The Horrors of Extraordinary Rendition
Canadian citizen Maher Arar, who is barred from entering the United States, delivered his acceptance speech for the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award in a pre-recorded videotape. This is a transcript of his speech, which was viewed at the award ceremony hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies on October 18, 2006 in Washington, DC.
10/27/06 "Counterpunch" -- Hello my name is Maher Arar. Sorry I could not join you for today's ceremony.
All Center for Constitutional Rights Staff and I are humbled to have been chosen this year's recipient for the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award. This award means a tremendous amount to us. It means that there are still Americans out there who value our struggle for justice.
It means that there are Americans out there who are truly concerned about the future of America. We now know that my story is not a unique one. Over the past two years we have heard from many other people who were, who have been kidnapped, unlawfully detained, tortured, and eventually released without being charged with any crime in any country.
My nightmare began on September 26, 2002. I was transiting through New York airport, JFK Airport, when they asked me to wait in a waiting area. I found that to be strange. Shortly after, some FBI officials came to see me and they asked me whether, I was willing to be interviewed.
My first immediate reaction was to ask for a lawyer and I was surprised when they told me that I had no right to a lawyer because I was not an American citizen.
Then I asked for a phone call, I wanted to call my family to let them know what was going on. And they just ignored my request.
Then they told me, we only have couple of questions for you and we'll let you go. So I agreed. I had nothing to hide. And the interrogation started. Soon after, you know, they asked me about people I knew. It was deeper, until the interrogation was going deeper and deeper and deeper.
During this time, they played mind games with me. They would sometimes insult me; say to me something like you're smart. Other times they would accuse me of being dumb.
And, I repeatedly ask for a lawyer, to make a phone call. They always ignored my question.
The interrogation that day lasted about four hours with the FBI officials and another four hours with immigration. At the end of that day, instead of sending me back to Canada, they shackled and chained me and sent me to another, another terminal in the airport where I stayed overnight and in that place, in that room they kept me in, the lights were, were always on. There was no bed in that room and I could not sleep that night.
The next day another set of interrogations started. This time it was about, they asked me about political opinions--I answered openly, I didn't try to hide my political opinions. The asked me about Iraq. They asked me about Palestine and so many other issues. And they also, if I remember correctly, asked me about my emails and some other questions.
Going to Syria
And they told me that day we are about to decide about your fate. At the end of that day, surprisingly, one of the immigration officers came and asked me to volunteer to go to Syria. I said to them: why do you want me to go to Syria, I've never been there for 17 years. And they say, "You are special interest." Of course, back then I did not know what this expression meant. But it was clear that the Americans, the officer did not want me to go to Canada.
When he insisted, I said, let me go back to Switzerland. That was my point of departure before I arrived at JFK and he refused. Eventually they took me into the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal prison, where they kept me for about 12 days. During this time I was interviewed for six hours by INS. It was a very exhaustive interview from 9PM to like around 3AM in the morning. When I asked them to, during this interview to go, to allow me to go back to my cell to perform my prayer, they refused, completely refused.
Also during my stay at the Metropolitan Detention Center I could clearly see that I was being treated differently from other prisoners. For example, they didn't give me toothpaste they would allow me to go for recreation for about a week. They always ignored my demand for making a phone call. Eventually they allowed me to make a phone call. Up until that time, which was a week after I was arrested, no one in my family knew where I was. My wife thought I was disappeared, I was killed. No one knew exactly what happened, until I informed my mother-in-law that I was arrested.
Eventually on October 8th, against my will, they took me out of my cell. They basically read the pieces of document to me saying, that we will be sending you Syria. And when I complained, I said to them, I did explain to you if I'm sent back I will be tortured and they, I remember, the INS person flipped a couple of pages in this document, to the end of this document and read to me a paragraph that I still remember until today, an extremely shocking statement she made to me.
She said something like: The INS is not the body or the agency that signed the Geneva Convention, convention against torture. For me what that really meant is we will send you to torture and we don't care.
So they put me on a private jet, which I found extremely strange. I was the only passenger on that, on that plane. Its a luxurious plane, with leather seats in it. My only preoccupation during this trip is how I could avoid torture. By then, I realized that they were exactly sending me to Syria for torture. And that became very clear to me. Then the plane flew to Washington from Washington it flew to Maine then to Rome, then from Rome to Jordan.
