Friday, January 26, 2007
Canada rewards man considered a terrorist in the U.S.
Canada's Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is to announce today a $10 million settlement with Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen who was kidnapped by U.S. agents from a flight that had stopped over at New York's JFK Airport. (In the U.S. we now refer to kidnappings conducted by government officials as "extraordinary renditions.") Arar was subsequently flown to Syria to be tortured.
Harper will also apologize to Arar for the role the Royal Canadian Mounted Police played in passing false information to U.S. authorities. The Canadian Parliament has already issued an apology.
Italy has also been implicated in the case. It allowed the U.S. flight to stop over in Rome as it was conveying Arar to Syria. The European Union is urging Italy to issue an apology.
Canada's Globe and Mail editorialized—
Maher Arar's financial claim against the Canadian government for its role in his year of incarceration and torture in Syria is a unique case that merits a unique response. A just award will involve many millions of dollars, at a level unprecedented in Canada. This was far worse than the catastrophic failures of the legal system that have produced wrongful convictions in this country. It involved the total denial of due process to a Canadian citizen, and a form of punishment beyond anything remotely acceptable in our society.
What is beyond the "remotely acceptable" in Canada is more than acceptable in the U.S. Arar is still on the U.S. watch list despite protests from the Canadian government, which has taken a peek at U.S. evidence against Arar and found it wanting.
But Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales insist that keeping Arar out of the U.S. is "appropriate." Of course, it is. There's no sense letting that man get near a courthouse.
Are you enjoying rule by secret fiat yet? So efficient!
Joke of the Day (8/12/05)