Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Afghanistan mass execution

Yeah, about that mass execution of 15 prisoners in Afghanistan...it really didn't jive with our mission over there and our values as Canadians, did it? To make an incredible understatement. And the fact that it took place while Maxime and Bev were just finishing up their jaunt around the country was an additional slap in the face to our participation in the attempt to stabilize their country. Despite the Afghan government's assurances to us following the executions that none of the executed had been handed over by Canadians, it's little comfort given their previous denials of torture of prisoners, in contradiction to reporting that's been done. And little comfort given previous reporting that we have "lost track" of approximately 50 detainees we have handed over.

Junior MacKay's response to the matter is therefore inappropriately absolute. He can't be as certain as he is here. Foreign Affairs even had to seek assurances that none of those executed were handed over by Canada:
Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay insisted there is no connection between Canada and the executions, pointing to the detainee agreement between Ottawa and Kabul. “We have always made it clear in the agreement, both the old one and the new one, that there are to be no executions,” Mr. MacKay told The Globe and Mail.

He indicated the question of capital punishment is for the Afghans to decide.

“We've been very clear as a country where we stand on the issue of capital punishment. … This is a policy decision for Afghanistan.”
Just because "we've been very clear" to the Aghans doesn't mean detainees handed over by us weren't executed. MacKay has no way of proving they weren't, other than the assurances of the Afghan ambassador to Canada. (And by the way, the new agreement does not mention executions, contrary to Junior's assertion.) They keep painting this sunny, everything's A-OK picture...it's just bizarre.