Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mulroney, Bush, Harper, drawing parallels...

Shifting blame, covering up, and secrecy are three things these leaders seem to share. While it is important for every leader to walk a fine line between too much information, not enough, and keeping a few secrets, these guys take it to a new level. They are the experts at leading the populations blindly while systematically raping the system.

Starting with Mulroney. It looks again as though the case against his alleged corruption will slip through the fingers of the law. Schreiber, the shifty key witness, swears he'll not say a word if he's extradited to Germany where he faces fraud and tax evasion charges. Trying to get a dodgy character like Schreiber to tell the truth is a risk even if promises are made not to extradite him. Further complicating matters is, if he admits to illegal cash payments, is he not admitting to breaking the law himself, therefore why the hell would he?

Options: Cater to him and go after Mulroney, (there's no guarantee such a crook will talk anyway)

Or: Let the law run its course, send him back to Germany, and forget about the questionable cash payments he handed over to our former PM. It's especially heartbreaking for Liberals, who went after him in 97 without enough proof, and ended up handing Mulroney $2.1 million in damages.

Moving onto codename Britan, as the bribery account for Brian Mulroney was supposedly called. He's probably still laughing at the $2.1 million settlement.

If he is guilty, and I have a really hard time digesting that $300,000 of "honest" cash, the hard-to-trace under-the-table stuff of money launderers, tyrants, and drug dealers, was honestly paid to a former Canadian Prime Minister for advice and help with a pasta business.

Mulroney isn't even Italian!

Had there been an upfront declaration of the earnings, some proof of work being completed and not a last minute tax declaration after information leaked, then I might be able to swallow the story.

Moving onto Bush...

Speaking of cover ups: Valeri Plame: weapons of mass destruction: massively censoring information about the state of affairs in Iraq; human rights abuses; destabilizing a stable country but doing very little to help an unstable one (Sudan) with shocking human rights abuses (oh wait, you did do something, you called it genocide, then did nothing after that.)

Moving onto Stephen Harper. At times, I can almost accept he's doing an okay job. He had the fortune of inheriting a strong commodity-based economy with record prices, as well as an oil boom in his electoral heartland of Western Canada. The liberal scandal of a few million misplaced dollars put him over the top and the Liberal party is still recovering from that, and their leadership campaign where the qualified but uninspiring Stephan Dion emerged as the winner. He definitely has luck on his side.

On the dark side, he also inherited Afghanistan, which in my mind has been his biggest failure. (Read earlier post)
Other failures are his stance on the environment.

Most recently, and this is where I start drawing a parallel to George Bush, is in the massive censoring of reports based on Canada's complicity in the Afghan Prisoner Transfer agreement and the subsequent abuse of prisoners. At first, some people could accept that our government wasn't aware of the abuse and disappearance of Afghan detainees. I agree with the fact that in order to get out of the sticky war, we gradually need to hand over responsibilities. The descriptions which weren't edited out of this transcript are enough to tell us that we screwed up. They are also enough to make me question why is the rest of it censored from the public?

There are times for censorship. Young offender cases, for example. But for our government's management of a war? The only reason I can come up with for censoring parts of the report is to protect the government from their incompetence being revealed. I don't recall massive censoring under the Liberals. In fact, before America's censoring of Iraq information, the only time I'd ever heard of such public interest details being controlled is in countries run by tyrants and abusers of democracy.
It was once a shock to see governments controlling the media's reporting. Then it came to America, not it's in Canada.

It can be argued that if we can't leave anything up to the Afghanistan authorities to deal with, then we'll be there indefinitely. Thus the logic of handing over the care of prisoners to them. I'm not against handing over power and responsibilites, I think that's a good thing.

Canada made this agreement with the intention of following up with checks. At best we ignored to do these checks, and at worst we did them and then not only did nothing to correct the serious abuses, but continued transferring detainees into their imminent torture or even death.

If you want to turn swarm of nervous stinging bees (Afghanistan) into a honey producing hive, continually abusing them is not the way to proceed. It's a guaranteed way to get stung again and again - ie Kandahar!

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