Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Information Commissioner has balls.

Access to Information Act


 2. (1) The purpose of this Act is to extend the present laws of Canada to provide a right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be  limited and specific and that decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government.


Info Commissioner unveils strategy to investigate national security exemption claims

Undaunted, it seems, by the government's move to impose a half a million dollar involuntary budget cut on her office despite her plea to be spared the deficit-cutting axe, Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault has launched a new process to deal with the increasing number of access complaints sparked by exemption claims related to national security and international affairs.

Special Delegation Investigative Strategy

The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) has initiated a strategy to streamline the process of investigating "special delegation" complaints. Special delegation complaints involve the application of subsections 13(1)(a), 13(1)(b) and/or 15 of the Access to Information Act.  We are currently focusing on the investigation of complaints involving the application of subsection 15(1).  The goals of this approach are two-fold:
  • to investigate special delegation files efficiently and effectively in a consistent manner, in accordance with jurisprudence, that promotes access to information where disclosure would not injure the public interest; and,
  • to create an environment of open dialog between the OIC and government institutions that promotes the timely resolution of complaints. 

"After I had been confirmed as federal Information Commissioner, I met with the former Commissioner, John Grace, to get his advice.  One thing he said struck me in particular; he said that in his seven years as Privacy Commissioner and eight years as Information Commissioner (a total of 15 years spent reviewing the records which government wanted to withhold from Canadians) he hadn't seen a really good secret.  My experience is much the same over the first year of my term.  For the most part, officials love secrecy because it is a tool of power and control, not because the information they hold is particularly sensitive by nature."                                 
- John Reid, 1999

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Military Police Complaints Commission final report

[Highlighting added]
"17.1.5         Looking Back on the Somalia Inquiry: The Parallels and a Chance to Move Beyond
"This Commission is not the first tribunal to be confronted with difficulties in obtaining access to Government documents and evidence. As former Chairperson Peter Tinsley stated at an early stage of this Commission’s proceedings, it seemed that some of the key lessons from the Somalia experience had not been learned. This Commission was indeed struck by a number of similarities between the process issues which it faced, and the experiences reported by the Somalia Inquiry.
"The Somalia Inquiry mainly had to do with the actions of the Canadian military in Somalia. The Somalia Inquiry felt compelled in its Report to tell the story of DND’s apparent reluctance to cooperate with the Inquiry when it came to transparency and disclosure of documents. The comments made by the Somalia Commission in Chapter 39 of its Report on this issue could, in many respects, be adopted almost word for word to describe the issues this Commission faced in obtaining disclosure of relevant information from the Government during these proceedings.1586"
Complete report on MPCC site here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Moses heard God wrong

Uri Averny's weekly column

Our Muslim Brothers 

EVERYBODY KNOWS by now why we are stuck in Palestine.
When God instructed Moses to plead with Pharaoh to let his people go, Moses told him that he was unfit for the job because “I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10).
Actually, in the Hebrew original, Moses told God that he was “heavy of the mouth and heavy of the tongue”. He should have told Him that he was also heavy of the ears. So when God told him to take his people to Canada, he took his people to Canaan, spending the prescribed 40 years – just long enough to reach Vancouver – wandering hither and thither in the Sinai desert.
See entire column here

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Why weren’t they grateful?"

Pankaj Mishra
London Review of Books Jun 21, 2010
  • BUYPatriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Very British Coup by Christopher de Bellaigue
    Bodley Head, 310 pp, £20.00, February, ISBN 978 1 84792 108 6

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Unspeakable Things: The Liberals’ Clumsy Dance Across Obama's Killing Floor

by Chris Floyd 
Empire Burlesque 
High Crimes and Low Comedy in the American Imperium

Obama's List and Schindler's

United States Memorial Holocaust Museum
These squads were recruited from Heydrich's Sicherheitsdienst (hence, SD).  They already knew their mandate was broad. Their supreme leader had six weeks ago told General Keitel that "in the Government General of Poland there will have to be a tough struggle for national existence which will permit of no legal restraints."  In the lofty rhetoric of their leaders, as the Einsatz soldiers knew, a struggle for national existence meant racial warfare, just as Einsatz itself, Special Chivalrous Duty, meant the hot barrel of a gun.
Thomas Keneally
Schindler's List
Serpentine Publishing Company
London, 1982
Page 65

Obama's List

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Peter MacKay's $47,000 faux F35 photo-op


However, the SFX are cool, like MTV, only not that good.  Still expensive though.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Another day at the office for DND

Palais Wilson, Geneva HQ for the
  United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;
formerly for the League of Nations

Turkeys are coming home to roost. The United Nations Committee against Torture (the "treaty body") of the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, charged with monitoring State Parties adherence to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (that Canada signed up for) has issued a report on Canada.  Who knew?  Us?

