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Afghan Detainee Mega Thread

Watching Bob Rae backpeddle furiously on CTV Monday evening when the CPC guest offered to release documents dating back to 2002 put it all in perspective for me.

I also note the same Liberals are blocking another Canadian diplomat who is willing to come forward with information, because this person isn't following the "narrative" of torture.

More political "Gotcha". I doubt that the reality has little match-up with the accusations.
I doubt that the reality has little match-up with the accusations.
I also doubt that the sheeple will note the follow-up to the initial, scandalous accusations....even if the CBC or CTV were to give it the same degree of publicity
Journeyman said:
I also doubt that the sheeple will note the follow-up to the initial, scandalous accusations....even if the CBC or CTV were to give it the same degree of publicity
A mighty big "if" (not to mention other MSM) ....

Well the 'good" old Globe and Mail starts off it's report of todays Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan, during wich Rick Hillier testified, like this:

"The architect of Canada's costly military mission in southern Afghanistan....."

"Suspects in Canadian soldiers' deaths handed to Afghans: Concerns about Canada's handling of Afghan detainees has also raised an entirely different question: What was done with captured Afghans suspected of killing or wounding Canadian soldiers?":
The big boss wades in:


Colvin testimony on torture 'ludicrous': Hillier

Canada's former chief of defence staff Rick Hillier slammed a diplomat's testimony that all detainees transferred by Canadians to Afghan prisons were likely tortured by Afghan officials, saying it's "ludicrous."

Hillier also told the House of Commons committee investigating the issue that is it was "absolutely false" to say he saw Richard Colvin's 2006 reports alleging abuse during his time as Canada's top soldier.

But Hillier said that the reports, which he subsequently reviewed, contain no warnings of the suspected torture.

He said the reports, written in May and June 2006, "said nothing about abuse, nothing about torture or anything else that would have caught my attention or indeed the attention of others."

"There was no reason based on what was in those reports for anybody to bring it to my attention and after having read that, I'm absolutely confident that was indeed the case," Hillier said Wednesday.

The retired general appeared before the committee joined by Maj.-Gen. David Fraser, who led troops on the ground in Kandahar, and Lt.-Gen. Michel Gauthier, who was responsible for overseas deployments in 2006.

Hillier repeated what he said publicly last week, that he never heard suggestions that Canada may have been indirectly complicit in the torture of detainees in Afghanistan.

His testimony comes a week after the testimony of Richard Colvin, a former senior diplomat with Canada's mission in Afghanistan.

Colvin alleged that prisoners were turned over to Afghanistan's notorious intelligence service by the Canadian military in 2006-07 despite warnings that they would be tortured.

Colvin said that all detainees were likely tortured.

"How ludicrous a statement is that from any one single individual who really has no knowledge to be able to say something like that, and we didn't see any substantive evidence to indicate it was that way," Hillier said.

Colvin had said he began informing the Canadian Forces and Foreign Affairs officials about the detainee situation in 2006 with verbal and written reports.

Colvin also testified he sent a least one letter directly to Hillier and sent almost all his reports to senior military commanders, both in Afghanistan and Ottawa.

But Hillier said it was "absolutely false" for anyone to suggest that he had known about this or had read the report.

'Nothing could be further from the truth'

Hillier also slammed Colvin's claim that many of the detainees who had been arrested were innocent people, saying "nothing could be further from the truth.

"We detained, under violent actions, people trying to kill our sons and daughters, who had in some cases done that, been successful at it, and were continuing to do it."

Hillier said they may have detained the occasional farmer, but that they were "almost inevitably immediately let go."

The Conservatives have also claimed they never saw any of these reports and have questioned the credibility of Colvin's testimony.

Colvin now works as a senior intelligence official at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

Gauthier also denied he had heard any allegation of torture in 2006.

"To be clear and precise about this, last week’s evidence states categorically that the very high risk of torture in Afghan prisons was first made known to senior members of the Canadian Forces in May of 2006 and repeatedly thereafter," Gauthier said.

"In actual fact, I and others received such warnings in a substantial way for the first time more than a year later than that."

Gauthier also said that Colvin's 2006 reports from May to September never mentioned the risk of torture or suspected torture. He said the word torture does appear in a Dec. 4 report, but could be "reasonably interpreted to be a warning of torture."

"I can very safely say there is nothing in any of these 2006 reports that caused any of the subject matter experts on my staff nor by extension me to be alerted to either the fact of torture or a very high risk of torture. Nothing," Gauthier said.

