Civil Liberties

One Country's Victim Is Another's Terrorist

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Today the Canadian government will formally apologize to Maher Arar, the software engineer whom it mistakenly fingered as a terrorist, leading U.S. authorities to detain him during a layover in New York and deport him to the country of his birth, Syria, where he was tortured into signing a confession and imprisoned for a year. The Canadian government also plans to pay Arar $8.5 million ($10 million Canadian) in compensation.

The U.S. government, meanwhile, won't even remove Arar from its terrorist watch list, despite his exoneration by a Canadian commission of inquiry and a direct appeal by Canadian Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day. In a January 16 letter to Day, The New York Times reports, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff

said their departments and American intelligence agencies "have re-examined the materials in the possession of the United States regarding Mr. Arar.

"Based on this re-examination,"  [they] added, "we remain of the view that the continued watch listing of Mr. Arar is appropriate."

After the letter was sent, Mr. Day met last week with Mr. Chertoff and Mr. Gonzales and reviewed the American dossier on Mr. Arar in its entirety, but still disagreed with the American decision, Canadian and American officials said.

To recap: The Canadians, the original source of the tip that made U.S. officials think Arar was a terrorist, have completely repudiated the allegation, but the Americans are sticking to it, based on secret information the Canadians find unpersuasive. I'd like to believe our government is being extra careful, preferring to err on the side of safety. But I suspect it is actually being extra careless, refusing to admit the possibility of error.

NEXT: Union Sundown[*]

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  1. Well yeah, makes perfect sense, after all the whole point is to manufacture as many ‘terrorists’ as possible in order to cow as much of the public as possible. how else could they justify their destruction of the rule of law (non-secret laws any way)?

  2. All depends on the nationality of the supposed “Terrorist”. In Oct. 2001, two men were caught entering the Parliament building in Mexico with guns and C-4 explosives. It was headline news in Mexico, and was also on the Mexican Justice Dept. Web Site. CNN reported a breaking story, but dropped it like a hot potato. Turns out that one man was a MOSSAD (Israeli Intelligence) the other a Mexican Jew. Both had forged Pakistani Passports. Had they been Muslims, I am sure that CNN would have been much more interested. Must have some people on their staff who hate to see Israel look bad. They wanted to blow up the Mexican Congress and blame it on Muslims, specifically Pakistani ones, their nuclear neighbor.

  3. One less Canadian in the US. How is this bad?

    :p

  4. I think it’s probably because there is no “delete” feature in their terrorist DB. Once suspected, you are never fully exonerated.

    The TSA no-fly list (which i’m on thanks to the other, TSA-suing John Gilmore) says specifically that when you mail them your request for removal, that your status MAY BE changed, but you will nevertheless remain on the list, albeit with a lower security risk rating. Oh, well thats a relief! As long as they’re protecting me from me! The world is safe from any risky John Gilmores. Can’t wait until 5 years from now when this stuff prevents me from getting jobs.

  5. “Based on this re-examination,” [they] added, “we remain of the view that the continued watch listing of Mr. Arar is appropriate.”

    Well, if he didn’t have a hostile view of the US .gov before being spirited away, tortured, and imprisoned I guess he might now!

  6. “But I suspect it is actually being extra careless, refusing to admit the possibility of error.”

    no way!

    But it’ll be fun watching people defend this position.

    cheers and Happy Friday.

    Go Bears

    Congrats Colts.

    Best. Big. Game. Evar.

    (boo hoo. poor Eastern Seaboard Programming Network)

  7. “I’d like to believe our government is being extra careful, preferring to err on the side of safety. But I suspect it is actually being extra careless, refusing to admit the possibility of error.”

    I’d like to believe a lot of things, but WTF? Why the kid gloves here? It’s quite simple…Have an investigation into why this this guy was sent off to be locked up, held without access to legal council, and tortured over the course of a year. If this was done in error, which seems to be the case, issue a public apology and bring charges of at least criminal negligence against all of those involved in his abuse etc. etc. If nothing else, it might serve to remove the permanent the smirk from Gonzalez’s face.

  8. An FBI Agent living in our neighborhood told me that, one, the FBI lacks evidence implicating Bin Laden and El-Quaeda in the 9/11 attacks, two, Israeli agents were indeed caught videoing and celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers, three, URBAN MOVING SYSTEMS a moving company adjacent to Logan (Staffed mostly by Israeli intel. people) may well have placed the white van and Koran next to Logan,
    four, Israeli agents were in the Apt. next door to the hijackers in FL, five, the profile of the hijackers is that of partying, sex seeking, boozing Arab “hired guns”, not Jihad type Muslims, six it is not at at clear who hired them, seven going after Israel is career suicide in the FBI as the Israeli lobby is so powerful. Americans just find it much easier to mistrust and dislike Muslims. He said that there is a really good BBC documentary on terrorism saying that El Qaeda as an international terrorist organization hardly exists. He also said that the original communication in which Bin Laden denied involvement in 9/11 is considered genuine, and the later “confession” is suspect.

  9. pinko

    That’s just what we did up here.

    Which is why our government is paying him C$10 million. [I suspect it is easier for Harper to do this than it would for the Liberals as the events happened on previous Liberal government’s watch.]

  10. Dear Jonnycakes:

    My daughter spent a year in France going to School, and she went to a family dinner with her boyfriend, whose father is career Intel. in France (Deuxieme Bureau). He gave her basically the same information as you relayed.
    O’Reilly likes to think he is on El Qaeda’s death list, but in reality he has little to worry about.

  11. “El-Quaeda”??

