Thursday, December 31, 2009

While Canadians die...

The audacity of Stephen Harper to shut down parliament, not once - but twice - while this country is at war ought to send a very clear message to Canadian voters that this Conservative government is simply irrelevant and that its' "leadership" is nothing but an empty shell.

Holed up in his political bunker on the same day that 4 Canadian soldiers and 1 journalist from his adopted hometown of Calgary were killed by an IED in Afghanistan, the best Harper could do was to release a statement extolling their "courage" while he exhibits absolutely none of his own. He couldn't even be bothered enough to show his face in public.

It's time for the opposition parties to band together and vote 'no confidence' in this Conservative minority government when it presents its next budget in March after its latest self-imposed holiday from accountability and responsibility.


8 US CIA Agents, 5 Canadians Killed in Afghanistan

Lang first Canadian journalist to die in Afghan mission

Michelle Lang's Afghanistan blog


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Harper Shuts Down Parliament - Again

Stephen Harper is a coward.

Running from the Afghan detainee scandal, he has once again prorogued parliament - this time until March 3, 2010.

As the CBC reminds us:

Harper successfully appealed to Jean to prorogue Parliament last December, thwarting all three opposition parties in their attempt to defeat his government in a no-confidence vote, and replace it with a proposed coalition between then Liberal leader Stéphane Dion's party and the NDP, with support from the Bloc Québécois.

After Jean granted Harper's request, the proposed coalition collapsed and Dion was replaced by current Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who gave his party's conditional support to the Conservatives' budget last January.
When the going gets tough, Harper runs away. And Ignatieff's refusal to support the coalition while simply asking for "report cards" every few months has proved to be a sad joke.

Both the Liberal and NDP parties have propped up the Cons at times over the years when that party should have been forced to account for its incompetence at the polls. When Wannabe Dictator Harper's back is against the wall, he claims that parliament has become "dysfunctional", throws a tantrum, and ends proceedings while leaders like Layton claim they're only caving to Harper's demands because "Canadians want their government to work". Well, as Dr Phil would say, Jack: how's that working for you?

Ralph Goodale is right. This is a ""shocking insult to democracy". The question now is: what are the opposition parties going to do about it?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Obama Lies; Heads Explode; The Spin Begins

"I didn't campaign on the public option"

Barack Obama, Washington Post interview, Dec 22, 2009
Except that you did, Mr President.

But that won't stop the spinners from excusing that lie in any way possible.

Oh, it wasn't a "major" part of his plan.

Or, that's depends on what your definition of "campaigned on" is.

Okay, maybe it was on his campaign web site but that wasn't his campaign.

It was in the Democratic party platform? Everybody knows that Dem candidates don't campaign on that.

I don't recall him saying that, therefore it never happened.

Okay, maybe he campaigned on a "public plan" but a "plan" is not an "option".

And when the spin just can't be justified, the minimizing begins:

So what? Every president lies.

He didn't "lie". He misspoke.

He's tired. Leave him alone.

It isn't "progressive" to point out that he lied.

Look! Ponies!

And when the minimizing can't be justified, all hell breaks loose:

Hillary is STILL evil!

Why do you hate America?

Admit it, you luv Sarah Palin.


That's racist!

You were never a Democrat to begin with.

You call yourself a "liberal"?

You are trying to destroy his presidency!

If we don't talk about it, the right-wing will never notice.

Every time you say he lied, the Baby Jeebus cries.

Just another day in Reality-Based Land...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

McChrystal on Torture in Afghanistan

US General Stanley McChrystal, speaking to reporters in Ottawa today had this to say about torture allegations:

The commander of the International Security Assistance Force said he was aware of allegations that some detainees may have been tortured, but he said he wasn't aware of any "specific incidents" in which Afghan detainees were tortured or abused by Afghan interrogators.
Pehraps because the ongoing reports of torture by US forces in Bagram prison are keeping him too busy.

