Friday, March 23, 2007

Do Not Look Away

The Canadian military is guilty of handing detainees over to the Afghan military or police to be tortured or killed. The Afghan military and police admit that they torture them. This means, necessarily, that Canada is guilty of war crimes. Prime Minister Harper and the Minister of Defence, Gordon O'Connor, are taking the political lead and are leading by example when they implicitly green light torture. Canada has handed over scores of prisoners that have 'disappeared'. We all know what 'disappeared' means.

It is impossible for O'Connor and Harper to not know about what happens when Canada hands prisoners over to the Afghan military. They know and they don't care. What's worse is that they want us to know that they know and don't care. It's part of a cowardly new world. It is what their masters and Washington demand.

Amir Attaran

The Globe and Mail reported on March 9 of this year, "Even the Afghan government's own human-rights watchdog concedes that torture is 'a routine part of police procedures.' The techniques, according to the U.S. State Department, include 'pulling out fingernails and toenails, burning with hot oil, beatings, sexual humiliation, and sodomy.'

"Thus, when Canadian soldiers follow standing orders and transfer men to self-confessed torturers, they could be — through no fault of their own — aiding and abetting that offence, which makes them prosecutable for war crimes. Willful blindness has trumped caution and responsibility." This is according to Amir Attaran who is a "biologist and lawyer, and is currently Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health and Global Development Policy, of the Faculties of Law and Medicine at the University of Ottawa".

O'Connor and Harper admit that they lied to Parliament about prisoners being monitored by The International Red Cross and The Red Crescent Society. The Canadian Conservative government, we would hope, would be embarrassed. But no, they shrug a smirk and a slimy 'whoops' to the Canadian public.

O'Conner also refused Professor Attaran's invitation to discuss these matters. He also refused to meet with human rights groups.

Canadian Politicians in American Sewage

A profound shift occurred in the accepted ethic of western nations acceptance of torture camps, kidnapping and torturing perceived state enemies with no trial, the grim acceptance of massacres of civilians and so on. And this shift happened since 9-11; we all felt it whether we are aware of it or not.

Canadians have always taken great pride in being perceived in the world as essentially sane, decent, and perhaps a little innocent. This shift in the public relations spin that advanced capitalistic states is having a tremendous impact on the image Canada is promoting. The politicians are suggesting to Canadians that the Canadian State is getting its hands dirty and that Canadians should look away. That is exactly what Canadian politicians are doing. The implicit message is to allow the state to do its dirty work and not ask questions.

This was and is the political ethic of quasi fascist states and it is the ethic of states evolving toward fascism. Proper fascist states are explicit in their demands to look away. Failing to do so will result in imprisonment or death. But we are not there yet and now is the time to look directly at it and to do something about it. Canadians as well as Brits, Americans, Australians and all citizens in nations marching down this path toward hell must use whatever political power we still have to usurp this conspiracy of ugly silence.

There is a fable about two frogs. Both are killed in boiling water. The first frog is abruptly plunged into the hot water and before he dies, he panics and kicks, aware of what is happening to him. The second frog is sitting in the water as the heat is gradually turned up. Eventually he dies as the water gets too hot for his body to survive.

Hitler plunged the frogs into boiling water. There was a lot of panic and awareness of what was happening. Today, if you can't feel the water to be getting unbearably hot, consider those that disappeared or those that have been thrown into Guantanimo or some other, less known prison. Some of us are the second frog but there are many that are the first frog. We can't afford to look away.

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