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Arar releases statement
November 5, 2003 2:16 AM   Subscribe

Arar releases statement: "There were cats and rats up there, and from time to time the cats peed through the opening into the cell. There were two blankets, two dishes and two bottles. One bottle was for water and the other one was used for urinating during the night. Nothing else. No light.

I spent 10 months, and 10 days inside that grave."
a follow-up to my previous thread
posted by The God Complex (96 comments total)

 
They had not asked about this in the United States. They kept beating me so I had to falsely confess and told them I did go to Afghanistan. I was ready to confess to anything if it would stop the torture. They wanted me to say I went to a training camp.

I was so scared I urinated on myself twice. The beating was less severe each of the following days.

At the end of each day, they would always say, ‘Tomorrow will be harder for you.’ So each night, I could not sleep. I did not sleep for the first four days, and slept no more than two hours a day for about two months. Most of time, I was not taken back to my cell, but to the waiting room where I could hear all the prisoners being tortured and screaming.

posted by The God Complex at 2:20 AM on November 5, 2003


I'm sorry, but I could just not make myself finish reading that.
Maybe I'll try again after a few drinks.
posted by spazzm at 2:51 AM on November 5, 2003


Who are these people who deported him and where can we find them...
posted by iamck at 2:54 AM on November 5, 2003


Thank god that the America was able to bring another convicted terrorist to justice.


posted by Keyser Soze at 3:08 AM on November 5, 2003


Please excuse my poor grammar.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:09 AM on November 5, 2003


What a whining damn crybaby. Hey, boy, we don't need no boo hooin damn towel heads here. This is Amurrica son, if you don't like it, get your sand humpin ass out of here and stay out!

Good christ almighty, we oughta round 'em all up. Send 'em back to Dirtastan or wherever the hell they came from.

Proud to be an American.
posted by damnitkage at 3:48 AM on November 5, 2003


Not.
posted by damnitkage at 3:48 AM on November 5, 2003


My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty...

I am shocked at the barbarity but overwhelmed by the stupidity. Surely it is perfectly clear that ANYONE would confess to ANYTHING under such circumstance. Given that, the point of such cruelty can only be the satisfaction of the torturer. Therefore this is institutionalized sadism.

How can I now view the above Star Spangled Banner, so thoughtfully provided by Keyser Soze, and feel pride? The leaders of the land I love had their hand in this!

The only redemption that can be made is to bring justice to those who have so desecrated the Principles of the United States. What is that flag without them? Merely the symbol of another nation whose only claim to fame is being the biggest bully on the planet.

Of course they attempt to stand on the fact that it did not take place on American soil. Crimes against humanity are crimes, regardless of the place of their commitment. The Declaration of Independence speaks of "unalienable rights endowed by the creator". It does not limit the scope of those rights to American citizens or American soil. Of course the lawyers are quick to point out that this document is not the Constitution. But that need not be for these words extend those rights to all humanity everywhere. It's self evident.
posted by Goofyy at 4:04 AM on November 5, 2003


I don't suppose he has any corroboration for any of this. We're just supposed to take his word for it.
posted by mischief at 4:23 AM on November 5, 2003


Well, let's see. Is he a Syrian-born Canadian citizen? Should be easy to check. Was he deported to Syria instead of Canada by the US? Should be easy to check (or, at the very least, if the paperwork has "disappeared" we can assume it's true with a high probability of being correct...) Was he tortured? A physical examination should be able to verify that. Was he forced to sign a confession? Was he kept in a small cell? Those last two might not be so easy to verify, but frankly I'd sack the morons responsible for deporting him to Syria anyway, so the last two don't make a blind bit of difference to me.
posted by kaemaril at 4:57 AM on November 5, 2003


Sounded reasonable to me, given my limited knowledge of torture (it seems like "most" torture is much more tedious than the kind of horrific stuff that's assumed in popular culture). [on preview - kaemaril, i'm not sure you can check for torture like this; it's mainly bruising, exhaustion and mental pressure. permanent damage might be mental, but how do you measure that, and how do you show the correlation?]

I guess it wasn't linked here (the decision was some time in the last week), but I understand the UK legal system will now admit evidence extracted during torture. Yay for the UK too.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:04 AM on November 5, 2003


....will now admit evidence extracted during torture... yikes.
posted by dabitch at 5:14 AM on November 5, 2003


Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is a force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. —George Washington, terrorist/freedom fighter
posted by rushmc at 5:48 AM on November 5, 2003


There are so many possible explanations for this that pointing fingers at the US Govt is futile. For example what if the US Govt has a bounty/reward system in place for Syria to hand over terrorists so Syria tries to create them from nothing as a revenue source. Or what if it isnt Syria but some rouge Syrian leader masterminding it. Just some ideas.
posted by stbalbach at 5:57 AM on November 5, 2003


stbalbach you overlook the fact that a Canadian citizen was refused access to his government's counsel then deported to another country which was neither from where he came nor the country of his citizenship.
posted by Goofyy at 6:09 AM on November 5, 2003


Any question mark over his telling the truth or not is surely removed by his seeking an inquiry. I dont that think a person with something to hide would want one.
posted by kenaman at 6:14 AM on November 5, 2003


On an almost daily basis I become even more disillusioned by the inner machinations of this country.
posted by shoepal at 6:32 AM on November 5, 2003


"I was accused of being a terrorist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
posted by ed at 6:37 AM on November 5, 2003


Some of you need to remove thine head from thine ass.