Shackled and Chained
And I remember on the plane I was most of the time I was shackled and chained except the last two hours when they offered me a shish-kabob dinner. Up until this day I do not, I cannot explain why they did that. If I was a dangerous person like they claimed in the beginning, why they would remove my chains and shackles the last two hours of the trip?
During also the trip, whenever I wanted to use the bathroom, one of the team members would go inside with me. Even though I complained that this was against my religious belief.
The plane landed in Jordan on three in the morning October 8th. And a couple of Jordanians were waiting, men, were waiting for me. They took me, they blindfolded me, they put me in a car and shortly after they started beating me on the back of my head. Whenever I complained about the beating they would actually start beating me more. So I just kept silent.
I stayed in Jordan for about 12 hours in a detention center. I still don't know what that place is.
I was always blindfolded whenever they took me from one cell to another or when they took me to see the doctor. But I felt something strange in that prison. I felt, what, that I used an elevator, which is quite strange for a Middle Eastern prison.
After 12 hours of detention, unlawful detention in Jordan I was eventually driven to Syria. And I just didn't want to believe that I was going to Syria. I always was hoping that someone, a miracle would happen--the Canadian government would intervene. A miracle would happen that would take me back to my country Canada.
I arrived in Syria that same day, at the end of the day and I was able to confirm that I was in fact in Syria after my blindfold was removed and I was able to see the pictures of the Syrian President. My feeling then is I just wanted to kill myself because I knew what was coming. I knew that the Americans, the American government send me there to be tortured.
Sometime later the interrogators came in. They started asking questions, routine questions at the beginning, but whenever I hesitated to answer their questions or whenever they thought I was lying one of them would threaten me with a chair, a metallic chair with no seats in it, only the frames. And back then I did not understand or I did not know how they would torture people with it. I later learned that from other prison inmates.
But the message was clear: if you don't speak quickly enough we will torture you. That day, the interrogation lasted about four hours. There was no physical beating; there was only verbal threats. Around midnight, they took me to the basement. In the basement, the guard opened a door for me, a metallic door. I could not believe my eyes. I looked at him and I said, what is that? He didn't answer. He just said to me: Enter.
The cell was about three feet wide, six feet deep and about seven feet high. It was dark. There was no source of light in it. It was filthy. There were only two thin covers on the floor. I was naïve; I thought they would keep me in this place for one, two, maybe three days to put pressure on me. But this same place, the same cell that I later called the grave was my home 10 months and 10 days. The only light that came into the cell was from the ceiling, from the opening in the ceiling. There was a small spotlight and that's it.
Life in the cell was impossible. At the beginning--even though it was a filthy place, it was like a grave--I preferred to stay in that cell rather than being beaten. Whenever I heard the guards coming to open my door I would just think, you know, this is it for me that would be my last day.
The beating started the following day. Without no warning...(long pause as he fights tears) without no warning the interrogator came in with a cable. He asked me to open my right hand. I did open it. And he hit me strongly on my palm. It was so painful to the point that I forgot every moment I enjoyed in my life.
This moment is still vivid in my mind because it was the first I was ever beaten in my life. Then he asked me to open my left hand. He hit me again. And that one missed and hit my wrist. The pain from that hit lasted approximately six months. And then he would ask me questions. And I would have to answer very quickly. And then he would repeat the beating this time anywhere on my, on my body. Sometimes he would take me to a room where I could, where I was alone, I could hear other prisoners being tortured, severely tortured. I remember that I used to hear their screams. I just couldn't believe it, that human beings would do this to other human beings.
And then they would take me back to the interrogation room. Again another set of questions, and the beating starts again and again. On the third day the beating was the worst. They beat me a lot with the cable. And they wanted me to confess that I have been to Afghanistan. This was a big surprise to me because even the Americans who interviewed me, the FBI officials who interviewed me, did not ask me that question. I ended up falsely confessing in order to stop the torture. The torture decreased in intensity.
From that moment on they rarely used the cable. Mostly they slapped me on the face, they kicked me, they humiliated me all the time.
