Systemic Banality

by matttbastard

Well, isn’t this lovely — CBC News is reporting that the Feds are trying to block military commission hearings into Afghan detainee transfers: 

In papers filed in Federal Court, government lawyers argue the issue never should have gone as far as it has with the MPCC.

“In a spirit of co-operation, the government did not challenge the jurisdiction of the MPCC to investigate,” the Justice Department said in its Federal Court filing, according to the Globe and Mail.

“This should have given the commission the opportunity to satisfy itself that the…complaint should be dismissed either because it lacked merit or because the commission has no jurisdiction to investigate it,” the department states.


Government lawyers argue the handling of detainees is a military operation — not a policing issue.

But Amnesty International’s Alex Neve said it is appropriate for the commission to investigate.

“The military police are involved in the detention and transfer of prisoners, they do so in their police capacity,” he said.

He added that the government had indicated it would co-operate.

“So how can it be, one year later now, they change their mind and turn around and say they will contest this? It simply isn’t right.”

Ah, those wacky Little Eichmanns in Ottawa.  Nice to see the small government ideologues have come to realize the inherent value contained within an amoral, labyrinthine bureaucracy.  Nothing says “depraved” like using a last-minute jurisdictional argument to try and suppress torture allegations.

More from pogge, who notes that, according to The Canadian Press, “the government has already provided reams of documents and information -1,300 pages in all – and has delivered 38 witnesses to the commission.”  As pogge aptly observes, “That’s awfully strange behaviour when the entire matter is outside the commission’s jurisdiction, don’t you think?

Yes, I really do think.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Re: Detainee Transfers–What Impolitical Said.

by matttbastard

Stop the detainee transfers. Now. 

Compelling evidence that Canadian-transferred detainees are still being tortured in Afghan prisons emerged Monday from the government’s own follow-up inspection reports, documents it has long tried to keep secret.

In one harrowing account, an Afghan turned over by Canadian soldiers told of being beaten unconscious and tortured in the secret police prison in Kandahar. He showed Canadian diplomats fresh welts and then backed up his story by revealing where the electrical cable and the rubber hose that had been used on him were hidden.

Under the chair we found a large piece of braided electrical cable as well as a rubber hose,” reads the subsequent diplomatic cable marked “secret” and distributed to some of the most senior officials in the Canadian government and officers in the Canadian military.

The Globe and Mail has established that the report of the case is recent, written after a Nov. 5, 2007, inspection of the National Directorate of Security prison in Kandahar. That was six months after a supposedly improved transfer agreement was put in place to monitor detainee treatment. The agreement was designed to address problems raised by critics about the ill treatment of prisoners taken by Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and handed over to Afghan authorities with insufficient follow-up.

The bottom line:

This evidence brings a violation of the Geneva Conventions directly into our house. Canada cannot be participating in such violations and should immediately signify to the Afghan government that enough is enough. We need to put an end to this barbarism now. That’s what we should do. It’s what Canadian values, humanity, morality, and the rule of law require.

Pogge’s bang on here–“Maybe that DFAIT training manual should have included Canada on that list of countries that torture.”

Indeed.  This is beyond “embarrassing”. This is shameful.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers