Saturday, January 19, 2008


There's been plenty of justified furor over Maxime Bernier's declaration that Canada's definition of torture is whatever the U.S. wants it to be. But one point worth some followup involves one of the other countries included on the Foreign Affairs watchlist which Bernier hasn't yet discussed removing:
Foreign Affairs used the manual as part of its torture awareness training -- something that stemmed from recommendations in the Arar inquiry.

Besides the U.S. prison for alleged terrorists on the island of Cuba, the manual also lists:

* Afghanistan;
* China;
* Egypt;
* Iran;
* Saudi Arabia;
* Israel; and
* Syria
We'll see whether or not Bernier decides to edit Afghanistan off the list as well under the "if our allies do it, it isn't torture" standard. But regardless of whether or not the Cons try to rewrite reality yet again, it's striking that Foreign Affairs continues to properly recognize exactly the risk of torture in Afghanistan which the Con government has gone out of its way to downplay. And that distinction should offer just one more set of questions which needs to be asked about the Cons' detainee policy.

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