The Colvin encyclopedia

by Aaron Wherry

A collection of documents, testimony and news reports related to Richard Colvin and Canada’s handling of Afghan detainees. The Colvin encyclopedia is updated as events warrant.

The Special Committee on Afghanistan
November 18 (Colvin)
November 25 (Hillier, Gauthier, Fraser)
November 26 (Mulroney)
December 2 (Swords, Proudfoot, Garwood-Filbert)
December 9 (MacKay, O’Connor, Cannon)
March 17 (Champ)
March 25 (Cannon, Stirk, Bossenmaier, Pentney, Davidson, Ducros)
March 31 (Anderson, Thompson)
April 14 (Malgarai, Olexiuk)
April 21 (Sproule, Lalani, Hoffmann)
April 28 (Buchan, Grant)
Richard Colvin’s opening statement at the special committee on Afghanistan.
Video of Colvin’s testimony, in two parts, here and here.
Richard Colvin’s follow-up letter to the special committee on Afghanistan.
Parliamentary law clerk Robert Walsh’s first letter on committee access to documents.
The Department of Justice’s response to Walsh.
Robert Walsh’s response to the Justice Department.
Gen. Walter Natynczyk’s statement on the testimony of Malgarai Ahmadshah
Gen. Walter Natynczyk’s letter to the Afghanistan committee.
The NDP’s letter to Gen. Walter Natynczyk.
Rear-Admiral R.A. Davidson’s letter to the NDP.
The NDP’s letter to Rear-Admiral R.A. Davidson

The June 14, 2006 incident
The 2006 field report that references abuse.
The redacted 2006 field report as it appeared when it was first released in 2007.
The Board of Inquiry report

Documentation
Richard Colvin’s affidavit for the Military Police Complaints Commission.
Documents, including redacted versions of Colvin’s memos, provided to the BCCLA and Amnesty International by the MPCC.
Internal government documents provided to the BCCLA and Amnesty International as a result of a federal court case.
Affidavits, transcripts and other documents related to the BCCLA and Amnesty International court case.
Documents tabled by the government on March 25, 2010.
Documents tabled by the government on Apr. 1, 2010.
guide to Colvin’s earliest memos.
One particularly contentious memo, KANDH-0032.
2007 report detailing the discovery of a braided electrical cable in an Afghan cell.
Documents related to UK proceedings on Afghan detainees.

Third-party reporting
U.S. State Department annual reports on Afghanistan for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009.
A March 2006 report on Afghanistan from the UN High Commissioner.
An April 2009 report of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

House of Commons debate
A collection of relevant QP exchanges during 2006.
A collection of relevant QP exchanges during spring 2007.
A collection of relevant QP exchanges during April and May 2007.
A collection of QP exchanges concerning Asadullah Khalid.
Committee testimony concerning Asadullah Khalid.
House debate on the NDP’s demand for an inquiry.
House debate on a Liberal motion ordering the release of documents.
House debate on the opposition questions of privilege.
The government’s response to those questions of privilege.
Opposition arguments in response to the government’s response.
Speaker Peter Milliken’s ruling on detainee documents.

Who’s who
Profiles of Richard Colvin from the Globe, Star, Post and Ottawa Citizen.
Wikipedia’s entry for Richard Colvin.
A profile of David Mulroney from the Globe.
A quick guide to relevant individuals from the CBC.

Chronology
Wikipedia‘s timeline.
A Liberal timeline.
An NDP timeline.
A Globe and Mail timeline.

