Maher Arar

You know, I have to wonder…where is Michelle Malkin in regards to the Maher Arar case.

OTTAWA, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Canadian police wrongly identified an Ottawa software engineer as an Islamic extremist, prompting U.S. agents to deport him to Syria, where he was tortured, an official inquiry concluded on Monday.

Maher Arar, who holds Canadian and Syrian nationality, was arrested in New York in September 2002 and accused of being an al-Qaeda member. In fact, said the judge who led the probe, all the signs point to the fact Arar was innocent.

Arar, 36, says he was repeatedly tortured in the year he spent in Damascus jails, and the inquiry agreed that he had been tortured. He was freed in 2003.

Judge Dennis O’Connor, who was asked by the Canadian government in 2004 to examine what had happened, found the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had wrongly told U.S. authorities that Arar was an Islamic extremist.

I mean what is wrong here? The guy is male, muslim, Arab (well okay, technically Syrian, but Hezbollah is funded in part by Syria and they are undoubtedly terrorists), and is just a bit younger than Mohammed Atta. Looks like a slam-dunk in terms of profiling so lets just forget about him. Oh, and he has a beard as well.

FILED UNDER: National Security, Terrorism, , , , , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Old War Dogs says:

    If you’re not familiar with the story, Canada swept up a man named Maher Arar in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. They sent him to us, because his name came up on a terror watch list. We sent him to Syria. He alleges, and the press and some bloggers swallowed his story whole, that we rendered him to Syria for torture to find out what he might know about terrorists. He was innocent and is now free to accuse us of rendering for the purpose of torture, bank shotting him into our domestic interrogation debate.

  2. Christopher says:

    I thought Canada hated the USA, would never stoop to help us in the war on terrorism, and didn’t care about terrorists in Canada, let alone in the USA. Now here they are allegedly accusing Canadian citizens to US authorities.

    Wow.

  3. Steve Verdon says:

    Actually Christopher, you raise another good point, although unintentionall. The Arar and several incidents lead Canada to stop sharing news/information with the U.S. government or at least curtail it. In short, they could be helping the terrorists by not helping us.

    But oddly enough Malkin is silent on those damned Canucks too. Could it be just a coincidence that Malkin is silent about Canuckistan and that the Majority of Canadians are white? Clearly there is a Jihadi threat from Canada, but Malkin is strangley silent on it.

    I think she needs to get with the program here.

  4. Anderson says:

    I suspect this case will turn out to be an excellent example of how the “state secrets privilege” turns out to be, in actuality, the “protecting U.S. officials from prosecution privilege.”

    Sending Arar off to Syria to be tortured, or on the expectation that he was likely to be tortured, is a crime. So the feds have had to pretend there was some other reason why we should let the Syrians interrogate him, rather than doing it ourselves.

    I think they should have to explain that other reason in a court of law. Maybe they will; Arar’s case is on appeal as we speak.

  5. Steven Plunk says:

    Arar apparently held dual citizenship with Canada and Syria so why is sending him to Syria bad? Why did he keep citizenship in a country that tortures? Syria is somewhat of an enemy of the United States so do we think they tortured him for us? Did the Canadians say they didn’t want him? Did the Canadians suggest sending him to his other country of citizenship? Wasn’t he actually sent to Jordan then to Syria? I see a good number of unanswered questions here. In the mean time let’s all say it’s the fault of the US and it’s policies.

    What I don’t see is how this became all about Michele Malkin. I don’t think she sent him to Syria to be tortured.

  6. madmatt says:

    The point is not that he was held and questioned…it is that he was held, tortured, found not to be a terrorist and there is no recompense for taking a year of the mans life. Are you saying that we should be able to screw over peoples lives because they might be terrorists…a lifestyle bust for all practical purposes and then not be accountable? I mean chances are the guy as a software engineer earns a $100000 a year which he lost while we arranged for him to be tortured, should he not be entitled to compensation? And if not, why not?

  7. Anderson says:

    Arar apparently held dual citizenship with Canada and Syria so why is sending him to Syria bad?

    Because he asked not to be sent to Syria; because we had no authority to send him there; and because it was a *crime* to send him there in the expectation that he would be tortured.

    Of course, it’s not all the U.S.’s fault–“Canadian incompetence and American malice” combined, as I called it at my humble blog.

  8. Steven Plunk says:

    Interesting responses.

    I fail to see how we talked our enemy Syria into torturing one of it’s citizens. Since when did they become our ally? If he anti-American wouldn’t they welcome him and then let him go to Canada?

    He was held based upon evidence (later proven wrong) presented to us by Canada. So the logic many put forth here is that we cannot arrest suspects of criminal activity for questioning? All people arrested and later found not guilty are entitled to compensation? I believe we held him for two weeks then deported him.

    Since he was both a citizen of Canada and Syria where should we have sent him when Canada refused him? I believe we do have legal authority to deport non-citizens, do we not?

    What facts back up the statement that we expected and/or arranged his torture in Syria? What facts support the claim of American malice?

    The simple fact is we are not responsible for the horror of what this man claims to have gone through. Syria is responsible for it, not us, not Canada.

    If I were him I would certainly not claim Syrian as my citizenship anymore.

  9. Anderson says:

    I fail to see how we talked our enemy Syria into torturing one of it’s citizens.

    Oh, I’m sure that was *real* hard. We asked nicely.

    What facts back up the statement that we expected and/or arranged his torture in Syria? What facts support the claim of American malice?

    Steven, I wish I had time to educate you on the facts of the case, but alas. You can inspect Katherine’s posts at ObWi and learn all about it.

