Blood money

The Canadian government has come clean (clean enough, anyway) to compensate its own citizen Maher Arar for its role in feeding information to the United States that resulted in his detention and deportation-for-torture from what was supposed to be an in-transit-stopover-at-Kennedy Airport to (current bete-noire) Syria: Canada has apologized to Arar and will pay him over $10 million (Canadian).
Arar’s case was the subject of some questions and answers in my interview with Jonathan Hafetz, and also in my interview with Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights which represents Mr. Arar in his civil action against the United States Government.
Mr. Arar is one of very few people to emerge alive from the CIA’s vast international network of ghost prisons and torture dungeons operated by our own government and friendly third countries (some of which, like Syria, we don’t like to talk about too much)… That network was discussed most recently in my interview with Stephen Grey, immediately below this post.
Note of course, that the Canadian government now apologizing is a Conservative one… yes, we understand the old joke that one can find the Canadian in a crowded elevator by stomping on everyone’s feet and seeing who apologizes… and Canada has still done little or nothing for the benefit of its citizen still residing at Gitmo (discussed here in my interview with Rick Wilson)… But Mr. Arar’s case (Canada has cleared him of any wrongdoing or connection to terrorism and acknowledged its own mistake in suggesting otherwise to the United States) is simply an outrage at every level. Indeed, it is because it is such an outrage that Senator Leahy recently alluded to Arar’s case when questioning Attorney General Gonzales… (BTW… although in my view, torture is sufficiently inhuman as to never be justified– ever— were I to make an exception, the smarmy defines-banality-of-evil-anything-goes-to-protect-my-boss’s-power A.G. Alberto Gonzales would likely be right up there… probably first in line…)
Mr. Arar’s case is an outrage that the United States government refuses to compromise one inch on, let alone apologize for. Because, of course, for Canada, Arar is just one guy. But as Stephen Grey tells us, the CIA itself tells us there are hundreds more men just like him… if not far more than that… kidnapped and now detained in torture dungeons all over the world, at the behest and expense of the American taxpayer… all, supposedly, to keep us safe.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now. If this is the kind of conduct necessary to defend this country, then this country is no longer worth defending.