Thursday, April 14, 2016

A case of the slows

The Star has this powerful editorial about the Canadian Forces investigation into inaction in the face of the sexual abuse of children by Afghan forces. Excerpt:
The military has — at long last — released the results of an inquiry into why Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan years ago failed to intervene when they saw Afghan soldiers abusing children, or suspected them of doing so. And it confirms that the military took action only after the media blew the whistle on the problem. 
It took far too long to make this public. The probe was launched back in 2008 after a frontline soldier told the Star about evidence of abuse, saying he had seen a boy who had been severely injured in a rape. A report by a military board of inquiry was completed in 2010. But it was only revealed on Tuesday — six years after being finished, and two years after the end of Canada’s mission.


  1. There is no known valid reason for delaying the publication of this report except to ensure that the sheer passage of time would make the issue nugatory in the minds of Canadians. The report by the Board of Inquiry is an inglorious demonstration of the tepid attention given to this troublesome situation.

  2. I concur the delay is troubling. In all fairness to those involved, the BOI itself does not seem to be the cause of that delay. Events occurred in 2006-2007. Press reports were in June 2008. CFNIS started an investigation right away. Simultaneously, as CFNIS' mandate is limited, a BOI was convened. From Oct 2008 to Jan 2010, 800 potential witnesses were identified and 105 interviews conducted. What happened between January 15, 2010 and April 12, 2016? Part of the answer can be found in the BOI final report itself:

    "1.52 The Board recommended the following, with regards to the public release of this BOI report:

    a) Because of the international sensitivity of this report, a CDS [Chief of the Defence Staff], PCO [Privy Council Office], and DFAIT [Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade] committee should be formed to review and decisions on the release of all or part of this report.

    b) Because the allegations were made publicly, there should be a public report and the Board prepared a draft for consideration.

    c) There is a great deal of sensitive information in this report. Therefore, any release should be preceded by a full review under the Privacy Act, Access to Information, and Security of Information Act."

    So it might be just plain bureaucracy. In addition, we should add that the government at the time had a centralized and stringent rules about communicating official documents from any department to the general public. Those rules were even more restrictive due to the political campaign which in fact began about two years prior last federal elections held in last October.


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