    Ay Karumba (sic)

    This, “FBI Agent”. um.

    Okay. You get the bullshit award of the week. Mein Gott. Between your “FBI Agents” and the “meletary (sic) lawyers” wandering around, it’s no wonder that people sneak up on our little old ladies, scaring their cats.

    We’re now all dumber from the experience of seeing your post.

    kraest. it’s time fer a drink.

  12. Please, more the email-less newcomers who all agree with each other about the Jewish conspiracy theory!

  13. You need to understand two very important rules while living in this wonderful imperial republic called the USA:

    Rule #1. The United States Government is always right. It does not make mistakes. It does not error. It is stable and consistent.

    Rule #2. In the event of error or mistake or inconsistency, see Rule #1.

  14. Perhaps the reason is that he wasn’t a terrorist then but, after what he’s gone through, he now has cause to hate America.

  15. An FBI Agent living in our neighborhood told me that…

    Probably the same guys who said there were WMD in Iraq…

    I’ll second VM’s conclusion

  16. This decision is undoubtedly based more on CYA than CIA.

  17. This guy I know has a friend whose college roommate’s girlfriend’s cousin did an internship with the Illuminati. So I have it on good authority that Elvis is still alive.

  18. I heard from one guy that the FBI knows that the guy we sent to get tortured by the Syrians is a Mossad agent. It was all done to find out what Syrian torture techniques are.

    Apparently Syrian there was not a lot to learn about Syrian torture techniques. They are still using the same old same old. But the TSA has to keep the guy on the “no fly” list to maintain his cover.

  19. “we remain of the view that the continued watch listing of Mr. Arar is appropriate.”

    …because if we admit we screwed up, the floodgates will open and terrorists will be on every airline, blimp and kite flight for the next 50, make that 500 years!!!

  20. Didn’t you know?
    When people enter government, they enter a higher plane of existence, a plane of…infallibility.

  21. My half cousin’s step-father knows a CIA agent who has seen solid proof that it was German Jews that attacked the USS Arizona as a spur in their plot to overthrow the German government and create a jewish homeland. I dare you to out crazy that Johnny.

  22. Franz Kafka would feel right at home in these United States

  23. Why would the FBI have files on Bin Laden? He’s run the terror network entirely from abroad. That’s the CIA’s jurisdiction.

  24. Can someone tell me, are there so many Israeli moving companies that it can be perpetuated as a stereotype in a anti-semitic conspiracy rant?

    My last two groups of movers were just out of the Israeli army, and one dude was a real badass motherfucker.

  25. Tim,

    Was the moving company Two Mensches And A Schmuck?

  26. I’m stumped.

    kwais, is that parody?

  27. “kwais, is that parody?”

    I am sorry if that was not obvious, it was not as funny as I thought it was. But then before I had typed it there were no other parodies preceding it, so it did seem funnier.

  28. kwais —

    And I thought _my_ job sucked…

  29. Please, more the email-less newcomers who all agree with each other about the Jewish conspiracy theory!

    I don’t think they said “Jewish,” joe.

    I am also unclear on why the possibility that 9-11 was a false flag attack, in whole or in part, is not considered a possibility.

    We really don’t know who the highjackers were. We don’t have much of any real information about their connection to Al Queda or Bin Laden.

    That doesn’t mean that Bin Laden didn’t do it.

    However, you should consider what you really “know” here and what you are basically taking on faith. Just because the Democratic party is convinced that the official story is basically true doesn’t mean you have to be.

  30. de stijl,

    Actually I think it was Three Stoners and a Professional Assassin.

  31. Why would the FBI have files on Bin Laden? He’s run the terror network entirely from abroad. That’s the CIA’s jurisdiction.

    Maybe he had close family members who visited the US at some point.

  32. Oh, boy. Here we go.

  33. The world is safe from any risky John Gilmores. Can’t wait until 5 years from now when this stuff prevents me from getting jobs.

    I can imagine some local politician trying to pass a law barring people on the “no fly” list from living, working, or driving within a 1000 ft of a school, day-care, church or municipal building. You know, for safety and security.

  34. Oh yeah and my English was horrible.
    That the guy tortured by the Syrians was a Mossad agent.
    And that he went through all that torture and there was nothing new to report about Syrian torture.

    The guy drew straws with the other Mossad agents.

    The one guy got to video tape the planes hitting the towers

    The other guy got to pretend to be a Candadian that was a faux terrorist and had to go get tortured by the Syrians.

    Hey, I heard that J Edgar Hoover was a Mossad agent. They made him dress up in womens clothes so they could control him. He was an Israely spy sent to spy on the Kennedys.

  35. So, the goverment lets a guy out of Gitmo, he goes home and is released. This is proof he was innocent.

    The government catches a guy at the airport, he goes home (dual citizen) and is arrested. This is proof he was innocent.

    It’s all so clear to me now.

    We can’t know for sure about this guy.

    The Canadian goverment wouldn’t have found him guilty if they had videotape of him rodgering a nun with a plutonium dildo. It’s not politically correct to say any of our Islamic friends could possibly commit a crime.

    What he guilty of anything. Maybe. maybe not. (and I’ll happily give him the benefit of the doubt)

    Either way, while the truth might ‘be out there’, we’ll never ever know the truth of this situation and using it as an example of anything (good or bad) is like believing that John Lovitz was married to … oh… um… Scarlett Johanson.. yes.. that will do.

  36. so anyways those are my jokes in an attempt to make light if what seemed like troll activity. What seem to me to be outlandish claims of Mossad and whatnot. With the ridiculous “my friend the FBI agent” claim.

