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The detainee document story continues to grow.

CBC has been doing a bang-up job the last few days on the Afghan detainee documents; the latest revelations was on the 5 pm Power and Politics show yesterday detailing the Conservative government’s plan for PR if torture allegations came to light or even were confirmed:

(H/T Scott Ross for the video)

On another note, it looks like the whisperings about Harper not wanting to be accountable to Parliament and instead trying to get a majority to avoid it by yet again dissolving Parliament and holding an election has been picked up by some in the media – James Travers for one seems pretty certain of it:

Despite Conservative efforts to wrap muck in the flag – the issue is about ministerial accountability, not support for the troops – evidence is mounting that Ottawa had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on detainees who disappeared into notorious Afghan or U.S. “black site” prisons. More delays – expect endless legal wrangling – are built into last week’s decision to appoint former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci to review documents Conservatives are keeping secret in defiance of a Commons vote.

But after promising a new era of accountability, Harper wants the next election out of the way before Canadians reach the conclusion that ministers and generals hid here what was known to Canadian diplomats and the Red Cross in Afghanistan.

And I reiterate that this is why the opposition parties should reject having their hands tied on this and stop giving the impression that this is a legitimate way to resolve this issue. This is a stall tactic, and worse, it’s yet again an attempt by the Conservative government to imply that Parliament is not entitled via Parliamentary supremacy to see all docs, only ones of it’s choosing. As Michael Ignatieff pointed out yesterday, and the Star editorial board agreed was a good question, we don’t even know yet whether Iacobucci will be able to see all documents, or just the ones civil servants and government officials allow him to see. The fact the government hasn’t told anyone what his mandate is makes it even more suspicious the government will attempt to whitewash this issue.

That is why the contempt of Parliament point of order must proceed, and the urging of the Speaker to issue a Warrant ordering all documents to be turned over. Do not allow the Conservative government to stall this issue or to try and subvert the Parliamentary vote/order to turn over all documents.

7 comments to The detainee document story continues to grow.

  • If I understand the content of the link supplied by JimBobby, then I should imagine that the Liberals would want this whole detainee handling thing to disappear quite rapidly. It would seem highly likely that senior members of the previous government were warned (http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2010/03/afghan-detainees-liberal-government-was.html)of the potential for abuse regarding prisoner transfers as early as 2004 yet did nothing about it. At least the Conservative government did renegotiate the terms of transfer with the Government of Afghanistan. Judicial inquiries often go places that politicians of every stripe fail to anticipate.

    • @junior, It wasn’t just senior members of the Martin government who were warned in 2004. All MPs were warned. So far, I don’t see the Liberals backing off from their call for a judicial inquiry that goes back to the beginning of Afghan operations. I still do see the Conservatives digging in their heels about releasing documents.

      I suggest it goes to a matter of scale. Prior to our move into Kandahar, Canada took few casualties and very few prisoners. While the move to Kandahar was initiated by Martin, it didn’t really materialize until Harper was in power. That’s when we started capturing more detainees… a lot more.

      Every single MP was informed of the strong possibility of abuse in 2004 and holy hell wasn’t raised at the first sniff of abuse. They all have something to answer for. The ones making themselves look guiltiest are the ones who refuse to release documents and who have been hampering the investigation from the outset.

      Bring on the judicial inquiry. The sooner, the better.

  • What are Canadians waiting for? Why has the repeated, credible evidence that our country’s leaders enforced a policy contrary to International and Canadian laws not prompted a massive outpouring of public outrage?

    No pictures. That’s why.

    The Americans had plenty of warnings about Abu Ghraib and similar centres of abuse, rendition and secret prisons. Until photographs depicting US GI’s engaged in abusive behaviour surfaced, nobody paid much attention.

    If Canadians saw photographs of our Afghan allies (warlords, opium dealers, corrupt thugs, Taliban-lite) torturing the very same prisoners we handed over to them, the story would take on new magnitude.

    Documents can be denied or disputed. Video, not so much.

    Of course, legally, all that is needed for a war crime to exist is the mere suggestion that detainees might be tortured by those to whom we hand them over. All MP’s were given strong, credible evidence of abuse of detainees at least as early as 2004.

    JB

  • bull caller

    Unfortunately for the libs, they are sitting on their hands, yet again while a judge runs interference for the Conservatives.

    It also appears that failure to raise serious questions regarding the do nothing budget is also eroding the support for the liberals. The opposition in general is in a very sad state of affairs when it can’t get it together for Harper’s keystone cops of governing.

    I’d hold the bloc and the NDP to this as well, however the libs are the biggest target and have the most influence and should be acting like it. No wonder voter apathy is at an all time low. We have a government most of us didn’t vote for, and those who we did send to ottawa are doing almost as little as the conservatives are.

    All of these relevations on the detainee file and nobody has the balls to hold them in contempt?

    • @bull caller, My respected Bull Caller, I couldn’t agree with you more, yet I do.

      I think the Liberals should go farther than demanding a public inquiry, like they are currently, instead they should start distributing fire arms for the future rebellion where finally man and ape put aside their differences and found a new nation, Man-ape-ia.

      Democracy is not instantaneous demonstrations of one person’s will Mr. Bull Caller. It takes time, negotiations, concessions, collaberations etc. to work.

      If after diplomacy and all avenues fail, then I’ll maybe join you in Man-ape-ia.

      • bull caller

        @scott ross,

        LOL man-ape-ia!!! Nice! Thanks for the edumacashun in democracy I had no idea it was so complex. This politic’n is some harrrd misturr tribe!?

        The point being that how long can the Libs (in particular but not exclusively) repeat the mantra about “timing”, “negotiation”, etc. etc. before real and expected “action” as opposition will occur – or are we going draw up arms and put the Conservatives on “probation” again? For a group clearly experienced in government to fail to bring any sort of meaningful opposition to one of the most dogmatic, dishonest, and blatantly incompetent governments in Canadian history is truly disappointing. As for diplomacy with the conservatives? Pfffft!! as if that has EVER worked for the libs with Harper, but i also hear that apparently “canadians” don’t/are not concerned with [insert issue to avoid here] and want us to focus on [insert some issue we kind of have some spin on here]…. use interchangably, no matter which party is saying it. As I say, you wonder why voter apathy is so low? Because nobody is speaking for them – and its not like they haven’t been hoping for it.

        I guess if demanding an enquiry doesn’t work, they can have ignatieff write a really, really stern letter. That’ll teach ’em.

      • bull caller

        @scott ross,

        Sorry something just kind of jumped out at me re-reading your response:

        “Democracy is not instantaneous demonstrations of one person’s will Mr. Bull Caller.”

        See Also: Stephen Harper

        Maybe if we throw enough diplomacy at him he’ll learn this little nugget eh?

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