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European Union diplomat says Colvin is correct.

Richard Colvin’s diplomatic equivalent in the EU says in the Saturday Toronto Star that Colvin knew what he was talking about when he tried to warn Canadian officials about torture:

EU diplomat backs claims on torture Canadian’s warnings on Afghan detainees reflected common view, says his European colleague

Richard Colvin’s repeated warnings to the Canadian government about detainee torture in Afghanistan were an expression of the common concerns of like-minded Western nations, not the baseless ramblings of a rogue diplomat, a European colleague says. Michael Semple, former deputy head of the European Union’s mission in Afghanistan when Colvin was second-in-command of the Canadian embassy, said his own records from his […]

Expert on laws of war says that war crimes may have been committed by Canadian officials

Note that this rather blunt opinion of Canada or Canadian officials possibly being in breach of international law comes from a 3rd party, not an opposition political party. Here’s an excerpt of an article posted at Macleans by Professor Michael Byers, “who holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia, and has He has taught the laws of war at UBC, Duke University, Oxford University, the University of Cape Town and the University of Tel Aviv”:

‘Elements of a war crime seem to be present’ According to UBC’s laws of war expert, Canadian officials may be in breach of the Geneva […]

Timed for distraction?

In brief, the other big issue today – at least amongst Liberal blogs – is the disgraceful latest “10 percenter” flyer that’s being mailed out with taxpayer’s money to Liberal-held Jewish ridings (and NDP’er Thomas Muclair’s riding as well) which distorts the Liberals positions the past several years on Israel, and more or less accuses the Liberal Party and/or members as holding anti-Semitic positions/views; another example of Harper and his Conservative Party’s attempt at playing ethnic wedge politics.

As I mused elsewhere, I know these flyers go over the line, but I’m curious whether the Conservatives timed these for release now, knowing that Mr. Colvin was going to say […]

Time for an independent probe on the Afghanistan detainee transfer issue.

The testimony brought forth by diplomat Richard Colvin was indeed “explosive” on detainee transfers yesterday:

A senior diplomat delivered a series of explosive allegations to a rapt House of Commons committee Wednesday, telling MPs that Afghan prisoners transferred by Canadians to local authorities in Kandahar were likely all tortured – while high-level officials in Ottawa looked the other way…Colvin, the second-ranked Canadian diplomat in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, said he tried repeatedly to raise concerns with senior military and government officials, to no avail. Using a calm, controlled diplomatic cadence, he challenged three years of assurances by the Conservative government that no evidence existed of abuse of prisoners captured […]

A closely watched Committee appearance today

This has the potential to be a big deal today, if the previews are correct:

Handling of Afghan prisoners covered up: report

The testimony of a Canadian diplomat before a parliamentary committee Wednesday is likely to provide disturbing information about the government’s handling of Afghan detainees, CBC News has learned. The testimony of diplomat Richard Colvin is expected to provide details of what sources describe as an “unusual system” that saw Afghan detainees transferred to Afghan prisons, with little care about the conditions there. “I think it will be a difficult story for Canadians,” a source told the CBC, adding they could be both surprised and disturbed by what Colvin […]

Cowards

Local Woodstock Ontario blogger/resident/business owner Jim Bender recently wrote some harsh and appropriate words on his blog at the idiots who defaced the local Cenotaph with Nazi swastikas and slogans the day before Remembrance Day.

This is what he got in his email in response.

Disgusting… I’ve already urged Jim to turn the email over to the local authorities. I’m not entirely surprised unfortunately.

Your (latest) Conservative dose of hypocrisy: on the (air) passenger rights bill.

This caught my eye; a news item that shows documents that indicates while the Conservative government were publicly in favor an air passengers rights bill, at the same time they were frantically lobbying the airline industry in private to help them kill it off. Oh.. and that wasn’t supposed to be known by the public – I suspect someone might be getting fired/demoted for actually revealing the truth to the Canadian public:

The federal transport minister’s office privately pleaded with Canada’s big airlines to step up their lobby campaign to kill a proposed passenger bill of rights even as the minister publicly rallied behind the popular initiative, according to internal […]

Your Conservative government lack of accountability update.

First comes this little morsel:

More than 90 per cent of the thousands of new infrastructure projects across the country are slated to get funding from the Conservative government without being required to undergo a federal assessment of their environmental impact..As a result, out of more than 3,000 projects that were approved for funding under the government’s multibillion-dollar infrastructure stimulus fund this year, only two per cent will go through a federal process to evaluate their environmental footprint

Wouldn’t want any pesky regulations getting in the way of doling out their pork-barrel money, now would they? This is being challenged in court, by the way, so perhaps in the end, […]

The final legal Canadian chapter of Omar Khadr vs the Government Of Canada

Legal arguments start today at the Supreme Court of Canada for this (in)famous case. The Conservative government has appealed 2 Federal Court rulings that it must ask the US for the repatriation of Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay due to his rights being violated as a Canadian citizen. Kady O’Malley is liveblogging it today, as I type, but here’s the summary of what will be going on:

Opening arguments get underway at 9am, starting with an hour each for the government and the Khadr legal team, followed by ten — ten! — intervenors with ten minutes each. Ooh, just like an opening statement at committee! This is the first time […]

An unhealthy obsession with Blackberries…

Conservative MP Rick Dykstra at Remembrance Day ceremonies yesterday, apparently in St. Catherines:

Seriously, can’t you ignore the ‘Berry for a few minutes on Remembrance Day? I’d be saying this to anyone, not just if he’s a Con MP.

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