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The generals


 

Reports from the testimony of Rick Hillier and Michel Gauthier from the Canadian Press, Globe, Star, SunCTV, CBC and Inside Politics.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is allegedly blocking Richard Colvin from releasing some of the documents related to the situation.


 

The generals

  1. Key part of the testimony/questioning of the generals for me:

    the Bloc Quebecois' Claude Bachand, who remind the witnesses — and the rest of us, of course — that the point of this investigation is to *protect* the military apparatus, particularly when there is the risk of Geneva convention violations. What they're looking for is the danger that Canadian troops knew there was the risk of torture, and the prisoners were transferred anyway. He also points out that, given the unity in the Canadian Forces, it's not surprising that none of the witnesses before him would contradict each other — but there are other sources who have different claims, including Amnesty International, the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission, various European diplomats, journalists — everyone but the military seems to acknowledge there was torture, yet these witnesses seem to be denying it.

    ..there's a moment of increasingly pointed silence before Gauthier — the only one on whom Hillier's eyes were fixed — takes the floor. He notes, somewhat haltingly, that he wasn't on the ground at the time, and points out that it was up to these experts to alert them to the fact that there was a problem before June 2007. Wait, huh?

    Exactly.. this looks like the generals were playing 3 Blind Mice here.

    • Are you suggesting the military can't be trusted?

      • Nice try. Hillier and Gauthier are not the military. Colvin's reports were co-authored by military personnel on the ground.

      • are you suggesting that government officials can't be trusted?

      • Are you suggesting that the military is somehow exempt from critical analysis? You know, its beyond unfair to cast aspersions, then prevent the guy from showing relevant documentation to back up what he said. Even if *we* can't see it because it is sensitive documentation, I'm sure the committee could see it in camera. Or are they suggesting the military can be trusted, but not parliamentarians? Bernier isn't on that committee, or Raitt, are they?

  2. I understand that one problem in providing the documents to the House Committee is the need to translate them first. I've had this experience myself when presenting to a House of Commons Committee. The Chair refused to accept any documents unless the documents were in two official languages. it's frustrating, but it's pasrt of our system of government.

    • Except that in this particular case, the Bloc has waived the right to both languages. From Kady's liveblog, "he also chides the Bloc for ceding the right to receive documents in both official languages:"

  3. What I'd like to know is whether the three generals' scripts were coordinated, collated and wordsmithed within DND itself, or if there was a little help from the PMO. If produced internally, that would make Public Affairs the most impressive branch of the CF.

    What makes plausible denial somewhat implausible in this case is the strong suspicion that no one of note in an overseas deployment would make a walk to the crapper without reference to and reassurance from Ottawa.

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