    But some of you might not be trolls and you might really believe it.

    I recommend a book called “Ghost Wars” it is about Bin Laden and the CIA and American policy in Afghanistan prior to 9/11.

    It is a great book and explains clearly and plainly how goverment bureaucracy failed time and time again through the 90’s and up to 9-11-01.

    I know I sound like Gary Gunnels recommending a book and all. It is a good book though.

  37. I have a firm confirmation from my brother’s friends girlfriends cousin’s husband’s friend, who is janitor at Langley that Osama Bin Laden is a mossad agent and that Joos blew up the twin towers so they could send their US proxy army to obliterate Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and turn the whole middle east into a JesusLand theme park, the money for which will of course be controlled by a conspiracy of jewish financiers.

    And the biggest secret of all? The Joos are just pawns of the Space People.

    Whats funny is that this is not funny, and that there are people out there who seriously believe this kind of stuff.

  38. Oh, boy. Here we go.

    You must have noticed that these conspiracy theories sound more plausible over time, rather than less.

    There are people suspicious now who would not have been in 2005. There were people suspicious in 2005 who were not in 2002.

    We are actually getting to the point where these suspicions can be raised in civilized discourse. That is a big step.

  39. We are actually getting to the point where these suspicions can be raised in civilized discourse. That is a big step.

    Only if you include obscure political message boards as “civilized discourse”. Raise some of these theories at your next office party and see what sort of responses you get.

  40. hardy arar… | January 26, 2007, 12:10pm |

    We can’t know for sure about this guy.

    Pppppt.

    Hardy, being More American than you, I have to say I’m not all that sure about you. I know it’s not ‘politcally correct’ to say that someone who pretends to be a Good Christian American might be a lying, pork-hating terrorist flunky. I feel that, to be sure, you should be exported to Syria and tortured for a year. If the Syrians, after a year, say you’re just some nobody from Sheboygen, well, thats no proof, so we’ll let the Canadians investigate your entire life history…and when they come up with nothing, we’ll just Keep an Eye on you, cause, you know, you Never Do Know. You could be one of those ‘muslim sympathizers’, masking as a knee jerk knucklehead. What is Good For America is Good for You.

  41. I know I sound like Gary Gunnels recommending a book and all. It is a good book though.

    Actually kwais, I genuinely appreciate it when people recommend books here. I being a lowly undereducated college student am always interested in a good read.

  42. I’d like to believe our government is being extra careful, preferring to err on the side of safety.

    I have never been prone to trusting the government as Mr. Sullum apparently is. Which is why I don’t take his writing on the drug war very seriously. After all, he doesn’t like the drug war, but he loves (and trusts) the politicians and judges that prosecute it.

  43. PS: Is this libertarianism now? Trust of government? Where did that come from? Townhall?

  44. Johnny-

    Did you read the sentence after that? Context matters, you know.

    Oh, never mind, let’s just get it out of the way: “You know, for a magazine called Reason…”

    Drink!

  45. I can imagine some local politician trying to pass a law barring people on the “no fly” list from living, working, or driving within a 1000 ft of a school, day-care, church or municipal building. You know, for safety and security.

    David, why are you giving them ideas?

  46. Only if you include obscure political message boards as “civilized discourse”. Raise some of these theories at your next office party and see what sort of responses you get.

    At a party at my office? There aren’t really other USians at my office. There are barely any whites. I guess it would be interesting to know how immigrants from Central and Southern and Pacific Rim Asian immigrants feel about these issues, but they are a bit guarded on this stuf, in my experience.

  47. This just in! The Jews and the Masons have formed an alliance with the Trilateralists. We don’t stand a chance.

  48. The more you repeat something the more people hear it and the more people believe it. It’s a common, well-documented, and well-understood phenomenon.

    Wishing, however frequently, does not make something so.

  49. I did thoreau, I did read the whole post:

    I’d like to believe our government is being extra careful, preferring to err on the side of safety. But I suspect it is actually being extra careless, refusing to admit the possibility of error.

    I’m sorry, I was drawn to libertarians back in the 70’s and 80’s specifically because there was never, ever, a good enough reason to “trust” the .gov.

  50. As far as I can tell, from the total output of Mr. Sullums writings over the years, he has an extremely unhealthy trust of politicians. Except when he doesn’t. It’s really hard to pinpoint. But…all in all, I pretty much don’t trust anyone who “wants” to trust the .gov. Do you?

    Jus’ sayin’.

  51. GILMORE,

    You’re utterly missing my point.

    I’m not saying what happened was good, necessary, correct, or in any other way acceptable.

    What I’m saying is that we cannot use this case as an example of a good thing or a bad thing because the TRUTH of it will never be revealed as bare facts. What isn’t said isn’t known. What is said is untrustworthy.

    We believe the US government was lying when they said Arar was Satan Jr. We believe the Canadian government when they say he’s an Angel in white.

    Why? On what basis can we assess and judge EITHER of those statements. Picking one shows more ‘which side your on’ than what any of us actually knows.

    I wouldn’t trust the Canadian goverment if they had a Royal Commission to prove that water is wet. Too many years of scandals, lies, and corruption simply renders their utterances to be unbelievable. Like the boy who cried wolf, when the government utters truth, who would believe them (and how would you know?)

    I hold the US goverment in no particular regard on the subject either.

    That, in and of itself, is a Very Bad Thing (TM)

    The entire subject is obfuscated to the point of uselessness. It cannot be used as an example of anything other than the fact that there is a very great deal done in secret that shouldn’t be and there is an equally great deal said in public that we have no basis to fairly assess for accuracy.

