Muddying the waters over torture

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by Brian Stewart, CBC News, November 25, 2009

Torture in a far off, turbulent land such as Afghanistan seems grimly foreign to us.

Yet parts of the allegations raised by diplomat Richard Colvin have an utterly familiar Canadian air about them.

For one, there is the effort by senior Canadian officials to — when confronted with a difficult and embarrassing issue — delay, obfuscate, round on any whistle-blower and hide any paper trail behind the veil of bureaucratic secrecy.

The British call this time-honoured technique “muddying the waters,” but Canadian politicians and senior bureaucrats are now the true masters of the practice.

And because a good deal of muddying has been going on in Ottawa over the past week we should take a closer look into some very odd Canadian actions in Afghanistan in 2007, when allegations of torture were running at their height.

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