Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Which side are you on?

According to the New York Times
A [Canadian] government commission on Monday exonerated a Canadian computer engineer of any ties to terrorism and issued a scathing report that faulted Canada and the United States for his deportation four years ago to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured…
The Syrian-born Mr. Arar was seized on Sept. 26, 2002, after he landed at Kennedy Airport in New York on his way home [to Canada] from a holiday in Tunisia. On Oct. 8, he was flown to Jordan in an American government plane and taken overland to Syria, where he says he was held for 10 months in a tiny cell and beaten repeatedly with a metal cable. He was freed in October 2003, after Syrian officials concluded that he had no connection to terrorism and returned him to Canada…[while he was being held in New York before being shipped to Syria] American officials denied Mr. Arar’s requests to speak with the Canadian Consulate in New York, a violation of international agreements. [And the US Government has blocked Mr. Arar from suing the United States government to receive compensation for his suffering.]

Read the entire story

Of course, none of this was legal even by the degraded standards of the Bush Administration. Mr. Arar was not an illegal combatant taken prisoner on a battlefield. He was a Canadian citizen on his way home to Canada from vacation.
He was seized at the airport in New York, held without being charged, not allowed to contact the Canadian embassy and then shipped off to Syria to be tortured. He could not have been arraigned or charged because it turns out there was not only no evidence of wrong-doing that would stand up in court -- there was no evidence at all because he had done nothing wrong and was not a threat or a danger to anyone. And now the US Government is preventing him from seeking redress and compensation for the wrongs done to him by the US in the US courts.

We overthrew Saddam Hussein in order to bring American style freedom and justice to Iraq. If this is American freedom and justice you have to wonder why we bothered. It seems pretty much the same as Iraqi freedom and justice under Saddam Hussein.

Judging by the actions (or inactions) of the Republican majority in Congress up to now it seems safe to assume that none of people in the United States responsible for this outrage will ever be held accountable for these illegal and barbaric acts as long as Republicans remain in control of Congress. Voters in the Illinois 17th and Iowa 1st Congressional Districts, as in many districts around the country, have a clear choice between a Republican candidate who backs the Bush Administration’s policies and actions and wants to see them continue and a Democratic candidate who does not.

Which side are you on?

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