    That’s all.

    You can carry on with your hystronics now if it makes you feel better.

  52. Johnny-

    I’m more libertarian than thou.

  53. correction to my last:

    I will stipulate, that sending people off to foreign countries because you don’t like the look of them is generally a bad idea. If you have reason to arrest them do so in your own country. If you don’t, let them pass.

    THAT is certainly a bad act in this whole story (whether or not Arar was a devil or a saint).

  54. the US government isn’t to be graded or judged on the actual real-world effects of our actions and policies

    we are to be judged on our stated intentions only (subject to revision as history neccesitates)

    letting the world know that not only is our gov’t not infallible, but that it relied on hearsay evidence to imperiously and royally fuck over some Canuck (who was in the country waiting for a connecting flight home to Canada)? that would be a tragic risk to our national security

    “Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity”
    ~Lord Acton

  55. Oh, show of hands:

    Who else thinks that Sam Franklin/Dave W. would be an utter hoot at an office party after he’s had his third Jack ‘n’ Coke*?

    *But a Mexican Coke. Imported from Mexico. Where they still use cane sugar, instead of Corn Syrup, which we all know is the cause of everything from inner city street crime to cancer to acne.

  56. “I will stipulate, that sending people off to foreign countries because you don’t like the look of them is generally a bad idea.”

    Well, glad to know that it’s just generally a bad idea.

    Except in this case, when it must have been an utterly brilliant stroke of national security genius.

  57. “You must have noticed that these conspiracy theories (about the Israelis being behind 9/11) sound more plausible over time, rather than less.”

    Uh, no, not really. Maybe I’m just thick.

  58. I totally believe these conspiracy stories. That’s why I’m trying so damned hard to become Jewish myself. I figure if the Jews, with less than one-half of one percent of the entire world population, can successfully pull off ruling the world like that, they are definitely bad-ass Nietzschean ubermensches, and I want in.

    Ah, Jews. Is there anything they can’t do?

  59. “Ah, Jews. Is there anything they can’t do?”

    They can’t eat bacon. Yummy, yummy bacon.

  60. Who else thinks that Sam Franklin/Dave W. would be an utter hoot at an office party after he’s had his third Jack ‘n’ Coke*?

    somehow we never seem between the Sikhs and the Muslims and the typical sub-Continental austerity and thrift, our Dinwalli parties are generally limited to meatless pizzas and really gross “sweets.”

    They even have a rule that no employee can take more than one piece of pizza.

    What I would really like to see is you all (well not Phil or that guy who threatened me) at one of my office parties. Now that would be a hoot.

  61. –never seem to have Jack and Cokes–

  62. I think that for any real entertainment value, Phil has to be there.

  63. They can’t eat bacon. Yummy, yummy bacon.

    They CAN eat bacon; they simply CHOOSE not to. And you’d make the same choice, if you knew as much about bacon as does the Jewluminati. For starters, where do you think high-fructose corn syrup comes from? Corn? Ha. That’s what they want you to think.

    Stupid fucking sheeple. Oy vey and gevalt.

  64. At our last party, one of the employees snuck out early for a few minutes at the end (presumably to have a cigarette). He got yelled at. A lot.

  65. David – heh 🙂

    Didn’t Phil already kick off, per wishes of Batshit Insane Boy?

    “You can carry on with your hystronics now if it makes you feel better.”

    Thank you 🙂

    Media – when you wrote “Mexican Coke”, I had some sort of image like a “Hot Karl” or something. Only after reading the whole thing was the truth revealed. It’s one of those days.

    de stijl: man! You’re on a roll today! Two snaps and a circle your you, my good man!

    cheers

  66. mediageek,

    You most certainly are. Of course so is Tony Snow.

    I am not a libertarian. I don’t trust the .gov, republican or democrat, so as far as I can tell, that disqualifies me from being a libertarian anymore at all.

  67. Mediageek,

    Mexican Coke with cane sugar actually tastes much better than the corn syrup variety, but then you’d be supporting El Qaeda and terrorists have won.

  68. btw, as the US is switching to cane, Mexico seems to be switching to HFCS.

    back in the Mission in 1995, Mexican Coke was de rigeur.

  69. Hardy =

    Hystrionics? pot calling the stainless steel kettle black? 🙂

    Your Epistemology is fascinating. “We can’t ever know for sure.” The last refuge of the non-argument. Case study in reductio ad ignorantium. The guy’s been tortured by Syrians, Sued the Canadians, (in the process requring tons of dicovery/due dilligence), and he’s been in the public eye nonstop now since his release. His life has been picked apart by fricking 60Minutes for christs sake. You aren’t satisfied. Fine – what WOULD satisfy you? Apparently nothing. So what’s your point? Everyone is a potential terrorist until…. well, they just are? It’s totally useless to have an opinion because you dont think anyone ‘knows enough’?

    “Hystrionics” is a mighty fancy word for a Supposed Christian American too…. maybe a little bout of waterboarding will expose the inner Qtubist here.

  70. “somehow we never seem between the Sikhs and the Muslims and the typical sub-Continental austerity and thrift, our Dinwalli parties are generally limited to meatless pizzas and really gross “sweets.”

    They even have a rule that no employee can take more than one piece of pizza.”

    Christ, no wonder you’re so fucking insane. Without meat and booze, I’d probably be parading around teh intardwebs, unsupervised and blathering about the dangers of guns smothered in corn syrup as well.

