Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Torture Cover Up: Conservatives Told To "Stick To Our Story"

The CBC has obtained documents that strongly suggest the government acted to cover up Afghan detainee torture allegations. In response to verified reports of torture Conservative MPs were advised that Canadians wouldn't like what the government was doing, and that it was important to coordinate the message and to "Stick to our story."

The CBC reports that a communications document prepared for Peter McKay to present to a cabinet committee strengthens accusations that this Conservative government acted to cover up claims of Afghan detainees being tortured. The presentation in response to the Globe and Mail reporting credible allegations of torture states coldly, "It appears that Canadians may not like what this is doing to Canada's image on the international stage."

A question here is, when would Canadians ever like the impact torture allegations have on Canada's image? Unless of course it is not the public attention that is being referred to, but the torture itself.

These documents were for the Defense Minister to present to Cabinet and were not for some press secretary or someone from the Prime Minister's Office. It was not the media attention the Conservative government was worried about, it was the concern that Canadians would not like their government intentionally handing over detainees to be tortured.

Within the documents in response to torture allegations there were calls for Conservative MPs to have "Coordinated and consistent messaging," the most notorious of the phrases conveying the presumption of guilt, "Stick to our story." For those words imply that there is more than one story and here is just one that was written by the government.

Although it would be debatable whether such lines would be innocuous if they were prepared by the Prime Ministers Office, they would certainly be more appropriate coming from that office as it is solely designed to protect and strengthen the image of our government. It is odious that instead of the PMO, these documents were to be presented by Peter McKay, the Defense Minister of Canada.

These documents strongly indicate there was something this Conservative government intended to cover up, and the cover up involved the Defense Ministry and torture.

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