Author Topic: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread  (Read 266769 times)

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Offline Old Sweat

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The little I have seen is along the line of the troops knew that detainees were being tortured, which is not quite what the board concluded. For example, this Canadian Press, story which appeared on the Globe and Mail web site and is reproduced under the fair dealings provision of the Copyright Act, puts a negative spin on the story, peaking in the last paragraph where it comes close to claiming Canadian troops were war criminals.

Afghan authorities beat detainees ‘on a whim,’ military inquiry finds
Ottawa — The Canadian Press
Published on Friday, May. 07, 2010 2:14PM EDT
 
A military board of inquiry says Afghan authorities regularly beat enemy prisoners “in the street and elsewhere” and most Canadian soldiers were well aware of the fact.

The probe into an incident involving a suspected Taliban fighter who was beaten in the street in front of Canadian troops says soldiers on the ground had ongoing concerns about the Afghan police.

The report says the “practice of corporal punishment being meted out on an apparent whim in the street and elsewhere was common and was observed and commented upon by most Canadian Forces members.”

The investigators say the suspected Taliban fighter who was beaten in June, 2006, after he was turned over by the Canadians wasn't deemed a detainee so the incident wasn't reported to military brass.

The board found that while a detainee-reporting process was in place during the incident, it fell to soldiers and commanders to determine when someone was actually in Canadian custody. In this case, the troops on the ground didn't consider the suspected insurgent a Canadian detainee.

The probe made no recommendations because it found the military now has a clearly defined process of documenting and reporting detainees.

The investigation stems from an incident in which Canadian soldiers captured a suspected Taliban fighter and handed him over to local police. Afghan police then beat the man to the point where the Canadians had to intervene.

A report on the incident was apparently uncovered only in December, leaving egg on the face of the country's top military commander. General Walter Natynczyk, the Chief of Defence Staff, told the Commons defence committee that troops had questioned the suspected insurgent, but never detained him.

But Gen. Natynczyk corrected himself a day later, saying Canadian troops did indeed capture the man and gave him to Afghan police before taking him back into custody when they saw him being beaten.

The Chief of Defence Staff then ordered an investigation to determine why the information did not get to him or Rick Hillier, the general who served before him. Rear-Admiral Paul Maddison, commander of the navy's East Coast operation, headed the board of inquiry.

Opposition parties say the episode shows the governing Conservatives had credible proof of torture and knew of the dangers of transferring prisoners as far back as 2006.

The Tories maintain they had no solid evidence of Canadian-captured prisoners being abused by the Afghans before November, 2007.

Diplomat Richard Colvin told a Commons committee last fall that Canadian officials were warned about possible torture in 2006, but took little or no action to halt the transfer of prisoners to Afghan authorities. Mr. Colvin said all prisoners turned over by Canadian troops to the Afghans were probably then abused by their captors.

Knowingly transferring a prisoner into a situation where they may face a risk of torture is a violation of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime. A Commons committee and the quasi-judicial Military Police Complaints Commission have been looking into the issue of alleged detainee abuse for months.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 19:53:03 by Old Sweat »

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #777 on: May 08, 2010, 11:39:16 »
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright ct from the Ottawa Citizen is an excellent opinion piece by Prof. Paul Chapin (Queen’s), himself a former senior official in DFAIT:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/inquisition/3001773/story.html
Quote
End the inquisitionb]
A committee that should be monitoring our role in Afghanistan has been hijacked for political ends by wild accusations of torture and nothing in the way of proof

 
BY PAUL H. CHAPIN, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN

MAY 8, 2010

It was the beginning of the end of McCarthyism when an honourable man finally had had enough.

In 1954, Senator Joe McCarthy had directed his anti-communist inquisition at the U.S. Army and was bullying a witness at a hearing when the chief army counsel, Joseph Welch, told him to stop.

"Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or recklessness. ... You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

The gallery burst into applause, leaving McCarthy bewildered. "What did I do, what did I do?" A few months later, the Senate censured him for his abusive conduct. His career was over.

One hopes such a moment will arrive soon in Ottawa.

