Politically expedient decisions have a way of coming back to bite a government in the ass. Yes it's true the Tories didn't trigger the Arar fiasco, but they made it much worse by trying to buy their way out of it. If we thought that their headlong rush to fill the swag bag of Syrian-Canadian Maher Arar with $10.5 million taxpayer dollars would be sufficient to make him go away, we were dead wrong.
You recall this guy, the media darling whom Peter Mackay claimed was “exonerated” of all guilt or even suspicion of guilt. Well this morning’s release of a paltry 1,500 words which had been redacted from the version of Justice Dennis O’Connor final report published in 2006, had media swooning all over the country. Amazing !
At 3:30 pm Pacific time, Google News showed 50 stories on this dangle of formerly “classified” information.
One of the first news stories to flash through the Net was written by a reporter with CanWest News Service. Her summary of the case states blandly that “Arar was jailed and tortured for a year in Syria” as a result of collusion between Canadian and U.S. intelligence services. From descriptions I have read of what the Syrian secret police inflict on men and women they really insist on making talk, I have never been convinced of the testimony of Arar. For a guy who was “tortured” for a year, he was in amazingly pristine condition on return to Canada. He hadn’t even developed a stutter or a twitch. Don't we all recall his trademark toothy grin? Such human resilience!
The redactions in O'Connor's report had removed approximately 1% from O’Conner’s 1,200 page report. The following are big revelations, it seems:
“In October 2002, CSIS officials knew that the United States might have sent Mr. Arar to a country where he could be questioned in a “firm manner.” Ouch!
“In a report to his superiors dated October 11, 2002, the CSIS security liaison officer (SLO) in Washington spoke of a trend they had noted lately that when the CIA or FBI cannot legally hold a terrorist subject, or wish a target questioned in a firm manner, they have them rendered to countries willing to fulfill that role. He said Mr. Arar was a case in point.”
“On October 10, 2002, Mr. [Jack] Hooper stated in a memorandum: “I think the U.S. would like to get Arar to Jordan where they can have their way with him.” Mr. Arar’s whereabouts were unknown at the time.”
- A Jihad on the family of the infidel Hooper!
In my January 26, 2007 Blog, “Why is Maher Arar Torturing Us?” I did express some doubt about the veracity of Arar's claims of torture, especially the severity. In expressing my outrage over the financial settlement I added, “Hell, for $10 million you can cut my balls off.” I have not changed my view because investigation data is continuing to pile up in the United States which may yet put buddy boy behind the 8 ball. Then maybe Arar really would stop torturing us.