Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Afghan Committee and the Torture Cons

I see the Afghanistan committee met today without the Cons, who would rather sabotage our democracy or slurp eggnog.

Than allow the truth about how we treated our prisoners to come out.

But there's one thing about this Torture and Rape Scandal. Just when you think it can't get any worse it does.

More horror stories.

A transcript of one of the interviews with the Military Police Complaints Commission investigators reveals the army police compound in Kandahar could do nothing as the detainee baked in 140-degree heat in a detention centre designed to hold a handful of prisoners for a maximum of 96 hours.

The man, later released to his family with gifts intended to make amends, was suffering to the point his screams prompted soldiers in a nearby compound to ask the police if they were keeping a dog in the detention centre.

More evidence the war was being micromanaged from Ottawa.

A military police officer told the commission investigators that commanders in Ottawa repeatedly denied pleas to release the man, and his plight became a "nightmare."

"They could not release him," Sgt. Utton said. "They wanted to release him but we got orders from CEFCOM (Canadian Expeditionary Force Command in Ottawa), the task force commander, that we could not release ... I mean, we did everything we could, it was just our hands were tied between, it was the political stuff in Canada...

More evidence that the generals didn't care about the fate of our prisoners.

Military police Maj. Rowcliffe suggested to the commission investigators he did not get a positive response from Lt.-Gen. Gauthier when he raised concern over the lack of information about detainees after Canadians transferred them to Afghan forces. He likened Lt.-Gen. Gauthier's response to the lack of interest he received from the Kandahar base police commander.

And neither did the Cons.

"As his [Lt.-Gen. Gauthier's] adviser, I was making him aware of these concerns as well, that we're handing them over but we don't know what happens afterwards, and the message I was getting back, that we need to hand them over, I think it's in 72 hours, that's the maximum and basically (censored). I was a little bit skeptical of that whole scenario, but that was the position of the Government of Canada and that was the position I was getting from the military."

Even though they knew what was going on.

Officially, the Red Cross would only say the talks focused on topics including Afghanistan, humanitarian law in modern conflicts and co-operation with Canada.

Unofficially, sources in Geneva said the international agency, whose functions include monitoring the treatment of prisoners, was growing frustrated over Canada's tardy notification of its handover of captured suspected Taliban to Afghan authorities. The delay could often be as much as 34 days, making it difficult to track the detainees.

And easier for the Afghans to torture them or KILL them.

Oh boy. You know the other day on my way home from work I came across this sign.

And I couldn't help thinking that if Stephen Harper was prepared to allow a badly wounded Canadian kid like Omar Khadr to be tortured in a place like Guantanamo.

Would anyone really be surprised if it turns out he was a torture enabler in Afghanistan?

I realize a lot of Canadians probably wish this story would just go away. And from what we know now, I also understand why the Cons are doing their best to stop the truth from coming out.

But they must not be allowed to get away with it. Because some stories are a measure of the kind of Canadian values most of us still love and believe in.

And this story is one of them. Which is why now more than ever, for the sake of our soldiers, for the sake of our country.

We need a public inquiry.


P.S. And Omar Khadr does live here. So bring him home TOMORROW..

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