Thursday, July 03, 2008

One of the most shameful episodes in recent history: the denial of Maher Arar's appeal

Maher Arar was the victim of "Extraordinary Rendition", where terror suspects who either are in the U.S. or come through the U.S. are forcibly seized and deported to countries with a record for torture on the understanding that these countries will torture them in order to extract information. Maher Arar is a Canadian citizen. He had a stop over flight at New York's JFK Airport. He was seized and sent to Syria, where among other tortures he was forced sideways into a box that was just wide enough to hold him, staying there for almost a year. Arar was awarded several million dollars from the Canadian government as part of a lawsuit against it for its complicity in the rendition. He was offered several apologies by members of the U.S. Congress after they heard his testimony about what he had gone through. Yet, according to the appeals court, since he wasn't formally admitted to the United States at JFK airport he was never in the United States and so can't appeal his treatment under U.S. law. Even though it was the U.S. who ordered his abduction.

Title link of the story leads to the New York Times article about it, an article that features a multiple slap in the face by declaring several times that "turned over to Syrian intelligence, which, he claims, tortured him." He claims it, eh? The Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been basically the only law organization in the U.S. to take cases of people labeled by the U.S. government as 'terrorists', has a Different Opinion.

This is a terrible mark of shame on an already shameful administration. Things like this, like Guantanamo Bay and the holding pens at Bagram Airforce base, and the crime of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aren't things that will be forgotten. History will record them and they will be considered part of the character of the U.S. for a very long time.

1 comment:

Renegade Eye said...

If you want information from a prisoner, the best way has always been structured, casual conversation.