Richard Colvin speaks -

Richard Colvin speaks

Accuses Canada of “complicity in torture” in Afghanistan


At this moment, Richard Colvin is delivering crushing testimony to the special committee on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. Here is the first dispatch from Canadian Press.

A federal official says all of the prisoners Canada handed to Afghanistan’s notorious intelligence service in 2006-07 were tortured — and many of them were likely innocent … In a blistering indictment of Ottawa’s handling of prisoners, Colvin said the Red Cross tried for three months in 2006 to warn the Canadian army in Kandahar about what was happening to prisoners, but no one would “even take their phone calls.”

Reports from Canadian Press, the StarCanwest, Reuters, the Sun, CTV and CBC.

An extract from Colvin’s opening statement here.


Richard Colvin speaks

  1. Thinking about the consequences for the Conservatives on this issue reminds of Chief Wiggum with his tie stuck in the rotating hot dog machine: "Oh boy, this is going to get worse before it gets better…"

    • lol…don't know if i should really when you consider the subject?

  2. Im sure there is someway we can blame this on the Liberals, or perhaps use it as a reason to talk about the sponsorship scandal.

    Paul Wells will find a way.

    • Wow.

    • You meant "Dakota/Wilson et al. Conservative commentators/bloggers will find a way", right?

      • We all know that no Afghan detainees were tortured until Harper was elected, Scott.
        Those 40 detainees Canadian soldiers handed over from 2002-2006….oh, never mind

        • Doesnt matter who did it, Wilson or when..if there were laws broken or oversight missed.. then those things need to be addressed.

          Unlike you and other conservatives, I don't stoop to the whiny "the other guys did it too!" as you folks are prone to say as it relates to the prior Liberal government.

          • There was no oversight of handed over detainees, zip, nada, until the end of 2005.
            Hillier was given free reign, under a Liberal government.
            Hillier even signed the first hand over agreement with the Afghans, not Liberal officials in agreement government to government.

            There have been Afghan detainee concerns and/or allegations of abuse/ torture since 2001.

            Amnesty International took a case to court, insisting that Afghan detainees (in US hands,then a Liberal Govt) should be covered by the Charter. They lost that case.

            The detainees are protected by the Afghan constitution and International law.
            the Harper govt signed an additional agreement for human treatment (Feb 2007) , inspections are on going.
            What more can you ask for? prisons in Canada? because there is no abuse in Canadian prisons, right?

            Maybe you should wait until all the witnesses have had a say before you leap to the conclusion that the evil heartless meanie Harper should be on trial for war crimes.

  3. I look forward to seeing how the Conservatives try to talk their way out of this one.

    • don't need to talk out of anything as there is nothing here – no story a 2 years old story that has been replayed too often – a disaffected former diplomat – 79 cc'ed email messages – bla bla bla bla bla – all allegations – not one piece of real evidernce all heresay .. in otherwords who cares only uber partisans on web forums . Next Story – Obama bending lower than Japan Emperor which would be more interesting

      • "don't need to talk out of anything as there is nothing here"

        Tell that to the innocent Afghans who got tortured, or the guilty Afghans for that matter. As Colvin says in his testimony: "Canada's detainee practices alienated us from the population and strengthened the insurgency."

        This may not be an Abu Ghraib-level scandal but it isn't a tiny political blip for the Conservatives either…

  4. Is that your opinion, or the planned CPC avoidance technique?

    • Probably both…digusting either way when you think about!

  5. I'd say both – you can see that in the line of questioning the Conservative MP's are taking towards Colvin.

  6. This really is huge. Canadians are above all a moral people. The electorate will not take this lightly.

    • I suppose it'll depend on what sort of evidence Colvin has, if any. But i'm with you.

    • I hope so. Also that my natural suspicion that the portion of the electorate that won't are already voting for Harper is wrong.

    • Your optimism is inspiring, Jack.

    • The truth is; most Canadians couldn't give a rats ass about Afghan detainees. If Afghans want to torture their won people, what business is it of ours.

      What do you propose? That we bring the detainees to Canada? Give them landed immigrant status? Free health care? Social assistance? Education?

      There are a lot of self-righteous grand-standing going on, that the average Canadian is not impressed by.

