Monday, November 30, 2009

Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act

You know, people should read this. In particular, the Attorney General of Canada, Rob Nicholson, who has been very, very quiet recently - practically invisible - should read it, and all members of the Special Parliamentary Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan - or whatever it's called - should read it, particularly Bob Rae. Pamela Wallin, Senator from the Orwellian Establishment should read it. And Rex Murphy should defintely shut up and read it.

It's pretty clear. We should hear more from international lawyers who know what they're talking about.

The possibility - even probability - is that all prisoner transfers in Afghanistan from NATO forces to Afghan authorities have been illegal under the Third Geneva Convention (Article 12), as confirmed by the the Bulletin of the Secretary General of the United Nations on August 12, 1999, which happens to be the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949.

The International Criminal Court at The Hague is looking to be very, very busy. I'm thinking all senior members of ISAF will be in the dock. And that's a good thing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Paper Chase

Based on available evidence, I offer an alternative version of the Afghan prisoner debacle. The public relations/advertising/propaganda gurus (like Joseph Goebbels) might call it a “narrative”.

1. The Canadian government (Liberal or Conservative) gave little if any thought to the legal implications of prisoners being taken in Afghanistan by Canadian troops.
2. When the shooting war heated up in 2006, and prisoners were inevitably taken, somebody balked at handing them over to Americans.
3. In April, 2006, Richard Colvin arrived in Kandahar and questions were asked in Parliament by Dawn Black of the NDP.
4. The “Campaign Against Terrorism Detainee Transfer Log”, kept meticulously from January 2002 until April 2006, ceased to exist.

The following is from page 47 of the transcript of a Federal Court of Canada hearing in Vancouver, April 20, 2009 (T-680-08, decision [2009 FC 1000]).

MS. TULLY: I thought I'd start with the documents that I provided to Mr. Kitson. I've been able to go through my notes of what I received from the Department of National Defence, and I can advise that the statistics go until March or April 2006. So you're correct, they do not cover the period of time in question.
And the further information that I do have, and the reason that I think there was some confusion last time, is they were produced as a result of one of the Amnesty decisions and I don't have the citation but it was a decision involving Amnesty International. And the individuals from the Department of National Defence, who attended before you on March 5th, thought the statistics were on the Amnesty International website. We've tried to locate them there. We can't, but they are on the website that I've given to the Registrar."

The website is that of Amir Attaran.

5. No records were kept of prisoner detentions or transfers for a period of months, after April, 2006.

I find this difficult to believe, but when I received a response to my original Access to Information Act request from the DND on September 17, 2007, it consisted of 73 redacted pages of what appeared to be battlefield reports, and I concluded I was getting the run-around, particularly after being shown the Campaign Against Terrorism Detainee Transfer Log. But maybe it's true. Maybe these are the only records that exist.

6. The Canadian Military Police expressed their view that the conditions to which prisoners were transferred in Kandahar did not meet the standard of the Third Geneva Convention.

From the Globe and Mail,19 Feb, 2009
article by Paul Koring
Prisoner transfers halted as early as spring 2007
"Voicing their doubts"

"At least some Canadian military police officers in Afghanistan were worried about what would happen to prisoners they handed over to Afghan authorities, according to transcripts of the Military Police complaints Commission's interview with Captain Jason Tarzwell, deputy commander of the Canadian military police deployed to Kandahar in the first months of Canada's move to the Taliban heartland.

"Capt Tarzwell: 'I didn't think with the Kandahar facility, detention facility that it was appropriate for us, Canada, to be directly involved in transferring folks to a prison that held political prisoners, adulterers and homosexuals and that I really didn't think it was Canada's responsibility to pick the spot where we were going to put them, because then we would have ownership of that problem.

'It was certainly laid out in the Geneva Convention 3[*] why we don't put people in prison.

'And then the folks in that particular prison, again, it wasn't something I felt Canada or Canadians should be involved in...

'Now, I made that determination, again, because that facility wasn't appropriate. I'm not sure why anyone else didn't look at it in the intervening time that I was gone, and say, hey that's not appropriate, but as the platoon commander there and the commander on the ground and responsible for that facility it clearly didn't meet the Geneva Convention.

'So I'm thinking either Major Fraser wasn't in tune with the Geneva Convention, or he never looked at it, or he didn't really put much thought into what was happening there...'