Media reporting
Troops told Geneva rules don’t apply to Taliban Globe and Mail. May 31, 2006.
Canadian soldiers in moral murk over handing Taliban prisoners to Afghan army CP. June 2, 2006.
From Canadian custody into cruel hands Globe and Mail. April 23, 2007.
What Ottawa doesn’t want you to know Globe and Mail. April 25, 2007.
The Liberals were in the know La Presse. April 28, 2007.
Canada can’t find 50 Afghan detainees Globe and Mail. Sept. 22, 2007.
MacKay complained of prisoner abuse during visit last fall CP. January 31, 2008.
Ottawa kept abuse charges against ally secret Globe and Mail. Feb. 1, 2008.
Kandahar governor denies torture claim Globe and Mail. Feb. 2, 2008.
Canadian officials discussed torture in 2006 CP. Nov. 19, 2009.
Many detainees just farmers: Afghan official Globe and Mail. Nov. 20, 2009.
EU diplomat backs claims on torture Toronto Star. Nov. 21, 2009.
Some prisoners were tortured: Afghan warden Canwest. Nov. 22, 2009.
PMO issued instructions on denying abuse in ’07 Toronto Star. Nov. 22, 2009.
Scope of Afghan detainee transfers finally known Globe and Mail. Nov. 22, 2009.
Former warden says prisoners showed signs of abuse Canwest. Nov. 23, 2009.
Red Cross told late about prisoner transfers CBC. Nov. 23, 2009.
Afghan torture emails reached MacKay’s office Toronto Star. Nov. 25, 2009.
Afghan detainee handling concerned Red Cross CBC. Nov. 25, 2009.
Warnings on detainees were e-mailed to MacKay’s office Globe and Mail. Nov. 25, 2009.
Torture claims weren’t probed, official testified Toronto Star. Nov. 30, 2009.
Detainee ties to insurgency could not always be established: Afghan agency Ottawa Citizen. Nov. 30, 2009.
Redactions hamper Afghan detainee probe Globe and Mail. Nov. 30, 2009.
Parts of detainee report erased at ambassador’s request Globe and Mail. Dec. 2, 2009.
National security cuts from Afghan report included warnings of killings, torture CP. Dec. 2, 2009.
Red Cross warned Canada of Afghan prison abuse CP. Dec. 2, 2009.
Government wanted quick Afghan detainee transfers CBC. Dec. 3, 2009.
Afghans rejected Canadian-captured prisoners for ‘insufficient evidence’ CP. Dec. 3, 2009.
Proof of detainee abuse exists, despite MacKay’s denials Globe and Mail. Dec. 6, 2009.
Spin overshadows policy as Afghan prisoner debate rages internally in 2006: memos CP. Dec. 7, 2009.
Beaten prisoner was questioned but not detained, top soldier says CP. Dec. 8, 2009.
No legal block on Afghan detainee info: expert CBC. Dec. 8, 2009.
Former Dutch general says torture allegations were taken seriously Embassy. Dec. 9, 2009.
Defence chief does about-face over incident involving Afghan detainee CP. Dec. 9, 2009.
Canada kept feared Afghan governor in power despite rep as ‘human-rights abuser’ CP. Dec. 13, 2009.
Coalition allies faulted Canada over handling of detainees Globe and Mail. Dec. 15, 2009.
Why didn’t safe prison for detainees get built? Toronto Star. Dec. 18, 2009.
‘The buck stopped nowhere’ at Foreign Affairs on Colvin’s warnings Globe and Mail. Dec. 18, 2009.
Tory ministers met with Red Cross about Afghan detainees in 2006 CP. Dec. 20, 2009.
Feds and army brass deepened detainee crisis: transcripts Hill Times. Dec. 21, 2009.
Military told to heed abuse claims Toronto Star. Feb. 25, 2010.
Canada wanted Afghan prisoners tortured: lawyer CBC. Mar. 5, 2010.
CSIS played critical role in Afghan prisoner interrogations: documents, sources CP. Mar. 7, 2010.
Military relies on CSIS info in Afghanistan: MacKay Canwest. Mar. 7, 2010.
Ottawa anticipated Afghan torture allegations: memo CBC. Mar. 8, 2010.
Afghan detainee torture risk raised in 2005 CBC. Mar. 9, 2010.
Tories focused on message as detainee issue grew CBC. Mar. 9, 2010.
Liberals feared Abu Ghraib-type detainee scandal: source CBC. Mar. 10, 2010.
Canada hoped Afghan Army would take over prisoner watch in 2006: documents CP. Mar. 11, 2010.
Ottawa knew in 2006 NATO was uneasy about detainees Globe and Mail. Mar. 12, 2010.
Canada broke pledges on Afghan jails, letters show Globe and Mail. Mar. 17, 2010.
Heavily censored Afghan documents raise new questions about transfers CP. Mar. 25, 2010.
Troops were worried about abuse, Afghan files show Toronto Star. Mar. 26, 2010.
Canadian soldier interviewed Afghan forces detainee CBC. Mar. 26, 2010.
Feds say newly revealed allegations of detainee abuse are unfounded CP. Mar. 26, 2010.
Gaffe on detainees file exposes role of politics, ex-colonel says Globe and Mail. Mar. 27, 2010.
Soldiers raised alarms over poor oversight for Afghan detainees Globe and Mail. Mar. 31, 2010.
Afghan security blocked Canadian detainee access CBC. Apr. 1, 2010.
DND ordered Canadian Military Police to withhold information on detainees Hill Times. Apr. 5, 2010.
Tories alerted to Afghan secret police legal ‘risk’ CBC. Apr. 6, 2010.
Ottawa accused of withholding military letters on detainees Globe and Mail. Apr. 9, 2010.
House of pain: Canada’s connection with Kandahar’s ruthless palace guard Globe and Mail. Apr. 10, 2010.
Bondage, beatings and a few questions from the governor Globe and Mail. Apr. 10, 2010. 