  71. I’d just like to point out that pointing out the influence of pro-Israel groups in the US and that the actions of the Israeli government may not always be concordant with the best interests of the US does not equal anti-semitism.

    The Mossad does operate in the US.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/europe/2294487.stm

    wasn’t there a guy convicted of spying for Israel, and the Israeli government tried to get him released? I can’t remember his name or find it right now.

  72. “You most certainly are. Of course so is Tony Snow.”

    Oooooooooooh…

  73. Just in case people don’t have the full information on the case… it has certainly been suppressed somewhat in the Canadian media… here is what happened:

    The RCMP (the Canadian version of the FBI), called U.S. officials, and told them that Canada suspected Arar of being a terrorist.

    The U.S. said they would detain him, and ship him to Canada, so long as the Canadian government would take him into tempory custody to question him. After all, Canada was calling the U.S. and telling them “Look out, we think this guy is going to attack the U.S.”, that is the least they should do.

    When Canada refused to take him into custody for questioning (RCMP agents were waiting for him at the airport to keep him under survalence, but they didn’t want to arrest him before they had enough evidence to build a case), the U.S. then called Syria (the guy is a citizen of Syria, and so it is totally legal to deport him to Syria). Syria said, “Sure, we will take him into custody for questioning”.

    This whole thing would have not happening, had the Canadian government not told the U.S. that their own citizen was a terrorist. The U.S. government had no reason to suspect the Canadians were lying… and the U.S. government acted totally legally (it is perfectly legal to deport a non-citizen without a visa to a country of their citizenship… in this case Syria).

    If you think that the U.S. “exported torture” to Syria, you need to think again. The U.S. and Syria aren’t exactly close friends, if you know what I mean. The idea that Syria would be torturing people for the U.S. is silly, when Syria is supporting insurgent attacks in Iraq, and when there is proxie violence between the U.S. and Syria in Lebonon. If Syria tortured the guy, they did so because it was in their own self-interest.

    Now, I am one of the most anti-government people on this board, and have been one of the harshest critics of the War on Terror here. But this case is more about Canada’s messed up policy of demanding that people be treated like Canadian citizens by the country they have duel citizenship in. Nearly all other countries, if you are say a duel U.S. and Syrian citizenship, when you are in Syria the U.S. government says “you are on your own… you are a Syrian citizen and so don’t expect special help from us”. This is the policy of most governments. But when a duel Canadian/Syrian citizenship person is mistreated in Syria, the Canadian government demands that the Syrian be treated as a Canadian, depite the fact the person is a SYRIAN CITIZEN, IN SYRIA!!! This has caused all sorts of diplomatic problems between Canada and other countries (for example, when planning a trip to Iran not to long ago, I found out it was easy for me being from the U.S. to get a visa, but not for Canadians… as too many people with both Canadian and Iranian citizenship were demanding to be treated like Canadians depspite their Iranian citizenship).

  74. First of all, I take it back. Not “Jewish” conspiracy. Israeli conspiracy.

    No need to hand these people a victim card.

  75. “Mexican Coke with cane sugar actually tastes much better than the corn syrup variety,”

    No disagreement. I likes me some Mexican Coke.

    Almost as much as I like Horchata. Yum.

  76. If you think that the U.S. “exported torture” to Syria, you need to think again. The U.S. and Syria aren’t exactly close friends, if you know what I mean. The idea that Syria would be torturing people for the U.S. is silly, when Syria is supporting insurgent attacks in Iraq, and when there is proxie violence between the U.S. and Syria in Lebonon. If Syria tortured the guy, they did so because it was in their own self-interest.

    the US didn’t count on Syria torturing the guy and then sending him back. They pretty much outsmarted the US on that. I always wonder about the ones who don’t get sent places that aren’t out to give the US or Canada a smart poke in the eye. i don’t know their names or how many there are.

  77. Biologist:

    yes – that’s a good call. It’s strange how often it gets forgotten. Wellllll – maybe not. Just think of our joke, “why do you hate America” comment – criticism of the WoT or WoI often provokes such a reaction!

    And I seem to recall a story about that, too. Sure – people do spy for all countries, organizations, etc. out there.

  78. Rex Rhino, if that’s true, why didn’t the US just export him to his immediate, closer country of citizenship, where he had just come from, and alert the border crossings and airports to not allow him into the US, while the RCMP finished its investigation and built its case? instead, they alerted a possible terror network that we were on to one of their agents, and took actions that resulted an apparently innocent man being tortured.

  79. “…they didn’t want to arrest him before they had enough evidence to build a case” Those BASTARDS!

    “…the guy is a citizen of Syria, and so it is totally legal to deport him to Syria…” It is a violation of federal law to deport someone to a country if there is reason to believe he will be killed, tortured, or persecuted there.

  80. “Ah, Jews. Is there anything they can’t do?”
    They can’t eat bacon. Yummy, yummy bacon.

    I served a Jew roast pork once and took peculiar delight in it. He seemed to enjoy it, and as far as I know, he is not yet damned.
    His god is weak.

  81. First of all, I take it back. Not “Jewish” conspiracy. Israeli conspiracy.

    Nor is Mossad a conspiracy. Its existence is openly acknowledged, the fact that it sometimes takes covert actions is openly acknowledged and it exists for legitimate purposes. It is not a “conspiracy” any more than the CIA is a “conspiracy.”

  82. Yea, not my best snark, but it will have to do.

    But really, would Mr. Sullum have written such a gentle post if it was about the CDC or the FDA instead of Homeland Security?

    It does seem to me that when you mention certain types danger, real or imagined, libertarians become very conservative.