Whether or not this fellow is indeed involved in terrorist activities, his treatment was at the hands of Syria, NOT THE UNITED STATES, OR CANADA.

How typical of you so-called liberals to completely ignore the despicable behavior of a tyrannical regime, that offers nothing in the way of human right to its citizens, while endlessly criticizing the U.S.

As for Mr. Arar, I'm going to wait for the results of the investigation, rather than take HIS word for it.
posted by saturn5 at 6:52 AM on November 5, 2003


People suck. (that's not an excuse.)

A philospohical question on torture, for those of you that are more well-read than me: What is the point of torturing someone until they either give a confession or the information you demand? The torturee' is under extreme duress, and is likely to make errors in the information given, even if it is something he knows much about. If he knows nothing of that which you speak, then the information he gives will be useless, and could even obscure the real perpetrators (assuming there's actually a crime) enough that they are permanently off the hook. If the information gleaned from torture is suspect even when it's not a complete fable, what is the point, besides, as Goofyy said, "the satisfaction of the torturer"?
posted by notsnot at 7:00 AM on November 5, 2003


Whether or not this fellow is indeed involved in terrorist activities, his treatment was at the hands of Syria, NOT THE UNITED STATES

Apparently you skipped over the first portion of his statement?

Also, if you believe that the U.S. was unaware of the consequences of sending him to Syria, then that stink you are smelling is your own.
posted by rushmc at 7:05 AM on November 5, 2003


How typical of you so-called liberals to completely ignore the despicable behavior of a tyrannical regime, that offers nothing in the way of human right to its citizens, while endlessly criticizing the U.S.

and how typical of you so-called "conservatives" to hide behind, "you just hate america!" who handed Arar to the Syrians?
posted by mcsweetie at 7:06 AM on November 5, 2003


saturn5: How typical of you so-called neocons to fail to see the ramifications of some dunderheaded U.S. government policy. Or perhaps you'd feel different if your ass was escorted into some metallic room, there was no proof to back up the charges laid down, and you were denied habeas corpus. The question here: are the callous fucks who sent Ahar to Syria just as guilty as those who tortured him?
posted by ed at 7:09 AM on November 5, 2003


Saturn5, except, he was singled out in the first place. In the US. Interrogated. In the US. Given an unknown vaccine. In the US. Forced to sign papers he was not allowed to read. In the US. He was refused a phone call to the outside world for two weeks. In the US. Refused both US legal representation and Canadian counsel. In the US. Deported to neither the country of his flight's origin, nor the country where he claimed citizenship. From the US. Whereupon in Syria he received more torture, yes, but whose reading comprehension skills suck? Or was it the shit in your eyes from having your head up your ass that obscured your view?
posted by notsnot at 7:10 AM on November 5, 2003


Er...Arar, and what mcsweetie said. Must have been thinking of Murnau's The Last Laugh.
posted by ed at 7:10 AM on November 5, 2003


If the information gleaned from torture is suspect even when it's not a complete fable, what is the point, besides, as Goofyy said, "the satisfaction of the torturer"?

It's not so much the effect upon those actually being tortured that is desired as the creation of a climate of fear and suspicion that promotes cooperation and complicity in others. Similar to the goals of terrorism.

Do you think the man I saw being arrested in Union Square in Manhattan on Monday for speaking out against Bush and his policies was arrested because the police feared his words, or as an object lesson in the consequences of speaking up for the crowd that had gathered to hear him?
posted by rushmc at 7:14 AM on November 5, 2003


rushmc, mcsweetie, ed, notsnot

Arar is not a US citizen, was suspected of terrorist connections, is a Syrian national. If the evidence shows that the suspicion was valid, nothing wrong was done, except by the Syrians that tortured him.

For all your condemnations of the US, where the fuck is your outrage at Syria's actions.

I know, it's because you don't really give two shits about Arar, just your pathological hatred for your own country.

You people disgust me.
posted by saturn5 at 7:20 AM on November 5, 2003


What terrorist connections was he suspected of, saturn5? Oh, wait, I forgot. He was born in Syria and lived there for 17 years. I have outrage at Syria in liberal amounts. But so should the American govt. They should bloody well know the consequences of deporting someone there, especially if they "suspect" him of being a terrorist.

Where's your outrage, saturn5? Where's your anger at this government that so willingly sends suspects, against whom they have no proof but for confessions signed without being read to countries where violence against detainees is de rigeur?

I know I'm feeding the troll here, but don't accuse people of pathological hatred while you, yourself, are victim to your own pathological ignorance.
posted by dazed_one at 7:33 AM on November 5, 2003


Before we dump on the USA....let's look into this case further.

Maher Arar calls his arrest and deportation to Syria a kidnapping. What troubles me is how Canada provided documents to the USA on Maher Arar. The RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] and CSIS [Canadian Security and Intelligence Service] appear to have completely played into the hands of the USA and the Canadian government appears to be responsible for his deportation.