*Link to ICRC website added

United Nations Cash-for-clunkers Program

Afghanistan Compact 2006

Having trouble with your 2006 Afghanistan Compact? Is it always in the shop? Are you always spending money on it? Do you know someone who has been seriously injured using it, or even killed?

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Saturday, November 28, 2009


Building on Success Part 2

Whatever happened to Part 1? There was, like, the Afghanistan Compact, leading to the "UN-sanctioned" ISAF, timelines, all that, conflated with UN Security Council Resolution 1386...I can't believe these guys can keep a straight face while lying through their teeth. Now the SecGen is looking forward to a new "compact".

Upcoming Afghan conference will help promote post-election dialogue – Ban

28 November 2009 –The international conference on Afghanistan that will be staged in London early next year provides “a very timely” opportunity to discuss the country's agenda in the wake of its recent presidential elections, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Mr. Ban said the London conference – scheduled to take place on 28 January – and a further high-level conference, to be convened in Kabul a few months later – will help outline the framework so that Afghans can play a greater role in shaping their own destiny.

“These conferences would thus constitute defining moments in the reconfiguration of the relationship between Afghanistan and the international community,” Mr. Ban said today in a statement issued in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where he is attending the Commonwealth heads of government meeting.

The United Nations Secretary-General stressed his support for high-level dialogue and noted that Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in his inaugural speech earlier this month, also outlined the importance of such discussions in the wake of the elections.

Mr. Karzai was re-elected to the presidency after his opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew from the run-off round that had been slated for 7 November.

In his inaugural speech Mr. Karzai detailed a work programme for the new Government, and pledged to fight corruption and to bring increased good governance, security and services to the country, where the Taliban and other insurgents continue to wreak violence.

The London conference is the result of a joint European proposal by the United Kingdom, France and Germany and Mr. Ban today thanked Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel for their initiative.

After meeting with Mr. Brown today, Mr. Ban told journalists that the conference would have two objectives: to establish a strong compact between Mr. Karzai, his Government and his people, and to set up a strong partnership between the Afghan people and the international community.

"We expect President Karzai will reach out to ethnic groups and other political leaders to promote national reconciliation and unity of the government. We also expect that we will try to help the Afghan Government so they can build institutional capacity.

"We also expect that President Karzai will ensure good governance, including eradication of corrupt practices of their country and... [through improving and strengthening] partnerships with neighbouring countries like Pakistan, India, Iran and Turkey."

Obstruction, intimidation, and interference... the government of Canada, in a futile attempt to conceal truth from Canadian citizens. I propose that Mr. Richard Colvin be nominated for the Order of Canada to honour his honesty and fearless public service.

This complaint is not new for this government, as is shown by the Chair's exasperated comments at the recent adjournment of the Canadian Military Police Complaints Commission. The behaviour is part of a pattern, the best description being that of Frank McKenna, which that we're dealing with thugs. This isn't a matter of politics, it's a matter of criminal responsbility.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

You know, like, joining the dots....

So I've been trying to get in touch with the CBC all day - it's probably my fault - about Neil Macdonald's article in which Canadian spooks cast aspersions.

As I tried to tell the CBC, spooks' anonymous testimony got us into big trouble with Maher Arar, in fact, $25 million worth of trouble, in which Maher Arar was slandered as a "bad guy", and no Canadian officals, spooks or otherwise, were held to account.

The fact is that the legal basis for taking prisoners in Afghanistan is the Third Geneva Convention, as confirmed by the UN Secretary General in his Bulletin of August 12, 1999, in which case the onus is on Canadian troops, and Canada as the "Detaining Power", to care for prisoners as stated, particularly in Article 12.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The turkeys come home to roost....

Carmen DePape
Clerk of the Committee
Special Committee on Canada's Mission in Afghanistan (AFGH)

Dear Carmen,

I attach copies in French and English of a complaint made to the RCMP and received by them Oct 28, 2009. The Department of Justice also received a copy. The complaint follows on from an application for judicial review in the Federal Court (T-680-08) in the course of which I was made aware of a document "Campaign Against Terrorism Detainee Transfer Log" which, I was told in court, was not available after April 2006, but had been kept meticulously by Canadian Forces since 2002.

Apart from drawing the committee's attention to the existence of this document, and its subsequent unexplained disappearance, the existing record is significant in that it shows that Canadian Forces notified the International Committee of the Red Cross of all its prisoners, as required by the Third Geneva Convention, which in turn makes that Convention the legal standard by which all aspects of prisoner transfers should be judged.

