Thursday, May 03, 2007

What's My Line?

Andrew Coyne has a funny take on the government's ever evolving position on the monitoring of Afghan detainees. For those looking for the specific facts, I present them in an easy to understand chronological order. If you understand the following, MENSA should be calling within the next few days.

2006-early 2007: Gordon O'Connor maintains that the Red Cross are monitoring transferred detainees and reporting their findings to Canada.

March 8: Gordon O'Connor admits that the Red Cross does not inform Canada of the treatment of detainees captured by Canadian troops and transferred to Afghan authorities.

March 19: Gordon O'Connor apologizes for misleading the House.

April 23: Amid calls for his resignation, Gordon O'Connor defends himself by "telling Commons that a recent agreement with the human rights commission of Afghanistan guaranteed any detainee abuses would be reported."

April 24: A front page Globe story reveals that "the Harper government knew from its own officials that prisoners held by Afghan security forces faced the possibility of torture, abuse and extrajudicial killing." It shows that many of this information had been blacked out in documents.
April 25: The government maintains that it is the AIHRC and not any Canadian organizations who monitor detainees.

April 25: AIHRC says that "we couldn't go there [to the prisons]".

April 25: Gordon O'Connor's elevator scrum reveals that Canada has struck a deal with Afghanistan to allow Canadian officials to monitor detainees "any time they wanted".

April 25 (later): Peter MacKay is first told of this deal by journalists.

April 26: In QP, Stephen Harper says that there is no signed deal.

April 27: Stockwell Day says that Corrections Canada has made 15 17 trips to prisons to monitor detainees, saying they are there "to see if there are cases of torture".

April 28: "Urging an end to the "political circus" over Afghan detainees, Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada says no Canadians, including corrections officers, have monitored treatment of prisoners turned over by Canadian military forces."

April 29: Stockwell Day tells Question Period that there have been no specific accusations by detainees of torture.

May 1: Stockwell Day says that Correctional Services Canada had been told by 2 detainees that they had been tortured.

May 1: The opposition parties decide to move on to far more important issues - the captaincy of Shane Doan to Team Canada. Stephane Dion calls the Tory silence "shocking", Ducceppe criticized Harper for not taking a stand on the issue, and Jack Layton said Doan's captaincy would "cast a shadow" on the team. Elizabeth May says the choice of Doan was akin to Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis.

May 2: Foreign Affairs complains that they were not consulted on Hillier's 2005 detainee deal.

May 3: Rick Hillier concedes that "perhaps [the deal he signed] was no sufficient"

May 3: The Canadian ambassador signs a new detainee deal.

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  • The cause and effect is clear.

    The three party attack on Doan convinced the gov't that the opposition was really serious about replacing the Liberal's pro-torture deal.

    More seriously, a bouquet to the Globe for their reporting and a brick to O'Connor for announcing a new deal before it was complete and he had any details to announce.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:09 p.m.  

  • Not surprising. I've always said that harper's foreign policy was a neo-con copy.

    Now, we have confirmation that harper is as competent as the American neo-con.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 4:19 p.m.  

  • I seriously cannot believe this Doan thing...

    I can see the votes slipping away...

    Don Cherry lambastes french people on a regular basis, and we pay him millions of dollars.

    By Blogger Anthony, at 4:41 p.m.  

  • "Not surprising. I've always said that harper's foreign policy was a neo-con copy."

    Not really. Confused, inept, etc, yes, but not really neo-conservative. Let's not through around labels that don't fit just to make it seem like Harper = Bush.

    By Blogger Brandon E. Beasley, at 6:01 p.m.  

  • Just imagine if we'd had a real crisis in Canada over the past few weeks - these jokers would've utterly imploded.

    By Blogger JG, at 6:04 p.m.  

  • I like what Sheila Copps said in her column:

    "Shame on those political leaders who have jumped on the anti-Doan wagon. They are exhibiting political opportunism at its worst.

    If politicians truly want to elevate the level of political discourse in this country, they should avoid a McCarthy-like process where one is guilty until proven innocent. Even the Taliban have merited greater parliamentary consideration when it comes to the laws of natural justice."

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 6:12 p.m.  