The CBC has his timeline beginning September 26, 2002, when it all started including articles.

I give credit to his wife Monia Mazigh for keeping on enquiring to her husband's disappearance for so long.

Another Syrian born Canadian is in jail in Syria. Abdullah Almalki was arrested in May 2002 when he went to Damascus for a family visit. He has been held without charge in Syria.

William Sampson, another Canadian who was recently also tortured and jailed in Syria.

Anna Marie Tremonti [cbc's The Current, radioone] interviewed human rights lawyer and MP, Irwin Cotler today. The cbc's web site is way behind posting this interview, hopefully in a week it'll be up.

Lorne Waldman, Arar's lawyer "It appears that our people are willing to use rogue states like Syria to do what they're not allowed to do at home," Waldman said.

Canadians gave Us Arar data:Ex Envoy Claims

More related stories, see right hand sidebar.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham is looking like an ineffective, lilly livered minister, not cut out for his job and in over his puny head. Three cases in a short span: William Sampson, Maher Arar and Abdullah Almalki. Not a great track record.

Saturn5, you may want remove thine own head from thine own ass and ask yourself what possible reason would he have to lie?
posted by alicesshoe at 7:34 AM on November 5, 2003


I know, it's because you don't really give two shits about Arar, just your pathological hatred for your own country.

You people disgust me.


Oh, thank god. It's been, what, months since anyone's trotted out the "why do you hate America so much?" line. Thanks in advance for killing this thread.
posted by mkultra at 7:35 AM on November 5, 2003


saturn5 is joking, right? It's a characature, right? Right?
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:39 AM on November 5, 2003


is a Syrian national

I read in one of the articles that he has a dual Syrian - Canadian citizenship. So he could have choosen to be deported to either country. He said Canada, they said Syria.
posted by sebas at 7:39 AM on November 5, 2003


saturn5, I think that there is plenty of outrage at Syria's actions. I'm outraged. It's horrible.

On the other hand, Syria's actions are not done in the name of the citizen's of the United States. The deportation and other violations were. Hence, my outrage at that, as well.

I am shocked that you think that criticism of the United States is tantamount to pathological hatred. I can absolutely love my country and be aghast at its misdeeds as well.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:40 AM on November 5, 2003


I am a Syrian-born Canadian

Um...Saturn it seems to me that he wasn't Syrian. That being said, who gives a rats ass where he was from. He was, by all accounts, mistreated by both the U.S. and Syria.

Just doing my part to disgust you even more.
posted by damnitkage at 7:43 AM on November 5, 2003


Actually, saturn5, between your ability to ignore the issues raised above about exactly what your own country (and its various puppetry) did, and your show 'em your heels retreat into a stupid jingoism, it appears you'd fit in perfectly in Syria.

No doubt in Syria (and in the America you and your ilk apparently long for) any questioning of authority is met with the chickenheartedness of the utterly vacuous "Why do you hate your country so much?" No doubt the Syrian overlords echo your "you people disgust me" whimpering whenever they encounter free thought in the populace.

In between bouts of racist profiling "terrorist arrests" and fingernail pulling, one supposes.

So there's your fucking outrage....outrage that your brand of bullshit is the pathetic gospel of the dittohead/freeper/Syrian parrot nation.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:04 AM on November 5, 2003


saturn5: I know, it's because you don't really give two shits about reading comprehension or rational discussion, just your pathological hatred for anything outside your dopey, slackjawed, and dickless lack of adaptability to thought or opinion. Are you outraged because you cannot come to terms with the idea that Uncle Sam screwed up here? Can you not acknowledge this idea in some form when historical evidence suggests otherwise? Is it because you cannot contemplate the idea that one can love one's country and critique one's governmental policies at the same time? Or because you are, au fond, incapable of citing proof or a reasonable argument to back up your peurile convictions?

Is it your plan in life to go through without any sense of disgust? If so, I marvel at how emotionally flatline your daily existence must be. I wonder at how you can function or what you must be like on a date. The lady (or man) says something you disagree with, just one small point, in a candlelit restaurant where her beautiful skin is limned by the orange glow, where the food is good and the wine's even better. But instead of trying to understand it (thus, getting to know this foxy lady further and considering another perspective), you dismiss this bodacious exemplar as "pathological" and you go home to continue your predictable, unwavering onanism. Because, hell does not bend for leather, dammit. The only universe is saturn5's universe. And if they won't get on board my galleon, well then, good gravy, they must be pathological mofos!

You, sir, are either the most incredible cartoon walking the planet or a textbook case for the DSM-IV.
posted by ed at 8:09 AM on November 5, 2003


Perhaps we should start economic sanctions against the US.
alicesshoe: thanks for the rundown.
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:15 AM on November 5, 2003


People like saturn5 are even worse than people like the Syrian torturers (which does not make the torturers one whit better than they are, it goes without saying). There is no one worse than someone who pretends that things are other than they are. If your ideology cannot survive contact with reality, ABANDON IT, dammit.
posted by rushmc at 8:23 AM on November 5, 2003


I now consider disgusting saturn5 an act of patriotism.
posted by moonbiter at 8:25 AM on November 5, 2003


I now consider disgusting saturn5 an act of patriotism.