On Saturday, the New York Times published interviews with three former inmates who also spoke of the black prison near Bagram. Each informant “was interviewed separately and described similar conditions,” the Times notes, and “[t]heir descriptions also matched those obtained by two human rights workers who had interviewed other former detainees at the site.” One of the three men was arrested months after Obama’s inauguration as US president, as were the two teenage boys interviewed by the Post.

All of those interviewed by the Times and the Post maintained that they were not “Taliban.” Without being charged with a crime, they were seized by US soldiers, then bound, gagged, and hooded, and taken to the “black prison.”

The jail, according to the Times’ sources, “consists of individual windowless concrete cells, each illuminated by a single light bulb glowing 24 hours a day.” The cells are small; one prisoner said his was only slightly longer than the length of his body. US soldiers throw food into the cells through slots in the door.

Prisoners are exposed to extreme cold and sleep deprivation. The teenage boys told the Post that when they attempted to sleep on the hard floor, US soldiers “shouted at them and hammered on their cells.” Prisoners’ only respite from this extreme solitary confinement are twice-a-day interrogations, during which some are beaten or humiliated.
Or maybe he's denying the claims because, well, he has a history of lying.

I must say that I was quite surprised to hear Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh say on CBC's Power and Politics show today that he'd never heard of 'black sites' in Afghanistan. He definitely needs to get up to speed about what's happening there.

(I'll be putting up a separate post about Richard Colvin's rebuttal letter to the Special Committee on Afghanistan once I've had a chance to read through it.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This Week in Being Barack Obama

There was much rejoicing in DemocratLand on Monday morning when it was announced that Citigroup announced that it was paying back $20 billion in bailout funds - especially since it came on the heels of Obama's Sunday nite teevee performance when he called the Wall Street crew "fat cats" (which really is an insult to actual fat cats everywhere).

But, as this administration keeps showing everyone, all that glitters in those shiny objects is certainly not gold.

That is, unless you're Citigroup:

Citigroup gains massive tax break in deal with IRS

The federal government quietly agreed to forgo billions of dollars in potential tax payments from Citigroup as part of the deal announced this week to wean the company from the massive taxpayer bailout that helped it survive the financial crisis.

The Internal Revenue Service on Friday issued an exception to longstanding tax rules for the benefit of Citigroup and the few other companies partially owned by the government. As a result, Citigroup will be allowed to retain $38 billion in tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors.

While the Obama administration has said taxpayers likely will profit from the sale of the Citigroup shares, accounting experts said the lost tax revenue could easily outstrip those profits.
So, let's's only Tuesday and so far Obama et al have sold out to Citigroup, Joe Lieberman, the Blue Dog Dems, insurance corporations, Big Pharma, various and sundry lobbyists, and Obama's approval numbers continue to tank.

I guess his Nobel War is Peace But It's Only an Aspirational Prize Anyway speech last week didn't give him enough of a bump in the eyes of the American public. Surely, his trip to Copenhagen will change that. Or not.

Quote du Jour: Run away! Run away!

"Where the hell are the (Conservative) members?" said NDP MP Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) asked reporters.
What if they called a committee meeting and no Tories came?

Meanwhile, the fugitive Cons are mulling over sending parliament to Prorogue-a-Tory again.

You can run but you can't hide...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Punking the Conservative Government on Climate Change

Tory heads are exploding in Ottawa and Copenhagen. Grab your umbrellas.

Fake releases claim Canada changed climate stance

The federal government is fuming Monday over a series of hoax press releases claiming Canada had committed to drastic greenhouse gas emission cuts.
That should have been the first clue that this thing was full of hot air. Read the article for details about how this all played out. It was quite impressive.

Meanwhile, to add insult to injury:

[PMO spokespuppet] Soudas also got in a heated exchange with Steven Guilbeault from the environmental group Equiterre, after Soudas sent an email to reporters saying the hoax may have been issued by Guilbeault.

