Compelling evidence that Canadian-transferred detainees are still being tortured in Afghan prisons emerged Monday from the government's own follow-up inspection reports, documents it has long tried to keep secret.This evidence brings a violation of the Geneva Conventions directly into our house. Canada cannot be participating in such violations and should immediately signify to the Afghan government that enough is enough. We need to put an end to this barbarism now. That's what we should do. It's what Canadian values, humanity, morality, and the rule of law require.
In one harrowing account, an Afghan turned over by Canadian soldiers told of being beaten unconscious and tortured in the secret police prison in Kandahar. He showed Canadian diplomats fresh welts and then backed up his story by revealing where the electrical cable and the rubber hose that had been used on him were hidden.
“Under the chair we found a large piece of braided electrical cable as well as a rubber hose,” reads the subsequent diplomatic cable marked “secret” and distributed to some of the most senior officials in the Canadian government and officers in the Canadian military.
The Globe and Mail has established that the report of the case is recent, written after a Nov. 5, 2007, inspection of the National Directorate of Security prison in Kandahar. That was six months after a supposedly improved transfer agreement was put in place to monitor detainee treatment. The agreement was designed to address problems raised by critics about the ill treatment of prisoners taken by Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and handed over to Afghan authorities with insufficient follow-up. (emphasis added)
I would like to hear Stephane Dion step up and tell everyone that he would not permit this to go on as PM. That he would put a stop to these transfers. And do so in the face of the impracticalities naysayers will throw at him. And in the face of the Conservative petty ridicule that will be unleashed at him while doing so. Dion stared down the separatists during and after the 1995 referendum. That was the major challenge facing the federation then. It's the Conservatives now. And he needs to engage them with that sense of magnitude. Because they don't care about the rule of law. It's the rule of law, stupid. That's what people should be concerned about. We've seen what happens when the Democrats in the U.S. were rolled by a lawless administration. We need to learn from that. The Conservatives don't care about legal niceties.
They don't care about interfering with the independence of a quasi-judicial tribunal, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Boom, Linda Keen, the Chair is fired in the dead of night.
They don't care about election spending limits. They play fast and loose and top up their national spending with an in-and-out scheme that requires Elections Canada to say, no, you guys don't get to do that. In the meantime, they spend more than their opponents.
And they've shown from the start of the debate over this issue that they don't care about detainees being tortured. They just don't get it that it doesn't matter who the detainees are. It doesn't matter if they're Taliban. Canada adheres to the rule of law. We don't torture and we don't hand over prisoners to be tortured. Because if we do, we're violating international law. We're becoming the ugly force we're supposedly trying to fight against.
Once again the detainee file which they've been at pains to hide has just blown up in their faces. And what a well-timed report. With all the focus on the Manley panel recommendations, to be released today, the torture of detainees deserves equal focus to the theoretics of getting support from NATO, or debating why it is that CIDA's not performing up to snuff. But good luck trying to get any Conservative to stand up and do the right thing.
The pitiful Maxime Bernier is not up to the job. He demonstrated that as recently as this weekend when he apologized for his department's manual on torture which had the fatal flaw of telling the truth that the world knows, that the U.S. is engaging in torture around the world. At Gitmo, at the CIA "black sites" and possibly on their own soil. Nor is lapdog Junior MacKay going to be of any use here either. Junior's got his head so far up the Americans' wazoos that he can't see straight. Harper? Let's see if he can restrain himself from some predictable hatorade tarring the opposition as Taliban lovers. This crowd is out to lunch when it comes to doing the right thing. Bernier should resign. These are foreign affairs materials that he must have seen.
If the Harper government won't do anything about this, they need to be defeated. Read this:
The following excerpt is typical. In other instances, entire pages are blacked out.That's more from the documents disclosing the torture allegations, dumped by the Conservatives belatedly, a few days before the court proceedings commence, in the lawsuit in Federal Court brought by Amnesty International. Late disclosure. More elbows up sharp practice evidencing contempt for the rules. But for that lawsuit, none of this would be public. Until forced to disclose, the Conservatives hide information from the Canadian public.
“Of the XXX detainees interviewed, XXX said XXX had been whipped with cables, shocked with electricity and/or otherwise ‘hurt' while in NDS custody in Kandahar. This period of alleged abuse lasted from between XXX days and XXX days and was carried out in XXX and XXX and detainees still had XXX on XXX body; XXX traumatized.” Some of the allegations describe abuse and torture as occurring in Kandahar, others in Kabul. In some, the secret police accuse the regular police of the beatings. One transferred detainee, apparently confused, incoherent and seemingly suffering from mental problems, had no toenails. Others reported beatings and ill treatment. Many said they had never seen a lawyer. Some apparently had never been visited by international monitoring groups.
Why would we want an election over this? This is about what kind of nation we want to be. To employ a construct I absolutely hate given the source, we need to ask ourselves: are we with the nations of the world like Bush's and Karzai's who torture? Or are we going to stand up for the rule of law and Canadian values at a time when the world is faced with these horrendous choices?