More on Maher Arar

So this came out on a quiet summer Friday:

Deported Canadian Was No Threat, Report Shows

According to suppressed portions of a Canadian inquiry recently ordered declassified, Canadian officials knew the U.S. would send Maher Arar abroad to be tortured before turning information on him over, and that both the Americans and Syrians felt he wasn’t a threat (but, complete the sentence, had him tortured anyway). And although the U.S. defense was that Arar was sent to Syria as an immigration matter, this report indicates the CIA handled the transfer.

Some other tidbits:

-‘Fourteen days after Mr. Arar was detained, while changing planes at Kennedy International Airport [so Oct 10, 2002], Jack Hooper, the assistant director of operations at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, wrote, “I think the U.S. would like to get Arar to Jordan, where they can have their way with him.”
The next day, an unidentified Canadian intelligence liaison officer in Washington sent a report to the agency noting that “when the C.I.A. or the F.B.I. cannot legally hold a terrorist suspect, or wish a target questioned in a firm manner, they have them rendered to countries willing to fulfill that role,” the inquiry said. “He said Mr. Arar was a case in point.”’

-‘Once in Syria, Mr. Arar did not impress his Syrian captors. “The Syrians do not appear to view this as a major case and seemed to look upon the matter as more of a nuisance than anything else,” a delegation from the Canadian intelligence agency wrote in an e-mail message from Syria to their head office.’

This last quote prompts the question I have asked here before: Why Syria? With so many torture-friendly allies, with our fondness for doing it ourselves, what trustworthy intelligence did we expect to come from a country we consider a state sponsor of terror? The Syrians, if we are to believe this Canadian intelligence delegate’s finding, didn’t even know why they had Arar. That may be as good an indication we get that we didn’t care about the intelligence, the torture was for its own sake.


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