The first 10 days of my stay in Syria was extremely harsh and during that period I found my cell to be a refuge. I didn't want to see their faces. But later on living in that cell was horrible. And just to give you an idea about how painful it is to stay in that place--I was ready after a couple of months, I was ready to sign any piece of document for me, not to be released, just to go to another place where it is fit for human being.
During this time I wasn't aware that my wife launched a campaign with other human rights organizations like Amnesty International and others. My wife lobbied the media, she lobbied politicians and eventually I was released. The Syrians released me and they clearly stated through the ambassador in Washington that they did not find any links to terrorism. I was not charged in any country including Canada, United States, Jordan, and Syria.
Since my release I have been suffering from anxiety, constant fear, and depression. My life will never be the same again. But I promised myself one thing, that I will continue my quest for justice as long as I have a breath. What keeps me going is my faith, Americans like yourselves and the hope that one day our planet Earth will be free of tyranny, torture, and injustice.
Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was a victim of the U.S. policy known as "extraordinary rendition." He was detained by U.S. officials in 2002, accused of terrorist links, and handed over to Syrian authorities renowned for torture, who indeed tortured him. On September 18, 2006, a Canadian government commission confirmed that Arar had been brutally tortured during his nearly year-long imprisonment in Syria and declared him innocent of any terrorist ties. The report urges the Canadian government to formally protest the U.S. government’s handling of the case. Arar is working with the Center for Constitutional Rights to appeal a case against the U.S. government that was dismissed on national security grounds.
Here is the video from which the above was transcribed. [Watch] 7:45
RCMP chief's troubles grow
In one day on the Hill, Canada's top police officer was made to swear on a Bible, accused of perjury by an MP, and put on notice by the Prime Minister for changing his testimony on the Arar case.
OTTAWA — Giuliano Zaccardelli, Canada's top police officer, was forced to swear on a Bible Tuesday before being allowed to give evidence to Parliament.
He was then accused of perjury by a Liberal MP.
By day's end, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was "surprised and concerned" by the fact the RCMP Commissioner had changed key testimony given in the Maher Arar case.
Mr. Zaccardelli said Tuesday he did not lie but had been mistaken in earlier testimony about what he knew, and when, in the case of Mr. Arar, an innocent Canadian whom the Mounties wrongly labelled as an al-Qaeda terrorist. [Read more]
Canada: Suspect Tortured Despite Warning
TORONTO -- Canadian police said Tuesday they had told U.S. authorities they had no evidence an Ottawa software engineer was an al-Qaida agent before Washington deported him to Syria, where he was tortured. [Read more]
Wow -- Maher, I wish you well in your future. It is ashame what happened. I am repulsed at the idea that I support a government that accepts this practice. I hope someday soon the citizens of this nation (USA) realize that they are not living in the freedom filled land of liberty that they have been illusioned to. I hope someday soon, we can do something to restore dignity to our home.
I am an American citizen. Every election I vote for the Libertarian party. It is the only political party that can restore individual rights.The Patriot Act is just another way government can remove out rights :)
Simply put: America can deny entry to any non-citizen it chooses and deport them to a country of citizenship.
Arar was held at the request of Canada on security grounds. America had no charges against him, so decided to deport him instead, just as it does any illegal it catches. Arar is a citizen of both Syria and Canada, and Canada did not want him, so America had no choice but to deport him to Syria.
Given that America and Syria have terrible relations over issues such as Iraq and Israel, and that Syria would not even let the jet carrying Arar land there, I can't see how America could convince them to torture Arar. This undesirable was flagged as being dangerous by Canada, so America took extremely expensive steps to ensure he arrived at his destination.
Blame should be accorded accurately for this travesty. Syria does not have a right to torture, and should not be excused for its regularity. Canada must accept its citizens and it is outrageous that it would deny one entry. America is culpable, but not to the degree being inferred.
My only question to you, is how I can help. I'm an American citizen you've just brought to tears by this story. My only question to you is how can I help and what can I do. I feel so much anger and fear towards my government now that I've never felt this strongly about. email@example.com
Wow. Maher's story affected me deeply. I'm angry that there is such injustice in the American system, and your tragic experience reinforces my disdain for the errrosion of civil liberties and human rights in our post-9-11 world.
