Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Canada oks torture intel on Abdelrazik

G&M : "More than 16 months after Canada's security agencies cleared Abousfian Abdelrazik, government lawyers are now pressing him to admit to being a senior al-Qaeda operative, echoing American accusations apparently extracted from Abu Zubaydah, the al-Qaeda leader water boarded more than 80 times under the Bush administration."

POGGE : "While the rest of the world is coming to terms with the fact that the Bush administration was actually using torture to elicit false confessions in an effort to justify their invasion of Iraq, the Hapless Government™ is trying to use statements from a man who was waterboarded 83 times to prove that Abdelrazik is a terrorist."

In a March appearance before the public safety committee, CSIS lawyer Geoffrey O'Brian caused a media stir by refusing to unequivocally deny Canadian intelligence agencies' reliance on foreign intel obtained via torture. "Clarifications" were demanded and obtained, the media was apparently placated, and it all went away.

Indeed CSIS Director Jim Judd, appearing before the public safety committee on April 3, said :
"In the past we used information received obtained by torture. Such information is not to be relied upon. We've changed our policies. Our policy now is under no circumstances do we condone the use of torture for any reason."

and went on to emphasize that intelligence agencies take direction from the federal government. CSIS has also called for a formal probe into its role in the Abdelrazik affair to clear its name.

But here is what Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan actually said when he appeared before the same committee to offer his "clarification" on torture:

"We do not condone the use of torture in intelligence gathering and our clear directive to our law enforcement agencies and intelligence services is that they are not to condone the use of torture, practice torture, or knowingly use any information obtained by torture."

Knowingly. Also known as "don't ask don't tell intel".

The rest of us have known of Abu Zubaydah's torture just to provide a pretext for invading Iraq since April 19, so this is perhaps not the best week for the Canadian government to air its filthy laundry in a Federal court on its role in condoning intel possibly derived from torture to prevent a Canadian citizen from returning home after he has been cleared by CSIS, the RCMP, and Sudan.
And, as pointed out by Lib Andrew Kania at the same public safety committee cited above, this also sends out a message to other governments that if they're selling info derived from torture, we're buying.
Update : Dr. Dawg and James Bow


Paul said...

But, of course, the Cons don't use intelligence obtained from torture! The Americans don't torture; they interrogate rigorously. They even changed their laws to prove it.

Alison said...

Funny thing - when you watch Judd and Van Loan prevaricatin' at that public safety committee meeting, you can tell the committee members didn't have the US in mind when they were asking about intel derived from torture. But looking back on it, I realize that was exactly who Judd and Van Loan had in mind.

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