The special committee

In March 2008, the House of Commons approved a government motion that set parameters for Canada's future engagement in Afghanistan, including ending Canada's presence in Kandahar in July 2011. In addition, the motion proposed the establishment of a special committee to meet with ministers and officials, travel to the region, and "make frequent recommendations on the conduct and progress of our efforts in Afghanistan."

Instead, for many months now, the special committee on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan has been conducting hearings intended to uncover evidence that government officials and Canadian Forces personnel have been guilty of war crimes in Afghanistan. First came the denunciations, then the hunt for proof. An inquisition by any definition.

The hue and cry has become so loud and insistent, the public hears only from the accusers. Some of Canada's most distinguished citizens have been called war criminals, those who have dissented have been called liars or dupes -- and normally responsible politicians and media outlets, whether out of fear or expediency, have allowed outlandish claims to go unchallenged.

If we are to get at the truth about Afghan detainees, we need to restore some decency to our political discourse. Then we need to dispel myths that have become conventional wisdom through repetition.

Detainee myths

First myth: It's about detainees in Afghanistan. Wrong, it's about politics in Canada. The priority for the opposition parties is winning seats in the next Parliament, and to do so they need to drive down the government's public approval numbers before an election is called. The detainee issue offers a convenient stick with which to beat the government. It's a thin stick, but special interests, partisan academics and much of the media have been supportive and the government has not fought back well.

Second myth: It's about doing what's best for Afghans. Wrong, it's about getting Canada out of Afghanistan as soon as possible -- and no later than July 2011. If the opposition parties were genuinely concerned for the welfare of that afflicted country, they would not just have negotiated the terms for Canada's future involvement in Afghanistan but also endorsed them. In fact, only Conservatives and Liberals voted for the March 2008 resolution. So let's not credit the NDP and the Bloc with pious motives. With the Liberals split over the issue, opponents of Canada's engagement in Afghanistan are putting maximum pressure on the government to ensure there is no backtracking on the decision that Canada leave next summer -- and leave Afghans to their fate.

Third myth: It's about torture. Wrong, it's about feigning outrage over torture while searching for evidence it has occurred. Regrettably for the inquisitors, no evidence has yet been uncovered: no mutilated bodies, maimed survivors, photographs, first-hand accounts, or authoritative reports documenting specific cases with names, dates and places. Not a single individual appearing before the committee has yet provided any such evidence, beginning with the first one. As recently as May 5, the best a representative of Human Rights Watch could offer was further hearsay without corroboration, some dating back to before Taliban rule and none involving Canada. In contrast, the committee has heard many hours of testimony from military commanders, ambassadors, and senior officials refuting allegations Canada delivered detainees over for torture. When their assertions about torture have been probed, the inquisitors have slipped into talking about "abuse" -- then reverted to discussing "torture" when next the issue arises.

Does torture occur in Afghanistan? Probably. It's a society that's been brutalized for more than 30 years and is in the midst of a vicious insurgency that has specialized in targeting civilians. But if torture does occur, there's no evidence it's the rule rather than the exception -- and plenty of evidence serious efforts are being made to improve the Afghan justice system, including millions of Canadian dollars invested.

Fourth myth: It's about Canadian collusion in war crimes. Wrong, it's about Canada respecting its international obligations in wartime while making an extraordinary effort to help rebuild a war-torn society. Canadian Forces are in Afghanistan under the authority of the UN Security Council, under the command and control of NATO, and in support of the sovereign government of Afghanistan. They are expected to treat detainees humanely, and they do so. They are also legally obliged to transfer them to the custody of the Afghan government without undue delay. At issue is whether Canada has any legal obligation in respect of detainees after transfer. Prevailing opinion to the contrary, there is a strong argument that Canada's responsibility for detainees ends when they are handed over and that the onus is on Afghanistan, not Canada, to keep track of them and deal with them pursuant to Afghan law, including international conventions Afghanistan has entered into.

