Report: RCMP Botched Arar Investigation
TalkLeft has repeatedly told the story of Maher Arar, beginning with his arrest in October 2002 (coverage collected here). This post, praising Time Magazine in Canada for naming Arar Canada's Person of the Year, summarizes the story of Arar's secret deportation to a prison in Syria, where torture induced him to give a false confession that linked him to al Qaeda. Arar is walking proof that torture produces unreliable information. If the president were inclined to let facts influence his judgment, a meeting with Arar might convince him to back off on his petulent insistence that it's not worth interrogating suspected terrorists unless torture and abuse are available tools in the interrogation protocol.
Reuters reports the conclusions drawn at the end of Canada's official inquiry -- conclusions that have been obvious for some time:
Judge Dennis O'Connor, asked in 2004 to examine what had happened, said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wrongly told U.S. authorities that Arar was an Islamic extremist. "The provision of this inaccurate information ...[is] totally unacceptable'' and guaranteed the United States would treat Arar as a serious threat, O'Connor said. "I am able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada.''
While Judge O'Connor blamed the RCMP for getting the facts wrong, he found no evidence that Canada played a role in the American decision to deport Arar. The American authorities, of course, declined to respond to O'Connor's questions. The administration refuses to be accountable to Congress; it's no surprise that it has no interest in furthering a Canadian investigation into the mistreatment of Arar.
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