April 19, 2010

On the MPCC public hearings

It's good public-interest journalism of CBC to be posting the Military Police Complaints Commission hearing transcripts.

Posted by BruceR at 07:58 AM

Latest accusations followup

As a followup to this post, you couldn't have had a more straight, flat-out denial than this one from the CDS: "The Canadian Forces DO NOT transfer individuals for the purposes of gathering information."

Note that all the objections of Canadian Forces critics given here now mostly relate to a lack of clarity about the shooting incident itself, but not about the reason why the 10 Afghans detained after it occurred were later transferred to the NDS... which was ostensibly the reason this witness was brought before the Commons committee in the first place, as evidence of the "outsourcing of torture". It's classic bait-and-switch. Having failed to get the mud to stick on the outsourcing, Prof. Attaran, et al are now questioning the split-second tactical decisions made by a Canadian soldier facing an armed opponent three years ago, because really that's all the CDS's well-tuned statement has left them to work with.

The one other thing that Prof. Attaran is now demanding is that the Canadian Forces make available an officer who authored a report that his witness claims to have seen claiming some kind of evidence-planting during the event in question. The one thing I'd note there is that, by standard NATO practice, all intelligence reports bear the originator's name. If Prof. Attaran's witness was working closely with Canadian intelligence officials at the time, as is believed, he likely would have recognized the name, or at least been able to provide the name of the writer's boss, or his boss' boss: does he simply not recall? If not, why would his recall of the substance (or even existence) of this report be considered reliable when he is unable to recall anything at all about its signature block? Again, these are the sorts of questions a proper lawyerly cross-examination or police investigation would probably have better luck with than a Commons subcommittee.

The Star's Tom Walkom, meanwhile, seems to have missed the CDS' memo. Came too late for deadline, I guess. Because we can all agree that writing a column about something that the head of the nation's armed forces has categorically denied the day before without mentioning that denial at all would surely be too irresponsible for any serious journalist to even consider.

Posted by BruceR at 12:08 AM