tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

3 Canadian torture victims get hosed by Iacobucci Report

Three Canadian citizens - Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin - were tortured by foreign intelligence officials in Syria and Egypt on suspicion of ties to international terrorism.

The three were deemed "imminent threats" by the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), which transferred questionable intelligence on the 3 men to American and Middle Eastern agencies, who in turn facilitated the torture of the men. Unlike the Maher Arar case, in which Arar was "renditioned" to Syria for torture, Almalki, El Maati and Nureddin all travelled to the Middle East on their own and were then detained at the request of Canadian officials.

In the case of El Maati, after he was tortured by the Syrians and the Egyptians, and just as the Egyptians were set to release him - having either beaten satisfactory confessions out of him or become satisfied that he wasn't actually a terrorist - Canadian officials sent word to Egypt to delay his release.

In an investigation whose report was just released, former Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci reprimanded Canadian authorities for lax attention to protocol and law, and deemed the "imminent threat" charge to have been a serious overstatement. But Iacobucci's report stopped way short of blaming anyone in the RCMP, CSIS or the Canadian government for this ordeal, said that margin for error in "imminent threat" cases was so thin that authorities had to err on the side of caution, and refused to demand an official government apology.

Iacobucci says the government and its agencies must do a better job of protecting civil and human rights of its citizens, no matter what they are alleged to have done. He repeatedly used the term "deficiencies" to describe the murky state of our counter-terrorism efforts.

But no intelligence or government official is going to read Iacobucci's report and start shaking in his boots. Nobody is staring down a pointed finger, and no one will sit before a tribunal and have to explain his actions that led to the torture of innocent men. The government will not issue an apology while the 3 men pursue civil suits for their mistreatment, which means we won't hear a peep for years to come. Iacobucci's recommendations for a "better job" seem to suggest only that these officials not do this again. Nobody seems terribly startled that erring on the side of caution equals erring on the side of torture.

Read the full report - oh wait, I mean 80% of the full report, as 20% was stricken by the Federal Government for national security reasons [PDF].

This posting has been brought to you by the "Right Now Our Government Is Doing Things We Think Only Other Governments Do" department.

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