We Got Your Six: Stephen Beardwood Talks Reopening The Somalia Inquiry

With your host Marj Matchee.

As I began entering the world of this advocacy a year and a half ago I would quickly learn what some of the hot button issues were, and this particular one is high on the list. The blowback I got after the first time I wrote about reopening the Somalia Inquiry told me that I had just opened up a big and shitty can of worms. People became quite passionate in their views that it should just be left alone, and that we needed to just move on.

Well, I was just as passionate in my response to them, pointing out that it was necessary to reopen the Inquiry for two primary reasons.

First and foremost we owe the truth to history. There is important, relevant testimony that will remain missing from the historical record unless the Somalia Commission of Inquiry is reseated to hear it.

The second reason is spelled out in this statement from the Executive Summary of the commission report:

Some suggestion has been made to this Inquiry that mefloquine caused severe side effects, including abnormal and violent behaviour, among some Canadian Forces personnel in Somalia. We were not able to explore fully the possible impact of mefloquine. This would have required additional hearings dedicated specifically to the issue, which time did not permit. However, we report here our general findings about mefloquine and its possible impact on operations in Somalia. It is clear that mefloquine caused some minor problems in Somalia, as might be expected from a review of the medical literature. We learned of several incidents of gastro-intestinal upset, vivid dreams, nightmares referred to by soldiers as “meflomares”, and inability to sleep following the use of this drug. Side effects — or at least the minor side effects, and possibly also the major side effects — appeared to be most pronounced in the 24 to 48 hours after taking mefloquine. If mefloquine did in fact cause or contribute to some of the misbehaviour that is the subject of this Inquiry, CF personnel who were influenced by the drug might be partly or totally excused for their behaviour. However, for reasons described more fully in Chapter 41, we are not able to reach a final conclusion on this issue….

It is evident that further investigation is warranted before any firm conclusions about the role of mefloquine can be drawn.

Executive Summary of the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia
http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2015/bcp-pco/CP32-66-1997-eng.pdf

Not letting this go.

This is non-negotiable and it will not be going away. The truth needs to be put on the record. It’s time to reopen the Somalia Commission of Inquiry.

#VeteransMefloquineRally2020 #Inthistogether #quinism

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