Weekly Update into Afghanistan Situation – April 2, 2010

-US President Barak Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan over the past week and there is speculation as to what exactly was its purpose. We revealed on the program last week that Hamid Karzai and the Afghanistan government clearly announced that they will not accept the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo, Cuba to Bagram Military Prison in Afghanistan. This has been the de facto US plan for closing down Guantanamo as promised by Obama during his election campaign. The Afghani Government, however, announced last week that they will not accept such a move as it would be a violation of Afghani sovereignty. It could be that Obama’s visit to Afghanistan this past week was meant to discuss the situation regarding the transfer of prisoners with Karzai and the Afghani government. This is something that the US should have cleared up with the Afghanis before announcing their intentions for the Guantanomo prisoners.

-Other reasons that have been proposed for Obama’s surprise visit to Afghanistan, mainly by the US meanstream and alternative medias, are that after posting his health care triumph domestically, this was a show of solidarity with the troops to appease the hard-core right wing of American politics. It has also been contended that after the intensity of the domestic health care battle, Obama just wanted to “get away” from Washington for a while.

-Governmental hearings into the issues surrounding the Afghani detainee issue and Canada’s involvement continued in Ottawa yesterday, however, it is clear to any and all who have viewed, even briefly these proceedings, that the intent is not necessarily to discern Canada’s role in the torture of prisoners, but to protect Canada’s image when the questions of Canada’s culpability arise. One of the clearest examples of this that I witnessed yesterday was the Chairman of the committee, Kevin Sorensen, whose role as chairman is to objectively mediate the proceedings, actually cross-examining a witness from the Canadian Department of International Affairs and Cooperation, by making statements that the witness could agree or disagree with.

-The witness did uphold that the Afghani security, NDS, had different legal definitions of torture then their Canadian counterparts and he also maintained that although Canadian forces were aware of this for at least 2 years, Canada continued to hand over detainees to the NDS – The Canadian government assertion that the NDS “took” these detainees from Canadian custody without Canadian complicity did not come through in the various testimonies.




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Filed under afghanistan, Canadian Politics, Community Rights, Human Rights, International Politics

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