    It’s like security issues are Alar/Cancer scares for libertarians. I’m just having a difficult time these days telling the difference between Conservatives, Libertarians and Liberals.

    Each have pet fears, but they don’t seem to extend the lessons they learn from one fear and applying them to new fears as they arise.

  83. I have only two words for all of you: Crab. People.

    Think about it.

  84. The money quote:

    “Now, I am one of the most anti-government people on this board, and have been one of the harshest critics of the War on Terror here. But”

  85. “Nor is Mossad a conspiracy.”

    Of course not. Now, “Mossad caused 9/11 and planted evidence implicating Al Qaeda” – THAT’S a conspiracy.

  86. @biologist

    wasn’t there a guy convicted of spying for Israel, and the Israeli government tried to get him released? I can’t remember his name or find it right now.

    I think you’re refering to Jonathan Pollard. As far as I know, they’re still demanding his release.

  87. Pig Mannix – that’s exactly who I was thinking of. thanks.

  88. Of course not. Now, “Mossad caused 9/11 and planted evidence implicating Al Qaeda” – THAT’S a conspiracy.

    Even if this unsupported assertion turns out to be true, I still say it would be more accurately described as a good, legitimate organization gone bad, than as a “conspiracy.”

    Same reason I wouldn’t really term ENRON’s crimes as a “conspiracy” (even though the criminal laws might define it that way).

  89. Though I think there was a “conspiracy” when they had that bum fall over dead in public last year. But that is post-ENRON.

  90. “Yea, not my best snark, but it will have to do.”

    The ability to riff a good snark is a hallmark of being libertarian.

    Turn your decoder ring in, bitch.

  91. But really, would Mr. Sullum have written such a gentle post if it was about the CDC or the FDA instead of Homeland Security?

    I have no difficulty imagining Sullum or anyone else here writing a sentence like “I’d like to believe the FDA’s disapproval of over-the-counter contraceptives was inspired by concern for our health rather than pandering to religious conservatives.”

    Seriously: are you not familiar with the concept of “context” as it applies to reading? The “I’d like to imagine they’re concerned about safety,” in context, demonstrates the appalling divide between the motivations that would inspire our government’s behavior in an ideal world, versus the motivations of the bastards we’ve actually got.

  92. Shannon,

    Thats just what the Crab People want you to think.

    The Truth they Dont Want You to Know is that the Crab People are just operatives for Satan’s Army of Jewish Space Squids….which, like, control teh corporshuns, man, which is why i’m aure my pot’s been sprayed with mind control chemicals. Thats why I boil it first.

    I love the internet. I Googled “jews are just pawns of the aliens”, and SHAZAAM! A whole world of nutjobs devoted to just this premise.

    http://www.thewatcherfiles.com/sherry/invasion.htm

  93. “You must have noticed that these conspiracy theories sound more plausible over time, rather than less.”

    not really, if only because the same thing – carte blanche to get a patriot act, invade afghanistan and iraq, etc – if they’d only blown up a few planes on the runway. this way you still get a huge body count, but you save a lot of financial infrastructure. plus you could orchestrate a really nice last minute anti-terrorist heroism type drama to add to the pile (“let’s roll (TM)” never really did it for me, frankly. a little too plastic wal-mart flag, you know?)

  94. Warning to all –

    this entity that calls itself dhex is a plant by the MJ-12 to create complacency amongst the human populace

    http://www.rahabisreturning.com/anuk.htm

  95. holy shit dude it’s a burroughs novel come to life!

    ” The only way to defend yourself against evil and even aliens other than by prayer is with orgone made right. Orgone that’s made right will suffocate evil and they can’t breathe being around it, so they’ll stay away from the area with it in it. See http://www.tearingdownstrongholds.com or buy some orgone blasters now and keep them out of your house and yard. They’re called tower busters because they’re mostly used for nulling the weapon attacks and subliminal messages from towers, but I’m finding these things also serve as an evil-repellant and will keep aliens and demons out of your house and yard. If you’re a believer in Yahshuah-Jesus Christ, they’re already in your yard or house if you’re rebuking them. These ob’s will keep them out to begin with.”

    academy 23 indeed!

  96. chemtrails chemtrails chemtrails!

    http://www.sherryshriner.com/

    btw, benny hinn is an agent of the knights templar.

    what i like about the conspiracy stuff is that it utterly, completely and totally fails any sort of “so what?” test. the answer to “What should we do” is a) feel haughty and superior to the sheeple b) buy more of my books/dvds and c) start your own self-publishing biz if you can.

  97. I live in Israel. The Israelis who were captured celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers were not urban legend, they were real. After their release, they came back to Israel, denying that they “Celebrated”. Remarkably, however, they admitted they were originally sent over to the U.S. to “document the event.”
    In other words, they had advance knowledge. This information is carefully ignored by the U.S. media who is loathe to say anything offensive about Israel. A Koran lying in the front seat of the van! How gullible can you Americans be? Isn’t it rather obvious that it was deliberately planted for maximum political effect?

  98. Wow, there, johnnycakes. A new handle. And a new location. Did the French Girlfriend’s stepbrother CIA FBI man live next door there in Haifa? Or am I confusing your fantasies?

    All that asbestos in grandma’s basement sure has played hell with your brain.