"I had nothing to do with this and I demand an apology," Guilbeault said in an email to CBC News. "The Harper government is pointing fingers at me for saying the truth."

Guilbeault said he is being singled out because the government doesn't like what he has said about Canada's record on climate change.
The only thing missing was Marg, Princess Warrior.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How the Cons Enabled Torture in Kandahar

Back in February, 2008 when the Con government was faced with allegations it had covered up the torture being meted out by Kandahar governor Asadullah Khalid, their Pit Bull du Jour, Peter van Loan, called those charges "histrionics and hyperbole".

Enter Richard Colvin, the former ambassador the Cons have been so busy demonizing, again:

OTTAWA–A former governor of Kandahar who is accused of personally torturing Afghans might have been removed from office as far back as 2006 if Canadian officials hadn't defended him, according to diplomatic memos that have never been made public by the Canadian government.
Not only did they defend him, they did nothing at the highest levels, including the PMO's national security adviser. They can't feign ignorance anymore in the face of this proof.

Yet another nail in the coffin of this lying government.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Torture Coverup: Today's Developments

- The military police complaints commission hearings are scheduled to resume in March, 2010, "but whether the federal government actually lets it proceed is uncertain." Meanwhile:

The Liberals turned up the heat on the Tories Thursday by using their opposition day to introduce a Commons motion to force the government to release documents on the detainee issue.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff accused the government of censoring with "Soviet zeal" and demanded to see all records related to incident referred to by Natynczyk.

- I really don't know why Ottawa-centered journalists think this issue has no legs outside of their little bubble. The latest EKOS poll shows that the majority think Afghan detainees were tortured and that this government knew about it.

Only Conservative supporters are slightly less likely to believe that the government was aware that prisoners might be tortured. Even so, nearly 68 per cent of Conservative supporters think the government was aware of that possibility.
That is definitely significant. And the fact that parliament will go on hiatus tonite for its holiday break does not ensure that this scandal won't come back with even more force in the new year - especially since Richard Colvin is drafting a rebuttal to the testimony of the government-friendly witnesses.

The fact that the one 2006 incident that we know of (and which alludes to others), thanks to the affidavit of Noonan in 2007, is front and center again 2 years of being shelved shows that the Conservatives can't run away from reality or accountability.

When that incident came to light in May, 2007, Peter Van Loan was the government's bully-boy who tried endlessly to make it go away. He called it "roughhousing". More recently, General Lewis MacKenzie, appearing on the right-wing talk radio David Rutherford Show in Calgary this week said he wasn't all that concerned about some guy being beaten up. Shit happens. It's a war. Rick Hillier recently minimized the incident as well. These generals don't seem to care that Canadian soldiers were so concerned about the fate of their transferred detainees that they resorted to taking before and after pictures because they knew abuse was happening. They weren't listened to. Their reports were dismissed and censored.

When Peter MacKay gave his opening statement to the special committee on Wednesday, he said that torture was "abhorrent". But it obviously was not "abhorrent" enough for him to pay attention to as foreign minister since he then went on to pathetically justify his inaction by droning on repeatedly about how "complex" the Afghanistan situation was. He should have just admitted that he was too incompetent to handle all of the duties he was responsible for at that time.

On top of all of that, and this is perhaps one of the most shocking revelations about this government's disdain for the law considering it's coming from our current Foreign Affairs minister, Lawrence Cannon, in his opening statement he wondered why people were "fixated on the well-being of individuals who are suspected of being our enemies". (h/t BCCLA blog) He obviously refuses to even acknowledge the Geneva Conventions. This is the same man who banned the phrase "child soldiers" from the department's vocabulary and took "humanitarian" out of the phrase "international humanitarian law".

Typical of this Conservative party - thinking they can make issues of justice disappear by simply censoring them.

That obviously hasn't worked. And Cannon's performance has been despicable.

