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It appears that not only was the Conservative government not revealing to Canadians or misleading the House about the halting of prisoner detainees last November, but their advocates in court were either unaware that the government had done this, or worse, they knew, but were misleading the Federal Court in an effort to fend off the lawsuit demanding that transfers be stopped:

More than a month after it stopped handing prisoners over to Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, the Harper government sent a senior general to give a sworn affidavit in the case brought by Amnesty and BCCLA. Brigadier-General André Deschamps, chief of staff to Canada’s Expeditionary Forces Command, which runs the counterinsurgency operation in Afghanistan, asserted that Canada would have to quit fighting if it was barred from transferring detainees.

Well, Canada hasn’t been barred (yet) from turning over detainees, but we certainly haven’t “quit fighting” since November 5 when we halted prisoner transfers, now have we? This claim looks like bunk, but wait, there’s more from the general:

He also said, in his Dec. 14 affidavit, that more Canadian troops might be killed if detainee transfers were halted.
Listing a long series of possible embarrassments and defeats, Gen. Deschamps, outlined what he said would be the dire, war-losing consequences should Canada be barred from turning prisoners it captured on the battlefield over to Afghan security forces.

This at minimum looks like alarmist rhetoric designed to try and scare the Federal Court into continuing to allow these transfers. At any rate, the Federal Court judge remembers (or was reminded) what this fellow originally claimed in his affidavit and wants him back in for a repeat questioning by the lawyers of Amnesty/BCCLA and possibly even herself. If this General testified and said what he did knowing already that the Conservatives had halted the transfers without telling anyone, I’m no lawyer, but if this doesn’t put him in peril of being charged with perjury, at the very least it doesn’t help the government’s court case at all, and it does lead to some serious questions as to whether anyone in the Conservative government had told him to say all this under oath.

I don’t get Harper at all; if he had revealed back in November that Canada was concerned enough to halt transfers, he would not only have defused this issue long ago, he and his government would have (after being reminded about all those “the opposition loves the Taliban” claims) been given some credit for doing the proper action in light of these allegations.

I’m guessing that in the Conservatives mind, revealing this decision was a sign of showing weakness, and Harper and his Cons certainly have gone around trying to claim they’re “tough” – tough on crime, tough on national defence, tough on the anti-terrorism front – but this time their macho attitude, and the fear of losing that appearance over actually doing the right thing, may cost him and his government dearly.


2 comments to Coverup

  • Why a cover up? Because they had hoped the proof would never get out and they could continue the fiction that they believed there was never any abuse.

    Allegations of detainee abuse were raised way before November 2007. We now have a solitary piece of incontrovertible evidence that such abuse was, indeed, taking place. Is that one document all there is? Could there be a paper trail that confirms Harper knew about the abuse sooner than November 5? They were certainly made aware of the possibility.

    Now, if such a paper trail exists and does confirm that Harper, et al, knew detainees were being tortured and continued to order our troops to hand them over to Afghani authorities, they are guilty of war crimes. Good motive for a cover-up, sez I.


  • I don’t get Harper at all

    I keep saying that every time the conservatives find themselves in hot water. 

    Its almost like they see admitting an error, or changing of position as a critical weakness.  To be avoided at all costs even at the expense of being contradictory.

    But that makes no sense either.

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