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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Maher Arar & Afghanistan: The Globe's Colin Freeze Reports

Don't mean to steal Yoshi's thunder with another Arar post, but The Globe & Mail's Colin Freeze has another interesting story today casting doubt on the $10m man's CAIR- and left-wing-activist-endorsed "official narrative". In "Why the US won't remove Arar from no-fly list", Freeze (in an awkwardly-written story probably mangled by a pro-Arar editor) quotes Justice O'Connor and his commission counsel essentially admitting that Arar probably was in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, despite Arar's vehement and repeated denials:

...he stated in his findings that even if one were inclined to believe coerced confessions, the Syrian information would hardly be grounds for marking Mr. Arar as a terrorist for life.

"The training camps were diverse in nature," Judge O'Connor writes. "Some could be described as terrorist training camps, others only as mujahedeen training camps.

"Based on the Syrians' information, it could not be determined whether Mr. Arar was a member of al-Qaeda or had received specific terrorist training. He could have gone to Afghanistan as a religious Muslim with a desire to fight the infidels or he could have had more nefarious intentions."

A fascinating passage. O’Connor, whose inquiry was prohibited from examining US or Syrian evidence, and was not supposed to be examining whether Arar had ever trained in Afghanistan, nonetheless finds it necessary to make excuses for some hypothetical young man who may have headed to Afghanistan “with a desire to fight the infidels” (news for you, O’Connor - you are an infidel!). Further, the O’Connor commission specifically leaves open the possibility that Arar did train in Afghanistan:

In an interview Friday, Paul Cavalluzzo, Judge O'Connor's commission counsel, explained why the inquiry didn't settle the Afghanistan question.

"What the report says is that one's presence in Afghanistan is a very complicated and nuanced question. If the person is a mujahedeen fighting the Soviets ... we looked upon these people as freedom fighters and nationalists," Mr. Cavalluzzo said. "However, if they were in Afghanistan after 1996, when al-Qaeda moved to Afghanistan, and attended an al-Qaeda training camp, that's a different story."

He added, "as far as Arar is concerned, there was the allegation and it wasn't proven either way."

Aha! They seem eager to provide Maher Arar with a convenient excuse, should more evidence of his actions in Afghanistan in the early 1990s come to light. Apparently, it would be OK if he was there fighting infidel Soviets, but it would not be OK if he was there fighting with Bin Laden after his return from Sudan in 1996. However, there is an obvious, glaring error in this logic, of course: Arar was alleged to have trained in Afghanistan in 1993, when Al Qaeda was already well-established, and when the Soviet Union was already long tossed into the dustbin of history. Thanks guys, but your excuse for Arar doesn't make any sense.

Maher Arar was interviewed for three hours by a US Congressional committee this past week, via teleconference from Ottawa. I’ve only had a chance to skim through the video (which can be found here in RA streaming format), and although the parts I’ve seen have only featured fawning and friendly questions, I’m hoping to go through it carefully to look for inconsistencies or slip-ups, and, possibly, a tough-minded Republican asking serious probing questions.

As Maher Arar runs around the world undermining virtually any attempt at fighting Islamic extremists in our midst, we deserve to know if he’s doing it based on truth, or lies. More on the topic in my post from earlier this year, "Maher Arar: Why the US won't (and shouldn't) let go."

Posted by Neil Flagg on October 20, 2007 | Permalink


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Allow me to repeat my comment posted in reply to the other Arar post:

I am not prepared to whitewash this guy. There are too many unanswered question (and there is no proof he was ever tortured). In the Western Standard earlier this year, there was also the question about him owning a gun and his frequent hopping across the Canadian-US border.

Too many unanswered questions. I, for one, do not believe he was ever tortured. That's baloney, and I want my $10 million back. That money belongs to Canadian taxpayers.

Posted by: Werner Patels (THE SPADE) | 2007-10-20 1:51:21 PM

Funny a few days ago I prayed the truth about Arar would be exposed for the world to see, in spite of the politically correct media's attempt to keep him sanitized. Giving this man $10,000,000 instead of a one way ticket to his home land may prove to be an injustice to all Canadians.

Posted by: Bill Whatcott | 2007-10-20 6:40:34 PM

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Posted by: allgamegold | 2007-10-20 9:45:32 PM

Well put Werner Patels and I could not agree more with you. At the time I wrote both my MP and the PM expressing such sentiments. From the PM's office I got a form letter which naturally did not address the concerns or issues I had raised. From the MP's I received a personal reply which, from my recollection, basically said that the government seeing that the courts were going to award Arar more settled on the 10 million.

I saw no point in writing further about it, but I did not and still do not buy it. Sorry but the investigation was incompetent by not insisting on proof of torture. It is impossible that anyone truly tortured shows no physical signs whatsoever. As to the courts that is just a continuation of the circus.

This for me was a big minus for the government and I do not want to see anymore of such stupidity.

Posted by: Alain | 2007-10-21 12:38:31 PM

Bell Media CTV and Globe and Mail are so partial to Arar the "victim" that the should make him a company Director -for a fee of say, five million Canadian dollars. Now there are several more Syrian "Canadians" claiming torture and nasty treatment at the hands of their fellow Syrian countrymen, obviously looking at another big payoff -beats buying Lotto 649 Tickets - Harper should have given Arar a year's pass to Canada's Wonderland. The Country Bumpkins got sucked in by Arar and his lawyer what's his name. Macleod

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2007-10-21 12:58:37 PM

Hasn't the Globe and Mail already declared him "Person of the Year" or something?

Posted by: Werner Patels (THE SPADE) | 2007-10-21 1:29:24 PM

No - they have Mugabe in mind because of the great success of his socialist economy:

"A million Zimbabwe dollars now buys $US1"

Zimbabwe's currency has fallen to record levels, with one million Zimbabwean dollars buying a single US dollar ($1.12) and inflation reaching 8000%. The data was announced as people in the capital, Harare, struggled to cope without electricity for the third day. At independence in 1980, the Zimbabwean dollar held parity with the US dollar but has suffered from the economic policies of President Robert Mugabe.

BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A . . . never mind.

Posted by: obc | 2007-10-21 1:34:24 PM

Arar, usually I am quite reserved and don't use offensive language. In this case, I make an exception.

Kiss my ass, you wannabe murderous son of a bitch!

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2007-10-21 4:57:50 PM

h2o ~

WOW! That's a side of you I've never seen before, but I have just one word for your unprecedented reaction:


Posted by: obc | 2007-10-21 5:42:26 PM


Either Arar and his lawyers come after me or they don't. If they come after me, they risk me claiming several million of his against getting nothing from me.

Come on. Prove your innocence against me you wannabe murderous, son of a bitch.

Is Al Qaeda paying your bills?

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2007-10-21 6:35:38 PM

Maybe the torturers of Canadian Mr. Sampson - the Saudis, who never forked over a penny to him - a verifiable torture victim.

Posted by: obc | 2007-10-21 7:35:30 PM

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