Oops, Our Bad – A Story

Says here in the New York Times that, “Canadian Police Errors Led to Man's Torture, Inquiry Finds.” That is, a mistake in Canada – a software engineer was “wrongly identified” as an “Islamic extremist” – caused Maher Arar (the engineer), who happens to hold Syrian nationality and Canadian nationality, was arrested by USA in New York in 2002, accused of being a member of the old al-Qaedas and sent to Damascus prisons where he was “repeatedly tortured” for a year. Good work. God’s work.

Oops, our bad, little fella! But, the Canadians messed up. Not the USA. Never the USA. We do Good Work. We do God’s work.

Arar's World Wide Web Internets site here

The good news for Canada is that no evidence was found that the Canadian government had played any direct role in the U.S. decision to deport Arar to Syria. They just fucked up. The U.S.A. all on our own decided to steal and torture the guy.

The public security minister in Canada (Stockwell Day) offered, “What happened to Mr. Arar is very regrettable. We hope ... never to see this happen again…'' U.S. agencies declined to be questioned by O'Connor as to why they had deported Arar. Because questioning the U.S.A. on these matters are akin to joining up with the old al-Qaeda team. How dare you question the U.S.A?

And, this from the SF Chronicle from a couple of years back:

“He asked for a lawyer and was told he could not have one. He asked to call his family, but phone calls were not permitted. Instead, he was clapped into shackles and, for several days, made to "disappear." His family was frantic.

Finally, he was allowed to make a call. His government expected that Arar's right of safe passage under its passport would be respected. But it wasn't. Arar denied any connection to terrorists. He was not accused of any crimes, but U.S. agents wanted him questioned further by someone whose methods might be more persuasive than theirs.

So, they put Arar on a private plane and flew him to Washington, D.C. There, a new team, presumably from the CIA, took over and delivered him, by way of Jordan, to Syrian interrogators. This covert operation was legal, our Justice Department later claimed, because Arar is also a citizen of Syria by birth. The fact that he was a Canadian traveling on a Canadian passport, with a wife, two children and job in Canada, and had not lived in Syria for 16 years, was ignored. The Justice Department wanted him to be questioned by Syrian military intelligence, whose interrogation methods our government has repeatedly condemned.”

Doh! But, wait, there’s more:

“The Syrians locked Arar in an underground cell the size of a grave: 3 feet wide, 6 feet long, 7 feet high. Then they questioned him, under torture, repeatedly, for 10 months. Finally, when it was obvious that their prisoner had no terrorist ties, they let him go, 40 pounds lighter, with a pronounced limp and chronic nightmares.

Our intelligence agencies have a name for this torture-by-proxy. They call it "extraordinary rendition." As one intelligence official explained: "We don't kick the s --- out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the s --- out of them.”

Ouch! They wrote, “shit.”

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. Oh well.

Well. It’s a darn good thing that our president wants to keep this shit up. And to Mr. Arar…dude, you got dissed. But, hey, we're doing Good work. God's work.

U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.