Today's must read

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I think every second Canadian blog I've looked at this morning has linked to this Globe and Mail report on what our government officials really knew while they were assuring us that Afghans detained by Canadian soldiers were being treated as they should be. If you haven't followed the link up until now, you really should. You need to know how brazenly Harper and his crew have been lying to us. My favourite line:

The government no longer seems to use the word "torture" in connection with prisoners in Afghanistan.

Imagine that.

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So, clear documentary evidence that the Conservatives are lying scumbags with no respect for international law or the Geneva conventions or, basically, civilized behaviour of any sort.

Colour me amazed. If this much got through, I wonder what's so bad that they had to black it out? Maybe some of it involves evidence that the Americans are "helping out" with the torture.

Some "foreigners" obviously are.

But with this, we have really hit rock-bottom:

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.

The government was forced to release the documents on detainee conditions after a federal judge ordered it to disclose them as part of a suit brought by Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

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.

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"?

Purple Library Guy: That comment by you was striking enough for me to directly quote you in the blogpiece I just did. I couldn't have said it better myself.

BTW, Pogge.. hate to bring this up again, but I've tried tracking back to your blogpiece.. and it's not working again.

skedadl:

Well said.

I actually know Linda, and she's never struck me as a bad sort--not at all. I quite liked her, back in the day. But sometimes institutional machinery runs us like automata, and we sleepwalk through evil (and I'm not afraid to use that word). Damn--I wish I were still in contact with her. I would like to think that there's more to her perceptions of things.

I will never forget the first reports that were leaked about torture in Afghanistan. The following image gave me nightmares:

In December 2002... two detainees died in custody at the base. One was Mullah Habibullah, a 30-year-old man from the southern province of Oruzgan; the other was a 22-year-old taxi driver named Dilawar (many Afghans use only one name), who was married and had a 2-year-old daughter. The men had been hung by their arms from the ceiling and beaten so severely that, according to a report by Army investigators later leaked to the Baltimore Sun, their legs would have needed to be amputated had they lived.

This wasn't Afghan soldiers who tortured and murdered these men. This was done by our US allies well before Abu Gharib became a household name.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation command launched an inquiry, but few people outside Afghanistan took notice.

Then in March 2003, New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall tracked down Dilawar’s brother in his home village. The man took from his pocket Dilawar’s death certificate, which he’d been unable to understand because it was in English. Gall read the document and discovered that the Army pathologist who signed the certificate had checked “homicide” as the cause of death. The Times buried Gall’s story on page A14; few other outlets picked it up. It wasn’t until May 2004, more than a year later, that the Army released its report on the deaths. In it, investigators implicated a total of 28 military personnel in crimes including negligent homicide, maiming, and dereliction of duty. To date, however, only one person has been charged—Sergeant James Boland, a reserve military police soldier, who is accused of denying medical care to Dilawar and watching a lower-ranking soldier beat Habibullah. “It is left up to the various commanders whether to bring legal action” against any of the other 27, says Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Pamela Hart. So far they have not.

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2005/03/03_2005_Bazelon.html

How adamant do you think our fine forces are going to be when inspecting detention facilities or turning over captives when they know damn well how the US treats their prisoners? "Do as we [western occupiers] say and not as we do!"

I also find there is a racist undercurrent in our government's attitude. An almost, "it's to be expected... they are in Afghan hands." That's right, it's hard to control what those hordes of uncivilized, cave dwellers do to each other.

Borrowing from Kanye West:

Stephen Harper doesn't care about Afghan people.

Clearly, Canada needs to be taking responsibility for its own prisoners.
(Well, clearly we should be the *&%$! out of there, but if we're gonna be there . . . )

Of course, Pogge, and others, not all blogs in the Canadian scene are appalled by this revelation the Globe has discovered. The righty blogs are wondering what the big deal is.

Since I won't allow him to comment here, I'm not going to address his post here.

Ah, sorry Pogge. I wasn't aware he was under a ban here (not that I blame you).

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