The embarrassing case of Maher Arar keeps getting more bizarre.
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown

The embarrassing case of Maher Arar keeps getting more bizarre.

Mr. Arar is a symbol of all that has gone horribly wrong with the Bushites’ use of naked authoritarian power in their inept war on terrorism. His treatment is a shameful horror story that involves watch lists, suspension of habeus corpus, extraordinary rendition, torture, and the autocratic arrogance of the Bushites.

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Arar, a Canadian citizen, was passing through New York’s Kennedy Airport in 2002 when, due to an incorrect terrorist watch list, federal agents seized him. They assumed he was guilty without any finding of fact, denied him any chance to prove his innocence, and – astonishingly – deported him to Syria for “questioning.”

George W himself calls Syria one of our worst enemies. Yet, top Bushites sent Arar there, where he’d been born, to be grilled by Syrian military thugs about his non-existent ties to terrorists. For months, Arar was tortured – held in a dank, coffin-like cell and beaten repeatedly with a metal cable.

Producing nothing, the Syrians apparently tired of torturing Arar, and the Canadians secured his release in 2003. The next year, a Canadian commission launched an investigation into the whole sorry affair – but the Bushites stonewalled, refusing even to honor requests for documents. Nonetheless, the commission completed its report last month, clearing Mr. Arar’s good name and blistering the Bushites for their gross abuses of Arar’s civil and human rights.

Now comes another Kafkaesque twist. Asked about the Canadian report, Bush’s clueless attorney general, Alberto “See No Evil” Gonzales, said: “Well, we were not responsible for [Arar’s] removal to Syria.” He then kissed off Arar’s nightmare with a wave of his hand, saying, “I’m not aware that he was tortured.”

This is Jim Hightower saying… See, the Bushites don’t have to torture people – they can just arrange to have others do it for them.

“The Torture of Liberty,” The New York Times, September 21, 2006.
“Justice Dept. Defends Remark in Torture Case,” The New York Times, September 21, 2006.

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