26 September 2011
Unrepentant war criminal Dick Cheney is scheduled to be in Vancouver today, and it seems that some people, even in the Canadian Government, are willing to assist this known felon in evading arrest and prosecution.
CBC News had an article yesterday on Human Rights Watch’s call for Cheney’s arrest, but their reporters screwed up the story. For starters they erroneously refer to waterboarding as “a form of simulated drowning involving water being poured into the mouth of a subdued person”.
This bizarre claim has been made before, by other news outlets, and by CBC, but it is most assuredly false.
Waterboarding is actual drowning, not “simulated” drowning. Waterboarding is a technique of suffocating people using water. That is precisely what “drowning” is: suffocation by water. There is no “simulation” involved in the process. The suffocation is real, not simulated. The water is real, not simulated. Sometimes, the victim literally needs to be resuscitated after being waterboarded. Deaths, when they have occured, have been real, not simulated.
Nevertheless, CBC News relates the charges presented by Human Rights Watch, and notes Cheney’s indifference to those charges. But, instead of the limited “He said, she said” recounting, why does the CBC not also report what the incontrovertible facts of the matter are?
Instead of merely writing that Human Rights Watch says this, and Dick Cheney says that, why not tell readers, in addition to the opposing allegations and defenses, what the facts are?
Does the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture provide for jurisdiction over an individual for torture and other crimes, even for offences committed outside of Canada?
The answer is yes, Canada is obligated to prosecute torturers.
Did Dick Cheney authorize the torture, including waterboarding, of detainees?
Yes, he has said so himself, and justified his illegal actions by saying it was necessary. He is, of course, welcome to make that case before a judge and prosecution at his trial.
Are the two cases of the torture of Canadian citizens, Maher Arar and Omar Khadr, so-called “allegations”, actually been documented in the public record as facts?
Yes, these cases of abused detainees has been well documented.
Was Cheney instrumental in creating U.S. detainee policy and was he a member of the government committee that approved interrogation policies?
Yes, again, he has bragged about his role in this regard, and his signature is on all the paperwork.
These are objective questions with objective answers, and they are the absolute heart and substance of this issue. Objective journalism should be able to address these questions head-on in a straightforward manner.
So, why doesn’t the CBC? Why does our Canadian media fail at this simple task, indeed, the only task they have: informing the public about what is true? The problem is not just that they fail… it’s that, evidently, they don’t even try.