Monday, November 30, 2009

I want a Torture Inquiry

To:Prime Minister Stephen Harper
CC:NDP Leader Jack Layton,
Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe
Subject: I Want a Torture Inquiry
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
I am very concerned by the recent testimony of senior intelligence officer Richard Colvin.
According to Mr. Colvin, who served in Afghanistan and is currently posted to Canada's embassy in Washington, the government received repeated warnings that people who were taken prisoner and transferred to Afghan authorities by Canadian troops were tortured by the Afghans. Yet the Canadian government failed to act.
I support the call for an independent public inquiry into the possibility that government and military officials abandoned their responsibility to ensure Canada acted within Canadian and International law, and upheld Canadian values.
I look forward to your reply.
[Your name here]
With thanks to Thwap and Mentarch for picking this up.
It was mentioned in comments at Mentarch's that petitions are useless.
Verifiable petitions like this one from Ceasefire are read aloud in the House of Commons.
How else are they gonna know we're paying attention?
Who's with us?


Paul Franklin said...

My name is Paul Franklin a retired Master Corporal medic with the Canadian Forces.

I would like to propose a different scernario and thought exercise.

Imagine a world where Canada was the third poorest nation on earth (think native reserves but across Canada) other nations come here to showcase their political and military might and other nations come to honestly try and help the locals out. (It all started because Canada harboured terrorists that attacked Uzbekastan)

Countries like Afghanistan, Georgia and Uzbekistahn all send troops. Suddenly these Central Asian Treaty Organization troops witness a crime being done on them or on the populace. They arrest the individuals responsible and send them to the Edmonton Airfield. The troops having done their job and the person now in the hands of the military police go back to the reconstruction of the Canadian nation. The person is then sent to the local jail to be dealt with by local authorities as the Central Asian Treaty Organization has a policy of trying to rebuild the Canadian justice system. Also the Prime Minister of Georgia doesn't trust the large force from Uzbekastan that runs a secret detainee centre so they create a policy where all detainees are handed back over to the Canadian system.

They stay at the local level for a few week, maybe months at the Edmonton Institute. The justice system like now is slow and overcrowded. The guards let this man get raped and beat up by other inmates. (They claim that the guards allowed this to happen, also the secret police force the RCMP torture the suspect to get information).

Finally after a year being held without trial the person is either let off or forced to pay a fine (which they cant afford) and which means longer jail time.

That is exactly what happens in Afghanistan just change the names.

Dave said...

Well, Mcpl, I propose you take a good hard look at your Geneva Convention card. Your scenario doesn't move me. I don't know whether you're attempting to justify the treatment of Canadian captured detainees or simply suggesting that it isn't a Canadian responsibility.

I am a former Royal Marine C/Sgt and a once retired Canadian naval officer.

I have fought in a head on, short and violent conflict in the Falklands. I spent weeks in a lay up position in the Khyber Pass, coming out only to meet contacts from various entities. I served in the Gulf War ... on the ground. And other places. I have two wound stripes to go with my line of shyte nickels.

I've had the rules of armed conflict jammed in my face so many times I can tell you the last word on each article.

In my long career I have never seen such a shoddy arrangement for prisoner handling as that agreed to by Canada in Afghanistan. I have always disagreed with transfers. If we're taking prisoners, we keep them. The transfer arrangement suggested that we were handing them over to a government entity that possessed critical oversight ability and established standards.

I think you know that was never the case.

Worse, however, was the fact that captured combatants were and are able to find their way out the prison door within days of their capture. The ones who don't get out are those not involved in the fight who were picked up in a sweep. As you pointed out, the ones with no money to pay the "fine".

Canada's prisoner transfer agreement was a complete cop out and may well be a violation of the rules of armed conflict. We have attempted to engage in warfare at one end of the scope without attending to the responsibility factors associated with being one of the belligerents. And we ARE belligerents along with all other NATO forces in Afghanistan.

I know your history. I know you believed, or at least state that you believed completely in your mission.

Since the Afghanistan mission is being sold ostensibly as some form of nation building exercise, I might suggest that Canada had a fiduciary responsibility to demand that Canadian originating prisoners received a Canadian standard of PW captivity with our own people present to guarantee it.

Unless you think that maltreatment of captives is OK. That would make me tell you to look at your GC card again.