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‘A regrettable use’


 

Foreign Affairs objects to the CIA’s use of Transport Canada research in designing interrogation methods.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs department says it’s aware of reports that Transport Canada material has been used by the CIA. “This is a regrettable use of a publicly available document intended to save lives,” the department said in a statement to CBC News.

Mind you, the Canadian government’s official position is—or at least was, at last check—that the United States did not participate in torture.


 

‘A regrettable use’

    • Absolutely we do. They are just subject to random qualifiers, convoluted exceptions and bizarre caveats.

    • I don't see why the government should have fancy-shmancy Official Positions when the average Canadian struggles to make ends meet in the worse recession in a generation. If we average Canadians have to make some sacrifices, why should the government fatten itself on such rich fare. Official Positions, ethics, a vision of the future, ideas, even a soul -these are all so many extravagences in a time like this. Mr Harper should be happy if he is permitted to own more than one pair of trousers, and nothing too fancy, I might add – no sequins, decorations, frill, fray, silk or velvet. Just two simple pair of wool trousers. C'mon! Let's all pitch in, guys!

    • I don't see why the government should have fancy-shmancy Official Positions when the average Canadian struggles to make ends meet in the worse recession in a generation. If we average Canadians have to make some sacrifices, why should the government fatten itself on such rich fare. Official Positions, ethics, a vision of the future, ideas, even a soul -indeed, these are all so many extravagences in a time like this. Mr Harper should be happy if he is permitted to own more than one pair of trousers, and nothing too fancy, I might add – no sequins, decorations, frill, fray, silk or velvet. Just two simple pair of wool trousers. C'mon! Let's all pitch in, guys!

  1. Should Canada's official position be that the USA is a torture state? Does that make sense from a diplomatic point of view?

    • No, of course it would be a horrible position to take. But, um, can we come up with some kind of "they are our very good friends, we love them dearly, but we're not about to give them access to our terrorist suspects" kind of category?

      Although, I would like to think that danger has now passed what with Bush and Cheney being gone and all.

    • Well the idealist would say that Canada's official position with respect to the US being a torture state should hinge on whether or not they torture people as a matter of policy. This may have been a trickier matter diplomatically prior to President Obama, but there is a much less need to walk that line nowadays.
      Bot no matter; it's usually better to tell the emperor that he has no clothes, rather than looking like fools and hipocrites pretending otherwise.

      • Given that Himself is cheerily continuing the practice of "rendition" I would hesitate
        to give anyone a pass.
        I doubt that anyone is being benignly wafted off to EuroDisney.

    • Should Canada's official position be that the USA is a torture state?

      Definitely not.

      Remember what a kerfuffle there was back when we kinda, sorta subtly DID.

      • Great find, LKO! But I don't remember the kerfuffle.

        January, 2008–and we're going to the Supreme Court to basically argue the exact opposite. Fun times!

        • "Kerfuffle" may overstate it, but suffice it to say there was much embarrassment in the Minister's office, and as the story states: "it appears that Ottawa may have had second thoughts about being so explicit. After the documents were released as evidence in a court case relating to Afghan detainees, the government tried to get them back. Sources say that Ottawa apparently wanted to black out sensitive parts that may anger allies."

  2. Perhaps Canada's official position should reflect the truth. People incarcerated on the mainland are not systematically tortured, people at Quantanamo certainly have been. Hawaii, I don't know but I am willing to do some research if Macleans can cough up a ticket.

    • It does seem somewhat more complex than simply "it doesn't serve our national interests to call out the Americans on prisoner abuse" but there is some element of "what's in the national interests of Canada" too, n'est pas?

      That said, the legal opinions rationalizing the interrogation techniques used at Gitmo and in other facilities are openly referred to in the American media as the "torture memos". And while the New York Times certainly has an editorial board that's not exactly G.W. Bush friendly, they're nonetheless hardly the Socialist Worker, and if they can publish editorials titled "The Torture Papers" which reference "the grievous harm that President George W. Bush did to this nation with his lawless and morally repugnant detention policies." It does make one pause regarding where we, as outsiders, should draw the rhetorical line.

      After all, while an absolutist "The United States does not and has not engaged in torture" may be the most diplomatic position for Canada to take, it at least somewhat undermines the credibility of that position if the citizens of the United States are simultaneously engaged in a very public debate regarding whether or not that statement is true, and what to do about individuals who may have contributed to making that statement untrue.

      Complicated.

      Here's an easier (?) question I'd like to know the answer to. Does the government of Canada consider waterboarding to be torture? (of course, that only SEEMS like a simple question, but keep in mind that it directly relates to the issue of whether or not the U.S. has tortured prisoners).

    • It does seem somewhat more complex than simply "it doesn't serve our national interests to call out the Americans on prisoner abuse" but there is some element of "what's in the national interests of Canada" too, n'est pas?

      That said, the legal opinions rationalizing the interrogation techniques used at Gitmo and in other facilities are openly referred to in the American media as the "torture memos". And while the New York Times certainly has an editorial board that's not exactly G.W. Bush friendly, they're nonetheless hardly the Socialist Worker, and if they can publish editorials titled "The Torture Papers" which reference "the grievous harm that President George W. Bush did to this nation with his lawless and morally repugnant detention policies." It does make one pause regarding where we, as outsiders, should draw the rhetorical line.

      After all, while an absolutist "The United States does not and has not engaged in torture" may be the most diplomatic position for Canada to take, it at least somewhat undermines the credibility of that position if the citizens of the United States are simultaneously engaged in a very public debate regarding whether or not that statement is true, and what to do about individuals who may have contributed to making that statement untrue.

      Complicated.

      Here's an easier (?) question I'd like to know the answer to. Does the government of Canada consider waterboarding to be torture? (of course, that only SEEMS like a simple question, but keep in mind that it directly relates to the issue of whether or not the U.S. has tortured prisoners).

  3. So would an elected Liberal governement declare the U.S. a torture state?

    With Ignatieff as PM?

    HA!

    Not his BFF!

    • Dakota, I can't help but read your post as saying that having Canada declare the U.S. a torture state is desirable for you. Is this reading correct?

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