Sunday, March 14, 2010

We Are Not the Good Guys

An editorial in the March 13 Globe & Mail starts, "While Canada keeps its human-rights reports on Afghanistan... strictly secret, the U.S. state department posted its 2009 report on its website Thursday for anyone who cares to read it. The report says about its Afghan ally, in part: 'Torture and abuse methods included, but were not limited to, beating by stick, scorching bar, or iron bar; flogging by cable; battering by rod; electric shock; deprivation of sleep, water, and food; abusive language; sexual humiliation; and rape...'"

The US report certainly backs up Richard Colvin's testimony that Afghans detained by Canadian troops were routinely tortured in Afghan jails. Not long ago PMO talking points claimed that the only torture was one detainee having a shoe thrown at him. They were claiming that since Colvin hadn't seen the torture firsthand, his testimony was bogus and the torture never occurred. Plus they were claiming that all detainees were murderous terrorists, rather than Colvin's testimony (backed up by the US reports) that many detainees were just ordinary Afghans who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Conservatives also claimed these things in the Comments sections of this blog (eg here). My question is: what do you have to say now? Is the US government lying too?

It's clear now why Harper prorogued parliament. He needed to create a gap in time between all those hateful things MacKay shouted last fall and the exposure of everything MacKay said as utter, self-serving lies. It also gave him time to come up with a new strategy: try to smear the previous Liberal government as much as possible before the full truth comes out so that he can say that he wasn't the only one to blame. (Not that I oppose exposing actions by the Martin government; as Ignatieff has stated all along, the investigation should not exclude Martin.)

Harper's deceitful, undemocratic actions are shameful. But the most important part of this affair continues to be this: When we have armed troops in another country, we have an absolute obligation to respect the human rights of the people in that country - and to be seen to do so. We have failed so spectacularly that we are not only in contravention of the Geneva Convention, but our government is known to be engaged in a coverup of our abuses. We must withdraw from Afghanistan immediately, have a full investigation, and start to think about reparations.



Anonymous said...

Give them an extra whack for me.

Yappa said...

Ha ha, good one Anonymous... I'm surprised that you didn't put your real name to something so witty.

...Oh yeah, hate crime laws.

Bert said...

So, what would you have us do ?. Not transfer them as per the Liberal created treaty from 2005, or ship 'em off to Canada ?. Release them ?. THAT will work. /sarcasm

Like 95% of Canadians say, "Who cares"?

Yappa said...

Hi Bert,

You really should listen to Colvin's original testimony. Also read up on the Geneva Convention. We have legal obligations regarding people we detain.

Furthermore, it doesn't matter whether the Canadian public cares about this. What you're saying is, Average Canadians don't care about torture so it's not an issue. That's disgusting. It's not about scoring political points. It's basic humanity to care about this.

As to what we should do, all our NATO allies are being more careful - yes, even the USA with its history at Abu Graib and so on. There really is a lot of information about this situation, if you care to read it.

Bert said...

Oh, yes. The Geneva Convention.
Tell me again where in the Geneva Convention it says that chopping peoples heads off is allowed, or where exactly is says that you are allowed to spray acid in the faces of little kids.
How do you think these Taliban jerks treat people THEY capture ?. I could really give a rats a$$ what is done to thoase jerks after we hand them off.

Bert said...

Liberal calls out Liberal Party on war crimes charges

Dan Donovan says:
“Many lifelong Liberals, like me, are disgusted with Rae and Dosanjh and their antics. Their agenda is to do whatever they can to attack the Prime Minister and Defence Minister, even if it means tarring the reputation of Canada and the Canadian Forces. It’s odd, I’ve never heard Rae or Dosanjh expend the same amount of energy on matters related to the deaths of 136 soldiers and diplomats violently killed in Afghanistan”

Even more anger is directed at Dosanjh, given his position as health minister in the Martin government.

“I don’t recall Dosanjh expressing any concerns for detainees when he was a Liberal Minister in the Paul Martin Cabinet that expanded our Afghan mission. Actually, I don’t recall Dosanjh expressing any concern for our poorly armed troops who were killed in action in Afghanistan because he and his colleagues in Cabinet sent the troops to Afghanistan with equipment that did not provide them with enough protection. He must have done so … but in private with the same great flare, gusto and passion he articulates for the Taliban prisoners. Bravo Ujjal! Bravo!”