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What they were told, what we aren’t allowed to hear


 

The Star reports on a May 2007 memo warning government and military officials about the legal ramifications of detainee transfers. James Travers, meanwhile, posits an unsourced, but seemingly somehow informed, theory as to some of what the government is currently withholding.

In the winter of 2007, three insurgents captured by Canada’s top-secret Joint Task Force Two disappeared into the notorious Afghan prison system. Three years later, Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Parliament rather than release related documents that raise difficult questions about the role of this country’s special forces and spies in targeting, capturing and interrogating key enemies.

Linking those events are fears about what happened to Isa Mohammad and two other prisoners transferred to Kabul control by Canadians after successful Kandahar operations. In a private 2007 briefing, the prestigious International Committee of the Red Cross expressed concern to Canada that the men had either been killed or were being held by the U.S. in one of its controversial “black site” military prisons.

Dispatches detailing those worries, the names of the three missing men – as well as a fourth who Canadians found – and Red Cross frustration over the military’s persistent failure to provide timely, accurate prisoner information are in the files the Harper government is withholding.


 

What they were told, what we aren’t allowed to hear

  1. They're pledging to be back in a hurry when Parliament resumes:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/otta

    So my guess is they're up to something else. A sloooow trickle of papers, or more heavily censored stuff, but some way around the current situation. Certainly the budget will be used as a distraction.

    • "Certainly the budget will be used as a distraction."

      Try this on for size, "It's the economy stupid", the FB pajama protest led by the NDP of less than 20k showing up is the distraction.

    • "Certainly the budget will be used as a distraction."

      Ya, who cares about the fiscal situation of the country? Thats minor stuff we could be attacking our military for doing their jobs.

  2. Oh. I didn't even think of that. If it becomes known that MacKay was aware and approved of us transferring detainees into the hands of the CIA for "extreme" interrogation methods.. that's a political grenade in so many ways. Not the least of which being that it goes directly against the policy the gov't had just set up.

    • "In the winter of 2007, three insurgents captured by Canada's top-secret Joint Task Force Two disappeared into the notorious Afghan prison system"

      Note the words "Afghan prison system". Again, we are now attempting to hold Canadians responsible for what happens in the Afghan prison system. What the Afghans do with prisoners once we hand them over is not our responsiblity.

      • "What the Afghans do with prisoners once we hand them over is not our responsiblity"

        Are you sitting down, relaxed, and otherwise in an actual listening mode? You seem to have missed a little fact in the months of discussion on this subject.

        In point of fact, knowingly transferring detainees where they are at substantial risk of being tortured is prohibited under the Geneva Convention and other international agreements.

      • "What the Afghans do with prisoners once we hand them over is not our responsiblity"

        Are you sitting down, relaxed, and otherwise in an actual listening mode? You seem to have missed a little fact in the months of discussion on this subject.

        In point of fact, knowingly transferring detainees where they are at substantial risk of being tortured is prohibited under the Geneva Convention and other international agreements.

  3. Travers (or is it Travisty) is really reaching here. He (and the Tor Star) are throwing mud calling it torture and hoping some of it sticks.

    • Oh I think most Canadians know the difference between mud and torture.

    • Why do you doubt our soldiers, D? After all, it's from reports of our soldiers on the field that we know detainees were tortured, and our men taking steps to make sure that they didn't.

      • I don't doubt them at all. But in all likelyhood they wouldn't call it torture. It would go like this. "Hey sarge make sure you take a picture of this guy before we hand him over the the ANA. Wouldn't want the F***n Toronto Star and F****n Travesty and all the other F****ers back in Canada thinking that we beat the crap out of this guy. Not that I blame the ANA after I saw the heads of the buddies lying in the ditch with their junk in their mouth. Hate the think what I would do if that happend to you sarge. But after you made me hump all the C6 ammo yesterday I may have to think twice. Ha, those arrogant F***s in Canada, wish they had the balls to hug a Taliban if they love them so F***n much."

      • These " reports of our soldiers on the field " that you have posession off : Would you be able to share those complete with names of soldiers on the reports and the time and place where the detainees were tortured.

        • Why did I read this, in my mind, to the voice of Joe McCarthy?

          • I don`t know, maybe you`re a communist.

          • I red that Travers is a columnist too.

        • Do your own research. They've been posted here in Macleans before. Our soldiers noting down that they were taking pictures of detainees before handing them over to ensure they wouldn't get tortured as happened before, etc.

