I've previously written about this story here and here. We're still doing this; outsourcing our most extreme torture programs to other nations. Note that while we evidently were using Syrian dungeons in 2002, we're now threatening to attack Syria. I guess their torturers didn't give us the answers we wanted.
I really, really, really, tried to defeat Bush.
...In the fall of 2002 Mr. Arar, a Canadian citizen, suddenly found himself caught up in the cruel mockery of justice that the Bush administration has substituted for the rule of law in the post-Sept. 11 world. While attempting to change planes at Kennedy Airport on his way home to Canada from a family vacation in Tunisia, he was seized by American authorities, interrogated and thrown into jail. He was not charged with anything, and he never would be charged with anything, but his life would be ruined.Even now US courts can still surprise. Perhaps Mr. Arar's case will yet be heard. Judging by the fall of Zimbabwe, sometimes the courts can retain integrity even when all other institutions have been corrupted.
Mr. Arar was surreptitiously flown out of the United States to Jordan and then driven to Syria, where he was kept like a nocturnal animal in an unlit, underground, rat-infested cell that was the size of a grave. From time to time he was tortured.
He wept. He begged not to be beaten anymore. He signed whatever confessions he was told to sign. He prayed.
Among the worst moments, he said, were the times he could hear babies crying in a nearby cell where women were imprisoned. He recalled hearing one woman pleading with a guard for several days for milk for her child.
He could hear other prisoners screaming as they were tortured.
"I used to ask God to help them," he said.
The Justice Department has alleged, without disclosing any evidence whatsoever, that Mr. Arar is a member of, or somehow linked to, Al Qaeda. If that's so, how can the administration possibly allow him to roam free? The Syrians, who tortured him, have concluded that Mr. Arar is not linked in any way to terrorism...
... Mr. Arar is the most visible victim of the reprehensible U.S. policy known as extraordinary rendition, in which individuals are abducted by American authorities and transferred, without any legal rights whatever, to a regime skilled in the art of torture. The fact that some of the people swallowed up by this policy may in fact have been hard-core terrorists does not make it any less repugnant.
Mr. Arar, who is married and also has an 8-year-old daughter, said the pain from some of the beatings he endured lasted for six months.
"It was so scary," he said. "After a while I became like an animal."
A lawsuit on Mr. Arar's behalf has been filed against the United States by the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. Barbara Olshansky, a lawyer with the center, noted yesterday that the government is arguing that none of Mr. Arar's claims can even be adjudicated because they "would involve the revelation of state secrets."
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