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What’s behind the black boxes?

Aaron Wherry over at MacLean’s was sharp enough to spot the difference between the version of a report cited by General Walter Natynczyk in his press conference on Wednesday morning and the version provided to the BCCLA and Amnesty back in 2007.

The difference? The report of a prisoner transferred by Canadian Forces to Afghan police being abused by Afghan forces was redacted in the version the BCCLA and Amnesty got to see.

In the version provided to the BCCLA (right), critical pieces of evidence have been redacted, hiding the suggestion that abuse by the ANP was well known to Canadian Forces.

A tale of two documents

Here’s a transcribed version of the unredacted document, as provided by the CBC. I’ve noted the sections that were redacted in the version provided to the BCCLA and Amnesty in bold:

20:00 14 Jun 06 [location redacted]

Stopped along Rte [redacted] and held up a vehicle that was proceeding south down the route. Stopped and searched the three individuals in the white van and got a very weird feel from one of them. Had the terp [interpreter] come and he [unclear] that the individual was in an probability Enemy (Taliban) due to his accent and his false story of being from Kandahar City. So I had him lie down on his stomach, then conducted a detailed search (I had him empty his pockets prior to this) catalogued all his items and then took down his particulars (name [redacted]  from Uruzgan). We then photographed the individual prior to handing him over, to ensure that if the ANP did assault him, as has happened in the past, we would have a visual record of his condition. The ANP Section Comd, [redacted] then arrived, asked the suspect a couple of questions and concurred with our assessment that the individual was enemy. We in good faith handed the PUC (person under control) over to them so that he could be transported to the Zhari District Center [Forward Operating Base Wilson] where [watchdog] (a radio call-sign for military police) could get him. That was the last I saw him. [redacted] is one of [redacted] men.

Wonder what else is behind black boxes on the documents the government has disclosed so far? So does Parliament.  Today the opposition parties teamed up to pass an unusual motion that may force the government to produce uncensored versions of many critical documents relating to prisoner transfers and reports of torture or abuse. The government is expected to ignore the motion, triggering a battle between national security privilege and parliamentary privilege that could wind up in the courts.