Monday, May 17, 2010

Important documents on Afghan detainees missing

A report from the Hill Times today says that members of parliament are doubtful they will see all the documents relating to the Afghan detainee transfers and subsequent treatment at the hands of the ANP and the Afghan army. The Department of National Defence and the military appear to have "lost" them. Is this going to be Somalia all over again?

Opposition MPs are wary about the Defence Department's commitment to produce all documents on detainee transfers in Afghanistan following the Army's inexplicable failure to locate a month's worth of crucial logs and reports for an internal inquiry into detainee beating at the hands of Afghan police in 2006.

...[M]Ps say the loss of documents surrounding the 2006 incident raises comparisons to Defence Department attempts to hide and destroy documents demanded by a commission of inquiry into the beating death of a Somali civilian by Canadian troops in 1993.

Are Stephen Harper and others in the relevant groups just trying to distract and delay until they can manufacture another cause for an election and deep six the investigation? The level of secrecy is astounding. The excuse of national security seems more than a little artificial.

Neil Kitson on his blog Canadians in Afghanistan, has pointed out the conflict of interest if either Gordon O'Connor (former MND) or Peter MacKay (present one) was included on the "secret" panel:

In the nomination of of a new committee to review such documents, Gordon O'Connor, and Peter MacKay, should now be excluded by conflict of interest. Mr. O'Connor was Minister of National Defence during some of the most important periods in the transfers now under scrutiny, and he was succeeded by Mr. MacKay. Participation by either in the forthcoming review of documents would obviously put them in the impossible and illegal position of participating in Parliament's investigation of their own decisions.

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