He said during his time in Afghanistan, no one, at any time, raised allegations concerning torture in Afghan jails.

Fraser also said he was never told about the alleged torture of prisoners: "If I had, I would have done something about it," he said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised the committee will get "all legally available" documents, but Colvin's lawyer said the Justice Department has clamped down on his client and won't allow him to make public his reports.

With files from The Canadian Press
Yeah, but read the comments posted in all media from your fellow citizens.
Rifleman62 said:

Was Robert Fife drinking on the job??

I thought his report was a professional and  accurate account of the Inquiry meeting.
These three Generals did a superlative job--very impressive.  I particularly liked the way they contextualized the mission and commended their subordinates-made it clear they were taking responsibility as senior command.  I'll watch it again on CPAC but I didn't detect any evasiveness in their responses. They were straight shooters.

Too bad Harris Decima polled Canadians before the Generals' side of the story was public.  The poll results are a response of  media responses to Colvin's allegations only.  I bet those results would be drastically different now that the Generals have given their side of things.

I think many Canadian will watch this with a sense of what an onerous responsibility these guys had and what an awesome job they did--and continue to do--for Canada. 

leroi said:
Too bad Harris Decima polled Canadians before the Generals' side of the story was public.  The poll results are a response of  media responses to Colvin's allegations only.  I bet those results would be drastically different now that the Generals have given their side of things.

Don't worry, I think the pollsters (of all parties) will be busy in the next while on this one.
....and the poll, yesterday, from CNews


Do you think Afghan detainees were tortured?

Yes  30%
No  10%
I don't care  56%
Unsure  3%

Which pretty well sums up my feelings on the subject also. The only ones that truly care, for the wrong reasons of course, are the press (to sell advertising) and the political opposition (to make hay). Total and complete waste of everyone's time and money.
"N.B. military widow feels betrayed: A Fredericton military widow says she feels betrayed by the Canadian Forces and federal government.":
It would seem the MSM is finally waking up to Coven's duplicity...

Richard Colvin's story of widespread torture and indifference is unravelling
November 30, 9:42 AMCanada Politics ExaminerBrian Lilley
Article Link

Leaks abound on the issue of torture in Afghanistan.  Those supporting and those opposing the claims of Richard Colvin are trying hard to make sure that Canadian journalists have access to the documents at the centre of the controversy.

The Globe and Mail columnist and Newstalk 1010 commentator Christie Blatchford has her hands on redacted copies of Richard Colvin's emails and finds his evidence wanting.

As you read Blatchford's two columns, one Saturday and one Monday, it is important to remember what Colvin's allegation was in his testimony to the special Commons committee on the Afghan mission. "According to our information, the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured," Colvin told MPs. "For interrogators in Kandahar, it was standard operating procedure."

Blatchford's run down of the memos in today's column and the words of retired General Michel Gauthier testifying before that same committee tell a different story. Colvin was concerned about the amount of information Canadian soldiers were collecting on Afghan prisoners, lamenting that it was not enough to adequately track them through the prison system. That's a far cry from saying all were tortured and that the government knew this and failed to act for 18 months.

Given the email trail, I'll have to agree with Blatchford.  Richard Colvin discovered the torture issue at the same time as Grahame Smith of The Globe and Mail. The memos warning directly of torture don't begin until The Globe reporting began, which makes me wonder which man was the source for the other? Was Smith the source for Colvin's sudden flurry of emails on detainees being tortured? That seems more likely at this point than a diplomat like Colvin giving vital information on torture to a journalist before alerting his superiors.
Much More on link

Christie Blatchford
These are the supporting links quoted in the article above
E-mail trail only adds to Afghan questions
Article Link

For a week, diplomat Richard Colvin's accusations about Canada's handling of its Afghan prisoners – and their subsequent alleged torture at the hands of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security – dominated headlines and Parliament, despite the fact that no one had seen the e-mails in which Mr. Colvin said he had tried to wake Ottawa to the problem he saw as so serious.

The Globe and Mail now has what appears to be the entire collection of the e-mails Mr. Colvin sent on the subject during the 17 months he spent in Afghanistan from April of 2006 to October of 2007. A couple are virtually completely blacked out; some are heavily redacted, others rattle on at such length they could have done with a little more redacting.

