Canadian General Drops a Bomb: Gov't knew of Afghan detainee abuse
2009 12 10
By David Ljunggren | Reuters.com
Canada's top soldier detonated a political bombshell on Wednesday when he admitted that, contrary to previous assurances, some Canadian troops knew detainees handed over to Afghan authorities could be abused.
The unexpected announcement by General Walt Natynczyk is a major embarrassment for the military as well as the minority Conservative government, which have both long insisted there was no credible evidence that prisoners might be harmed.
General Walt Natynczyk, the chief of Canada's defense staff, listens to a question during a news conference at the Department of National Defence headquarters in Ottawa December 9, 2009. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Legal experts say handing over detainees in the knowledge they could be abused is a war crime.
Opposition legislators immediately stepped up demands for a formal inquiry and for Defence Minister Peter MacKay to resign over the affair.
The ruling Conservatives, although still ahead of the main opposition Liberal Party, have slipped in recent polls amid intense media coverage of the abuse allegations.
MacKay has repeatedly told the House of Commons there is no evidence soldiers knew prisoners might be abused. Last month MacKay and senior officials publicly denigrated a Canadian diplomat based in Afghanistan who said he had repeatedly warned of the risk of torture in 2006 and 2007.
A contrite Natynczyk said on Wednesday he had just received information about an incident in southern Afghanistan in June 2006 that showed soldiers knew what could befall detainees.
Reading from the field notes written by a Canadian section commander after troops arrested an Afghan man, he said: "We then photographed the individual prior to handing him over to ensure that if the Afghan National Police did assault him, as has happened in the past, that we would have a visual record of his condition."
Natynczyk said he would launch a full inquiry to discover why the additional information had only come to light now.
"This does beg a number of questions," he admitted.
Canada has 2,800 troops in Afghanistan on a combat mission that is due to end in 2011. So far 133 soldiers have died and recent polls show support for the mission is slipping.
The military has already revealed that the detainee in question was abused by the Afghan National Police (ANP). Canadian troops later rescued him.
Natynczyk, and government ministers, initially said the man was arrested by Afghan troops taking part in a joint operation and was never in Canadian custody.
"I want to correct my statement ... the individual who was beaten by Afghan police was in fact in Canadian custody and then the ANP took control of him," said Natynczyk.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper still had full confidence in both MacKay and Natynczyk, a spokesman said.
MacKay, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and former Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor are due to testify to a House of Commons committee on Afghanistan later on Wednesday.
Peter MacKay, right, and Gordon O'Connor chat prior to a Dec. 9 parliamentary committee probe on Canada's military mission in Afghanistan. "Not once have we ever turned a blind eye" to allegations of torture, MacKay told the committee.
PAWEL DWULIT/THE CANADIAN PRESS
The Liberals said Natynczyk's revelation only underscored their demands for a formal public inquiry into the case.
"A judge with all the necessary power could get to the truth ... I'm fed up with all these stories," said Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, accusing the government of continually changing its tale on the abuse affair.
Article from: Reuters.com
Will he resign? Peter MacKay's 'very bad day' gets worse
Natynczyk makes major reversal on detainee story: They knew.
MacKay dismisses Afghan torture allegations
Afghan torture cover-up gets a hand from Peter MacKay
Calls for MacKay's resignation over Afghan prisoner furor
Canada ’s Guantanamo
Canada in Afghanistan: Torture and Coverup
Canada rules out possible Afghan torture probe
Canada: In Service To The Pentagon And NATO At Home And Abroad
Latest News from our Front Page
Water rationing hits California: limit of 50 gallons per person per day or face fines of $500
2014 09 29
Millions of Californians are about to be hit with strict water rationing -- daily "allocation" numbers that represent the maximum amount of water you’re allowed to use for any purpose. Households that exceed the allocation limit will face stiff fines of hundreds of dollars per violation.
"In July, the State Water Resources Control Board passed stage one emergency regulations, giving powers ...
Much of Earth’s Water is Older than the Sun
2014 09 29
Much of the water on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system likely predates the birth of the sun, a new study reports.
The finding suggests that water is commonly incorporated into newly forming planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy and beyond, researchers said — good news for anyone hoping that Earth isn’t the only world to host life.
“The implications of ...
Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap?
2014 09 29
A Yale historian wants us to rethink the terrible tales about the Norse.
This illustration shows the stereotype of Viking marauders wreaking mayhem, even on clergy. The scene depicts the monastery at Clonmacnoise, Ireland.
The Vikings gave no quarter when they stormed the city of Nantes, in what is now western France, in June 843—not even to the monks barricaded in the ...
David Cameron Says Non-Violent Conspiracy Theorists Are Just As Dangerous As ISIS
2014 09 29
David Cameron told the U.N. that "non-violent extremism" is just as dangerous as terrorism and must be eradicated using all means at the government’s disposal. He references 9/11 and 7/7 Truthers as examples of the type of extremism that must be dealt in a similar fashion to ISIS.
If you thought Obama’s War is Peace speech to the U.N. was creepy, ...
NY Times: Europe’s Anti-Semitism Comes Out of the Shadows
2014 09 28
NY Times Whines about European "Anti-Semitism"
In the wake of the conflict in Gaza, three communities became flash points of violence and began contending with hatred they thought was buried in the past.
Read the NY Times hit piece on Europe here
Below is a rebuttal from Mike King’s The Anti-New York Times at tomatobubble.com:
Strike up the violins and break out the barf ...
|More News » |