Saturday, May 23, 2009

Murder and Torture - The Canadian Military in Somalia: Torture, Murder and Inquiry

'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'
George Santayana , 1905 - Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense, Scribner's, 1905, page 284

Shidane Abukar Arone was a Somali teenager who was tortured and beaten to death by Canadian soldiers in the Canadian Base in Somalia, on 17 March 1993.

Arone was caught on March 16 attempting to steal supplies from the Canadian base. Two members of the Canadian Military Base, Master Corporal Clayton Matchee and Private Kyle Brown, bound Arone and tortured him over the next several hours. Ultimately, he died of his injuries.

While the military initially claimed Matchee and Brown had acted alone, it was later revealed that sixteen others had visited the tent while Arone was captive, including superior officers.

At first DND officials told the media that Arone had likely died from natural causes. It took several weeks for the Canadian people to become aware of the actual events in Somalia.

An inquiry officially known as The Somalia Commission of Inquiry began in 1994 after public outcry.

The military disengagement from accountability and evasion strategies permeated the inquiry where Air Force General Jean Boyle blamed his subordinates for wrong doing.

It ran until 1997 when it was cut short by the government in the months before the 1997 election.The inquiry was never able to examine top level governmental decision-making, nor did it actually examine the alleged events in Somalia.

"Conspicuously absent from the report is anything on the most sensitive aspect of the Somalia affair — the torture and murder of Shidane Arone."
[Somalia debacle a high-level cover-up - The CBC Digital Archives Website- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - [Page consulted on May 23, 2009.] -

See Rex Murphy's piece: The Somalia affair-
"Macho thuggery," scapegoating, blockading requests for information, and evasive testimony taint the noble pursuit of peacekeeping."

The CBC Digital Archives - WATCH HERE
[Page consulted on May 23, 2009.]

"We promised them peacekeepers,and in some cases, we sent them thugs."

Reference: "Bloody and contemptuous images"- The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Digital Archives Website.

[Page consulted on May 23, 2009.]


The Somalia Inquiry heard from witness who testified that the lack of accountability sent the wrong message to the troops and that military police were deliberately stalled from investigating a shooting by Canadian soldiers of unarmed Somalins in the back, killing one Somalian and wounding another that took place just 12 days before the torture and murder of Shidane Arone.

"Somalia investigation hit 'inexplicable delay'" - Broadcast Date: March 10, 1997

The CBC Digital Archives- WATCH HERE - [Page consulted on May 23, 2009.]

The Killing Of a Somali Jars Canada - The New York Times - Feb 11, 2006 - by CLYDE H. FARNSWORTH
[Page consulted on May 23, 2009.]

Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia- [Page consulted on May 23, 2009.]

CBC Archives - The Somalia Affair -
[Page consulted on May 23, 2009.]

Somalia Cover-Up; A Commissioner's Journal 1997 by Peter Desbarats - Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (November 15, 1997)- ISBN-10: 0771026846