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Saturday reading material (mostly on detainees)

Some stuff for you to read/view on a Saturday:

– Warren Kinsella produced his big announcement last night on Power Play – an unredacted official document on Afghan detainee transfers – and explains on the air what it says, reducing Tim Powers to parroting his Conservative talking points.

– Andrew Potter over at Maclean’s is worried where this Parliamentary showdown might lead to. As I and others said in comments over there, he need not be. This is all on Harper’s head and his government’s head, and the opposition parties are correct in what they’re doing and shouldn’t back down.

– Stephen Maher of the Chronicle-Herald says that the Conservatives […]

Truth-seekers 145, Coverup 143

The Liberals motion asserting the supremacy of Parliament calling on the government to release all Afghanistan detainees/torture memos to the Afghanistan in unredacted form has passed:

MPs order release of Afghan torture documents: Harper loses showdown over Afghanistan files

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has lost its iron grip on information about detainee treatment in Afghanistan after a showdown that pitted the power of the ruling party against the power of Parliament. The Liberals narrowly pushed through a motion in the Commons on Thursday that forces Harper’s government to release waves of unedited documents so that Parliament can examine whether Afghan prisoners detained by Canadian forces were subject to torture […]

Good framing of the public inquiry demands by Layton

Layton’s summary is that if the Government of Canada refuses to start a judicial public inquiry into the Afghan Detainee Issue, then an international body (ie. The International Criminal Court) will potentially do it instead. We don’t want that:

“It’s very important that we take control of this here in Canada because if we do not, then we’re going to find that international bodies are going to start asking questions and conducting their own investigations if we don’t take hold of that responsibility here,” Layton told reporters in Ottawa on Thursday.

The 2nd part of the good framing tactic – playing down that the NDP will ask the ICC to […]

Parliamentary showdown on torture documents – this will be very interesting

Kady O’Malley informs us that there will be a very interesting vote tonight. The Liberals have put forth a motion calling on the Conservative government to turn over all documents as requested by the Afghanistan committee in uncensored format. No big deal, right? The Conservatives will just ignore this motion like every other motion they’ve lost, you think.

The difference between this motion and other motions however, is that this motion has legal weight behind it that would compel the government to turn over documents as ordered by Parliament if it passes. The motion reads:

That, given the undisputed privileges of Parliament under Canada’s constitution, including the absolute power […]

Let’s just repeat this: torture to detainees was known to have happenned.

This news report says it all:

In a major embarrassment for the government, Canada’s top soldier unexpectedly revealed on Wednesday that some Canadian troops had known detainees handed over to Afghan authorities could be abused. The announcement by General Walt Natynczyk effectively swept away the long-held official line that there was no credible evidence prisoners might be harmed. Legal experts say handing over detainees in the knowledge they could be abused is a war crime.

The key passage from these “just discovered” notes is the part I’ve highlighted, in my opinion:

A contrite Natynczyk said on Wednesday he had just received information about an incident in southern Afghanistan in June […]

Canadian Olympics athletes urge Harper to support climate change agreement

This is called knowing when to effectively use your time in the spotlight to highlight important issues, such as climate change:

Canada’s Winter Olympic athletes are calling on the prime minister to support an agreement on cutting greenhouse gases at the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen. Former Olympic skier Thomas Grandi delivered a letter, signed by 20 athletes including Olympic gold medallists Jennifer Heil, Hayley Wickenheiser and Beckie Scott, to Stephen Harper’s constituency office in Calgary on Wednesday. The athletes want Harper to help in the reaching of an agreement on reducing emissions at the summit of international leaders.

Well played, but don’t be surprised if the Conservative […]

Dear Peter MacKay: Resign

Your credibility is completely gone:

Canada’s top military commander made a stunning turnaround Wednesday, contradicting testimony he made one day earlier about an Afghan detainee who was abused by Afghan police. The move is akin to a political thundercloud breaking over the Conservative party. During a hastily-called news conference, Gen. Walter Natynczyk said he received new information Wednesday about an incident in June 2006 when an Afghan detainee was transferred to Afghan police, then beaten. One day earlier he testified that the man had only been questioned by Canadian troops, not detained. The change in stance contradicts the Conservative government’s position that there is no evidence Canadian-captured detainees were being […]

Get Colby Cosh onto this right away..

This prelude to a climate change article in the NY Times by the Washington Monthly is an appropriate segue to my title, which I’ll explain in a bit:

Some of the lazier lawmakers and activists on the far-right not only reject all of the science on climate change, but in light of the CRU emails, have also decided that evidence itself is no longer worth considering. Reality, meanwhile, is indifferent to the demands of indolent ideologues.

And here’s the article that’s being referred to by the Monthly:

Despite recent fluctuations in global temperature year to year, which fueled claims of global cooling, a sustained global warming trend shows no signs […]

I wonder what Blatchford thinks of her own paper’s editorial today.

This is a very blunt and brutal editorial by the Globe and Mail slamming the Conservatives today, titled, “The Record and the Falsehoods” – an excerpt of it here:

The record speaks for itself on what the Canadian government knows, or should have known, about the torture of Afghan detainees. It speaks far louder than the falsehoods from the government that have by now become routine. At every breach of the walls of secrecy that the diplomat Richard Colvin has alleged existed within government and the military, the government fires off untruths (the above list is by no means complete). But they are laughably weak armaments against the truth. As […]

It’s time to start asking for Peter MacKay’s resignation.

I’m surprised, quite frankly, that the opposition parties haven’t already started demanding MacKay resign prior to the Globe’s latest revelations that proof does exist about detainee abuse, as accounted by Canadian soldiers/officials. All of MacKay’s claims in Parliament on this issue have so far been rebutted, and there are serious grounds for charging he hasn’t told Parliament what he and the government really knew or knows about this issue of Afghan detainees and whether there were grounds to suspect they would be tortured once turned over.

There are other Ministers all the way up to the Prime Minister that this could be said of, but MacKay has been the lead […]

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