The International Red Cross met twice with senior Canadian officials in Kandahar to deliver veiled but insistent warnings about torture in Afghan jails a year before Canada acted to protect detainees... undermine the federal government's claims that diplomat Richard Colvin was a lone voice raising vague concerns about torture....
But the new memos show that the insistent concerns were specific to Canada's military mission in Afghanistan and made directly to senior Canadian officials, not transmitted through a single diplomat.
Two further high-level Red Cross meetings about torture took place in Ottawa and Geneva around the same time with Canadian officials.
...Three high-ranking generals, including former general Rick Hillier, described his allegations last week as "ludicrous."
But the new memos show that Colvin's concerns were in fact shared by a respected humanitarian agency that pushed the diplomatic envelope to get the ear of Canadian officials. The International Red Cross by convention is allowed to raise specific concerns about torture only with the national government of a country.
...That meeting spawned a second more detailed discussion at Kandahar Airfield on June 2.
...The Kandahar meeting was followed by a more high-level meeting on June 12, 2006, in Ottawa involving the international agency's delegation head for the U.S. and Canada as well as the agency's legal adviser from Washington.
A series of meetings with Canadian officials, culminating in a "high level meeting" in Ottawa, and yet MacKay clings to the lack of credible information, Colvin a lone wolf. Foreign Affairs now admits to meetings on the torture question, in OTTAWA, and yet we're to believe that MacKay was "never briefed". Oh, for the love of god, you're either a gigantic dolt or a bald faced liar. It was so bad, that the relationship with the Red Cross became strained, and they relayed to Colvin their aprehension to share information because of "CANADIAN political pressure". The only pressure that would matter to the Red Cross would be from the HIGHEST of office.
Another vein that went directly to Foreign Affairs, today's confirmation that all of Colvin's correspondence, did in fact make to the MacKay's office. SO, you have high level diplomatic meetings on two continents, continually warnings to the military as well as consistent correspondance coming from the field into your office, and MacKay was unaware, only vague acknowledgement of problems in the theatre, nothing specific to Canada. Speechless.
We need a public inquiry.