PMO issued instructions on denying abuse in '07

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Sean in Ottawa
PMO issued instructions on denying abuse in '07

Saw this on twitter from Audra:

Read the article-- very disturbing


remind remind's picture

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office used a "6,000-mile screwdriver" to oversee the denial of reports of Afghan detainee abuse when the scandal first erupted in 2007, according to a former senior NATO public affairs official who was then based in Kabul.

The former official, speaking on condition his name not be used, told the Toronto Star that Harper's office in Ottawa "scripted and fed" the precise wording NATO officials in Kabul used to repudiate allegations of abuse "at a time when it was privately and generally acknowledged in our office that the chances of good treatment at the hands of Afghan security forces were almost zero."

"It was highly unusual. I was told this was the titanic issue for Prime Minister Harper and that every single statement that went out needed to be cleared by him personally," said the former official, who is not Canadian.

"The lines were, 'We have no evidence' of coercive treatment being used against detainees handed over to the Afghans. There were very clear instructions for a blanket denial. The pressure to hold to that line was channelled via Canadian military and diplomatic personnel in Kabul. But it was made clear to us that this was coming from the Prime Minister's Office, which was running the public affairs aspect of Canadian engagement in Afghanistan with a 6,000-mile screwdriver."


But yet last night he said this:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper urged journalists to “shine light into dark corners” of government affairs during a speech late Saturday, but wouldn't take questions from reporters covering the event.

Mr. Harper, who is known for his sometimes prickly relationship with parliamentary reporters, made the comments during an ethnic media awards dinner in Markham, north of Toronto.

Freedom for Canadians goes hand-in-hand with journalistic freedom, he told the dinner guests gathered at Seneca College in Markham, home to thriving Asian communities.

Members of the ethnic press and their readers understand what it's like in countries where “truth is only what the state says it is” and journalists are co-opted as government mouthpieces or threatened with their lives, Mr. Harper said.

Things couldn't be more different here in Canada, he added.


Two law professors from the University of Ottawa have spoken out against the Harper government's conduct on the torture issue.  Both Errol Mendes and Amir Attaran were interviewed by the media this week and discussed how Canada's commitment to the principles of international law is being compromised.

remind remind's picture

Last night on the CBC news, after showing clips of Peter MacKay talking about this, they noted that lawyers were spoken to about what type of charges could be laid on the government officials who knew, and apparently criminal negligence would be about it....


I can imagine, when he urged journalists to "shine light into dark corners", this dangerous character was in his coy, smarter-than-you attitudde saying to himself "catch me if you can".

Harper might be banking on the attitude of his constituents -and the apathy of many- towards anything Muslim these days, to ride the storm. I would speculate that he would even win an election over an issue of a public inquiry.  As for the Liberals, they have no credibility whatsoever calling for an inquiry, for they, who shut down the Somalia inquiry, a decision supported by their posibly hacks at the Federal court of appeal. 


Let's do this here.

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