Skip to comments.Harsh treatment of troops probed [Canadian snipers treated like "turncoats", served w/US troops]
Posted on 09/30/2004 9:34:40 PM PDT by Mike Fieschko
OTTAWA (CP) - The military ombudsman has launched a special investigation into why Canadian Forces snipers were treated like "turncoats" by their comrades after serving with American troops in Afghanistan.
The probe was started last week by Andre Marin after he received an unprecedented request from Gen. Ray Henault, chief of defence staff, The Canadian Press has learned. "It's the first request we've ever had by the chief of defence staff to investigate a case," Marin said Wednesday. "We're taking it very seriously."
Hailed as heroes in early 2002 by the U.S. military, the six Canadian marksmen were later given highly coveted Bronze Star medals - awards normally reserved for American soldiers who display extraordinary heroism during combat.
However, sources close to the investigation say the snipers were treated with much less than high regard when they returned to their Canadian bases, both in Afghanistan and back home.
"They were treated as outsiders and sort of turncoats," said one source who didn't want to be identified.
"At least three of these guys have since quit the army over their treatment."
Marin said every effort will be made to figure out why the snipers were treated so harshly, and to determine how to prevent similar incidents.
"Because it was a referral of the chief of defence staff, we're giving it our top priority.
"We consider it a very serious matter and are giving it all the resources we can."
The investigation centres on Master Cpl. Graham Ragsdale, whose father has been complaining for more than two years about how his son was treated.
Ragsdale is currently recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and remains a member of the Forces.
Marin said the complaints were not limited to one soldier. They involved a group who participated on the American side in Operation Anaconda, although he refused to discuss specific concerns.
The soldiers were sent to Afghanistan in late February 2002 as part of the first deployment of Canadian Forces in that country after a U.S.-led coalition launched its war against terrorism.
The snipers, members of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, 3rd Battallion, based in Edmonton, were seconded to the U.S. military for just nine days.
"I wasn't happy with the treatment they got in Afghanistan or the treatment they got subsequent to Afghanistan," Ragsdale's father Pat said in a telephone interview from his home in Oakville, Ont.
He began an extensive letter-writing campaign when Art Eggleton was defence minister but heard nothing - until last Thursday.
"I got no response from anybody until just recently, other than acknowledgement that they received my e-mails and letters."
Ragsdale said he was happy the chief of defence staff personally asked for the inquiry.
"I was surprised and pleased.
"I'd like to think it was because of my persistence in writing to the ministers of defence - three of them - chief of defence, chief of land staff, ombudsman's office, MPs, prime ministers."
Now, Ragsdale is reluctant to speak about his son's treatment for fear of hurting the investigation.
"I don't want to jeopardize anything that this investigation may do.
"I want the investigation to go down the path that it should, and hopefully something will come out of it."
Canadian business and speech are controlled, to a great extent, by the government, although most of them (except the CBC and a few others) are privately owned.
So technically, the Canadian government is fascist. Most of Canada also has its hatred against the Jews in Israel in common with Europe.
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