12.18.2009

what was that about canadian troops not torturing prisoners?

Conservative response to Canadian complicity in torture of Afghan people:

1. Attack the messenger, smear his name, slam his credibility. If that doesn't work, go to

2. People were tortured but we didn't know about it. If that doesn't work, go to

3. It's not really torture, it's just rough treatment. If that doesn't work, go to

4. It's not as if Canadians actually tortured anyone. If that doesn't work, go to

5. The prisoners are bad people. They deserved it. If that doesn't work,

6. See number one.

Conservative Canadians are completely hung up on item #4. Browse through the comments section on any mainstream news story, if you can stand it, and you'll find the usual suspects instructing you to "give your head a shake" because Canadians didn't torture anyone. Afghans roughed up other Afghans, and those people do stuff like that all the time, because they're barbaric.

Hey guess what?
Canada's military police have been quietly investigating allegations for more than a year that the country's troops abused Afghan detainees, CBC News has learned.

Canadian soldiers captured the detainees sometime in 2008 and the investigation into their conduct has been ongoing for at least a year.

It was uncovered in documents obtained by CBC News. The documents were written for Defence Minister Peter Mackay in March to prepare him for question period.

The documents reveal that in 2008, military police launched six separate investigations into allegations of abuse involving Canadian troops.

And by the way, knowingly handing over people to be tortured and torturing people your own self are not appreciably different - to the victim, to your ethical and moral responsibility, or to international law.
GENERAL PROTECTION OF PRISONERS OF WAR
Article 12

Prisoners of war are in the hands of the enemy Power, but not of the individuals or military units who have captured them. Irrespective of the individual responsibilities that may exist, the Detaining Power is responsible for the treatment given them.

Prisoners of war may only be transferred by the Detaining Power to a Power which is a party to the Convention and after the Detaining Power has satisfied itself of the willingness and ability of such transferee Power to apply the Convention. When prisoners of war are transferred under such circumstances, responsibility for the application of the Convention rests on the Power accepting them while they are in its custody.

Nevertheless if that Power fails to carry out the provisions of the Convention in any important respect, the Power by whom the prisoners of war were transferred shall, upon being notified by the Protecting Power, take effective measures to correct the situation or shall request the return of the prisoners of war. Such requests must be complied with.

This is not peculiar to Afghanistan. It's not peculiar to Canada. It's part of war. Canada is involved in this torture scandal because Canada is at war. War involves torture. The torture is wrong, and the war is wrong.

Canada out of Afghanistan NOW.

Thanks to Canadian Cynic for this post and this one. I don't know how they bring themselves to read that right-wing crap, but I'm glad they do.

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

I don't know how they bring themselves to read that right-wing crap, but I'm glad they do.

And that goes for reader comments too! Occasionally I will look but most of the time I avoid the comments (I think you have mentioned that you do too).

I am always a little bit surprised at my own reaction. It is visceral and can affect me sometimes for hours afterward unless I can get my mind busied with other thoughts.

Who wants it!! But as you say I am really glad that others can and do.

L-girl said...

Yes, I make it a rule never to read comments, and when I break my own rule, I'm always sorry. It doesn't affect me as strongly I think - or I can shake it off more easily - but it's still a complete waste of time and energy.

I have progressive friends who tell me about their "debates" in comments w/ right-wing idiots. I use quotes because the word implies an exchange of ideas, and I don't think any such thing is happening.

I feel the same way about right-wing blogs. A big part of the Canadian Cynic blog is refuting (and ridiculing) wingnuttery. The only way I can possibly look at a right-wing blog is through that filter!