Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Stephen Harper and the Afghan Torture Scandal

For years there have been rumours that Stephen Harper knew that some of our soldiers in Afghanistan were torturing the prisoners they captured. Or did nothing to stop others torturing them.

But didn't do anything about it, because he just didn't care, and always enjoyed the pain of others.

And the truth about what happened was covered up, or lost in the fog of war.

But now at last that scandal may be coming back to haunt him.

Because now the army has finally acknowledged that something terrible did happen in Kandahar.

Canadian military police accused of terrorizing Afghan prisoners in their cells at Kandahar airfield operated without oversight and lacked guidance, according to newly released Defence Department documents obtained by Postmedia News. 

The documents shed new light on allegations made last year by some military police officers who say Afghan detainees were abused in their cells in Kandahar during surprise raids by guards in 2010 and 2011.

And that some military police officers were out of control, as previously reported. 

Last year, La Presse newspaper reported that Canadian military police conducted the surprise raids on detainees in their cells, roughing up prisoners in the process. The aim was to create a climate of high tension, which in turn could prompt detainees to provide information. 

But the tactics terrorized the prisoners so much that some urinated or defecated during the raids, La Presse reported.

And since these recent allegations make what happened even worse.

Canadian military police officers have also recently come forward to raise concerns that many Afghans taken prisoner by Canadian troops were innocent farmers or workers and not members of the Taliban or al-Qaida.

The Liberal government should keep its promise to hold a public inquiry into that sordid affair.

For not only would it serve the interests of justice, and explain why the guilty have never been punished. Or why the military tried so hard to cover it up. 

It could also lead straight to Stephen Harper, who if you remember even prorogued Parliament to muzzle the opposition, and stop them from demanding an investigation. 

A move so desperate it made me think that he must have something to hide, along with so many other things.

As I suggested in this excerpt from a video I made at the time.

Yes. Let the truth be revealed at last.

Let's make it abundantly clear to the military that is NOT how we expect members of the army of Canada to behave.

And if there is evidence of a massive cover-up.

Let all those responsible be put on trial...

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  1. The Somalia Affair/Inquiry destroyed the reputation of the Airborne Regiment (and the unit itself) as well those involved from the men to the senior officers to the powerful civil service mandarins.

    If this is our Abu Ghraib and done under the orders of Stevie then this is going to be much much worse especially considering the Harper government portrayed itself as the holiest of the 'good guys.'

    I'll bet that Harper will claim it was the Canadian government and not the Harper Government that did it. Let's see him try to flee into a closet to hide from this one.

    1. hi Dan...It's amazing how quickly so many Canadians forgot about the war in Afghanistan. But as long as we allow a torture scandal to hang over us, we will never get any closure. We need a public inquiry to expose the truth once and for all...

  2. Anonymous7:21 AM


    What Happened

    Richard Colvin was personally attacked and his credibility questioned by the government for having raised concerns about the Canadian military transferring Afghan prisoners to Afghan security forces, despite the Canadian military knowing that those prisoners might be tortured. In the years that followed, the government ignored and avoided the information that Colvin brought to light, prevented an investigation into the matter, and eventually prorogued Parliament to avoid losing a vote of confidence over the controversy.

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    1. hi anon...yes I remember Richard Colvin, and what he said, and how the Cons went after him to destroy his credibility. But it seems to me that the passage of time has only confirmed what he said, and for his sake and our sake we need a public inquiry...

  3. Anonymous8:59 AM

    It won't happen, Trudeau hasn't the stones to do it. Why? For the same reason Obama didn't go after W's war of aggression in Iraq and global torture regime; and W didn't go after Clinton's unlawful targeting of hospitals and schools in the former Yugoslavia and his bombing of Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan; and Clinton didn't go after HW for attacking Iraq under false pretences and the indiscriminate slaughter of retreating Iraqi soldiers on the Highway of Death, etc., etc.

    At some future date, Trudeau may find it reassuring that his successor won't investigate him. Just as Obama will find it reassuring not to be prosecuted for his war of aggression in Libya and using drones to murder innocent civilians, including US citizens contrary to US law.

    1. hi anon...well you may be right about the Liberals not wanting to re-open old wounds, but I'm not sure that it is for the reasons you state. I think the Liberals would rather focus on the positive. But this scandal won't go away, and since it would put the Cons on the defensive, it seems to me it would be in their interest to hold some kind of inquiry. And it was a campaign promise....

  4. Anonymous11:55 AM

    In 2010 Parliament was prorogued, lessening the effects of Torture and Abuse Inquiry. The media made it seem like the soldiers were on trial, but really it was the policies of the Government and the Military brass that were being criticised. Now, 6 years later, the Ministry opines that something went wrong with Afghanistan? We desperately need an investigation not only to remove rot in the upper echelons of the military but also to reinforce to our soldiers that torture is wrong. and there are consequences. I also wonder about those soldiers who may have questioned the official policies, for nothing about the Harper years would suggest that these soldiers would be admired for their rightful refusal, and may have suffered indignities by their commanders. GS

    1. hi anon...I agree, the way the high command dealt with this scandal is almost unbelievable. They apparently decided how much truth Canadians could handle, and sought to cover up what happened. Or as I believe worked to give the government plausible deniability. It is a shocking scandal and it should be investigated....

  5. e.a.f.12:28 PM

    even if Trudeau won't call an inquiry into this ugly mess, some one ought to even if it has to be an unofficial enquiry or one by the Human Rights Commission. Not only were the rights of the detainees violated, so were those soldiers who had to participate in the actions. Some of them might want to step up to the plate and explain why some of them suffer from PTSD.

    This is one of those times it would be good to have an opposition which isn't interested in covering their asses. Perhaps the NDP could do some work on this.

    1. hi e.a.f...I agree, some kind of an inquiry is needed. We can't let those responsible get away with it, and those who orchestrated what seems to me to be a giant cover-up need to be held accountable...

  6. Anonymous1:47 PM

    How would you know seeing as Justin Trudeau was not the PM at that time. He became Canada's Prime Minister as Justin Trudeau was not the PM at the time which it clearly was the dictator Stephen Harper.

    Grow a livable brain before accusing an innocent man.