In between the redactions -

In between the redactions


Sifting through Thursday’s documents, the Canadian Press leads with the account of a soldier who claimed detainee had been executed by Afghan authorities—a claim the Defence Minister’s spokesman dismisses to the Globe—but there is more.

An April 2007 report by a Foreign Affairs official who joined a Correctional Service of Canada staffer on an “exhaustive inspection” of the notorious National Directorate of Security facility in Kandahar City also cites claims of abuse. “To our surprise, even though NDS officers accompanied us throughout the visit, two prisoners nonetheless came forward with complaints of mistreatment,” the official wrote…

A February 2008 memo prepared at National Defence Headquarters by Capt. S.M. Moore noted “significant shortcomings and areas for concern with regard to the conduct of (military police) operations in Afghanistan.” Many of the problems “are systemic” and result from a lack of oversight, it says. The memo notes a survey conducted “in theatre revealed that soldiers stated they had witnessed the abuse of detainees” – yet the information was not immediately passed on to military police.

It adds that on Feb. 15, 2008, two unknown individuals approached a female military police member when she exited the shower, grabbed her arms, pushed her against the shower wall and told her: “MPs mind your own business.”


In between the redactions

  1. All that's left to say at this point is "do the right thing." Rights & democracy, now.


  3. A dismissal from MacKay really isn't very confidence inspiring.

  4. Why do the troops hate our troops?

  5. So we have the war of terror masking the crusade against Islam, we have Muslim women being stripped of their religious freedoms in Quebec, we have Ann Coulter taking to thousands of Canadian fans while preaching Anti-Semitism in her attacks on Palestinian Semite Arabs, we have the Prime Minister claiming Canadians don't care about Afghan detainees, somehow the closer Christian fundamentalists get to power, the uglier everything gets.

    • ……I don't think it's possible to get much more secular than government in Quebec. And France, a country so determinedly secular that it's illegal to wear anything indicating religion to university, is acting in the same way. I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

  6. I'm still puzzled by what Iacobucci is doing. Has he cleared these documents? Can't anyone in the press just call the guy and ask him?

    • He has not. At least one Conservative MP (and maybe more) stated yesterday that Iacobucci has not yet gone over these documents.

  7. I find it totally unfathomable at this point that it seems like every time one or more of our soldiers has indicated that they saw abuse, had abuse reported to them, or actually physically intervened to stop an abuse from occurring, such testimony, FROM CANADIAN SOLDIERS, is invariably either redacted (and thankfully, sometimes later revealed) or dismissed by government officials, often even being dismissed by the Minister of Defence himself. For a party that claims to put nothing ahead of supporting our troops (and often implies that they are the only party that does support the troops) the Tories seem awfully quick to hide what the troops have to say from the public on this issue, or to dismiss what they say all together. It would seem to me that our troops have been doing yeoman's work in trying to stop abuses in Afghanistan and bring them to the attention of the higher ups, and everyone in official Ottawa just kept their hands over their ears singing "la la la la la la la, la la la la la la la, I can't hear you…."

    Are the Tories really so paranoid/"locked in the notion that only they support the troops" that, as Style suggests above, they think that even the troops hate the troops???

  8. What don't you Liberals get about Canada is 'just visiting'.
    When NATO countries tried to be proactive re: torture and abuse,
    the result was
    Afghanistan is a soveriegn country, mind your business or get out:

    ''….The NDS chief also complained bitterly to Canada, Britain and the Netherlands that their follow-up inspections aimed at making sure prisoners weren't being transferred to torture – an international war crime – were creating problems in the prisons. Unexpected and multiple inspection visits were unwelcome, he wrote, and infringed on Afghan sovereignty.

    Mr. Saleh threatened to cut-off inspections and – apparently seeking to appease the NDS chief – the three countries agreed to only conduct joint visits with plenty of advance notice and limit them to once a month at most….''

    • I have no argument against the sovereignty of Afghanistan in principle, but I would question whether the NDS Chief believes he'll still be NDS Chief in a sovereign Afghanistan 24 hours after NATO pulled out. If Afghan government officials argue "leave us alone, this is our country", perhaps we should leave them alone and let them have their sovereignty.

      Of course, the Taliban argued that their torturing and executing of people was none of our business, and that we should leave the sovereign nation of Afghanistan to their own devices. I think we had a different response back then.

      • It's beyond frustrating to be 'begged' by the Afghan govt to offer up Canada's most valued treasure and then once there become their prisoners….

        • Wait– they've been begging for the recipe for poutine? I thought we just gave that away to all and sundry.

    • I bet the troops just loved the craven tone of the letter we sent their head torturer?

  9. Not that this is entirely new, but now that we appear to be talking more openly about Afghan authorities possibly regularly EXECUTING detainees we've handed over to them, does that not move the yardstick on the debate for some people? I mean, even if you support the indefinite detention and torture of suspects without trial, isn't summary execution just beyond the pale? Unless one is just a sadist, presumably one supports (or sees no need to actively work to prevent) the use of torture by our allies on the presumption that they're getting the bad guys to talk. Gathering valuable intelligence. I personally think that's BS, especially since at least some of the people getting tortured are almost certainly innocents who have no intelligence to give up, but I'd at least concede that though it may be an immoral stance, it is not necessarily a completely irrational one. However, executing prisoners without trial would seem to me to be something that can't even be rationalized. Surely even the Canadian on the most extreme end of this debate doesn't want these people executed! I would presume that said Canadian (I'm referring to the hypothetical EXTREME of the argument, keep in mind) wants these suspects to keep getting tortured so they'll give up what they know (or give up something false but plausible to make up for the fact that they don't actually know anything, but want the torture to stop). Surely, even someone who takes the "who cares if Afghans torture Afghans" position would be loathe to take it to the "who cares if Afghans summarily execute Afghans" extreme. Or am I wrong?

  10. "It adds that on Feb. 15, 2008, two unknown individuals approached a female military police member when she exited the shower, grabbed her arms, pushed her against the shower wall and told her: “MPs mind your own business.""

    "The Defence Department said Thursday the incident was not related to detainees. "The female MP was unharmed during the incident which was investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.""

    we now have intimidation of and/or among our own on proper investigation by our military police.

    I thought the Tories were all about law enforcement? why are they not in favour of a full investigation?