  7. Oh Wow–poor Canadian soldiers who are going to be Taliban targets because of mistakes like publicizing this nonsense–believe me these Taliban won't give you info that might save Canadian soldiers' lives if you put them into detention so that they can watch MTV & eats steaks–heh if I was a Taliban,I would attack the Canadians first cuz if I got caught I'd get the MTV treatment

    • Of course, that's an argument for torturing police suspects in Canada.

    • You do realize that a member of the Taliban would consider being forced to watch MTV Torture, right?

      • Not just the Taliban. I'd consider it torture as well.

    • Bill from Guelph, eh? Exactly where in Guelph? You know, since you don't mind torture and all, and I've got some nifty new pieces of equipment I'd like to try out. Thanks for having no problem with guilt or innocence, it makes it so much easier for me without having to prove anything in court. What do you mean you don't want to tell me your address? What, you're going to fall back on PRIVACY rights? Hahahaha. Good one. Did you forget rights mean nothing to you?

  8. OK Jack–what would you do with the Taliban prisoners?

    • How about making sure the Afghan Secret Service isn't torturing people we turn over to them – whether they're innocent or guilty, for starters?

    • Jack would bring them to Toronto and give them free reign of the city. And David Miller, another useful idiot, would welcome them with open arms.

      • It's remarkable really just how wilfully obtuse some people are. Why would he want to do that precisely?

      • LOL, you've been watching a bit too much FOX, Dieter. That argument's six months old in the USA and, sadly, doesn't apply here.

        • Sorry Jack old boy but I don't give much time to FOX or it's antithesis, the Toronto Star. But please for your own perspective do some research on political correctness, cultural Marxism, useful idiots ( “Lenin put it another way, often saying that capitalist dupes "will sell us the rope with which to hang them." He called them "the useful
          idiots.) Yuri Andropov, and ask yourself if all far Liberal anti-Israeli, anti-American Canadian have arrived at the same point in time as a result of a sound and healthy analysis or if they've been out smarted out maneuvered by outside forces?

          • At this point I'm more at the point of wondering where you learned to write the English language.

    • Um, I'd build a joint NATO POW camp.

  9. Why Richard is it that Taliban or Afghan captives plead to be sent to Canadian units for incarceration?

    • Perhaps because they're unaware that Canadian units will then hand them over to the Afghhan authorities who will torture them?

      I'd certainly request to be detained by Canadian units too if I were captured in Afghanistan. The problems is, you'll only avoid the Afghan system that way temporarily, as the Canadian units will eventually hand you over to them, so one way or another, guilty or innocent, you're almost certainly going to end up getting tortured.

  10. I don't think there is much here.I know Rae was playing it up during QP for all it was worth, where did the isotope shortage go. Where did the H1n1 & Bennet go.
    These same men that are tortured are they, one of the same that might be killing our men and women, I find it hard to feel sorrow.

  11. There was a reason Iggy was not in QP:
    Michael Ignatieff from Prospect Magazine, April 2006:

    I submit that we would not be “water boarding” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—immersing him in water until he experiences the torment of nearly drowning—if our intelligence operatives did not believe it was necessary to crack open the al Qaeda network that he commanded. We must at least entertain the possibility that the operatives working on Sheikh Mohammed in our name are engaging not in gratuitous sadism but in the genuine belief that this form of torture—and it does qualify as such—makes all the difference.
    “To defeat evil, we may have to traffic in evils: indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even preemptive war. These are evils because each strays from national and international law and because they kill people or deprive them of freedom without due process. They can be justified only because they prevent the greater evil.” — Michael Ignatieff

    • Why is it that i have little confidence that you made any effort at all to take context into account?

      • Sadly, that's about as in-context as it gets. Ignatieff's foreign policy views from before late 2006 are quite extreme, largely in parallel with a lot of what came out of Bush's administration. He's tempered the views, but as much as it's worth remembering the various disturbing opinions Harper once expressed, Ignatieff's can't be ignored either.

    • Harper's response on reading this: "Boy I'm glad I didn't write down what I was thinking during that time."

      • How Liberal of you, trying to blame Harper for the words of Ignatieff.

        • I didn't.I said why Iggy wasnt in QP.His record speaks for itself. The NDP will piss away more money on an enquiry.

  12. Richard Colvin should be so proud for risking himself for a bigger purpose and for living his truth, what a wonderful gift to the world! Thank you Richard

    • Curious that Mr Colvin turned down a number of opportunites to speak to those in charge,
      preferring intead to be a penpal….why is that? why did he not want a face to face meeting?