Hm. That was an uncalled for, ad hominem attack, and I regret it.

nothing wrong was done, except by the Syrians that tortured him

If you cannot control your attack dog and it bites me, then you are responsible for my injury.
posted by moonbiter at 8:30 AM on November 5, 2003


saturn5: Since when are the actions of a handful of INS and FBI officials representative of "my country" as a whole? If I complain about the treatment I received from a police officer, does that mean I hate the US?

When situations that are this far outside the norm (and I seriously hope this isn't standard procedure) occur, I'd like to think that the country as a whole should step back and say "Hey, is this really what we want to happen in our name?" I don't even like it when I feel misrepresented in the workplace on minor issues; telling me to just accept ridiculous behavior at the national level is asinine.

That said, I'm still outraged by my own country's treatment of some of my fellow human beings. Arar left his home country to seek out a different (better?) life in Canada. It's a story that's in the ancestry of many people in North America. The US chose to ignore his Canadian citizenship and rights, which is inexcusable.

If a Canadian German-born Jew was travelling in the late 1930s back to his current home in Canada, would we be outraged if the US deported him to Germany? I would think so. The people involved in this case knew that Arar faced certain torture and possible death and sent him anyway. Unless there's some sort of evidence that hasn't come to light, this seems to be the worst sort of action they could take.
posted by mikeh at 8:36 AM on November 5, 2003


For all your condemnations of the US, where the fuck is your outrage at Syria's actions.

I know, it's because you don't really give two shits about Arar, just your pathological hatred for your own country.


The U.S. is governed "by the people", supposedly. Therefore I am partially responsible for this man's mistreatment - and so are you, if you are a U.S. citizen. It makes me just a little bit uncomfortable when such cruelties are committed in my name, and just a bit unhappy with the elected officials who authorize them. Syria - well, it's not my country, and there's nothing I can do about the place except not go there.

Can you honestly claim that you don't understand this, or are you just looking for an excuse to bash anyone you think of as a political opponent?
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:37 AM on November 5, 2003


What is the point of torturing someone until they either give a confession or the information you demand? The torturee' is under extreme duress, and is likely to make errors in the information given, even if it is something he knows much about.

notsnot: I used to wonder about this too. But in addition to the fear-spreading factor mentioned by rushmc, you have to bear in mind that torturers (and those who order the torturing) don't think about guilt the way you and I do. And it's not only a matter of torture; even in societies where torture is not (often or openly) practiced, it is common for guilt to be assumed by the simple fact of being singled out for arrest. "Innocent until proved guilty" is a hard-won achievement of English common law (from which America got it). If you assume the person under arrest is guilty, the priority becomes making them admit it. Even here in the US, presumption of innocence is honored more in the civics classroom than in the police station and courthouse; people are routinely pressured to confess as part of a plea bargain, and vengeful prosecutors throw the book at anyone who insists on their right to a trial by a jury of their peers. And torture itself (known traditionally as "the third degree") is not unknown here. If you take away both presumption of innocence and legal restraints on the use of force, you're going to get routine torture, as in much of the Middle East. The point is not to produce verifiable facts but to degrade someone who is presumed a threat/disgrace to society and to get a signed confession that can be used against them. For an extreme example of all this, read about Stalin's show trials of 1936-38. Here's a telling quote (Stalin to his soon-to-be-purged secret service chief, Yagoda): "You work poorly, Genrikh Grigorievich. I already have reliable information that Kirov was killed on orders from Zinoviev and Kamenev, yet you still haven’t been able to prove it! You have to torture them so that they finally tell the truth and reveal all their ties." (Stalin knew perfectly well the Old Bolsheviks Zinoviev and Kamenev had nothing to do with Kirov's murder, which may have been ordered by Stalin himself.)

Sorry about the length; I hope this helps.
posted by languagehat at 8:41 AM on November 5, 2003


Is there a law about mentioning Stalin in an argument?
posted by stbalbach at 8:51 AM on November 5, 2003


Actually, saturn5, between your ability to ignore the issues raised above about exactly what your own country (and its various puppetry) did

Uh, is saturn5 even American? From the profile page and weblog link, he just appears to be an Arab-hating Canadian.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:00 AM on November 5, 2003


I'm following this case as closely as I can, and it seems to me that the problem may be Canadian. Though it appears that a lot of odd things were done on the American side, I have a sinking feeling that the Canadians were asked to take Arar and refused, leaving the Americans with the option to hold on to him or send him on to Syria.

I don't support the US sending him on to Syria of course, and I will be as critical of the US as anyone else on this thread. Both of our countries have signed treaties about deporting people into torture and should be examined over those charges. But I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and the Canadian government to be foreced to own up to its own horrible decisions.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:05 AM on November 5, 2003


Is there a law about mentioning Stalin in an argument?

Uh-oh...
*sleeps in clothes, awaits knock on door*
posted by languagehat at 9:09 AM on November 5, 2003


This makes me so fucking angry I don't know what to do. Saturn5, yes, I am angry and disgusted at what Syria did. But I don't live in Syria and it wasn't done in my name. The rights of this man were denied for no apparent reason in my country, in my name, and that is absolutely inexcusable.