The Canadian government should have expressed itself on the matter. As it happens, the British government has. In a November 2008 letter to the House of Commons Defence Committee, the Defence Secretary wrote that "The U.K. does not have legal obligations towards the treatment of individuals we have detained once they have been transferred to the custody of another state, whether in Iraq or Afghanistan or through the normal judicial extradition process." In January 2009, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs noted that arrangements negotiated with both Iraq and Afghanistan "ensure that detainees transferred by the U.K. are treated in accordance with those States' respective international human rights obligations including prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment." But, the secretary added, "We consider that ongoing monitoring and access to individuals, transferred in the above circumstances and who remain in Iraqi or Afghan detention, does not reflect a continuing legal obligation on the part of the United Kingdom in respect of such individuals."

Fifth myth: It's about a cover-up. Wrong, it's about the government redacting or withholding documents for the same reasons previous governments have done so. Not in all of Canada's history -- or in that of any country with a Westminster model of government -- has it ever been held that the government of the day must share classified information with backbench MPs who request it. Governments have a job to do, including preserving national security and protecting the confidences of communications with foreign governments. Equally, governments have recognized that the national interest sometimes requires sharing sensitive information with opposition members. In such cases, the parties have improvised ways to make this happen without compromising the national interest. Only internal turmoil can explain why the great Liberal Party of Canada, once considered the natural governing party of Canada, would today countenance an idea that would so damage its future ability to govern.

Time to stop

When he was elected president in 1952, Dwight Eisenhower was the great hope for those who wanted to see an end to the human wreckage McCarthy caused. But Eisenhower would not intervene. "I just will not, I refuse, to get into the gutter with that guy." It was a noble sentiment he later regretted.

Would that good people in our own time not wait too much longer to intervene.

Paul Chapin is a former director general for international security at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He is an adjunct professor in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University and a director of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen


I am 100% with Prof. Chapin; this mess has been twisted and bent all out of shape. I have no problems with people like Prof. Attaran and Byers or the BC Civil Liberties Union; they are, I believe honest and well intentioned people who are pursuing commendable goals (peace, proper conduct, etc) even though, I believe, they are (unintentionally) in league with our enemies and even though I believe their ‘standards’ are too rigid for the 21st century.

My problem is with the people, led by a handful of wholly unprincipled Liberal and NDP politicians, like Ujjal Dosanjh, but including “special interests, partisan academics and much of the media,” who have played partisan politics with an important national interest. They, especially Liberal politicians who served in the cabinets of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, are a disgrace to parliament and Canada and one hopes that Canadians will wake up to that fact and, at the first opportunity – the next general election, will toss them on the political dung heap where they belong.

We, all of Canada, has been dragged into the gutter by a few overly partisan political hacks and a media that smells (government) blood and does not mind misrepresenting the facts – lying to be crude – when it helps to sell papers or TV time. It is, as Prof. Chapin says, past time to intervene and for Canadians to recapture the moral high ground from parliament.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #778 on: May 09, 2010, 09:53:36 »
And, too bad only a handfull will read the piece. Some will start to read it, then stop as it does not fit into what they believe.
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Former Minister: No Deal is Perfect
« Reply #779 on: May 13, 2010, 07:35:31 »
Let's see if MSM applies the principle of "no deal can be perfect" to the ruling government now that we've heard it from the Liberals - this from the Canadian Press:
Quote
A former Liberal minister says an Afghan detainee-transfer deal signed under his watch wasn't perfect but it was the best Canada could do at the time.

Bill Graham told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that the 2005 agreement signed by Gen. Rick Hillier, then chief of defence staff, wasn't without its shortcomings.

Perhaps the deal's biggest weakness was a lack of provision for monitoring Canadian-captured prisoners once they had been turned over to the Afghans.

A subsequent deal, signed by the Conservative government in the spring of 2007, included measures for Canadian officials to keep tabs on detainees, such as allowing them into Afghan jails.

"In the end, the agreement wasn't perfect," Graham said of the first deal.

"No agreement is." ....
So, Liberals make a less-than-perfect deal, nobody says anything, and Conservatives make a less-than-perfect deal, try them as war criminals? ? ?  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight...
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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #780 on: May 13, 2010, 07:41:08 »
I am going to make a connection between the parliamentarians whinging about their "privelage" as MPs, and their "right" to access secret documents.


They argue that since they are in Canada's legislative "wing" of Parliament, they have the right to access those documents, National Security be damned!