...this April [2009], when Cannon blamed Omar Khadr, a former child recruit of Al Qaeda held since 2002 at the U.S. detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, for making bombs that killed Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

"We saw this man apparently making the same bombs that have taken the life of a certain number of our soldiers," he said, referring to TV footage of Khadr making bombs. The comments were false.

Khadr was not in the vicinity where Canadians were operating at the time. A retraction followed.
It's clear that the Conservative agenda is to fearmonger and paint their critics as enemies of the military as long as they think they can get away with it. The problem is that actual evidence is corroding what little shred of credibility there was that they thought they had in the first place. They are their own worst enemies. If they truly believed in their collective innocence, they would release all of the documents they have - unredacted - in order to prove it. Instead, they are fighting their release every step of the way using the tired "national security" excuse.

And, in case you're keeping score, it's now:

Former Canadian ambassadors: 71

Conservatives: 0

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Natynczyk Changes his Testimony


General changes story on Taliban suspect

Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada's top military commander, is now saying a suspected Taliban fighter abused by Afghan police in June 2006 had been detained by Canadian troops, contrary to comments the defence staff chief made Tuesday.

"The individual who was beaten by the Afghan police was, in fact, in Canadian custody," Natynczyk told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Natynczyk had told a parliamentary committee that Canadian troops questioned the man who was picked up during operations in Zangabad. But Natynczyk said it was the Afghans who took him into custody.

On Wednesday, Natynczyk said he has since received new information and has learned that Canadians had taken the suspect into custody before handing him over to the Afghans.

Natynczyk read from a report of the incident by the section commander, who said they had the suspect get down on his stomach before they conducted a detailed seach [sic] of the Afghan, which included emptying his pockets, cataloging all the items and photgraphing him.

"I did not have this information in May of 2007 nor yesterday when I made my statement. But I am responsible for the information provided by the Canadian Forces and I am accountable for it today," Natynczyk said.
Damn straight he's responsible. And he's either lying or incompetent:

The Canadian soldier's account, handwritten in a field notebook in the hours after the June 19, 2006 incident, is corroborated by a medic's examination of the detainee's injuries and photographs, which the government refuses to release. The account, first outlined in a May, 2007 affidavit by Colonel Steve Noonan, Canada's first task force commander, was subsequently confirmed by then Brigadier-General Joseph Deschamps, who was chief-of-staff for operations in Canada's expeditionary forces command when he was cross-examined about it in January, 2008.

After Col. Noonan's first disclosure of the incident, the military denied the detainee ever really qualified as a Canadian captive. Then Lieutenant-General Walt Natynczyk – who has since been promoted to chief of defence staff – issued a statement in May 2007 denying that the beaten detainee had originally been captured and transferred by Canadian troops.

“Media reporting of a specific example of an individual detained by Afghan Authorities are inaccurate,” Gen. Natynczyk said in a statement.
And Peter MacKay, who's been pushing the Canadian heroes [read: generals] always tell the truth - screw the diplomats and soldiers on the ground meme for weeks just got his already red face politically slapped.

On top of that, the number of former ambassadors chiding MacKay for going after Richard Colvin has now risen from 23 yesterday to near 50 today (h/t this-on-that) and calls for his resignation and a public inquiry are growing.

"The minister has on nine separate occasions told the House there is not a scintilla of evidence of mistreatment even as the entire country was shown evidence that torture did take place," said the NDP's defence critic Jack Harris. "Will he resign?"

Instead, Mr. MacKay's parliamentary secretary, Laurie Hawn, mouthed "bullshit" as opposition MPs insisted the government knew of transfers to torture.
There's "bullshit" and then there's Toryshit.

In response to Ignatieff's question about this bombshell today, Harper said (with a straight face), "General Natynczyk has indicated what the government has said from the very outset."

And what would that be, Steve? That there were no credible reports of abuse?

