ABC News is reporting that a “graduation ceremony” for suicide bombers was held along the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan on June 9th. Some of the bombers are intended for striking within Canada.
Large teams of newly trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe, according to evidence contained on a new videotape obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com.
Teams assigned to carry out attacks in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany were introduced at an al Qaeda/Taliban training camp graduation ceremony held June 9.
A Pakistani journalist was invited to attend and take pictures as some 300 recruits, including boys as young as 12, were supposedly sent off on their suicide missions.
ABCNews.com photo caption: “These recruits stand ready to target Canada.”
Of course, this may simply be a propaganda campaign by al Queda and the Taliban. It is not certain if the Taliban has the means to strike within Canada and individual suicide bombing has not been common in North America (I cannot think of one incident). Further, a suicide bomb strike within Canada would only strengthen the relatively shaky resolve that Canadians have in the Kandahar mission, an outcome that wouldn’t seem to be consistent with Taliban objectives. Of course, this quote from a Taliban commander indicates that their objective may simply be revenge:
“These Americans, Canadians, British and Germans come here to Afghanistan from faraway places,” Dadullah says on the tape. “Why shouldn’t we go after them?”
From the second last page of an Al Qaeda training manual found in Manchester England from a terrorist safe-house:
PRISONS AND DETENTION CENTERS
IF AN INDICTMENT IS ISSUED AND THE TRIAL BEGINS, THE BROTHER HAS TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING:
At the beginning of the trial, once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators] before the judge.
Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison.
Make arrangements for the brother’s defense with the attorney, whether he was retained by the brother ‘s family or court-appointed.
The brother has to do his best to know the names of the state security officers, who participated in his torture and mention their names to the judge. [These names may be obtained from brothers who had to deal with those officers in previous cases.]
Some brothers may tell and may be lured by the state security investigators to testify against the brothers [i.e. affirmation witness], either by not keeping them together in the same prison during the trials, or by letting them talk to the media. In this case, they have to be treated gently, and should be offered good advice, good treatment, and pray that God may guide them.
During the trial, the court has to be notified of any mistreatment of the brothers inside the prison.
It is possible to resort to a hunger strike, but it is a tactic that can either succeed or fail.
Take advantage of visits to communicate with brothers outside prison and exchange information that may be helpful to them in their work outside prison [according to what occurred during the investigations]. The importance of mastering the art of hiding messages is self evident here.
– When the brothers are transported from and to the prison [on their way to the court] they should shout Islamic slogans out loud from inside the prison cars to impress upon the people and their family the need to support Islam.
– Inside the prison, the brother should not accept any work that may belittle or demean him or his brothers, such as the cleaning of the prison bathrooms or hallways.
– The brothers should create an Islamic program for themselves inside the prison, as well as recreational and educational ones, etc.
– The brother in prison should be a role model in selflessness. Brothers should also pay attention to each others needs and should help each other and unite vis a vis the prison officers.
– The brothers must take advantage of their presence in prison for obeying and worshiping [God] and memorizing the Qora’an, etc. This is in addition to all guidelines and procedures that were contained in the lesson on interrogation and investigation. Lastly, each of us has to understand that we don’t achieve victory against our enemies through these actions and security procedures. Rather, victory is achieved by obeying Almighty and Glorious God and because of their many sins. Every brother has to be careful so as not to commit sins and everyone of us has to do his best in obeying Almighty God, Who said in his Holy Book: “We will, without doubt. help Our messengers and those who believe (both) in this world’s life and the one Day when the Witnesses will stand forth.” May God guide us.
When taken into Afghani custody, did the al Qaeda training take over? Curiously, detainees did not claim torture at the hands of Canadians, but only by Afghani jailers. Detainees are only held by Canadian Forces for at most 96 hours before being handed over to Afghan authorities.
Of course, this does not absolve Canada from their duty to protect the human rights of even the most despicable human beings. However, we should be aware that claiming torture is standard operating procedure for those trained by, or in association with al Qaeda.
The Globe and Mail’s Graeme Smith has been covering this story all week from Kandahar and details horrible accounts of abuse in this article.
I suspect that the truth lies somewhere in the middle: I suspect the claims because the Taliban have been trained to claim such mistreatment while imprisoned. However, the Afghan prison system is one of the last places where I’d want to be incarcerated.
The Canadian government is also trying to balance a couple of important objectives here. They must help the Afghani state to stand on its own two feet, and this includes the establishment of a prisons/corrections department of the government. But, they must balance this with being cognizant of human rights.
Consider this from an interview with Afghani ambassador Omar Samad from CTV NewsNet:
“We don’t kiss murderers, and I’m not saying that anyone who is detained is a murderer, but we are dealing with very vicious dangerous people. Every day we are facing normal citizens being beheaded, normal citizens being blown up, your soldiers being attacked, other soldiers that are being attacked. We’ll not tolerate that. At the same time we are trying to bring rule of law to Afghanistan. Justice system that works in Afghanistan. And so we are working on those things. If there are problems we’ll try to correct them as soon as possible.” — Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canada, Omar Samad
This point brings me back to an earlier thought. While the opposition is coming down on the mission in Afghanistan, showing concern for Taliban detainees, they are driving a wedge through the support of the Canadian electorate for a effort to establish and maintain human rights for millions of Afghanis, including women and children who for many are only experiencing their rights for the first time. We know that the opposition opposes the mission in Afghanistan. However, on the issue of rights I feel that Dion and Layton are throwing the baby out with the bathwater by trying to sink the Conservatives on the issue of detainees.
