Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Liberals had less than 2 months with new Afghan detainee transfer agreement

The Liberal government had less than two months to respond to the possibility that torture would occur as a result of the then new Afghan detainee transfer agreement with the Afghan military.

In light of recent news by the CBC that a chief diplomat had brought up concerns to Paul Martin's government over the Afghan detainee transfer agreement it would appear that the Liberals should not be so eager for an open inquiry, however when one considers that such concerns were brought up a mere two months prior to the January 23 2006 election it is understandable why Liberals beleive they have nothing to hide.

From Canada's participation in the Afghanistan War in 2002 to November 2005 the policy of the Canadian government was to transfer detainees over to the American Army. However with the recognition that US forces were disobeying humane practices and important international laws, it was thought best to create a new detainee transfer agreement, one that involved handing over our prisoners to the Afghan Army which was finalized on November 30 2005.

For all of you who can't remember when the vote of non-confidence in 2006 was cast, it was on November 28. That means that not only did the fledgling minority Liberal government have only 54 full days (including weekends, holidays, etc) to respond to concerns of this new Afghan detainee transfer agreement, the agreement itself was only signed AFTER Parliament was dissolved and the Liberals along with everyone else were in full election mode.

Update:
Some have said that since the government had reports that torture existed in Afghan prisions, the Liberals would therefore have known detainees would be torured on their transferring from Canadian forces to those of Afghanistan, and to those peoples' credit that would be the case . . . if no agreement was ever created.

The purpose of the original Afghan detainee transfer agreement was to create a process to enable the handing over of detainees and to subsequently monitor them. Now of course this agreement turned out to be flawed, either through complacency or just a lack of information but that is a different story. This post is pertaining to the length of time the Liberal government under Paul Martin had to address the problems that occurred as a consequence of this agreement.

And because of the short time the Liberals had to respond to the problems of this detainee transfer agreement, it is my understanding as to why the Liberals feel they have nothing to hide.

24 comments:

wilson said...

David Akin
"Torture in Afghanistan: The Liberals knew"

''My friend and former colleague Joel-Denis Bellavance reports in this morning’s La Presse that the Liberal governments of 2002 and later knew that Afghanistan authorities were likely to torture or abuse those they captured as suspected Taliban operatives or sympathizers...''

(translation) ''The liberal government had been told by Canadian diplomats in post in Kabul, in 2003, on 2004 and 2005, that torture was a common practice in the Afghan prisons.''

http://davidakin.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2007/4/28/2910789.html

skdadl said...

Oh, for heaven's sake: every Canadian government has been complicit in horrific violations of international law since 9/11, and that would not be hard to prove in a serious public inquiry.

CSIS agents and DFAIT representatives have committed many crimes in many cases, and all three PMs, Chretien, Martin, and Harper, have authorized those crimes. Prisoner transfers are probably the least of it, although if we've been transferring to the Americans (as we know we were in 2001), then that is very serious.

Anyone doing apologetics for this stuff should be deeply ashamed and cut it out right now. This is world-historical crime.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Wilson I'm not denying Liberals knew of torture in Afghan prisons, but if you my kind sir are familiar with the agreement it put in place safeguards meant to prevent orture from occurring.

Did those safeguards work? No. But did anyone in the Liberal government know they wouldn't work? I don't know, but hopefully an open inquriy will find that out. The point of the post was to highlight that the Liberals were only hading over detainees for less than two months.

Skdadl could you enlighten me with a definition of apologeics? I assume you know what it means because you used it, and I wouldn't dare think you used it incorrectly, but could you share your definition?

Patrick Ross said...

Scott, you're wrong.

The Liberals began receiving those warnings as early as 2003.

Moreover, Olexiuk wrote three separate human rights reports to the Martin government, warning them about torture, during the 2002-2005 period.

And they still negotiated and signed a PTA that featured insufficient monitoring of transferred detainees.

They had a minimum of two years of awareness of the problem, and they still negotiated and signed that PTA.

Sorry to tell you, Scott, but they had far more than two months' warning about the issue.

As for Olexiuk's warnings about the PTA, I wonder what they did with that little tidbit? One way or the other, I'd be intrigued to know if it came up during Ministerial transitions at DND or DFA.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Patrick tank you for reading this post, you must have read it more clearly than I had wrote it.

I thought I had stated clearly that of course the government received those warnings and that is WHY they created the agreement in the first place.

I thought I had made clear that the agreement was created to prevent torture thus those previous warnings were seen to have been responded to.

I would ask you, as you clearly have read one more newspaper than I, how could the Liberals respond to problems with the agreement in 2002, 2003, 2004, etc. When the agreement wasn't even created yet?

Wayne said...

Patrick is quite right, the truth hurts.

skdadl: Everything is either a lie or a crime with you moonbats. It is repeated so much that people will stop listening when real lies or crimes happen.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Wayne, since you seem to be such a great arbitrator would you perhaps be able to answer a question Patrick has not?

