Murphy and Hillier - Afghanistan.

Murphy and Hillier - Afghanistan.

Postby Oscar » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:08 pm

---- Original Message -----
From: "Philip Bladen" <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 12:00 PM
Subject: Murphy and Hillier - Afghanistan.

For Information.

I have had a reply by return from the Ombudsman saying he is having discussions with the Murphy Producer, who will get in touch with me. I intend to inform the Ombudsman that I will publish this in any national paper which wants it.

FROM: Phil Bladen, Box 235, Preeceville, SK. S0A 3B0 Ph: 306-547-4639

Dear Sir,

I wish to make the strongest possible complaint concerning the content of the National Radio Cross Country Check-up Programme broadcast on Sunday, December 17, 2007.

The subject was Afghanistan, with General Hillier as the guest. The stated purpose of the programme was to give Canadians an opportunity to comment on their viewpoints on the "mission" undertaken by Canadian armed forces.

The vast majority of callers chosen to go to air by the receptionists and the producer congratulated General Hillier on his "outstanding leadership" in his conduct of the conflict, spoke in favour of the stated purpose of the mission of bringing "democracy to Afghanistan", and were in favour of returning the Armed Forces to a new high in morale by changing the military role to active warfare instead of peacekeeping. Indeed, this statement was emphasised by Rex Murphy in his introduction to the programme, placing an immediate bias on the show in favour of combat operations.

As far as I recall, and I made no actual count, only four callers spoke against the mission, although the majority of Canadians , acording to polls, are opposed to the invasion of Afghanistan.

I cannot believe that a legitimate cross section of callers produced an 80+% of people in favour of the invasion. For myself, I obtained a calling tone in attempting to gain access, but after several seconds, the tone changed to the busy signal, which continued for the two hours.

A friend of mine did get through to the interviewers, to speak against the mission, but he was not called to air. May I ask you to investigate the slips sent to the producer for selection to ascertain how many of those callers opposed to the mission were not allowed on air.

Further, both Gen. Hillier and Mr. Murphy were guilty of emphasising that the Afghanistan invasion was, and is, a United Nations Mandated Mission, that Canadian Forces were operating in Afghanistan on behalf of the nations of the world.

The facts are otherwise. The United States did not even ask for a Mandate from the U.N. before illegally invading in Oct., 2001. Operation Enduring Freedom was, and remains, a totally illegal invasion of a sovereign state, and murdering its citizens. This was the major charge brought at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials in 1946 / 7 against the Nazi Regime leaders.

Gen. Hillier emphasised that the "mission" took place for the legitimate reason of capturing or killing the al Qaeda organisation responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001.

This is also untrue.

In the case of Nicaragua v. the U.S., the U.N. denied the right of the U.S. to invade that nation to remove Sandonista "rebels", who constituted a danger to the U.S. In addition, F.B.I. Special Agent Rex Tomb, giving evidence to the Congressional Hearings on June 5, 2006, stated in reponse to a question. "The F.B.I. has no hard evidence of the involvement of al Qaeda in the World Trade Centre attacks."

The U.N. approved the International Security Assistance Force in Dec. 2001 tro protect the Medical and Refugee Agencies, and N.G.O.'s, in attempting to assist the many thousands of civilians who had been killed, crippled, wounded, orphaned, or made homeless by the indiscriminate carpet bombing carried out by the U.S. Air Force of villages deemed to be "strongholds of the Taliban".

Those Agencies were also attempting to investigate the thousands of executions of prisoners and opponents carried out by the Northern Front Group, with which the U.S. had become allied to defeat the Taliban government, at Mazir e Sharif and Kabul.

The I.S.A.F. Mandate was purely as a force to protect the Agencies sent into Afghanistan, and had no mandate for offensive combat operations. Gen. Hillier stated that I.S.A.F. was mandated legitimately to go to the South, Kandahar in particular, to engage in combat operations.

I have found that Prof. Michael Mandel, of Osgoode Hall Law School has published a study of the invasion of Afghanistan in the area of U.N. and International Law, and has come to the conclusion that the whole operation is illegal, which makes those participating outside the I.S.A.F. mandate guilty of War Crimes. Can it be possible that Mr. Murphy and Gen. Hillier are not aware of this? I have on several occasions sent e-mails to Cross Country Check-up giving this information.

