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Our soldiers are dying in Afghanistan for this?

I’ve been afflicted with a severe neckache/headache problem the past couple of days which doesn’t allow me to be at my computer for more then a few minutes at a time, and thus I’m not about to leave any long-winded posts (like I normally do), but when I see stories like this that show that the Governor of Kandahar province might be personally involved in torture (and the added outrage that the Harper government tried to cover it up), and when I see another story this week where a young Afghan journalist gets sentenced to death for supposedly blaspheming Islam, when all he was doing was challenging Muslim fundamentalists who […]


The Canadian military is still obviously ticked at Harper.

I don’t think its been even 24 hrs before “sources” – no doubt in the military – leaked this to the Globe and Mail:

The Canadian Forces are holding insurgent detainees at their Kandahar Air Force base rather than turning them over to Afghan authorities, are taking fewer prisoners and are quickly releasing some of them. The information, provided to The Globe and Mail by sources, answers questions about Canada’s new policy for handling detainees that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other ministers repeatedly refused to provide Monday, citing the need for combat operational secrecy.

I guess the military either doesn’t think that this thing needs to be kept […]


Some holes in the “we didn’t know transfers had stopped” defence? (Update: PMO retracts “military didn’t tell us” claim)

Ok, so the Conservative government is now claiming they weren’t aware of the Canadian Armed Forces having stopped the transfer of detainees to the Afghanistan authorities (even though most of us agree that it was a GOOD thing this happened, the Harper government seems embarrassed by it – maybe because of all those “You’re all Taliban lovers” attacks it hurled at the opposition parties when it was asked to halt the transfers after the allegations of prisoner abuse first came up).

Courtesy of the sharp eyes of Jimbobby, however, we find this story in the Ottawa Citizen about the testimony at the Federal Court involving the Amnesty/BCCLA lawsuit:



We didnt know! Honest! Its the military’s fault! (or its to the military’s credit).

The Conservative government’s latest claim about the detainees issue is a whopper; they are claiming both privately and publicly that they had no idea that the transfer of detainees had ceased in November, and it was the Canadian Armed Forces and their commanders that made that decision.

There are 2 scenarios that are possibilities here; neither very good. The first scenario is that the Conservative government is telling 1 big fib to the Canadian people about this. With the control-freak style that Harper and his PMO uses to run things, you can’t help but be sceptical about this claim of being unaware of this major detail. The other scenario is […]


On red herrings and straw-men.

At first glance, you might wonder why Stockwell Day would issue such a feeble attempt in trying to draw Canadian outrage by equating the tasering death of a Polish immigrant to the issues of drunk driving. On the surface, it does seem pretty idiotic of Day – after all, this issue wasn’t one like the detainee question where the government is directly implicated and being directly attacked. This was mostly directed against the RCMP’s use of these tasers, and Harper and his office – normally so hypersensitive to any issue in which public opinion would turn against the Cons, and then trying to neutralize that particular issue as a problem […]


On keeping focus

I don’t mind if the Liberals and Dion ask that this independent arbitrator look into all possibilities of what went on with Mulroney and Schreiber, and to see what exactly went on in the Privy Council Office (I’m skeptical myself that in this regime, with its top-down control style of Harper’s, that officials in the PCO would withhold something as potentially damaging as these letters from him), but I think Liberals need to not yield to the temptation of trying to present this as the Conservatives equivalent to the Gomery Commission.

Let the inquiry do it’s investigations and make its report, and if something juicy or incriminating comes up, then […]


What they said.

Some of our blogging acquaintances on the right-wing and even some like Peter MacKay and others in the Cons. government can’t understand all the fuss over a few Taliban prisoners getting tortured – after all they’re the bad guys right?

For a rebuttal to that, a couple of my Progressive Blogger associates have done quite well in issuing responses. First Impolitical sums it up distinctly why this attitude is wrong:

Where, when and how detainees are captured have nothing to do with whether they are being tortured once handed over and in Afghan prisons…It doesn’t matter who the prisoners are, Taliban, Al Qaeda, pillaging Huns. They all need to be […]



You know, even when some of us political people of the progressive persuasion accused the Harper Conservative government of worshiping George W Bush as their “American Idol” and mentor, I don’t think even we thought they’d follow Bush’s method of a total disregard of human rights and cover-ups of said actions, justifying it under “national security” and “fighting terrorists”. But folks, as documents released this week as ordered by a federal court have shown, we were sadly mistaken; Harper and the Cons are employing the George W Bush lite method towards human rights, which means its pretty dismal:

The Harper government knew prison conditions were appalling long before The Globe […]


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 […]


That “other” issue Canadians aren’t going to like either.

It’s almost unfortunate this Mulroney stuff has to be happening at this particular moment, because the Afghan detainees issue is probably more important in the scheme of things, and it has popped back up in the news as well, with a sweeping condemnation of Canada by Amnesty International in being complicit of torture in Afghanistan:

Last May, under the threat of a federal court injunction, the Canadian government negotiated an improved arrangement. But the new arrangement has failed to work. According to Amnesty International, transferred detainees remain “at substantial risk of torture and other ill-treatment.” The human rights organization also criticizes Canada for downplaying the number of transfers that occur. […]

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