Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Would wholesome Harper ever lie to Parliament? Never.

Well perhaps, on a few notable occasions, such as torture of Afghan Detainees, tax leakage of income trusts, attempted bribery of Chuck Cadman. All instance where Harper has appears to have lied to Parliament, with the exception of tax leakage, where he CLEARLY did lie to Parliament and destroyed $35 billion of Canadians' life savings.

Stephen Harper. Leader of Canada’s LCF Party......Lie Conceal Fabricate.

Diplomat says Canada handed Afghan detainees over for torture

By Janice Tibbetts ,
Canwest News Service
November 18, 2009

OTTAWA — A senior Canadian diplomat said he was on orders from his Ottawa superiors to leave no paper trail about his allegations that Canada was handing detainees over to Afghan custody where they were allegedly tortured and abused.

Richard Colvin, a top Foreign Affairs official posted in Afghanistan in 2006-07, told a House of Commons committee Wednesday that the government and the military turned a blind eye to what was happening to their captives once they were surrendered to Afghan control.

Moreover, the government-imposed a "wall of secrecy" after he wrote and distributed reports about the Canadian military routinely and haphazardly handing over prisoners and then failing to follow up on their fate.

"There was certain information that was seen as too hot potato," said Colvin, who was the political officer at the Canadian-run reconstruction base when troops began handing over prisoners to Afghan authorities three years ago.

Colvin said he was specifically told by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former foreign affairs adviser, David Mulroney, to use the phone instead of putting anything in writing about prisoner abuse, which Colvin said contradicted Canadian policy and international law against surrendering to the risk of torture.

"There was indeed a policy, but behind the military's wall of secrecy, that's exactly what we were doing," said Colvin, who is now the deputy head of intelligence at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

Mulroney has just left the Prime Minister's Office to become deputy minister of Foreign Affairs at the time that he allegedly warned Colvin to watch his step in April 2007.

At the time, senior cabinet ministers in Ottawa were on the hot seat over the prisoner abuse allegations, denying daily in the House of Commons that there were any credible reports of torture.

Colvin also alleged that Rick Hillier, the former defence chief, knew that Afghan detainees were being abused and he turned his back to it.

Margaret Bloodworth, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's national security adviser, was also aware of the issue, said Colvin, though he acknowledged he never talked to her directly.

Colvin's credibility was questioned by two Conservative MP's, who said that the diplomat's assertion that virtually all detainees surrendered by Canadians to Afghan control in 2006 and some of 2007 were tortured.

Ontario Tory MP Cheryl Gallant said that Colvin's allegations "would not hold up in a court of law" and British Columbian MP Jim Abbott accused Colvin of having no first-hand verification that soldiers handed anyone over to torture, given that the supposedly abused detainees he interviewed did not implicate Canada.

Colvin maintained that he learned from credible sources that Canadian detainees handed to Afghan control were beaten with power cables, given electrical shock and were sleep deprived in Afghan jails.

"According to our information, the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured," said Colvin, who said most of them were insurgent foot soldiers or innocents who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, rather than hard-core Taliban.

He said he first learned of the abuse soon after arriving in Kandahar in the spring of 2006 and that he later saw evidence himself after visiting prisons and seeing torture marks on prisoners.

Canada handed over far more prisoners than either the British or the Dutch and that Canada, unlike its allies, did no follow up on the fate of those they surrendered, Colvin said.

"We kept hopeless records, and apparently to prevent any scrutiny, the Canadian Forces leadership concealed all this behind walls of secrecy," he said.

The result, said Colvin, was that Canada helped strengthen the Taliban by spreading fear of foreigners among the Afghan people.

"Instead of winning hearts and minds, we caused Kandaharis to fear the foreigners," he said. "Canada's detainee practices in my view alienated us from the population and strengthened the insurgency."

Colvin was called before the House of Commons committee after he filed an affidavit with the Military Police Complaints Commission, alleging that he warned senior government officials and military brass of "serious, imminent and alarming" reports of detainee abuse soon after he arrived in Afghanistan.

The commission's probe into what the military knew and when has been bogged down in legal wrangling and was put on hold last month.

Federal lawyers are trying to block Colvin from testifying at the public inquiry, citing national security concerns.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay, his predecessor Gordon O'Connor, and the prime minister said recently they did not know of Colvin's reports. Hillier said he did not recall seeing them.

Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh said the committee will seek to hear from everyone who has been fingered by Colvin and whether they informed any cabinet ministers.

In the House of Commons question period on Wednesday, MacKay was grilled on why it took 18 months for the government to act on allegations of detainee abuse. While sidestepping questions, he repeatedly affirmed that the government in 2007 improved a weak prisoner transfer arrangement that had been implemented by the former Liberal government.

"We received concerns about conditions in Afghan prisons," he said. "As a result, we instituted a more robust system of visitation, we instituted investments to improve those conditions, we instituted a more rigorous process of assisting Afghans with respect to human rights."
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service


Bruce Benson said...

I love the picture. Harper seems to be concocting his next set of lies

Bruce Benson said...

Oh, I forgot. Canadians love to be lied to.

Dr Mike said...

Yahoooooeeeeeeeeey , we are tied for 8th as the least corrupt government in the world.

I am so proud.

Dr Mike