In case anybody thinks this is some flaky group of Third World Rabble making frivolous and vexatious allegations about a serious civilized nation like Canada, the current members are listed on the Committee's site, as are the CV's.

These include the Vice-Chair, Felice Gaer of the United States, whose partial CV looks like this:

1983-present: Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights American Jewish Committee, Director

1991-1992: United Nations Association of the United States of America, Executive Director, European Programmes

1982-1991: International League for Human Rights, Executive Director

1974-1981: The Ford Foundation, Programme Officer International Division (1976-1981); Assistant Programme Officer (1974-1976); Member, Public Policy Committee (1976-1981)

Other service
- International Human Rights Council, the Carter Centre, Emory University, 1994-present
- Chair, Steering Committee, National Coalition on the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1997-1999
- Board of Directors, Andrei Sakharov Foundation, 1993-present
- Steering Committee, Human Rights Watch/Helsinki, 1996-present
- Founding member, Washington Working Group on the Human Rights of Women, 1994-present
- Vice-President and Board of Governors, International League for Human Rights, 1991-present
- President, International Friends of the Chilean Human Rights Commission, 1985-1990
- Committee on Human Rights, New York Academy of Sciences, 1982-1992
- Board of Directors, International Dispute Resolution Associates, 1995-present
- Advisory Panel on Ethnic Conflict, Minority and Individual Rights, The Atlantic Council, 1993-1995
- Advisory Board, Early Warning, Minorities and Conflict Resolution Project -Minority Rights Group, United States of America, 1994-1997
- Council on Foreign Relations, 1991-present
- Alumnae Achievement Award, Wellesley College, 1995
- Advisory Panel on Housing Rights, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat II), New York, January 1996
- Consultant, The Rockefeller Foundation, 1982-1983

Public member of United States delegation to:
- World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, June 1993
- Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, September 1995
- Preparatory Committee, Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), February 1996
- Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, 1994-1999

Excerpts from the report:


1.      The Committee against Torture considered the sixth periodic report of Canada (CAT/C/CAN/6) at its 1076th and 1079th meetings, held on 21 and 22  May 2012 (CAT/C/SR.1076 and 1079), and adopted the following concluding observations at its 1087th and 1088th meetings (CAT/C/SR.1087 and 1088).

 A.      Introduction

2.      The Committee welcomes the submission of the sixth periodic report by the State party, which broadly comply with the guidelines on the form and content of periodic reports, but regrets that it was submitted three years late.

3.      The Committee welcomes the open dialogue with the inter-ministerial delegation of the State party as well as its efforts to provide comprehensive responses to issues raised by Committee members during the dialogue. The Committee further commends the State party for the detailed written replies to the list of issues, which was however submitted three months late, just before the dialogue. Such delay prevented the Committee from conducting a careful analysis of the information provided by the State party.

4.      The Committee is aware that the State party has a federal structure, but recalls that Canada is a single State under international law and has the obligation to implement the Convention in full at the domestic level.


10.      The Committee regrets the State party’s failure to comply in every instance with the Committee’s decisions under article 22 of the Convention and requests for interim measures of protection, particularly in cases involving deportation and extradition (with reference to communications Nos. 258/2004, Mostafa Dadar v. Canada and 297/2006, Bachan Singh Sogi v. Canada), might undermine its commitment to the Convention. The Committee recalls that the State party, by ratifying the Convention and voluntarily accepting the Committee’s competence under article 22, undertook to cooperate with the Committee in good faith in applying and giving full effect to the procedure of individual complaints established thereunder. Consequently the Committee considers that, by deporting complainants despite the Committee’s decisions or requests for interim measures, the State party has committed a breach of its obligations under articles 3 and 22 of the Convention.  (arts. 3 and 22)

The State party should fully cooperate with the Committee, in particular by respecting in every instance its decisions and requests for interim measures. The Committee recommends the State party to review its policy in this respect, by considering requests for interim measures in good faith and in accordance with its obligations under articles 3 and 22 of the Convention.

11.      While noting the State party’s statement that the Canadian Forces assessed the risk of torture or ill-treatment before transferring a detainee into Afghan custody (CAT/C/CAN/Q/6/Add.1, para. 155), the Committee is concerned about several reports that some prisoners transferred by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan into the custody of other countries have experienced torture and ill-treatment. (art. 3) 

The State party should adopt a policy for future military operations which clearly prohibits the prisoner transfers to another country when there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture, and recognizes that diplomatic assurances and monitoring arrangements will not be relied upon to justify transfers when such substantial risk of torture exists

[emphasis added]

People at DND knew what was going on.

Ryan Crocker gets out...

The Simpsons,  Season 6, Episode 16, Bart vs. Australia

...and so avoids Graham Martin's last helicopter off the roof scenario.