Both images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Canada to rewrite ‘torture’ manual


Amnesty International has criticised a decision by Canada to rewrite a training manual that put the US and Israel on a list of nations where prisoners risk being tortured.
The document, released on Friday, named the US, Israel, Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Syria as places where torture was used.

It had classified some interrogation methods used by the US as torture, including isolation, sleep deprivation and blindfolding, according to an official document obtained by Reuters news agency.

The decision to redraft the manual used by Canadian diplomats came after the US objected.


Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International, said: “It was commendable to see that manual, which seemed to include an important section that was an objective assessment of human rights concerns around the world.

“To see that now be undermined by concerns about embarrassing allies is very disappointing.”

US objection

In a statement issued on Saturday, Maxime Bernier, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, said that he was embarrassed by the public disclosure of the manual that “wrongly” includes some of Canada’s closest allies.

“I regret the embarrassment caused by the public disclosure of the manual used in the department’s torture awareness training,” Bernier said.

“It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten. 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 statement added.

Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Marina Wilson said on Saturday that she could not say yet how long it would take to review the manual or what the process might involve.

Sharp response

The document had prompted a sharp response from the US, a key NATO ally and trading partner, which asked to be removed from the manual.

“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,” David Wilkins, the US Ambassador told The Associated Press on Friday.

“For us to be on a list like that is just ridiculous.”

He said the US does not authorise or condone torture. “We think it should be removed and we’ve made that request. We have voiced our opinion very forcefully,” Wilkins said.

A Canadian citizen, 21-year-old Omar Khadr, is in custody at Guantanamo on charges that include killing a US medic with a grenade during a July 2002 firefight in Afghanistan.

He has claimed in the past that he has been abused, but Canadian foreign affairs officials have said they accept US assurances Khadr has been treated humanely.

Human rights groups believe Canada has not done enough to ensure Khadr, who has been in custody since he was 15, is being fairly treated.

Alleged abuse

The workshop manual, which was used in the foreign affairs department’s torture awareness training, was produced about two years ago while Canada’s justice Dennis O’Connor was investigating the case of Maher Arar.

Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian engineer, was imprisoned and tortured in Syria for almost a year after he was detained and sent there by US authorities in 2002, wrongfully accused of having terrorist ties.

A Canadian judicial inquiry, led by O’Connor, later cleared him.

The government inadvertently released the manual to lawyers for Amnesty International who are working on a lawsuit involving alleged abuse of Afghan detainees by local Afghan authorities, after the detainees were handed over by Canadian troops.

The document offers a section on laws prohibiting torture and what diplomats should do when cases are suspected.


  1. Robin said,

    January 20, 2008 at 16:58

    it is IMPORTANT to note in this listing of the US as a nation which uses torture just HOW the US got on this list, The above article mentions the Maher Arar case.
    From another article about this:

    That one on Wikinews states: 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.

    Maher not only won a 11.5 million dollar settlement against the Canadian government because they had cooperated with the US in his arrest and subsequently sent to Syria and tortured, he ALSO received and official STATE apology for being party to Arar’s torture.

    Now please explain to me, how is the Canadian government going to “erase” the fact they apologized to Arar for having helped the US have him tortured AND awarded him this LARGE monetary compensation because he was TORTURED, but NOW they are apologizing and taking the US off this list? Just how stupid does the US government AND the Canadian government think the public is? This whole incident is beyond embarrassing to me as an American but also Canada should be publicly SHAMED for cowering to the US in light of the Arar case being FACT that CANNOT be erased.

  2. January 20, 2008 at 18:12

    […] https://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2008/01/20/turning-a-blind-eye-to-torture/ Torture Section has more related reportsLike the site? Buy RINF a drink! Share the truth: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  3. Josh said,

    January 20, 2008 at 19:05

    When the asshole say’s “forcefully” he basically means “Do it or else.”

    Not to worry. Most Canadians know the truth about our so-called wonderful friends nextdoor. And we are not afraid to tell the world your freedoms and friendship are a complete and utter fraud. America is ripping -off Canada’s natural resources and threatening Canada that “terrorists might attack us” unless we do as you say. Canada should put more trust into America’s self-created enemies then a war whore who slaughters hundreds of thousands of children and carries on partying as if it’s no big deal. Fuck you America. Fuck you and your bullshit child molestting asshole sucking politicans that won’t telling my beloved country what to do, say and think. We know who you really are, and making us change the report won’t change a damn thing.

  4. Martin Regelsberger said,

    January 20, 2008 at 20:10

    You cannot have both – torture people and be respected! That is an unpleasant truth the USA still have to fully appreciate. It doesn’t matter, whether they are on some official list. In the minds of people the USA will be linked to torture and aggression wars in the near future.

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