Side bar now to the whole Jaffer/Guergis affair.  Though it's come out that he used her "MP" blackberry, it's no harm no foul.  This from the members in the hearing from members who aren't from the conservatives.  Wait a minutes, says I.  It's ok to "share" stuff on your "official" blackberry?  What of the privelage?  I mean, I too have an "official" blackberry, no secrets on there, but it *is* priveledged.  Just as my wife doesn't have access to my DIN account, neither does she to my blackberry (much to her chagrin).

I don't think that "they" see the problem with this.

Anyway, my  :2c:
So, there I was....

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #781 on: May 13, 2010, 08:43:21 »
Note the Globeite editorializing in what is supposed to be a news story:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/deal-to-protect-detainees-is-flawed-former-liberal-defence-minister-says/article1567062/

Quote
...
Mr. Graham’s testimony doesn’t absolve the Harper government of charges it turned a blind eye to torture for transfers in 2006 and beyond. But it does demonstrate how difficult a task subsequent Canadian governments have faced in handling suspects rounded up while fighting in a foreign nation at war with an insurgency...

Much straighter story in, gasp,  the Toronto Star (they still report sometimes):

Ex-Liberal defence minister says 2005 Afghan prisoner deal was best available
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/afghanmission/article/808760--ex-liberal-defence-minister-says-2005-afghan-prisoner-deal-was-best-available

Mark
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We have a deal!
« Reply #782 on: May 14, 2010, 12:33:51 »
This from the Canadian Press:
Quote
MPs have struck an eleventh-hour deal to avert a parliamentary showdown — and possible snap election — over sensitive Afghan detainee documents.

Sources say the government and opposition have agree to establish a small, all-party committee sworn to secrecy to examine sensitive Afghan detainee documents.

The committee of one MP and one alternate from each party will go through the documents with the assistance of bureaucrats who can explain national security implications.

In the event of disagreement over the release of a document, a three-member panel of ''eminent jurists'' will be given the final say.

The parties now must draft a formal agreement which can be submitted to Commons Speaker Peter Milliken ....

More from the National Post, and this Twitter warning from former-PM spokesperson Kory Teneycke:
Quote
How long before the opposition leaks information contained in Afghan documents? My guess is not long.
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Offline ModlrMike

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Re: We have a deal!
« Reply #783 on: May 14, 2010, 12:41:12 »
This from the Canadian Press:
More from the National Post, and this Twitter warning from former-PM spokesperson Kory Teneycke: How long before the opposition leaks information contained in Afghan documents? My guess is not long.

Question two is: who's going to be the first leaker?
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Re: We have a deal!
« Reply #784 on: May 14, 2010, 12:45:33 »
Question two is: who's going to be the first leaker?

Well, if this part of the story is accurate ....
Quote
The committee of one MP and one alternate from each party will go through the documents with the assistance of bureaucrats who can explain national security implications.
.... it'll be a pretty short list to guess from.
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Offline GAP

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #785 on: May 16, 2010, 09:46:52 »
More anti Americanism and just plain stirring the pot...........

Are we covering for Uncle Sam?
 Article Link
Dramatic twist could be unveiled in detainee mess if details come to light about prisoner transfers to U.S.
By GREG WESTON, QMI Agency Last Updated: May 16, 2010

In the unlikely event parliamentarians ever got close to the truth of the Afghan detainee mess, they might well discover a dark world of secret interrogation jails run by the CIA and clandestine U.S. military operatives.

Several recent reports claim the U.S. has long operated a network of “black prisons” in Afghanistan, facilities that don’t officially exist but may well show up in all those classified detainee files the Canadian government has been hiding.

The BBC recently reported that even the International Red Cross has now confirmed the existence of a previously secret jail run by U.S. special forces next to a larger prison near the Bagram Air Base.

The main Bagram lockup itself became infamous early in the war after two prisoners were hung by their arms and slowly beaten to death by their American guards over a period of days.

The U.S. military later admitted both victims were bit players of no intelligence value.

A recent article in The Nation claims to have corroborated the horrific abuse stories of prisoners in black jails spread across Afghanistan.

