Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"MPs to probe torture inquiry reports," Calgary Sun, February 18, 2009.

OTTAWA — The actions of federal officials, police and security agents linked to the torture of four Arab-Canadian men in Syria will come under scrutiny at parliamentary committee hearings.

The Commons public safety and national security committee plans at least three sessions to probe the government response to two commissions of inquiry into the disturbing cases.

“We want to bring these reports out, look at them thoroughly, hear witnesses who are experts on these issues, and bring whatever issues that are lingering to light,” said Jack Harris, NDP public safety critic.

Last October, former Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci found Canadian officials contributed to the mistreatment of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin by sharing information — including unsubstantiated and highly provocative descriptions of their activities — with foreign intelligence and police agencies.

Iacobucci singled out the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Foreign Affairs Department for mistakes but didn’t point a finger at any individuals.

  “To date, not a single Canadian official has been held accountable for any of what unfolded here.”
Kerry Pither
Author of Dark Days

Read the rest here =>

[On February 6, Wesley Wark had an op-ed in the Globe and Mail on reforms, most particularly of the RCMP, associated with the O'Connor and Iacobucci inquiries. Wark concludes that "the RCMP needs to begin to recruit a new generation of Mounties keen on national security work, with the right skill sets and ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity." For its part, CSIS "has to relinquish old mental habits that elevate 'spooks' to a higher plane of existence than 'cops' and that seek to always keep 'intelligence' out of the courts."

The same tone appears to run through this set of articles. In short, no one appears to have contemplated the possibility that one day he might personally be pulled off a plane and spend a year in a Syrian torture pit if some political or religious persuasion of which he bears an unfortunate connection via his name or background or other unmentionable detail should go out of favour with the Americans. Where is the urgency? Whose security? -jlt]Recommend this Post

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