That old-fashioned notion of equal justice under the law was dealt another blow by the Supreme Court yesterday as they refused to hear the appeal of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was detained, tortured, and imprisoned for over a year, without charges, because he was labeled an “al-Qaeda suspect” by the Bush administration. And in what is become an all too familiar occurrence:
“…the Obama administration chose to come to the defense of Bush administration officials, arguing that even if they conspired to send Maher Arar to torture, they should not be held accountable by the judiciary.”
Have to look forward, dontcha know. Mother Jones has a synopsis of Mr. Arar’s ordeal:
“On Sept. 26, 2002, Arar was detained by American authorities during a layover at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport. He was interrogated. Less than two weeks later, he shackled and hooded and placed on a plane bound for Jordan. Once in Jordan, he was transferred overland to Syria. While in Syria, Arar was tortured at the behest of the American government, according to a 1,200-page report released by a Canadian government inquiry that concluded up in 2006.
Here’s how Arar describes a few of his first days in Syria:
Early in the morning on October 10 Arar is taken downstairs to a basement. The guard opens the door and Arar sees for the first time the cell he will live in for the following ten months and ten days.
It is three feet wide, six feet deep and seven feet high. It has a metal door, with a small opening which does not let in light because of a piece of metal on the outside for sliding things into the cell. There is a one by two foot opening in the ceiling with iron bars. This opening is below another ceiling and lets in just a tiny shaft of light. Cats urinate through the ceiling traps of these cells, often onto the prisoners. Rats wander there too.
Early the next morning Arar is taken upstairs for intense interrogation. He is beaten on his palms, wrists, lower back and hips with a shredded black electrical cable which is about two inches in diameter.
The next day Arar is interrogated and beaten on and off for eighteen hours. Arar begs them to stop. He is asked if he received military training in Afghanistan, and he falsely confesses and says yes [another testimony to the effectiveness of “enhanced interrogation techniques”]. This is the first time Arar is ever questioned about Afghanistan. They ask at which camp, and provide him with a list, and he picks one of the camps listed.
In October 2003—more than a year after he had been sent to Syria—Arar was finally returned to Canada. He was never charged with a crime.”
And for this no one will be held accountable. But hey, at least the DOJ has their priorities straight. A federal prosecutor is investigating allegations of blood doping in the Tour de France.