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This might be why there's no election over Afghan detainee documents

.. because if this poll is correct, the electorate is overwhelmingly for human rights and for following international law:

A solid majority of Canadians believe prisoners detained by Canadian soldiers have been tortured after being transferred to Afghan authorities, a new Ipsos Reid poll suggests. Pollster John Wright said Canadians are saying they “care deeply” about the possibility of detainees being tortured after Canadian soldiers have transferred them to Afghan custody. “They’re saying it’s not proper, it should have stopped and, if it didn’t, somebody should have done something about it,” he said. … Almost eight in 10 surveyed said that, assuming transferred detainees were tortured by the Afghan authorities, […]

It's how you look at it.

Very interesting: One blogger of Liberal persuasion looks at Ralph Goodale’s statements of what will occur if Harper and the Conservatives continue to stonewall on releasing detainee documents and sees no signs of fear, while another blogger of NDP persuasion believes he sees signs of ambiguity/backing off.

You won’t be surprised I’m more in line with the former blogger’s view of things then the latter.

I will say this though: I think I’m beginning to agree with the NDP/BQ view that perhaps expanding Iacobucci’s role to be the person leading a full public judicial inquiry isn’t the way to go. I think it would be fine if he acted […]

This is just a hunch..

..from seeing some of his responses in QP yesterday (that were also duly noted by media observers) but I’m going to bet that Harper will not comply with the Speakers ruling to turn over unredacted/uncensored documents to Parliament.

I predict he’ll put on a show of appearing to be reasonable, but in the end I suspect he’ll try to precipitate a crisis over this and hope he can cow the opposition parties into backing off, and failing that, will dissolve Parliament when his government is ruled in contempt of Parliament. It appears to me he’d rather take his chances with the electorate and try to fear-monger his way into […]

How conveeeenient.

About the only good thing to say about this next news item is that this is just more evidence to present to the public that the Conservative government must have an awful lot to hide from in these documents, when they’re not only trying not to let Parliament have uncensored access to them, but also are trying to get them lost:

The Military Police Complaints Commission heard Tuesday that documents it has requested regarding the transfer of Afghan detainees could take years to sort out. According to testimony by Maj. Denis Gagnon, the relevant files were “all thrown together in a storage bin, a sea container.” The process of Indexing […]

A quote for the ages highlighting that Parliament is Supreme.

“…accepting an unconditional authority of the executive to censor the information provided to Parliament would in fact jeopardize the very separation of powers that is purported to lie at the heart of our parliamentary system and the independence of its constituent parts.” – Speaker Milliken

Here is the basics, as liveblogged by CBC’s Kady O’Malley:

..The chair must conclude that it is within the power of the House to ask for the documents; is it also possible to put in place a mechanism to ensure those documents will be protected? That’s the question, isn’t it? Milliken points to various suggestions made, from swearing MPs into the Privy Council, […]

It's all over but the waiting.

It is reported by several media sources today that the Speaker of the House, Peter Miliken,will bring down his ruling today on the opposition parties privilege motions that charge the Conservative government being in contempt of Parliament for refusing to hand over unredacted uncensored documents pertaining to the Afghan detainee issue and what was known about torture. It is reportedly a 45 minute speech, so it’s obvious Miliken put a lot of thought into whatever his ruling says today. It will take place shortly after Question Period ends, at around 3 pm.

What will he rule? Warren seems to think the Speaker will “cave” to Harper – because he hasn’t […]

Arrogance

The arrogance (not to mention the paranoid secrecy) of this government can be highlighted by this particular exchange between a Justice Department lawyer and the Military Police Complaints Commission, in a dispute over the government not releasing documents to the Commission:

Commission counsel said it’s hard to know what documents are out there when the government gets to “unilaterally” decide what gets released and what doesn’t. “We have no idea what the universe of documents is that the government is reviewing,” lawyer Ron Lunau said. But Mr. Prefontaine argued the commission’s mandate is limited and certain documents are out of bounds.

The commission also took the government to task for […]

Foresight

It appears that the Liberals declining to meet with this private investigator who is apparently the source of info for the Prime Minister and his officials that led them to make the decision turf Helena Guergis from the Cabinet and from the Conservative caucus was a wise move to make, when you read some of the details.

If the Liberals had decided to take the P.I’s call, and release his information publicly, you can be rest assured the Conservatives and Stephen Harper’s reflex and reactive action would have first been screaming “Liberal smear”, and accuse the LPC of politicizing the issue (and then of course engage in some attacks on […]

More potentially explosive testimony at Afghanistan Committee

More explosive then Colvin’s testimony, if true:

An Afghan-Canadian who served as translator to Canada’s military levelled potentially explosive allegations at a Commons committee today, saying Canadian troops transferred “innocent” men to Afghanistan’s notorious intelligence service and once shot an unarmed man in the back of the head.

Malgarai Ahmadshah, adviser to the former commander of Canada’s Joint Task Force Afghanistan unit, was speaking to MPs probing the detainee issue and this country’s relationship with the Afghan National Directorate of Security…Mr. Ahmadshah also alleged the Canadian government transferred detainees to the NDS with the understanding they would be abused in order to extract more intelligence information from them. “They were […]

Another brick removed from the wall of secrecy surrounding Afghan detainees

This document hardly makes the Conservative government look good. To paraphrase the article, (since I continue to refuse to directly quote the CBC news articles while they have that iCopyright scheme in place), the Conservative government was warned last year that our relationship with the Afghanistan government’s intelligence agency was not only risky, but possibly illegal.. and this warning was delivered while Canadian officials were defending the relationship.

Reports like this continues to suggest that the reason that the Conservative government continue to refuse to turn over unredacted Afghanistan detainee documents is less to do with national security, and more to do with at a minimum trying to prevent acute […]

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