The news is inherently foggy as it deals with accounts from some unsavoury characters. One example has emerged from Smith’s story that I link above. Smith quotes Sadullah Khan, the Kandahar NDS chief and senior administrator of the system where most of the torture is alleged to have taken place.
However, in a release today, the Afghani embassy in Ottawa issued a release questioning that particular detail of Smith’s report:
“NDS officials also confirm that their employee rosters for Kandahar do not show any person named Sadullah Khan as having been employed by the agency in the past year. They also clarify that the person in-charge of NDS in the province is a person by a different name.”
One thing is certain, we do not have all of the details and those that we have are questionable, at best. The Canadian government has its own capacity to investigate and I’m hopeful that they are doing what they can to clarify, and if necessary, remedy the situation.
There are times when I cannot understand the logical path that the left takes in order to come to some of their conclusions.
For example, the other day, Stephane Dion floated a trial balloon on his idea that perhaps instead of handing Taliban detainees over to the Afghan people, we should import them and detain them here in Canada!
Nevermind that Dion and Jack Layton’s activist base have been advocating for the release of men linked to al Qeada in Canada and held on security certificates. They advocate that if we can’t deport them back to the backward countries that may torture them, we shouldn’t detain them here but rather release them into the public. Now, consider Dion’s plan: import Taliban fighters for detaining, and failing the stomach to detain them — the logical progression and historical record goes — release them into the general Canadian public when leftwing activists condemn the Canadian government for holding combatants without charge.
Most times, while logic is lacking, left-wing positions can often be explained by a sense of self-loathing as these revolutionaries are dyspeptic of their presence in our modern Western civilization.
Let’s look deeper into the intellectual pretzel of Dion and Layton’s crowd.
Transport our detainees from Afghanistan to prisoner-of-war camps in Canada. This sounds awful, but that is a shrill and unhistorical analysis. Starting in June of 1940, Canada transported about 40,000 German and Italian enemy combatants to this country and held them in camps in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Those enemies were treated humanely. They were fed even as Canadians suffered under food rationing. They were given democracy classes, so they could spread those ideas in their fascist homelands. When the war ended, they went home; some returned as immigrants.
All of this was expensive, but Mackenzie King decided Canada should uphold the Geneva Conventions — and we did.
Not only would this option show Canada at our humanitarian best, but it poses vital questions. If Mackenzie King could imprison 40,000 European enemies without devastating Canada’s war effort, then how can it be seriously contended that Stephen Harper cannot now imprison roughly 40 Afghan enemies (the number detained by the Canadian Forces from 2002 through mid-2006)? Mr. O’Connor says the Canadian Forces will always follow the Geneva Conventions. If that’s so, why does the military fail to provide Geneva protections to 0.1 per cent of detainees, compared to the Second World War historical norm?
The heart-rending answer to these questions appears to be race. Canada’s inability to treat European and Afghan enemies on equal terms indicates that our military and foreign-policy establishment may still be dominated by a Eurocentric ethos. The current detainee policy suggests a subterranean racism that lags decades behind Canada’s contemporary reality as a multicultural state.
A primary concern for the Allies and Canadian forces during the Second World War was that Germans and Italians would escape or be liberated by their comrades and rejoin the fight. The removal of 40,000 prisoners from the European theater made sense strategically. If Canadians have captured 40 Taliban fighters, this number is certainly more manageable (and less significant of a strategic concern) when it comes to detainment.
Layton and Dion and their supporters on the left are inconsistent when it comes to their claimed ideology of rights and their policy position that we ought to pull out of Afghanistan. Why do these leaders want to abandon the Afghan mission when the alternative is unthinkable from a human rights perspective? To the Liberals, was the Charter a practical document for Canadian rights or does it represent a global ideal? Women in parliament? Girls in schools? The crackdown by the Taliban would be horrendous if Canada left. In fact, why was World War II worth the fight and why would Layton and Dion suggest that we shirk our responsibility to stop fascism in Afghanistan? Is it the Eurocentric ethos of the NDP and Liberal Party? Or is it more consistent with the trend of reductio ad americanum practiced by the left?
Who is Amir Attaran? Unfortunately, he’s close to the only seemingly sane faction of the Liberal Party. The Globe and Mail provides some information:
Amir Attaran, now Canada research chair in law, population health, and global development policy at the University of Ottawa, was a research fellow at the Kennedy School during Mr. Ignatieff’s time at the Carr.
He ran afoul of an influential faculty member and the school’s administration over a line of academic inquiry he insisted on pursuing, and found himself about to be booted out.
He brought his troubles to Mr. Ignatieff, who gave him office space and mentoring support until he could find another academic home. “Michael stuck up for me against some extremely nasty attacks,” Prof. Attaran says.
Tous ensemble in a twisted stew of self-loathing. It is illogical to suggest that we must transport Taliban fighters to protect them from torture while advocating that we withdraw from Afghanistan leaving women and vulnerable minorities to certain dehumanization.
Canada is in Afghanistan to enable the vulnerable to stand up, but we must also work to protect the human rights of all Afghanis. While war never happens as planned and calls for constant refinements to operations on the ground, we must always work towards maintaining our fundamental principles of freedom, democracy and the rule of law so that others may enjoy them too.