  • Philosophical said

    “Not really. Confused, inept, etc, yes, but not really neo-conservative.”

    Have to dispute that. One characteristic of the Bush/Cheney/Rummy group-think is their belief in the White Man’s Burden. As a consequence, they (like harper) support a ‘democracy’ like Israel against its enemies. Think about it.

    Another characteristic is what I call White Man’ Folly. This arises out of their hubris and ignorance of third world societies. Iraq is the definitive negative demonstration.

    To be fair, harper may not feel that strongly about it. So, I would call him a copy.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:16 p.m.  

  • wow dan - that's a seriously impressive listing of events - almost painful to read. I can only imagine how much fun it was to research. nic

    By Blogger nic, at 7:40 p.m.  

  • Aren't you missing the date of the original agreement being signed?

    By Blogger Candace, at 11:48 p.m.  

  • 2004: Liberals sign Terrorist transfer agreement which they then attack conservatives for causing.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2:12 a.m.  

  • mk siad

    "2004: Liberals sign Terrorist transfer agreement"

    There is no 'terrorist' transfer agreement.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 4:15 a.m.  

  • That Doan story struck a chord with Canadians, more than anyone realizes.

    One hopes there won't be an election for at least a year to give people time to forget.

    There is lots of blame to go around on the Afganistan prisoner story.

    If there was a problem, it is nice to see it get fixed.

    No one looks good in that story either.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 9:15 a.m.  

  • Re: politician commentary on Shane Doan - You are not accurate in your comment attributed to Elizabeth May - Ms. May's "Chamberlain appeasement" metaphor was in reference to the latest Environmental plan of the Conservatives.

    By Blogger knighter, at 10:58 a.m.  

  • knighter - Yeah, I know. It was just tongue in cheek.

    Candace - True enough, although the problem with this whole fiasco is not the original deal but how the government kept changing their story, lied, and bungled the file once it became apparent that the original deal wasn't working.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:56 a.m.  

  • Candace said

    “Aren't you missing the date of the original agreement being signed?”

    This is my take.

    Hillier signed an agreement in December 2005, one month before the Martin government fell. During 2006, conner told MPs that the government was receiving reports from the Red Cross.

    Obviously, conner was aware of the deficiency in Hillier’s agreement. He had a chance to fix it in 2006. But, chose to wait for the Red Cross reports which never came.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:22 p.m.  

  • mk

    As far as the Conservatives are concerned being accountable means that the buck stops with the Liberals. You got the date wrong by the way. Jimtan was right. It was Dec of 2005.

    The story may still have more legs.

    Globe and Mail
    "[Stephane Harper]“This is based on nothing more than a handful of unsubstantiated allegations from Taliban prisoners and I think, quite frankly, it has detracted unnecessarily from the good work Canadian men and women are doing in the field in Afghanistan under dangerous circumstances,” the prime minister told a news conference in Mission, B.C.

    But court documents, including a transcript of Col. Noonan's cross-examination earlier this week, filed in Federal Court, reveal that a prisoner captured by Canadian troops was abused by the Afghans.

    Col. Noonan swore in his affidavit that the Canadian military learned that the detainee had been beaten by the local ANP, the Afghan national police. “When we learned of this, they approached the local ANP and requested that the detainee be given to them.”

    The Afghans turned the prisoner over to the Canadians who then gave him to provincial Afghan police authorities.

    The Ottawa Citizen reported that when Amnesty lawyer Paul Champ tried to get more details on the incident when it happened, what injuries were sustained, whether the Afghan police were charged federal lawyer J. Sanderson Graham curtailed questioning of the incident citing national security interests.

    “It threatens Canada's national security to know when the Canadian Forces observed local Afghan national police beating a detainee that they transferred to that unit?” Mr. Champ asked.

    “We object to any questions on this incident generally,” Mr. Graham replied.

    Col. Noonan also cited a case last year in which the Afghan National Army wanted to take custody of a detainee capture by Canadian troops and “were overheard, by an interpreter, to be contemplating the execution of the detainee.” He said a Canadian soldier intervened and held the detainee until he could be transferred to the NDS, Afghanistan's intelligence service.

    By Blogger Koby, at 7:57 p.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 9:32 p.m.  

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