Monday, August 27, 2012

Canadian Government and Torture

Example of torture: water boarding at Guantanamo Bay
There is a progressive pattern of association between the current Canadian federal government and torture. Canadians may find this pattern relevant and important.

Below, the FDA outlines some of the main allegations and evidence: 

1. RCMP and Canadian Border Patrol

The Canadian government has given a green light to the RCMP and Canadian Border Patrol to use information derived by means of torture. According to the CBC, "the Conservative government has quietly given Canada's national police force and the federal border agency the authority to use and share information that was likely extracted through torture." The Canadian government says that information derived from torture will only be used to protect lives. A moral argument to justify immoral acts. The danger with this policy of allowing information derived from torture is that it justifies the existence of torture and the policy may be misused whereby information derived from torture is used for non-life threatening situations.

RCMP, Border Agency Can Use Information Tainted by Torture


2. Colombia

On August 15, 2011, the Canadian/Colombia Free Trade Agreement came into effect. However, the Colombian government is linked to death squads and paramilitaries, and there is mounting evidence of the Colombian government murdering and repressing its own citizens to cater to international corporations operating in Colombia. Canadian companies operating in Colombia have been implicated in death squads and the displacement and murder of indigenous and unionist groups, while the current Canadian government ignores this implication. According to Canadian researcher and journalist, Asad Ismi, the current Canadian government when negotiating the Canada Colombia Free Trade deal told the Colombia government to charge at least a fine if persons are caught murdering unionists.

The FDA requested, with follow-up email, an interview from Conservative MP Devinder Shory who is involved in international trade for the federal government, but he has ignored the interview request. Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA Executive Director, met Mr. Shory in July/2012, and at that time, Mr. Shory expressed interest in the interview stating that he believed in expressing his beliefs and that there is a lot hearsay surrounding Colombia. In addition, the Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast and the Canadian Fair Trade Association has so far ignored the FDA's requests for interviews.

FDA interview of Asad Ismi on Canada's involvement in Colombia:

Canada's Involvement in Colombia (Interview posted July 6, 2012)


3. Guantanamo Bay

Canadian citizen Omar Khadr has spent over 8 years in the Guantanamo Bay Correctional Facility, which is widely known for torture. During these 8 years the Canadian government has dismissed the idea of securing Omar's release on grounds that the U.S. government should be allowed carry out its law. In 2008, and again in 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Canadian government violated Khadr's Charter rights. Canada is the only western country to not secure the release of its citizens from Guantanamo Bay. Although Omar is set to be released to a Canadian prison, the Canadian government is stalling the decision on his release. Canadian Government Stalls its Decision on the Release of Omar Khadr

Here is a FDA video interview which touches on the issues of Omar Khadr:

FDA Video Interview of Dr Macklin on Omar Khadr


4. Afghanistan

There are allegations and evidence that the Canadian government since 2002 has been complicit in torture by knowingly transferring prisoners to torture facilities and to persons known for acting out torture.

In 2007 Amnesty International and BC Civil Liberties Association launched a Federal Court application for an order to halt the transfers and filed two complaints with the Military Police Complaints Commission (“MPCC”) challenging the transfers.

In June 27, 2012, the MPCC released its final report, in which it "found significant problems with respect to information sharing, reporting, and accountability within the military police, and between the military police and the Canadian Forces, generally. On detainee abuse issues, the Commission found that the Military Police were kept “out of the loop” and “marginalized” by Canadian Forces leadership. The Commission noted that it is ultimately “for others to examine the overall appropriateness of Canada’s detainee transfer policies, and the results achieved.”

Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada: “But it has never been clear who those ‘others’ are. And the government has made it clear that they do not invite or welcome scrutiny of that nature when it comes to detainee transfers. There is much that remains unexamined, such as the legality and appropriateness of relying on non-binding state to state agreements and prison visit and monitoring arrangements in the face of a well-documented and serious risk of torture. There is still, also, a pressing need to impartially and independently establish an accurate picture of the numbers of prisoners transferred, the numbers of allegations of torture and ill-treatment; the response to those allegations by both Canadian and Afghan officials, the frequency, nature and outcome of monitoring visits, and many other crucial factual questions.”

In 2009, Canadian field officer Richard Colvin reported that the Canadian government was knowingly transferring prisoners to torture facilities. The Canadian government responded by dismissing Colvin from his field officer position and attacking the credibility of Colvin. Here is an article about the attempted character assassination:

Richard Colvin: Portrait of a Whistle Blower


Law: 

"The use of torture is absolutely prohibited under Canadian and international law. What this means is that torture is prohibited under all circumstances, and that there can never be situation where the use of torture can be justified. The universal prohibition against torture does not simply mean that the government shouldn’t engage in torture or be complicit in torture, however. It also means that a government has a duty to prevent the perpetration of torture and to ensure that it is not responsible for delivering individuals to situations in which they would be at risk of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Issues:

Is the Canadian government violating Canadian and international law by justifying torture in order to protect lives? (Note, G.W.Bush made the same argument about water boarding at the Guantanamo Bay Correctional Facility).


Question for Readers:

Do you think it is right morally to knowingly and indirectly contribute to a person's torture by either handing over the person to a torturer, ignoring the acts of the torturer, and/or having a business relationship with the torturer?

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