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Call up the Hague – Globe shows proof of detainee abuse exists.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay and the rest of the Harper government keeps blathering on about “no credible evidence of torture”. What exactly is this then? And testimony from Canadian soldiers, no less:

Sworn testimony by senior Canadian officers and rare uncensored documentary evidence contradict Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s repeated assertions that no proof exists of even a single case of a Canadian-transferred detainee abused by Afghan security forces. In one well-documented case in the summer of 2006, Canadian soldiers captured and handed over a detainee who was so severely beaten by Afghan police that the Canadians intervened and took the detainee back. Canadian medics then treated the man’s injuries. The incident is documented in the field notes of Canadian troops, recounted in a sworn affidavit by a senior officer and confirmed in cross-examination by a general.

And Peter’s response? Why, it’s the military and bureaucrats fault if he’s wrong:

The minister’s spokesman said Sunday that Mr. MacKay was standing by his repeated denials. “He has said what he has said based on the advice of generals and senior officials in the department,” said Dan Dugas, spokesman for the minister.

THAT’s supporting the troops? That to me looks more like he’s trying to throw them under the bus (though of course, they may very well be culpable for this as well. That’s no excuse for MacKay however).

Furthermore, these documents show that Canadian soldiers were well aware of their obligations under the Geneva Conventions and in one case refused to transfer a prisoner they believed would be executed. That speaks well of them, but it doesn’t speak very well of Minister MacKay or the rest of the Harper government involved with this file.

Remember, the Geneva Conventions state that a military force cannot turn over prisoners to a 3rd party if they have reason to believe or suspect torture or worse might be involved – this is a threshold below “first hand evidence” or “hard proof” that Peter Mackay and the Harper government demands – and yet we now have sworn affidavits from Canadian soldiers that there was indeed “documented proof” of torture.

I think Amnesty International or those 2 human rights professors that filed that complaint with the International Criminal Court should be sending this report by the Globe and Mail off to them pronto. And Peter Mackay should be getting grilled in QP over this latest development, which again shows the Harper government has been covering up what it knew and didn’t know on the detainees file.

(On a side note, the ever excellent Paul Koring of the Globe wrote this. I wonder if his journalist companion Christie Blatchford will be going after him now as well.).


2 comments to Call up the Hague – Globe shows proof of detainee abuse exists.

  • I don’t think we have to send these idiots to the Hague. That’s only if the justice system of the country in question is incapable of bringing war criminals to justice.

    • @thwap, The Harper regime may not be “incapable” but they are certainly proving to be unwilling. Canada, under Harper et al, is moving into rogue state territory.

      Back in the late 60’s, I heard folksinger Tom Paxton sing about this same issue.

      We Didn’t Know
      Words and Music by Tom Paxton

      We didn’t know said the Burgomeister,
      About the camps on the edge of town.
      It was Hitler and his crew,
      That tore the German nation down.
      We saw the cattle cars it’s true,
      And maybe they carried a Jew or two.
      They woke us up as they rattled through,
      But what did you expect me to do?

      We didn’t know at all,
      We didn’t see a thing.
      You can’t hold us to blame,
      What could we do?
      It was a terrible shame,
      But we can’t bear the blame.
      Oh no, not us, we didn’t know.

      We didn’t know said the congregation,
      Singing a hymn in a church of white.
      The Press was full lf lies about us,
      Preacher told us we were right.
      The outside agitators came.
      They burned some churches and put the blame,
      On decent southern people’s names,
      To set our colored people aflame.
      And maybe some of our boys got hot,
      And a couple of niggers and reds got shot,
      They should have stayed where they belong,
      And preacher would’ve told us if we’d done wrong.


      We didn’t know said the puzzled voter,
      Watching the President on TV.
      I guess we’ve got to drop those bombs,
      If we’re gonna keep South Asia free.
      The President’s such a peaceful man,
      I guess he’s got some kind of plan.
      They say we’re torturing prisoners of war,
      But I don’t believe that stuff no more.
      Torturing prisoners is a communist game,
      And You can bet they’re doing the same.

      I wish this war was over and through,
      But what do you expect me to do?


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