Canada to Rewrite Manual Linking U.S. and Torture
U.S. Lap Dog Turns a Blind Eye To Torture
IAN AUSTEN / New York Times 20jan2008
source: UN General Assembly Resolution 3452 9dec1975
OTTAWA — The Canadian minister of foreign affairs, Maxime Bernier, said Saturday that he had ordered officials to rewrite an internal government manual that listed the United States among countries that potentially torture or abuse prisoners.
“I regret the embarrassment caused by the public disclosure of the manual used in the department’s torture awareness training,” Mr. Bernier said in a statement. “It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten.”
The United States government has repeatedly said that it does not torture prisoners, an assurance that has been accepted by Canada’s Conservative government.
Although the Department of Foreign Affairs would not specify which countries would be removed from the list, the United States is a close ally and had complained to Canada about its inclusion.
The 89-page PowerPoint presentation now under review is used to train diplomats on how to detect and handle cases involving the torture of Canadians held by other countries. It became public after being turned over last week to Amnesty International Canada as part of a lawsuit.
The document includes the United States on a list of nations under the heading: “Possible Torture/Abuse Cases.” Another slide, titled “Definition of Torture,” lists six “U.S. interrogation techniques” that it describes as nonphysical, including blindfolding, covering heads in hoods, forced nudity and sleep deprivation.
The presentation concludes, “All of the above have the same long-term effects as physical torture.”
It was not clear from Mr. Bernier’s statement if the rewriting of the manual would remove all references to the United States or any other nation. When asked if that would be the case, Neil Hrab, a spokesman for Mr. Bernier, replied in an e-mail message: “The statement speaks for itself. The manual is being reviewed and rewritten.”
Other countries identified in the document include Afghanistan, Israel, China, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Syria. The American military base and prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is included on the list separately from the United States.
Afghanistan is included on the list although the Canadian government says that prisoners turned over to the Afghan government by Canadian troops are not ill treated or tortured in violation of Canadian laws.
Amnesty International’s lawsuit is an attempt to end those handovers.
The current Canadian government has rejected calls from human rights groups to ask the United States to return the one Canadian currently held at Guantánamo Bay. Other allies of the United States have asked for their citizens to be returned.
Envoys Given Manual on `Torture Awareness'
Guantanamo, China, Iran, Israel listed as possible sites for abuse
MICHELLE SHEPARD / Toronto Star (Canada) 17jan2008
While Canada's foreign affairs officials publicly state they accept U.S. assurances that Toronto-born detainee Omar Khadr is being treated humanely, consular officials are being warned privately that Guantanamo Bay is a possible site of torture.
A Foreign Affairs Department training manual titled "Torture Awareness Workshop Reference Materials," gives the legal definitions of torture and instructs consular officials how to detect signs of abuse of Canadians detained abroad.
Under the heading, "Possible Torture/Abuse Cases," the manual lists Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Guantanamo Bay, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Syria and United States.
Since Khadr's capture in July 2002, the Canadian government has accepted assurances from the U.S. government that he is being treated humanely despite the international outcry over allegations of abuse at Guantanamo.
Khadr told his lawyers that he was abused during interrogations at Guantanamo and was once left shackled for hours until he urinated on himself. When the guards returned, Khadr alleged, he had cleaning solvent poured on him and was then used as a "human mop."
"It is disgraceful that Canada, well-aware that torture takes place in Guantanamo, has been silent about protecting Omar Khadr's rights," Khadr's Canadian lawyer, Dennis Edney, said yesterday.
"They knew that torture is alive and well."
The Canadian Press reported the manual was inadvertently released to lawyers working on a lawsuit involving abuse of Afghanistan detainees by Canadians.
Khadr is expected to again appear before a U.S. military commission early next month. The Pentagon has charged him with "murder in violation of the laws of war," for allegedly throwing a grenade that fatally wounded U.S. Delta Force soldier Christopher Speer.
Now 21, Khadr was wounded and captured in Afghanistan at the age of 15.
His military lawyers argue that international law prohibits the prosecution of war crimes allegedly committed by a child and will ask a Guantanamo judge to dismiss the charges.