      • Ah.. so now we're going to cast aspersions on his motives, eh Wilson? I'm not shocked you folks would stoop to that.

      • Also, why is it when McKay and other officials were in Afghanistan did he not approach them.In one report he said they 'likely' were all tortured, were they or not.These are the same men that are wiling to kill our men and women,I cannot feel sorrow.
        Name one war where torture has not come into play.If it saves the life of soldier, again I say, cannot feel empathy toward these detainees.

  13. Let's sens an entourage of useful idiots to Afghanistan to negotiate something. David Miller can sport is "Pride Beads" Taliban Jack can invite them to join his party,Sacha Trudeau can impress them with great stories about his soul mate Fidel, and Linda McQuaig could hand out free autographed copies of Holding the Bullies Coat.. Heck, they could even place Toronto Star newspaper stands on every cross roads, right next to a planted IED.

    • I'd be disturbed by all of Dieter's rantings but for one thing.

      I can't help but think "Wait a second, why would I give any credence to the guy who used to beg me to touch his monkey???".

      Now's the time on Sprockets when we stop listening to Dieter on any matter of even the most minimal importance.

      • Why thank you Lord Kitchener. And don't get any ideas about touching my monkey. And we dance.

  14. barf

  15. Richard Colvin found his 15 minutes of fame. Too bad he doesn't have any facts or proof to go with his story.

    The media should be asking what is the connection between the "showbox bomber" and Richard Colvin. There is your story.

    • Reminds me of post WWII footage of German citizens being showed the death camps – We're not responsible cause we didn't know – and the Hitler after all saved you all from bolshevism.

      Now this new twist. If we're all guilty, then no one is guilty.

      So who's gonna stop who?

      • Godwin's Law proves to be true once again!

    • No evidence of torture at all. Just a Canadian diplomat, the international Red Cross – and the dozen or so actual Afghanis who say they were tortured.

  16. Even in MacLean's forums Michael Effing Meyers will not go away. Heap him on the list of Canadian exports for which we have to apologize profusely. As a Canadian I am sincerely sorry for Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, and yes Michael Meyers.

    • Just for the record, Michael Meyers is actually from the U.S., and should be abhorred as he's is a psychotic killer.

      Mike Meyers is the Canadian actor who brought us Wayne's World, Austin Powers and Shrek, and should not in any context be lumped in with Bryan Adams or Celine Dion.

      Leave Mike Meyers alone.

  17. The whole Afgan war is a mess. Get all our solders out now.

  18. Who appointed this guy to the job, the Liberals or Conservatives. The left won't be happy until the Muslims have won and their children are decapitated. Oh, I forgot, most of the left don't have kids anymore. They have dogs. Comes the revolution

    • Yes, standing up for human rights most certainly has a down-side. But I am amused to think the opposite of that statement is that the right won't be happy until they are personally decapitating all Muslim children. But it's okay because apparently the right are morally superior since they have sex for a reason!

      • What about human rights in China, didnt the liberals say that was wrong to say What side are you, human rights for Afghanistan but not for China, how liberal of you.

  19. I wonder how the Liberals will reward Colvin for his smear campaign. I suspect that the truth is something far different than his recollection.

  20. The truth isThe truth is; most Canadians couldn't give a rats ass about Afghan detainees. If Afghans want to torture their won people, what business is it of ours.

    What do you propose? That we bring the detainees to Canada? Give them landed immigrant status? Free health care? Social assistance? Education?

    There are a lot of self-righteous grand-standing going on, that the average Canadian is not impressed by.

  21. You can justified this kind of issue you can call saving by soldiers that we blame liberals want justice.

  22. Did Colvin witness first hand the interrogation of prisoners and during these interrogations witnessed the use of 'torture'?

    That is hard evidence.

    Was that evidence contained in the memos? Was the torture witnessed by a third party? more 'hard' evidence.

    Based on what we have heard so far, there is no 'hard' evidence. If there was, the military command would have acted to put a stop to it.

    so all we have left is a 'likely' … pretty soft, considering all the remarks calling for a trial on charges of war crimes. a trial will require 'hard' evidence.

    if this is all you have 'likely' got ………

    pretty sad…. limp, left lemmings.