Sunday, May 16, 2010

Is this about torture or accountability?

After reading David Eaves post on Miliken's ruling on the release of detainee documents, I am left wondering what is this all about? Consider the vast coverage and evidence that has surfaced since February 2007, when the Globe and Mail first published allegations of abuse. Despite attempts by the government to suppress testimony and evidence during military investigation, there has been a sort of consensus amongst those in the field (Graeme Smith, Richard Colvin and General Walter Natynczyk) that torture and abuse in Afghan jails and prisons are practiced but not spoken about freely, at least not in Canada. So, is this whole debacle over the release of sensitive information about the existence of torture? Not really, as I pointed out, its happening. Or is it about the simply a matter of who knew what and when? Apparently. I don't think that there is a great deal of information that is particularly advantageous for the opposition parties. Ok, you proved that the Government had credible information about detainee torture. End result, Canada's international reputation is tarnished and opposition parties enjoy feeling superior for a news cycle. If there were any real benefit to this battle between Parliament and the Government, it is ' access to information' for making reasonable decisions on matters of foreign policy. In exercising their legitimate power over the current Government, Parliament is ensuring future that MPs can be adequately informed about what is going on-the-ground in Afghanistan. Much like the purpose of Parliamentary Budget Office, gaining access to confidential documents provides MPs important baseline information.

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