Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Afghan detainees: The Liberal government was warned about possible torture/Rendition realities/Must-read Update

Well, well, well. One part of our major media finally wakes up to the blatantly obvious. First an excerpt from a recent post, listing posts here from January this year and December 2009:
Maybe some former Liberal ministers should be worrying about their asses

Facts: The previous Liberal government and Afghan detainees

"Torture in Afghanistan: The Liberals knew" redux

Afghan detainees and the former Liberal government/Human rights Update
(letter in Globe and Mail)
Now the CBC (about time after their manic witch-hunt against the Conservative government, see e.g. here and here) bothers to do some digging, as we already did:
Afghan detainee torture risk raised in 2005: diplomat

A Canadian diplomat with extensive experience in Afghanistan says she raised the possibility that detainees transferred from Canadian to Afghan custody were at risk of torture back in 2005, but her concerns were ignored.

In an exclusive interview with CBC News, Eillen Olexiuk, who arrived in Afghanistan in 2002 and was second in command at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, said she told the Liberal government in power at the time that the transfer agreement didn't do enough to protect detainees.

Canadian officials at the time weren't monitoring detainees after the transfer, and that left detainees vulnerable to torture once they were in Afghan hands, said Olexiuk, who met with torture victims during her three years in Afghanistan.

She had also written three different human rights reports over three years warning that torture was a common problem in Afghanistan.

But Olexiuk said her advice was ignored by Paul Martin's government.

"I don't think anybody really cared, quite frankly," she said.

It was only in 2007 that allegations of torture arose in the media, with reports of transferred detainees being beaten, whipped, starved, frozen, choked and shocked...
Let's see some outrage from up and at em' Attaran, eh? War crimes charges against former Liberal cabinet members? By the way the peristent prof.--here he is in February 2007 suggesting Canadian troops abused detainees--has added fuel to the rhetorical fire of our almost mindless political and media debate by raising the "R" word, RENDITION (this CBC link again)!

"If these documents were released [in full], what they will show is that Canada partnered deliberately with the torturers in Afghanistan for the interrogation of detainees," he said.

"There would be a question of rendition and a question of war crimes on the part of certain Canadian officials. That's what's in these documents, and that's why the government is covering up as hard as it can."..

Then NDP leader Jack Layton jumped in:
"I'm speaking about rendition, yes," Layton said outside the Commons.

"Was it a kind of a pre-interview for torture that was taking place prior to rendition to a place where the torture would take place? This would be terrifyingly unacceptable to Canadians."..
He went on to imply the dreadful prospect that CSIS has acted in some way comparable to the monstrous CIA:
"CSIS is not and should not be the CIA," Layton said, an apparent reference to the U.S. spy agency's controversial extra-judicial renditions of suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives and leaders in recent years...
And the Liberals joined the howling chorus:
...Liberal Defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh referred to a recent CBC report saying the government “ordered the transfer of detainees to the notorious Afghan NDS for the purposes of extracting additional information.”

Mr. Dosanjh asked: “My question is, did this government conduct the policy of rendition?”

He was referring to a policy used in the United States of shipping suspects to foreign jails to face tough interrogation and likely torture.

“Allegations as serious as rendition require more than just vetting of documents,” the B.C. MP said. “They require a full and transparent public inquiry to look at all the facts.”..

Wonderful outrage what? Except that transfers of detainees by the CF to Afghan authorities within Afganistan cannot be "rendition":
The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terrorism suspects to third countries [empahsis added] for detention and interrogation, but pledges to closely monitor their treatment to ensure that they are not tortured, administration officials said Monday.

Human rights advocates condemned the decision, saying that continuing the practice, known as rendition...
Where's the third country in our case? The opposition are rendering a bad case of terminological inexactitude to tar the government with the Bush, oops! Obama, brush. Idjits.

Update: Lots more from BruceR. who was there, and as an Army intelligence officer. Well worth the whole read:
Not far to render

Canadian Press:

In some cases the spy agency would recommend which prisoners should be transferred to the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan's notorious intelligence service, which has a dismal human rights record.

"I'm speaking about rendition, yes," [NDP leader Jack] Layton said outside the Commons.

