1. To join the torture tour, email email@example.com
2. Bring a bag lunch or snacks for the road. There will NOT be a lot of walking; rather, it will consist of mainly driving between spots and standing vigil for a few minutes at each location.
3. If you drive and can offer spaces to others who need a seat on the torture tour, please let us know.
4. Contributions to help with our expenses are greatly appreciated, and can be made out to Homes not Bombs and mailed to PO Box 2020, 57 Foster Street, Perth, ON K7H 1R0.
March will mark 3.5 years since a secretive federal inquiry found the government of Canada complicit in the torture of Canadians Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin. Yet the government refuses to accept the findings of its own inquiry, an inquiry in which only its side of the complicity in torture was heard, an inquiry in which none of those who were tortured, nor their lawyers, nor the public, nor the media were allowed to attend. And even with the cards stacked so much in favour of the government, the government was found to be complicit. Now that these three men seek an apology, compensation, and accountability, the government questions the fact that they have been tortured.
March will also mark 33 months since a report from the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security of the House of Commons called for an immediate apology for all thee men, along with compensation "for the suffering they endured and the difficulties they encountered." The committee released a report that also called on the federal government to "do everything necessary to correct misinformation that may exist in records administered by national security agencies in Canada or abroad with respect to" the three men and their family members.
CLEAR DIRECTION NEEDED ON TORTURE
Importantly, the Committee called on "the Government of Canada [to] issue a clear ministerial directive against torture and the use of information obtained from torture for all departments and agencies responsible for national security. The ministerial directive must clearly state that the exchange of information with countries is prohibited when there is a credible risk that it could lead, or contribute, to the use of torture."
On December 3, 2009, that report and its recommendations were endorsed by the majority of the House of Commons. The Harper government refused to act on the will of the majority of the House of Commons.
While Canada’s broader complicity in torture will provide an educational backdrop for the torture tour, the specific demands will be:
the federal government's acknowledgement of and implementation of the Standing Committee’s recommendations;
that the Harper government act immediately on the December, 2009 majority vote of the House of Commons endorsing that report;
the full release of all documents related to these cases to the men and their lawyers;
acts of accountability to ensure such actions never again occur.
WHAT IS THAT BROADER BACKGROUND?
Torture, and Canadian complicity, are not only represented by the cases above, which represent the top of the iceberg:
March 8 marks International Women's Day, and while politicians will make pithy statements, their hypocrisy is revealed in a failure to implement a national action plan to end violence against women as well as a failure to properly fund Canada's 500+ women's shelters, always overflowing and having to turn away women who are targetted for violence by the men in their lives. Women admitted to women's shelters or hospital emergency rooms often report wounds consistent with torture.
In December, 2011, we learned that Jim Judd, former head of spy agency CSIS, wrote to Stockwell Day (a former "Public Safety" minister), that the secret trial cases of security certificates would fall apart if they could no longer rely on information gleaned from torture. Three of those cases continue, with the potential outcome of deportation to torture.
Last month, we learned that current "Public Safety" Minister Vic Toews told CSIS it could rely on information gleaned from torture, a clear violation of domestic and international law that nonetheless confirmed Canada's complicity in torture for many years (seehttp://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1129725--canada-complicit-in-torture-for-decades
The Supreme Court acknowledged the torture of a Canadian citizen in Guantanamo Bay but did nothing to bring him home, and refused to close the door on the possibility of Canada deporting refugees and permanent residents to torture.
Canada has never condemned acts of torture in Guantanamo Bay, nor in sites where its commanders and soldiers may well have known of acts of torture during their role in occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ten years ago, Canada rendered an Algerian refugee to torture, and while documents clearly show the government knew it was legally culpable, it has refused to apologize and compensate.
Canada refuses to arrest and prosecute George W. Bush nor any members of his administration, all of whom have proudly admitted ordering torture. Canada has refused to condemn Barack Obama's continuation of those illegal acts.
Canada refuses to come clean on its role in hosting CIA rendition-to-torture flights.
CSIS and its oversight body admit they use information gleaned from torture.
Canada has effectively shut down an inquiry into the role of Canadian troops in Afghanistan who have knowingly transferred detainees to torture.
Canada hosts branch plants of American corporations involved in torture of detainees.
Canada places “free trade” above human rights in its relations with torture-ridden regimes such as Colombia, Ethiopia and China.
Canada defends torturing regimes like Iran from being sued for the torture and murder of Canadian citizens.
Canada regularly detains and deports tens of thousands of refugees on an annual basis, including children. Despite committing no crime, these refugees are often condemned to provincial jails for an indeterminate amount of time, and when requiring medical care, are handcuffed and shackled both to and from the hospital as well as in their hospital beds. This abusive behaviour will increase due to new legislation currently before Parliament.
The list goes on.
The Torture Tour of Toronto is organized by Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture, a wholly realized subsidiary of the Homes not Bombs nonviolent direct action network that has organized a series of cross-Ontario caravans and other activities, such as the three-day CSI: Ottawa Torture Tour, in solidarity with those who have been targetted for torture by the Canadian government. More athttp://homesnotbombs.blogspot.com/
For more information: Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture, firstname.lastname@example.org, PO Box 2020, 57 Foster Street, Perth ON K7H 1R0