Monday, October 29, 2007

New allegations of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan

Via POGGE is this new report that prisoners being taken by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan are still being tortured by the Afghan secret police before being forwarded to the Afghan prison system.
The federal government is dismissing an incendiary newspaper report about the continued abuse of detainees in Afghanistan.

Prisoners at an Afghan jail in Kandahar are being bashed with bricks, having their fingernails ripped out, getting electrocuted, being forced to stand up without sleeping and are whipped with electric cables, Montreal La Presse reported on Monday.

The newspaper cites interviews with three prisoners and independent sources including a spokesman for the Afghan Human Rights Commission and a prison boss.

The Conservative government in Ottawa responded to similar reports last spring by saying it had a new a deal to monitor detainees.

On Monday, the government responded to the latest report by dismissing it as Taliban propaganda.

"We do expect these kinds of allegations from the Taliban," said Tory House leader Peter Van Loan.

Van Loan persists in being a complete idiot. La Presse actually visited the prison and interviewed the very outfit which is supposed to be reporting incidents of prisoner abuse to the Canadian government - the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission.

A spokesman for the Afghan Human Rights Commission is quoted as saying that about a third of prisoners are still being tortured by Afghanistan's secret service before they are taken to prison.

"The Canadians give us a sealed envelope with the names of the prisoners. The problem is that list never corresponds to the one compiled by the secret service," said commission spokesman Shamuldin Tanwir.

Ahem! One would think Peter Mackay would be in a bit of a rush to verify, or put to rest, that report. That's his prize prisoner monitoring agency saying things are off the rails.

There is a very clear solution to all of this. We simply do what we should have been doing all along. Take prisoners and retain them in Canadian custody. It's called a PW camp - in Canada. We then monitor their treatment, which is actually our responsibility as one of the combatants in Afghanistan. By removing them from theatre completely there is no chance that they can be delivered by a corrupt Afghan regime back into the hands of the enemy.

I know, there are those out there who are possessed of the belief that the such captives are entitled to no such treatment. Those people are easily dismissed. When your enemy surrenders they are now your problem. You won. Both sides did their best, and their dirtiest, to kill each other and emerge victorious. This country does not allow, under any circumstances whatsoever, the torture or abuse of prisoners who have turned themselves over as captive. Period.

Stockwell Day showed his extreme ignorance for such matters when, in April 2007, he responded to the suggestion that PWs be removed to Canada thusly:

"We want the Taliban to stay in Afghanistan. We are going to insist that their human rights are respected, but we don't want them to come here," he said.
He then went on to admit that the Afghanis had a history of torture and abuse and that things weren't going as well as we would like.

Day's argument is moot. His painting of the Taliban as murderous torturers carries no weight. The fact is, the NAZI regime in WW2 Germany was also a bunch of murderous torturers on a scale far beyond that of the Afghan Taliban regime. Yet, we placed their captured soldiers in prison camps in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Kingston, Bowmanville, Gravenhurst, Ozada and Kananaskis - by the thousands.

That's right Stockwell, Peter and Steve. We brought them, the soldiers of a regime led by mass murderers and thugs, into captivity in Canada.

I would suggest re-thinking the currently held position but that would require giving the original suggestion some actual thought.

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