Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Generals and the Assghanistan Farce

If you want to get an idea how badly Stephen Harper's Cons have corrupted our Parliament all you had to do today was check out this Alice in Wonderland farce.

Or listen to General Rick Blowhard Hillier's ludicrous arguments.

"He said the reports written in May and June of 2006," said nothing about abuse, nothing about torture or anything else that would have caught my attention or indeed the attention of others."

Like saying that Colvin didn't say what he said, when the Parliamentary Committee hasn't read the e-mails so they had no way of challenging his statements.

Or claiming that he didn't know anything about torture in 2006 when allegations about widespread torture had been circulating since 2003.

Prison conditions remained poor; there reportedly were many other secret or informal detention centers (see Section 1.d.). Prisoners lived in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions in collective cells and were not sheltered from severe winter conditions. Prisoners reportedly were beaten, tortured, or starved.

Or having the nerve to say that Canadians only detained Taliban suspects.

"We detained, under violent actions, people trying to kill our sons and daughters, who had in some cases done that, been successful at it, and were continuing to do it."

Hillier said they may have detained the occasional farmer, but that they were "almost inevitably immediately let go."

Oh really. And how does he know that? When that old chickenhawk apparently had his head buried up his ass.

And all him and his generals did today was hijack a parliamentary committee, and turn it into a public relations exercise designed to take the heat off the Con government.

But maybe their time will come again. Because something about this story demands explanation.

All three of the independent military commands at that point — the Canadian, Dutch and British — knew that under international law they were responsible for the well being of all Afghans they picked up, even after they were handed over to Afghan prisons and interrogation centres.

It was therefore important that the International Red Cross be alerted as soon as possible in order to try to head off any possible torture sessions.

The Dutch were concerned enough to report immediately any handover to the local Red Cross officials. Britain acted within 24 hours.

But Canada? In stark contrast it created what the whistle-blowing Colvin calls "a very peculiar six-step process."

It was peculiar especially in that it initiated a slow dance of bureaucrats that seemed almost designed to leave detainees in the maws of Afghan interrogators for weeks and even months at time before the Red Cross intervened.

Was it just a case of bureaucratic hyper-caution, flowing possibly from the micro-managing style of the Harper government? Or was there something more sinister at play?

In other words, did our generals and the Harper government collude to hold off the Red Cross, and give the KGB trained torturers in Afghan prisons a chance to torture and rape prisoners before any help arrived?

Because if they did we REALLY need to know.

For the sake of Canada's soul, and what's left of our reputation as a decent country.

For the sake of all our dead soldiers. Enough of this wretched farce.

We need a public inquiry...

No comments: