G&M : When does an Afghan become a detainee?
" The Defence Department's latest statement about an Afghan man whose mistreatment by local police caused an uproar in Parliament last week has done little to clarify the incident, according to critics of Canadian detainee policies - and may also expose gaps in the newest agreement on the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan."
I thought we settled this already.
The Afghan people are "insurgents" until such time as they are killed or handed over to Afghan authorities to be tortured, at which point they become "scumbags", terrorists, and Taliban.
How many times do we have to go over this?
And about those "gaps in the newest agreement on the treatment of prosoners" :
Eric Margolis, Toronto Sun :
"How did Canada, one of the world's most respected, law-abiding nations, become a party to the torture of prisoners in Afghanistan and a violator of the Geneva Conventions?
The story begins in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
The Soviet KGB created a mirror-image secret police for its Afghan puppet government, KhAD.
KhAD sought to eradicate all opposition to the Communists. It also ran the education system and religious establishment. KhAD quickly became notorious, even in a famously brutal society, for its cruelties.
All political prisoners -- that is, anyone who opposed the Communists -- were subjected to systematic tortures. These ranged from garden variety beatings, pulling of fingernails, near-drowning and electric shocks to more refined cruelties.
Prisoners were flayed alive, thrown into vats of sulphuric acid, blinded, buried alive, burned with gasoline, or slowly frozen in refrigerated rooms."
Ok I'm going to skip some of this part.
"The Communists killed two million Afghans.
After the Soviets withdrew in 1989, the newborn Taliban movement drove the remaining Afghan Communists -- rebranded the Northern Alliance -- into the far northeast.
In 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, allied itself to the Northern Alliance, and overthrew the Taliban. A figurehead, Hamid Karzai, was put in power. Real power, however, was held by the Communist-dominated Northern Alliance.
Once the Northern Alliance took Kabul, the KhAD, rechristened NDS, was quickly re-established. The old Communist torturers and war criminals went back into business.
Today, an estimated 60% of NDS personnel are former KhAD agents. Canadian and U.S. forces fighting to pacify southern Afghanistan have been routinely handing captives and suspects over to the NDS secret police -- in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions.
This dirty secret was finally exposed to Canadians by a major Globe and Mail investigation.
It exposed Ottawa's childish claims of having assurances from the Afghan Communist secret police -- which had murdered or maimed tens of thousands of victims -- to treat prisoners humanely."
Malalai Joya, Afghan MP, speaking at McGill in Canada, back in Sept 2006:
Malalai Joya is famous worldwide for standing up during the Constitutional Loya Jirga and speaking out against appointing fundamentalist warlords to head planning groups. The men, Joya told the assembly, should be tried for their crimes and violations of human rights instead of being appointed to positions of power.
"Human Rights Watch has reported that "up to 60%" of deputies in Afghanistan's lower house are "directly or indirectly connected to current and past human rights abuses."
"All justice-loving people are calling for trials for the warlords," she said, noting that the Karzai administration--with US approval--"promotes war criminals to higher posts," most recently the police force. The majority of seats in Afghanistan's parliament are occupied by "some kind of warlord," who is "doing crimes under the name of Islam."
"We can start right now, taking power away from the warlords. Instead, they give them more power."
But the problem of the warlords, Joya suggests, comes from abroad.
"Countries like the US have their own strategic policies in Afghanistan ... As long as [they] support the Northern Alliance with the mask of democracy, there will never be improvements in Afghanistan."
"Canada must have its own policies in Afghanistan, and stop supporting fundamentalist warlords."
Back to Margolis :
"Ottawa's deal this week with Kabul for inspection of NDS prisoners is a sham. The KhAD had the same empty "agreement" with human rights groups in the 1980s.
It's bad enough Canada's troops are defending Afghanistan's warlords who run its booming heroin industry. Now Ottawa is hand in glove with the Communist Party's veteran torturers. Well done, Ottawa."
H/T Holly Stick for Margolis link.
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