-The head of the Taliban said that he is willing to begin peace talks with the West if they will return traditional Sharia law to Afghanistan. The task now would seem to create an acceptable integration of traditional Sharia law with modern, progressive ideologies like gender equality and refusal of corporal punishment. When Western countries are shown to have aided and abetted in torture, it enables the Taliban to justify their laws, such as cuting off a hand for stealing. Canadians should take note and demand a full public inquiry into the Afghani detainee issue to show that the West does not condone corporal punishment; otherwise we have no right to refuse the traditional Sharia laws of Afghanistan.
The Afghani Newspaper Weesa reports that a Taliban head offering peaceful negotiations is proof that the peace process can work and ought to be supported if the international community really wants to end the war in Afghanistan.
-NATO still has not gotten hint of the only immediate thing that the Afghani people ask of it – please stop killing innocent civilians.
Four more civilians, three in their teens and one a police officer, were killed by NATO forces on Wednesday night. This brings to eight the number of Afghani civilians reported killed this week after American soldiers, in a separate incident, opened fire on a passenger bus and killed four civilians. In total, Afghani Television Station TOLO, reports 36 civilians were killed this week.
-Seasonal floods, meanwhile, especially in Baghlan and Takhar Provinces, have caused the loss of around 1000 homes. This combined with the recent earthquakes in Balkh and Samangan Provinces that left upwards of 3000 homeless, means that infrastructure, building and aid are needed in those areas – more immediately then in the areas that are scene to the armed fighting with the Afghanis.
-An editorial in the Afghani Cheragh Daily, reports that NATO has shortened the length of training for Afghani police officers from eight weeks to six weeks. This could indicate that NATO is desperate for more Afghani local support, but rushing them through training might not be best for the welfare of the Afghani citizens, that both NATO and Afghani police must prioritize protecting.
The Hasht-E-Subh Newspaper made an interesting observation. When Iran’s president asked all foreign forces to leave the region, the Afghani Daily newspaper reminded him that Afghanistan wishes to be free of all foreigners, including Iranians.
-In England, anti-war activist Maya Evans has brought to the attention of the entire country the same war crime and torture culpability that Canada is facing. Britain’s case involves the breech of even more standards and ethics because in addition to the Geneva Convention being ignored, there are also signs of a breech of Article 3 of the European Human Rights Convention which prohibits torture and mistreatment.
Public Interest Lawyers have gathered material which show the abuse of suspects handed over to the Afghani secret service, the NDS.
Among the materials, accumulated from nine separate cases, are allegations of beatings, electrocution, sleep deprivation and whipping with rubber cables. One detainee said he was punched and hit on the head, while a second prisoner said he was subjected to stress positions and sleep deprivation. Two others said they suffered electric shocks and were beaten with a cable.
Canada and the Torture of Afghani Detainees – April 23, 2010
-Richard Colvin was the former diplomatic head of the Canadian reconstruction team in Afghanistan and head of Canadian intelligence in Washington. In November, 2009 Colvin testified that Canadian officials refused to accept his phone call warnings of the torture of Afghani detainees and Canadian war crime violations.
International Law professor Errol Mendes summarized the situation like this in the Ottawa Citizen:
“In the same 17 months that Colvin was sending his reports to dozens of officials the (Canadian) government was denying in Parliament and the media that there were any substantial reports of detainees being tortured.”
Last week, Richard Colvin was again testifying before the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) and the censorship of both Colvin and the Committee itself by the Canadian government became embarrassingly clear to all involved.
The Harper Government has censored Colvin’s email records in the name of “National Security” and will not even permit the members of the MPCC to have access to the uncensored documents.
A Justice Department lawyer, cross-examining Colvin in front of the Committee last Tuesday, reassuringly reported that he had seen the uncensored emails and they contained nothing “crucial or important”. This begged the question, posed by the chairman of the MPCC, if the censored emails contained nothing “crucial or important” then why were they being censored and why was the MPCC being denied access to these documents?
Richard Colvin says, very clearly, that even though he has been banned from commenting on the censored portions of his email records those records would show how urgent the warnings he provided to Canadian officials regarding Canadian culpability in torture and war crimes, in fact, were.
-The O’Conner report October 2006 and the Iacobucci Inquiry November 2008, official Canadian government inquiries, both concluded that Canada’s security agencies were knowingly involved in the torture of Canadian citizens overseas.
Does this government expect Canadians to believe that our security forces would be complicit in the torture of Canadian citizens, as proven by two government inquires, but not be involved in the torture of Afghani citizens over the same time period?