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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused to apologize to Maher Arar despite Arar’s exoneration by a federal inquiry. Four years ago, Maher Arar was on his way back to Canada from a family vacation in Tunisia. The Syrian-born Canadian citizen had a stopover at JFK airport in New York. After being questioned at the airport, U.S. officials took him to a New York immigration facility. Two weeks later he was secretly flown to Jordan aboard a Gulfstream Jet. Maher Arar ended up in Syria where he was held in a cell, the size of a grave. He was physically and psychologically tortured. He was forced to confess to having trained in Afghanistan -- where he has never been. He was released after a year and never charged with a crime.
On Monday, the Canadian government admitted for the first time that Arar was a completely innocent man. Justice Dennis O’Connor, who led the inquiry, said the U.S. government’s decision to send Arar to Syria was likely based on inaccurate and misleading information provided by Canadian authorities.
On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged that a tremendous injustice had taken place but he declined to apologize to Arar.

So - ask yourself this question.
Why did this happen to this man?

Was it because he and his family were behaving in a suspicious manner?
NO
Was it because he had traveled to countries with terrorist training facilities and had extended visits?
NO
Was it because through wire-tapping his phones, authorities had overheard suspicious conversations with other terrorist-minded folks?
NO

It was because he and his family, as in himself, his wife, and his young children, were on a terrorist watch list for no particular reason that has been disclosed. This man's experience not only illustrated how quickly your civil rights can be abolished. It also demonstrated how quickly you can be imprisoned indefinately without charges being filed or any legal process. We also learned without reput about the not so secret prison-type facilities where our detainees are being held and tourtured.

Is this front page news?
NO

It's a foot note. It's an after-thought. This one story and so many others like it that demonstrate the degregation of our constitutional rights and freedoms is relegated to the back page or media outlets like NPR and Democracy Now.

However, I have one more question for you.
Do you fly?
How often?
What type of material do you read online?
Have you been seen at any demostrations or political rally's?

Might you be on a watch list??

Next time you are at the air port take a few minutes to consider that and remember the name Maher Arar.

~Lisa

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