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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 […]


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. […]


Yet another Conservative Colvin talking point debunked.

Some more great investigative reporting by the Ottawa Citizen exposing the Conservative government’s (and it’s allies in the media) talking points as pure bunk:

There have… been allegations about the extent of Colvin’s travels in Afghanistan. Retired general Lewis MacKenzie said recently on CTV that based on information “from a very reliable source, (Colvin) was not permitted outside the wire in Kandahar probably once and maybe not more than once, and so was the victim of having to talk to a number of other people, diplomats, military, intelligence, et cetera, to send his opinion out on his now infamous e-mails, doing the very best he could with restrictions that were […]


The moral of the story is, Christie Blatchford..

…if you’re going to go after someone and try to discredit their testimony, at least make sure your attacks are accurate before you put them to print:

Comments released to a parliamentary committee this week about Afghanistan’s Khandahar prison that the facility seemed “to be in reasonably good condition” and that inmates got “enough food” were misattributed to Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin. In fact, the comments were made by an unknown third party and quoted by Mr. Colvin in an e-amil. Mr. Colvin made several trips, not one, outside the military base in Khandahar. Incorrect information appeared in a column November 28.

That would be the Globe and Mail making […]


More evidence of this government’s negligence on the detainee issue

More and more documents leaking out that incriminate the Conservative government on the detainees issue and how they didn’t want anything to do with them:

Canada’s top two commanders in Afghanistan in spring 2006 told investigators the government pressured them to transfer detainees to Afghan authorities faster than they felt was appropriate, CBC News has learned. Investigators for the military police complaints commission interviewed Brig.-Gen. David Fraser and Lt.-Col. Tom Putt, who both described the government as being obsessed with speed when it came to the transfer of Afghan detainees, according to transcripts of those interviews obtained by CBC News. Commanders in Canada wanted detainees handed over within 12 hours […]


More Afghan detainee documents – this time unredacted..

These unredacted documents were obtained by the Canadian Press. Courtesy of Aaron Wherry at Macleans, they don’t exactly help the government’s case:

The International Red Cross met twice with senior Canadian officials in Kandahar to deliver veiled but insistent warnings about torture in Afghan jails a year before Canada acted to protect detainees. Details of the face-to-face meetings in 2006, outlined in uncensored memos examined by The Canadian Press, undermine the federal government’s claims that diplomat Richard Colvin was a lone voice raising vague concerns about torture.

The Red Cross is prevented by international rules from using the term “torture” and from commenting on one country’s behaviour to another. But […]


No excuses for not holding a public inquiry or releasing the unredacted Colvin memos.

Let’s presume for a minute that there are “state secrets” in Richard Colvin’s memos that would harm Canadian national security (a big presumption with this government – anxious to discredit Colvin’s testimony – but like I said, let’s do it for a minute). Is that enough reason to withhold them? James Traver says nope, that’s just an excuse:

Often the last refuge of those tossing restlessly at night, the secrecy obstacle now threatening the public right to know is best removed by appointing a judge to privately review classified documents during an otherwise open process. Justice Dennis O’Connor considered far more sensitive intelligence in probing the treatment of Maher Arar […]


Another poll shows overwhelming support for Colvin; majority want public inquiry.

Hat tip to Steve V over at Far and Wide for seeing this poll, taken on November 24/25:

49% find Richard Colvin’s testimony credible; 10% side with federal government ministers.

As Steve said, that’s a ratio of 5-1 of people polled who believe Colvin’s testimony over the government’s official version of “no credible evidence”. That’s even higher then the 2-1 margin from the initial poll taken a few days ago on Canadians impressions of Colvin’s testimony.

We also see in the same polling that a majority of people want a public inquiry:

A majority of respondents (53%) support launching a public inquiry on what the government and the Canadian Forces […]


Will Ms. Joya face the same attacks on her as Richard Colvin?

It’s what this government does best when threatened with a view contrary to the spin they wish to put out. It’s possible however that in the case of Ms Joya, MacKay and company will probably just dismiss this as more “second-hand information” and try not to go over the top with their rebuttals. You never know though with this bunch:

Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin’s claim that detainees transferred by Canadians to Afghan prisons were likely tortured is true and an “open secret” in her country, a former Afghan MP said in Ottawa on Thursday…Malalai Joya, a human rights activist who was suspended from the Afghan parliament in 2007 for openly […]


Verbal semantics used to justify ignoring Colvin’s reports?

A couple of other bloggers have already mentioned this, but it’s worth repeating. Did the Generals testimony yesterday really refute Colvin that strongly?

Look at what one of Colvin’s redacted reports say, courtesy of Boris over at The Galloping Beaver:

From Richard Colvin’s reports beginning in May 2006 :

3. Of the XXX detainees we interviewed XXX said XXX had been whipped with cables, shocked with electricity and/or otherwise “hurt” while in NDS custody in Kandahar. This period of alleged abuse lasted from between XXX and XXX days, and was carried out in XXX and XXX. XXX detainees still had XXX on XXX body; XXX seemed traumatized. This alleged […]

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