Saturday, April 17, 2010

Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin says detainee monitoring program broke down..

There is much clear evidence of cover up given in this testimony. Information was deliberately as a matter of policy kept from people who should have been able to receive the information. Of course there has been a complete stonewalling on this. No doubt it will simply fade into the black hole of forgotten misdeeds and no one will be held accountable. This is from the National Post.

Diplomat says detainee monitoring program broke down

Juliet O’Neill, Canwest News Service

OTTAWA -- A monitoring program aimed at protecting Canadian-transferred detainees from torture by Afghanistan authorities "broke down" not long after it was established in May 2007, diplomat Richard Colvin testified Tuesday at a public hearing by the Military Police Complaints Commission.

Mr. Colvin said very few of the more than 100 detainees captured by the Canadian military and transferred to Afghanistan control were visited by Foreign Affairs officials. And he said the reports of their interviews with detainees, recounting abuse, were circulated to "a handful of carefully selected" senior officials, mostly in Ottawa, who jealously guarded the information.

"The conclusion I came to was this was not a serious effort at monitoring," he said. "Torture continued."

Mr. Colvin, who served in Afghanistan as a diplomat from April 2006 to October 2007, is now deputy head of intelligence at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

He provoked a political storm last fall when he testified on Parliament Hill that the government and military officials turned a blind eye to the likely torture of detainees transferred to Afghan custody by members of the Canadian Forces.

Mr. Colvin testified that the officer in charge of Canadian military police in Kandahar in 2006 had "explicit instructions" not to provide information about Afghan detainees captured by Canadians to the NATO-led military command.

He recounted how a contact from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force had complained that "getting information from the Canadians is like getting blood out of a stone" and the ISAF official had been told to "mind your own business" when he sought information from Canadians about their captives and transfers.

He said Provost Marshal Maj. Jim Fraser, the officer in charge of military police at the time, told him he would be pleased to share the information but had received explicit instructions from Defence headquarters in Ottawa not to pass on such information.

He also testified that the Canadian Forces were "blocking" the International Committee of the Red Cross from checking detainees transferred to Afghan authorities when he arrived in Afghanistan in 2006.

He brought the problem to the attention of military and other officials, including Maj. Erik Liebert, the deputy commander of Canada's Provincial Reconstruction Team. Liebert was surprised and, after trying to get some guidance, told Mr. Colvin "no one wants to touch this, it's a hot potato."

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