Canada’s Shame


Earlier this year, the Globe & Mail disclosed that Canadian soldiers were surrendering prisoners to Afghanistan secret police, and that those prisoners were subsequently being subject to appalling prison conditions, abuse, and torture. Federal cabinet ministers denied that there were prison-abuse allegations and maintained that there were adequate prisoner safequards.

Now, we know better. Thanks to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and Amnesty International Canada who sued the Canadian government for release of documents, and to the federal judge who ordered their disclosure, today’s front-page story (“Afghan prisons: What Ottawa knew“; Globe & Mail; Paul Koring & Alan Freeman; 2007/11/16) paints a different picture.

Even before the Globe’s revelations, months before in fact, the government was receiving “routine reports by diplomats citing widespread torture and abuse” and “floors…covered in blood…and fecal matter” and “inmates…shackled in leg irons around the clock…some…been kept that way for more than a year” and “scores of disappeared detainees.”

2006/03/30 – Globe & Mail: Handover deal lacks key…protections
2007/03/02 – Globe & Mail: Canada loses track of Afghan detainees
2007/03/08 – Globe & Mail: Red Cross contradicts Ottawa on detainees
2007/03/09 – Globe & Mail: Amir Attaran on the treatment of…
2007/04/23 – Globe & Mail: From Canadian custody into cruel hands
2007/04/23 – Globe & Mail: Calls for Defence Minister ouster…
2007/04/23 – Globe & Mail: The truth Canada did not wish to see
2007/04/24 – Globe & Mail: PM defends policy on detainees
2007/06/02 – Globe & Mail: Ottawa silent on fate of captured terror suspects
2007/11//15 – CP: Opposition claims cover up…
2007/11//17 – Globe & Mail: …and Tory falsehoods
2007/11//19 – Chronicle Herald: Western…don’t treat detainees well either

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