Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Canadian War Crimes

The truth is finally coming out.

Detainee Allegations

Technically, we're only seeing allegations. What matter, however, is that the media is taking the allegations seriously.

It begins with a report gathered from interviews with detainees in Afghanistan - prisoners who were captured by Canadian Forces and turned over to the local Afghan authorities. By the Geneva Convention, it is the responsibility of the capturing party to ensure that the prisoners are treated humanely. This includes the disposition of such prisoners when they are transferred to other parties.

The detainees describe extensive, months-long beatings. Electrocution is apparently acceptable, as is whipping, caning and a variety of other methods of torture. One Afghan police officer confides that one simply can't get answers out of prisoners without at least a little torture.


At first, our Minister of Defense was adamant that if any kind of torture was going on, the Red Cross would have told us. That lasted up until the Red Cross explained that, in fact, they would do no such thing. How embarrassing for the Rt. Hon. Gordon O'Connor. The government's defense is now changed. Stephen Harper flails away, stalling, saying that these are only "allegations". Stockwell Day says, hey, take it easy, human rights are new to Afghanistan. I was listening to the evening news and heard a government spokesman say that, according to reports received from Afghanistan, no torture has ever taken place.

Let's take those in order.

We've long gone by the "just allegations" phase. The stories coming out are numerous and credible. On top of that, we have word that Afghanistan's own governmental body for monitoring human rights is actually prevented from observing the prisoners. Mr. Harper, it's not that we have "allegations", it's that the people who could confirm or deny these allegations are intentionally locked out. What does that tell you?

Stockwell Day's assertion that we should cut the Afghans some slack because human rights are "new to this part of the world" is ridiculous and beside the point. If our government knows that there's so little respect for human rights, that makes them *more* culpable for blindly handing over prisoners, not less.

And lastly ... "no torture" has ever taken place? That defies explanation. In what world would anyone even dream of telling such an obvious lie. Do you expect me to beleive that any agency or human rights body would ever make such a claim about any prison? No torture has ever taken place. Indeed.

I said it before .... weeks ago, in fact ... these are war crimes. And these war crimes fall on our heads.

They're calling for the resignation of the Minister of Defense, Gordon O'Connor, both for initially misleading Parliament and for allowing this all to happen. But it can't stop there. The culpability goes far beyond one man. Why are we in Afghanistan? If we have to torture people to get our way, who is to say that we're the good guys? What's our real motivation for being there? This isn't just Gordon O'Connor. This is Stephen Harper and the Conservatives and Paul Martin and the Liberals and anyone else who has ever voted in favour of it.

Why are we there? Why do we have to torture people to "win"?

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers

Monday, April 23, 2007

Religious door-knockers

First read the story of how, in early 2001, the French government had warned the CIA and the American government that Al Qaeda had given the go ahead to hijack planes in the U.S.


You'll notice this quote: “You have to remember that up until 2001, hijacking an airplane did not have the same meaning as after Sept. 11. At the time, that meant forcing an airplane to land in an airport to carry out negotiations. We were used to handling that.”

Patently untrue, of course, and the French knew this because Algerian terrorists had tried to do exactly the same thing to the Eiffel Tower in 1994 as was done to the WTCs in 2001.


On a completely different topic, connected in no way with September 11, I had a pair of religious fundamentalists knocking at my door Saturday trying to convert me to their religion. How far away from the city do you have to move before these people will leave you alone?

"Aren't you worried about the cruelty and misery in the world?", one of the two well dressed women asked me by way of introduction.

This was a tough one for me, because the first response that pops to mind is: "Yes, and it's generally people trying to push their religion on each other that causes most of the misery... or at least provides really good excuses and motivation so the wealthy and powerful can manipulate the poor in to killing each other."

Believe me you, I thought long and hard, but finally said, with utmost courtesy and the idea in mind that we nonbelievers probably need to improve our reputation, "We're all atheists here, so we're really not interested, thank you."

"Can I leave you with a few pamphlets?" she asked, extending her unwelcome presence as I tried to close the door.

As entertaining as those might have been, I wanted to make sure to crush all aspirations and hope of conversion and said simply, "No, thank you."

"Oh, what a cute boy!" she remarked.

With a sigh at this further extension of the intrusion in to my Saturday morning, I turned to see my 16 month old son standing behind me, examining these guests.

He put it to them as simply as I should have put it to them. With a madly flapping hand, he called out, "Bye bye, bye bye."

And I closed the door.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers