Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Paint it Black

(warning: This post has been edited by the department of Foreign Affairs for national security purposes)

In a fairly remarkable front page story in today's Globe & Mail, Paul Koring reveals that Canada's New Government knew that "torture and abuse were rife in Afghan jails", despite claims to the contrary. The Foreign Affairs department also blacked out parts of the documents released under access to information that claim the situation is getting worse in Afghanistan (even though there was no national security reason to remove this information). For example, the sentence "the overall human rights situation in Afghanistan deteriorated in 2006" was removed completely.

The
results of this report should be very disconcerting for all Canadians.

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22 Comments:

  • hilarious.

    By Blogger Uncorrected Proofs, at 3:20 PM  

  • You know (being the conspiracy minded crackpot that I am) something like this might compel the Ottawa Press Gallery (the ones that Harper decided to pick a fight with) to dig very very very very very very very very deep.

    That's all I'm sayin' for now. ;)

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 3:32 PM  

  • Paul Koring wrote in the Globe and Mail today.

    “The Harper government knew from its own officials that prisoners held by Afghan security forces faced the possibility of torture, abuse and extrajudicial killing, The Globe and Mail has learned.

    But the government has eradicated every single reference to torture and abuse in prison from a heavily blacked-out version of a report prepared by Canadian diplomats in Kabul and released under an access to information request.

    Initially, the government denied the existence of the report, responding in writing that "no such report on human-rights performance in other countries exists." After complaints to the Access to Information Commissioner, it released a heavily edited version this week.”

    What’s the difference between the governments of chretien, martin and harper? What accountability?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:54 PM  

  • Shhh, C.G.! Do you want to embolden the terrorists?

    By Blogger Jessica, at 5:22 PM  

  • Well done, Dan. Very funny but in a sad, how the f*$# did these guys get elected kind of way.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 5:33 PM  

  • This was actually funny enough to be truly comical about a serious situation -- very well played, CG.

    Post September 11, I was of course for invading Afghanistan to locate and capture Bin Laden.

    Today, we don't seem interested in getting him any longer. I really wonder what exactly our end goal in the war really is - these days, I'm not sure.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 6:08 PM  

  • CG,

    this was extremely funny - very clever and deserves kudos.

    I was going to respond to my buddy Bo Green, but I know where he's coming from.... even if he's being an inch irresponsible with his heavy sighs.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 8:30 PM  

  • I don't give a shit if they kill the wife beating,suicide bombing,prisoner beheading,Canadian Soldier killing,low life pieces of human garbage.

    By Blogger evans, at 10:27 PM  

  • Dan, we are spreading democracy over there, did you not here O'Connor at the Committee meeting today? What is happening over there is that there are these bad guys, they are attacking the good guys and attempting to get the good guys to leave, and force the good democrats that operate the prisons to step down and quit adhereing to the principles of fundamental justice that the flourishing democracy in Afghanistan stands for.

    By Blogger thebraintrust, at 12:02 AM  

  • Good Stuff, Danny Boy!

    By Blogger Darryl Raymaker, at 1:36 AM  

  • Maybe the Liberal Party has it right: Canada should withdraw from these operations, and so remove itself from a position of being able to influence the behaviour of the Afghan authorities for the better.

    After all, with Canadian troops out of the way, these sort of abuses will stop overnight!

    On second thought, methinks not.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 8:44 AM  

  • Braintrust said

    “Dan, we are spreading democracy over there, did you not here O'Connor at the Committee meeting today?”

    The point is that we are not spreading democracy over there. Anyway, why would you cite conner? He’s a proven incompetent and liar.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 10:26 AM  

  • It is totally unacceptable for Canadian troops to hand over detainees to the Afghan government, and pretend we are not responsible for what happens to those detainees then. The only way to preserve our international reputation is to hand over the whole country of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Of course, we won't be responsible for what happens next.

    By Blogger MarkC, at 12:50 PM  

  • markc said

    "The only way to preserve our international reputation is to hand over the whole country of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Of course, we won't be responsible for what happens next."

    That's a strange thing to say.

    In the first place, only the lefties are saying that NATO and the Americans should totally withdraw from Afghanistan. The realists like myself are saying that a stupid expedition into Southern Afghanistan strengthens the Taliban and threatens the rest of the country.

    You don’t seem to understand the tribal and ethnic complications in that undeveloped country

    The point of limiting Canadian involvement is that NATO cannot win in the Pushtun tribal areas unless it has enough troops (@50,000 combat troops). We’ve done our bit. Why sacrifice Canadian lives over 10 years? The region could become a war zone like the Chechen Republic.

    Prisoner torture is an important issue. People (often the innocent) are being destroyed. Ethnic and personal enmity are often motives. We should monitor the behavior of our local allies. We should hold POWs in a secure POW camp. We certainly can’t take the word of Afghan officials that they are not doing torture.

