The United States found itself Thursday on a Canadian list of countries where foreigners risk torture and abuse. The country is listed alongside countries such as Afghanistan, China, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Syria in a leaked internal training manual. Both Israel and the United States are officially allies of Canada.
The manual is a 93-page PowerPoint presentation by the Foreign Affairs Department for Canadian diplomats. It aims to teach diplomats how to identify and aid victims of torture, with a section on U.S. interrogation techniques including forced nudity, hooding, isolation, and sleep deprivation.
It was developed as part of a "torture awareness workshop" in response to the case of Maher Arar. Arar is a Canadian-Syrian citizen who was detained by the United States on suspected ties to terrorism, and deported to Syria where he was tortured. He was eventually returned to Canada, where he was awarded $11.5 million in compensation by the Canadian government.
Media attention in Canada was also drawn in recent years to the case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who has been held at the United States military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for over five years since the age of 15. He is accused of tossing a grenade that killed one U.S. soldier and injured another in Afghanistan in 2002. Human rights groups have long demanded that Canada pressure the United States into returning Khadr to Canada.
The leak was protested by the United States ambassador. "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," U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins to Canada said. "For us to be on a list like that is just ridiculous."
Alex Neve, Secretary-general of Amnesty International, said the organization had clear evidence of abuse in US and Israeli jails. "It's therefore reassuring and refreshing to see that … foreign policy considerations didn't trump the human rights concern and keep them off the list."
However, Canadian officials disclaimed its significance. "The document is a training manual. It is not a policy document or a statement of policy. As such it does not convey the government's views or positions," said Marina Wilson, spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa.
American torture is NOTHING new, we do it to AMERICAN prisoners right here in our own prison system. David Wilkins says to be on this list is "ridiculous". Really Mr. Wilkins? This video is from 2006, but completely relevant to this latest "list making" incident;
UPDATE: Awwwwwww, stop the press, there's been an apology from Canada for such a misunderstanding:
Torture watch list with US, Israel not govt policy: Canada FM
OTTAWA (AFP) — Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier disavowed Saturday the inclusion of Israel and the United States on an official list of countries where prisoners can be tortured, and said the document would be revised.
"I regret the embarrassment caused by the public disclosure of the manual used in the (Foreign Affairs) department's torture awareness training," 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.
Thank You Canada!!! Thank you for your BULL PUCKY apology which should have NEVER been given! Do you actually think you should back down on the TRUTH? Just beyond PITIFUL!!!!