By Henry McRandall
I will admit from the outset that I am among the two-to-one majority of Canadians who believe the Harper Conservative government and the Canadian military are lying about Canada’s alleged complicity in the torture of Afghan prisoners of war.
Senior diplomat Richard Colvin, who was deputy head of Canada’s diplomatic mission in Kabul in 2006-20007, has testified before a parliamentary committe that he issued repeated alerts to Canadian military and political officials at the highest level that every detainee who was turned over to Afghan authorities was being routinely tortured.
If true, these allegations would make retired generqal Rick Hillier, Canada’s chief of defence staff from 2005 to 2008, retired general Michel Gauthier, who was commander of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command in Afghanistan, Major-General David Fraser, who was commander of the multinational forces in Afghanistan’s southern provinces in 2006, as well as Defence Minister and former foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper war criminals.
Although the three present and former top military brass mentioned above have denied Colvin’s allegations, I am inclineed to believe Colvin, who is a disinterested party, rather than the three soldier boys who have good reason to want to cover up such criminal wrongdoing, as do Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper.
Under tremendous public pressure to come clean, Harper has promised to release “all legally available” documents. This, of course, is a sordid and tawdry ruse intended to serve no other purpose but to advance the cover-up.
Harper can now be expected to classify all smoking-gun documents as vital to “national security” and, hence, not “legally available.”
In reality, none of those documents will truly be “vital to national security” but their top-secret “national security” classification will be vital to protecting Harper, MacKay, Hillier, Gauthier, Fraser and others from prosecution and likely imprisonment for war crimes.
The truth of the matter is that Canada’s national security would probably be much better protected by full and uncensored disclosure of all relevant documents as they would at least deter these war criminals from further wrongdoing and make Canada and Canada’s armed forces less a target for retribution as a consequence.
Nothing is more likely to mollify the victims of Canada’s apparent war crimes than the full prosecution and imprisonment of Canada’s war criminals.
The five likely monster named above have done a tremendous disservice to Canada and to Canada’s armed forces.
Right from the Tories’ rise to power, this fivesome has denigrated Canada’s proud reputation as a peaceful peacekeeping country, dismissing peacekeeping as somehow an inferior role for Canada’s military.
Hugely influenced by the demented gang in the George W. Bush regime, this fivesome sought to remake Canada’s military into nothing but a subservient sidekick of Uncle Sam’s warmongering military, the world’s Tonto to America’s Lone Ranger.
Canada has no business being in Af\ghanistan and it never has had any business taking part in the invasion and occupation of a faraway country that could not even defend itself.
It is time now for Canada to immediately pull out and to immediately put our own war criminals on trial – before they can do any more heinous damage.
Canada complicite in Afghan torture
By Henry McRandall