How could the Liberals respond to problems with the agreement in 2002, 2003, 2004, etc., when the agreement wasn't even created yet?

Patrick Ross said...

"I thought I had stated clearly that of course the government received those warnings and that is WHY they created the agreement in the first place."

So, Scott, let's carefully consider your argument here.

Your argument is that the warnings the Liberal Party had received about torture led them to negotiate and sign a PTA that did not provide sufficient post-transfer monitoring, and did not provide the power to take back detainees after they had been abused?

Is that your argument? Or am I misunderstanding you?

It's going to be very hard to sell Canadians on the notion of "the Liberal Party wasn't competent enough to negotiate a proper PTA. And that's why we need to reelect them."

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Patrick there must be something wrong with blogger again as you didn't seem to see the question I asked of you.

Unless you implicitly saying your previous comment was in error, I asked, "I would ask you, as you clearly have read one more newspaper than I, how could the Liberals respond to problems with the agreement in 2002, 2003, 2004, etc. When the agreement wasn't even created yet?"

Patrick Ross said...

Scott, your question is based on a false premise -- that premise being that Olexiuk's only warning to the Liberal government was the 2005 warning about the agreement.

Rather, she sent them three human rights reports over the 2002-05 period warning them about the prevalence of torture in Afghan prisons.

Because your question has been based on a false premise, it's been rejected.

So enough evasions, Scott.

Your argument is that the Liberal Party negotiated and signed the 2005 PTA based on Olexiuk's warnings.

Yet that agreement didn't include sufficient post-transfer monitoring of detainees, and did not include the power to take detainees back following an abuse. (For the record, the PTA negotiated by the Stephen Harper government enjoys both of these features.)

The facts speak for themselves, Scott. The Liberal Party is directly complicit in this torture scandal, whereas the Conservative Party had to clean up your party's supreme fuck-up.

Like Wayne said, the truth hurts. Trying to evade it with questions based on false premises doesn't change it.

Wayne said...

Patrick beat me to it.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Oh I'm dreadfully sorry Patrick I thought your argument was stronger than what it was, unfortunately it is objectively false.

Patrick when a government has warnings of potential problems and it takes reasonable precautions, under international law it has done nothing wrong. If after hearing reports of torture and does nothing, then, AND ONLY THEN is it a war crime.

Patrick Ross said...

Unfortuantely for you, Scott, the only one here who has made an objectively false argument is yourself.

For example, you pretend that the Paul Martin Liberal government took reasonable precautions to prevent the torture of Afghan detainees.

We can readily see that they hadn't.

The story surrounding the 2005 PTA reads like a short laundry list of supreme fuck-ups:

-No power to take a detainee back.
-Very little power to monitor the treatment of a detainee after transfer.
-Concluded as such despite numerous warnings about the prevalenge of torture in Afghan prisons.

Now, we consider how the Conservative Party addressed these matters:

1. Investigate torture allegations for veracity.
2. Revise the aforementioned supremely-fucked-up PTA in order to provide Canadian forces with powers to prevent torture.

So, let's look at the elements of your argument that have proven to be objectively false.

You insist that the Conservatives did nothing. This is objectively false.

You insist that the Liberals took reasonable precautions. This is objectively false.

Your effort to evade having to own up to this was to lob a falsely-premised question at me, and hope I would be intimidated into backing down.

No dice.

You should know by know, Scott, that while I make every effort to be gracious with you -- including being extensively forgiving of such mistakes in the past -- my graciousness has a limit, and I'm quite afraid that you've reached it.

Scott, you do yourself a disservice by squirming like this. The truth is -- and you know it -- that one of these two parties has satisfied its responsibilities under international law. The truth is that party was the Conservative Party, and you know it. The truth is that one of these two parties did not. That party is the Liberal Party, and you damn well know it.

Stop doing yourself these disservices, Scott. Whatever you may have convinced yourself of, you are not persuasive enough to defy matters of public record.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Patrick, it amazes me how much text you require to respond and all the tangents you make.

Patrick you say it is objectively false the Liberals took reasonable precautions, what is this objective evidence?

You say I claim the Conservatives did nothing, what is this objective evidence?

Patrick please respond in, say, 4 paragraphs or less.

Patrick Ross said...

No, Scott, I'll respond in as many paragraphs as I please.

You're making clear efforts to distort the debate by excising the entire pre-2006 and post-May-2007 period from the Afghan detainee timeline.

Are you aware of what happened in May 2007, Scott? That was when the Conservative government fixed the supreme fuck-up left behind by the Martin government by revising the Prisoner Transfer Agreement to allow for stronger post-transfer monitoring, and granting Canadian forces the power to take a detainee back if they were abused.

Are you disputing this fact?

Meanwhile, the Paul Martin government received numerous warnings, from a number of sources, about the prevalence of torture in Afghan prisons before they signed the PTA.

Are you disputing this fact?