    We’ve seen Hillier and associates manipulate and mislead the politicians for ulterior motives. Today, the problem is that the only remaining supporters of ‘the mission’ are irrational. They ignore the facts, and Principle becomes an empty word.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:18 PM  

  • Jimtan:

    1. The news seems to be showing that NATO is winning: the much vautned Taliban spring offensive is not happening, and NATO/ANA forces are extending their operations into new areas which were previously Taliban-controlled.

    2. The soldiers on the ground probably understand the situation better than you or me. If they support the mission and are willing to risk their lives for it, who are we to say that the sacrifice is too great?

    3. Taliban are not POWs. See article 4.2 of the Geneva Convention on POWs

    4. The Taliban want to rule all of Afstan. Saying that we will not carry the fight to them in the South, just means that they will base there and fight us in the North.

    5. Pretending to be concerned about the transferred detainees themselves is of course ludicrous. There are only about 40 of them, while the Taliban, should they return, will deny civil rights to millions and kill tens of thousands. Which is exactly my point.

    By Blogger MarkC, at 4:32 PM  

  • Markc said

    “The news seems to be showing that NATO is winning: the much vautned Taliban spring offensive is not happening, and NATO/ANA forces are extending their operations into new areas which were previously Taliban-controlled.”

    Actually, many observers (military and civilian) are saying that NATO is losing. You don’t need to be a military genius or Malaya expert to figure that out.

    The rebellion is evolving into a protracted struggle that is to the advantage of poorly armed groups fighting in their own backyard. They can fight cheaply and readily replace their losses.

    NATO troops can go where they like because of the firepower advantage. The problem is that they cannot hold ground because of their numerical inferiority. They hand the area over to corrupt Afghan police and officials. The Taliban come back as protectors of the locals.

    The generals, NATO and politicians are publicly saying that we are winning. What they are saying privately is another matter.

    “The soldiers on the ground probably understand the situation better than you or me.”

    Actually, conventionally trained solders don’t understand insurgencies. They don’t speak the language nor understand the people. That is why the Americans are losing in Iraq.

    The 3rd Geneva Conventon says (from wikipedia)

    “4.1.2 Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, provided that they fulfill all of the following conditions:
    that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance (there are limited exceptions to this
    among countries who observe the 1977 Protocol I);
    that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.”

    The point is that anyone captured/detained in the field must be assumed to be a POW unless individually identified as an exception. Lack of uniform or insignia doesn’t mean anything in the third world.

    Most insurgents are merely locals defending their freedom and livelihood from government officials and foreign intruders.

    Some of the rebels are card-carrying Taliban. But, not all the Taliban members are mass murderers or ruthless killers. Al Qaeda operates in small cells and rarely engage in firefights with soldiers. Their business is terrorism.

    Afghan prisoners are being handed over to Afghan intelligence to ascertain their status. We are responsible if they are tortured or killed (regardless of their status). Confessions obtained under duress are usually unreliable. Even mass murderers have to be given due process by the judiciary.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 5:33 PM  

  • Well done Dan.

    By Blogger robedger, at 8:15 PM  

  • For markc,

    This evening, I attended a forum sponsored by tyee.ca. Michael Byers (that Michael) debated three other panelists who were pro-mission. I'll provide some details if you're interested.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:54 AM  

  • Very clever grit.


    This sort of thing is nothing new though, and documents like this frequently do get blacked out on many parts. It no doubt happened under the Liberals and numerous governments before this one.

    This fact that this is becoming a big deal is a joke to begin with. The Conservatives have continued the Liberal method, and for this, O'Connor should resign, and the Conservatives should be ashamed.
    The solutions that critics provide are an even bigger joke. I have seen some say we should open our own verson of gitmo and bring them to Canada. Others have said we should deal with all our own prisioners, which would require more troops there and would likely have to mean we would stay with them past 2009 or hand them over to the Afghan's then.

    And Cerberus, if this is funny in a how the **** did these guys get elected sort of way, perhaps you should look into how your party acted during Bosnia.

    By Blogger Brad, at 5:28 PM  

  • Guys,

    Look at this BBC report. This exactly describes the politicians and generals involved in our expedition to southern Afghanistan.

    "A senior serving US army officer has launched a scathing attack on the US military leadership in Iraq.
    Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling said US generals had failed to prepare their troops properly and had misled Congress about the resources needed for the war.

    Writing in the Armed Forces Journal, he said the US had repeated the mistakes of Vietnam and so faced defeat in Iraq.

    Such criticism from a serving officer is rare, analysts say, although several retired generals have spoken out."

    By Blogger JimTan, at 7:57 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Brad, at 2:50 AM  

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