These are the main strands I wish to emphasise in a programme which overtly supported the illegal invasion of Afghanistan, despite the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1378, of Nov. 2001, which, in part, requested all Members to "Respect the Sovereignty, Independence, Territorial integrity, and National Unity of Afghanistan," and solve the dispute by diplomatic means. This resolution was, and is, totally ignored by the U.S., and the N.A.T.O. responsibility for I.S.A.F. has been totally abused. and misrepresented by Mr. Murphy and Gen. Hillier.

I submit that opponents of the "mission" were unfairly excluded from airing their views on this programme.

I respectfully request that your Office investigates my complaints as a prelude to a complaint on this to the C.R.T.C. I have addressed this also to Cross Country Check-up.

Yours truly,

Phil Bladen,
Box 235, Preeceville, SK. S0A 3B0
Ph: 306-547-4639
Site Admin
Posts: 8698
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby Oscar » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:18 pm

----- Original Message -----
From: Philip Bladen
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2008 12:50 PM
Subject: Letters - Landslide.

REPLY FROM SENIOR PRODUCER (no date given - Ed.)

Dear Mr Bladen,

Thank you for your letter regarding Cross Country Checkup, Dec. 16, 2007. I take your criticisms seriously but I beg to differ. You imply that Cross Country Checkup made a deliberate attempt to campaign in favour of combat operations in Afghanistan. I can say with all certainty that we made no such attempt.

It was never Cross Country Checkup's intention to mount a debate over whether the mission in Afghanistan is worthwhile. We have done that on several other occasions. We have not ignored that aspect of the Afghanistan issue.

The Afghanistan mission is a fact of public policy by a vote of Parliament. Canada has committed troops there until February 2009. With this in mind we were fortunate to have the Chief of Defence Staff agree to talk directly to Canadians about that mission ...a mission that represents the country's largest military commitment since the Korean war and its largest foreign policy endeavour. The CDS is the man in charge of those military operations, and to be able to offer Canadians direct access to him is rare indeed.

Part of Checkup's mandate is to offer up public figures to Canadians so that they can speak to them directly. We've done the same thing in the past with the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister. Not everyone will like what they hear but we hope they gain some insight into those who are in positions of responsibility.

While I said it was never our intention to mount a debate, we do understand that simply discussing Canada's role in Afghanistan can raise partisan hackles. Therefore, we made a conscious attempt to balance the callers on the program. I don't think it was as one-sided as you suggest. You said you did not make a count of the callers. By my count, seven callers opposed a combat role for Canadian troops in Afghanistan, six supported it, and another 5 simply had questions for General Hillier.

I'm sorry you were unable to get through this time. The lines were indeed busy. Obviously many Canadians jumped at the chance to speak directly to General Hillier. Over the years, you have been a frequent and welcome on-air participant on Cross Country Checkup. That's more than many Canadians can claim because our phone lines are frequently busy.

Regarding your complaint about the reference to the ISAF mission being UN-sanctioned I can only quote from the UN's website:
"In August 2003, NATO took over command of ISAF. In order to help stabilize the security situation and allow the extension of the Government's authority throughout the country, the Security Council in October authorized ISAF, led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to deploy beyond Kabul."
- United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan - UNAMA:

Debating the international legality of the mission was beyond the scope of this program and it would have be inappropriate for the Chief of Defence Staff to comment on that aspect. His job is to do what the Canadian government assigns.

Mr Bladen, you have been a willing and valued participant in Cross Country Checkup in the past. I hope we can continue to win your respect in the future.

Charles Shanks
Senior Producer
Cross Country Checkup


January 30, 2008

Dear Mr. Shanks,

I apologise for the delay in replying to your letter of response.Over Christmas and early January I was in Britain attending my brother's funeral. Unfortunately, I brought back a particularly virulent influenza infection, and have been incapacitated until very recently.

In the meantime, I have considered your reply, and find that I cannot accept your arguments. To claim that Gen. Hillier was not on the programme to discuss Afghanistan, but to allow the public to have a "fireside chat" with him is entirely without credibility, especially in view of Rex Murphy's introduction, which dwelt on the " improved morale of Canadian Forces" now that they are engaged in combat operations.

