Thursday, September 18, 2008

Maher Arar

Maher Arar, the telecommunications engineer who is still fighting to clear his name, six years after detained by INS officials in New York on his way back home to Canada, was Terry's guest on "Fresh Air" this evening. He was deported to Syria where he endured ten months of torture on suspicion of being a member of Al Qaeda. The Bush administration denies that they outsource torture but Arar is pursuing a lawsuit against the US government. You can listen to the compelling and thoughtful piece here. And you can read the New Yorker piece on rendition here. And there is video here.
UPDATE: My original language was imprecise and unclear, as kindly pointed out by a reader (the government did not "deny involvement". Condoleeza Rice has publicly acknowledged the government's mishandling of this case according to the NY Times.)


Ed M said...

Could you clarify what you mean by "[t]he Bush administration has denied their role in his rendition"?

Miss Whistle said...

You are absolutely right that the language is unclear, or even misleading. The Bush administration continues to deny that they outsource torture although they were involved in his deportation to Syria. Thank you for asking for the clarification and I will fix the language.

Ed M said...

One further clarification, contrary to the implied meaning in the NY Times piece that the "deportation of Mr. Arar" was mishandled, Secretary Rice said it was the communication between the US and Canadian governments was mishandled. From the hearing transcript, "... our communication with the Canadian Government about this was by no means perfect; in fact, it was quite imperfect." And then "But we have told the Canadian Government that we did not think that this was handled particularly well in terms of our own relationship and that we will try to do better in the future."

Fairly widespread within the reporting on Sec. Rice's testimony, there has been, in my opinion, a mis-representation of her words, concluding that Sec. Rice stated the "case" or deportation of Arar to Syria was mishandled; that Sec. Rice was admitting sending Mr. Arar to Syria was a mistake. But, again, if one reviews the transcript or the video, one should see a fairly different meaning; that being the US/Canadian communication was mishandled.

Miss Whistle said...

Dear ed m,

If you would like to guest post on this matter, it would be much appreciated. I have never covered this subject on my blog before -- you will see that my posts involve food, dogs & Sarah Palin -- and was primarily moved to write this after listening to Terry Gross's interview with Maher Arar as I drove home yesterday evening, combined with Paul Farmer's interest in human rights as part of the ongoing work done by Partners In Health (I think he mentions this case in his Tanner Lecture).

I am enormously grateful for your contribution to this blog and I am sorry I cannot respond to you personally but you have not left an email address.


Ed M said...

Miss Whistle,

My apologies if my corrections seemed harsh. It was and has been my intent to help people more deeply examine and understand the case of Maher Arar. Your writing about his case is important in that it helps expand the conversation.

As for not leaving my email again I apologize. This is one issue I have with Blogger as compared to Wordpress. With Blogger I don't have the option to leave an "unpublished" email address. Compare this with Wordpress where when submitting a comment one leaves their Name, Website (if one which I don't have one yet), and email which will not be published but is available to the blog author if required. So for now till I figure out how to pass along an email address I will use you comments.