Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

U.S. Govt officials purposely torture and enjoy full immunity

Maher Arar is both a Canadian and Syrian citizen of Syrian descent.  A telecommunications engineer and graduate of Montreal’s McGill University, he has lived in Canada since he’s 17 years old.  In 2002, he was returning home to Canada from vacation when, on a stopover at JFK Airport, he was (a) detained by U.S. officials, (b) accused of being a Terrorist, (c) held for two weeks incommunicado and without access to counsel while he was abusively interrogated, and then (d) was “rendered” — despite his pleas that he would be tortured — to Syria, to be interrogated and tortured.  He remained in Syria for the next 10 months under the most brutal and inhumane conditions imaginable, where he was repeatedly tortured.

In January, 2007, the Canadian Prime Minister publicly apologized to Arar for the role Canada played in these events, and the Canadian government paid him $9 million in compensation.

By stark and very revealing contrast, the U.S. Government has never admitted any wrongdoing or even spoken publicly about what it did. What does that behavioral disparity between the two nations say about how “democratic,” “accountable,” and “open” the United States is?

And yesterday, the Second Circuit — by a vote of 7-4 —  agreed with the government and dismissed Arar’s case in its entirety. The commentary about this case from Harper‘s Scott Horton perfectly captures the depravity of what our Government has done — and continues to do — to Arar.  He concludes with this:

“The Court that once affirmed that those who torture are the ‘enemies of all mankind’ now tells us that U.S. government officials can torture without worry, because the security of our state might some day depend upon it.”

The permanent claims of existential threats from an endless array of enemies means that secrecy is paramount, accountability is deemed a luxury, and National Security trumps every other consideration — even including basic liberties and the rule of law.  Worst of all, the President takes on the attributes of a protector-deity who can and must never be questioned lest we prevent him from keeping us safe.

Salon

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