Hidden from Canadians - Canada's War of 9-11 Retribution Includes Probable Torture of Afghan Detainees

Possible release of long-secret Afghan detainee documents hits snag

By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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OTTAWA — An all-party push to release documents about the alleged torture of prisoners in Afghan jails ran into a procedural wall late Friday.

The Conservatives joined other federal parties in calling for disclosure of the first batch of records from a special committee, saying they would do "whatever it takes" to make it happen.

But Alberta Tory candidate Laurie Hawn later backpedalled somewhat, saying "there is no specific process" to make the documents public during an election campaign.

The alleged abuse of detainees in Afghanistan — and what the federal government may have known about it — has dogged the Conservatives for years.

The government's initial refusal to disclose the thousands of pages of Foreign Affairs and Defence Department reports prompted a parliamentary crisis in December 2009.

It was resolved with formation of the committee, which began sifting through tens of thousands of pages last July.

The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois — the other two parties represented on the committee — called Friday for disclosure of the records.

"The issue is, Canadians ought to know this stuff," said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. "This is how democracy works. There's no reason to conceal these documents."

In Quebec City, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe said he was tired of waiting for the documents, adding his party was pulling out of the committee. "I'm asking that it has to be public — period."

The New Democrats refused to take part in the committee due to lack of faith in the process.

In Prince Edward Island, NDP Leader Jack Layton was not surprised by the latest drama.

"This has been the plan from Day 1," he said. "And that is what we warned the other leaders about. We said: 'You are being drawn into a process where Stephen Harper is going to drag this thing out.'

Winter 2010-Harper Government prorogues Parliament-
Sweeps Probable Torture of Afghans detainees under the rug

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