I don't hate this country, but I sure hate the path we are taking. There is no excuse in the WORLD, in fact, it is against the LAW to do what we did to him. If we wanted to get him out of the country, why not ship him to Canada for them to deal with? Why Syria? Why did we contain him anyway? Reread what Notsnot said above...all those things that you expect a country like Syria to do were done here in the USA. Who's to say that this won't happen to you or someone you know? How can you not be scared and really really angry? And who is responsible for this? THE USA and all of us, if we don't get angry and do something about it.
posted by aacheson at 9:37 AM on November 5, 2003


reading this makes me want to mash george w. bush's face in the shit of jesus, and force him to drink the vomitus of mohammad. it is far past time to remove these insane criminals from power.
posted by quonsar at 10:02 AM on November 5, 2003


moonbiter

If you cannot control your attack dog and it bites me, then you are responsible for my injury.

What are you suggesting, here? The U.S. is NOT Syria's keeper. Your analogy is not relevant.

---

And to most of the rest of you: thank-you for confirming that it is truly the Liberal mind that is unable to cope with a dissenting opinion.
posted by saturn5 at 10:04 AM on November 5, 2003


Armitage Shanks

Uh, is saturn5 even American? From the profile page and weblog link, he just appears to be an Arab-hating Canadian.

Exactly how do I appear to be Arab-hating? More hollow libel from a hollow mind.
posted by saturn5 at 10:09 AM on November 5, 2003


Andrew Cooke: [on preview - kaemaril, i'm not sure you can check for torture like this; it's mainly bruising, exhaustion and mental pressure. permanent damage might be mental, but how do you measure that, and how do you show the correlation?] It was my understanding that in many cases, especially beatings, prolonged torture can lead to subcutaneous physical damage (and often nerve damage) that isn't immediately obvious upon casual inspection, but can be detected with more sophisticated testing. So that, prolonged torture can be detected even after the bruises have worn off and the victim's been made presentable. At least, that's what I read a few months back on one of the Human Rights org websites (I think it was Amnesty, but I couldn't swear to it...)
posted by kaemaril at 10:09 AM on November 5, 2003


Washington Post coverage
posted by stbalbach at 10:14 AM on November 5, 2003


saturn5 states: The U.S. is NOT Syria's keeper

Hmm. I suggest you read this article from the Post:

Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Arar case fits the profile of a covert CIA "extraordinary rendition" -- the practice of turning over low-level, suspected terrorists to foreign intelligence services, some of which are known to torture prisoners.

Renditions are a legitimate option for dealing with suspected terrorists, intelligence officials argue. The U.S. government officially rejects the assertion that it knowingly sends suspects abroad to be tortured, but officials admit they sometimes do that. "The temptation is to have these folks in other hands because they have different standards," one official said. "Someone might be able to get information we can't from detainees," said another.

Syria, where use of torture during imprisonment has been documented by the State Department, maintains a secret but growing intelligence relationship with the CIA, according to intelligence experts.

posted by pitchblende at 10:15 AM on November 5, 2003


Good timeing pitchblade. I was just about to post the CIA quote. This story has merit.
posted by stbalbach at 10:17 AM on November 5, 2003


thank-you for confirming that it is truly the Liberal mind that is unable to cope with a dissenting opinion.

"Dissenting opinion"? That's an interesting way to spin a statement that starts with:
Some of you need to remove thine head from thine ass.

Thanks for comfirming who has whose head up their ass.
posted by badstone at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2003


thank-you for confirming that it is truly the Liberal mind that is unable to cope with a dissenting opinion.

1. I do not self-identify as a "Liberal," proving yet another of your assumptions false right off the bat.

2. It's not the dissension I have a problem with, but the ignorance and shallowness of your opinion. If you have an argument to present, please do; otherwise, the site culture at Metafilter is strongly anti-troll, so expect to reap as ye sow.
posted by rushmc at 10:20 AM on November 5, 2003


Even here in the US, presumption of innocence is honored more in the civics classroom than in the police station and courthouse; people are routinely pressured to confess as part of a plea bargain, and vengeful prosecutors throw the book at anyone who insists on their right to a trial by a jury of their peers. And torture itself (known traditionally as "the third degree") is not unknown here.

Nor does it help that such "techniques" are routinely depicted in a positive light on American police and legal dramas. The "good guys" of the shows are shown to get "good results" from such heavy-handed methods and the disregard for civil rights is airily dismissed or never addressed. And we wonder why attitudes shift and people aren't aware of/don't care to defend their rights and those of others? Think about that the next time you see Sipowicz shouting in some "perp's" ear in holding or collusion between attornies on The Practice. (And don't even get me started on the immoral hunk of steaming tripe that is Cops.)
posted by rushmc at 10:28 AM on November 5, 2003


Hey I'm a Liberal. A fucking commie, pinko to the core. That being said, I can and do appreciate a dissenting opinion, however I don't appreciate an across the board attack.
posted by damnitkage at 10:33 AM on November 5, 2003


Saturn5, here's an analogy for you...

