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The redacted Colvin memos (II)


 

The Star reports that it was Peter Tinsley, commissioner of the Military Police Complaints Commission, who allowed today’s release after selective leaks elsewhere. The NDP’s Paul Dewar says that what has been redacted in one report is a general reference to the possibility of “torture” and other abuses.

“By redacting just that one sentence, the government was able to cover up knowledge of extrajudicial killings and torture in Afghanistan,” Dewar said, citing this as an example of overzealous censorship. “This is precisely why Canadians can’t trust any document with redactions from this government.”


 

The redacted Colvin memos (II)

  1. Mr. Dewar does belabor the obvious. The only security being protected is the government's job security.

  2. This is why we need MPs on some committee somewhere to be able to be "read in" with clearance, and perhaps even sign a non-disclosure agreement if necessary, so that someone, somewhere, can provide some democratic oversight by actually reviewing the non-redacted documents. The government can say until they're blue in the face that there was no indication of anything wrong – so long as the documents MPs are shown (that would contain the alleged reports of wrong doing) are not much more than page after page of large black boxes interspersed with some text, the government's assertions are essentially meaningless. After all, isn't one of the main reasons cited for redacting information from documents the notion that said redacted material would embarrass allies and harm Canada's diplomatic relations? Wouldn't a report which has a paragraph saying "prisoners all over the Afghan prison system are being systematically tortured" embarrass the Afghan government and harm our relations with them? To my mind, the very evidence people are saying doesn't exist, based on redacted documents, is precisely the sort of thing the government would redact from documents. I'm not even sure it's inappropriate to redact that sort of thing when the documents are for public consumption. Which, to my mind, is exactly why MPs need to be shown these documents, in camera, but in their entirety, for us to be confident that these serious allegations really have been dealt with properly.

    The government may legitimately require said MPs jump through some hoops first (upgraded clearance maybe, perhaps an official non-disclosure agreement – though I'd imagine current laws on secret documents would make that redundant) but so be it. Elected officials outside of the government/military need to be able to see what really happened, for good or ill, if we're ever going to put this behind us, imho.

  3. wouldn't simply searing in a member from each opposition parties as member of the privy council take care of this? and has that not been done before (i seem to recall)?

  4. I agree. But since the MPCC members already have the highest clearance there is, and they still aren't privy to the unredacted documents, I have to think there is more than security that is the problem.

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