More documents, more testimony, more questions -

More documents, more testimony, more questions


In court testimony last year, the director general of the Afghanistan task force said it was not their job to investigate claims of torture. Internal government documents show Canadians were told by Afghan security officials that many detainees were released due to a lack of evidence. The Red Cross feels its been put in an awkward spot.

Christie Blatchford turns again to what she says are redacted versions of Richard Colvin’s memos and pronounces that there’s not much to see there. The Globe’s Campbell Clark, with or without the same memos, reviews the situation and concludes that the primary question remains: “Why did it take so long to change the transfer arrangements?”


More documents, more testimony, more questions

  1. Aaron: Your first sentence is wrong I think — the DG said it was NOT their job

  2. Colvin has submitted a serious complaint about alleged war crimes without disclosing to the public specific details about the cause of his concern. What he suggests to be information worth acting on to immediately change a policy, could have been deemed by the recipients as anecdotal or even useless information, such as gossip or hearsay.

    Colvin has detailed the communication policy and procedure in place which he used to convey his information. His statements suggest that there was no guarantee that the proper decision makers would have reviewed his information. He had every opportunity to single in on any one person who had the authority to deal with his information and get a confirmation that his concerns had been reviewed and accepted or rejected.

    If Colvin has a case to make that there was indifference to the substance of his complaint, then the easiest way to put and end to the noise he is making, is for him to reveal the details of his allegations. If he says international protocol prohibits him from releasing classified information, then he should reimburse the tax payers for the unnecessary costs he has caused the government in dealing with this matter in public.

    The next time he shows up in a public forum he should be compelled to answer the question: “ Define intelligence. “

    • Hey ABC, it isn't COlvin who should be doing anything – it's the Conservatives who should be releasing the unredacted documents/memos Colvin submitted so the Parliamentary COmmittee – and Canadians – can see what was being said.

      (Colvin can't even release these memos because he's under threat of arrest by the Justice Dept over "national security")

      • The inference from your comment is that Colvin wants to cover his position by going public even though he knows that he is prohibited from giving any details about the ruckus he is making. Should everyone else in government and the military do the same?

        • 'Should everyone else in government and the military do the same"

          and they're not…right!
          In your book whistle blowers should only come forward when they can absolutely prove their charges, despite the fact that they may be hampered by govt secrecy and or obstruction. Mr Cutler has a thing or two to say about that…funny how cons were singing a different hyme back then.

  3. several months to change and implement a new policy on the battlfefied doesn't sound like ' So Long ' to me – good grief. I know here is what we can do = throw a swithc and poof everything fine now!

    • Not long at all, when you consider it took the Liberals 3 years and 11 months to draft the first handover agreement,
      which was by all accounts a failure.

  4. In Dec 2006, Colvin first mentions 'torture':

    In memo Colvin states
    "but this report could not reasonably be interpreted to be a warning of torture."

    '… But within days of the first story of The Globe series, written by Graeme Smith, appearing on April 23, 2007, Mr. Colvin had found his issue and was off to the races.

    He sent three detainee-related memos that day, two on April 24, six on April 25 and two more on April 30 – 13 reports in one month, 11 of them in three days, as compared to three on the subject in 2006.

    He followed with 11 more missives in May, eight in June, nine in July, three in August and at least two more in September…''

  5. I wonder if Blatchford is aware that she's serving so capably as one of Harper's henchmen in this warning to other potential whistleblowers?

  6. Here's a question for today.

    If we want to know what was known amongst the Forces and their political superiors during 2006, why doesn't the committee call Paul Martin and Bill Graham? I don't believe there's any allegations that the Conservatives changed procedures after taking power in 2006 and strengthening the detainee oversight in 2007, so wouldn't the Liberals in power also have a good idea of what General Hillier and others under them knew?
    This is not to absolve the Conservatives of their responsibilities which I think they are handling terribly here, but if this committee actually wanted to fill in the blanks, this would seem like a good way to do an end run around any Conservative obstructions.

    • It would, except that under the Liberals, detainees were going to the Americans. They didn't start going to the Afghans until right after the election.

  7. During the 2005 election, Hillier signed the new procedure. His and Harper government's responsibility began Jan 2006. The new gov't minister familiarized himself with that agreement and despite warnings and ignorance ( the Red Cross will let us know what's going on) gave Hillier free reign with the 'scumbags. And the number of detainees rose exponentially.
    And O'Connor is a retired military officer? Ughhhh.

    But oh ya! It's the Liberals fault.

  8. I have a question. The government had a detainee transfer arrangement put in place in 2005 that was supposedly valid. What were our troops supposed to do when the war suddenly heated up and they detained people. Adhere to the agreement with the governemnt that had invited us to Afghanistan or put the Taliban fighters on a plane to Canada and offer them refugee status, complete with welfare cheques?

    • How about building a prison? It's not exactly an insuperable task.

  9. Prime Minister Paul Martin was the one who ultimately approved the deal to transfer prisoners to the Afghans, rather than the Americans. I wonder whether the decision was politically motivated… after all, the Prime Minister was running anti-American attack ads at the time, in an attempt to associate Stephen Harper with the US President.