You say that it would be inappropriate for Gen. Hillier to comment on the legality of the "mission", or, in fact, the illegal invasion. If this is so, why then has Gen. Hillier, in every possible media interview since his appointment as C.D.S., vociferously claimed that all operations in Afghanistan are"Mandated and Sanctioned by the United Nations", and "...are on behalf of all member states of the United Nations"? Does that not constitute many, many, comments on the legality of the "mission"? Indeed, many media reporters observed that Gen. Hillier was usurping the duties of the Minister of Defence in setting policy for Afghanistan.

In addition to "boosting" the combat, Gen. Hillier also used the opportunity to try to recruit new members for the armed forces, glamourising the fight against the "vicious Taliban", commenting on their harsh treatment of women, and claiming the moral high ground in a battle of "good versus evil" in a manner very close to that of the Bush Administration. This further infers the justice of the "mission", and emphasises the legality he has so often claimed. In interviews, he has described the individuals resisting the invasion as "ragheads", and "scumbags". He made no mention of the thousands of innocent civilian deaths caused by indiscriminate air and artillery bombardment in Operation Enduring Freedom, or of the impassioned plea from President Karzai for the U.S. commanded forces to be more considerate in their use of bombardment after the death toll of "collateral damage" reached over one thousand in the first seven months of 2007.

Gen. Hillier stated that the "legal intervention" was aimed at upholding the authority of the democratic government of Afghanistan, ignoring the fact that this government was put in place four years after the invasion by the U.S. Administration, and has minimal support from the people. The drug and war lords who ruled the Northern Front Forces have been "elected" to cabinet positions, and are widely considered a most corrupt and undemocratic body. They have ejected Malalai Joya, an independent woman M.P., from the legislature because she vociferously opposed the Amnesty Act, and spoke of the atrocities committed by those now "elected" to power. She is at present in hiding to escape the "cabinet war lords" assassination squads.

On June 14, 2007, Zakia Zaki, the woman owner of a Kabul radio station which supported women's rights, was assassinated while she slept with her infant son. Her staff said that she had been warned several times by the "elected" warlords to cease her activities. No arrests have been made.

None of these facts were heard on the programme, and Gen. Hillier was not obliged to respond to the "inconvenient truths" which contradict his views expressed on the air.

With regard to the U.N. redeployment of I.S.A.F. to the south, I would point out that the U.N. has not changed the Mandate of that Force. It is still only a defence force designed to protect U.N. Agencies helping ordinary people, and public reconstruction projects, and has no authority to take part in offensive combat operations.

Concerning my participation in the programme, I believe it is over a year since I succeeded in going to air. In that time, I have, on three occasions,succeeded in speaking to the interviewers, who have said I would be put in the line-up, on all three instances between 2.05 and 2.10 pm. On none of those have I been called back to go on air.

As late as the 1990's, C.B.C. lived up to its stated aim of "bringing the public the stories behind the news". I, among many others, had faith that all sides of a debate would be illuminated. For example, a programme was dedicated to rebut the entirely false claim that Iraqi troops invading Kuwait had emptied babies out of incubators, and stolen them. Since September 11, 2001, very little critical reporting has been applied to the " Official View" of major events. In particular, military "experts" such as Messrs. Granatstien and Bercuson are almost exclusively consulted to promote the pro-U.S.view of the combat in Afghanistan. They, too, repeat ad nauseam that "..the Mission is Mandated by the U.N.", and their pro-war statements are very seldom questioned by the interviewer.

For forty years, with rare exceptions, I have, like many others of my acquaintance, tuned in to only C.B.C Radio and T.V. Over the last several years, we have all lost faith in the accuracy of the content we have received. It is a sad and disturbing situation, and implies that the Broadcaster is most hesitant to question "official" government or political views, whether U.S. or Canadian. The only exceptions, on occasion, are "The Current", and "As it Happens".

Since I am totally dissatisfied with the response, I would ask that the C.B.C. Ombudsman be furnished with a recording of the programme, in order that an independent conclusion may be made.

Unless I receive any compelling arguments to the contrary, I reserve the right to publish my objections. and the response to them, in the media.

Phil Bladen,
Box 235, Preeceville, Sask. S0A 3B0
Site Admin
Posts: 8698
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:23 pm

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