stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space






  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology


Read and Win Contest


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

  Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...



Services
  Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    


Detainee fallout: take few, free quickly
Details of new policy – and top soldier's outrage – emerge as government ministers refuse comment, citing operational secrecy
Photo   Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier are seen in a June, 2006, file photo.
space

  
  



space
Interactive
 • Web Sites: realtime/websites.cfg  realtime/websites.cfg 
space
Related Stories
 •  How a gentler Harper is working to sell the war
 •  Harper backs Manley report push to extend Afghan mission
 •  PMO backtracks on detainees
 •  Defence Department flouting information policy, Globe finds
 •  Blatchford: Government out of the loop on detainees? Give me a break
 •  Globe editorial: The fog that hangs over the detainees

MICHAEL VALPY
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

The Canadian Forces are holding insurgent detainees at their Kandahar Air Force base rather than turning them over to Afghan authorities, are taking fewer prisoners and are quickly releasing some of them.

The information, provided to The Globe and Mail by sources, answers questions about Canada's new policy for handling detainees that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other ministers repeatedly refused to provide Monday, citing the need for combat operational secrecy.

Reports have also emerged that General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff, was furious with the Prime Minister's Office's handling of the military's new policy and angrily telephoned Mr. Harper Friday night after letting it be known he was “tired of being used” in political controversy.

After the revelation last week that Canadians ceased turning detainees over to the Afghan authorities in early November after discovering credible evidence of torture, the Prime Minister's Office initially said it hadn't been informed of this by senior officers.

Gen. Hillier was said to be “absolutely livid” when he learned of this.

Mr. Harper's chief spokeswoman, Sandra Buckler, retracted the statement the next day but refused to say where the detainees were being held.

Mr. Harper told the House of Commons Monday that his government will “never” answer questions about how many prisoners Canadian troops take or where they are kept. He also said the bilateral agreement governing the transfer of prisoners to Afghan authorities is still in place.

However, on Nov. 14, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle quoted German General Egon Ramms as saying NATO was aware that transferred detainees were being abused by Afghan authorities and that Canadian troops in Kandahar had stopped handing over prisoners until their safety and human rights could be guaranteed.

The presence of a detention facility at Kandahar Air Force base (KAF) has long been known. Prior to Nov. 5, detainees were held at the facility until they either were turned over to Afghan authorities or released. Now sources say either their detention is continued at KAF or they are released – reports Mr. Harper will not confirm.

One well-placed source who spoke to The Globe and Mail Monday on condition of anonymity said that, in addition to being told that Canadian detainees were being held at Kandahar Air Force base, he understood some insurgents detained in joint Canadian Forces-Afghan National Army combat operations were being turned over to the Afghan military in a “grey zone” action.

He said he has been told that Canadians have been content in some cases to allow operations to be labelled as Afghan-led military proceedings. Thus, detainees passed into Afghan military hands with no records kept.

Since the Canadian military's decision to stop transferring detainees became known, there has been rife speculation on what is being done with them, with three options being mentioned: that Canadians were holding detainees at KAF; that Canadians were transferring detainees to the Americans; and that Canadians had simply stopped detaining people.

Transferring detainees to the Americans would be, in the words of one federal politician, “the red-hot issue” because of the harsh interrogation techniques the U.S. military uses.

Janice Gross Stein, director of University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies and co-author of a widely lauded book on Canada's military engagement in Afghanistan, said, “I would be astonished if the Canadian Forces were transferring detainees to the Americans, absolutely astonished.”

She also said she had not heard of any “grey zone” transfers but commented: “That would be a very dangerous thing to do.”

When Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion and deputy leader Michael Ignatieff visited Afghanistan earlier this month they were briefed on the policy change but did not see detainees, Mr. Ignatieff said Monday. He said they were given few details and he could not confirm or deny whether detainees were being interned at KAF.


space
Interactive
 • Web Sites: realtime/websites.cfg  realtime/websites.cfg 
space
Related Stories
 •  How a gentler Harper is working to sell the war
 •  Harper backs Manley report push to extend Afghan mission
 •  PMO backtracks on detainees
 •  Defence Department flouting information policy, Globe finds
 •  Blatchford: Government out of the loop on detainees? Give me a break
 •  Globe editorial: The fog that hangs over the detainees
Back to Home Page


Subscribe to The Globe and Mail
Sign up for our daily e-mail News Update





    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Globe Poll









What's New



e-INSIDER
Technology news for your business



Health Care: The Romanow Report



Iraq Backgrounder





Morning Smile
Why did the magician's inquiry get nowhere? Too much smoke and mirrors. Jerry Kitich, Hamilton, Ont.