It seems to have been Mr. Colvin's visit to the provincial prison in Kandahar city on May 16, 2006, that first triggered his concern. But that inspection and an earlier one upon which he relied, made in December of 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross, were, in the Afghan context, practically sunny about their findings.
More on link

Christie Blatchford
Memos show so-called whistleblower seized cause late in game
Article Link

The act of "whistle blowing" as it is commonly understood incorporates an element of the new, of being the first to raise an alarm. As the activist Ralph Nader defined it about 35 years ago, a whistleblower is someone for whom "the public interest overrides the interest of the organization he serves" and who thus blows the whistle on wrongdoing.

Whatever else, the diplomat Richard Colvin was no such creature.

By his own records, he was seized with the Afghan-detainee issue only after a series on alleged prisoner abuse appeared in The Globe and Mail in the spring of 2007.

Again by his own account, during his eight months in Afghanistan in 2006, he sent only six reports on the subject of detainees, three of which Mr. Colvin has described as being solely about process or policy and not potential abuse.
More on link

Red Cross rebukes diplomat over Afghan torture allegations
By Matthew Fisher, Canwest News ServiceNovember 29, 2009
[url=http://www.canada.com/news/Cross+rebukes+diplomat+over+Afghan+torture+allegations/2282914/story.html]Article Link

KABUL, Afghanistan — A senior Red Cross official has criticized a Canadian diplomat for publicly alleging the organization believed Canada handed detainees over to Afghan authorities knowing they would likely be tortured.

“What (Richard) Colvin has said publicly has put us in an awkward situation. What he claims to know should not be put out in a public place,” said Eloi Fillion, deputy director of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan, where it has a staff of 120 foreigners and 1,500 locals.

Colvin, now deputy head of intelligence at the Canadian embassy in Washington, made headlines this month with his allegations that the Canadian government and the military turned a blind eye to widespread torture in Afghan jails.

The senior diplomat said he wrote more than 12 reports while he was posted in Afghanistan, beginning in May 2006, warning of “serious, imminent and alarming” problems about the treatment of detainees following their transfer by Canadian troops.
More on link
From the Canadian Press:
The House of Commons has voted in favour of holding a judicial inquiry into the treatment of Afghan detainees, but the majority motion will likely be ignored by the governing Conservatives.

The Harper government, citing national security concerns, has been fiercely resisting attempts to fully probe the sensitive issue of whether Canada met all its international legal obligations in the handover of Afghan prisoners captured by Canadian troops ....

Motion of Parliament, 1 Dec 09
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should, in accordance with Part I of the Inquiries Act (link to legislation), call a Public Inquiry into the transfer of detainees in Canadian custody to Afghan authorities from 2001 to 2009.

Transcript of motion debate and vote (43pg PDF) here.
Quite a development:


OTTAWA - Canada's top military commander has done a stunning about-face that turns up the heat on the Harper government in the Afghan detainee controversy.

Gen. Walt Natynczyk called a news conference Wednesday to correct information he gave a day earlier about a detainee who was beaten by Afghan police.

Natynczyk told the House of Commons defence committee Tuesday that Canadian troops had questioned the man in June 2006, but never detained him.

But Natynczyk now says Canadian troops did indeed capture the man and hand over to Afghan police before taking him back into custody when they saw him being beaten.

That appears to fly in the face of the Harper government's claim that there is no credible evidence that Canadian-captured prisoners were abused prior to 2007

The military chief said he was provided with the correct information Wednesday after staff reviewed the record and found the section commander's report. He has ordered an investigation to determine why the information took so long to come to light.

"I regret that I only have this information at this point," Natynczyk said. "I looked at my watch at 9:06 this morning when I received this report and I thought, 'My goodness, why have I not had this information? Why didn't we have this information back in 2006 and 2007."

The main line of defence for the government has been that there is no evidence of Canadian-captured prisoners being abused by the Afghans prior to 2007.

Opposition parties raised the incident Tuesday as proof that the Harper government knew of credible incidents of torture and of the dangers of transferring prisoners.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Natynczyk's revelation proves again that there must be a public inquiry into why prisoners continued to be handed over in 2006-07 despite reports of torture in Afghan jails.

"The Forces have behaved impeccably in this case ... the issue is why the government didn't," he said.

The government has ruled out a public inquiry.

The news comes a day after the detainee controversy flared anew following an unprecedented letter from 23 former ambassadors who condemned Conservative attacks on the credibility of diplomat Richard Colvin. They said it threatens to cast a chill over Canada's foreign service.