  99. “Now, I am one of the most anti-government people on this board, and have been one of the harshest critics of the War on Terror here. But”

    Yeah, I said it… because I am capable of nuanced understanding of the issues. I can be totally against the War on Terror, but realize when the significance of a specific case has been overblown. I can be against Gitmo, against the patriot act, against illegal wiretaps, against terrorist paranoia… and at the same time see that the U.S. government didn’t do anything particularly bad in this specific case (It deported a Syrian citizen to a country of his citizenship). I can see how the Canadian government, who caused the issue in the first place, has a huge political incentive to try to shift the blame to the U.S..

    It is a violation of federal law to deport someone to a country if there is reason to believe he will be killed, tortured, or persecuted there.

    How would the U.S. know he would be killed, tortured, or persecuted in Syria in this specific case? Other than “Syria are bad and evil and we know they torture people” (which could be said about most of the countries in the world, including the U.S.), what specific knowledge did the U.S. have that he would be tortured?

    If there is any evidence somewhere that the U.S. sent him to Syria, specificly to be tortured, please let me know and I will readily admit that you were right and I was wrong. But in this case, it seems like the only “knowledge” the U.S. had the guy would be tortured is a negative stereotype of Syria – Isn’t the government NOT supposed to act based simply on negative stereotypes?

  100. GILMORE

    Who said I was american or Christian for that matter?

    As to the rest, production of the specific and detailed information leading to his ‘transportation’ would be a good start. They made a claim. The only way to assess the claim is to see it in full detail. This of course will never happen.

    The chain of events as Rex relate is fairly accurate. Thus, the question of interest is ‘what did the RCMP have on Arar?’ If it was ‘well, he talked to this guy, who we think talked to another guy, who once read a book, written by a guy, who attended the same highschool as a guy with the same name as a suspected terrorist’ then, just maybe, we might know their argument was weak. On the other hand, if they, for example, found semi-completed bombs built into laptop computers in the guys apartment, perhaps they have a point.

    My personal suspicion, is that the ‘evidence’ was more in the former class than the latter, but it would be nice to KNOW that since my ‘suspicions’ and 50 cents won’t get you an extra shot never mind a whole coffee.

    And yes, we ARE all potential terrorists to say nothing of being potential shoplifters, arsonists and whatever one calls the crime of reading beat poetry in public. That’s irrelevant of course. You cannot (or at least should not) arrest/try/convict (when they bother with such nicities) for ‘potential’. But you knew this.

  101. “You must have noticed that these conspiracy theories (about the Israelis being behind 9/11) sound more plausible over time, rather than less.”

    A little help for those in need … conspiracies aren’t made more or less plausible by motivation, but by the necessary extent of the conspiracy. The most simple explanation is likely the correct explanation. On the one hand, a religious nut finally pulls off the attack he’s been crowing about for years, on the other, a nation conspires to attack the worlds superpower and frame their enemies for the deed, oh, and successfully cover the whole thing up with the exception of a few loons on the internets.

  102. We are actually getting to the point where these suspicions can be raised in civilized discourse. That is a big step.

    Backwards.

  103. pigwiggle-

    But what if the loons on teh internetz are part of the conspiracy? They are paid to discredit it by talking about it!

  104. My personal suspicion, is that the ‘evidence’ was more in the former class than the latter

    dude… your suspicion? Why rely on that when you can watch 60 Minutes… this stuff isnt all secrety secret as you characterize it as.

    And if you’re not a Christian American, then, hell…. someone have this guy deported to Diego Garcia, and warm up the electrodes, cause somethin bout this guy aint all right.

  105. “because I am capable of nuanced understanding of the issues”

    doesn’t seem like it. Seems like another series of excuses that go back to Jacob’s final point, “refusing to admit the possibility of error”.

    Nice try, tho. Actually it wasn’t.

  106. Ah, Jennifer, your continuing desire to join our club is touching. I’m sure you could find a sympathetic rabbi to make the necessary incantations.

    As for the conspiracy theories, well, I’m keeping my rifle and a sufficient supply of ammunition just in case. Some goyim just can’t be trusted.

  107. “How would the U.S. know he would be killed, tortured, or persecuted in Syria in this specific case?”

    LOL! Yes, how could we know that the Syrian government, best know for putting down an uprising by Sunni Islamists by killing a quarter of million people in Hama, would torture a prisoner we tell them is connected to Al Qaeda?

  108. Apparently, the idea that Syria tortures people it suspects of being Islamic terrorists is a “sterotype.”

    Someone tell Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the State Department.

  109. doesn’t seem like it. Seems like another series of excuses that go back to Jacob’s final point, “refusing to admit the possibility of error”.

    Are an idiot? Do you regularly read this message boards? If you have, you would realize that I am one of the more firebrand anti-government types on the board. Accusing me of “refusing to admit the possiblity of error” by the U.S. government is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. I am usually doing nothing *BUT* accusing the U.S. government of error. Your accusations are absurd.

  110. For Hardy

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/v5/content/subscribe?user_URL=http://www.theglobeandmail.com%2Fservlet%2Fstory%2FRTGAM.20040123.warar0123%2FBNStory%2FFront%2F&ord=1169843646716&brand=theglobeandmail&force_login=true

    “U.S. cited acquaintances in deporting Arar

    “From Friday’s Globe and Mail =
    The only stated reason the United States deported Maher Arar to Syria is that he admitted he knew two Ontario men who were also under RCMP investigation and later jailed as terrorism suspects in Syria. According to U.S.”

