Monday, March 08, 2010

Deniability Debunked

About the only defence left, leaving common sense aside and debating linguistic meanings. Today's relevation that the government full expected torture allegations, prior to any "public knowledge" very much fits the timeline:

The memorandum, drafted by officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs, says that if "NGOs, relatives, media or otherwise, make credible allegations that detainees transferred by CF [Canadian Forces] to Afghan authorities have been potentially abused following their transfer," officials must inform the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Red Cross "and to follow up separately to address potential concerns with the conditions of detention."

First drafts of the documents were written as early as March 2007, months before the Globe and Mail reported that 30 transferred Canadian detainees were "beaten, whipped, starved, frozen, choked and subjected to electric shocks during interrogations."

The obvious- the government was aware of abuse problems and were preparing a SOP to deal with any revelations. What the CBC doesn't do is join this revelation with another made by the Chronicle Herald last December. In that article, we learned that the Red Cross was concerned about torture allegations, so the Conservatives devised a 8 point strategy to appease. This communication strategy was put in place in February 2007, around the same time these other rules were applied:
The document also warned officials to prepare "an interdepartmental approach" for dealing with "the potential scenario where allegations of mistreatment or torture are substantiated."

...No. 1 on the eight-point plan for officials was to "Prepare standard key messages (ie. importance of adhering to obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law regarding the treatment of detainees.)"

What you have is a congealing picture of the government desperately trying to get their messaging in order, as well as laying down channels to deal with allegations. It defies logic that a government would go to the lengths of co-ordinating messaging strategies between agencies, as well as documenting how to deal with allegations, if they were UNAWARE that credible torture existed. We have a gov't working behind the scenes to prepare the ground, in case of public release. All of these measures PRIOR to any public hint of wrongdoing.

Taken in totality, you have see a flurry of activity, within all departments involved to formulate a damage control plan, and it's multi-layered. It is entirely clear, that this was a government BRACING for public disclosure. This amount of effort is never expended unless the government was aware of credible allegations, unless they feared actual proof existed. The CBC release show the gov't expected allegations, at the same time we have evidence of a public relations campaign to deal with the issue. Hello!

20 comments:

Nero Wolfe said...

So now we know, Harper knew, have a pretty good idea when he knew it.

One more question left.

Any guesses that those answers are in the documents.

Now we know why he is so desperate to keep those documents under lock and key.

Time to bone up on your Dutch Steve.

Steve V said...

All this says, they bloody well knew that people were tortured and were actively preparing to deal with the eventual public release, if they couldn't hold it.

Nero Wolfe said...

The memo was written a year after Harper came to office.

They wer'e more worried about
communications strategy, than basic human decency.

Where does it go from here?

I suspect those documents will be very telling.

Steve V said...

The CH article shows that they were more interested in appeasing the Red Cross than actually dealing with the issue. They put communications strategy as the number one consideration.

Nero Wolfe said...

I think there were reports that the IRC had met with Mckay, and O'connor, about concerns.

They knew what was going on.

As always with Harper, he is alway's more concerned about strategy and tactics, than doing what is right.

Frankly if this stuff all pans out it is time for him to go.

marie said...

Go to CTV and click on this story and read the remark posted.Full public inquiry needed on detainees: opposition
Time for Harper to be defeated. All he has done is turn some Canadians member of the KKK clan.

I am proud to be a Canadian but at the same time, I am ashamed to admit that we Canadians can feel and act like those posters.

They have been brain washed, act like a bunch of zombies and a total disgrace to Canada. Trust CTV to close the comment section so soon. What a sorry bunch of Media people we have. No ethics, no real journalists and again pandering and spreading the Reform/Cons propaganda.

What amazes me more is how brain washed and stupid some posters can be. They need to grow up and step back and let some light in.

It is way past time of having an election and tossing those terrorists out of Ottawa ASAP.

rockfish said...

Harper's rushing to have his photo taken with a hockey stick, puck and flag just to attempt to make himself bullet-proof. A lot of Canadians may not have the stomach for this debate and may give him the benefit of the doubt; on the otherhand, Harper has salted his own earth with the levels of apathy and distrust he's foisted into the political debate.
He can't go soon enough, but it may be critical to await the proper iceberg with his name on it.

Greg said...

He can't go soon enough, but it may be critical to await the proper iceberg with his name on it.

Sorry, but that may just be the most cynical sentence I have ever read. If torture isn't a big enough iceberg, than Harper will rein forever. The opposition and I mean the whole opposition should be ashamed.

