Thursday, May 24, 2007

Arar fillets journalists

Arar warns innocent lives at risk unless Canadian journalism improves

Maher Arar. (CPimages/Tom Hanson)
TORONTO (CP) - Maher Arar says more innocent lives could be ruined unless the Canadian media improve the quality of their coverage.

in an address to North America's first international conference on investigative journalism, Arar called on reporters to serve the weak and vulnerable, not the powerful and anonymous. Arar is a Canadian citizen who was deported by the United States to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured.

He was later completely exonerated of allegations that he had terrorist connections.

He says an investigative, independent and responsible news media is the public's best defence against corruption and abuses of power.

Arar says despite his exoneration, government officials who leaked information that led to his deportation may still be in positions of trust.

He says irresponsible media treatment of these leaks contributed to the destruction of his reputation, which made him seem "worse than a serial killer."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

O'Connor Report, pp. 45-46:

On the plane trip home to Canada, Mr. Arar related to Mr. Martel some of what had happened to him in Syrian detention. Among other things, he told him that he had had a “difficult time” during the first two weeks of detention and that he had been hit from time to time, but nothing really serious.

pp. 251-252:

Mr. Martel mentioned that there were press reports that Mr. Arar had been stuffed into a tire and subjected to electric shock. Mr. Arar responded that those suggestions were unfounded, adding, “they have other means.” While he did not elaborate at the time, he indicated that he had had a “difficult time” during the first two weeks of detention and that his Syrian jailers had hit him from time to time, but nothing really serious. He said that, after the initial interrogation, they had had what they wanted and had left him alone.

pp. 205-206:

• On October 1, 2002, the INS charged Mr. Arar with being a member of a terrorist organization, and initiated removal proceedings against him
under section 235(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.429
• Mr. Arar had five days to respond to the charge. He was provided with the following documents: 1) a notice of the requirement to respond within 5 days; 2) an attachment alleging that he was a member of an organization designated as a foreign terrorist organization, al-Qaeda; 3) a State Department publication listing al-Qaeda as a foreign terrorist organization; and 4) a publication describing free legal services available in the New York area.430
• As of October 7, Mr. Arar had not provided a written statement or any additional information in response to the charge.431...The order also stated that an alien entering the United States must establish clearly and beyond doubt that he or she is admissible to the country. Mr. Arar denied that he was inadmissible, but offered no evidence in support of his
denial.

Ottawa Watch said...

We don't contract our law enforcement to torture states like Syria.
If the US had proof Arar was a terrorist, he should have been arrested and prosecuted. If they didn't, they should have allowed him to continue on his way.
That's what the rule of law is about.
You don't address the issue of the deliberate planting of derogatory information in the newspapers. How would you react if you picked up the paper and saw huge inaccurate stories, based on information from official but anonymous sources, about you?

Anonymous said...

If, like Arar, I'd failed to offer a single shred of evidence in support of my admissibility to enter the U.S. despite ample time under American law to do so, thus allowing the U.S. Government to meet the threshold for deportation which is different than that for prosecution, then offered wildly different versions of what happened to me in Syria but not a single shred of physical evidence to support the claim that I was tortured, and never uttered a single word under oath anywhere, I'd figure inaccurate press stories wasn't the real issue here.

Werner Patels said...

I agree with anon; there are several things about this whole case that are absolutely fishy.

Why did he try to obtain a gun? Why did he criss-cross the US-Canadian border like a madman before he was finally apprehended by the US?

The Western Standard had an excellent cover story several weeks ago.