Canadian Maher Arar's attempt to find some vindication for his deportation by the United States to Syria and his subsequent torture has been stomped down by a U.S. court:
Washington — A U.S. federal judge has dismissed Maher Arar's lawsuit against American officials claiming he was deported to Syria as a terrorism suspect to be tortured.
In a ruling Thursday in New York, Judge David Trager said he can't interfere in the case because it involves crucial national security and foreign relations issues in the anti-terror fight.
“The need for much secrecy can hardly be doubted,” Judge Trager wrote in his 88-page ruling.
“One need not have much imagination to contemplate the negative effect on our relations with Canada if discovery were to proceed in this case and were it to turn out that certain high Canadian officials had, despite public denials, acquiesced in Arar's removal to Syria.”
He also noted Congress has yet to take a position on court reviews of cases like Mr. Arar's, saying judges should be “hesitant” to hold officials liable for damages without “explicit direction” from legislators, “even if such conduct violates our treaty obligations or customary international law.”[Emphasis mine.]
In Ottawa, Mr. Arar called the decision “very disappointing, emotionally very hard to digest.”
“I was not expecting the judge to dismiss the entire case. I was hoping that he could let at least part of it proceed to discovery,” he said.
“It is giving the green light to the Bush administration and the CIA to continue with their practice of rendition.
“Basically they're telling people ... if you're ever wronged by our politicians or intelligence people, you are on your own, good luck.”
The decline of the rule of law in the United States has been precipitious under the Bush administration. National security has been used to excuse illegal wiretapping, a war of aggression, the torture of prisoners and illegal detention. Now a U.S court has given them tacit approval for the shipment of foreign nationals to other countries for the purposes of torture, and explicit approval to ignore treaties and international law. Mr. Arar is seeking justice in a Bizarro land where human rights are rendered null and void by the Bush administration's tendency to find enemies everywhere, and to dispose of them in morally and legally questionable ways.
Remember when we used to live next door to America? I miss that country.