Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Take the Time to Look at Facts

If there is one thing this government is good at, it's spin. They are masters at changing the channel, making what is appear as if it is not, and vilifying people for the sake of saving their own skin.

With Colvin's letter today, we gain yet more information that clearly points to the government's transgressions and their response tells us they are trying to make this issue go away.

In his letter, Colvin highlights six reports sent to Ottawa in 2006, including one he said noted that "torture is rife" in Afghan jails.

"The report used the word 'torture' repeatedly," Colvin wrote.
Colvin writes that during a meeting in March 2007 with 12 to 15 officials in Ottawa, he informed them that the Afghan intelligence service "tortures people, that's what they do, and if we don't want our detainees tortured, we shouldn't give them to the [Afghans]."

There is much to read in the letter and I will confess that my day has not allowed me to read it in depth. So I will only provide an impression of what I saw transpire today.

Colvin rebutted, with force, everything that the government and some in the military have thrown at him. It was the right thing to do and tells me just how committed this man is to seeing the truth come to light and his commitment to Canada's reputation.

Because that's what this is all about isn't it? Our good reputation in the world and the passing on of our values? Well, to hear the Conservatives speak on the subject, they seem to think that if you are seen as a mighty fighting force, the rest of our mandate be damned. Laurie Hawn once again tonight (re-run tape I think) thought the whole thing about a prisoner being beaten with a shoe was a big joke. It was basically, who cares?

I honestly believe at the core of all of this is that mentality. The whole 'scumbag' rationale had to permeate and likely was embraced with ardour by O'Connor and the rest of caucus and frankly, it sickens me to write that.

So, tomorrow I will comb the document and hopefully have more to put down than impressions.

One last thing. Last night, Laurie Hawn was on two political shows. On both shows he claimed that he had contacted Lib MP Bryon Wilfert and offered to have a tele-conference instead of a meeting in Ottawa. Today I heard Wilfert say that he was never e-mailed on this. In fact, the chair of the committee, (a Conservative) actually sent out notice that the meeting would convene.

In as much as I think the media is doing a good job at keeping this story current, I think they are missing those kind of details. Details that clearly show the government lying. Not comfortable to deal with I'm sure, but necessary for Canadians to know.


The Mound of Sound said...

Sorry KNB but the media have done a lousy job at this, running true to form. That is the beauty of Colvin's rebuttal - the richness of the sources he presents by which his accounts can be corroborated. He did the groundwork for our astonishingly lazy media. It was brilliant and it was quite deliberate. Some of us who are already familiar with some of those sources know that they verify Colvin's evidence and put the lie to the bare denials of Harper and his minions, civilian and military.

Karen said...

Fair enough and I'll take you at your word.

I said I haven't had a chance to read through everything.

My comment to the media had more to do with their keeping it in the fore front and publishing doc's from the ground.

I stand by that.

The title of my post might suggest where I am going however.

Anonymous said...

Read page 14 where it mentions Kevin Lynch.

Marx-A-Million said...

I am running a Stephen Harper Photo Contest for Liberal Bloggers. Please come and participate!

Karen said...

Anon..yes I will read that and thank you. Lynch is the key here isn't he?

Karen said...

Marx...your idiotic distractions are inane.

What don't you get about that?

drake said...

This is just not a vote-getter for the Liberals. There's some valid questions being posed but frankly this is about something that happened in the past, 2006, that was fixed in 2007.

Why are Liberals so obsessed with minutia. The public needs to sink it's teeth on issues that matter. Most of those are currently economic. That's what will decide the next election. Not whether some Taliban prisoners were properly treated by fellow Afghans in 2006.

This is the political reality knb.

Anonymous said...

My question - of the hundreds or even thousands of advisors on Afghan why is Colvin the only one with this kind of story?

Surely hundreds of people provided many many reports just like he did. Why is it that his reports which are mostly his opinion on hearsay are more important that anyone else's.
I don't get it? Were thousands of people involved in some kind of collusion to whitewash about a Taliban terrorist who was hit by a shoe more than 3 years ago by an Afghan policemen who had just had his entire family murdered by Taliban?

You don't think t6he people on the ground were more concerned about the murdered and tortured women and children and blown to bit5s NATO and Canadian soldiers at the time?

