By Andy Worthington, Counterpunch Magazine, Jan. 19/20, 2008
The story begins with the shameful case of Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian who was kidnapped by US agents as he changed planes in New York in 2002, and rendered to Syria, where he was tortured for a year on behalf of the Americans before being released.
Mr. Arar — who was awarded millions of dollars in compensation by the Canadian government in January 2007, but has yet to receive even an apology from the US administration — had been wrongly fingered by Canadian intelligence, and his case his one of many chilling examples of the damage caused by failed intelligence in the American’s program of “extraordinary rendition.”
In an attempt to prime diplomats about how to spot the signs of torture when they visit Canadians in foreign jails, the Canadian government’s Foreign Affairs Department instigated a “torture awareness workshop,” which also informed the diplomats of where they could expect to find what CTV in Canada described as “countries and places with greater risks of torture.”
The list, in a training manual issued by the Foreign Affairs Department, included traditional offenders — Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Syria — but also included some torturers that are not generally mentioned in polite Western company: Israel and the United States. Specific mention was made of Guantánamo Bay, where, to drive the point home, the manual noted specific “US interrogation techniques,” including “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.”
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