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Monday, January 21, 2008

Low marks from the Canadian judge

The January 18 Washington Post had this unsettling news from Canada:
In Canada, the United States has joined a notorious group of countries -- Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan and China, among others -- as a place where foreigners risk torture and abuse, according to a training manual for Canadian diplomats that was accidentally given this week to Amnesty International lawyers.

The manual is intended to create "greater awareness among consular officials to the possibility of Canadians detained abroad being tortured." Part of the workshop is devoted to teaching diplomats how to identify people who have been tortured. It features a section on "U.S. interrogation techniques," including forced nudity, hooding and isolation.
The story includes a quote from a Canadian spokesperson denying that this reflects Canadian policy -- after all, it is merely a training manual.

The January 20, The New York Times
reports that Canada will rewrite the manual:
“I regret the embarrassment caused by the public disclosure of the manual used in the department’s torture awareness training,” Mr. [Maxime] Bernier [the Canadian minister of foreign affairs] said in a statement. “It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten.”
Canada currently has a conservative government; Amnesty's lawsuit is seeking to stop Canada from handing prisoners seized in Afghanistan over to that government.

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