Friday, November 27, 2009

Operation distraction underway

So how much trouble does the Harper government think it's in as a result of Richard Colvin's allegations about the Afghan detainee torture situation? Perhaps one of the biggest blinking indicators came to us last night. Check out these headlines: "Tories will challenge Ignatieff with HST ultimatum," "Federal Tories put Liberals on hot seat over HST." It's change the channel time for the Harper political operators. They are introducing the HST legislation next week, suddenly. With all the accompanying hoopla about how this issue is all about the Liberals. It's the Prime Minister at his worst, playing games while a serious issue unfolds and challenges his government.

Look at what's going on. We have multiple polls showing that the Canadian public has believed Richard Colvin over the government's denials. We have public support for a public inquiry.

We have yesterday's testimony by diplomat David Mulroney who was copied on Colvin's memos. He knew about allegations of torture in Afghanistan, just not allegations specifically tied to Canadian-transferred prisoners. He didn't tell Colvin not to put his concerns in writing...but oh yes, he actually did tell Colvin to use the phone before putting anything in writing.

We have retired generals testifying in front of the Afghan Special Commons Committee, with all the access in the world to read Mr. Colvin's memos, yet the MPs on the committee are kept in the dark from that material.
It's unacceptable that members of the Commons committee probing this mess are left in the dark while Hillier and Gauthier are allowed to riffle through the filing cabinets to refresh their memories. This case highlights the need to strengthen oversight along American lines by giving security-cleared MPs more access to classified information.
When legislators are not permitted to see the documents that the witnesses are, what a farcical low point in annals of democratic governance for Canada. Mr. Harper says he'll release the documents one day, with all the publicity that follows yet the next, his promise is exposed for the sham that it is.

We have the Defence Minister who is comically at a loss to explain how any of this actually happened in the most absurd video (h/t). He has "no idea" how military generals would have access to documents that the committee does not. Maybe someone better ask the PMO to let him know just what exactly is going on.

Those Colvin memos are starting to circulate and bound to be fully released or leaked at some point. It's time to distract, it's not getting any better.

That Harper would use the HST, a significant financial measure on the agenda in two of the largest provinces, in this manner as a political pawn is telling. Shades of last December?