For example: “The interrogators blindfolded him, taped his mouth shut and chained him to the ceiling. Occasionally they unleashed a dog which repeatedly bit him. ... They then pushed him to the ground and forced him to swallow twelve bottles of water” until he was unconscious.

“This continued for a number of days. ... Four months later he was quietly released with a letter of apology from U.S. authorities for wrongfully imprisoning him.”

A senior Canadian source with intimate knowledge of the Afghanistan war says “it was commonly understood” that U.S. intelligence agents were probably scooping detainees of interest from Afghan jails.

“People would just roll their eyes when the subject came up.”

All of which could put a dramatic new twist on the Afghan detainee issue.

Until now, the controversy in this country has been whether Canadian forces turned over prisoners with the full knowledge there was a high probability of torture by the Afghans.

But what if the Americans have been mistreating Canadian captives?

Canadian public opinion long ago weighed in on that issue and it wasn’t sympathetic.

Indeed, only months into the Afghan war, a front-page photo of Canadian commandos handing over shackled prisoners to U.S. forces touched off the first political firestorm over detainees.
More on link
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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #786 on: May 16, 2010, 10:55:06 »
Mr Weston seems ignorant of certain realities:

Afstan: "Liberals feared Abu Ghraib-type detainee scandal: source"
http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2010/03/afstan-liberals-feared-abu-ghraib-type.html

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #787 on: May 18, 2010, 06:16:35 »
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, is an excellent opinion piece by David Bercuson:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/liberals-lay-down-your-arms/article1572110/
Quote
Liberals, lay down your arms
Ignatieff needs to rein in Dosanjh and Rae to restore sense to his party’s defence policies


David Bercuson

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Some senior Liberals are unhappy over the manner in which party defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh and foreign affairs critic Bob Rae have been pursuing the Afghan-detainee issue. They fear this relentless pursuit of possible wrongdoing will undermine public confidence in the Canadian Forces and create a major rift between Canadians and their military.

The split between at least two very senior Liberals was apparent last week when Bill Graham, the minister of national defence in 2005, appeared before the House of Commons committee probing the detainee matter. At one point, Mr. Graham clashed with Mr. Dosanjh when the defence critic, in effect, implied that the former minister ought to have known that transfers of detainees by Canadian troops had made Canada “responsible as a country” for their welfare – in other words, responsible for their alleged torture. Mr. Graham replied that Mr. Dosanjh “has totally jumbled up what international lawyers make of the law of war and the law in war.”

Put simply, Mr. Graham told the committee that the 2005 deal between Canada and Afghanistan to protect detainees – done under his watch – was flawed in a number of ways: “We did our best in the circumstances – in the light of the knowledge we had … and that’s the best you can do.”

Reflect on Mr. Graham’s words. He and his government did the best they could at the time, in a chaotic situation. They had no intention to break any laws of war. And there is still no evidence that they or their successors did.

The situation in Afghanistan is still chaotic; that’s the kind of war it is. It is not a war of state against state where it is relatively easy to judge what is and what is not a war crime. It is an insurgency in a country where the police, the courts and the penal systems operate at somewhat less than Canadian standards. Mr. Graham knew that then and Peter MacKay, the current Defence Minister, knows that now.

Mr. Graham is much respected among the Canadian Forces as the man who brought them back from the precipice when he arranged the appointment of Rick Hillier as chief of defence staff, talked prime minister Paul Martin and finance minister Ralph Goodale into a major increase in the defence budget in 2005 and launched a number of important procurement projects, such as the purchase of Hercules transport aircraft.

He knows the government’s responsibility is to protect Canada with a modern, capable military that Canadians support. Judging from their words and actions, it’s an easy guess that Frank McKenna, John Manley and even Michael Ignatieff, before he became party leader, plainly know that, as do many other centrist Liberals. Some of those people are not happy with the charges that Mr. Rae and Mr. Dosanjh are making by implication: that the military’s adherence to the laws of war is questionable – a condition that no democracy can or should tolerate.