Colvin testified before a Commons committee 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.

A series of secret memos examined by The Canadian Press support his assertion and show the government placed more emphasis on writing key messages on how Canada respects human rights, rather than fixing the transfer arrangement.

MacKay and others in the Conservative government have tried to discredit Colvin's testimony. They accused him of basing his reports on hearsay, and some have painted him as a dupe of Taliban propaganda.

The NDP demanded MacKay's resignation Tuesday, accusing him of misleading the House of Commons over what the government knew about the possible torture of prisoners handed over by Canadian troops - and what it did about the allegations.

All opposition parties pounced on the government in the Commons in the wake of the letter, repeating demands for information and an inquiry. But the government ignored questions and criticism as the countdown to Parliament's holiday recess approaches.
First out of the critic's news release gate - Team Iggy:
Following General Walter Natynczyk’s stunning revelation that documents prove a Canadian-transferred afghan detainee was tortured in 2006, Liberals renewed their demand for a public inquiry into the government’s handling of detainees.

“Minister MacKay’s credibility is in tatters and he can no longer continue in his position, but the real issue is a public inquiry,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. "After weeks of spin and misinformation from this government, a public inquiry is the only way to ensure that the facts are brought to light in a non-partisan fashion and action is taken to ensure that we're meeting our human rights commitments, now and in the future."

"General Natynczyk is doing everything he can by investigating this matter internally. The government should follow suit and answer the question of why they allowed these abuses to go unchecked for so long,” added Mr. Ignatieff.

After reviewing the record, Chief of Defence Staff General Natynzyk today admitted that an afghan detainee rescued by Canadian soldiers from torture at the hands of afghan police was in fact transferred from Canadian custody in June 2006 – in direct contradiction to information supplied by the Conservative government.  Despite having this information, the government did not did not monitor, investigate or stop transfers until November 2007.

“No one will believe anything Peter MacKay says from this point forward and he must be relieved of his duties,” said Liberal Defence Critic Ujjal Dosanjh. “Only a public inquiry can give Canadians the truth and change our human rights policies.”

PDF attached in case it disappears link doesn't work.
"Bombshell, Stunning turnaround, game changer, compromises, political thundercloud, major reversal" - CTV

This is about one person being turned over. One.


And Baden Guy, it was the delivery, not the content.

Can't wait for Jane Taber and her ilk to put words on paper about this.
From the CF web site:
In May of 2007, I issued a statement related to the events of 14 June 2006, regarding an incident that took place on the battlefield during combat operations in the Panjwaii district of Afghanistan.

Yesterday, I reiterated that information before the Standing Committee on National Defence.  I referred to the actions taken by the Canadian Forces, who intervened to safeguard an individual that the Afghan National Police (ANP) had in custody, when they saw something was not right.  I based my assessment on the operations reports, which I confirmed by speaking to a number of members of the chain of command that were part of Task Force Ryan in June of 2006.

This morning, at about 9 a.m., I was briefed by my staff, who have been researching the case to ensure the completeness of all the information that we have been using, especially surrounding the most recent report that we saw in the Globe and Mail on Monday. Today, they provided me with a statement by the section commander.  When I read that report, I realized it was not totally consistent with the operations report and the information provided to me by the chain of command.

Canadian Forces personnel were involved in a joint operation and they were supporting the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.  After reviewing this new information presented to me, I want to correct my statement made to the Standing Committee on National Defence yesterday, and indeed in May of 2007. This new information presented to me sheds important details on what occurred on the 14th of June. The individual who was beaten by the Afghan police was in fact in Canadian custody and, then, the Afghan National Police took control of him to facilitate his movement from the battlefield to Forward Operating Base Wilson.

I did not have this information in May of 2007, nor yesterday when I made my statement, but am responsible for the information provided by the Canadian Forces and am accountable for it today.  I intend to investigate why it took so long for this information to get to the Chief of the Defence Staff, both my predecessor and me.

Nonetheless, I accept the Military Police report to be accurate.

I am proud that our soldiers acted courageously and ethically when they retrieved the individual from the Afghan National Police when it was apparent that he had been injured. That is the kind of decisive action soldiers make on a battlefield and I’m proud of our soldiers.
I watched the "leader" of the Liberal Party of Canada and his false indignation at the CDS's statement. Give me  a break, Michael I!!