I further draw the committee's attention to the document available at Amir Attaran's website, within which multiple versions of the transfer log exist, showing it to have been cumulative.

The supporting documents for my own complaint can be found at:

Yours sincerely,

Neil Kitson

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sure, Bob

The Afghanistan war is just
by Robert Fulford
(The National Post, 10 November 2007)
The Great War affected Harold Innis personally during its first year, in the summer of 1915, when he was 19 years old and hadn't yet planned the career that would make him the most influential social scientist in Canada. He was living in Landonville, Alta., teaching summer school, when he received heart-stopping news.

A contemporary from Otterville, in southwestern Ontario, had died fighting in France. Barney Ryder wasn't a close friend, but they had lived parallel lives in the same farming community. That fact made the war part of Innis's private life as well as a faraway tragedy covered in the newspapers. He paid eloquent tribute: "Not only did Barney die for his country, but in a broader sense he died for civilization and the world."

Universalist idealism fuelled those words, an idealism widely popular at the time but less common today though by no means extinct. In 1915 many Canadians believed the struggle against Germany was a just war. Democracy was at stake, and Britain. Theologians discussed whether a war can ever be just or "good," as we say nowadays in book titles such as The Last Good War.

This weekend, during Remembrance Day ceremonies, many of us will be thinking about Canadians in Afghanistan, men and women our descendants will honour when they wear poppies. Is Afghanistan a just war? Are we right to be there? Today it's commonplace among historians to question the First World War's claim to be just. Was it worth 60,000 Canadian lives?

Innis, a Baptist on his way (he thought) to being a minister, decided a Christian could support the war. He enlisted and soon saw some of the worst of it. ("One of our airplanes came down. Awful crash; intestines all over the machine; head off the pilot.") A piece of shrapnel damaged Innis's hip and ended his war. He came home with a powerful sense of his good fortune and a determination to make the rest of his life a memorial to those who had died.

He would do his best to understand what had produced modern society and its calamitous war. The late Sandra Gwyn told his story superbly in Tapestry of War, published in 1992. Innis's son Donald said many years later his father identified with everyone who died or suffered in the war: "He had joined a fraternity that is unseen and unspoken but exists nevertheless." Eventually he became the greatest authority on Canadian economic history, then a pioneer of communications theory who explained the nature of empires by the ways they communicated. (Marshall McLuhan, in a rare moment of modesty, wrote that his own work was no more than a footnote to Innis.)

Reinhold Niebuhr, the most admired of American theologians, was a self-described pacifist who decided that sometimes war was justified. He applied his doctrine, Christian Realism, when Japan invaded China in 1932 and colonized Manchuria. Niebuhr urged the U.S. to bring a moral sense to this situation and yet "not sacrifice the possibility of achieving an ethical goal because we are afraid to use any but ethical means." He took the same view of fighting Hitler seven years later.

Desmond Morton, in the recently published fifth edition of A Military History of Canada, explains with admirable clarity the agonizing problems Canada faces in Afghanistan. Many NATO members, "and especially their voters," tend to see Afghanistan as hopeless and none of their business. Sometimes our troops must feel almost alone. Sometimes Canadian commanders have to negotiate like diplomats to get the promised help of other governments.

Worse, Afghanistan's own government tends to be unreliable when it is not corrupt, and now Pakistan, as an unabashed dictatorship, will provide fresh opportunities for its intelligence officers to exchange information with their friends among the Taliban. A collection of tyrants and their thuggish followers, the Taliban kill not only soldiers but also teachers, doctors and nurses. They think nothing of burning down hospitals. They use suicide bombers and turn every road into a war zone by planting roadside bombs.

It has fallen to Canada to help destroy the Taliban and make it possible for the people of Afghanistan to create a reasonable society. If that can be accomplished, it will be a blow struck for civilization, as Innis said of his friend's death. The Afghanistan war is clearly just. On this of all weekends we should remember the Canadians who are risking their lives to bring a decent life and at least the beginning of democracy to one wretched nation.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Remembrance Day, 2009

November 11, Remembrance Day, 2009

James Wilfred Elliott
Regimental Number 908082
195th Battalion
Canadian Expeditionary Force

Dear Uncle Wilfred,

I wrote you last over a year ago, and a lot has happened since then, or perhaps very little has happened, but I wanted to bring you up to date, and as a matter of fact, I wanted to get a lot of this off my chest, so you're the guy I'm writing to; it would be you I'd want to tell this to in person.

