Friday, May 18, 2007

On the Ball, but Unaware

The Air India bombing inquiry has finally gotten underway. The purpose is to determine what happened in the incident, because this was never presented in a court. And to examine the actions of the intelligence and police forces in the event and the subsequent investigation as these, too, have never seen the light of day.

So far the inquiry has looked at what was known and when was it known. George Bartleman, Ontario's current Lieutenant Governor and former CSIS operative, has put his reputation on the line in claiming he gave information to the RCMP before the bombing that was either ignored or disbelieved, for it was, apparently, not acted upon. The RCMP officer in question - and here Bartleman's memory is weak, as he doesn't remember who it was - slagged him for interfering.

Later evidence from two lawyers, on an official junket to 'Hollywood,' claim a CSIS honcho with them left early to attend to a 'Sikh matter ' in Vancouver a couple of days before the incident. They named the operative, who is now too ill to testify, but who is on record as claiming he knew nothing and contrived an excuse for leaving early - an excuse that eerily was more accurate than he knew.

If it wasn't for the fact that this inquiry wasn't going to cost millions, it's entertainment value might be worth something. As far as actually bringing any change to the RCMP or CSIS, the two agencies who fumbled the ball, it won't. Those two organizations, the latter the bastard child of the first, will carry their 'traditions' on into the 21st Century. Traditions of short sightedness and ineptitude at upper echelons, of infighting and territoriality among the rankers.

It certainly won't point any fingers at Sikh extremists, who are still alive and well and living in Canada. The Sikhs have become a 'valuable' part of the Canadian mosaic - hell, they're even part of the RCMP and CSIS, not to mention parliament and the political parties.. The experts at CSIS wouldn't know a Sikh extremist if one came at him with regulation Kirpan. They're all 'good' Canadians now.

The 'Inquiry' is a sop to disgruntled relatives of the dead. The only way it could have been done better was to spend as much again in 'atonement' stipends - to those who lost family, the Sikh community who may have been unjustly 'targetted' and the 'poor' Irish swabbies who had to pick up the bits.

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