By Stephen Gowans
The Canadian government has disavowed a training document written by its own bureaucrats that lists the US and Israel as countries that abuse prisoners and practice torture.
Officially, the Canadian government says the US and Israel aren’t torture states, no matter what its internal documents – or Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, The Centre for the Defense of the Individual and B’Tselem, an FBI investigation, the UN and photos of US soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib — say.
But Ottawa also says officially that Afghanistan doesn’t practice torture, despite the fact that the “Canadian military secretly stopped transferring prisoners to Afghanistan’s government in November after Canadian monitors found evidence that they were being abused and tortured.” *
Canadian soldiers began transferring prisoners to Afghanistan at the end of 2005. Prior to that, prisoners were handed off to the US military for interrogation. Ottawa ordered its troops to stop transferring captured fighters to the US when fears were raised that the prisoners were being abused and tortured.
While the government of Canada is willing to play along with the deception that the US and Israel don’t torture prisoners, its actions add to the weight of evidence that the US is not the beacon of democracy, freedom and human rights its leaders say it is.
* New York Times, January 24, 2008