Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Haroon Siddiquim, "Disturbing complicity on torture," Toronto Star, October 23, 2008.

[Haroon Siddiqui calls for a wide public discussion of Iacobucci's disturbing conclusions." -jlt]

  Syria had no reason of its own that we know of to detain any of them. All four were held in the same prison; tortured by the same team; asked questions that could only have originated in Canada; and forced to sign confessions they were not allowed to read. All were released. None was found to have any connection with terrorism, just as they have always maintained.

The headlines didn't match the stories on the report of the Frank Iacobucci inquiry into the alleged torture of three Arab Canadians abroad.

The former judge of the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that Canadian officials and institutions were complicit in the detention of at least two of them and perhaps of the third as well.

They were certainly complicit in the torture of all three.

He said Canadian diplomats failed to provide proper consular services to two of them, failed to detect torture and failed to inform Ottawa of allegations of torture.

Yet the main message of the media coverage is that Canadian officials only "likely contributed to" or "indirectly" contributed to the unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention and torture of the three men.

Iacobucci said so only for reasons of legal specificity, as explained on page 336 of his 544-page report.

He had no co-operation from Syria, Egypt or the U.S. so he does not know what role they played.

He also refused to "apply a `but for' test," meaning the men would not have suffered but for the actions of Canadian officials.

"Doing so would bring me dangerously close to making an explicit finding of legal liability" against officials and institutions – something that was "not the purpose or jurisdiction of this inquiry."

At least not in the narrow way he interpreted his terms of reference, say such intervenors as the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (headed by Warren Allmand, a former justice minister) and Amnesty International.

Read the rest here =>
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