Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Arar Case Heating Up Again

Here's an appalling piece of journalism from the Ottawa Citizen. (Listed under "News" not "Opinion", and not credited to an individual writer.) There have always been big questions about the Arar case, but the Citizen does not want us to ask.
The revelation about Mr. Arar emerged during a hearing at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay First, let's get something on the table. Everything that comes out of that gulag is suspect.

A "gulag." Talk about loaded language. Omar Khadr is a well documented prisoner and has confessed to his actions. It's not some secret gulag, because we know all about it. It is not the same as millions and millions of Soviet citizens disappearing at night to be deported to Siberia to spend the rest of their short lives in agony. Shame on them for cheapening the word.

A Canadian citizen of Syrian origin, Maher Arar has always denied any terrorist ties, and has always denied ever having been in Afghanistan. Canadian security officials once thought otherwise. So did U.S. officials, who in 2002 secretly deported Mr. Arar to Syria, where he was tortured.

Funny how The Citizen talks about rules of evidence, when there is no evidence, other than his word, that Arar was tortured. They write it as fact though.

It's odd that now, all these months later, an FBI representative suddenly produces seemingly definitive evidence that perhaps Mr. Arar was not all he pretended to be.
Is is that surprising, since, you know, there is a hearing going on? The US have always maintained that he was guilty.

This is not good enough to convict Mr. Arar in the court of public opinion, or any other court. (Needless to say, even if he had spent time in Afghanistan, that wouldn't have justified his rendition to Syria and torture there.)

It also wouldn't have justified Canada paying him $10.5 million either.

But so far as Maher Arar is concerned, there's never been evidence that he poses, or has posed, a security threat to anyone. If anything, he and his wife Monia Mazigh have embraced their public roles with dignity and humility -- writing books, giving interviews, even (in the case of Ms. Mazigh) running for political office. Surely by now they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Well, yes there is evidence, and why should we give them the benefit of doubt?

Again, this Western Standard article about the questions from the Arar case is must read.

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