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Government was told detainees faced 'extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture and detention without trial'
The Harper government knew from its own officials that prisoners held by Afghan security forces faced the possibility of torture, abuse and extrajudicial killing, The Globe and Mail has learned.
But the government has eradicated every single reference to torture and abuse in prison from a heavily blacked-out version of a report prepared by Canadian diplomats in Kabul an
O'Connor grilled on detainees, secret report
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor denied allegations of a government conspiracy as he was grilled Wednesday by a parliamentary committee on the treatment of Afghan detainees and the publication of heavily edited internal documents on Afghanistan's troubling human rights situation.
“There's no grand conspiracy,” Mr. O'Connor told the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development when questioned about a report published in The Globe and Mail which says that the Canadian embassy in Kabul warned the Conservative government last year about allegations of torture within Afghanistan's justice system.
The government initially denied the report existed. When it was finally released under access to information, several damning portions were blacked out but obtained independently by the Globe.
Mr. Harper has thus far rejected those demands, saying he does not want to put a fixed date on the end of Canada’s role in the mission.
Tensions surrounding the vote on Tuesday were heightened by allegations surfacing this week in The Globe and Mail that Afghans detained by Canadian troops were mistreated after being transferred to Afghan custody. The newspaper reported that interviews with Afghans revealed instances of abuse, like being whipped with electrical cables.
Support for Harper's Tories fades on Kyoto, Afghanistan: Poll
The new poll finds that the Conservatives are the choice of 36 per cent of the electorate, down three percentage points from last month, while the Liberals are at 30 per cent, down one point. NDP support remained stable at 13 per cent, while backing for the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec rose six points to 39. The Greens are up a substantial seven percentage points from the election, when they attracted five per cent of the electorate.
Meanwhile, another poll released yesterday found the Conservatives sagging even further. The survey from Decima Research showed the Tories a bare one-percentage point ahead of the Liberals, 30-29.
Col. Steve Noonan, a former task force commander in Afghanistan, disclosed the incident in a sworn affidavit filed with the court as part of the governments response to a legal challenge by Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association to stop all further transfers of detainees by the Canadian military to the Afghan government.
Noonans disclosure comes after repeated denials by the Conservative government that it had no specific examples that any detainee transferred by Canadian troops to Afghan authorities was later subject to abuse or torture. The detainee issue has mushroomed into a major political problem for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and several of his Conservative cabinet ministers.
Harper continued Thursday to dismiss allegations of prisoner abuse and blamed his political opponents for making it an issue.
Bill Moyers has put together an amazing 90-minute video documenting the lies that the Bush administration told to sell the Iraq War to the American public, with a special focus on how the media led the charge. I've watched an advance copy and read a transcript, and the most important thing I can say about it is: Watch PBS from 9 to 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25. Spending that 90 minutes on this will actually save you time, because you'll never watch television news again – not even on PBS, which comes in for its share of criticism.
While a great many pundits, not to mention presidents, look remarkably stupid or dishonest in the four-year-old clips included in "Buying the War," it's hard to take any spiteful pleasure in holding them to account, and not just because the killing and dying they facilitated is ongoing, but also because of what this video reveals about the mindset of members of the DC media. Moyers interviews media personalities, including Dan Rather, who clearly both understand what the media did wrong and are unable to really see it as having been wrong or avoidable.
again I ask what are we there for?
May 10, 2007 at 5:28 PM EDT
Conservative members of the House of Commons ethics committee spent five hours Thursday trying to block an investigation related to the Afghan detainee controversy.
Opposition parties proposed to conduct a probe into whether Foreign Affairs deliberately tried to withhold a scathing human-rights report that says torture and abuse in Afghan prisons is commonplace.