Where, then, is Mr. Ignatieff on this issue, now that he is the only real alternative to Prime Minister Stephen Harper? His failure to rein in Mr. Rae and Mr. Dosanjh is a major lapse in leadership. There is simply no significant advantage to be gained by the Liberal Party, let alone the nation, by encouraging those who continue to seek evidence of crimes committed by Canadian troops in a war in which tragic ambiguity is an ever-present reality.

There ought to be plenty of room between the Liberals and Tories to debate all sorts of issues touching on Canada’s defence, starting with the basic question of how much defence the country actually needs. But there also ought to be a basic consensus on defence and foreign policy.

When Liberals begin to argue among themselves about a gut-wrenching issue such as this, it is time for Mr. Ignatieff to quit flirting with his party’s left wing and restore sense to Liberal defence policies.

It will be good for his party and good for the country.


I think Prof. Bercuson has hit a bases loaded home run here. Dosanjj and Rae, both on the ”old left” of the Liberal Party are creating divisions within the Liberal party because, eventually, Canadians will understand that the “root cause” of any problems faced by the Harper government lie in the Chrétien and Martin governments – Liberal governments.

While there is a segment of Canadians society – exemplified by e.g. Profs. Attaran and Byers – that wants to emasculate Canada, and the entire West, by making it practically impossible for us to wage war overseas, most L:iberals want to be somewhere in the political middle – where Dosanjj and Rae, and Attaran and Byers, are not.

Michael Ignatieff is the party leader and he is, by allowing this to continue, leading it into a major mess. As a Conservative partisan this ought to please me, as a Canadian it does not.
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as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #788 on: May 18, 2010, 06:31:25 »
E.R. Campbell: Well said.  Now if only the government, for its part, had been less hyper-partisan and obfuscatory (pun intended) in their own approach to the matter.

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #789 on: May 29, 2010, 16:02:01 »
A post at Small Dead Animals:

Afghan torture--terrible/Indian torture--we apologize, good
http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/014099.html

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #790 on: June 14, 2010, 08:58:57 »
From Damian at Small Dead Animals:

Boiling the frog of public support one degree at a time
http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/014215.html

Quote
I've said for years that support for the Canadian Forces by the Canadian population at large is a mile wide and an inch deep. With Rick Hillier in retirement, and a governing party that wants desperately to change the channel on the Afghan mission, public opinion is vulnerable. Which is one of the reasons the media and opposition parties continue to harp on the detainee documents issue. And who cares if they smear thousands of dedicated, selfless Canadian soldiers, sailors, and airmen in the process?

Enter James Travers of the Toronto Star...

Mark
Ottawa
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

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CBC: Still Sorting out the Final Details
« Reply #791 on: June 14, 2010, 10:30:15 »
Quote
Government negotiators will meet with representatives of the three opposition parties on Monday in a last-ditch attempt to secure a deal on the release of uncensored documents related to Afghan detainee transfers.

The NDP and Bloc Québécois have threatened to delay funding for this month's G8 and G20 summits if a deal isn't reached, while Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives of "ragging the puck" on the issue until Parliament rises for the summer.

The talks are aimed at putting the final touches on last month's compromise between the Conservative government and the opposition parties to allow a committee of MPs to review unredacted documents.

Under the compromise, the MPs would be required to take an oath of confidentiality in order to examine the material to determine whether it is relevant to allegations that Afghan authorities tortured prisoners that were handed over by Canadian troops.

Documents deemed relevant would then be passed on to a panel of experts who would determine how to release the information to all MPs and the public "without compromising national security."

But the Conservatives are reportedly pushing to keep some records out of MPs' hands on the grounds of national security, which has left the NDP and Bloc less hopeful a final deal can be reached.

Without a deal, the two opposition parties are prepared to forge ahead Monday or Tuesday with a process that could tie up the House of Commons and all its work until Parliament's summer break, which could come as early as Thursday.

