Ya know, once a person is "turned over", your responsibility terminates. Especially if its a foreign power. I've "Been-There-Done-That" quite literally. We knew when we turned the "refugee Dhow" over to the Yemeni Coast Guard, we knew that our "refugees" were in for a very bad time. Nothing we could do once we turned them over though.

Hillier accused of 'trivializing' torture at detainees hearing

By Juliet O'Neill, Canwest News Service December 22, 2009 4:02 PM

OTTAWA — Civil liberties lawyer Paul Champ on Tuesday accused retired general Rick Hillier of "trivializing" torture when the country's former top soldier compared Afghan detainees and inmates at Ontario's Millhaven penitentiary during testimony last month to a House of Commons committee.

Champ, representing Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, and retired diplomat Gar Pardy, former head of consular affairs, testified at an informal hearing of the committee looking into allegations that senior government and military officials turned a blind eye to a risk of torture of detainees transferred into Afghan custody by Canadian military forces in 2006-07.

Conservative government MPs boycotted the committee for the second week in a row.

"I don't think there's any example of a prisoner in a Canadian facility having their toe nails pulled out or being subjected to electric shocks," Champ said during questioning by Toronto MP Bob Rae, Liberal foreign affairs critic. Rae said Hillier had — at the committee and on other occasions — expressed skepticism about Taliban claims of torture by suggesting prisoners in Canada would also claim mistreatment if given a chance.

"In my view, it's an absurd statement to make and it's a trivialization of what's happening in Afghanistan and the absolutely terrible conditions in Afghan prisons," Champ said. "It's not being frustrated with a prisoner and you hit him with a truncheon or something like that . . . This is planned, systemic torture. And to compare it to a Canadian prison, I would suggest, is indicating someone is not taking this matter very seriously at all."

Champ also questioned how Hillier, a former chief of defence staff, could not have concluded, given reports from Foreign Affairs and from international organizations, "that there's probably a solid risk of torture if we hand over these individuals to these authorities who have committed these kinds of abuses in the past."

While MPs are focused on allegations that prisoners were handed over to torture in 2006-07, as alleged by Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin, Champ said the prisoner transfer agreements between Canada and Afghanistan after that period were inadequate and the risk remains to this day.

Pardy testified that Colvin provided the government with information essential while the country is at war and that his reports would have been seen at the upper echelons. The way the government has treated Colvin since his testimony was made public throws "a very large bucket of cold water" on other public servants, Pardy said.

At a Nov. 25 committee hearing, Hillier said he saw nothing in reports he received to justify concern about torture. His Afghanistan-Millhaven comparison went like this: "So, even in a perfectly functioning society like our great country, if you walk into Millhaven penitentiary and you ask half the inmates there whether anybody's abused them, they'll probably all say yes, because that is the nature of the beast. So there is always a risk that something can occur, and are you comfortable that there is a followup process that would recognize that. That was the key."

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

I would love for once in History to see the actual politicians go and fight the frign' wars that they start. I wonder how they would like that. In this case, there were observations made from the troops who did the transfers, they made their concerns known. Mr Hoity-Toity in Ottawa (insert the name of your favourite political figure here) made the decision to ignore the "Boots On The Ground" assessments/observations. So now, deal with it. Oh wait... we are.. the soliders, I mean.