My heart goes out to you Maher, and your family. Your courage and conviction is a testament to the resolve of the human spirit. I wish you and your family all the best, and may you heal and find peace.
I have been aware of Maher Arar for several years as I am a Canadian and have followed the case through parliament. He was originally arrested because the Canadian RCMP provided the FBI with erroneous information. Four years later and they have only recently apologized for the huge mistake they made and almost destroyed Maher Arar's life. I have never read the first hand story of what happened and it sickens me as I think all of Canada should be sickened by this "mistake". If the government compensates him with $100 million dollars it would not be enough to cover what this man has endured.
Can you imagine that the very people who sent this person to Syria knowing that he will be tortured or maybe even get killed are respected citizen in the United States, having breakfast or lunch with their families as you read these lines and will never in their lifetimes being brought to justice?
wow, its impossible to know what prompted the US government and syria to go after this man, but they may have been justified to do so. regardless, that is a sad story and it is hard to imagine anything like that should be tolerated in our new world seeking for terrorists. was it justified? who knows...but it was sure a sad story
As a Canadian, I've had mostly a passive distaste for the actions of the U.S. government as of late. The developments saddened me, but it had nothing directly to do with me.
I, as most Canadians, was aware of the illegal detainment and torture of Mr. Arar as the events unfolded. I was angry to say the least. This statement, and the accompanying video, have only served to re-kindle and heighten my rage. That an innocent Canadian citizen, one of my own, suffered so greatly at YOUR HANDS, IN YOUR NAME, makes me want to wretch.
Americans, you are my friends. My S.O. is being educated in your country. I socialize with you. I do business with you. I like you.
That said, you need to get your fucking shit together. Your governments actions are now not only affecting citizens of countries that you are at war with, they are affecting citizens of countries who have been your strongest friends, supporters, and allies.
I'm begging you, DO SOMETHING TO FIX THIS. TAKE ACTION. DO WHATEVER THE FUCK IT TAKES TO REGAIN CONTROL OF YOUR NATION.
Reign in your out of control government before they destroy not only your freedom and liberty, but mine as well.
If this story is true, the world should be sad. For this to happen is a dark spot on the soul of man in need of a bright light. Those who will do something about this, do something today. Make it positive, not destructive. Make it clear and direct.
I am ashamed to learn that this horrible torture happened to you. The country that I believed I lived in no longer exists. Many people from the U.S. are struggling to overcome the hatred that has been bred here. Peace be with you and yours.
I completely agree with the sentiment conveyed in the string of comments. I too am outraged and ashamed of being a citizen of this country.
We've all become so placid and apathetic to the continual constraints on our personal freedoms. You can see this most predominately in the airport lines. Every week it's a new banned item and us sheep just bleat away as long as we make our flight on time.
It's rather disgusting to change attitudes from a few years back of "this is the greatest country on the planet" to "Hmm Canada or somewhere in Europe?..." all because of the multitude of government officials and militant war mongers have little dick complexes.
Really that's what it is...everyone is just waving their dicks around in the name of national security. Give me a break...
On the flip side, it was Syria that tortured you. Not USA. Of course, USA is probably in league with such activities in exchange for intel. We sell weapons to them, why can't they squeeze information for us to escape the geneva convention radar?
I wish you good luck in your recovery. I'm sure with many people who care about you around, things will start looking up again.
Everyone needs to read this, and then respond to it. This is an example of the New World Order, where no one has rights or a say in anything unless they are "The Deciders," or the Deciders' friends or family. My heart goes out to Maher and I pray that his angst over this inhuman/inhumane treatment will cease. My heart also goes out to all of the others whose names we do not yet know and might not ever learn because of the secrecy of the Deciders. Nothing honest ever needs or demands secrecy.
