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Verbal semantics used to justify ignoring Colvin's reports?

A couple of other bloggers have already mentioned this, but it’s worth repeating. Did the Generals testimony yesterday really refute Colvin that strongly?

Look at what one of Colvin’s redacted reports say, courtesy of Boris over at The Galloping Beaver:

From Richard Colvin’s reports beginning in May 2006 :

3. Of the XXX detainees we interviewed XXX said XXX had been whipped with cables, shocked with electricity and/or otherwise “hurt” while in NDS custody in Kandahar. This period of alleged abuse lasted from between XXX and XXX days, and was carried out in XXX and XXX. XXX detainees still had XXX on XXX body; XXX seemed traumatized. This alleged abuse would have occurred before the new arrangement between the governments of Canada and Afghanistan was signed.

The generals response? Since Colvin didnt put the specific word “TORTURE” in any of these.. why would they care? Here’s the story that ran after the Generals testimony:

‘Torture’ not mentioned in Afghan detainee reports: Generals

“Three generals declared Wednesday that there was no mention of the word “torture” in reports from a senior diplomat who asserts that he repeatedly warned the government against surrendering Afghan detainees to local authorities because they would almost certainly be abused.

Boris’s conclusion:

So there you have it – because Richard Colvin neglected to include the word “torture” in his accounts of detainees allegedly being “whipped with cables and shocked with electricity”, there was no torture and the generals apparently feel justified in having failed to read his reports in the first place.

Pogge says the same thing:

Apparently you can rise all the way to Chief of Defence Staff in this country without having to understand that being whipped with cables and shocked with electricity qualifies as torture.

Some journalists and yes, even some MP’s need to stop being so starry-eyed at folks like Hillier, and to not necessarily take everything these guys say at face-value. The best way to do that and get to the bottom of this remains a full judicial public inquiry, where full documents can be examined that the federal government is currently trying to block from being released, and where witnesses can come forward to testify without fear of reprisals from the aforementioned federal government.

6 comments to Verbal semantics used to justify ignoring Colvin’s reports?

  • Gayle

    I am not sure this one will be ignored.

    As long as the LPC soap opera is not around to distract them, the media will have nothing to focus on but the govenment.

  • Northern PoV

    Bull, I wish you were correct but outside a big dust-up in blogosphere, nothing will happen.

    This latest outrage joins the growing list of Harper Horrors that will be summarily ignored by our passive media and somnolent public.

  • Bull Caller

    Or, to put it another way, rather than use a hyperbolic phrase like “torture”, if you had specifics to cite, then that would be a better way to communicate the issue? So scarring, bruises, and evidence of electrocution are much better ways of describing things than simply saying “torture”…. but I guess for our brilliant conservative governing class and their upper echelon military minions this is too wordy for them. They just wanted to see “they wuz being tortshurrred, boss” in the messages. Clearly Colvin didn’t get the memo on that. Frankly I think the cons have finally jumped the shark on the deny, discredit and attack theme. Their cage is going to get rattled now, from all sides.

  • Joseph

    We’re truly entering the realm of Orwell here.

    Hasn’t it occurred to anyone that Colvin probably would have avoided using the word “torture” simply because it could be such an explosive word to include in a report on conditions he wanted addressed? Much as a person might use a phrase like “excessive response” instead of saying “murder” when asking for an investigation of police actions during a deadly incident.

    So the fact that the absence of the word “torture” is now used to undermine the whistleblower is surreal. It’s worse than surreal actually . . . it’s pathetic.

  • Good luck getting that enquiry. It should happen but it won’t.

    I mean, as Boris and Pogge have pointed out, when the Chief of Defence Staff can testify to a Commons Committee with a straight face that despite being whipped with chains and shocked, there was no torture because the work ‘torture’ was not used, then the fix is in.

    Colvin will be vilified and the General’s asinine comments in incredulous responses will treated as gospel and go unquestioned.

    In the end, it will be stupid semantics like this and the typical CPC CYA attitude that will derail any attempt to get to the truth.

    I used to have some respect for Hillier, but its clear he is more than willing to lie in order to get his macho rocks off in combat and then leave the regular trops holding the bag when it doesn’t go well.

    If we are willing to let warlord thugs torture people, wtf are we even doing over there? Bring the troops home. Now. All of them. And lets never go back.

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