You have recently adopted a child who formerly lived in an abusive home. Your child is walking by my house when I grab him and drag him into my home. I hold him there for several weeks. I don't allow him to call you. I know he's adopted. He asks that I give him back to you, and tells me that if I return him to his birth home he will be tortured and beaten. I return him to his birth home anyway, and there he remains for ten months, being beaten and tortured.

Have I done anything wrong?
posted by orange swan at 10:40 AM on November 5, 2003


not if you suspect the child of being a terrorist.
posted by mkultra at 10:56 AM on November 5, 2003


orange swan

Equating a grown man, fully capable of being a danger to society, and an innocent child, is preposterous.

Try again.

Furthermore, if I adopt a child, and I eventually suspect he might just be plotting the demise of my other children: out the house he goes, until I know one way or the other.
posted by saturn5 at 11:03 AM on November 5, 2003


Guys...don't feed the troll. It's a pointless endeavor that just frustrates you and makes it feel empowered.
posted by dejah420 at 11:08 AM on November 5, 2003


And to most of the rest of you: thank-you for confirming that it is truly the Liberal mind that is unable to cope with a dissenting opinion.

truly. you conservative people make me sick!
posted by mcsweetie at 11:17 AM on November 5, 2003


So do you send this *suspected* child to a place where he will be tortured to a confession of a plot or to a foster home or juvenile corrections hall where he will be relatively safe and the matter investigated properly?

But never mind, saturn5. dejah420 is right - it's pointless to try and reason with a troll.

I'm concerned about Canada's actions too. Bill Graham should have been jumping down some American and Syrian throats about this one. And those allegations that Canada refused to take him back... my God, that better not be true. I hope Arar and his family can find out the truth and that everyone who did wrong (whether they be Canadian, American or Syrian) in this has to pay dearly for it.
posted by orange swan at 11:35 AM on November 5, 2003


Saturn5, the US INS agents had absolutely no right to deport a Canadian citizen with a valid Canadian passport to Syria.

End of discussion.

And, yes, the worst abuses described were committed in Syria. But I, as a US citizen, don't have any control over that.

US INS agents, on the other hand, are my employees because my taxes pay their salaries. And their actions in deporting a Canadian citizen to Syria were unconscionable.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:38 AM on November 5, 2003


Orange Swan: Um ... yes. It's abduction, at the very least. It's illegal. Your analogy isn't a valid one. These actions appear to have been - at least on the face of it - legal. Scummy, disgusting, unethical and immoral - but still legal. It shouldn't be, of course, but I'm sure the INS will just mumble about a regrettable oversight and lobby vigourously to maintain the right to do what the hell they like...
posted by kaemaril at 11:42 AM on November 5, 2003


Equating a grown man, fully capable of being a danger to society, and an innocent child, is preposterous.

Children are not always innocent, nor adults always guilty.
posted by rushmc at 12:37 PM on November 5, 2003


This thread is incredibly disheartening, just like most threads relating to 9/11, terrorism and the war.

There's a lot of things that need to be addressed re: the aforementioned things but sadly, I don't think they ever will here. People just seem to use the events to ride their own personal hobbyhorses into the ground a la saturn 5 and others, or criticize (often justifiably) our government's and citizens reaction to these events. What I don't see is a whole lot of constructive ideas on how to adress the actual issues.

I agree, the war in Iraq is wrong, egeregious human rights abuses like the one detailed here disgust me and cannotbe tolerated. But by the same token, 9/11 happened, and the people responsible have not answwered for it and people have every right in the world to be angry about that. Terrorism is a continuing problem and people have every right to be appehensive about that. But what I keep hearing is "Why do you hate America?" in one ear and "We brought this on ourselves" or "It's all Israel/Bush/Halliburton/OJ Simpson's fault" in the other. And them both sides dismiss anyone who disagrees as a fascist/commie, liberal/neocon or simply stupid/insane/evil, without actually coming up with anything beyond platitudes or prejudice as to what to actually do about these things. It makes me wonder, do people here care more about winning arguments and having the opposing opinion of their ideological "enemy" or actually doing some good.
posted by jonmc at 12:45 PM on November 5, 2003


people just want to go to the movies jon. can't the world just leave them be?
posted by quonsar at 12:50 PM on November 5, 2003


Thanks for posting that, jonmc. I think you're right, partly at least. We MeFites could improve this site by shifting the focus of our discussions and making it more solution-oriented. Someone posted once (wish I knew whom) that politics really ought to be about solving problems instead of about who's team wins - it's a thought that has stayed with me. It's true - we ought to be working on managing our resources responsibly and making things better for everyone, instead of letting it deteriorate into a them vs. us.

I'm going to go poke around on the net and see what I can find out about this issue - there is much to be learned about it, and much to be done.
posted by orange swan at 1:03 PM on November 5, 2003


I'm concerned about Canada's actions too. Bill Graham should have been jumping down some American and Syrian throats about this one. And those allegations that Canada refused to take him back... my God, that better not be true. I hope Arar and his family can find out the truth and that everyone who did wrong (whether they be Canadian, American or Syrian) in this has to pay dearly for it.

