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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Canada and the UK "get" accountability, why doesn't the U.S.? The sad case of Mahar Arar
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Canada and the UK "get" accountability, why doesn't the U.S.? The sad case of Mahar Arar

The British soldiers who killed 13 Catholic demonstrators in Northern Ireland during "Bloody Sunday" nearly four decades ago committed "unjustified and unjustifiable" killings of unarmed and innocent victims and then lied about it, a fact-finding investigation concluded Tuesday after a 12-year hunt for the truth.

More than 1,000 Londonderry residents applauded, hugged and cried outside city hall as the long-awaited verdict was announced live on a huge television screen. They had campaigned for 38 years for the victims — originally branded as Irish Republican Army bombers and gunmen — to have their good names restored and the guilt of the soldiers proved beyond doubt.

"Unjustified and unjustifiable. Those are the words we've been waiting to hear since January the 30th of 1972," Tony Doherty, the son of one Bloody Sunday victim, told the crowd to cheers. He was one of dozens of relatives who took turns declaring the innocence of lost loved ones to the crowd as the TV screen displayed black-and-white portraits of each of the 13 dead and 15 wounded.

"The victims of Bloody Sunday have been vindicated, and the soldiers of the Parachute Regiment have been disgraced. Their medals of honor have to be removed!" Doherty declared to more cheers.

In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the investigation — based on evidence from 921 witnesses, 2,500 written statements and 60 volumes of written evidence — demonstrated that the soldiers' shooting into the crowd protesting the internment without trial of IRA suspects was "both unjustified and unjustifiable."

Canada will formally apologize on Friday [26 January 2007] to software engineer Maher Arar, who was deported to Syria by U.S. agents after Canadian police mistakenly labeled him an Islamic extremist, and offer him C$10 million ($8.5 million) compensation, according to media reports.

Arar, who says he was repeatedly tortured during the year he spent in Damascus jails, had initially sued Ottawa for C$400 million, a figure he later cut to C$37 million. CBC Television said the settlement would be for C$10 million, while CTV said Ottawa would also pay Arar's C$2 million legal bills.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make a statement on the case at 12:15 p.m. (1715 GMT).

The affair tarnished the reputation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and strained Canada's relations with the United States, which has kept Arar on a security watch list even though Ottawa insists he has no links to terror groups.

CTV said Harper was likely to criticize Washington's stance, something which could prove useful politically. Critics regularly accuse Harper's Conservative government of being too close to President Bush.

"I think it (the settlement) is wonderful because it will hopefully put this thing behind Mr. Arar and he can live his life now like a normal Canadian," Paul Cavalluzzo, lead counsel for an official probe into the affair told CTV.

"He suffered severe economic -- and most importantly -- psychological damage as a result of what occurred to him."

but, in the case of mr. arar and the u.s., as glenn laments, accountability is still a very foreign concept...
The Supreme Court today denied a petition of review from Maher Arar, the Canadian and Syrian citizen who was abducted by the U.S. Government at a stopover at JFK Airport when returning to Canada in 2002, held incommunicado for two weeks, and then rendered to Syria, where he spent the next 10 months being tortured, even though -- as everyone acknowledges -- he was guilty of absolutely nothing. Arar sued the U.S. Government for what was done to him, and last November, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of his lawsuit on the ground that courts have no right to interfere in these decisions of the Executive Branch. That was the decision which the U.S. Supreme Court let stand today, ending Arar's attempt to be compensated for what was done to him.


By stark contrast [to Canada], the U.S. Government, which played a far more active role in his abduction and rendition to Syria, has never apologized to Arar (though individual members of Congress have). It has never clearly acknowledged wrongdoing (the only time it even hinted at this was when Condoleezza Rice called U.S. conduct in this case "imperfect" -- you think? -- and generously added: "We do not think this case was handled as it should have been"). In fact, it continuously did the opposite of providing accountability: in response to Arar's efforts to seek damages from the U.S. Government, the U.S. raised -- under two successive administrations -- a slew of technical arguments to persuade American courts not to hear his case at all, including the argument that what was done to Arar involved "state secrets" that prevented a judicial adjudication of his claims. The U.S. even continued to ban Arar from entering the U.S. long after it was acknowledged that he had done nothing wrong, thus preventing him for years from appearing before Congress or in the U.S. to talk about what was done to him. Indeed, after the Bush administration spent years arguing that courts were barred from hearing Arar's case on the ground of "state secrets," the Obama administration embraced those same arguments and then urged the Supreme Court not to hear his appeal.

tonight's focus in the mba class on leadership that i'm teaching in the summer session is on accountability... where are the role models...? patético...

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