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Conservatives still trying to play games at Afghanistan Committee.

So here we are at the newly reconstituted parliamentary committee looking at the Afghanistan detainees situation and at the thorny question of the documentation surrounding Canadian policy and such, and there should be no surprise that the Conservatives immediately try some gamesplaying.

Not a surprise, and not a surprise Laurie Hawn would be the chief instigator of it:

Laurie Hawn then brings forward a motion of his own about former justice Iacobucci, which would recommend that the esteemed jurist review “all relevant documents,” with a particular emphasis on those prepared between 2001 and 2005..Lalonde reminds Hawn that the committee does have a “constitutional right” to see all documents; its members […]

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 […]

Would Harper rather go to an election then release the detainee docs?

There are rumours and quotations from unnamed PMO staffers that if push came to shove, Harper and the Conservatives would rather dissolve Parliament and call an election over the issue of turning over the unredacted Afghanistan detainee documents if they were found in contempt of Parliament and/or the Speaker issued a Warrant ordering the documents to be turned over to Parliament.

Seems a bit drastic and like a lot of brinkmanship on the part of the Conservatives, you might think. Then again, if the reports from Friday on CBC and via Professor Attaran is true – that Canadian officials wanted certain high-value prisoners tortured to get extra intelligence out of […]

CSIS involved in interrogating/transferring of Afghan detainees

In the wake of Friday’s allegations from Professor Attaran that Canada turned over prisoners to Afghanistan knowing they’d be tortured in order to get intelligence out of them, this report from the Canadian Press today adds even more fuel to the demands for a full fledged public inquiry and/or the Conservative government turning over all unredacted documents to Parliament:

Security experts stunned by CSIS’s role in questioning Taliban fighters who may have been tortured:

Officers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have played a crucial and long-standing role as interrogators of a vast swath of captured Taliban fighters, The Canadian Press has learned..The spy agency’s previously unknown role in questioning […]

The Khadr ruling

Basically, the Supreme Court has split the middle with it’s ruling on Khadr; his Charter Rights have been violated and continue to be violated, but they’ve ruled that for now (I say “for now” because some media are reporting that the ruling states that the SC may act in the future to provide the remedy if the government fails to act) , it’s up to the Government of Canada to provide a remedy for that, and they won’t force the government to call for Khadr’s repatriation, even if that’s considered a good remedy (As stated at his Twitter page by one of the reporters covering this, the Supreme Court provided […]

If no one cares about detainee issue, Mr Harper, then release the uncensored documents

Harper came out on his CBC interview with Peter Mansbridge tonight claiming that the Canadian public “don’t care” about the issue.

Well, Mr Harper, if people don’t care, then there should be no reason for you to not hand over the documents to Parliament and by proxy the Afghanistan Committee – as voted on and ordered by Parliament (as you’re eventually going to have to anyhow, I predict).

Concurrently, there should also be no reason if people don’t care why you can’t and haven’t been handing those same documents over to the Military Police Commission, which is authorized to read potential secret documents and refrain from releasing them if […]

Continued bad optics for the Conservatives re: Afghanistan Committee

#1 Bad optic – The Conservatives will continue to boycott the Afghanistan Committee investigating the Afghan detainee situation, meaning there will be no quorum and no formal hearing, renewing the charges of this government trying to coverup and squelch the truth over this messy affair for them.

#2 Bad optic: That hasn’t stopped the opposition members from having witnesses testify ‘informally’:

According to the NDP, there are two witnesses scheduled for tomorrow: Amnesty International lawyer Paul Champ, and retired diplomat Gar Pardy. Here’s the explanation, courtesy of Paul Dewar’s office:

Champ is Amnesty’s lawyer in the case on detainees. He can speak on the information that led Amnesty and […]

My vote for Canadian Newsmaker of the year (and other related items)

If I had a vote for that (and yes, why don’t we also make it for Canadian Of The Year as suggested here), it would be without a doubt cast for Canadian diplomat/intelligence officer Richard Colvin. His brave decision to testify (in the face of Conservative government threats to the public service not to cooperate with the House of Commons Afghanistan Committee Commission or the Military Police Commission) helped to expose the cover-ups and political gaming of the Afghan detainees issue, and the Conservative government’s apparent disinterest (or worse) in making sure detainees who were turned over to the Afghanistan Secret Service weren’t tortured, as demanded by the Geneva Conventions. […]

Colvin returns fire.

Diplomat and intelligence officer Richard Colvin sent forth his detailed counter-rebuttal to the government’s talking points and friendly witnesses that tried to discredit his testimony to the House of Commons Afghanistan Committee. There is some devastating stuff here, that counters point by point the list of points the government and their friendly General witnesses tried to use against his testimony – here are a couple of the 16 counterpoints Colvin uses:

2. . ‘As soon as we were informed, we fixed the problems.’

From Colvin’s rebuttal:

All this information ‐‐ internal reporting from Canadian officials in the field, reports from the US and UN, plus face‐to‐face interventions with policy‐makers […]

If precedent is any indicator on parliamentary privilege, the Cons will lose in court.

… if it even gets that far (more below):

Some good investigation work by the CBC here on similar cases to the one we now potentially face, with the government refusing to hand over the Afghan documents to the Parliamentary Committee on Afghanistan as ordered in a vote by the will of Parliament and Parliamentary supremacy. If these cases serve as precedent, then the Conservative government may have a losing case on its hands:

Canada’s top court has looked at the question of parliamentary privilege in two recent-ish cases. The first is from the early 1990s and it involves the CBC. In this case, the Nova Scotia legislature refused to […]

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