Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Iacobucci Press Conference: Whitewash diluted with grey.

I just finished listening to the press conference with Frank Iacobucci. From his summary it seems that my earlier guess about the nature of the report was bang on. Note that the reporters were given only an hour to digest the over 400 pages before the conference. This was done at the bequest of the government not Iacobucci. The same old same old Tories.
To be fair to Iacobucci the terms of reference made it almost inevitable that to some degree the report would be a whitewash. Important issues such as the quality of the intelligence used to make Almalki et al terrorist suspects did not arise within his terms of reference. The inquiry was very narrowly focused on the actions of Canadian officials with respect to the imprisonment and torture of Almalki et al. The fact that testimony by officials was not released let alone subject to examination by lawyers further makes it virtually impossible to evaluate what Iacobucci concludes.
This is not a complete whitewash because at least Iacobucci concludes that the three were tortured and also that Canadian officials contributed indirectly to the imprisonment of the three. Iacobucci also mentioned that if he had the co-operation of Syria, Egypt, the USA and Malaysia he could perhaps have made a conclusion that officials were directly involved--in a kind of rendition lite no doubt in which Canadian authorities take advantage of the fact that a person is in a place such as Syria to have them arrested and interrogated.( Of course the US wants nothing to do with revelations about its dirty tricks department.) Personally I have no doubt this is what happened but no doubt Iacobucci is correct in not drawing that conclusion from just the evidence that he had before him.
There will now be a flurry of news coverage but it is clear that no one will be held responsible and the government and authorities involved will not suffer one iota except for a temporary bit of bad publicity. Iacobucci himself insists that nothing was done maliciously that there were mistakes and failings. Typical spinning of what happened.

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