Friday, November 16, 2007

Ankle-deep in blood and shit

A request for desert camel boots from Stockwell Day's newly arrived leader of a Correctional Service Canada inspections team in Afghanistan in February, 2007:

"They afford the appropriate ankle support when getting in and out of the LAV/Coyote/Nyala vehicles. Additionally the colour is more appropriate in the summer heat. On a Health and Safety level we will be walking through blood and fecal matter when either on patrol or in the prison and should not be wearing our personal footwear as it will track into our personal quarters."

It's certainly tracking all over the carpets in Ottawa now.

G&M : Nov 19, 2007 "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."

CP Nov 5, 2007 "The government had argued that the issues involved were political rather than judicial, that human rights advocates lacked any legal standing to mount a challenge, and that the case should be thrown out because it has no chance of succeeding."

Co-council to both human rights groups, Amir Attaran, has been trying to alert us and get some action on this since at least March 2006, when he and Michael Byers along with Louise Arbour, Canadian rep at the UN, all published papers on the abuse of Afghan detainees.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, in 2004 : "Torture continues to take place as a routine part of police procedures. The AIHRC has found torture to occur particularly at the investigation stage in order to extort confessions from detainees."

This is what Con House leader Peter Van Loan still airily refers to as "allegations by the Taliban".

Are we there yet? Could we get some grown-ups on this?
Look, we have a lot of serious issues to deal with in Canada : important stuff like fixing our debt to First Nations, stopping the sell-off of Canadian companies and the flow south of our resouces, getting serious on the environment, to name just a few.
Canada is already a signatory to the Geneva Conventions. We simply don't have time to go back and re-fight and re-argue all the battles for some semblance of civilization that we have already won. And we certainly don't have time for any government that hasn't figured this out yet.

Update : Mattt at bastard.logic links to skdadl's comment at Pogge :
"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"? "


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. These stains are going to spread and set the longer the Stephen Harper party continues its campaign of creative destruction.

(The preceding metaphors bear too much resemblance to reality for my liking.)

Our government has turned 'Canada' into an epithet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks especially for that paragraph about the battles we just shouldn't have to be wasting time on any more, Alison. It terrifies me sometimes to think what we might be reverting to with the wild boys in charge. Over at babble, Briguy wrote something a couple of days ago about equivocating about torture -- that's not like taking one wee step down a slippery slope, he said; it's more like taking one wee step off a steep cliff. (See the thread about Alan Dershowitz.)

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