I was rummaging through my files with respect to Remembrance Day and this blog (the purpose of which is to document "an attempt to extract public information from the Department of National Defence"), and found your enlistment certificate... well as the citation for your Military Medal, which speaks for itself...

...and the unique and irreplaceable trench map showing where you were wounded during the Battle for Hill 70 at Lens, France...

And, just to be clear why I'm doing all this, it was because of alarming statements by people like Rick Hillier former chief of the Defence Staff, a little like General Arthur Currie, who apparently spoke for large parts of the Canadian government (Rick, not Arthur), when he said:

"These are detestable murderers and scumbags. They detest our freedoms, they detest our society, they detest our liberties." -- Hillier on July 14, 2005, on Osama bin Laden and Islamist terrorists in general. He added: "We're not the public service of Canada. We're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people. "

I don't think Arthur Currie spoke like this, however. Or maybe he did. But in Rick's world the enemy is "they", whoever "they" are, and the solution is to kill them. What about the Sikh terrorists in Surrey, the guys who organized the Air India bombing? I haven't noticed Rick invading Surrey, or perhaps more to the point, the Indian Army invading Surrey, arresting citizens who resist them, or killing them as "insurgents", and dropping prisoners off at the Surrey Pre-trial Detention Centre. I'm sure I'd rather be in Surrey than in the Sarpoza Central slammer in Kandahar, but you see my point. Somehow, it's as if the entire 20th century's sorry history of industrialized warfare had ceased to exist for Rick, and with it the attempts of many people to make sure it happened less and less - meaning international law like the Geneva Conventions - and for Rick the whole thing comes down to "good guys", "bad guys", and brute force, all of which worked so well in Vietnam. And as a matter of fact, the Canadian armed forces are a branch of the public service of Canada. They've got weapons, but so does the RCMP, as we know.

But if Rick was surprised by the reaction to his thoughts on killing people in war, he seemed equally surprised by the thought that Canadians might also take prisoners - I would have thought this was pretty obvious. As it turns out - and I don't think you have to be an international lawyer to know this, Wilfred - you can't shoot prisoners of war out of hand. Since I'm a Canadian citizen and responsible in my own way for what my government does, like I was apparently responsible for the crime committed against Maher Arar by the government, the bill for which came to about $25 million, with no government official ever having to account for any of it, I went so far as to ask Rick what had happened to prisoners in Afghanistan, just in case handing them over to Afghan "authorities" was, as it seemed to be, a war crime committed on my behalf.

The question was part of a memo asking several other questions, like "What is the Mission in Afghanistan and how will we know when it's over?" and "Is Afghanistan's central government legitimate?", questions that seem, weirdly, still around over three years later. "International affairs", which we have to be very secretive about so as not to disturb anybody, seem to move at about the same pace as the redaction guys in the basement of National Defence, which is to say you wait a long time for a snow job, but I'll get back to that in a moment. Anyway, the questions I put to Rick were as follows:

"I read that the International Committee of the Red Cross is very impressed at how Canadian troops record their prisoner handovers to Afghan "authorities", but where does the trail lead after that Rick? There is some pretty horrific evidence about what Americans regard as "interrogation" that doesn't exactly fit the Geneva Conventions, and went on at Bagram Air Force Base, not to mention Guantanamo, and what guarantees are there that the prisoners taken by Canadian forces (prisoners, Rick, not "detainees") will not end up in American prisons through the well known process of "rendition". And by the way Rick, where are the records of these prisoners kept, meaning the Canadian records?"

I'm not saying all this is due to one guy. Paul Martin is implicated for sure, backing up Hillier:

"Then there was a recent incident involving Canada’s top military official, General Rick Hillier. Our troops are now in southern Afghanistan, and what they are likely to encounter, Hillier publicly dubbed “detestable murderers and scumbags [Taliban]…They detest our freedoms, they detest our society, they detest our liberties.” Members of the Polaris Institute, a left-leaning foreign affairs think tank asked the General’s remarks be clarified. This was rejected. And PM Martin went farther, defending Hillier, saying “The point he [Hillier] is simply making is we are at war with terrorism and we're not going to let them win” [citations in this paragraph appear in “‘Murderous Scumbag’ Shot Par for the Course for New Defence Chief; No Reprimand,” by Stephen Thorne, CP, 15 July 2005. Posted at]."

