Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Natynczyk Changes his Testimony


General changes story on Taliban suspect

Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada's top military commander, is now saying a suspected Taliban fighter abused by Afghan police in June 2006 had been detained by Canadian troops, contrary to comments the defence staff chief made Tuesday.

"The individual who was beaten by the Afghan police was, in fact, in Canadian custody," Natynczyk told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Natynczyk had told a parliamentary committee that Canadian troops questioned the man who was picked up during operations in Zangabad. But Natynczyk said it was the Afghans who took him into custody.

On Wednesday, Natynczyk said he has since received new information and has learned that Canadians had taken the suspect into custody before handing him over to the Afghans.

Natynczyk read from a report of the incident by the section commander, who said they had the suspect get down on his stomach before they conducted a detailed seach [sic] of the Afghan, which included emptying his pockets, cataloging all the items and photgraphing him.

"I did not have this information in May of 2007 nor yesterday when I made my statement. But I am responsible for the information provided by the Canadian Forces and I am accountable for it today," Natynczyk said.
Damn straight he's responsible. And he's either lying or incompetent:

The Canadian soldier's account, handwritten in a field notebook in the hours after the June 19, 2006 incident, is corroborated by a medic's examination of the detainee's injuries and photographs, which the government refuses to release. The account, first outlined in a May, 2007 affidavit by Colonel Steve Noonan, Canada's first task force commander, was subsequently confirmed by then Brigadier-General Joseph Deschamps, who was chief-of-staff for operations in Canada's expeditionary forces command when he was cross-examined about it in January, 2008.

After Col. Noonan's first disclosure of the incident, the military denied the detainee ever really qualified as a Canadian captive. Then Lieutenant-General Walt Natynczyk – who has since been promoted to chief of defence staff – issued a statement in May 2007 denying that the beaten detainee had originally been captured and transferred by Canadian troops.

“Media reporting of a specific example of an individual detained by Afghan Authorities are inaccurate,” Gen. Natynczyk said in a statement.
And Peter MacKay, who's been pushing the Canadian heroes [read: generals] always tell the truth - screw the diplomats and soldiers on the ground meme for weeks just got his already red face politically slapped.

On top of that, the number of former ambassadors chiding MacKay for going after Richard Colvin has now risen from 23 yesterday to near 50 today (h/t this-on-that) and calls for his resignation and a public inquiry are growing.

"The minister has on nine separate occasions told the House there is not a scintilla of evidence of mistreatment even as the entire country was shown evidence that torture did take place," said the NDP's defence critic Jack Harris. "Will he resign?"

Instead, Mr. MacKay's parliamentary secretary, Laurie Hawn, mouthed "bullshit" as opposition MPs insisted the government knew of transfers to torture.
There's "bullshit" and then there's Toryshit.

In response to Ignatieff's question about this bombshell today, Harper said (with a straight face), "General Natynczyk has indicated what the government has said from the very outset."

And what would that be, Steve? That there were no credible reports of abuse?

Stay tuned this afternoon when MacKay is set to appear before the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan along with Lawrence Cannon and former defence minister (who was forced to resign over his lies on this file) Gordon O'Connor. (This is turning out to be all rather special, isn't it?) You can watch it live on CPAC's site at 3:30 pm ET.

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