Canada Debates Torture Issue

The United Nations definition of torture entails “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental”of an individual has always been the international norm. But, in 2002, White House leegaladviseers insisted the limits of what is considered to be torture could be pushed in the name of national security. For the most part, Canada has stood by the side in the debate, but the inadvertent disclosure this month of a Department of Foreign Affairs training manual on torture has heated up discussion concerning its nation’s attitude toward torture. The Canadian government was embarrassed when contents of “Torture Awaeness Workshop Reference Matrials” was released and included Israel and the United States as among countries engaged in torture of prisoners. Traditionally, Canada has given America the benefit of the doubt but the case of Canadian Omar Khadr who was sent to Guantanaomo Bay has aroused controversty.

The israeli and American ambassadors were infuriated at inclusion of their nations being cited for torture and Foreign Affairs Minister Maxine Bernier has promised to review the manual and promised revisions. However, her comment about revisions has now sparked a debate among Canadians charging it is not so simple as to remove two names as to totally revise the Canadian definition of torture in order to placate America and Israel. Amnesty Inernational is urging Bernier not to back down but to maintain the maual and its definition of torture even if that upsets the United States.

Of course, another road to take is asking the United States and Israel to cease and desist from employment of torture tactics and that would instantly lead to removal of their names from the list of torturing nations.

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  • journeyer58

    But, who could be against torture and maiming a prisoner, if that could lead to the US stopping a terrorist attack on Amerikkan soil? I, for one, am against the US sinking to the level of those, in the CIA and any other acronym, for “intelligence” services, who because of Bush and Co.’s legal advisers stating that it is okeedokee for them to behave like mad animals when it comes to “protecting” the US. Are we to believe that the US is in any better security position now than before the attack of September 11, 2001? I should hope that any thinking person would agree that we are less safe for having created the insurgency in Iraq and forcing the Taleban and Al-Qaeda into the hinterlands of Pakistan, where if that nation falls, they will come into possession of true and lethal nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction based upon chemical and biological warfare. Torture serves no imaginable purpose other than to make the torturer feel better about him/her self, because of a position of superiority and strength through being the captor. I, for one, hope that the Canadians stand by their position of naming the US and Israel as practitioners of torture along with the states of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea and any other nation that continues to violate the Human Rights Convention of the UN and the Geneva Conventions on Torture and Treatment of Prisoners.

  • Anonymous

    I think that we should only use torture for national security, and other things if need be. But even if we stopped using torture the US still looks like crap to other countries so wats the use… and its not like we are the only ones who have broken the genava convention so dont hold that guy to our head!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I think that we should only use torture for national security, and other things if need be. But even if we stopped using torture the US still looks like crap to other countries so wats the use… and its not like we are the only ones who have broken the genava convention so dont hold that gun to our head!!!!

  • http://www.theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    Anyone who enters the United States army is told that it is illegal to use torture against the enemy. If you bothered to study interrogation techniques used against the Nazis, you might be surprised that torture was rare even though the Germans used torture. The evidence is overwhelming that WWII interrogators were more successful without torture than the current bunch of incomptents who should be required to read the US Constitution.

  • http://www.whatsyourview.net Foxy

    I totally agree, i read a similar thing over at http://www.whatsyourview.net who outlined the same arguement