I agree. Our government is a spineless tragedy. You know why? Because the majority of our population is made up of the same. Turn on a radio and you here lobbyists for the tourism industry complaining that travel is down because Americans think we hate them. Fair enough. Now, the possible recourse you might typically expect would be to educate Americans that it is possible for us to disagree with them and still not hate them. Instead, you get a lot of "I told them when the war started we should be helping our friends down south, and now we're losing jobs because of it!" as if fucking job security is enough to sanction murders abroad.

It's only going to get worse when they pass the kingship to Paul Martin.
posted by The God Complex at 1:05 PM on November 5, 2003


jonmc, I think the problem I have is that The Coalition Of The Killing has murdered far more people than were killed in 9/11, out of some sense of neo economic imperialism, plans outlined by the republic jackals years prior to 9/11.

The first plan to combat terrorism was a war on an idea, which is an impossibility. Fighting ideological hatred with guns and missles is so counterproductive it makes my head spin.

I think it's possible to stop terrorism without engaging in the very same acts, even if the geneva convention isn't your jurisdiction.
posted by The God Complex at 1:12 PM on November 5, 2003


"hear," I should say. I'm doing that a lot lately.
posted by The God Complex at 1:13 PM on November 5, 2003


This is Bill Graham's response and account of the mess, and is a very depressing read indeed.
posted by orange swan at 1:15 PM on November 5, 2003


This whole "hate your country" claptrap is completely ridiculous.

If I live in an amazing house that I was born in, but get a new landlord who decides to harass my neighbors, kick their dog and assault anyone less economically endowed than he (because he can afford all of the best lawyers to sic on them), and I complain about it, or rightly call him a thug, does that mean that I hate my house, or that I'm "dumping" on my house?

Can't I still love the ideals that this this country was supposedly founded upon, while simultaneously being disgusted by greedy, disingenuous, short sighted, power hungry thugs (no matter what their party affiliation)?

Is the administration (any administration), and the choices they make the same thing as the country proper? Not to me. Not at all.

(pardon my unwieldy grammar)
posted by eener at 1:21 PM on November 5, 2003


UK legal system will now admit evidence extracted during torture

Damn.

Do you think the man I saw being arrested in Union Square in Manhattan on Monday for speaking out against Bush and his policies

Double damn.

The people in this country that elect these crooks should be hung by their nutsack for treason.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:24 PM on November 5, 2003


saturn5: thank-you for confirming that it is truly the Liberal mind that is unable to cope with a dissenting opinion.

rushmc, a liberal?

(giggles to the point of hyperventalating, grabs paperbag, breathes in and out, becomes calm enough to clean the coffee off the monitor and continue typing)

saturn5, you crack me up!!

Who knew freepers had such a great sense of humor?
posted by echolalia67 at 1:25 PM on November 5, 2003


JonMC, the "people responsible for 9/11" got their visas to the US from Saudi through a program called Visa Express. Almost every one of the applications contained errors or lies. Nobody bothered to check up on these obviously bogus visa applications because the Saudis are our "friends".

Legal residents of Canada with valid Canadian passports, on the other hand, were not "responsible for 9/11" even if they were born in Syria.

It seems to me increasingly like the Homeland Security people can't do their actual job, so they provide the illusion of accomplishment by bullying perfectly law-abiding people with valid international documents.

Canada is the US's closest ally. Syria is one of the US's biggest enemies. How on Earth can it be appropriate for the US to deport a citizen of Canada, with valid documents, to Syria?
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:40 PM on November 5, 2003


jonmc, I think the problem I have is that The Coalition Of The Killing has murdered far more people than were killed in 9/11, out of some sense of neo economic imperialism, plans outlined by the republic jackals years prior to 9/11.

The God Complex: Thank you for proving the point of my second paragraph for me. Overheated rhetoric like that accomplishes nothing for anyone and you know it. Makes me wonder what the hell your motivation is because it certainly dosent seem to be convincing anyone. In fact the condescending, tone seems to imply that we (the US) had it coming somehow, and that'a an instant cue for me to disregard you.

The first plan to combat terrorism was a war on an idea, which is an impossibility. Fighting ideological hatred with guns and missles is so counterproductive it makes my head spin.

Again, a whole lotta what not to do, but no suggestions of alternatives.

Sidhedevil: I know that they were Saudi. I know that beuraucratic incompetence and regrettable foreign policy were contributing factors to 9/11. What I meant by people responsible was leaders like Bin Laden. Plus Al Qaeda is by all accounts international.
posted by jonmc at 1:53 PM on November 5, 2003


Well, I think that Joel Mowbray makes some good points in the article I linked. If existing regulations had been enforced, the 9/11 ringleaders wouldn't have been able to enter the US with impunity.

Enforcing existing regulations consistently seems like it would be a good start. On the one hand, we have people smuggling box-cutters and fake bombs into airplanes; on the other, we have people with perfectly legit international documents being hassled, deported to third-party nations, and arrested. Hell, even Ozzie and Harriet's son is considered a security risk.

My view is that the State Department and the Homeland Security department need to sit down together with a blue-ribbon panel (chaired, if I had my druthers, by Gary Hart and Warren Rudman) and review policies and procedures in an organized way. Then the policies and procedures should be implemented by properly trained personnel.

