Should the Canadian foreign minister be apologising?


by Rumbold
23rd January, 2008 at 7:49 pm    

The Canadian foreign minister has been forced to apologise after including the US and Israel on a list of countries that 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. “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.”

I cannot comment on allegations of Israeli torture, but we know that water-boarding happens (or at the very least happened), at Guantanamo Bay. This is different from isolated incidents such as Abu Gharib , which might or might not have been authorised by senior figures. Gitmo is, and has been for some time, an officially-sanctioned and defended camp. Add to that extraordinary rendition, and the only conclusion one can come to is that the US does torture, officially (as opposed to a few bad apples torturing, which any country can have).

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6 Comments below   |  

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  1. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:32 pm  

    “I cannot comment on allegations of Israeli torture,”

    Israel does practice torture; it has been documented by various human rights groups (both Israeli and not), as well as the State Dept:

    http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78854.htm

  2. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:34 pm  

    “The Canadian foreign minister has been forced to apologise after including the US and Israel on a list of countries that torture:”

    He should not have to apologize, nor yank out the US’ and Israel’s names. Why should there be double standards- ie some countries get admonished for doing it, others who are doing the same thing do not get branded?

  3. Don — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:39 pm  

    No, of course not. If the US ambassador finds it offensive to be on the same list as China and Iran then I applaud him. It is indeed offensive to a great democracy (not ironic).

    But the answer does not lie in scratching a name off a list. It lies in not bloody torturing people.

  4. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2008 at 9:10 pm  

    This is getting very frustrating. I agree completely with both Rumbold, Desi Italiana and Don. The Canadian Foreign Minister should have been supported by any right thinking person.

    It is the ‘so called’ links that are driving me mad. It was all very well when they arrived at the dead end of a discussion, but now they right up front. This is pissing me off. Is there not some sort of technical solution?

  5. Leon — on 23rd January, 2008 at 10:10 pm  

    We’re deleting them as soon as we see them, not sure what can be done about them tbh but will mention it to Sunny.

  6. douglas clark — on 24th January, 2008 at 8:22 pm  

    Leon,

    Apologies. I know you do the best you can, and given the effort you make, my comment was silly, to say the least. It’s just that you usually run a near perfect web site!

    I think we should all applaud Leon for doing a great job!

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