Monday, May 07, 2007

How long will Canada put up with this?

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.


Anonymous said...

Go, Alison!
And thank you once again, Holly Stick.

RossK said...

What the Anon-O-Mouse said.

(and am eagerly awaiting those posts from H. Stick)

Anonymous said...

In lieu of a post, here are some discussions about Afghanistan:


at Bread and Roses where skdadl says Margolis oversimplifies and the Northern Alliance were not all communists. I defer to her greater knowledge of this area.

Your reference to Malalai Joya inspired me to find this website which has a number of her speeches on it

Then there is Arthur Kent's website, largely about Afghanistan, with discussions; the current concern being with Afghan government attacks on media freedom.

Anonymous said...

oh come on now, alison, i mean, the canadian military needs a beating ground .....bosnia is done with so no more heads to put on posts around camp.

this poppy and pipeline bit....can't we have some of the fun everyone else is getting?

besides....karzai's such a good dresser....dapper in his puppet parage.

personally, i'd like to know exactly how the atlantic ocean meets up with afghanistan.....a deep well or cavern i suppose. yes, that's it, an underground aquifer, qualifying nato to be there.

Alison said...

Holly : Many thanks for all the links and the time you took to post them, especially Sky Reporter.

The Northern Alliance is what the western media is pleased to call the United Islamic Front, a name someone no doubt decided westerners would find unpalatable as an ally.

Margolis is giving a short easily- grasped history lesson here to counteract the Con message about painting schools and crap like how giving up now would dishonor those troops who already died.
He is so obviously rubbing noses in it here - Neener, neener, you're backing the commies! - but I think there is a need for simple rhetoric like this in the MSM to start people questioning the Con message. Whether this one is actually misleadingly simple I leave to Skdadl.

As far as I know the UIF really is "communist-dominated", to use Margolis' phrase, his omission of Hazara, Tajiks and Uzbeks notwithstanding. The DNS is definitely so.

Another great resource you may already know:
RAWA, the Revolutionary Afghan Womens Association
They start schools, run medical clinics, search for missing women, and strive for secular democracy, the rights of women and children, and universal disarmament. They oppose both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, who they want out of the government and charged with war crimes.

Alison said...

Hey, Scout, I've actually seen this one. Now let's see if it sticks ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think you've nailed Margolis's strengths, Alison, and I'm all in favour of what he does. It still amazes me that there's someone publishing in the msm who is speaking so forthrightly, and I know he knows what he's talking about (and is proud of remaining among the reality-based).

Both Northern Alliance and Taliban are terms that I've lost touch with, though. They made sense when there was a hot war (which may happen again), but right now I see the factionalism and corruption you'd expect from a client regime that is sort of secure for the time being. It's horribly frustrating. And I gotta catch up with Arthur Kent.

RossK said...

Thanks Holly!


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