Canada trying to discredit Kanishka testimony?


Toronto : The head of the inquiry commission probing the 1985 bombing of Air India's Kanishka plane has accused the Canadian government of trying to undercut Ontario lieutenant governor James Bartleman's startling testimony about what transpired in the days leading up to the terror attack.

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Bartleman had told the inquiry commission last week that he saw secret intelligence intercepts just days before the incident indicating that an attack on the airline was imminent.

In a pointed intervention at the hearings Monday, former Supreme Court judge John Major observed that there seemed to be an effort by the government to discredit Bartleman, the Toronto Star reported.

He expressed concern that Gordon Smith, Bartleman's former boss at the foreign affairs department, appeared to have aligned himself with that effort. "You're just falling into line with the others," Major said.

"I'm not questioning your sincerity, but it's obvious that they don't like that testimony (by Bartleman). You are one of several who seem upset by that evidence."

Bartleman, a former diplomat, had testified that he saw classified information in an electronic intercept from the top-secret Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE), an arm of the Canadian defence department.

But when he tried to draw it to the attention of the Royal Mounted Canadian Police (RCMP), he was told the force already knew about it and was advised to ignore it.

All 329 passengers on Air India's Kanishka flight were killed when the plane crashed into the sea off the coast of Ireland June 22, 1985.