For Paul and Rick, the answer is in Article 12 of the Third Geneva Convention (which of course has many other articles, which Canada has signed, regarding the treatment of prisoners of war):

"Art 12. Prisoners of war are in the hands of the enemy Power, but not of the individuals or military units who have captured them. Irrespective of the individual responsibilities that may exist, the Detaining Power is responsible for the treatment given them."

I would have thought that was pretty clear: if you take prisoners, their welfare is your responsibility.You see the problem, Wilfred. You won't know all these guys of course, but even if you're using the Hague Conventions as you were, handing off prisoners of war to fates unknown wasn't going to fly, just as it didn't fly for Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel who was hung at Nuremberg for his treatment of Russian prisoners of war, among other crimes, in violation of the Hague Conventions. Furthermore, there is no real contracting out of this responsibility. I hope Rick and Paul are both worried about this, as Gord, Steve, Pete, and Larry should be, rather than the Military Police on the front lines. Now that I think of it, Bill Graham should be on that list, a guy who was quoted by Michael Byers, as saying at a UBC lecture in November 2005, when he was Minister of National Defence (page 33): "that Canada had no choice but to transfer prisoners to U.S. or Afghan custody, because we lacked the facilities to hold them and building such facilities would be impracticable." According to Bill, who got the gold medal in his law class, it was "impracticable" for Canada to care for its own prisoners of war in Afghanistan. This is a guy with a zillion law degrees, a law prof in fact, former Cabinet Minister, and a guy who thinks "impracticable" is an exit from responsibilities under the Geneva Conventions. Furthermore, in a conference call on October 12, 2005, he said:

"That’s going to be their job is to go out and meet them in the field and destroy them and destroy their capacity to attack our troops and to attack innocent Afghan people. So there’s no question but that is the nature of that mission and it will bring those consequences with it."

So there seems no doubt that military combat was on Bill's horizon, and you would have thought, the possibility of prisoners. I'm suggesting in fact that all prisoner transfers made by Canadian troops in Afghanistan to Afghan "authorities" were "unlawful", unless somebody makes a case that that is incorrect, and if they have, I haven't seen it.

I'm starting to imagine a very crowded courtroom scene in The Hague, since it seems unlikely that such a trial could be conducted in Canada, a scene reminiscent of those Nuremberg pictures,

but where the accused are all Canadian politicians and military officers.

It's not a picture that springs easily to the eye.

Anyway, I didn't hear back from Rick, not surprisingly, but then got the idea from reading about the American Civil Liberties Union that we in Canada had our own Access to Information Act, which we do, so I got a form, filled it in, and sent off my five bucks. I was very impressed. Here's the form:

And here is the answer:

And here is a sample page from the 73 page attachment,

and they all look much the same. It took nine months to produce this report, and I figured it out that each line of redaction took one day of those nine months, which is pretty slow redaction - maybe they've got one retired sergeant-major sitting on a tall stool somewhere, working by candle-light with a bottle of white out and quill pen - but the Canadian Military Police Complaints Commission has been having the same problem, so I know it's not just me.

That of course was about three years ago, and how it all happened is on this blog but it takes a while to go through it all. It ended up - for the moment - as an application for judicial review in the Federal Court of Canada, which was an interesting experience and a partial success. It was a success in that I got the Department of National Defence to tell the truth, but only part of the truth, and that reluctantly, in fact they refused to tell any of the truth, but the Federal Court of Canada pried truth out of them that, as it turns out, had been released to Amir Attaran - a relentless pursuer of the truth - in November, 2007, and a relevant document is the Campaign Against Terrorism Detainee Log, one sample of which is this:

You will notice, Wilfred, that the information I asked for in my Access to Information Act request, is exactly the information contained in the in the "Transfer Log", and completely unrelated to the "information" I eventually got from Defence. So now, at least I know what document to ask for.

And, there was more to it than that.

Chief Justice Alan Lutfy, who was hearing my application, had initially held an ex parte (secret) and in camera (closed) hearing with counsel and a witness from the Respondent Minister of National Defence on March 5, 2009, from which I was naturally excluded, but Justice Lutfy got to see the government's case. I thought this was a victory for the rule of law.

