They will have minders. Six of them.
An appointed secretariat of six senior government officials will 'facilitate' for the Independent Panel. Three of them are from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, one is from CIDA, one is from the Afghanistan Task Force, and one is the former deputy commander of the Canadian contingent in Afghanistan.
A spokesperson for the shadow panel downplays the effect that being advised by the same government officials who have been overseeing the Afghanistan mission up till now might have on the official panel's independence :
"they are very independent thinkers and extremely accomplished and extremely worldly. I don't think anyone's presence here could influence them in any way, shape or form."
Over at Embassy Mag, Paul Hughes, chair of one of the four working groups on the American Iraq Study Group, patiently explains at length how complete independence is required in order for the panel's findings to be considered credible.
"If it comes across as a partisan document, people will treat it as a partisan document and not give it due deference," Mr. Hughes said.Yeah, like we had complete confidence in them before.
And then there's this:
"The spokesperson said the panelists, who it has been reported will be paid between $850-$1,400 per day for their work through to March 31, 2008, will aim for full transparency."Full transparency? For $1400 a day I expect they can become completely invisible.
Cross-posted at Creekside