Friday, August 24, 2012

Harper tries to make rules for knife fights

When I read this story, I just felt an overwhelming sadness for my country: Ottawa allows RCMP, border agency to use torture-tainted information .
The Harper Conservatives think they have figured out how they can still claim the moral high ground even though they want to use information obtained by torture. They have set up a bunch of rules and procedures which will supposedly restrict how and when CSIS, the RCMP, and Customs can ask for or use information obtained by torture.
“The objective is to establish a coherent and consistent approach across the government of Canada in deciding whether or not to send information to, or solicit information from, a foreign entity when doing so may give rise to substantial risk of mistreatment of an individual,” says the four-page framework. ....
[The directives] say that in “exceptional circumstances” the RCMP or border agency “may need to share the most complete information in its possession,” including information foreign agencies likely obtained through torture, “in order to mitigate a serious risk of loss of life, injury, or substantial damage or destruction of property before it materializes.”...
They also spell out procedures for information sharing when the risk of torture is “substantial” — meaning a “personal, present and foreseeable risk” based on something more than “mere theory or speculation.”
The decision must be referred to the RCMP commissioner or the border services agency president when there is a substantial risk that sending information to, or soliciting information from, a foreign agency would cause harm to someone — and it is unclear whether the risk can be managed by seeking assurances that the material won’t be misused.
But a thin veneer of bureaucratic process will not obscure a cowardly and corrupt policy which will condemn unknown numbers of people to torture.
Because it is not possible to establish rules for knife fights.

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