Thursday, June 02, 2005

They've been altered!

On CBC this evening they were reporting about how they had a forensic audio expert listen to a copy of the Grewal tapes and his conclusion was that they might possibly have been altered but it couldn't be proven. The exact phrase I believe was that it was "inconclusive at best", however, the CBC reported it as though the tapes had been altered, or at least headlined the story that way. What the Liberals are doing is first denying that an offer was made, going on the offensive by saying the tapes have been altered, and third having people not directly connected to the affair suggest that such trades are just how minority parliaments work and nothing to be excited about at all.

Now, I don't know whether or not the tapes are complete and unedited, but I would think that Grewal and the Conservatives would have to be complete morons to have done so, so assuming that they are not edited they should allow a third party expert listen to the originals and verify the accuracy. However, even if they do this, the Liberals have successfully managed to implant the idea into a certain number of peoples minds that the tapes have been altered, and furthermore, have managed to twist it into it all being Grewal just trying to weasel a cabinet post and how he wouldn't take no for an answer. Sadly, I think that the Liberals aren't really going to be all the affected by this mess, but democracy in Canada has taken another blow as voter cynicism and apathy will increase even more as Canadians look at the Liberals (with Grewal's assistance) confirm the worst of the publics widely held beliefs about politicians.

"They are all crooks so let's go with the ones with the most experience at thieving us"

"They all look bad

Captain's Quartershere and here

I'm not an audio expert, but I do work with audio files as part of my job. The zero-signal artifact could mean that an audio sample has been cut or erased, as Pausak states. However, on voice-activated recording equipment, which one frequently finds in telephone recording systems, zero-signal artifacts are common. They occur when the voice levels drop so low as to deactivate the recording, and then the machine senses the someone speaking again. It's the bane of investigators everywhere, precisely because it makes the sound on the audio appear artificially choppy. It's one reason I switched to a system that sensed an off-hook condition for automatic recording instead of the voice activation system.

I would suspect that such a short dead-air space indicates the equipment had trouble sensing the voice rather than any foul play. Of course, other artifacts may be found that drive investigators to another conclusion, but if that's all they find unusual about these tapes, it doesn't sound like much of a problem to me.


Stephen Taylor's thoughts here

What the Liberals would do

Andrew Coyne here and here