Subsequently, at the direction of the court, and with the participation of counsel for the Minister of National Defence, a public hearing was held in Vancouver on April 20, 2009, on what was agreed were the public components of the Respondents' Record (another victory for the rule of law, in my opinion). During those proceedings (I know I'm not a lawyer, Wilfred, but the language starts to rub off on you after a while, and I'm starting to think that's not a bad thing at all, lawyers having learned ways of speaking during heated conflicts that otherwise would end up in violence), Justice Lutfy expressed concern about the statements given by a Confidential Affiant from the Department of National Defence at the March 5 hearing in Ottawa, and directed that his understanding of this sworn testimony be clarified by letter.

As a result, after the hearing, and at the direction of the Court, I received a copy of the letter stating that the Confidential Affiant had made an error, an "honest mistake".

Fair enough. The thing is, there is the matter of Ruby v. Canada (Solicitor General), [2002] 4 S.C.R. 3, 2002 SCC 75, in which the Supreme Court of Canada stated at paragraph 27:

"In all cases where a party is before the court on an ex parte basis, the party is under a duty of utmost good faith in the representations that it makes to the court. The evidence presented must be complete and thorough and no relevant information adverse to the interest of that party may be withheld: Royal Bank, supra, at para. 11. Virtually all codes of professional conduct impose such an ethical obligation on lawyers. See for example the Alberta Code of Professional Conduct, c. 10, r. 8."

However, the DND testimony at the ex parte hearing was undoubtedly very well informed in respect to technical matters, and Justice Lutfy had no reason to doubt anything, except the part about the public availability of information released by DND about prisoners taken in Afghanistan. That availability was the whole point of my Access to Information Act request, and of course this blog. So either the Confidential Affiant was not well informed on this matter, which seems a little weird if that's the guy the Department of National Defence sent over to testify to the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada in closed session, or otherwise, the testimony falls into the category of "Misleading Justice" which is part of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Misleading Justice

136. (1) Every one who, being a witness in a judicial proceeding, gives evidence with respect to any matter of fact or knowledge and who subsequently, in a judicial proceeding, gives evidence that is contrary to his previous evidence is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years, whether or not the prior or later evidence or either is true, but no person shall be convicted under this section unless the court, judge or provincial court judge, as the case may be, is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused, in giving evidence in either of the judicial proceedings, intended to mislead.

Personally, I'd prefer to think that the DND expert knew everything except the public availability, and you can't know everything. However, none of this prisoner confusion has been cleared up, Uncle Wilfred, and it's difficult for me to imagine how a guy (the letter from the Department of Justice said "he") who didn't know what he was talking about could make an assertion in the Federal Court of Canada for which there was no basis in fact. As far as I can tell, the Department of National Defence has released no information whatever about prisoners it has taken in Afghanistan, at the end of each year or at any other time. All the information released has been from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

On the other hand, if I put the information I do have together with the investigation by the Canadian Military Police Complaints Commission, there is I believe strong evidence for an investigation of possible "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions that occurred as the result of transfers of prisoners taken in Afghanistan from Canadian to Afghan custody. And as a matter of fact, that's what we're supposed to be doing, according the the Fourth Geneva Convention at Articles 146 and 147:

I think the meaning here is unmistakably clear, both as to the definition of "grave breach" including "unlawful transfer", and the obligation imposed on "High Contracting Parties" - which most definitely includes Canada - to investigate and bring such breaches before their own - again, Canadian - courts.

As I say, you won't be familiar with the Geneva Conventions, Wilfred, but they were designed to supplement and stengthen the Hague Conventions, which I was interested to learn are still in force and define, among other things, what is a military "occupation" (Article 42), which I think accurately defines NATO's activities in Afghanistan, although as an occupation it is remarkably inept.

So I've made a complaint. I'm aware that ordinary citizens involving themselves in complaints against the government might reasonably be considered to be "frivolous or vexatious" in some cases. I don't think that applies to me. My understanding is that "frivolous" means there is no hope of success: obviously, my application the Federal Court of Canada was not viewed in that light. My understanding of "vexatious" is that undue hardship would be imposed on those required to defend themselves in a proceeding that has no chance of success. Again, no undue hardship was imposed on the Minister of National Defence in my previous application, or for that matter, any members of the government during or after the Maher Arar disaster.

What could be interesting is the conflict of interest that would arise in the Department of Justice, which would be responsible both for investigating a complaint of war crime, and representing government servants being investigated. This has come up, repeatedly, at the public interest hearings of the Canadian Military Police Complaints Commission.

I'll keep you posted.