I'm not quite sure how one renders someone TO their country of residence, but never mind that. More important is that the article's statement above is categorically false, at least in the 2008-09 context that I actually know something about. That's because, other than in a few exceptional circumstances, all detainees taken on operations involving Canadians I have direct knowledge of, the larger number "by Afghans" and the much smaller number detained by Task Force Kandahar (purely by virtue of there not being any Afghan around at the point of capture to formally take them from us) were eventually turned over to the NDS. All. Of. Them. It's not like there was much of a choice. We had no long- or medium-term detention facilities of our own, no direct access to any tribunal. It was either transfer them to the NDS or cut them loose. CSIS could not have had any role in deciding which, because there was no choice for Canadians to make. The 72-hour rule on turnovers meant there wasn't even a question of when. That was the way it was when I came in at the end of summer 2008, and the way it was when I left at the end of April, 2009...


Blogger wuberman said...

They knew, they knew they knew, we knew that they knew, they knew that we knew, everybody knew. Which is why they will try to make hay out of the torture issue, Canada wants no more of the above lying and cheap shots. the liberals are always going to be corrupt and nuts.

10:26 a.m., March 10, 2010  
Blogger william said...

It's all coming undone for the Liberals, when word gets back to the higher-ups in the Liberal (the ones above Iggy) party that senior past Liberals may face war-crimes investigations and maybe even some charges.
Shit will hit the fan.
Imagine that, your own FAKE scandal blowing up in your face.

I've got a hundred bucks that says the whole matter will disappear rather quickly.

11:04 a.m., March 10, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is about time that the real story of who tolerated "abuse" of enemy combatants came out. I am sure that this will be equally true when the investigation into Rights and Democracy inevitably happens ... the Liberals really had better watch what they wish for.

11:15 a.m., March 10, 2010  
Blogger Dr.Dawg said...

Good grief, what a Bright Shiny Object you've brandished here.

So what if the Liberals knew? Does that make complicity in torture OK?

As for parsing "rendition," what a desperate move. You know and I know what was meant--sending unfortunates off-jurisdiction where information might be, er, more easily extracted.

Iggy's in a hole, if what you say is true, and I don't mind that. Let the truth come out, whatever it is. This is a matter of decency, not partisanship.

11:28 a.m., March 10, 2010  
Blogger Don Mitchell said...

In the rampant race to gain political scoring points. Nobody in the house of commons seems to think that keeping a level head will return some measure of respect back to the house. If the defence committee wasn't so hyper partisan and if the members could keep their mouth shut (I'm looking at you Dosanjh (sp))then maybe they could get some info out of government. I must add the the PMO has been the main architect of the PR fiasco.

11:53 a.m., March 10, 2010  
Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

This is a matter of decency, not partisanship.

I disagree. This is almost entirely about partisanship, as I see it.

Nobody who's thought at all about the problem believes detainees will be treated more decently without Canadian involvement, yet those who are howling most loudly over this tempest are the same people advocating we leave Afghanistan as quickly as possible. If this were truly about decency, we'd all be talking about how to engage more, not less.

2:04 p.m., March 10, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, torture is never "ok". That was not my point. My point was that this is not about torture but rather about partisanship. And that dishonesty will come back to bite the Liberals.

2:15 p.m., March 10, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will have to agree to disagree wiht at least two of the commenters here. Torture of murdering filth like the Taliban or Al-Qaeda (ludicrously characterized as "unfortunates" by the pro-terrorism Dr. Dawg) in order to obtain vital intelligence that could assist in bringing about their defeat is not merely "ok" - it is laudable and should be implemented as a matter of policy, yesterday if possible. The issue is not whether or not torture or complicity in it is "ok"; it is the sickening hypocrisy of the Liberals and NDP.

3:14 p.m., March 10, 2010  
Blogger Dr.Dawg said...

"Pro-terrorism?" Have a care.

12:24 p.m., March 12, 2010  
Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

While I believe his position on Afghanistan is misguided, Dawg is emphatically NOT 'pro-terrorism'. Let's keep the hyperbole to a minimum if we can.

12:29 p.m., March 12, 2010  

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