15 September 2010

Board of Inquiry Examines Canadian Special Forces Unit

Members of Canada's elite Joint Task Force 2 are understandably fed up with a parade of allegations that cast doubt on their integrity and professionalism.

Canadian special forces have faced on average 10 military police investigations a year since 2006 into allegations over Afghan detainee injuries or mishandling, but the Ottawa-area soldiers have been cleared in each case.

Increasingly frustrated with what they see as a lack of trust in their efforts and professionalism, the special forces operators with the Joint Task Force 2 counter-terrorism unit have instituted what one soldier described as a "cover-your-ass" attitude in reporting such allegations.

Any time a detainee alleges he was mistreated or roughly handled or if there are any type of injuries on a prisoner, the special forces themselves request military police to launch an investigation.

Some of the police probes quickly determine there is no basis to look into the complaints further, while others result in investigations. No charges have ever been laid.

Special forces soldiers are expecting more fallout after recent news reports that military police are in the midst of an investigation launched after allegations were made that a prisoner had been mishandled. The claim was made by a member of JTF-2 against a fellow special forces member. Military police determined, however, there was nothing to support that claim made in 2008 and no charges have been laid.


The second investigation is called Sand Trap 2, although the details about that are a closely held secret.

The separate board of inquiry is looking into the military procedures for reporting major incidents from 2005 to 2008, and that is expected to be finished shortly.

Although special forces members understand the need for each and every investigation, some of the soldiers say they are becoming increasingly frustrated that there are few in the military and civilian leadership willing to publicly point out that not only are their missions extremely dangerous but they are carried out with minimal use of force.

Since 2008, when the allegations surfaced, Canadian special forces have launched dozens of successful operations aimed at capturing insurgent leaders and bomb-makers. Soldiers say their focus on bomb-makers has helped reduce the number of attacks on Canadians.

By: Shelldrake

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