Friday, January 21, 2011

Special forces war crimes: 'superiors walk away'

JTF2 command 'encouraged' war crimes, soldier alleges
CBC News: A member of Canada's elite special forces unit says he felt his peers were being 'encouraged' by the Canadian Forces chain of command to commit war crimes in Afghanistan... Documents from the military ombudsman's office show the member of the covert unit Joint Task Force 2, or JTF2, approached the watchdog in June 2008 to report the allegations of wrongdoing he had first made to his superior officers in 2008. The soldier told the ombudsman's office 'that... he does not believe they are investigating.'...

The documents make clear that the soldier didn't believe the military was taking his allegations seriously and that he had lost faith in the forces' leadership. He told the ombudsman's office in one of many telephone conversations he felt 'more and more of his peers are being encouraged to commit war crimes by the chain of command... which they may be held accountable for one day as superiors walk away.'

The soldier said he wasn't coming forward to have 'the guys who pull the trigger' investigated who he said were 'being incited to do these things' by their superiors. 'This is done by promoting those who do, and not promoting those who don't,' the ombudsman's office staffer handling the file wrote in the document.

The soldier also claimed the 'vision of the southern friends is being pushed' -- an apparent reference to the more aggressive reputation of the American soldiers. When the military spoke to CBC News last fall about the investigations, it stressed it was looking into the allegations against the soldier and their superior officers.
Image source here.