Yet another reason to oppose Chimpy’s torture fetish, besides the fact that it is immoral, illegal, and inneffective, is that they oftentortured innocent men.
Canadian intelligence officials passed false warnings and bad information to American agents about a Muslim Canadian citizen, after which U.S. authorities secretly whisked him to Syria, where he was tortured, a judicial report found Monday.
The report, released in Ottawa, was the result of a 2 1/2-year inquiry that represented one of the first public investigations into mistakes made as part of the United States’ “extraordinary rendition” program, which has secretly spirited suspects to foreign countries for interrogation by often brutal methods.
The inquiry, which focused on the Canadian intelligence services, found that agents who were under pressure to find terrorists after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, falsely labeled an Ottawa computer consultant, Maher Arar, as a dangerous radical. They asked U.S. authorities to put him and his wife, a university economist, on the al-Qaeda “watchlist,” without justification, the report said.
Arar was also listed as “an Islamic extremist individual” who was in the Washington area on Sept. 11. The report concluded that he had no involvement in Islamic extremism and was on business in San Diego that day, said the head of the inquiry commission, Ontario Justice Dennis O’Connor.
Arar, now 36, was detained by U.S. authorities as he changed planes in New York on Sept. 26, 2002. He was held for questioning for 12 days, then flown by jet to Jordan and driven to Syria. He was beaten, forced to confess to having trained in Afghanistan — where he never has been — and then kept in a coffin-size dungeon for 10 months before he was released, the Canadian inquiry commission found.
O’Connor concluded “categorically there is no evidence” that Arar did anything wrong or was a security threat.
Arar filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court, but the case was dismissed by a judge citing “national security” issues. Arar also is seeking compensation from the Canadian government.
Some crucial questions about the incident remain unanswered, at least publicly. Over the repeated objections of O’Connor, the federal government censored much of the testimony given during the proceedings as well as some of the final report. O’Connor’s report said a federal court should be asked to decide whether to disclose some of the censored items.