Tuesday, June 07, 2005

An infinite number of monkeys…

Over at The Ambler, the former editor of the Alberta Report, Kevin Michael Grace, comments on the Grewal affair and has a harsh word for what's happened with the tapes: fraud. (See here; I've archived his post here.) Citing our site's recent researches, he notes
[At Buckets of Grewal] you will find proof that Grewal's tapes have been edited repeatedly in order to exculpate Gurmant Grewal and incriminate Tim Murphy, Ujjal Dosanjh, Joe Volpe and Paul Martin. Such is the extent of the editing that the result can be described only as fraud.
Why? He explains:
It is now glaringly obvious that the excuse given by the Conservative Party for the "glitches" in the tapes is not physically possible. Anyone who has ever made CDs knows that files are often truncated, but these truncations are caused by corrupt source materials—the computer attempts repeatedly to write the corrupted file to the disc, gives up, then moves on to the next file in the chain. What the computer does not do is repeatedly stop and restart the transfer, conveniently omitting embarrassing material. The Conservative press release was not merely a pons asinorum; it was another fraud. No wonder they buried it.
It is hard to improve on this. But one might also note that chances of such a corruption is small; the chances that it happened between words (rather than within them) smaller; that these would be the words that occur at the end of sentences or clauses smaller yet; and that the pieces left would make any sense at all…. Well, you get my point. But hey, an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of cd burners…

The problem, as Mr. Grace implies, is that our infinite number of monkeys have certain habits. There is a pattern to what they cut that implies certain goals on their part. Generally, as Grace recognizes, there is the tendency to remove both what harms Grewal and what would help Murphy and Dosanjh. (These monkeys are not Liberal, clearly--at least not when travelling in large groups.) But I think we can be more specific and identify a taxonomy of cuts. I suggest the deletions fall into these categories
  1. Places where earlier assertions of Grewal are proven to be false, for example his claim that Nina had been offered a diplomatic post or senate seat (see here)

  2. Embarrassments to Grewal personally, like his bizarre vanity (here); his recent consultations about his MP pension (here); or his whining about prominent Liberals campaigning for the Liberal candidate in his riding (here). Or his mortifying cravenness: his statement that he is 75% there "the other 25% depends on what happens next" (here) followed by his bald request for a senate seat for his wife and embarrassing fishing for a cabinet post for himself (here and here); his disappointment that his price was not met (here).

  3. Embarassments to the Conservative party. We cannot hear Grewal admit that even staunch conservatives in his riding were not keen to have an election (here)--that wouldn't do when the Conservatives were pushing hard to force an election. Nor can we hear that there were good things in the budget for BC (p. 4) or good news for the economy (p. 3).

  4. Things that reflect positively on Murphy or the Liberals. The public should not hear a Liberal praise an honest man for being an honest man here, or display his appreciation for the Sikh community, or declare that the Prime Minister will not make certain kinds of rewards because he "doesn't think it's the right thing to do" here

  5. Details that would encumber the narrative: the undergrowth must be cleared away so that the desired message comes through clearly. A good example is the weird case of Paul from Nova Scotia or the tedious process of saying good-bye (pp. 15-16)

  6. Related to this last one, but especially troublesome is at the beginning of the recording of his meeting with Dosangh and Murphy. The original tape began with silence. Grewal added his own voice-over to the beginning of the version that he released. See here and here. The word are innocuous--he merely states the date and time of the meeting. The addition, however, has the effect of placing a listener in the heart of action: we are there as the undercover operative begins his sting! Alas, it's all show.
Perhaps someday we will learn the identity of these monkeys. In the meantime, one might indulge in some speculation. First, as is clear, our monkeys have an interest in protecting Grewal and his reputation. Second, since some of the editing involves Punjabi texts, some them must be Punjabi-speakers. Third, they should have experience in taping conversations. The Grewals are the obvious candidates, and we know that Gurmant was somehow involved in preparing the tampered (May 31st) tape (see here and here).

With Grewal himself identified, there are still n-1 monkeys that are left unknown. And we still don't know whether Harper was the head monkey or had merely chosen which monkeys to give the cd burners to. But one other thing can be said. Our infinite number of monkeys share a finite number of brain cells.

[Edited and revised]


Post a Comment

<< Home