Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Maher Arar received an apology from Canada, but not from the USA

Maher Arar is a Canadian software engineer. In 2002, during a stop in New York, he was detained by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. He was questioned, then he was shipped to Syria where he was tortured for about a year, until his eventual release and return to Canada. All of this for nothing.

After seeing what had happened, Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper gave Arar a formal apology. The Prime Minister even gave Arar $10.5 million for his ordeal plus $1 million for his legal cost. However, the American government said nothing. It even keeps his name on a terror watch list.

Our government has nothing to charge Arar with. But our government is too proud to apologize. Senator Patrick Leahy called the torture of Arar a "black mark" on the United States, and I couldn't agree with the Senator more.

The senator spoke at length about the matter: "We knew damn well, if he went to Canada, he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held. He'd be investigated. We also knew damn well, if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured."

So, which it, President Bush? Do you take it like a man, admit you are wrong, and apologize? Or you let America be its arrogant self and just say quiet? The government has been silent on keeping Arar on that list. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales assured that Arar will not be tortured again. But it was dismissed by Leahy. "Assurances from a country that we also say, now, we can't talk to them because we can't take their word for anything?" I'm afraid that our country is headed down a dark, dark course, and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

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