The Harper Government was forced to accept the Arar inquiry, and now that they called the Air India inquiry they realize that public inquiries about their pals in CSIS and the RCMP can lead to political embarrassment. Of course the illegal detention and torture of Canadian citizens with the complicity of the Canadian State is the real embarrassment.
Lawyers for the government argued that only they should be present for most of the inquiry because it is only government officials whose actions are at issue.
So despite calls for a public inquiry Harper denies our right to know, he likes the idea of a Star Chamber it is his Executive prerogative after all. Clear, Transparent and Accountable to nobody but himself.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he will not impose new public-disclosure rules on an inquiry that's examining the role Canadian security agencies played in the overseas detention, interrogation and alleged torture of three Arab-Canadian men.
Harper told reporters Friday the internal inquiry, headed by retired Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, already has a mandate that allows him to balance the need for national security and public confidence.
"Justice Iacobucci has all the power necessary to decide whether something should be held in private or whether it can be held in public," he said. "The government has given him that mandate; the government isn't going to interfere in how he conducts the inquiry."
Iacobucci has not taken any evidence in public or released any documents since ruling in late May the inquiry will be held largely in secret.
That has left the three Canadian citizens at the heart of the inquiry, Abudllah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, deeply frustrated by their inability to participate in it.
"All I want is a fair and open process that I can be a part of, that I can help with, so that all Canadians can learn what happened," said Nureddin, who was detained for 34 days in Syria.
Nureddin says he was repeatedly tortured while being interrogated with questions that he had earlier been asked by security officials in Canada.
Almalki, an Ottawa engineer, contends he was arrested in Syria and tortured because of an incompetent CSIS and RCMP investigation that wrongly identified him as a high level al-Qaida member.
The Arar Inquiry has already revealed the RCMP sent questions for Almalki to Syrian Military Intelligence.
And it adds to Canadians disillusionment with the Justice system, which plays into the Conservatives Law and Order program.
- A recently-released government poll shows Canadians believe the rights of an accused person in the justice system trump those of the people they've committed crimes against.
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