Germans oppose Afghan war

This video from Germany says about itself:

The U.S. solidarity greeting is read at the demonstration in Berlin … February 20th.

The protest against the war in Afghanistan is growing in Europe, including a protest in the German Parliament on February 26th.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Germans’ support for Afghan war collapses

Wednesday 14 April 2010

by Tom Mellen

Germany’s defence minister visited the 4,500-strong Bundeswehr contingent in Afghanistan as a new poll indicated that almost two out of three Germans want its military brought home.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg toured German military headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif before heading to Kunduz, where German troops mistakenly shot dead six Afghan soldiers on April 2 following a guerilla ambush in which three Bundeswehr personnel were killed.

Berlin’s military intervention in the impoverished country is deeply unpopular among German voters.

Stern magazine has published a Forsa poll which found that 62 per cent of the 1,004 people surveyed want the troops withdrawn.

That is a considerable jump from September 2005, when only 34 per cent of those polled by Forsa said the Bundeswehr soldiers should pull out.

Washington is increasingly concerned over declining support in Europe for the war.

Last month a memorandum apparently drafted by CIA spooks was posted to the Wikileaks Web site.

The document, marked “confidential/not for foreign eyes,” noted that “the fall of the Dutch government over its troop commitment to Afghanistan demonstrates the fragility of European support for the Nato-led ISAF mission.”

It goes on to say that “some Nato states, notably France and Germany, have counted on public apathy about Afghanistan to increase their contributions to the mission, but indifference might turn into active hostility if spring and summer fighting results in an upsurge in military or Afghan civilian casualties.”

Talking up “Germany’s exposure to terrorism, opium, and refugees might help to make the war more salient to sceptics,” the document suggests.

Support For Planned Kandahar Operation Questioned: here.

A parliamentary committee has heard stunning allegations from a former translator who claims the Canadian military tried to cover up the fatal shooting of an unarmed Afghan man in October 2007: here.

4 thoughts on “Germans oppose Afghan war

  1. Troops gave ‘innocent’ men to notorious Afghan spies, translator says

    A prisoner is shackled by his feet at Kandahar’s notorious Sarpoza prison in early 2007. Graeme Smith/The Globe and Mail

    In wild and troubling testimony, military employee known as ‘Pasha’ also tells MPs Canadian soldier shot unarmed man in back of head

    Steven Chase

    Ottawa — The Globe and Mail Published on Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010 12:36PM EDT Last updated on Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010 5:53PM EDT

    An Afghan-Canadian who served as translator to Canada’s military levelled wild and troubling allegations at a Commons committee today, saying Canadian troops transferred “innocent” men to Afghanistan’s notorious intelligence service and once shot an unarmed man in the back of the head.

    Malgarai Ahmadshah, adviser to the former commander of Canada’s Joint Task Force Afghanistan unit, was speaking to MPs probing the detainee issue and this country’s relationship with the Afghan National Directorate of Security.

    The NDS is well known for its propensity to torture.

    “What I learned in Afghanistan is that Canada often transferred innocent men to the NDS,” Mr. Ahmadshah told the special Commons committee on Afghanistan.

    The former translator said in some cases the Afghan intelligence service threatened these detainees and their lives.

    Mr. Ahmadshah, whose Canadian Forces’ code name was “Pasha,” now lives in Ottawa.

    He also alleged that during a raid in June or July of 2007 Canadian soldier shot an unarmed man in the back of the head because they mistakenly thought he had a pistol.

    “After the Canadian Forces wrongly killed a man, they panicked, they swept through the neighbourhood, arresting people for no reason. They arrested over 10 men from about 10 to 90 years old.””

    Mr. Ahmadshah said he was asked to personally interview them and determined none were Taliban.

    “None did anything wrong except to be at home when the Canadian Forces murdered their neighbour,” he recounted. “Yet Canada transferred all these innocent men to the NDS. I don’t know what happened to them.”

    Mr. Ahmadshah also alleged the Canadian government transferred detainees to the NDS with the understanding they would be abused in order to extract more intelligence information from them. “They were subcontracting torture,” he said.

    Conservative MP Laurie Hawn challenged the former translator, saying he was insinuating that top military commanders have lied to Canadians by denying this. “So you are calling all of the generals who testified before this committee liars?”

    The debate over whether Canada turned a blind eye to torture or knowingly handed over captives to maltreatment has transformed into a nasty political battle. The Conservatives refuse to offer an uncensored version of events even in the face of threats to find them in contempt of Parliament. Their rivals say they can be trusted to view the uncensored records in a secure manner.

    Opposition parties are threatening to pass a motion declaring Tory cabinet ministers in contempt of Parliament for refusing a rare Commons vote last December that called on them to release uncensored records. Commons Speaker Peter Milliken is preparing to rule on whether such a condemnation is possible.

    Earlier Wednesday, the Canadian official whose discovery of a tortured prisoner included the very implements used in his abuse told a separate detainee inquiry that he heard eight more complaints of mistreatment in the months that followed.

    Nicholas Gosselin’s grim discovery spurred the federal government to halt transfers of detainees to the Afghans for about three months as it tried to improve its monitoring and reporting on prisoners.

    The former Foreign Affairs employee told the Military Police Complaints Commission that he collected eight more allegations of abuse in the January to June 2008 period before he left Afghanistan.

    Mr. Gosselin, who now works for another federal department, said the November 2007, discovery came during a prisoner interview he conducted at an Afghan detention facility.

    The prisoner in question said he’d been knocked unconscious during questioning that included beatings, Mr. Gosselin told the commission today. “[The captive] showed us a scar on his hips and described abuse,” he said.

    The detainee even pointed out the equipment used in his maltreatment, saying his abuse had taken place in the very office in which they were situated. He directed them to a box under a chair in the room.

    “We discovered under that chair an electrical wire and a section of rubber pipe – and the individual told us these were the tools used to mistreat him,” Mr. Gosselin said.

    He said the braided electrical wire was one-quarter inch thick and 18 inches long.

    The Military Police Complaints Commission is investigating allegations by Amnesty International and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association that Canadian military police “aided and abetted the torture of detainees” by handing over prisoners to Afghan jailers despite reports of maltreatment.

    Canada is bound by international conventions that make it a war crime to hand over prisoners to torture and that oblige countries to take back captives being abused.

    While Mr. Gosselin reported eight complaints of abuse from detainees in 2008 before he left Afghanistan, the federal government has yet to make these reports available to the complaints commission.


  2. Pingback: New Zealanders say stop Afghan war | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Afghan massacre scandal in Germany continues | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Militarist propaganda in Germany | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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