Sep 2006

A tortured innocent soul and a safer Iraq under Saddam

Mr. President,
Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen since 1987, worked in Ottawa. His wife Monia Mazigh has a PhD in mathematics. They have two young children.

On September 26, 2002, Maher Arar was returning to Montreal, Canada where he worked as a telecommunications engineer after visiting his family in Tunisia. His flight plan included a change of planes in New York. It was there he was turned over to the FBI because they thought he had a connection to terrorists.

On Oct. 7 or 8, 2002, U.S. officials deported Arar to Syria where he was tortured for 10 months.

All during his ordeal he was never charged with any crime nor was he allowed to speak with his family or a lawyer.

Arar was "interrogated, tortured, held in degrading and inhumane conditions" for 10 months until he finally confessed to spending time in Afghanistan. He was released on October 6, 2003; 375 days after U.S. immigration officials arrested him.

After his release it was proven that Arar was actually working in Canada during the same time frame he was allegedly in Afghanistan. During a television interview Arar said he confessed to being in Afghanistan as they kept insisting, just to make them stop the torture.

Alberto Gonzales was asked whether the department owed him "an apology," after a Canadian government commission concluded that the Syrian-born Arar was tortured for 10 months after being falsely accused of terrorist ties.

"Well, we were not responsible for his removal to Syria," Gonzales replied. "I'm not aware that he was tortured, and I haven't read the commission report."

If you think people are going to believe that whopper maybe you should have him throw the lie that you did not mislead the American public about the reasons for occupying Iraq at the same time.

The "I haven't read-that-particular file," excuse is getting quite a work out; you, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfield, and Snow have all used it several times within the last few weeks, when you have been presented with information that is in direct contradiction to your current statements. The other one I keep hearing from your administrations is "I am not aware of ..."

Here is another report you may claim not to have read.

A U.N. report cites that Iraq deaths are now comparable to Saddam's regime.

"The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein." Over the past two months 6,599 civilians were killed in Iraq, according to a UN report which was just released.

Nowak, an Austrian law professor, was speaking following a UN report which showed that a record number of Iraqi citizens were killed in July and August.

According to today's news in
The Guardian:

"The UN human rights office reported evidence of torture, unlawful detention, the growth of sectarian militias and death squads, and a rise in "honor killings " of women. The increasing incidence of discovery of the bodies of women and teenage girls, shot in the chest rather than in the head, has been attributed to the establishment by both extremist Sunnis and Shias of secretive sharia committees, which locals say carry out killings."

The bottom line is Iraq is not as safe as when Saddam was in power, and you just have to be squirming with that bit of analysis out in the media.

I imagine the messengers will be heavily smeared like Joe Wilson and others who throw dirt on the rosy scenario you have spent the last three years painting for the American public. Good luck with that, because it hasn't been working very well for you so far.

Today's compromise bill on "torture"
vs the "torture light" version by the Republicans is still a questionable deal.

I know the world must be asking why Article 3 of the Geneva convention needed to be modified, since it seemed the world including the United States felt it was a workable document for the last 50 yesrs. It is a puzzlement junior.