"Torturegate" Hysteria: More Context.
"None of this is evidence of a deliberate policy of transferring prisoners for torture, or even negligent disregard of their probable fate—the stuff of war crimes charges. Neither can we say for a fact that senior ofﬁcials knew prisoners were being mistreated. The facts, at least so far, remain consistent with a story of ofﬁcials’ evolving awareness of the seriousness of the problem, and of the inadequacies of their initial responses.
"It was, after all, at Canada’s insistence that an agreement was ﬁrst struck with the Afghan government in December 2005, requiring that any prisoners be treated humanely according to the Geneva Conventions, and ensuring access to Red Cross inspectors at any time. As the weakness of that agreement became apparent, a new arrangement was struck in February 2007 providing for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission to make inspections as well. Corrections Canada ofﬁcers were ﬂown over to make recommendations for improving Afghan prisons. And when even that proved deﬁcient (the AIHRC complained it was being denied access), after the publication in April 2007 of prisoners’ allegations of mistreatment the protocol was changed yet again, to provide for inspections by Canadian ofﬁcials."
Barely conscious from all the hyperventilation over who may or may not have acted with sufficient sedulousness about what they may or may not have known about what may or may not have been alleged about events that may or may not have even occurred, three years ago, Ottawa's politicians appear to have produced something approaching a real Constitutional crisis, Coyne observes.
Parliament will ﬁght and Parliament will be right, Coyne says, and he makes a rock-solid case. But why has it got to this point? Why is the Parliamentary Committee on Afghanistan so preoccupied with revisiting alarums that were raised and addressed and inquired into and settled nearly three years ago, instead of getting down to the urgent business before it?
The Committee's far more serious order of business has been, for some long while, the pressing question of what Canada's role in Afghanistan will be, post-2011. The one thing that Harper's Conservatives have been crystal clear about is that Canada's post-2011 role will be up to Parliament, and the Parliamentary Committee has been invited more than once to turn its attentions to the matter. Instead, the Committee provides circuses and distractions, but otherwise, silence. It's still not even on the Committee's radar.
Meanwhile, more context: As for what's actually happening, now, in the real world, there's no evidence of abuse, and no reports of mistreatment.