It's absolutely horrifying to know that we live in a country that could do that to any innocent person at any time. And just because you might not be on some arbitrary list doesn't mean you have nothing to fear; I don't understand who could trust ANYONE with that kind of power over them. These actions did nothing to protect you, so why are you trying to defend and justify them? If you had read this same article but replaced America with France, you who defend the actions of the US would be sharpening your pitchforks and lighting torches. There's no reason to put your faith in a government with that kind of unfettered control over your fate. The problem is that people eqate the "United States government" with the "United States." The government is just a bunch of random people who got elected. They aren't synonymous with the country as a whole. People have no more reason to trust them than they have to trust any other random strangers; citizens once knew how to be mistrustful of authority, but they seem to have forgotten. If you want to defend your freedom, THAT's how you do it; make sure that a bunch of random people can't take it from you at the drop of a hat.
I would also like to urge people to come forward with their names rather than remaining anonymous. There is absolutely no reason for us to make anonymous comments about human rights. We should all be proud to stand up on behalf of human rights and civil liberties and be proud of allowing our names to be known.
"your own fault, you were on a watch list for a reason, blame yourself 9:51 AM"
You are a soulless creep. The man was on a watch list because he is a middle eastern immigrant, nothing more. He was a Canadian citizen who had built a family, a career and a life here since coming to Canada a teenager and a refugee from Syrian repression.
The Canadian government was implicated in this because they willingly supplied information that they knew was not true about Arar to the Americans. Arar's crime, he had a neighbour who was on a watch list too. The Canadian government has since declared that Arar is completely innocent.
Thankfully today, some justice has been served in Canada. The head of the RCMP, (somewhat equivalent to the FBI) was forced to resign today over the fact that he admitted he lied to a Parliamentary committee about the affair. He was involved in this up to his elbows as well as a subsequent smear campaign against Arar after he was released from Syria. I hope further investigation roots out others complicit in this crime.
The American agencies were guilty in this because instead of deporting him to his home, if they had an issue with him, they knowingly sent him to Syria for rendition, a disgusting practice that they have been confirmed to engage in. Some major heads should surely roll there as well, but the case doesn't have the news status that it does here in Canada.
Maher Arar has done the citizens of his country, Canada, a huge service by insisting on having the government clear his name after he was released. He never relented and he forced the government to investigate itself and has now forced the resignation of the head Mountie. If he had just gone and hidden we would never know how our governments are actively engaged in these disgusting practices that can result in innocent men being sent off to die at the hands of torturers. Thank you Maher!
I truly sympathize for what you have gone through Maher, I stand with the majority of commentors on this page, in that what you have gone through was an injustice, and I am ashamed to live in such a fundamentalist government. To those who are heartless enough to leave total asanine comments, theres a special place in hell for you and your buddies in the white house...
this is fake.
me: "Where is the evidence?"
you: "oh, the United States, oh the Americans, they kept it a secret"
riight. Still, no evidence.
So if I come out and say " I am the victim of abuse. The Canadian mounties beat me! my cell was conveniently 3 feet y 6 feet (3x2) and 7 feet high (add 1 to 6) They kept me there for 10 months and 10 days!"
the only reason people can come out with these stories is because A) they didn't happen, and B) the US won't do anything about it. Now, if you were an Iraqi living under Saddam's reign, you and your family would be taken in the middle of the night and murdered. That's where all the real horror is happening, heloooo!!!!!! turn your thick skulls East and you will be facing the Middle East, an area consisting of third world countries, save Qatar and Israel. Enough said or do you morons who believe this guy so fast need more convincing?
George Bush really likes Putin, saying he was a man after his own heart. So, a former KGB thug who has his opponents killed and poisoned is a favorite of the U.S. President. This guy is lucky to be alive.
Bush was selected by Divine Providence in much the same way that the insane Emperor Nero was chosen to hasten the fall of the Roman Empire. We are so much weaker, morally, ethically, militarily than when Bush took over.
How can so many Americans be unaware of extraordinary renditions when it has been debated in your congress and there is ample evidence (photographs, plane flight records, witness testimonies, victim testimonies to name a few).
Some are claiming that the issue is survival, but America (as a nation) is wealthy and armed to the teeth. It is not the survival of America/Americans at issue here but the commission of evil acts. If you do something evil, then you are evil. There are no excuses or mitigating circumstances.
Maher, I applaud your obvious strength and integrity. Continue to resist peacefully. Continue to remind us of the evil we must always oppose.