Stay tuned this afternoon when MacKay is set to appear before the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan along with Lawrence Cannon and former defence minister (who was forced to resign over his lies on this file) Gordon O'Connor. (This is turning out to be all rather special, isn't it?) You can watch it live on CPAC's site at 3:30 pm ET.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Cons vs 23 Former Ambassadors

You know your attack style of governing sucks when...Former ambassadors condemn Ottawa's attack on diplomat

Twenty-three former ambassadors are speaking out against the Conservative government's attacks on the credibility of diplomat Richard Colvin, saying Ottawa's response to his Afghan detainee abuse testimony threatens to cast a chill over Canada's foreign service.

The ex-heads of Canadian diplomatic missions say in a letter released to the media that they're worried the treatment of Mr. Colvin will discourage diplomats from reporting frankly to Ottawa from their foreign postings.

Guergis Attacks Dead Student's Mother

From Monday's Question Period:

Mr. Serge Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, BQ):

Mr. Speaker, Suzanne Laplante-Edward, mother of Anne-Marie Edward, who was killed when just 21 years old in the École Polytechnique massacre, deplores the fact that the Conservative government is perversely dismantling the firearms registry. By relaxing firearms controls, the Conservatives are attacking, and I quote, “the monument erected in memory of our young women.”

When will this government acknowledge that the firearms registry helps prevent violence against women?

Hon. Helena Guergis (Minister of State (Status of Women), CPC):

Mr. Speaker, any suggestion that any member in this House would not want to see an end to violence against women is not only wrong, it is hateful. The ineffective Liberal gun registry has done absolutely nothing to protect Canadians and it has done nothing to make Canadian women safer. The hon. member will know this if he looks deep inside himself.
Last week, Guergis refused to denounce Saskatoon MP Maurice Vellacott's ridiculous comments about abortion, responding in the house that members are "required" to have their opinion. Obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Then again, neither is Vellacott:

Vellacott's release also says the current abortion process in Saskatoon is "conducive to abuse," and says "aborted women tell stories of being badgered, harassed and coerced into getting their abortion by boyfriends, partners, parents and employers."

He says pro-life feminists view abortion as "part of a male agenda to have women more sexually available," and adds abortion has been used to cover up the sexual abuse of young girls.
And here I thought Guergis didn't like crazy stories.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Pics du Jour: Greenpeace Protests on (literally) Parliament

19 Greenpeace protesters scale the parliament buildings in Ottawa

At least they found something green in the capitol.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

There's Steve: Embarrassing Canada - Again

Hypocritical headline of the day: Canada, China should meet more often: Harper:

In Beijing for the first time to meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Harper was reminded that a Canadian prime minister had not visited in five years.

"Five years is too long a time for China-Canada relations and that's why there are comments in the media that your visit is one that should have taken place earlier," Wen said.

Harper also said he would like see Chinese leaders come to Canada more frequently. "I think on both sides, more regular visits would make sense," he said.
He then threw up a little bit in his mouth.

In an earlier meeting, Chinese President Hu Jintao also pointed out twice that it was Harper's first visit. Harper said it has been five years since a Chinese leader visited Canada.
"Beatdown in Beijing" was the banner headline during Thursday nite's At Issue political panel.

Steve is definitely on a roll when it comes to tarnishing this country's image on the world stage. Stalling on climate change, the the torture cover up, refusing to reptriate Omar Khadr etc etc. What's next? There's apparently no stopping him now. Especially with a spineless opposition at home.

Quote du Jour: Suspicious Red Things

"I don't think it is an issue of the Canadians being the bad guys," the Pentagon's counterintelligence chief wrote, "but then again, who knows."
Yeah. Who knows...?

War is Still a Racket

As US Major General Smedley Butler said in 1933, 'War is a racket'. And the obscenties of corporate war profits continue. Harley Davidson dealerships on US bases in Afghanistan? What's wrong with this picture?

