Thursday, December 11, 2014

Canada on torture : We're buying if you're selling

Canada's collateral fallout from Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee summary on the torture of prisoners at CIA “black site” prisons around the world.
"A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney’s office said Wednesday that Canada does not engage in, or condone, torture by national security agencies but ...  Canada will act on “a tip from any source” if Canadians’ lives are in danger."
This is our usual "we're buying if you're selling" approach to torture.

Feb. 2012 : "The latest directive says in "exceptional circumstances" where there is a threat to human life or public safety, urgency may require CSIS to "share the most complete information available at the time with relevant authorities, including information based on intelligence provided by foreign agencies that may have been derived from the use of torture or mistreatment."

April 2010 :  Day One of Omar Khadr's trial at GuantanamoConfessions elicited via sleep deprivation, denial of pain medication, stress positions, being forced to urinate on himself and being used as a human mop, being terrorized by barking dogs, and being threatened with rape and torture. Khadr's defence team was only allowed to interview three of Khadr's 30 interrogators at Bagram and Gitmo, two of whom admit the 15 year old Khadr was threatened with rape.
FBI agent Robert Fuller
"... elicited from Khadr the identification of another Canadian, Maher Arar, who Khadr during interviews by Fuller claimed was training with al Qaeda operatives at a training camp at a time that, it later turned out, Arar was actually at home in Canada.
"In contrast to testimony he gave Monday, [FBI]special agent Robert Fuller told Khadr's war-crimes hearing that the young Canadian was not immediately able to name Arar, but did say he looked familiar." 
Shortly after Fuller reported the identification of Arar to the government, Arar was apprehended at JFK airport and rendered to Syria for interrogation there.
FBI agent Fuller also got Khadr to confess to throwing a grenade at US forces."
December 2009 : Harper shuts down parliament for two months in what turned out to be a successful strategy to muzzle parliamentarians regarding Richard Colvin's testimony about the torture of random Afghan farmers and taxi drivers under Canadian watch. 
Harper hired Bruce Carson to "stickhandle" the Afghan file "on a daily basis, involving senior officials from departments such as foreign affairs, defence, RCMP, justice and corrections". In 2007 a requisition for special boots to allow Correctional Services Canada inspection teams to wade through blood and shit in Afghan prisons was made public.
I think it's fair to say any report similar to the US Senate summary made partially public on Tuesday would never see the light of day in Canada.

April 2009 : "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 extracted from Abu Zubaydah, water boarded more than 80 times under the Bush administration."

As noted by POGGE at the time : 
"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."
March 2009 : The same day that CSIS lawyer Geoffrey O’Brian told the public safety committee there is no absolute ban on using intelligence that may have been obtained from countries with questionable human rights records on torture, RCMP spokesman Gilles Michaud tells the same committee :
"I want to be clear here - there is no absolute ban on the use of any information by the RCMP."
November 2006 : CSIS director Jim Judd said it had done nothing wrong by accepting as genuine the confession of Maher Arar, who was secretly and illegally bundled off by extraordinary rendition to a prison in Syria where he was held and tortured for a year.
"It does not necessarily follow that because a country has a poor human rights record that any information received from it was the product of torture," Judd told Parliament's public safety committee.
G&M : "In an Oct. 16, 2003 e-mail marked “secret,” officials of the intelligence unit of Foreign Affairs note that CSIS agents will pass on details of their then just-completed interrogation of Omar Khadr in Guantanamo and planned to “send two officers to Sudan next week to interview Abdelrazik.” 

Dec. 9, 2014 CBC : "This is a report of the United States Senate," Harper told the House of Commons on Tuesday. "It has nothing to do whatsoever with the government of Canada."
Update : Tom Tomorrow


Unknown said...

What? The Canadian government is complicit in theses things, torture ET AL...

Oh wait a minute I meant "Harper Government" as 'The Canadian Government' no longer exists...

Anonymous said...

In 2012, the Obama administration charged former CIA official John Kiriakou for leaking classified information related to the torture program to reporters. Threatened with decades in prison, Kiriakou was forced to plead guilty and accepted a 30-month prison sentence. He's still in prison while those who directed the torturers are free.

scotty on denman said...

Cheney says these reports are "crap."

I used to wonder if the perception of pure evil I saw in his face was prejudicial on my part, but we've had enough evidence for a long time to get rid of the "pre"-fix: it should be just judicial now; like, the judge says Dick's testimony is "crap."

Beijing York said...

I hope the Supreme Court rules in Omar's favour today. To add to his horrific decade plus of illegal detainment and torture, it now appears that Omar is going blind in his good eye.

I heard his lawyer, the compassionate and well spoken Dennis Edney, speak in Winnipeg this past September. I was sitting with some retired women who heard about the event while attending a series of university lectures on philosophy and human rights. They had never really heard much of the history of Omar Khadr and were very moved and outraged that Canada could be so complicit in this miscarriage of justice.

Anonymous said...

C O N F I D E N T I A L OTTAWA 000101



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/18/2018

Classified By: Ambassador David H. Wilkins, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs David
Mulroney called Ambassador on January 18 to offer DFAIT's
"real apology" that a Canadian consular training module on
"Torture and Abuse Awareness" had included the U.S. on a list
with Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Saudi
Arabia, and Syria, as well as Guantanamo Bay, with "possible
torture/abuse cases" and had cited "US interrogation
techniques" under a "Definition of Torture." He said that
DFAIT was "totally embarrassed" and had pulled the manual
once its existence became public. He promised that the DFAIT
leadership would make sure that this would "not happen again"
and that the manual would be totally re-written. He admitted
that DFAIT had "no excuse" for failing to maintain adequate
control over these training materials. Ambassador pressed
Mulroney for an immediate public statement disavowing the
document, at which point Mulroney promised to work on
"remedial steps" and confirmed that the manual did not
reflect official Canadian views of the United States.
Ambassador also asked to speak directly with Foreign Minister
Bernier on this issue; Mulroney promised that would happen
following an ongoing Cabinet session today.

double nickel said...

Well, that's interesting.

Alison said...

Anon@2:08 : I remember that cable - happened in 2008. Oddly, Google only gives 2 results for it, although I seem to recall quite a bit of chat about it at the time - national embarrassment and all that.

BY : Yes, Harperites using millions of tax dollars to litigate against former child soldier. Steve stands with Ezra.
Adore Edney - will never forget that lecture he gave about learning from Gitmo residents.

Scotty : Although as leftdog notes, Cheney bussed Bush pretty decisively.

Anon@5:09 : Whistleblower Kiriakou, yes.

Mogs : I included the 2003 note on Khadr and Abdelrazik in there to show much of this precedes Harper. Harper just had the bad luck to come to power with rise of internet.
Bigger fish, Mogs.

e.a.f.. said...

I just want those responsible to go on trial in the Hague, just like the other criminals. If Canada had any "benefits" from torture, they too ought to be put on trial.

This torture makes us no better than the "terrorists", whomever they think they are.

Now lets hope Omar Kadhr gets out of jail and then goes on a speaking tour. I'd really like to hear what he has to say.

Unknown said...

Bigger fish hide really well Alison behind the blind like Harper. They use Harper and will continue to do so. We must pull together to tell Harper's handlers enough is enough. End of story.

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