Thursday, December 10, 2009

"No Evidence That There Is Any Access Blocked To The Prisons"

The above quote, from the Prime Minster on April 25/07. I found an old video of among others, Stephen Harper, denying what now appears to be a "mistruth":

An interesting view, on many levels. Note the same defence lines, the indignant denials.

I've highlighted some comments from Harper and O'Connor:
Gordon O'Connor April 25

"Our people have been in CONSTANT contact with the Human Rights Commission, and they have asked them if there are any problems"

Stephen Harper April 25

"No evidence that there is any access blocked to the prisons" 3:34

"baseless accusations" 4:13

"made allegations that we could not get access, that nobody could get access to the prisons in Afghanistan, that's FALSE, rather than repeat it, he should withdraw it" 5:39

"this allegation that there is no access to Afghan prisons, turns out to be completely false" 7:31

Harper chastizes the opposition for their "baseless accusations" that there was limited access to the prisons in which detainees were held. Harper goes so far as to characterize any claim of denied access as FALSE, and he demands that opposition withdraw any suggestion.

Here is a Toronto Star article from last week, that deals with this same time period:
Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) had little or no access to the Kandahar detention facility run by Afghanistan's intelligence service...

As a result, the commission is unable to monitor the condition of the detainees, as per their agreements with the Canadians, Dutch and others," a commissioner of the Afghan monitoring agency told Colvin.

AIHRC was so alarmed at its lack of access that officials complained to President Hamid Karzai a week and a half earlier.

Astounding. The Prime Minister tells Parliament that no access was denied, even mentions the Human Rights Commission, and yet, we now know that the SAME AIHRC was simultaneously expressing ALARM at having NO ACCESS, effectively shut out of the Kandahar prison. The situation was so bad, the AIHRC complained to the Afghan PRESIDENT. O'Connor tells us that the government was in "constant contact" with the AIHRC, but claim no knowledge of any access problems. According to the timeline, and the facts at hand, this is complete BULLSHIT. It is fair to ask- did the Prime Minister knowingly mislead Parliament?

Maybe more offensive, you see the same tactics employed in 2007, such zeal and self righteous indignation, even though we know now that the only thing that was "baseless", the cheap RHETORIC coming from the government benches.

I believe the AIHRC complaints, echoed by Colvin, classify as the "evidence" Harper insisted didn't exist. In fact, Harper waved the AIHRC in front of any accusers, to counter claims, even though they were providing the "evidence", they were actually the ONLY source available (Harper volunteers the agency which actually contradicts his claim). I believe the Prime Minister has been caught in a "mis-speak" if you will ;)

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