And, as consolation, to quote the Christian scriptures in Ephesians 6 verse 7 "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap".
When the souls of your oppressors are writhing in hell, you will be remembered. You are, and will be, a living hero of liberty.
the saddest thing about this is that it doesn't shock me. our nation has been doing this to minorites before it was founded and the CIA has been doing this sort of thing to people for years (on a smaller scale). those of you who have lost pride in america because of this or feel that you're not living in the same america would do well to research the history of this. Bush, Sr. (when he was head of the CIA) was one of the worst offenders in this area, as he had it arranged so that the hostages in Iran would be freed if Reagan was elected, because of something they would do for them. that was the October Surprise that swung the election of 1980. it's fairly common knowledge. i'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that his son learned this behavior from his father. anyhow, stay out of the territory of conspiracy theorists and people who generalize everything. it's fairly simple; people who are in power often want more of it, just like people who have money often tend to want more of it. and the results of that are damaged lives like Maher's and his family's.
please do your part in maintaining balance against actions like these by anyone, be it terrorists or governments. look into groups that address this issue (just signing up to sign your name on an email from amnesty international makes a huge difference.), keep abreast of what's going on and look to alternative media sources for your news, and keep pressure on your local congressmen to do what's right. and if they fail to do that... vote them the hell out. just like we did this november.
i don't even know what to say for you. all i did was cry after reading it. it is my hope and prayer that you and your family find healing from this and some day, even be able to forgive your tormentors, who still haunt you.
may God follow and protect you and your family wherever you go and whatever you do.
As a Canadian citizen this entire episode is sickening. The head of the RCMP at the time, Zacardelli, is complicit and his resignation is welcome(on this and other points). The real evil here was perpetrated by the politicians of Canada and the US.
This had nothing to do with actually making anyone safe but with providing an illusion of appearing to do something to further their pathetic careers.
If there were any justice there should be a lot of politicos headed for war crimes tribunals.
I have never met you, but I am glad you have survived this ordeal.
This must be brought to light and kept at the forefront of everyone's minds. There will be political scandals, there will be other distractions on the media as everyone tries to find a new hot topic, but you cannot let this get washed away.
I also find some of the other comments here appaling. These are the morons who would elect that other moron into power, with his cronies who would erode human rights. And they are naive, so naive to think that this would never happen to them.
There is not much to be said to comfort you at this time. Your name has been exonerated but many seem to believe that you were guilty or somehow deserved it. That is a stigma that will always be terrible to deal with.
I am grateful to you for having the strength to survive and to come forward to make people aware of what is happening. With media as it is in the U.S., we are not always aware of very important happenings in our country, much less the rest of the world.
I wish you all the best and I hope you eventually find peace to help you still your troubled mind.
Well to use your level of argument - Helloooo, he was declared innocent by the government after a long inquest. The RCMP have admitted that they made up the charges and the head of the RCMP has resigned. Hellooo, do a little research before shooting off your mouth, fool. I've been following this case in the news and online for years. The man is innocent, and you are complicit for justifying torture and rendition by your government. Hellooo! Can you get that through your thick skull? I hope you like what Bush and his buddies are doing in your name. It looks real good on you.
I am really disgusted with some of the comments people are leaving. I really don't know how people can say some of the sick and fucked up things you are saying and be able to sleep at night. The guy was tortured, how about you go through what he did and act all nonchalant.
"The Canadian left wing media of little conscience continues on its dangerous, overly zealous way of accusing the RCMP of incompetence and making Mr. Arar a pathetic downtrodden victim of our security police. Before everybody falls down on their knees in supplication and apologizes all over the place to Mr. Arar, perhaps we should all take a closer look at the situation. . ."
Read the rest at Maher Arar -- No Friend of Canadians
Above references offering the love or prayers from or to an imaginary skygod as a way of comforting this man is like wishing Santa Clause will rescue him and others form the plight of Monotheist tyranny facing the entire world.
It is all too evident from religious wars throughout history, and most notably from various monotheistic wars now being fought in the middle-east, that the future for all humanity depends on an immediate cure for the pandemic level of a faith-based psychosis still afflicting so much of the world’s populace in the 21st century.
