Secrecy and inconsistency


The Hill Times finds a relevant e-mail in last week’s pile of detainee documents.

Canadian Forces headquarters ordered Canadian Military Police in Kandahar to withhold information about detainees from the allied International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, an email among the 2,600 documents the government tabled in Parliament says…

According to [redacted] the situation has not/not improved,” the email says. “The Canadian [Military Police] Provost Marshal in Kandahar has told ISAF that he would be pleased to provide the information but that he has received explicit instructions from NDHQ not/not to do so. [Redacted] said this is very frustrating as ISAF has responsibilities on detainees that it is obliged to discharge.”

The email is equally important on another ground because the Military Police complaint it contains about orders to stay quiet over detainee information was redacted from another version of the same email that the government released last November. That was when the special Commons Committee on Afghanistan began hearing Colvin and other witnesses about Canadian actions during the war and allegations of torture.


Secrecy and inconsistency

  1. "MPs said any order to muzzle information about detainees would have come from the top of the military command chain, perhaps Gen. Rick Hillier, then the chief of defence staff, or possibly even then defence minister and Conservative Whip Gordon O'Connor (Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Ont.). "

    Well the next step is obvious: resume character attacks on Richard Colvin.

    • MPs said ….. opinion, not fact.

      • Uh, where exactly else would the order have come from, wilson – the email'ers imagination?

        • With all the bribery and releasing of detainees that was going on, maybe it was a NATO order.
          You all forget that Canada was not alone over there, and NATO ran the show.
          One thing for sure, Dusanj knows nothing more than any other garden variety MP.

          • Maybe it was a NATO order???

            ISAF is a NATO mission. Are you suggesting that NATO ordered the Canadian Provost Marshal not to share information with NATO that NATO was demanding??? You don't see anything wrong with that sentence? "Hey, this is NATO, we just wanted to call to tell you, whatever you do, don't provide us with the information we keep asking for. That's right, I'm ordering you not to tell us the things we keep asking you to tell us".

            I admit that we may not be able to find out precisely who at NDHQ gave the order, but when a someone says that National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa ordered them not to share information with ISAF, I think we can safely presume that said order did not come from ISAF.

          • I'd also suggest that in this particular case, MP might stand for Military Police, not Member of Parliament.

          • Thanks for being willing to point that out for Wilson. It's a lot of work to keep her informed, and we all have to share the burden.

      • Why do you doubt our soldiers, wilson? Do you hate them so much you think they'd lie?

        • It was Ujjal Dosanjh that said it , not a soldier……..read before you leap, eh

          • So you doubt that Dosanjh was correct when he opined that, Hillier, rather than our troops was responsible? Why do you doubt that Dosanjh was correct about our soldiers, Wilson?

  2. Detainees are a national issue in a NATO mission, so it could be that NDHQ did not believe that ISAF had a "need to know" this information. It would be interesting to know what "responsibilities" ISAF felt it had to discharge since all member countries knew–and indeed insisted upon–their responsibility for their "own" detainees, and their individual relationships with the Red Cross.

    It could also be that there were concerns about the security of information passed to ISAF. If it's like most multinational/international organizations, it leaks like a sieve. What if information about a Canadian-transferred detainee was passed to a third-country, that then pressured the Afghans to either release the person, or hand them over so they can end up somewhere else (coughcough-Gitmo–coughcough). Wouldn't that be, er, problematic, too?

    In short, there are a lot of questions that need to be asked and answered before drawing any conclusion about this particular e-mail. Given the government's handling of the entire situation so far, I would not be surprised if there is indeed something nefarious going on, but we need more information before jumping to a conclusion.

    The whole "gotcha" handling of this issue is not serving anyone who wants to understand what's really going on. But then maybe I'm a minority of one.

    • The whole "gotcha" handling of this issue is not serving anyone who wants to understand what's really going on. But then maybe I'm a minority of one.

      Actually, I'm sure there are many people who feel the same way.

      • It's the only way it's gonna work out as long as the Conservatives are playing this PR game of pretending to release the documents while coughing up oodles of black text.

        The press is going to hit what they throw out with a fine tooth comb and start looking for inconsistencies and whatever passes for "new" information. By not working out an arrangement with the committee to review the documentation in private, they're essentially creating the situation they claimed they wanted to avoid (rampant public dissemination of the "facts"), every time today's documentation reviewer disagrees with yesterday's.

    • It could also be that there were concerns about the security of information passed to ISAF.

      I'm sorry, but if that were really the case then we really, REALLY need to get out of Afghanistan, fast. If we're now withholding information from NATO, about a war we're fighting with NATO in the name of NATO, because we're not sure we can trust the other members of NATO to maintain the security of the information, then the gig is truly up. We're either part of ISAF or we're not. Either we're allies, or we're not.

      Of course, I think the "maybe we didn't feel we could trust ISAF" argument is silly, but what are the implications of it? That we joined an international military mission with our allies to fight in Afghanistan, but we're just not sure we want to share with our allies information about the mission we're fighting with them? Does Canada have a rogue operation going on in Afghanistan that's not even talking to the larger force it's a part of? (Answer: Of course not, but that is the seeming conclusion of your "maybe we felt that talking to NATO about this NATO mission was a security risk" suggestion).

      We're a part of NATO's ISAF mission. We signed up for this. If we're not willing to share information about the ISAF mission with ISAF, then what the Hell are we doing???

      • Stop screwing up his narrative with facts. I mean, that was almost a credible explanation for the Harpers until you stepped in. Now they'll have to find another one. Way to go.

  3. I really don't think one should give any weight to wilson's comments going forward – other than to be appropriately dismissive!

    • I`m sure Wilson has felt likewise about your random ramblings for some time now.

      • New alt wilson? Man I wish they'd make us use logins 'round here.

      • Why thank you common man! That's the first fact that a neocon has got right this morning. Of course, we are both making an assumption (unless you are indeed wilson II) – but the evidence certainly points in that direction.
        On the other hand, wilson apparently doesn't approve of assumptions (at least ones that don't support his cause) – so perhaps he doesn't approve of your comment…complex little world – isn't it?

        • Wilson's a woman, I believe.

  4. Cover-up. Republicans and Conservatives are famous for it.

    • Yes, those dastardly Conservatives and their Sponsorship Scandal….. oh, wait.

  5. Obviously the only conclusion for any self-respecting Conservative to make is that the troops must hate our troops.

  6. Rumor has it that some of the troops we love have apparently voted Liberal in the past, showing their self-loathing has reached traumatic levels.

  7. The stench of this detainee affair keeps getting worse. And these are documents the Conservatives have allowed out of their clutches. What else is there?

  8. Due diligence must be demonstrable. The military is lucky our government of the day has no true interest in accountability.

  9. The "release" of documents in this contemptuous manner is basically proving that the goverenment was redacting to avoid political embarassment. If Iacobucci is actually as measured and independent as everyone makes out, he must be some pissed with this behaviour.

    • I'm not certain Iacobucci is at all pissed at this behaviour, as I'm not certain the government has actually handed anything over to him yet.

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