Tof KW said...

Sorry, but that may just be the most cynical sentence I have ever read. If torture isn't a big enough iceberg, than Harper will rein forever.

Hate to say this Greg, but he has a point. As distasteful as the Harper government's actions may be in Afghanistan, I would guess that torturing little brown Muslims is just fine with their base - especially since they're all terrorists anyway don't ya know. I'll predict the Reformatories don't drop much below the 30% range through all of this. Sadly, Canada is nowhere near the country we thought it was.

Steve V said...

Unfortunately a lot of Canadians will excuse, "shit happens". What will really hurt the Cons is the obstruction and perceived coverup.

Nero Wolfe said...

It was cover up, what did in Richard Nixon.

There is one massive cover up going on here.

It is a little disturbing.

I am hoping the decency, and good sense of the Canadian people will ultimately prevail.

penlan said...

"If torture isn't a big enough iceberg, than Harper will rein forever."

Greg,

More of the iceberg needs to be revealed. Right now we're just at the tip of it - it's much, much bigger underneath. When we see more then the sh*t will really fly.

Tof KW said...

Succinctly put Steve. Rockfish's cynicism with the iceberg statement is well placed. As with all scandals of yesteryear, this is now spiralling well beyond the initial wrong-doing and has taken a life of its own. As Nero put it, it was his continued cover-up that doomed Nixon, as the actual act of bugging the Dems meetings was a bumbling, 3rd rate criminal affair from which (had it been admitted to early) he could have distanced himself from. If anything hits that 30% base of Harper’s, it’s the question of government transparency, integrity and accountability – something with which the Reformatories think they have a moral advantage over the Grits. When they figure out their guys are just as bad (if not worse) than all the dirty politicians before them, then you’ll see Harper’s numbers slide below that 30% mark. I still think that iceberg Rockfish speaks of is the Auditor General’s initial report on the EAP spending that will be tabled in about 6-7 months time. Once actual spending improprieties hit Harper, he’s toast …even within his base.

Jerry Prager said...

Harper's base is no more moral than he is.

Steve V said...

It is amusing to watch the faithful divest themselves of any remaining principles to defend this behaviour. Remarkable how all the defenders of openness and accountability have shown themselves to be utter frauds.

Nero Wolfe said...

What's even more amusing,

"Ad scam" had their collective heads exploding.

A government complicit in torture, and committing war crimes?

Just goes to show, where you stand, depends on where you sit.

Tof KW said...

Indeed. Their self-serving, sanctimoniousness makes you want to puke doesn't it.

And not all that long ago the Reformatories were all going on about Ignatieff and that canard about him promoting torture within the pages of The Lesser Evil, and using lines like "wait 'til Canadians learn about that" and other such dribble. Well there is a big difference between being an academic and openly arguing with yourself in print - and to actually cross the line and do the deed.

And the hypocrisy with which the Reformatories will undoubtedly defend Harper with lines like "they're terrorists and deserve it" just numbs the mind. They have absolutely no concept of the fact that they’ve come full circle and become everything they once stood against. Either that or, more likely, they had no morals or principles in the first place. That makes it much easier to be a hypocrite ...or a war criminal for that matter.

Nero Wolfe said...

I know this was discussed yesterday.

Seems the whisperings about Harper seeking dissolution, are starting to be picked up by the media.

James Travers for one.

This detainee story is really starting to look like a filthy swamp.

I know it is a bone head play to seek dissolution.

We are talking about Stephen Harper.

To give credit where credit is due, Harper is not the gentleman, that Joe Clark is, or Bob Stanfield was.

Steve V said...

Just did a quick post on a fall election.

Tof KW said...

To give credit where credit is due, Harper is not the gentleman, that Joe Clark is, or Bob Stanfield was.

Gee, no need to bring up honourable democrats like Clark or Stanfield. I’ve already shown yesterday that regardless of Brian Mulroney’s checkered past, Harper is nowhere close to being the gentleman that he is. Oh, and incidentally another example. Some may remember the incident when Iggy phoned Mulroney to wish him a happy birthday, with of course the Harperites charging that he’s a hypocrite for trying to be friends with Brian while dragging him though an inquiry. Mulroney did tell the press that Mr Ignatieff had “a lot of class” for doing that. Again this is a lesson the Reformatories need to learn, there is a place and time for political partisanship – it’s not a friggin’ 24/7 endeavour.