Much like the mysterious "Cone Of Silence" which descended over Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, in the iconic NBC Television spy comedy, "Get Smart" back in the 1960's; the officials involved over the disappearance of Robert Fowler are playing: I've got a secret!
It is almost as if the Government of Canada and the other agencies in the negotiations for the release of the Canadian Diplomat and former Deputy-Minister of Defence have borrowed a page from the events surrounding the news blackout during the capture of CBC Journalist, Melissa Fung, in Afghanistan in October...And in this Fowler case, the Canadian Media is complicit as well.
What we know so far is that the Diplomat, Robert Fowler, Canadian Embassy Official, Louis Guay, and their driver have been held captive by opposition warring rebels in the African country of Niger since last Sunday. Today's edition of the "National Post" claims that officials in Niger say the Canadian emissaries ignored protocol for visiting diplomats whilst on the mission. And: The Canadian Government is being tight-lipped over reports in the "Toronto Star" that Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has made little, if any, headway into attempts to resolve the abductions in contacts with his Niger counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister, Aichatou Mindaoudou.
Of course the mystery about which no one has so far fessed-up is: What the heck was Robert Fowler doing in Niger, apparently as a United-Nations envoy in the first place?
Here is some insight: Although Canada's former Deputy-Minister of Defence and career diplomat, Robert Fowler, was appointed a Special Envoy to the United Nations' Secretary-General last summer, it seems completely out of character for the U.N. that it never announced his appointment. The financing for his obviously clandestine, if not secretive, mission to Niger was tucked within a routine United-Nations budget document last month....$390,700.
"Inner City Press" an Internet based investigative reporting agency based in New York City implies that Mr. Fowler is an agent sent personally on a "clandestine mission" by the Secretary-General of the United-Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, to visit the Samara Hill Gold Mining operations in Niger. Samara Hill Gold Mines is owned by Etruscan Resources of Halifax. Another partner in the mining operations is Samafo Resources of St. Laurent, Quebec. Samafo also mines uranium deposits in the rebel contested Tuareg Region of the African nation.
The New York based investigative reporters have so far failed to get the United Nations to explain what is going on. The "cone of silence" is obviously firmly in place both in "official" Ottawa as well as at the United Nations. I remain hopeful that Mr. Fowler, Mr. Guay, and their driver will be released without harm. But, there is a distinct odor of nefarious intrigue, diplomatic embarrassment, perhaps even international scandal about this matter which demands a thorough investigation once our diplomats are back safe on Canadian soil. In its exclusive reporting on this matter, "Inner City Press" notes that there are conflicting reports over Bob Fowler's exact mission...but the report claims among other things that the Government of Niger has been purchasing weapons from Canada. Over recent years there have been clashes and skirmishes with the rebels of the country's Tuareg region.