Michael J.W. Stickings over at The Reaction has brought the Maher Arar case back into the daylight, and with good reason. Maher Arar's case is one in which extraordinary rendition affected a Canadian citizen in the worst way. The rendition of Arar to a Syrian prison was illegal under even the loosest of legal definitions. In Arar's case, he was detained in the United States without the right to counsel and flown to a foreign country for interrogation, all without legal paperwork and in direct violation of the US Constitution.
Maher Arar's case gained additional importance when a US federal judge refused to hear Arar's case against the US government.
The judge in the case, David Trager of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, did not dispute that United States officials had reason to know that Mr. Arar faced a likelihood of torture in Syria. But he took the rare step of blocking the lawsuit entirely, saying that the use of torture in rendition cases is a foreign policy question not appropriate for court review, and that going forward would mean disclosing state secrets.What a load of garbage. The Supreme Court of the United States has already ruled that cases like Arar's are subject to judicial review. In fact, SCOTUS has clearly stated that despite all the terms and definitions which the Bush administration flings around to deny rights and hearings to those they detain and have detained, the administration must adhere to the rule of law.
The public in both Canada and the United States have the right to hear the details of Arar's detention and rendition to a third country which employs torture as a method of interrogation.
If Peter McKay is doing his job, he should be calling David Wilkins, the US ambassador to Canada, onto the carpet and issuing a clear and unequivocal protest against the behaviour of a US federal judge who is now going out of his way to shield the Bush administration from scrutiny.
Or maybe Peter is too gutless to rattle the cage of his boss's good buddy.