Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Learn from CIA Torture Scandal, and Let Parliament Oversee Canada's Security Services

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Learn from CIA Torture Scandal, and Let Parliament Oversee Canada's Security Services

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Learn from CIA torture scandal, and let Parliament oversee Canada's security services

--

An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Dec. 10:

Few can be shocked that the Central Intelligence Agency resorted to torture and deceit after Al Qaeda's 2001 terror attacks, with a nod from George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress. That's yesterday's news. America's image has been indelibly strained by its crimes at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

What is shocking is the brutal depth to which the CIA torture machine sank, the lack of scrutiny it faced and the impunity with which it operated.

For Canadians, the U.S. Senate's expose of the CIA's ghastly record should legitimize and energize efforts to bring our own secrecy-cloaked security agencies under greater parliamentary oversight. We're the only Western democracy without a high-level legislative oversight body. We need one. While our spies haven't been caught "waterboarding" suspects or anything like it, they have come under fire for spying on Canadians, misleading the courts and putting citizens abroad at risk by sharing dubious information with foreign actors. And they can use information gleaned from torture.

Yet instead of giving Parliament an oversight role akin to the American, British or French models, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is busy expanding the security services' powers to include more offshore spying, more warrantless snooping and more information-sharing with our allies.

The CIA's sorry record shows just how badly things can get out of hand when lawmakers give the security services free rein. Suspected terrorists were terrorized, beaten, threatened with death, and nearly drowned during waterboarding. They were stripped naked, soaked in ice baths, deprived of sleep, and had substances pumped up their rectums. Wounds were allowed to fester. Prisoners ended up hallucinating or becoming zombies.

One, Gul Rahman, was deprived of sleep for days, left in total darkness, treated roughly and forced into a cold shower, and then was chained to a concrete floor half-naked. He apparently froze to death.

Moreover, of the 119 CIA prisoners, 26 should never have been held. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.