The Canadian Foreign Ministry is starring in an episode of crippling hypocrisy, along with its American and Israeli counterparts:
Canada FM regrets ‘torture list’
The Canadian foreign minister has apologised for including the US and Israel on a list of states where prisoners are at risk of torture.
Maxime Bernier said the list, which formed part of a manual on torture awareness given to diplomats, “wrongly includes some of our closest allies”.
Mr Bernier insisted the manual was not a policy document and did not convey the official views of his government.
The listing was criticised by the US and Israel, who demanded it be changed.
You don’t say! It gets even better:
“We find it to be offensive for us to be on the same list with countries like Iran and China. Quite frankly it’s absurd,” said the US ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins.
Quite frankly, it’s absurd you find this offensive mate. I mean when the US Government acknowledges that prisoners have been tortured in its detention centres and Palestinian testimonies of being tortured by Israeli interrogators come up, sometimes numbering up to hundreds and thousands of people, then don’t get all whiny when you end up on the Governments-that-torture-their-prisoners lists.
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Ottawa, Michael Mendel, said the Israeli Supreme Court was “on record as expressly prohibiting any type of torture”.
“If Israel is included in the list in question, the ambassador of Israel would expect its removal,” he added.
If the law is there, why isn’t it being enforced? What use are even the best laws of a country when the Government’s forces themselves aren’t abiding by them? If the righteousness of a government is judged by the laws written on paper, and not whether they are enforced or not, then Egypt for one would have one of the most correct governments on the planet.
‘Reviewed and rewritten’
In a statement on Saturday, Mr Bernier said he regretted the embarrassment caused by the public disclosure of the list and promised it would be changed to reflect the Canadian government’s official position.
“It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten,” he said.
“The manual is neither a policy document nor a statement of policy. As such, it does not convey the government’s views or positions.”
The manual lists US interrogation techniques such as forced nudity, isolation, sleep deprivation and the blindfolding of prisoners under its “definition of torture”. (<– If my memory doesn’t fail me, there was something involving wooden planks and lots of liquid. Or maybe I’m just hallucinating – ed.)
It also refers to the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, where a Canadian man, Omar Khadr, is being held. Critics say it ridicules Ottawa’s claims that he is not being mistreated.
Other countries on the watch list include Afghanistan, China, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
The document was mistakenly provided to the human rights group, Amnesty International, as part of a court case it is bringing against the Canadian government over the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan.
The torture awareness course was introduced after Ottawa was strongly criticised for its handling of the case of a Canadian who was deported from the US to Syria in 2002.
Syrian-born Maher Arar, who was accused of being an al-Qaeda member, has said he was tortured during the 10 months he was detained in a prison in Damascus. An inquiry exonerated him of any links to terrorist groups in 2006.
Let me state pre-emptively: This is NOT meant to blame Americans or Israelis for this kind of stupidity. This is only meant to show what kind of hypocrites are running the governments, who think they can get away with just about anything, so spare me the trouble of reading lame accusations of being an “American hater” or “Anti-semite”. The bottom line:
Prisoner torture is terrible, regardless of where on Earth it’s being committed. And this includes but is not restricted to the US and Israel. End of story.
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