been waiting for a Republican to step up – and one has. And of all the Members that provide…um, political balance for Senator Reid – how about RedState favorite Dr. Tom Coburn? (his cosponsorship is not listed in Thomas yet, but Coburn’s office has already contacted Reid’s.)

Frankly, the legislative route will be hard and a court decision more expedient. However, any change to this unconstitutional law will be slow in coming.

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Wendy’s Finger Finder Pinched

Humour

Flap previously reported on this story here and here. But, now there is more…..

Fox News is reporting the story that the woman who reported finding a severed human finger in her chili at Wendy’s restaurant last month has been arrested by police:

SAN FRANCISCO — The woman who claimed she found a well-manicured finger in her bowl of Wendy’s (search) chili last month was arrested at her home Thursday night, police said.

Police in San Jose, Calif. — the site of the Wendy’s in question — announced the arrest of Anna Ayala in Las Vegas (search). Police spokesman Enrique Garcia (search) said authorities would not give any details until a news conference Friday.

Ayala’s 18-year-old son, Guadalupe Reyes (search), said he had gone to the store around 9 p.m. when he got a phone call from a friend who was back at the house.

“We rushed back and she was already gone,” Reyes said.

Reyes said he had no other details and was waiting to hear from his mother.

The arrest is the latest twist in the bizarre case about how the 11/2-inch finger tip ended up in a bowl of fast-food chili.

Ayala told police she found the finger March 22 while eating at a Wendy’s in San Jose. She said she intended to sue but relented, claiming the publicity was too emotionally taxing.

When police and health officials failed to find any missing digits among the workers involved in the restaurant’s supply chain, suspicion fell on Ayala, whose story has become a late-night punch line.

Ayala has a litigious history. She has filed claims against several corporations, including a former employer and General Motors (search), though it is unclear from court records whether she received any money. She said she got $30,000 from El Pollo Loco after her 13-year-old daughter got sick at one of the chain’s Las Vegas-area restaurants. El Pollo Loco officials say she did not get a dime.

Earlier Thursday, Ohio-based Wendy’s International Inc. announced it had ended its internal investigation, saying it could find no credible link between the finger and the restaurant chain.

All the employees at the San Jose store were found to have all their fingers, and no suppliers reported any hand or finger injuries, the company said.

Sales have dropped at franchises in Northern California, forcing layoffs and reduced hours, the company said. Wendy’s also has hired private investigators, set up a hot line for tips and offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the finger’s original owner.

I guess you can say she has been fingered in this case and wonder if she will knuckle under during interrogation?

More later……

Update # 1

Yahoo News has more here:

And Captain Ed over at Captain’s Quarter’ weighs in on the Fickle Finger of Fate here.

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