Colvin responds (II) - Macleans.ca
 

Colvin responds (II)


 

Richard Colvin’s letter to the Afghanistan committee is now available here.

The Liberals suggest a public inquiry is the only suitable response. The NDP says likewise. The Defence Minister’s office shrugs. Gen. Michel Gauthier quibbles.


 

Colvin responds (II)

  1. So does your fellow journalist, Mr Potter (er.. he doesnt shrug, he thinks it's time for an inquiry, as does Mr Spector, who makes a very good point:

    if "Mr. Harper's concern were truly the disclosure of sensitive material, he could give a broad mandate to someone with the highest security clearance to look into the allegations behind closed doors."

    Good summation by Potter – "Harper refuses to give the documents, refuses to allow to the committee to sit, and refuses to call an inquiry. The only remaining explanation is that he has something to hide."

  2. So does your fellow journalist, Mr Potter (er.. he doesnt shrug, he thinks it's time for an inquiry, as does Mr Spector, who makes a very good point:

    if "Mr. Harper's concern were truly the disclosure of sensitive material, he could give a broad mandate to someone with the highest security clearance to look into the allegations behind closed doors."

    Good summation by Potter – "Harper refuses to give the documents, refuses to allow to the committee to sit, and refuses to call an inquiry. The only remaining explanation is that he has something to hide."

  3. Oh ho! Looks like Gauthier is now laying this at the feet of his political masters. You'll note he didn't exactly deny Colvin's assertions, just moved the blame. Not that my reading of Colvin's written statement placed the blame on the military, as opposed to the chain of command. And that, I believe, ends at the Minister of National Defence, or the Prime Minister. General Gauthier was much more circumspect in his original statement to the committee, so the difference is a bit striking.

  4. …Continued

    Colvin could not have told MacKay directly because this would be a serious breach of the chain of command – officials in Afghanistan were to report back to the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters, not to the Minister – and because the only time he met MacKay was 10 days after Colvin had arrived in Afghanistan, when he didn't know anything about detainee conditions yet.

    Finally, Colvin testified to the Parliamentary Committee on Afghanistan because the invitation to do so had the force of a subpoena; he was not trying to be a whistleblower, just doing his job as a public servant.

    IN SHORT: Everything the Conservatives have been saying since Colvin's first testimony is disingenuous, spurious, or outright false – mainly the latter. We need an investigation of this, both because there's strong evidence detainees transferred by Canada were tortured by Afghans, and because the government is deeply committed to covering up everything about detainee treatment and has been for the last four years, and a public inquiry is the only way to get reliable, honest, thorough information about everything that has happened.

    I admire Mr. Colvin's devotion to his duty.

    • you are the biggest idiot, of them all!

      • How so? Is this plausible?

        • Let's see, we have Katherine, who makes her points by quoting relevant testimony and articles, and we have something that goes by the name of "Colvin the rat" who simply calls her an idiot after every one of her posts.

          No, it definitely isn't plausible that Katherine is the bigger idiot.

  5. "Gen. Michel Gauthier quibbles."

    Another good example of Aaron's use of transitive verbs:
    "You quibble…He answers…I categorically refute.."

  6. Bingo. With respect, Aaron, perhaps you could be a bit more neutral when you choose your verbs. Sorry to quibble about this.

  7. Disagree. He categorically refutes that it was the military's fault, not that any of this occurred. That distinction, while important to me, could be seen as quibbling by some.

  8. He also said some other stuff, like: "I do not see any substantive new information in this document", and "I stand by everything I said to the committee on November 25th and encourage you to read it closely in relation to Mr. Colvin's original testimony and his most recent statement."

    He said this because there are many contradictions between his own testimony and what Colvin said. It's hardly a quibble.

  9. When did Colvin say there'd be substantive new information in the document? It is a detailed rebuttal of allegations thrown his way by all and sundry. He gave specific documentation (even though we can't see it but that is hardly his fault) supporting his earlier testimony. In other words, he backed up what he said. Gauthier's testimony earlier essentially said it wasn't the military's fault. He's sticking with that. I fail to see how these two views are contradictory since Colvin never said it WAS the military's fault, only that these things went up the chain of command.

  10. In fact, I'd say Colvin's new written testimony backs up Gauthier's assertion. Unless "Assistant Deputy Minister Colleen Swords" is a military position these days, or that an "interagency meeting of some 12 to 15 officials in Ottawa" signifies military only. The only thing Colvin specifically lays on Gauthier and Hillier is "It is implausible that they would not have known how Afghans treat their prisoners." But that doesn't mean they weren't prevented from doing something about it by those higher up in the chain of command (i.e., Minister of National Defence)

    Mind you, that is not to say that is what happened. Just that we can't close the books on who knew what when and who did what when, just yet.

  11. Gauthier is an interesting fellow. Seems to me that he might end up being a "whistleblower."