March 01, 2010

Travers again: sigh

I don't have a lot of respect for Jim Travers' coverage of military affairs, as noted previously. I just wanted to note this odd little fillip he's put onto his recent detainee reporting that seems unsupported by the documentary record to date.

Here's what Richard Colvin actually said:

"[Canadian officials in Kandahar] established that four detainees had been transferred from the NDS in Kandahar to the NDS in Kabul... As of early October, 2007, when I left Afghanistan, we had not been able to locate the remaining three detainees."

Jim Travers, Thursday:

"In the winter of 2007, three insurgents captured by Canada's top-secret Joint Task Force Two disappeared into the notorious Afghan prison system."

What's Travers' evidence for JTF2 involvement with these detainees? I've never read any.

Travers, today:

"Most peculiar is how [Gen.] Hillier could have been in the dark about three high-value enemy targets who vanished after being transferred to Afghans by Canadian commandos."

Now they're "high-value enemy targets", too? Putative insurgent leaders? Who says? Colvin sure didn't. So either Travers is making stuff up, or he has access to documentation the public does not. I'd kind of like to know which.

By 2007, plenty of detainees had been taken by Canadian and Afghan forces of all kinds and handed over to local Afghan authorities in Kandahar. While it's certainly plausible, there is no reason to accept Travers' allegations on their face that the 3 missing detainees noted previously by Colvin were either JTF 2 captures or HVTs. If he wants to condemn Gen. (retd.) Hillier for something I hope he has something more factual than his penchant for sensationalism suggests here.

PS: In the first piece noted above, Travers refers to one of the 3 detainees as "Isa Mohammed." I have no idea where that name came from (again, not Colvin.) There was a 2007 press report about an Isa Mohammed captured by the Afghan police (not Canadians) and tortured in Kandahar, but that doesn't appear connected with Colvin's allegation. For one thing, that Isa Mohammed isn't missing.

Posted by BruceR at 11:34 AM