Monotheism has been and still is the singular, most destructive force in the History of Civilization
Arar's story is shocking, but it helps to dispel the illusion of "civilization and progress" in the "modern world". This especially applies to "hoax-ocracies" like the U.S. and Canada. The ugly reality is, that the world hasn't really progressed one bit, since the middle ages. This is largely due to the fact that the masses of men really haven't progressed one bit. They're still just as susceptible to the lies and propaganda of those who rule over them. The criminal ruling cabals of most "modern" nations, are for the most part, the class or ideological descendents, of the criminal ruling cabals of medieval times. Humongous lies like the "official account of 9/11", and the "War on Terror" are the new state religions, in an era of near universal, government corruption. Engineered wars, sectarian hatred, and torture, are the tools of this ancient but diabolical, trade. As during the "dark ages", these horrors are made possible by rampant blind faith, and ignorance, among the masses of men. Yet they remain criminal government's greatest weapons against true freedom, brotherhood, peace, and progress. Only the truth can set men free, yet most are largely incapable of believing it, when they see, and hear it. There is more unadulterated truth to be found in most so-called "conspiracy theories", than will ever be found in nearly 1300 years of government "official stories"!
To those Idiots who think that Maher must certainly have done something bad in order to get himself arrested & tortured (therefor the arrest torture is somehow OK):
You are UN-American.
To be a real American is to believe that you are innocent until proven guilty! If the Americans or Canadians have any evidence that Maher was guilty of a crime then you know they would now produce it in order to justify his detention. The fact that they haven't PROVES that they never had any evidence.
The reason this man was tortured was that they THOUGHT he might be involved in something, and they HOPED torturing him would reveal that.
There have been many times in the last 6 years that I have been ashamed to be an American. This is one of those times.
What a great many people from other countries do not understand about America. Americans have no control over the government. Any sense that the government is a government by and for the people is and may have always been and illusion. Trust me, if we could change the scum that claim to serve us WE WOULD. Waco,Ruby Ridge, Pres.Kennedy,Martin Luther King, The American Patriot Act,Illegal income tax, 9/11,Iraq and the list goes on an on. Do you really believe the people of America condoned these perversions and abuses of power. NO WE DO NOT !!!!! We do the best we can but with little success. I fear there may be only one solution to take America back. I tremble at even the thought of such action by the people.
I am heartened to see how many people support Mr Arar. What happened to him is a terrible, terrible injustice.
At the same time, it is terrible to read the few mindless anti-Arar comments here. Few as they are, those comments show very clearly what evil is; they reflect "the banality of evil" that allowed Nazi Germany, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Rwanda, and Darfur to happen.
If accurate, then that INS officer's comment (along the lines of "it was not the INS that signed the Geneva convention") is in the same league.
I am an American and I stand for America, I am sorry to hear that it happened to you, but I believe George W. Bush is a champion. He has done everything to protect America and to keep us a free country. NATIONAL SECURITY!!!!!!!
if it was an american sent to syria by Canadians, we'd be at war right now ... it's time to stop bending over, get some beer, and kick some a$$ !!!!!
We should help the americans build their border wall, out of concrete- maybe that will slow down their spreading of filth, pollution, and ingnorance - oh, and it will keep out the Mexicans and everyone would be happy
This so called "war on terrorism" is almost identical in its function to how race has been used throughout history to keep us divided and at odds with eachother, its a new witch hunt, a new crusade quickly drawn up amongst think tanks to start up the new world order. I'm so sorry this happend to you Maher. I'm an american, with blood that reaches to the beginnning of this country, and it nothing short of sickens me that we have become the beast we so fervantly faught against in the Revolutionary War. Don't let the fear, doubt, and confusion get to you. I honestly think that having survived such an ordeal gives you a unique purpose in life, to break the spiritual bonds that bind us and finally fulfill what God intended from the beginning. To become a shining beacon of hope, truth, and compassionate wisdom. Or to better explain what i'm getting at, the buddhist analogy of the lotust growing out of the mud, grime, and waste water unscathed to blossom. My heart goes out to YOU and your FAMILY, May god protect you and shed light where the darkness of our souls creep.
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