Gayle said...

"This is just not a vote-getter for the Liberals."

What does that have to do with anything?

Are you honestly suggesting the opposition should not try to get to the truth about torture allegations just because the LPC may not benefit politically?

Tomm said...


Drake is right. The media has one thing yet to say, and that is, why are the Liberal's and NDP pounding so hard on an issue that was fixed over two years before?

The answer is either that they are trying to embarrass the Canadian forces, which both Dosanjh/Ignatieff and Dewar/Layton claim not to be the case, or they are hell bent on partisan attacks.

Colvin is being used by these guys as their water carrier. I feel sorry for him because he is a relatively young career civil servant and has no idea how damaging this "whistle blowing" will be to him. Who can now trust him as a diplomat? He clearly will throw confidential material and if necessary Canadian generals and his boss under the bus if he needs to do it to polish up his own image.

The Liberal's are abusing his trust to score political points. And won't trust him either, if they get back into power. If Colvin saw how this looks, he would just say that he has told the truth but has no further comment since he has nothing new to add to the discussion

...and get his butt back to work.

L said...

Colvin is a naive lefty and the Liberals are embarrassing themselves yet again ( H1V1 for sale !!!!!) Canadians don't CARE about 2006 detainees. We care that conservatives fixed the Liberal MESS.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anonymous 11:47, you betray rank ignorance when you ask why is Colvin "the only one with this kind of story." He isn't and if you don't know that you need to ask yourself why. Read Colvin's 16-page missive. It's replete with references to other people, organizations and nations that have weighed in on Canada's detainee policies. If you're too damned lazy to follow up on those references, don't keep asking such stupid questions.

Karen said...

drake, your comment demonstrates ignorance of this subject.

It's not about votes. It's about the reputation of this country and our military. It's about the values we exhibit on the world stage.

This government has done all of us a disservice on this file and others.

Do I want Canadians to pay attention to that? Yes, but not for the shallow reasons you infer.

Karen said...

Tomm, your comment is ridiculous.

He's not a whistle blower. He was called to committee and compelled to testify.

We don't know if the problem has been fixed, that's the point.

If there is nothing there, why is Harper undemocratically shutting the investigation down?

Karen said...


That sums that comment up doesn't it?

The Mound of Sound said...

KNB,your opening remark about the media played on my mind overnight. It became clear to me, looking back on the way Canada's media have botched their coverage of the Af/Pak thing, that they played an instrumental role in this scandal. If you're interested, I did an item on that.

Anonymous said...

It's not about votes. It's about the reputation of this country and our military.
Conservatives will never understand that - blinded by ideology and highly delusional to reality the consequences of actions.

There is no proof that the problem has been fixed, and it does not matter. The truth should come out.

Being complicit in torture will only put more harm in soldiers way. You'd think that Conservatives don't care about the military.

Fred from BC said...

KNB said...

We don't know if the problem has been fixed, that's the point.

You mean the problem that the previous Liberal government left for the Conservatives to deal with? Yes, it's been fixed. You're welcome.

If there is nothing there, why is Harper undemocratically shutting the investgation down?

Remember the Brian Mulroney vs. Karlheinz Schreiber witchhunt that you and your ilk were so keenly enthusiastic about? How our entire democracy was threatened unless we got to the truth (gee, just like this one)?

That's why.

David said...


To those who say "Canadians don't give a rat ass about what happened so many years ago / we should talk about the economy / , I'd like to humbly submit this:

To govern doesn't mean to care about what is going on now but on what _will_ go on for this country. In country governance parlance, a 10 years timeframe is "short term" and what happened two years ago is "just now".

Besides, whoever sits on the chair of prime ministership matters not as the head of state (yah, that's the Queen) is the one who would be held liable by treaties if our military transfered those prisoners knowing there was torture. And you really want to disgrace our flag, our institutions and our prestige as a nation by eclipsing the debate?

Is the value of justice and good right so forgotten that we only think about how much more butter we can put on our bread?

As for what is happening to our wistle blower Mr Colvin, as saddened as I am witnessing the mud-slinging I can hardly say I'm surprised. However, the guy sure shows his quality at the moment and that's what make me think there's still hope.