Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What is Ed Holder Hiding About Afghan Detainees?

Early this year while the Conservatives were on their two and a half month vacation, a concerned citizen of London Ontario, who happens to reside in Ed Holder's riding, sent him an email.

He wanted to let Holder know that as a Canadian citizen, he felt it was important to hold a full public inquiry into the accusations of his government being complicit in torture.

He got a reply, that was so full of nonsense, I was almost embarrassed for him. I'd be tempted to ask if that was his final answer, or if he wanted to phone a friend.

So let's break it down.

Right off the bat, he does not refer to them as detainees, but 'Taliban'. I'll excuse that. Maybe Mr. Holder doesn't read much, or he'd know that we are not just fighting Taliban, but villagers; who have been forced to take up arms against what they see as an invading army.

However, I am now thoroughly convinced that the Reformers have little transmitters embedded in their brains, because they all say the same thing. "To be clear, Mr. Colvin did not present one shred of evidence that Canadian soldiers mistreated Taliban prisoners, and any insinuation that our brave men and women acted dishonourably is an insult to the Canadian Forces."

Remember Peter Braid? How could we forget?

But Mr. Holder, no one has suggested 'that Canadian soldiers mistreated Taliban prisoners.' The only ones who have passed this onto the soldiers, has been the Conservative party of Canada.

"Mr. Colvin admitted that he never actually witnessed any acts of abuse ... the opposition is only too happy to take the word of the Taliban as fact ... This is a ridiculous accusation. Mr. Colvin’s accusations are completely unsubstantiated ... Our Government has been transparent on our mission in Afghanistan ... "

Blah, blah, blah, and of course not a shred of truth. This government has been extremely secretive about what they are doing in Afghanistan. We are the only NATO country where our journalists are not allowed to provide a story. All interviews had to go through the PMO first and then routed back.

And would it surprise Mr. Holder to know that Canada suffered disproportionate losses because Stephen Harper wanted to show off for George Bush, so he needlessly sent them into areas with the heaviest fighting?

This is an interview with a former Ambassador to that country.
Whenever you hear that a NATO soldier has been killed in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar, it's probably a Canadian soldier. Canada only has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, but they are fighting in one of the most dangerous
regions of the country. So while Canadian troops make up only a small fraction of NATO forces, they've suffered the highest number of fatalities proportionately.

And from a constitutional lawyer who has seen the unredacted memos before Holder's party put the brakes on:
"If these documents were released [in full], what they will show is that Canada partnered deliberately with the torturers in Afghanistan for the interrogation of detainees," he said. "There would be a question of rendition and a question of war crimes on the part of certain Canadian officials. That's what's in these documents, and that's why the government is covering up as hard as it can."
And from CBC today:

An internal government memo obtained by CBC confirms that Canadian authorities began formulating a plan for dealing with accusations of torture of prisoners in Afghanistan as early as March 2007 — months before such allegations first came up in the media.

The memo, drafted by officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs, instructs staff to inform the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Red Cross if "NGOs, relatives, media or otherwise make credible allegations that detainees transferred by CF [Canadian Forces] to Afghan authorities have been potentially abused following their transfer."

Officials must also "follow up separately to address potential concerns with the conditions of detention," the memo says. First drafts of the document were written in March 2007, months before the Globe and Mail reported that 30 prisoners handed over to Afghan authorities by the Canadian military were "beaten, whipped, starved, frozen, choked and subjected to electric shocks during interrogations."

Are they all lying Mr. Holder? I don't think so. And if your government refuses to do the right thing, our troops will wear this and our country will wear this.


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