Transparently Sensational Story

Both Harry and I were astonished that it took so long for someone beyond the two of us and our immediate circle of friends to notice what an incredible scoop we were sitting on.


On September 27, 2005, Harry Gefen obtained the recording of a manager of Rogers’ Fraud Department telling him that Ted Rogers cell phone had been cloned by a group linked with Hezbollah in 1997. In that same conversation the Manager of Rogers Fraud Department stated that since 1997 Rogers had a computer-generated protocol for dealing with atypical call patterns that involved Rogers calling the account holder and alerting him or her to the pattern, and shutting off wireless services if the account holder could not be reached.


In my opinion, these two revelations about a computer-generated protocol and about the earliest date at which Rogers had such technology in place had legal relevance to my Small Claims Court action:


The Statement of Defence filed by Rogers on October 4 indicated that I had not given Rogers a chance to mitigate hypothetical losses that they had incurred. A sound legal response to this claim is that Rogers had the capacity to mitigate such hypothetical losses in the computer-generated protocol they had themselves installed (at least by 1997).


As the conversation with the Manager of Rogers’ Fraud Department had legal relevance, I burned it into a CD, made my legal argument, and submitted a legal response into the court file on October 11, 2005, with the CD recording as evidence.


I also, consistently with the rules of Small Claims Court, served Rogers’ legal team with this argument and evidence (also on a CD) on October 11, 2005.


And I made a copy of my pleadings and the CD and passed them on to a journalist at the Toronto Star, who we had told about the Fraud forum and the astonishing disclosures about Ted Rogers’ own cell phone.


I was certain that, with this sensational story associated with my Small Claims Court case, Rogers would immediately want to put an end to the claim that I owed over $14,000 on my cell phone. I spent the rest of October, 2005 waiting for the other shoe to drop.


And I was anticipating that the Toronto Star would publish the amazing story that Harry had uncovered.


For reasons that completely escape me, Rogers didn’t respond at all to the scandalous disclosures on that CD. In fact, I wonder whether Rogers legal team even twigged to what was on the CD – even though, at paragraph 35 of my claim, I made an explicit argument about what was contained on the CD in their possession.


In other words, Rogers was sitting on that scandalous and ultimately very damaging material from October 11, 2005 until the story broke on the front page of the Globe and Mail on December 17, 2005 and apparently saw fit to do absolutely nothing about it in the interim!


And the Toronto Star did nothing with the story either.


Harry and I had to settle with entertaining our friends and neighbours, and indeed complete strangers, with the spectacular story that Harry had uncovered, all of whom, without exception, were bowled over and amazed.


I left for another fieldwork stint in Israel in November completely baffled that we had not managed to convince Rogers that Harry and I were driving a truck of Rogers’ PR nitro-glycerine around the city of Toronto. And I was baffled that, although everyone that I ran into personally was as endlessly fascinated by my Rogers and Me story as I was myself, the Toronto Star had not seen fit to pick the story up.


In Israel over the prior several months of my other fieldwork project, I had gotten to know the CBC radio reporter Irris Mackler. I took Irris out for dinner when I got to Jerusalem in November and, as per my virtually all of my encounters with friends last fall, I was entertaining her with stories about my Rogers and Me debacle.


No doubt because Irris Mackler reports from Jerusalem and the word “Hezbollah” has more salient resonances in that part of the world, Irris kept asking me to go back to the part of the story about Ted Rogers’ cell phone having been cloned by a group linked with Hezbollah. 


Irris was riveted by that detail, and the fact that Hezbollah was operating out of Toronto in 1997 and that it had technological capabilities such as cell phone cloning at that early date.


Irris told me that if I could get her a copy of the digital recording, she would break the story, which she immediately and urgently saw as newsworthy.


Upon my return to Canada, I spent the next several weeks trying desperately and unsuccessfully to get the digital recordings sent to Irris Mackler in Israel.


I was also confronted on my return from Israel with yet another gargantuan invoice that I had to chew up more of my sabbatical disputing. I needed this debacle to come to an end.


Ultimately, in light of the technological hurdles and my yearning for the tranquility of the scholarly life, I decided to give a journalist on Canadian soil one last go at the story. I sent Peter Cheney at the Globe and Mail an email on December 12, 2005 pitching the story about Ted Rogers’ cell phone being cloned by a group linked with Hezbollah. The rest is media history.