Here in the Great White North, accountability is out and banality is in as The Nuremberg Defence seems to be enjoying a resurgence in respectability.
The actions of Canadian officials contributed indirectly to the torture of three Arab-Canadian men in Syria, a federal inquiry has concluded.
“I found no evidence that any of these officials were seeking to do anything other than carry out conscientiously the duties and responsibilities of the institutions of which they were a part,” former Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci concluded in his report, made public Tuesday, 22 months after the inquiry began.
The probe focused on whether the detentions of Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad El Maati resulted from the actions of CSIS, the RCMP and the department of Foreign Affairs and whether Canadian consular officials acted appropriately in the cases.
“It is neither necessary nor appropriate that I make findings concerning the actions of any individual Canadian official, and I have not done so,” Iacobucci wrote.
More from The Toronto Star:
The Iacobucci report concludes that all three men were detained and suffered mistreatment that amounted to torture as defined in the United Nations convention banning torture.
El Maati, Almalki and Nureddin were, separately, detained and imprisoned in 2001, 2002, and 2003 respectively while travelling in Syria.
All were interrogated and, Iacobucci concluded, tortured at the same Syrian military prison as Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian who was deported by U.S. authorities to Syria.
El Maati was also sent to Egypt where Iacobucci accepts he underwent further torture.
The men claimed their interrogators relied on information that could only have been gleaned from Canadian authorities, and that Canadian security and police agencies were complicit in their mistreatment.
But Iacobucci stops well short of indicting the Canadian officials for complicity.
And what do the Little Eichmanns in Canada’s New Government™ have to say about the matter?
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day declined to apologize, telling reporters, “This government can’t take responsibility for processes in place under a previous government.”
He claimed the procedures and “deficiencies” identified in this and the previous Arar inquiry have been “vastly improved,” and suggested that if the reforms his government had made were in place at the time, the incidents might not have occurred.
But Day did not single out any agency or officials for blame. He pointed to the Iacobucci report which said people were carrying out “conscientiously” the duties of their institutions.
“It’s more a case of good people acting with deficient procedures and deficient policies.”
“Justice, truth, the value of a single human being”? Pfft–go back to your September 10th fantasy world, Haywood, and tell it to Jean and Paul. Partisanship über alles.
Related: Almalki, Nureddin and El Maati discuss how their lives have been upended by their horrific experiences, along with the sense of betrayal felt thanks to the (indirect!) actions of Canadian government officials; Amnesty International Canada condemns the inquiry, warning that the probe “extended secrecy to everything, not just the national security concerns” and, as a result, “[excluded] the suspects and public from the proceedings in their entirety“. The 544 page public (read: heavily redacted) version of the Iacobucci whitewash report is available here (PDF)
Update: More from Alison @ The Beav