Torture of Maher Arar
The innocent have nothing to fear (?)
thesuperfluousman.blogspot.com, Sep 18 ’06
Here’s the quick version: Innocent Canadian citizen Maher Arar is wrongly put on a list of terrorist suspects. The U.S. government snatches him while changing planes in New York and, with no trial, ships him to Syria, where he spent nearly a year being beaten and kept in a dungeon
Maher Arar (born 1970) is a Canadian software engineer born in Syria. On September 26, 2002, during a stopover in New York en route from Tunis to Montreal, Arar was detained by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service who were acting upon information supplied by the RCMP. Despite carrying a Canadian passport, he was deported to Syria in accordance with a U.S. policy known as “extraordinary rendition”.
…The commission’s final report cleared Arar’s name and was sharply critical of the RCMP and other Canadian government departments.
…When Arar protested that he only had a casual relationship with Almalki (having once worked with Almalki’s brother at an Ottawa high-tech firm), the officials produced a copy of Arar’s 1997 rental lease which Almalki had co-signed. The fact that US officials had a Canadian document in their possession was later widely interpreted as evidence of the participation by Canadian authorities in Arar’s detention.
…Arar was imprisoned in Syria for 10 1/2 months, during which time he claims he was tortured and forced to sign a false confession which purported that he had trained in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. The Canadian government accepts Arar’s allegations as fact, and the Commission of Inquiry agreed that he had been tortured. However, the United States Attorney General has stated that he has seen no evidence other than Arar’s own account that Arar was tortured.
…After Arar’s release, the controversy continued over his treatment by the US and over the role that Canadian police and government officials may have played in his deportation and interrogation. The United States claimed that the RCMP had provided them with a list of suspicious persons that included Mr. Arar. It was also discovered that Canadian consular officials knew that Arar was in custody in the United States but did not believe that he would be deported. The Canadian government maintains that the decision to deport Arar to Jordan was made by American officials alone.
…In December 2003, Ambassador Cellucci said that American domestic security would trump respect of Canadian citizenship and that the United States would not change its policy on deportations to third countries. Prime Minister Paul Martin replied by demanding that Canadian passports be respected.
…In January 2004, Arar announced that he would be suing then American Attorney-General John Ashcroft over his treatment, but the US government invoked the rarely-used State Secrets Privilege in a motion to dismiss the suit.
On January 21, 2004, the RCMP searched the residence of Ottawa Citizen journalist, Juliet O’Neill as part of a related investigation into leaks from security sources. On November 12, 2004, an Ottawa judge ruled that the RCMP must reveal much of the information that was used to justify the search. The material was sealed by a justice of the peace at the request of the police.
At a summit meeting in Monterrey, Mexico, on January 13, 2004 Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and U.S. President George Bush reached an agreement, sometimes referred to as the Monterrey Accord, which obliged the United States to notify Canada before deporting a Canadian citizen to a third country. However, according to a news story in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Stephen Yale-Loehr, lawyer and adjunct professor of immigration and asylum law at Cornell University told the Arar inquiry “the Canada-U.S. agreement struck…to prevent a recurrence of the Arar affair is ineffective and legally unenforceable.”
On February 16, 2006, Brooklyn District Court Judge David Trager dismissed Arar’s lawsuit against members of the George W. Bush administration. Although Trager discounted legal arguments by the defendants, he based his decision on national security grounds, not legal reasons.
Canadian Was Falsely Accused, Panel Says
www.washingtonpost.com, Sep 19 ’06
Canadian intelligence officials passed false warnings and bad information to American agents about a Muslim Canadian citizen, after which U.S. authorities secretly whisked him to Syria, where he was tortured, a judicial report found Monday.
…one of the first public investigations into mistakes made as part of the United States’ “extraordinary rendition” program, which has secretly spirited suspects to foreign countries for interrogation by often brutal methods.
…They asked U.S. authorities to put him and his wife, a university economist, on the al-Qaeda “watchlist,” without justification, the report said.
Since Sept. 11, the CIA, working with other intelligence agencies, has captured an estimated 3,000 people in its effort to dismantle terrorist networks. Many of them have been secretly taken by “extraordinary rendition” to other countries, hidden from U.S. legal requirements and often subject to torture.
…The practice is generating increased opposition by other countries; Italy is seeking to prosecute CIA officers who allegedly abducted a Muslim cleric in Milan in February 2003, and German prosecutors are investigating the CIA’s activities in their country.
…President Bush has confirmed the existence of CIA-run prisons throughout the world.
O’Connor also recommended that the government review the case of three other Muslim Canadian citizens,…
The RCMP contact, Inspector Michel Cabana, “was under the impression that Mr. Arar would only be detained for a short time,” O’Connor’s report said. “In his view, Mr. Arar was being held in a country with many of the same values as Canada.”
…Over the repeated objections of O’Connor, the federal government censored much of the testimony given during the proceedings as well as some of the final report.
Arar was not permitted to testify; the judge ruled it would be unfair to subject him to questioning based on secret information. He has testified before a European Parliament committee in Brussels.
Man oh man. The Canadian government – judicial branch – in action, suppressing information, suppressing speech, not allowing testimony, even with their report. Silencing people. They’re so good at that. Par for the course and how shameful and embarrassing. And of course we see what the executive branch does. But at least they brought Arar back.
Yeah, I think Americans have the same values as in Canada. Torturing people is okay! I’m sure equal proportions of Americans and Canadians think that. That’s what a lot of you people believe. And you conservatives go on and on about Muslim terrorism and how the enemy is Muslims. PROVE IT! A lot of noise and garbage and war crimes for five years now. And you’re all just a bunch of apologists for lies and war and delusion and prison camps and government out of control.
You’ve dragged the freedom movement – the economic right wing – through the muck for years now with your sorry defense of interventionism, mass murder and torture. Maybe you started out not knowing any better or maybe you’re still deluded. I understand. These delusions are embedded in deep, they began during the Cold War for most of us. But ideas have consequences. Time to drop the false left-right paradigm, stop worshipping power and start thinking abour right and wrong. But seriously, are you finished yet? I guess not. And your counterparts in the Liberal Party aren’t finished yet either – digging in deep for their kinder gentler eco-friendly version of globalized oppression, war and torture whenever it can be rationalized.
Canadians should shield ourselves from U.S. government influence. What are we doing in these multinational agreements that integrate our militaries and intelligence agencies with torturers? What are we doing even talking about “security” and “cooperation” with the U.S. government? The U.S. government proves its “values” by ITS ACTIONS. Why are we integrating with the land of “extraordinary rendition”? Are we stupid or evil? Or are we just powerless and want to keep our heads stuck in the sand?
What are we still doing in NATO and NORAD since the Cold War has been over for years? The answer is the people making these decisions DON’T CARE about the rights of individuals. They’re just looking forward to more power for themselves and more profitable wars. The question in their minds: how can we come up with more conflicts with the Muslims or the Russians or the Chinese if we don’t maintain these dangerous military alliances? Collective security. Right. Don’t forget you’re not allowed to question it.
Canadians, please stop worrying about hurting American “feelings” about the wonderful government of “freedom” they worship – the biggest empire, the biggest government that ever existed in human history. That *is* their definition of freedom! TORTURE = FREEDOM in America! Haven’t you seen “24”?
Stop protecting the guilty – guilty governments and their babbling, gibbering “conservative” and “liberal” propagandists – and start protecting people – including Canadian citizens and non-citizens – including mostly innocent people – from inhuman measures. Libertarians should speak up to defend our freedoms and rights – including due process – from foreign governments and not just our own government.