Wednesday, March 10, 2010

GCSP: where to start

Participants in the Great Canadian Sieve Project might want to start practising their skills right away.

Two issues have been dominating the news recently: the mushrooming Torturegate scandal, presently before a Parliamentary committee, and the comic-opera goings-on at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, better known as Rights and Democracy.

In the first case, matters have spiraled to the point that the government is now openly defying Parliament by withholding unredacted documents dealing with detainee transfers in Afghanistan. But it appears that the Conservatives' own political security, not national security, is at the bottom of it.

A few of these documents have found their way into the public domain, one of which, read together with the government-approved redacted variant,
strongly suggests that a cover-up is being attempted. Others, of apparently far more damning import, are as yet unreleased.

The Harper government, as it now turns out, has been preparing a CYA messaging strategy since March 2007, just in case any of these ugly matters came to light. Blogger Steve V makes the connection between this and a February 2007 "eight-point-plan" to deal with the International Red Cross in the same circumstances.

The truth will out. Help it along.

In the case of Rights and Democracy, there are almost certainly documents of interest to the public that might cast further light on things. Maclean's magazine's Paul Wells seems to have a veritable pipeline into that place, but there's lots of room for more coverage. Direct government implication in the wrecking operation, for example, at this point only a reasonable inference, needs to be documented.

The public is getting bits and pieces here and there, but if ever a situation deserved sieve-like leakage, it is in each of these cases. Is Canada not only complicit in torture by benign neglect, but through actual participation in it? Is the piece-by-piece destruction of a human rights agency with an international reputation--the latest blow of the wrecking ball being the appointment of an Islamophobic, anti-gay rights pro-death penalty President--a deliberate Harper strategy?

Canadians have a right to know. Get leaking!

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