It's quite something to reflect on the numbers as Butler did - in the millions of dollars at the beginning of the last century - involved in waging war at that time. Today, it seems that we barely bat an eye at the idea that billions are being wasted while the uber-rich get richer thanks to the spilling of blood on foreign soil. Perhaps because that amount is just too much for the average citizen to even fathom. And certainly because we, who seem to believe that our so-called democracies are really about what "we the people" actually want, refuse to admit that we really live in oligarchies in which we are more than willing to cede control of our affairs to those who know what's best for us. It isn't only the right that believes in the type of authoritarian, Father Knows Best form of government that we on the left often chastise them for. Just take a look at the rationalizations for Obama's surge emanating from so-called progressives this week. The pro-war propaganda coming from people who would have roasted Bush on a stick for the same decisions is quite frightening.

In recognition of the popularity of National Exploding Head Day held on Wednesday - a day in which both the right and the left (and those in between) reacted hysterically to Obama's surge (as if it was some sort of surprise since, for so many Americans, "War is Freedom") - Exploding Head festivities will now continue throughout the week (and probably the month and into next year).

We certainly live in an upside-down world in which western governments strain at the idea of providing humanitarian aid in relatively paltry amounts while endlessly funding the military industrial complex based on overblown and logically irrational justifications - as just the cost of "keeping us safe" or "protecting our national security interests" or "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" or "protecting our way of life". No matter how you dress it up, it is obscene.

And the fact that Obama invoked 9/11 as one of those justifications is a reminder of how quickly history is forgotten and how eager Obama's war-supporters are to believe the talking points du jour. As Pepe Escobar writes in the Asia Times today:

Obama still says Afghanistan is a "war of necessity" - because of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Wrong. The Bush administration had planned to attack Afghanistan even before 9/11. See Get Osama! Now! Or else ... Asia Times Online, August 30, 2001.)
So, as Robert Scheer writes, Here We Go Again...:

The current president’s military point man, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, served in Carter’s National Security Council and knows that Obama is speaking falsely when he asserts it was the Soviet occupation that gave rise to the Muslim insurgency that we abetted. Gates wrote a memoir in 1996 which, as his publisher proclaimed, exposed “Carter’s never-before-revealed covert support to Afghan mujahedeen—six months before the Soviets invaded.”

Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was asked in a 1998 interview with the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur if he regretted “having given arms and advice to future terrorists,” and he answered, “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?” Brzezinski made that statement three years before the 9/11 attack by those “stirred-up Muslims.”

So here we go again, selling firewater to the natives and calling it salvation.
But the selling of that firewater in modern times is one of the most lucrative business ventures ever. It doesn't matter now, any more than it mattered back during Smedley Butler's day, who pays the price.


Fafblog! - Victory Science

You're A Good Man, Barack Obama: Afghanistan War Meets Classic Animation

FAIR: In Afghan Debate, Few Antiwar Op-Eds - Elite papers marginalize public opposition (sound familiar?)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Actually Cons, Colvin WAS Muzzled

The Conservatives are living in their own twisted version of Through the Looking Glass.

Last week, when David Mulroney testified in front of the special committee on Afghanistan, he attempted to rebut Richard Colvin's allegations that he was "muzzled" when he tried to report on detainee abuse allegations. Mulroney admitted that he told his officials that he preferred that they communicate by phone first - because all of those e-mails (which could be tracked later) were just too confusing to those in charge. No paper trail. How convenient.

Now we learn, via the Globe and Mail that parts of Colvin's reports were "edited":

Canada's former ambassador to Afghanistan asked a diplomat to erase two bluntly worded sections from an April, 2007, report on how Ottawa's delays in notifying the Red Cross of prisoner transfers to Afghan authorities left these detainees vulnerable to abuse.

The Globe and Mail has learned that Arif Lalani asked for the edits from Richard Colvin, a diplomat at the centre of an unfolding controversy over whether Canada turned a blind eye when handing prisoners to Afghanistan's torture-prone authorities.

This editing took place in April, 2007, only days after a Globe investigation revealed disturbing allegations of abuse and torture among prisoners transferred by Canadians to Afghan detention - stories that kicked off a stormy debate in Ottawa.