The parties could hold up an important vote on the government's main spending estimates, money that goes toward paying important budgetary items, including the G8 and G20. It is unclear what action the Liberals will take — or support — if a deal is not reached ....
A bit more here.
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #792 on: June 14, 2010, 10:41:27 »
If the mutterings I have heard are true then the government is in the right. Some documents are "cabinet confidences" and are handled by quite different rules from all others, even the most highly classified ones. I have heard that the BQ and NDP want to see documents that, while quite relevant to the matter hand, are "cabinet confidences" and are, therefore, absolutely private for 30 or so years - no exceptions, ever. Harper cannot, for 25 more years, see "cabinet confidences" given to Paul Martin's government and, for another few years anyway, even those given to Brian Mulroney's cabinet.

Them's the rules ...  :rules:

If that's the case then the Speaker and the Liberals will, almost certainly, side with the government, but the BQ and NDP can still make parliamentary mischief. But it's not clear to me that either gains much by that - Canadians will not be overly impressed.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #793 on: June 14, 2010, 10:56:17 »
If the mutterings I have heard are true then the government is in the right. Some documents are "cabinet confidences" and are handled by quite different rules from all others, even the most highly classified ones. I have heard that the BQ and NDP want to see documents that, while quite relevant to the matter hand, are "cabinet confidences" and are, therefore, absolutely private for 30 or so years - no exceptions, ever.
Good point.  I'm curious, though.  At one point, I vaguely remember (only) talk of swearing in some small group of MPs as Privy Councillors.  If that happened (and this latest story suggests that isn't the route being taken), could said sworn-in folks see "cabinet confidences"?
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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #794 on: June 14, 2010, 11:05:32 »
Is "privy councillor" another term for "bathroom lawyer" ?
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

“In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage.”

 Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #795 on: June 14, 2010, 11:06:51 »
[move][/move]
Good point.  I'm curious, though.  At one point, I vaguely remember (only) talk of swearing in some small group of MPs as Privy Councillors.  If that happened (and this latest story suggests that isn't the route being taken), could said sworn-in folks see "cabinet confidences"?

I don't think so ... Harper is a privy councillor and he cannot see the "confidences" of other administrations for 30 or so years - same as you and me. Letting Iggy Iffy Icarus add PC to his post-nominals doesn't get him into the decision making loop, nor does it allow him to see "cabinet confidences," as far as I know - which is not all that far, I hasten to add.



Edit: typo
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 09:42:30 by E.R. Campbell »
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #796 on: June 15, 2010, 09:41:10 »
- edited to add NDP walking away from talks on documents -

Did a bit of digging, and found this:
Quote
.... In Canada, executive authority is vested in the Sovereign and carried out by the Governor in Council.  Formally, this is the Governor General acting by and with the advice and consent of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada; in practice, it is the Governor General acting with the advice and consent of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.  As provided for under the Constitution Act, 1867, the Privy Council is composed of individuals chosen by the Governor General to advise the Crown; in practice, Privy Council nominations are made on the advice of the Prime Minister. Privy Councillors are given the title “Honourable”, which they retain for life.  They serve “at pleasure” but their term is effectively for life. Prime Ministers are designated “Right Honourable” for life from the moment they assume office.

Once appointed, the Prime Minister selects a number of confidential advisors (usually from among the Members of the government party) who are first made members of the Privy Council. The selected confidential advisors are then sworn in as Ministers. Collectively, they are known as the “Ministry” or Cabinet.  Privy Councillors are active in their capacity as advisors to the Crown only as part of a Ministry.  However, not all Privy Councillors are part of a Ministry and some may never have been Ministers ....

All Cabinet Ministers are Privy Councillors, but not all Privy Councillors are Cabinet Ministers, suggesting cabinet stuff may only be accessible to those in cabinet, as you mentioned here:
Letting Iggy Iffy Icarus add PC to his post-nominals doesn't get him into the decision making loop, nor does it allow him to see "cabinet confidences," as far as i know - which is not all that far, I hasten to add.

Meanwhile, in the latest:

- Globe:  "No deal on Afghan detainee documents, but Tories make 'significant' concessions" - Canadian Press:  "MPs break log-jam over Afghan docs"

UPDATE:  "NDP refuses to endorse Afghan document deal"
Quote
The NDP is refusing to sign on to an agreement over access to sensitive documents on war prisoners in Afghanistan.

New Democrat MP Jack Harris, who's been participating in all-party negotiations on the issue, is demanding a public inquiry.

