27 March 2005

Some questions for DND/CF

According to a Canadian Press (CP) story, the Canadian Forces (CF) has issued a CANFORGEN to all Canadian Forces personnel warning them to seek medical attention if they have had sexual relations with the woman accused of having unprotected sex with at least one soldier from Camp Borden.

In a gigantic nose-puller, the military public affairs officer assigned to the National Investigative Service said it would be a mistake to call this a military alert. What exactly is a CANFORGEN, then, Captain Mark Giles? CF members will recognize the spin Capt. Giles is applying here to a Canadian Forces General Order.

A CANFORGEN may not put the CF on some state of war readiness but it damned well constitutes an official communication from the very top of the chain of command. Canadian Forces members ignore it at their peril and I don't mean because of the health implications in this case.

Here's another curiosity from another CP story courtesy of the Lethbridge Herald. The story is titled "Woman charged with spreading HIV volunteered her status to investigators: Star" and datelined last Friday.

According to this report, Ms. Murphy was originally questioned in a "minor, unrelated matter" and volunteered her HIV status.

Two things:

First of all, since when should Captain Giles be releasing such information to the public about what a suspect revealed or didn't reveal in the course of any investigation? This may be a privacy violation not to mention a violation of just plain old common sense for police services not to talk about a matter which is currently before the courts.

Second of all, and more importantly, was Ms. Murphy cautioned? That is, was she advised of her right to counsel and to remain silent and did she knowingly waive that right before "volunteering" the incriminating information. I refer those curious about this to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Other media reports had the meatheads issuing an alert for a woman based on a complaint. This CP story has it the other way around: Ms. Murphy incriminated herself, named the victim and then was subsequently charged.

How then did Ms. Murphy wind up assisting police with their inquiries on another matter and just coincidentally happening to volunteer this information? What was the other "minor" matter, anyway?

Since Captain Giles is being quite liberal with his comments on this matter perhaps it's time he laid it all out for the public in a televised news conference.