Yes, In Our Name

by matttbastard

Via the Dawg, the lying liars lied to each and every one of us:

The Harper government knew prison conditions were appalling long before The Globe and Mail published a series of stories last April detailing the abuse and torture of prisoners turned over by Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan’s notorious secret police, documents released this week show.

The heavily censored documents also show that at the same time as senior ministers were denying evidence of abuse, officials on the ground in Afghanistan were collecting first-hand accounts from prisoners of mistreatment.


In addition to routine reports by diplomats citing widespread torture and abuse, Canadian officials were also delivering first-hand accounts showing how grim the prisons were.

In one, Linda Garwood-Filbert, the newly arrived leader of a Correctional Service Canada inspections team, asked for better boots in February, 2007, months before the published reports, because she was “walking through blood and fecal matter” on the floor of cells as they toured Afghan prisons.

No explanation of why the floors were covered in blood is given.


Another report noted that the warden of the main prison in Kandahar, where many prisoners handed over by Canadians soldiers were held, had been fired after charges that he raped juvenile detainees. Cosmetics and hashish were found in his office. He was exonerated because an Afghan military judge said it was “impossible for a drunken man in his 50s to commit an act of rape,” reported a Canadian official in a cable to Ottawa.

Other reports detail conditions far outside internationally acceptable norms. At one Kandahar secret police prison, all inmates are shackled in leg irons around the clock. Some have been kept that way for more than a year.

skdadl nails it in comments over @ POGGE:

I think we call this the banality of evil. I have to walk through blood and fecal material, so I need better boots. This is the road to Nuremberg, folks. And this is being done in our name. Everyone happy to sit here quietly and be a “Good Canadian”?

Also see Designated Protest Zone, Impolitical, The Vanity Press, and pretty much everyone on the ProgBlogs roster.

I need a drink–and to reread Eichmann in Jerusalem.

Related: Amnesty International report on how countries participating in the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan (including, obviously, Canada) have been (knowingly) complicit in the transfer of detainees to Afghan security officials, despite evidence that doing so put prisoners at risk of being tortured.

Update: File Alison @ Creekside and The Beaver under ‘WIN’:

Are we ready to deal with this yet? Could we please get some grown-ups on this?

Look, we have a lot of serious and difficult issues to deal with in Canada : important stuff like fixing our debt to First Nations, stopping the sell-off of Canadian companies and the flow south of our resouces, getting serious on the environment, to name just a few.

Canada is already a signatory to the Geneva Conventions. We simply don’t have time to go back and re-fight and re-argue all the battles for the some semblance of civilization we have already won.

And we certainly don’t have time for any government that hasn’t figured that out yet.

You goddamn right.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

4 thoughts on “Yes, In Our Name

  1. I’ll allow that it would be troubling to know of conditions in which fecal and blood matter were found on the floor. Certainly Canada should be vocally advising the government to make changes to the quality of detainment.

    What you have yet to prove is that there is a systemic and intentional complicity of the military handing over detainees with foreknowledge that torture will occur.

    As an aside, I strongly resent being called a partisan troll.

    A) A troll is one whom refuses to discuss or acknowledge any points or issues, and generally does not have a name or blog to stand by with their argument

    B) Your blog is as partisan as any I’ve come across, and I haven’t insulted you for it. Your avatar is an offensive caricature of Stephen Harper. But you call me a “troll” and a partisan one at that?


  2. Fair enough – we seem to have different definitions of ‘trolling’.

    Unlike yourself, I’ve never claimed to above the partisan fray. Am quite proud to count myself a Harper-hating far-left yahoo.

    If only you’d do the same in kind with regards to your slavering support for Uncle Steve and the Tories.

    Now, I have said my piece over at Chet’s place (hope the flames didn’t do more than singe your ego), and am content to leave our interaction at that.

    Please do not post here again.


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