Friday, April 23, 2010

Over at the Afghan Committee, things are very "robust"

In fact Wednesday's testimony by three former Canadian ambassadors to Afghanistan on the Afghan detainee transfer-and-abuse system marks perhaps the single most frequent use of the word "robust" - eleven times in two hours by my count - evah.

Globe and Mail :
"The court Tuesday heard of documentation, drawn from military files, relating to six known cases in which Afghan captives handed to the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) prisons, including one in Canada’s military jurisdiction in Kandahar, are said to have been tortured using electric shocks, beatings with wires, whips and metal rods, sleep deprivation and cuts, between early 2007 and late 2008."
Oh sorry, that was in Britain on Tuesday.

In Canada on Wednesday, our ambassador to Afghanistan in 2008, Ron Hoffmann, told the Afghan committee :
"There were no allegations of abuse in 2008"
while Dept of Foreign Affairs' David Sproule, ambassador from Oct 2005 to April 2007, said although "they were under no illusions about the treatment of detainees" :
"We never transferred detainees from Canadian forces if there was any risk of torture . We exceeded our international obligations. ... There was not a single incidence of detainee abuse during my tenure."
Not a single incidence from Oct 2005 to April 2007?
And Arif Lalani, ambassador from April 2007 to Aug 2008?
Paul Dewar, NDP :
"With regards to the NDS, Mr Lalani, one of the questions we had as to the new agreement, is that it's become evident to me through evidence that has been given and what I've heard today - when an allegation was made, that the responsible entity at the NDS facility to look into that allegation and investigate it was the NDS. Is that your understanding as well?
Lalani :

"Point #1, I think we had a number of allegations that were made as a result of our monitoring.

Point #2, the agreement that we signed had clearly in it that the Afghans would exercise their obligations and their sovereignty by investigating allegations, and so that was done.

Point #3 as has been made very clear in all of the reporting that you may have seen and that others have seen, we also inform the ICRC who undertook whatever action they wanted to take and I want to be very careful about saying more about their work.

Dewar :
"Will you then confirm then that when an allegation was made, from a detainee or from another source about torture, that it was the NDS who investigated that?"
Lalani : "I think from my other ..."
Dewar :
"Sorry to interrupt but I know the ICRC was involved and I understand their mandate, but according to the agreement - I mean Ms Buck made this statement in Federal Court as well - was it the NDS that was responsible for following it up?"
Lalani :
"From my recollection of the cases that involved the NDS, they most likely made the investigation."
Dewar :
"And do you understand why I would have concerns - and many others - that in the case of Mr Colvin's claim that there was torture going on and that there was concerns that had to be removed from the report and wasn't giving the full picture, and the fact of the matter is what we've heard is - and I think you halted transfers of detainees because you had concerns about the NDS - that it really isn't a strong enough agreement to have the NDS investigate itself."

The NDS investigating itself might go some distance in explaining why, according to Hoffmann earlier, there were no further allegations of abuse in 2008, supposing that is indeed the case.

Meanwhile, over in unredacted Britain, internal memos from named British officers outline the continuing impossibility of monitoring detainees disappeared by the NDS, along with all the gruesome unredacted details of their torture.

Fed up with two year's of government obstruction in delivering of our detainee documents, the Military Police Complaints Commission has summoned the military and foreign affairs officials responsible for the documents to testify next Tuesday.

Whatever is in those documents, Steve seems desperate to hide them at any cost but he can't rely on the self-inflicted Jaffer/Guergis misdirection scandal continuing to distract the public once the unredacted details of Britain's apparently identical detainee problems start heavy rotation in the national media.


Rev.Paperboy said...

the more they try to deflect, deny and defer this, the worse it is going to be for the government.

chris said...

It all depends on how you define "abuse" and "allegation" and "of".

And so one begins to understand the desire to torture someone. A straight answer, of any kind, would be better than this crap.

Maybe we could outsource the MPCC to some more enlightened land. Syria for instance?

Just kidding, mostly.

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