Harris says an 11th hour deal reached today by the governing Conservatives, the Opposition Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois does not give MPs enough access to the contentious documents.

He says the next step is up to Speaker Peter Milliken, who ruled seven weeks ago that MPs have a right to see all documents in their original uncensored form.

All parties reached an agreement in principle on how to do that without jeopardizing national security a month ago, but they've been squabbling over details ever since ....

- Further from the Canadian Press:  "Senior military officials at Canada's overseas command wanted to see diplomat-whistleblower Richard Colvin reined in and possibly removed from his job at the embassy in Kabul.  A toughly worded memo dated May 7, 2007, was released Monday as part of an inquiry by the military police complaints commission.  It painted Colvin as a troublemaker "with a pattern of questionable reporting decisions" whose position as the embassy's No. 2 should be re-evaluated.  It warned he "could become a liability to the Government of Canada's interests if left unchecked."  The memo, penned by a policy adviser at Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, recommended Colvin be reminded of responsibilities as a diplomat and "boundaries as a reporter." It said if he was not checked "his contribution to the Embassy in Kabul should be re-evaluated ...."
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 10:12:40 by milnews.ca »
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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #797 on: June 25, 2010, 09:48:17 »
<allied tangent>

Seems the Brits are coping with courts considering how to deal with detainees in Afghanistan, too - highlight mine:
Quote
UK troops can continue to transfer Taliban suspects to Afghan detention but not to a Kabul site subject to an existing ban, the High Court has ruled.

The legal challenge by anti-war activist Maya Evans, from East Sussex, claimed the policy led to "horrible abuse" and violated international law.

Judges said the practise could continue with other detention facilities if existing safeguards were strengthened.

(....)

The judges refused to rule the transfer policy unlawful, considering instead the individual history of each NDS detention facility - NDS Kabul, NDS Kandahar and NDS Lashkar Gah.

They said: "There is a real risk that detainees transferred to NDS Kabul will be subjected to torture or serious mistreatment.

The British must be able to access prisons and interview Afghan detainees privately and if any allegations of mistreatment or abuse are made by Afghan detainees, transfers must stop immediately

"Transfers would therefore be in breach of the secretary of state's policy and unlawful."

Transfers could lawfully be made to NDS Kandahar and NDS Lashkar Gah, "provided that existing safeguards are strengthened by observance of specified conditions" ....

More from the BBC here.
</allied tangent>
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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #798 on: June 25, 2010, 20:56:22 »
<allied tangent>

Seems the Brits are coping with courts considering how to deal with detainees in Afghanistan, too - highlight mine:
More from the BBC here.
</allied tangent>

Here's the Globe's article on that.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/uk-reins-in-afghan-prisoner-transfers-critics-urge-canada-to-follow-suit/article1618875/

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Quote
In a ruling that has clear implications for Canada’s military, a British court has found there is “plainly a possibility of torture and serious mistreatment” of prisoners in Kandahar.

The High Court of Justice, however, found prisoner transfers by the British military to Afghan authorities can continue in Kandahar, provided U.K. officials step up monitoring and tracking programs. Such safeguards could protect against “a real risk of torture or serious mistreatment,” says the ruling released Friday.

Overall, the U.K. judgment found the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) cannot be taken at its word when it says it won’t torture prisoners. Concerns about NDS abuse have mounted to the point that the British court has ordered U.K. soldiers to stop transferring any detainees to NDS jails in Kabul.

“On the available evidence there is, in our judgment, a real risk that U.K. transferees will be subjected to torture or other serious mistreatment at NDS Kabul,” the high court found.

But the U.K. ruling draws a distinction between Kabul and other NDS prisons, in part citing Canada’s position on prisoner transfers to the Kandahar jail. “Canada assessed it safe to resume its own transfers to the facility and has evidently remained satisfied they can properly continue,” the U.K. ruling says.

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Re: Afghan Detainee Mega Thread
« Reply #799 on: June 25, 2010, 21:19:38 »
Thanks for that Foxhound - I finally found a link to the decision:
http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/docs/judgments_guidance/r-evans-v-ssd-judgment.pdf (73 pages, 788KB)
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