    These other 2 men were also redered to syria and released, FYI, when they turned out to be dead ends as well. They are now trying to get standing to testify in Arars case to clarify that if this is a case of guilt by association then the associees should all be present to testify as to their relationship…

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2004/04/30/arar_040430.html

    This guy does good job tracking the details =

    http://www.damnforeigner.com/archives/cat_maher_arar.html

    Hope that helps

  111. The idea that Syria would be torturing people for the U.S. is silly

    Rex

    This statement is silly. Why did we ship him there? Both nations have Anti Al-Q interests in common. Diplomacy can include people otherwise at odds finding areas where they can work together. They torture suspected al q members – have done so for long time. We’ve been using foreign govts to torture people for us in many documented cases… why would you consider this any different?

  112. An FBI Agent living in our neighborhood told me that, one, the FBI lacks evidence implicating Bin Laden and El-Quaeda in the 9/11 attacks

    You mean the FBI missed the videotape of bin Laden saying “When we planned the attacks, we thought crashing planes into the World Trade Center would just cause a couple of really hellacious fires. Bringing them down was just gravy.”

    You know, immediately after 9/11, I too was sceptical of the universal assumption that bin Laden must have been behind it. After all, we’re talking about the same government that was sure that Richard Jewell had set off the pipe bomb in Atlanta. But reading about bin Laden’s gloating videotapes persuaded me that even our intelligence-challenged (in both senses of the word) government may have gotten it right this time.

  113. This guy I know has a friend whose college roommate’s girlfriend’s cousin did an internship with the Illuminati. So I have it on good authority that Elvis is still alive.

    You realize that by this time, every former Illuminati intern with a female cousin with a roommate who has a friend who knew someone you once knew at some point in your life has been debriefed on this subject?

    Of course, they’ve probably already gotten you, Thoreau.

    Oh, no. Now they’re coming for everyone who’s read your comment!

  114. This *is* the same Syria that we’re now supposedly not talking to because they’re so evil and we-can’t-trust-them-enough-to-negotiate-with-them, right?

    The DOJ is nuts.

  115. But reading about bin Laden’s gloating videotapes

    Reading about videotapes is like dancing about architecture.

  116. Of course, they’ve probably already gotten you, Thoreau.

    Sergeant Raymond Shaw is the bravest soldier that I’ve ever met.

  117. Dancing about video tapes is like reading about architecture.

  118. and videotaping architecture is like dancing about reading

  119. unless the architecture is in flames

  120. Videotapong architecture and reading about dancing are both fine, though.

  121. My wife’s uncle was in the army stationed in Germany years ago and he met this Turkish guy whose sister married a Jew and nearly got kicked out of the family, but not because he was a Jew, but because she ran off to get married in Las Vegas and invited everybody but her rich uncle, who knew the President of the United States at the time who could have gotten their cousin a visa, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until you consider that their cousin’s name was Abdul, and Abdul was trying to start a company that would import wheat to China, where there was this old lady who swallowed a fly, and I don’t know why she swallowed the fly – perhaps she’ll die.
    Oh yeah, and Suzie told me she likes you, but don’t let her know that you know, you know?

  122. I knew it!

  123. “And yes, we ARE all potential terrorists to say nothing of being potential shoplifters, arsonists and whatever one calls the crime of reading beat poetry in public. That’s irrelevant of course.”

    no, i’d say that’s super relevant and like, super duper bad. we are not – well, i hesistate to speak for everyone, but for most – potential terrorists. or arsonists or shoplifters for that matter.

    that such an attitude can be entertained is the gate to state power that is super-duper-ooper bad news.

  124. After reading this board, who needs drugs?

    Jennifer, if I was the head jew, I would welcome you with open arms. Why is Apostate Jew playing hard to get?

  125. Why is Apostate Jew playing hard to get?

    Because Jews are all secretive and conspiratorial, damn their non-goyische hides.

  126. OK for those of you conspiracy minded dudes.

    1) I don’t really know why pick on the Jews?

    2) I think these conspiracies make sense because prior to 9/11 none of y’all had heard of OBL. But really he had been trying his stuff, sinse the early ’90s. The CIA and the State Dept, and our govt in General had been failing in regards to him since before then.

    He declared war on us in the ’90s
    There was the first world trade center attack. There were the embassy bombings. There was the USS Cole, there were wire intercepts of his plans for a long time. Motivated people at the CIA had been trying to raise the alarm about him for a while.

    He did not just happen overnight.

  127. You know, immediately after 9/11, I too was sceptical of the universal assumption that bin Laden must have been behind it. After all, we’re talking about the same government that was sure that Richard Jewell had set off the pipe bomb in Atlanta. But reading about bin Laden’s gloating videotapes persuaded me that even our intelligence-challenged (in both senses of the word) government may have gotten it right this time.

    The other side of that is, even if true, ask any cop how many false confessions the police get for major crimes every day. Cases with videotaped confessions are thrown out of court all the time, for one reason or another.

    In some parts of the world the WTC attacks are considered acts of heroism, not crimes. He had some incentive for taking credit whether or not he was actually involved (and what level was that involvement? Was he an active participant, or did he simply tell an adjunct group of conspirators, “Good luck, and write if you find work!”?).

    I’d be curious to hear from any lawyers out here – based on the evidence available in the public record, what are the chances a prosecuter could obtain a conviction against bin Laden?

    My own, decidedly unprofessional, evaluation tells me that prosecuter would have an uphill battle.

  128. I think that they’d be hard pressed to get an indictment on OBL

    in fact, if the 9/11 attacks were to have been pursued as a criminal investigation, one of the guys we could have got an indictment on (General Mahmoud Ahmad, who wiring Mohammed Atta 100,000 dollars in Florida the summer before the attacks) is a free man, retired from his job as chief spook (ISI) for our allies in the GWoT, Pakistan.

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