Exclusives
National Security v. Public Interest Mar. 4, 2010.
Redacted, unredacted, reredacted Apr. 1, 2010.
Sketches for November 18, November 19, November 23, November 24, November 25, November 26, November 30, December 1, December 2, December 3, December 7, December 8, December 9December 10, March 8, March 9, March 10, March 11, March 15, March 17March 25, April 13, April 19, April 27 and April 28.

The Colvin encyclopedia

  1. Excellent summary, thank you.

  2. Keep braided-electric-cable-beating the dead horse, Wherry. If you clap your hands and just believe hard enough, maybe it'll come to something.

    • Wow, look at all those links. It must be true if our trusting media can spew so much valuable trash.

  3. I appreciate everything you've done with this. Ignore the troll(s).

  4. Thanks! A handy go-to page when, in two or three years, we get the revision of history that you know is going to happen.

    • Or when we get any information at all…

  5. So, if they repeat the same thing over and over and over again, does that make it true? Does quantity mean quality? Obviously, as demonstrated here, no and no.

    • So, if they deny the same thing over and over and over again, does that make it any less true? Does quantity mean no quality? Obviously, as demonstrated here, no and no.

  6. Great work. Thank you very much.

  7. All these young Canadian journalists dreaming of being another Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstain. How cute….

    • Opposition to torture is "cute"? How do you sleep at night?

      • No one that I am aware of is not opposed to torture.

        • Some are just willing to willfully ignore it when it's convenient.

        • Ignorance may be bliss, but it is not an excuse.

    • Just say you're waiting for the next Bill O'Reilly or Rex Murphy.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head. Wherry will have to learn to be a little more discriminating at where he throws his energies.

  8. Thanks for your dogged reporting on this AW.

  9. The disconnect between the far left media, and everyday Canadians couldn't be more startling at this point in time.

    The reason this won't have any political effect is the basic reality that most Canadians appreciate war, and in Afghanistan certainly, very bad things are happening.

    People get killed in war. Our soldiers are tasked with putting bullets through the bodies of Taliban.

    The Taliban are tasked with much, much worse – completely content with targeting innocent women and children, all for the purpose of being able to once again stone women for showing too much leg, torture and kill homosexuals and hang "infidels"…and oh yeah, set up terrorist training camps to export those ravages here once again.

    No doubt on a theoretical level Canadians believe in a perfect world captured prisoners be treated everywhere as they would in Canada, but viscerally and realistically know that over there, such is not the case.

    • Yes, but our gov'ts should take steps to minimize it where they can — that's what makes us the good guys. Blithely ignoring it is not that.

  10. "Opposition to torture" isn't cute.

    Highly selective opposition to torture and faux outrage for purely partisan political gain,

    I wouldn't describe as "cute" either.

    The threads on this topic which are replete with anti-Harper rhetoric, by the same folks who cried blue murder for the high crime of "giant ceremonial cheque gate" and "pooping puffin gate" and "false sweater wearing gate" ect,

    does tend to crocodiliaze those tears.

    • Torture is abhorent.

      What is cute is are twenty-something journalists thinking they are big shota by stretching truths and spreading partisan falsehoods.

      • Does his age and aspirations really change anything in the way you see Wherry's reports? Do you really have to pretend it's not you who's being partisan? Have you misplaced your walker today?

  11. Thank you Aaron,
    We certainly will not have to wait a few years to need this reference in order to short-circuit the revisionists … already plenty of smoke and mirrors to sort through. (Hey "smoke and mirrors kind of sums up Harper's entire approach to public relations!)

    What is truly abhorrent (it would be ridiculously funny if it did not have so much traction out there) is Biff contention that Aaron represents the far left.

    Trying to emulate their USA Republican mentors, the Canadian far right is attempting to redefine their wacko views as the center.

    Sorry Biff, Aaron may be on the left side the the center aisle but the true (and tiny) far left in Canada would likely see Aaron and Mike Duffy both on the other side of the struggle.

    The right has so successfully taken over the media ownership and the editorial power in Canada that they (and folks like yourself) are presenting the image of journalists like Aaron as far-left and starting to get away with it.

    However, there is hope cause… facts have such a liberal bias.

    • "he right has so successfully taken over the media ownership and the editorial power in Canada"

      Harper pocketed himself a handful of CTV and Global lobbyist. I can't tell if the media is actually right wing but they would sure become anti-left.

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