Distributed Mind

September 22, 2005

Ambassador to Canada on "Deportation"

by ben

Remember Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen who was deported from the US to Syria while on a layover on the way back to Canda and who was allegedly tortured for several months afterward? Jeanne of Body and Soul pointed to an article printed in the Globe and Mail with some amazing quotes by our new ambassador to Canda, DAvid WIlkins.

First, on whether there are any regrets:

Mr. Wilkins, who took up his post in Ottawa about two months ago, seemed puzzled when asked whether he or his government had any regrets about the affair.

"You talking about regrets by the United States?" he said.

"The United States made that decision (to deport Mr. Arar) based on the facts it had, in the best interests of the people of the United States, and we stand behind it."

The ambassador went on to describe the action as an example of the hard-nosed approach that has governed U.S. anti-terrorist policy since the 9-11 attacks four years ago.

"The thing is that tough decisions have to be made every day now in this new environment we're in," he said.

"When you make decisions at the border or inside your country you don't get second chances. You've got to be right all the time in terror, because if you make the wrong choice an act of terrorism occurs."

Remember, regardless of how our officials try to position these events, we are talking about a Canadian (who admittedly was a dual citizen) suspected of somehow being related to terrorism being "deported" (while on a layover!) not to Canada but to Syria where certainly he would be treated harshly and possibly tortured. And they think that this is alright, and would do it again in a second. We know that inocent-until-proven-guily is not believed to apply to foreigners by our federal government, but if ever we doubted how far that could take us, this gives us a hint.

Also from the article:

David Wilkins is also warning that other Canadians with dual citizenship could face a similar fate if they fall under suspicion.

"The United States is committed in its war against terror," Mr. Wilkins said.

"We're committed to making sure that our borders are secure and our country is safe. Will there be other deportations in the future? I'd be surprised if there's not."

Why would anyone want to come to this country, ever? I wouldn't. Of course, in this whol incident, Canada has hardly proven itself a bastion of civil liberties. And I know the Europeans aren't any better. It's almost enough to make me an anarchistic.

14:09:03 - Politics - ben - No comments

September 19, 2005

Obligatory Katrina Observations

by ben

Well, we have managed to be completely silent on all the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina. I can't speak for Justin, but for my part, that was because: (1) I didn't really have much that I felt confident enough in saying, both because I did not feel I had enough information and because I did not have any insights I considered to be worth sharing at the moment and (2) other people have managed to say what was worth saying sooner and better elsewhere. But, the time has come to share some points I think are somewhat, though of varying degrees, important.

Just a few passing thoughts, of varying importance:

Alright, that's all I've got.

00:00:14 - Politics - ben - No comments