Also, I believe that every detainee should have access to legal representation and contact with his/her consulate or embassy, if he/she is a foreign national. If we are concerned that attorneys and consuls/attaches will somehow transmit secret information to terrorist overlords at home, then some protocol similar to the "check one box" postcards provided to World War I prisoners of war should be implemented. (So that POWs couldn't write in code, they were provided with pre-printed postcards that gave them an opportunity to check off a list that said things like "I am fine" "I am ill" "I was wounded but am recovering" etc.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:10 PM on November 5, 2003


And for some really good ideas about national security, check out the Hart-Rudman Report.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:13 PM on November 5, 2003


I told you what my problem was, not how I'd explain the problem to people I was trying to convince.

Again, a whole lotta what not to do, but no suggestions of alternatives.

Educate people about what America should stand for, work within the U.N. to stop terrorism in all its forms. Capture terrorists and work within the U.N. guidelines to extract information, treat them as you would treat any human being (this includes the removal of Guantanamo Bay as a "holding facility"). Stop calling it a "war" when it's anything but a war; they only do it so they can circumvent the accepted laws and hold people as prisoners withou legal counsel.

The fact that they're misplacing your freedoms (and mine, too, if you want to take a look at the anti-terrorism we passed up here in the great north) over one incidenct that had more to do with airline security and poor building design than national security. Your country has had, what, three serious terrorist attacks in the last fifteen years? The first WTC bombing, the building in Oklahoma (which was an in-house job), and this last one.

And I'm not even going to get into the failing of intelligence (intentional or otherwise), and what difference that might have played in such incidents.

In fact the condescending, tone seems to imply that we (the US) had it coming somehow, and that'a an instant cue for me to disregard you.


Not coming to you in the sense that you deserved it, because I don't believe people should exact revenge by violent means, but that doesn't mean it wasn't expected. A quick look at past US foreign policy will tell you that much.
posted by The God Complex at 2:14 PM on November 5, 2003


i'm a security risk, and damn proud of it.
posted by quonsar at 5:07 PM on November 5, 2003


9/11 happened, and the people responsible have not answwered for it and people have every right in the world to be angry about that.

Anger does NOT excuse bad behavior, jonmc. Period. No one is trying to tell people how to feel, only how to (or how not to) behave.
posted by rushmc at 6:08 PM on November 5, 2003


Thanks, America!
posted by monkeymike at 7:36 PM on November 5, 2003


The government is not the country.
posted by shabrem at 9:18 PM on November 5, 2003


s5: "a grown man, fully capable of being a danger to society"

*spitting out coffee* Ummm, ignore him folks, this is trollsprache.
posted by shabrem at 9:29 PM on November 5, 2003


saturn5 says: As for Mr. Arar, I'm going to wait for the results of the investigation, rather than take HIS word for it.

...Because the "new way" dictates 'guilty until proven innocent', isn't that right?

Both the US and Canadian governments made a mockery of due process in this matter. It makes me ill. I'm not sure which I despite more -- the US for abuses of civil liberties, or Canada for bending over and allowing it.
posted by denbot at 9:39 PM on November 5, 2003


"imply that we (the US) had it coming somehow,"

Well, we did. I hate to say it, but anyone who doesn't consider our country a de facto empire is utterly clueless. This is not some lefty wacko stuff. Ask yourself: Does a republic or a democracy behave in the manner that the United States has been behaving?
posted by shabrem at 9:39 PM on November 5, 2003


And this is good for anyone thinking Mr Arar may have 'made it all up'. These are no out-of-the-blue accusations brought by an unknown.
posted by shabrem at 9:42 PM on November 5, 2003


When you wrestle with a pig, all that you can accomplish is to get buddy.

So quit wrestling with the pig, already.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 PM on November 5, 2003


When you wrestle with a pig, all that you can accomplish is to get buddy.

Depends on the pig, really

Buddy, buddy, don't you know you make me go nutty...etc
posted by backOfYourMind at 3:53 AM on November 6, 2003


Opps. c/buddy/muddy/. Sheesh.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:57 AM on November 6, 2003


DenOfSizer: Perhaps we should start economic sanctions against the US.

Already happening. Myself and several people I know, especially those born in other countries who came to Canada as children, refuse to travel through the States since this mess occured. I'd only be deported to the Ukraine but it's still something I'd rather not deal with.
It was a big deal at a recent friends wedding, who is a Mexican Citizen, because it is hard to fly from Mexico to BC with out at least laying over in California.
posted by Mitheral at 10:57 AM on November 6, 2003


update: November 6, 2003

A good thing Alex Neve, the head of the Canadian branch of Amnesty International has taken an interest in Arar's case because Bill Graham continually seems to be throwing up his hands claiming he's doing his best. Not much of a digger. His "quiet diplomacy" does not seem effective considering so many people [3 is way too many] lately have been consistently detained and tortured by Syria. I say hammer down.

How Did US Get a Copy of Arar's Lease? [Note: You have 14 days to view this before the Toronto Star archives it for $$.]

Neither CSIS nor the RCMP have a comment. No kidding. Unless they're at the end of a barrel or before a judge would they feel obliged to admit their apparently underhanded duplicity.

We'll see how effective the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is in their review into this matter.
posted by alicesshoe at 6:20 PM on November 6, 2003


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