          • I was aware of the alleged shoe-beating incident but your original post made it seem like you had in your posession multiple reports of Canadian soldiers documenting incidents of torture. Or maybe like Travers and Wherry you were just slinging mud every which way and hoping some would stick on our gov`t.

          • So you alleging a shoe beating and Iffy's friend Amir's definition as your evidence than? Anything else?

  4. Where is his documentation that 3 fighters disappeared? Travisty has an agenda and he is using any means in his disposal (all ink and very little fact) to advance it.

    • Are you serious? Where, indeed, is the documentation? Just because the Conservatives don't produce the documents as they have been required, doesn't mean you can then assert it doesn't exist. Do you work in the Privy Council Office or something?

      • Are you serious? Just because you want to think they exist doesn't mean that there are any there.

        • No, that's true. However, the Red Cross seems to think there is documentation, this has happened before (see Petrou's post of today http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/02/24/difficult-to-a… ) and Travers must have had something to go on when writing his article.

          Just enough to tip the scales in favour of 'there is documentation, it just hasn't been produced' for me. After all, a pattern of behaviour has been established when you include the redacted "as they have been in the past" line, etc. Oh, and shredding or otherwise disposing of documentation that should be there doesn't really give you a pass.

        • No, that's true. However, the Red Cross seems to think there is documentation, this has happened before (see Petrou's post of today http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/02/24/difficult-to-a… ) and Travers must have had something to go on when writing his article.

          Just enough to tip the scales in favour of 'there is documentation, it just hasn't been produced' for me. After all, a pattern of behaviour has been established when you include the redacted "as they have been in the past" line, etc. Oh, and shredding or otherwise disposing of documentation that should be there doesn't really give you a pass.

  5. So Travers is willing to drag Canada`s reputation with it`s allies through the mud because somebody from the Red Cross " expressed concern " about the where abouts of 3 Taliban prisoners.

    I would like to express concern about the where abouts of the coginitive ability portion of Traver`s brain.

    • If you're credit rating is falling, do you blame the person who tells you (Travers)? Do you blame the credit rating agency (the ICRC)? Or do you have the moral backbone to realize that you're the one who's to blame, and you're the one who can fix the problem?

      There's nothing wrong with Travers or the Red Cross. You're the problem, common man.

      • Actually your appear to be a problem. Where is your evidence? Can you link the people who have testified in support of your unproven allegation?

      • Actually I don`t think there is a problem with our reputation as good and decent people is spite of the words of Travers and you wellwell. You see, our actions globally the past few years are what we are judged by. So keep playing with words, you`re insignifigant.

  6. Let me just say, that after that little display, I can't believe how proud I am that our men and women in uniform don't include the likes of you.

    • Well Mr Thwim you don't know the Canadian military, because while they have the highest standards and ethics, they do not suffer BS coming from the armchair QBs that populate the chattering classes back here. Also if you think that nobody swears, or engages in a lot of gallows humour while deployed in an active operational zone then you live in quite the bubble.

  7. My reading of Travers is that he knows more than he can say. But the leap to JTF2, CSIS, and Ottawa-Washington is interesting. I don't think he would have made it if he hadn't learned something.

    For a few months I was puzzled by Harper's incredibly bad handling of this issue — the stonewalling, the character assassinations, the easily exposed lies. If it was just a case of confusion or even incompetence, that could have been handled as something much less than complicity, and yet they all stonewalled and lied. So slowly, slowly, you have to start to think that there really is something there. If it's special forces and U.S. black sites (there is one at Bagram), well — game over. Some peeps belong in jail.

    • Travers is on a fishing expedition. BTW it was the the Liberals who got us into A-stan, and they were the ones who refused to consider the idea (however unsustainable) to set up our own prison in country. Instead of being mudraking jerks about this how about Iggy and his gang offer some assistence to get to the truth. The Harper government haven't been the greatest helpers either. But how about something new? Instead of using this issue to beat each other over the head, why don't the parties work together for the common good of our service people and the country's reputation. It is long past the time that we should have an adult conversation of what we want our armed forces to do, how they are to be equiped to do it and what is in the national interests. Maybe if Traversity got on that wagon instead of the fishing boat he would get more respect from the folks on the front line.

      • Good idea. Maybe you could suggest to Harper a bi-partisan approach, instead of this you're against our troops crap!

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