Friday, January 8, 2010

Detainees, Prisoners of War and the Geneva Convention

"He was involved in construction projects for the Japanese: for the war effort, against his will, and against the Geneva Convention. His body, gradually weakened through beatings, forced exercise, bitter cold, poor diet and debilitating disease, could no longer take it, and he succumbed, like many others before him, and many others after him."

The above story is about an American soldier held in a Japanese POW camp during WWII; a camp from which he never returned.

Stories like this were all too familiar, and while most wartime prisoners were treated fairly, there were a great many who were not, from both sides of the conflict.

Similar tales arose from the Vietnam prisoner camps, as senator and former presidential candidate, John McCain, can attest to. After the news broke about the atrocities at Bagram prison in Afghanistan, he introduced the McCain Amendment 1977, which prohibited the inhumane treatment of prisoners. It was at about that time that Rick Hillier signed a new deal with regards to Afghan detainees ... a deal with little or no oversight.

It was inked during an election campaign, so no one was really paying attention.

When the Globe and Mail first broke the story of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan, and Canada's role in handing over prisoners for such abuse, in 2007; there was immediate outrage. But the Reformers stood their ground, and an aggressive PR campaign deflected the criticisms. Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor was replaced with Peter Mackay, and the whole thing was put on the back burner.

Enter Richard Colvin. A well respected diplomat, who blew the lid off the whole nasty affair.

In an attempt to clean up my blog and organize archived posts, I'm using this page to link articles and show a chronology of Canada's role in the Detainee issue. Remember, I am not criticizing our soldiers. They are doing a job and doing it well. But some military leaders and members of our current government, must be held accountable, because they did this in our name.


What we Knew and When

More Postings on Detainees and Torture


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