Monday, August 07, 2006

 

Canada engaged in colonial intervention in Afghanistan

Very scathing article on Canada's involvement in Afghanistan by the World Socialist Web Site. The thing is alot of what they talk about here in this article rings true. The media stipulations, the incident where a Afghan civilian was killed when crashing a check point ( The details on the aid offered are a bit sketchy and contradictory to other media coverage) The prisoner turnover to either the US or Afghanistan. Whether this is a truthfull article or spin I'm really undecided on but it is enough to make you think.

Now war isn't pretty no matter how you spin it and mistakes or errors can be deadly in the case of the calling air support but we need to be able to maintain the high ground if we want to maintain at least a perception of being there in the best interests of the Afghan people.

All the more reason to train and supply the Afghan Police and Army so they can spear head the mission with our support and backing.

I don't know who this WSWS is or what their agenda is but they do reference other media outlets mainly the french media. If this is what they are seeing in Quebec make no wonder Quebec is so opposed to the Afghan mission.

Don't confuse support for the mission with support for the troops either like some would have you do.

Here are a few excerpts but I recommend reading the entire article.
Embedded journalists must promise not to report on a long list of “non-releasable information,” including the rules of engagement that specify when CAF soldiers are authorized to fire their weapons. Journalists also face expulsion from their host military base if they spend “an inordinate amount of time” covering nonmilitary activities, such as the plight of the Afghan people, including the conditions in the schools and hospitals and the supply of electricity and drinking water. Nor can their articles be published without their first being vetted by CAF officers at the base.

Journalists are thus subject to immense pressure not to publish certain facts and photos. In the middle of May, for instance, the Canadian Press (CP) news agency reported that the military brass had pressed a photographer to suppress photos of the most significant group of Taliban supporters captured by Canadian soldiers to date.

Nevertheless, information is coming to light that shatters the claims of the CAF and the corporate media that Canadian troops are engaged in “muscular humanitarianism,” are in Afghanistan “to help the Afghan people,” and that the Canadian military presence and the Karzai government are supported by all but a few fanatical Islamicist terrorists.

Although the media was quick to dismiss the May 21-22 US bombing of the village of Azizi as “collateral damage,” even the Karzai government was forced to condemn the killing of several dozen civilians—an action undertaken after Canadian troops called for air support.


Canada, the Geneva Conventions, and war crimes
But at the end of May, Lieutenant-General Michel Gauthier, the highest commanding officer of the Canadian expeditionary force in Afghanistan, backed away from Ottawa’s previous claims that Canadian forces in Afghanistan are respecting the Geneva Conventions, adopting instead a position similar to that of the US.

Gauthier asserted that the Geneva Conventions do not apply in Afghanistan and that prisoners taken by the CAF will not have to be brought before a tribunal to determine whether or not they are prisoners of war according to the conventions.

The Geneva Conventions will not apply to prisoners taken by the Canadian military, Gauthier said, since “The regulations ... apply in an armed conflict between states, and what’s happening in Afghanistan is not an armed conflict between states. And therefore there is no basis for making a determination of individuals being prisoners of war.”

This position was subsequently defended by Canada’s Minister of Defence, Gordon O’Connor, and minister of foreign affairs, Peter MacKay.

The claim that the Geneva Conventions apply only “in an armed conflict between states” is false. According to a legal opinion written by Professor Michael Byers, an expert in international law, “Common Article 3, which is found in all four of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, applies to non-international (i.e., internal) conflicts of precisely the kind that now exists in Afghanistan.” “Common Article 3,” he continues, “protects ‘persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms,’ and therefore any detainees captured by Canada.”


“Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan to kill”
A recent article in the Montreal daily La Presse, titled “Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan to kill,” was largely based on a France 2 television network broadcast.

According to the La Presse article, the France 2 report showed Canadian soldiers boasting that they are in the south of Afghanistan in order to find and kill Taliban—the name given all opposed to NATO’s occupation of Afghanistan and the puppet regime of Karzai to many ordinary villagers who get killed in US and NATO counterinsurgency operations. A CAF soldier explains that the Canadian military hadn’t previously looked for combat, but that it now does, in order to kill the “enemy” and ensure “security.”

The France 2 broadcast offers a glimpse of the immense opposition that the NATO intervention has met within the Afghan population. Canadian soldiers are shown kicking in a door in order to abuse an elderly person and some women. After having insulted an old man, a soldier proceeds to threaten him with bombings and mass shootings if he does not provide information about alleged hidden Taliban supporters.

Another scene shows a soldier in the process of threatening the inhabitants of a village if they do not cooperate with him. When the soldier waves a wad of cash under their noses one man responds with a declaration that the money is unwanted and the Afghans will protect their country with all their might.

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