In the United Stated a continuing media campaign asserts that ‘friends don’t let friends drive drunk.’ The idea of friends holding one another accountable isn’t a bad one, so maybe it was with that in mind when Canada placed their nearest neighbors on a government list of countries that allow or promote terror, in this case through the use of torture.

The Foreign Affairs Department document lists the United States along with Israel, Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Syria, as countries where prisoners are at risk of human rights abuses such as torture. The document, which formed part of a manual on torture awareness given to diplomats, was inadvertently released to Amnesty International lawyers as part of a court case against the Canadian government over the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan.

Responding the the news U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, said. “We find it to be offensive for us to be on the same list with countries like Iran and China. Quite frankly it’s absurd, for us to be on a list like that is just ridiculous.” Wilkins went on to say that the United States does not authorise or condone torture and that he had “very forcefully” requested that the U.S. be removed from the list at once. Israel was also unhappy with their inclusion on the Canadian list.

Canads’s foreign minister, Maxime Bernier, has since apologised for including the US and Israel on the list. Insisting the list was in no way part of any policy document and did not convey the official views of his government Bernier explained that the list “wrongly includes some of our closest allies.” He went on to say. “I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten.”

The United States has been repeatedly criticized for its continued detention and treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba where CIA operatives have used questionable interrogation techniques to obtain information and confessions from prisoners.

Interrogation methods employed by the CIA have controversially included simulated drowning, (known as waterboarding), mock executions, stress positions, sleep depravation, forced nudity, and among other things, continued exposure to Eminem’s “Slim Shady” album. However, President Bush himself has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. do not torture prisoners.

While Canada has apologised for including the U.S. and Israel on the list I’m wondering if there wasn’t at least a little bit of deliberate engineering behind its release. Canada is, of course, a friend and ally of the U.S., and as such maybe a decision was made to diplomatically lean on their neighbors in the hope of bringing a little accountability to the relationship. After all, if friends don’t let friends drive drunk, then surely the buck doesn’t just stop there?

Canada places the US on terror state list
Canada says ‘Oops, sorry about that.’
Canada put the USA on terror nation list
U.S. interrogation techniques (Also see another list)
Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Waterboarding and Torture