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Arar v. Ashcroft

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  • Arar v. Ashcroft

    Here's an atrocious story that you won't read about or watch in the news. I keep hearing Bush saying 'We do not torture' and thinking about Obama's administration strengthening state secrecy and executive privledge. I'm starting to wonder if we could have done a worse job managing this abysmal, fruitless disaster called the 'war on terror.'

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwa...rar/index.html

    Maher Arar is not a terrorist. He never was. But he was picked up at JFK at 'rendered' to Syria, where he was held completely incommunicado and tortured for ten months.

    Arar alleges that his interrogation in Syria was coordinated and planned by U.S. officials, who sent the Syrians a dossier containing specific questions. As support for this allegation, Arar notes that the interrogations in the United States and Syria contained identical questions, including a specific question about his relationship with a particular individual wanted for terrorism.
    One U.S. judge, in a dissenting opinion, stated that (the majority opinion's logic) "means government miscreants may avoid liability altogether through the simple expedient of wearing hoods while inflicting injury."

    Our collective lack of respect for non-citizens (to make no mention of our own citizens) is going to boomerang right back at us. Our collective lack of an intelligent and independent judiciary is going to doom us.

  • #2
    Re: Arar v. Ashcroft

    This is outrageous. But of course there is no outrage because everyone is stuck in the "Obama Matrix" currently. Why leave the happy place when its so comfortable? There's no need to bring up these unfortunate incidents. Maher Arar must have been doing something wrong for the US goverment to shred the Constitution and torture him through their surrogate "War on Terror" partners. Right?
    |TG-X| mp40x



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    • #3
      Re: Arar v. Ashcroft

      Originally posted by mp40x
      Maher Arar must have been doing something wrong for the US goverment to shred the Constitution and torture him through their surrogate "War on Terror" partners. Right?
      We'll most likely never know. State secrets and all. Obama's defense of Bush's outright illegal tactics (at least till this point) is even more outrageous than the tactics themselves.

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      • #4
        Re: Arar v. Ashcroft

        Originally posted by AMosely View Post
        We'll most likely never know. State secrets and all. Obama's defense of Bush's outright illegal tactics (at least till this point) is even more outrageous than the tactics themselves.
        No, defending/concealing/rationalizing a horrible action is never worse than taking the action itself.
        |TG-6th|Snooggums

        Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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        • #5
          Re: Arar v. Ashcroft

          Consider, though, that Obama has never thought it terribly important to take steps to save face for the Bush administration. If he's concealing unsavory things that the Bushies did, do you consider it more likely that he wants Bush to look good, or that he wants to make sure no one will notice if he does the same things?

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          • #6
            Re: Arar v. Ashcroft

            Originally posted by snooggums View Post
            No, defending/concealing/rationalizing a horrible action is never worse than taking the action itself.
            I don't know. Bush and Ashcroft's actions could have gone down in history as terrible mistakes made by panicky leaders. Instead, by protecting them and not examining their actions, the Obama administration is effectively condoning those actions and ensuring that they will be repeated over and over whenever someone gets scared.

            If it's your job to protect the country and you are faced with the decision to torture a suspect by using extraordinary rendition there is now no downside to making that decision. There is no risk to torturing someone. You will not be held liable and your bosses will not have to apologize or compensate for your mistake. The only risk is not doing it on the remote chance it would prevent a terrorist attack. So your choice is simple (unless you have a conscience).

            The Canadian government is directly responsible for the torture of several Syrian-Canadians that occurred in Syrian prison. However, in the Arar case the rendition was done by the US government, so they also have some responsibility

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            • #7
              Re: Arar v. Ashcroft

              Originally posted by RandomGuy View Post
              I don't know. Bush and Ashcroft's actions could have gone down in history as terrible mistakes made by panicky leaders. Instead, by protecting them and not examining their actions, the Obama administration is effectively condoning those actions and ensuring that they will be repeated over and over whenever someone gets scared.
              I totally agree. It's one thing for a President and his administration to institute failed policies and/or skirt constitutional law. It's sad to see that defiant torch passed to another (supposedly different) President. It's another thing entirely, though, for the law (represented by the federal court system) to protect this kind of abuse when presented with overwhelming evidence.

              To think that the majority opinion actually said something to the effect of "the next time you're thrown in a Syrian prison by U.S. officials, make sure you get their names."

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              • #8
                Re: Arar v. Ashcroft

                I suppose the President is more concerned about the problems on his plate rather than going after the former administration. Then again, the President's privy to some high-level intelligence that the public sure isn't. Maybe he's become aware to something that made him change his mind about what the previous administration did. *shrugs* Just thinking out loud, so to speak.

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                • #9
                  Re: Arar v. Ashcroft

                  Originally posted by RandomGuy View Post
                  I don't know. Bush and Ashcroft's actions could have gone down in history as terrible mistakes made by panicky leaders. Instead, by protecting them and not examining their actions, the Obama administration is effectively condoning those actions and ensuring that they will be repeated over and over whenever someone gets scared.
                  Bush and Ashcroft doing it in the first place was the wrong. Obama not taking action is wrong but not as wrong as doing it in the first place because his inaction is still based on their original action.

                  If I stab someone and the police don't press charges I still stabbed someone and that is worse than the police's inaction. If Bush and Ashcroft's actions go down in history as 'panicky' instead of willfully opposed to the constitution and humane practices and contrary to past torture policies of the country then the problem is with the people that write history.
                  |TG-6th|Snooggums

                  Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Arar v. Ashcroft

                    Originally posted by snooggums View Post
                    If I stab someone and the police don't press charges I still stabbed someone and that is worse than the police's inaction.
                    To complete the analogy though, you need to know WHY the police didn't press charges. Are they just too lazy to look for evidence? Then yes, what you did was worse. Is the police chief a friend of yours who wants to protect you? Now he's getting pretty close to being as bad as you; you could reasonably say he's conspiring with you to pull off the crime. Or option three, did the police chief want to make sure no investigators got close enough to the crime scene to notice that he was stabbing someone else ten feet away from you? In that case I'd suggest the police inaction was actually worse than your original crime.

                    Then there's potential scenario 4: The police happen to know that you stabbed that person in self-defense or for some other complicated reason that would justify what you did, but they don't want to take the time to explain that to the public. You wouldn't be convicted if charged anyway, but because it was never explained the public stays suspicious.

                    Any of those scenarios could be analogous to Obama's reasoning here. Which one do you think is most likely?

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