  10. Kenny says:

    “I would certainly not claim Syrian as my citizenship anymore.”

    I don’t think you get a choice.

    Once a syrian , always a syrian seems to be the syrian law.

  11. Michael says:

    Not mentioned in the article is is that Arar was travelling in the US on a Canadian passport, not a Syrian one. May or may not be relevant.

    However, to address Steven Plunk:

    1.) Syria is not our enemy, and has in fact been an ally in the War on Terror. They are one of many countries suspected of being used by the CIA to interrogate enemy combatants.

    2.) Arar was travelling as a Canadian citizen (see passport blurb above). Anderson mentioned that he requested not to be deported to Syrian (I would like a link to verify that), and Canada never refused to allow him reentry. All of which should have made the decision to deport him to Canada very plain.

  12. Anderson says:

    I need to be writing this damn brief …

    Anderson mentioned that he requested not to be deported to Syrian (I would like a link to verify that),

    That, I can do:

    “The American authorities who handled Mr. Arar’s case treated Mr. Arar in a most regrettable fashion,” Justice O’Connor wrote in a three-volume report, not all of which was made public. “They removed him to Syria against his wishes and in the face of his statements that he would be tortured if sent there. Moreover, they dealt with Canadian officials involved with Mr. Arar’s case in a less than forthcoming manner.”

    Actually, A Most Regrettable Fashion would be a good title for a book about the Arar rendition.

  13. Steven Plunk says:

    Anderson,

    I appreciate the link to Katherine’s post. It was not helpful. It did, however, contain a link to the Arer report itself, which I read.

    No US government officials were interviewed, no direct evidence was presented other than testimony of those claiming Syrian torture, most of the evidence of torture is circumstantial (Syria tortures therefore anyone held by Syria can be assumed to have been tortured), the report itself does not affix blame but limits it’s scope to an opinion if Arer was tortured and what effects it has had upon him.

    There is no evidence linking any of this to the United States. None. There is no evidence of malice by US officials. None. There is no evidence of illegal acts by the US. None.

    Why are we reading so much into this report other than to put down the present administration? I submit that many are doing just that, using this as political weapon only.

    I am curious why the report is dated October 2005 and just now being discussed? Perhaps the current discussion of the treatment of detainees?

    Do you honestly believe we asked Syria to torture this man? You make such a claim in a post above. Again I ask for at least a rational argument to back it if not evidence. All this speculation and accusation is without merit.

  14. Steve Verdon says:

    I am curious why the report is dated October 2005 and just now being discussed? Perhaps the current discussion of the treatment of detainees?

    Or maybe it was the news article about the Judge’s findings dated yesterday?

    Do you honestly believe we asked Syria to torture this man?

    Yes, I’m inclined to believe him.

    You make such a claim in a post above. Again I ask for at least a rational argument to back it if not evidence.

    Well, hasn’t the President already admitted we had secret CIA prisons? Not exactly the best evidence there is, but I’m willing to believe that some in our government use rather unsavory tactics to extract information.

  15. lunacy says:

    Good work, Plunk.

    I’m still trying to see how Michelle is complicit in this case.

    Perhaps, like the gov’t, she’s guilty by conjecture and supposition too.

    Look, I don’t doubt the gov’t does bad things. Maybe even something exactly like this.

    Or even this very thing.

    But believing it doesn’t make it so. There’s already enough made up negative propaganda going around that adding more is not helpful.

    At least not to the side I hope prevails.

    There’s just an awful lot of accusing and “wrongly tolds” going on with little evidence.

    Lunacy

  16. Katherine says:

    “Why did he keep citizenship in a country that tortures”

    It was not a choice. He was born there. Syria does not allow anyone born there to renounce their citizenship.

  17. Katherine says:

    “No US government officials were interviewed”

    This is because US government officials refused to cooperate with the inquiry.

  18. Steve Verdon says:

    Good work, Plunk.

    I’m still trying to see how Michelle is complicit in this case.

    Perhaps, like the gov’t, she’s guilty by conjecture and supposition too.

    Look, I don’t doubt the gov’t does bad things. Maybe even something exactly like this.

    Or even this very thing.

    But believing it doesn’t make it so. There’s already enough made up negative propaganda going around that adding more is not helpful.

    Malkin is the one who would favor somethine very much like this, IMO.

    “No US government officials were interviewed”

    This is because US government officials refused to cooperate with the inquiry.

    Yes, the more standard way of explaining this is that the absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence…in this case of wrong doing.

  19. […] If you’re not familiar with the story, Canada swept up a man named Maher Arar in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. They sent him to us, because his name came up on a terror watch list. We sent him to Syria. He alleges, and the press and some bloggers swallowed his story whole, that we rendered him to Syria for torture to find out what he might know about terrorists. He was innocent and is now free to accuse us of rendering for the purpose of torture, bank shotting him into our domestic interrogation debate. […]

  20. […] Outside Beltway – … and refer to this post. Those doing it manually should ensure they have linked the post before sending the TrackBack ping. … not all the U.S.’s fault—”Canadian incompetence and American malice” combined, as I called it at my humble blog. … Read more… […]

  21. […] If you’re not familiar with the story, Canada swept up a man named Maher Arar in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. They sent him to us, because his name came up on a terror watch list. We sent him to Syria. He alleges, and the press and some bloggers swallowed his story whole, that we rendered him to Syria for torture to find out what he might know about terrorists. He was innocent and is now free to accuse us of rendering for the purpose of torture, bank shotting him into our domestic interrogation debate. […]