After Tip From Ally, U.S. Sent Muslim to Syria for Questioning
Tuesday, September 19, 2006; Page A01
Summarized by Copernic SummarizerTORONTO, Sept. 18 -- Canadian intelligence officials passed false warnings and bad information to American agents about a Muslim Canadian citizen, after which U.S. authorities secretly whisked him to Syria, where he was tortured, a judicial report found Monday.
The report, released in Ottawa, was the result of a 2 1/2-year inquiry that represented one of the first public investigations into mistakes made as part of the United States' "extraordinary rendition" program, which has secretly spirited suspects to foreign countries for interrogation by often brutal methods.
The inquiry, which focused on the Canadian intelligence services, found that agents who were under pressure to find terrorists after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, falsely labeled an Ottawa computer consultant, Maher Arar, as a dangerous radical. They asked U.S. authorities to put him and his wife, a university economist, on the al-Qaeda "watchlist," without justification, the report said. Arar was also listed as "an Islamic extremist individual" who was in the Washington area on Sept. 11.
The report concluded that he had no involvement in Islamic extremism and was on business in San Diego that day, said the head of the inquiry commission, Ontario Justice Dennis O'Connor.
"This is really the first report in the Western world that has had access to all of the government documents we wanted and saw the practice of extraordinary rendition in full color," he said in an interview from Ottawa. He said the individual Canadian officials should be held accountable: "Justice requires no less."
Since Sept. 11, the CIA, working with other intelligence agencies, has captured an estimated 3,000 people in its effort to dismantle terrorist networks. Many of them have been secretly taken by "extraordinary rendition" to other countries, hidden from U.S. legal requirements and often subject to torture.
The practice is generating increased opposition by other countries; Italy is seeking to prosecute CIA officers who allegedly abducted a Muslim cleric in Milan in February 2003, and German prosecutors are investigating the CIA's activities in their country.
Although details of the renditions and the destinations of those held are secret, President Bush has confirmed the existence of CIA-run prisons throughout the world.
The report said agents of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police "overstated" Arar's importance in the broad investigation they began of potential Canadian suspects after Sept. 11.
They did not appreciate the fact that the branding of someone as a 'target' or 'suspect' or 'Islamic extremist' to Americans in 2002 could lead to disastrous consequences."
Arar filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court, but the case was dismissed by a judge citing "national security" issues.
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If you think that what happened to Maher Arar can't happen to you think again ! There's a mouse trap in the house. plk
THE MOUSE TRAP
A mouse looked through a crack in the wall to see the farmer and his
wife opening a package. What food might it contain? He was aghast to
discover that it was a mouse trap. Retreating to the farmyard the mouse
proclaimed the warning: "There is a mouse trap in the house, a mouse
trap in the house! "The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head
and said, "Excuse me, Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to
you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."
The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mouse trap in the
house, a mouse trap in the house!" "I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse,"
sympathized the pig, "but there is nothing I can do about it but pray.
Be assured that you are in my prayers." The mouse turned to the cow. She
said, "Like wow, Mr. Mouse. A mouse trap. Like I am in grave danger.
So the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the
farmer's mouse trap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout
the house, like the sound of a mouse trap catching its prey. The
farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did
not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The
snake bit the farmer's wife.
The farmer rushed her to the hospital. She returned home with a fever.
Now everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the
farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.
His wife's sickness continued so that friends and neighbors came to sit
with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.
The farmer's wife did not get well and a few days later she passed away.
So many people came for her funeral, that the farmer had the cow
slaughtered, to provide meat for all of them to eat. So the next time
you hear that someone is facing a problem and think that it does not
concern you, remember that when there is a mouse trap in the house, the
whole farmyard is at risk.
-- Author Unknown