In one of the sections he was requested to delete, Mr. Colvin remarked on a pattern observed by the Red Cross: that abuse took place almost immediately after prisoners were transferred to the Afghans - timing that meant Canada's tardiness made it very hard for the human-rights monitor to guard against torture.

"[A Red Cross official], who had read The Globe and Mail's reporting, said that the allegations of abuse made by those Afghans interviewed by [reporter] Graeme Smith fit a common pattern," Mr. Colvin wrote in text that was cut out.

"In the International Committee of the Red Cross's experience, 'a lot of abuse happens in the first days,' " he wrote, adding that the human-rights monitor argued this was cause for "more rapid notification" that "would offer better protection to the detainees."


In another section he was asked by Mr. Lalani to erase, Mr. Colvin reminded Ottawa that it had been warned about 10 months earlier of these dangerous delays in notifying the Red Cross of detainees.

In the deleted text, Mr. Colvin even acknowledged that Ottawa's own internal statistics on notification delays corroborated the Red Cross's estimates. "Our own records substantiate ICRC's comments about continued delays in notification," the diplomat wrote. "For the four-month period of December 1, 2006, to March 30, 2007, the gap from detention by Canadian Forces to ICRC being informed was as long as 34 days," he wrote.
Somebody in Steve's government needs to look up the word "muzzled" in the dictionary.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Liveblogging Obama's 'Get your war on' Speech

I've already written about what I think about this surge. In summary, there is nothing Obama can say that can convince me that it's necessary or that this war is winnable - in any sense of the word.

The Washington Post reports that he is sending an additional 30,000 troops and that he has chosen July 2011 as the date to begin his withdrawal. That process is bound to take a long time though - as we've seen with the process of leaving Iraq. (Although the US never really completely withdraws from any war/occupation that it's been engaged in.)

I'll post speech highlights as they come in...

Sept 11th...history..blah blah blah...justifying the war...

Talking about the withdrawal of troops from mention of the contractors though...and that HUGE honking embassy...

5 minutes in and I think he's said 'Taliban' about 59 times already...

Said that although the Afghan government was produced by fraud, it's legitimate according to their that means ANYTHING...

30,000 troops - it's official...says he opposed the Iraq war because he believes in using "restraint" with military forces...that's funny...I thought he said it was a "dumb" war...

'our security is at stake'...9/11 (drink!)...

here comes the push for more NATO troops...yeah...good luck with that...

Pakistan has nukes (drink!)

all of those cadets in their identical grey uniforms in the West Point remind me of a scene from 1984...

as reported, start withdrawing in July 2011...

now he's looking onto the camera and speaking to the Afghan people...because so many of them actually have teevees and are watching this at whatever time it is there now...

yay! more drone attacks in Pakistan (that was paraphrased)

trying to rebut the Afghanistan=Vietnam's not working...

zzzzz...are we there yet?

Cake, anyone?

obligatory shots of Hillary looking adoringly at her commander-in-chief...

pontificating about how the yanks are going to protect human rights of 'the world' when he's still allowing renditions and hiding torture pictures...yeah...that was convincing...not... his voice is racheting up...stay tuned for 'amens' and 'praise the lord' from the audience...okay...maybe not that reaction but he did get his first moment of applause for saying that America isn't into world domination..(haha, now where's that quote I have of him saying during the campaign that he wants to "remake the world" in America's image? I kid you not.)

oh, cutesyness..."right makes might"

Hoo-ah, it's over.

Torture in Afghanistan: There WILL be a Public Inquiry

The house has voted on the NDP's motion to hold a public inquiry into the fate of Afghan detainees amid allegations that some may have been tortured after they were transferred to Afghan authorities.

The vote, with the support of all of the opposition parties, has passed.

There's no more hiding the truth, Cons. You have lost.

By the numbers:

Yea: 146

Nay: 129