It's these facts -- which all fall squarely within the famed orphan timeline -- that demonstrate precisely how counter-factual and deluded your argument is.

A great number of people are becoming increasingly confused about the amount of truth that is to be gained by excluding the vast majority of the timeline from the frame of the debate.

Big Winnie said...

Scott, to me the CONs have yet to answer the following 2 questions:

1) Where are all the unredacted documents pertaining to the Afghan issue (covering 2001-present)? I don't want to hear BS about "national security" and "Iacabucci".

2) If the CONs have nothing to hide, why won't they release the docs or have a full public inquiry? What are they hiding?

Patrick Ross said...

Why, Winnie, I'm so glad you tried to throw out this little distraction.

The documents in question are being withheld for national security reasons. They are going to be vetted by former Justice Frank Iacobucci to determine if they qualify as sensitive under these terms.

As for a Public Inquiry, Harper has made it clear that he has little intention of embarking on open-ended investigations into the conduct of previous governments.

Although I'd love to see the look on your face when it turns out to be Bill Graham, if anyone, delivered to the Hague.

That, I suspect, would be priceless.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Patrick you make claims, yet don't present any evidence. Please if you refuse to provide evidence about what you claim I said, go somewhere else.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

Exactly right SR - it's all about good faith conduct. Mistakes are always made in war, as in everything, and they can't be corrected magically and immediately. The question is always, did the authorities act in good faith, did they do what they could, given available information? If any Liberal is guilty of bad faith conduct, then he or she should suffer the consequences. But it seems as though they reacted in good faith when information was forthcoming. They made mistakes, like not forseeing that detainee transfers would be insufficient. But every time there were reports, they acted as promptly as possible under circumstances, and changed situation: new protocols, new agreements, etc.. Even innocent ignorance was punished under Chr├ętien: Eggleton was dropped from job after became clear he had been misinformed and hence mislead the House. And MacKay? Harper? etc.?

From 2006-2007, given Colvin and other testimony, it is alleged that Cons got reports of problems and did not act in good faith, but chose to ignore problems, to point of repressing internal reporting. In so doing, they may have made themselves and Cda complicit in torture.

To be in the clear legally, with ICC, but more importantly, with regards to basic standards of decent conduct, Govt must behave in good faith in these questions. And good faith is not apparent in Cons' behaviour on this file, to say the least, eh?

Patrick Ross said...

Scott, I'm not sure what you honestly consider evidence at this point.

If you're going to defy the public record, then there's simply no way anyone can have an honest conversation with you.

That's your problem, not mine.

"If any Liberal is guilty of bad faith conduct, then he or she should suffer the consequences. But it seems as though they reacted in good faith when information was forthcoming."

Perhaps if someone is a hyper-partisan Grit, they may believe that.

But where, precisely, does the 2005 Prisoner Transfer Agreement indicate that the Liberals in anyway took the numerous warnings it received about torture in Afghan prisons seriously?

It doesn't.

Where are the articles of the agreement that protect detainees against torture? There are none.

There was no meaningful amount of post-transfer monitoring powers.

There were no powers to take a detainee back following an abuse.

"But every time there were reports, they acted as promptly as possible under circumstances, and changed situation: new protocols, new agreements, etc."

Ummmm... no. This is not even a starting point for an honest argument.

The Liberal Party did not add new protocols or revise agreements when allegations of torture were raised.

It was the Conservative government that did that. They signed a new and revised PTA on May 9, 2007 (does that date seem familiar, Scott?).

But wait, I forgot: May, 2007 is part of the "orphan timeline" that individuals like Scott and EFL refuse to discuss.

And with good reason, because it takes all of the bluster out of their arguments.

It was the Conservatives who acted in good faith. The Liberals absolutely did not. To even begin to attempt to argue otherwise is to argue in bad faith -- something that the most partisan of Liberals seem to be doing more and more as more of the unpleasant details regarding their party's handling of this matter while in government come to light.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Patrick I'll repeat, please provide evidence to support your claims:

"You insist that the Conservatives did nothing. This is objectively false.

You insist that the Liberals took reasonable precautions. This is objectively false."

liberal supporter said...

PR and wilson are simply CPC bloggers paid to try and change the channel. The question remains:
"What did Messrs. Harper and MacKay know, when did they know, and what did they do about it".

They continue to refuse to provide the uncensored documents, and are in contempt of Parliament. Not surprising that the sycophants PR and wilson, sent to defend the indefensible would behave in a contemptuous manner as well.

Patrick Ross said...

LOL

Sorry, the thought of liberal supporter lecturing anyone on "contemptuous" just cracks me up.


Scott, it's pretty clear that you just aren't willing to debate this matter honestly.

It's to your own discredit.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Patrick I'll repeat, please provide evidence to support your claims:

"You insist that the Conservatives did nothing. This is objectively false.

You insist that the Liberals took reasonable precautions. This is objectively false."