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Where there’s smoke….

there’s fire. First, the smoke part:

Canadian officials have uncovered a “credible” case of torture involving a Taliban fighter whom Canadian forces had turned over to Afghan authorities. The admission that Canadian detainees are being mistreated in Afghan prisons by local authorities is the first of its kind from the Conservative government.

Remember, this is the same government that has claimed all such claims of mistreatment and torture of prisoners handed over to Afghan authorities as being “Taliban propaganda”. Apparently not.

Now, the fire part:

It came just before the foreign affairs department released about 1,000 pages of files late last night that suggests widespread abuse of prisoners including those captured by Canadian soldiers continues to occur in Afghanistan.

These documents wouldn’t have seen the light of day but for a Federal Court order to the government to release them so Amnesty International and the BC Civil Liberties Union could examine them. Those 2 organizations have a lawsuit ongoing to force the government to stop the transfer of the detainees to Afghan authorities. These documents – which the 2 organizations had been unsuccessful in obtaining before the courts stepped in (the government claimed they couldn’t be released on that now-familiar excuse of national security) will aid the organization’s court cases significantly.

It is a disgrace that we are going from a country that has been a leading advocate of human rights to now following the George W Bush method:

The revelations contained in the documents released yesterday show Canada is still “handing detainees over to known torturers,” said Amir Attaran, the University of Ottawa law professor whose searches through military documents first uncovered the allegations of torture of Canadian-held detainees in Afghanistan. “Canada is following the American lead; this is the same as the American program of rendering detainees,” he said yesterday in a telephone interview.

(H/T Impolitical on that last quote)

I and a couple of other bloggers said yesterday that this story was probably bigger news then the Mulroney/Schreiber stuff, and it was unfortunate it was going to get buried under that. I’m starting to think however, that it may not get as buried as I first thought, and that’s a good thing. This government must be held accountable for being complicit in torture by turning over prisoners and putting them in a situation where torture is very likely to occur, which as we saw yesterday, is a violation and flaunting of international law.

6 comments to Where there’s smoke….

  • Walkswithcoffee

    Thanks Neil, the points are worth repeating:

    A. torture doesn’t get you information of value
    B. torture leads to more torture, effecting our guys as well
    C. torture harms the torturer as well.

    Cheers,

    Walks

  • The two points have already been made but I’d like to make them again.Information extracted by torture is notoriously unreliable.  And if our soldiers fall into enemy hands, what would prevent them being tortured?
    Adherence to an international convention banning torture, that’s what.

  • Gayle

    "In fact, the more they are tortured and the more they disclose, the safer will be our Canadian soldiers."

    Except for those guys who would rather die than be tortured – makes taking prisoners kind of hard when those prisoners would choose death (and taking you with them) over capture.

    Or did you not think about how torturing prisoners may affect Canadian soldiers in the field – not to mention what could happen if any of them were captured.

  • Walkswithcoffee

    "I’m pretty certain Canadian soldiers are not concerned with the security of captured scumbag terrorists.  In fact, the more they are tortured and the more they disclose, the safer will be our Canadian soldiers."

    Under torture people say whatever they think you want to hear… the truth has nothing to do with what people say under torture… and usually torture is on the wrong people… that is why it is both useless and immoral.

  • Observant

    Why should Canadians go on a guilt trip over a stigmata of torturing Taliban prisoners?   I personally don’t care what the Karzai government does with it’s own people, rounded up by Canadian soldiers, and neither do Canadians.

    I’m pretty certain Canadian soldiers are not concerned with the security of captured scumbag terrorists.  In fact, the more they are tortured and the more they disclose, the safer will be our Canadian soldiers.

    Torture and abuse them to the max and dig out whatever military intelligence can be recovered before they are disposed of.

  • Walkswithcoffee

    An excellent post, worthy of your talents.

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