By Robert Scheer
"What an outrage for the president to invoke the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in his address to the United Nations, a day after a Canadian government commission accused the U.S. of rendering a Canadian to Syria for torture. Did no one on his staff inform the president that Article 5 of that declaration explicitly states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”?
For those, like Bush, who regard torture as a variant of college fraternity hazing, it would be instructive to consider the fate of Maher Arar as revealed in that devastating Canadian judicial report released on Monday. Arar, a Canadian citizen and engineer who had fled repressive Syria two decades earlier as a teenager, was seized by the FBI at JFK Airport and “rendered” to the government of Syria for nearly a year of being whipped with a “shredded electrical cable until he was disoriented”—that is, when he was not confined to his coffin-size cage.
The United States transported Arar to the very same Syria which Bush has been condemning since his first days in office, and as he did again on Tuesday, calling Syria “a crossroad for terrorism.” So, will anyone in that somnambulant White House press corps dare ask the president why he would turn over a prisoner to such a government? And an innocent one at that?
To put it a bit more bluntly: U.S. officials lied to their Canadian counterparts and never revealed that Arar was “rendered” to Syria precisely to be tortured."