Saturday, January 27, 2007

Things "We" Do

This looks pretty bad. The United States "arrested" a Canadian citizen who was passing through the US, grabbed him while he was changing planes in an airport, and sent him to Syria to be held in solitary confinement and tortured for ten and a half months.

Canada conducted an investigation and found the man completely innocent. The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, formally apologized to the man this past week, and Canada is awarding him a multimillion dollar payment as compensation for his ordeal.
Maher Arar said his innocence has been confirmed by the formal apology Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued to him on Friday.

"This means the world to me," Arar said during a one-hour press conference in Ottawa on Friday afternoon.

Earlier Friday, Harper apologized and offered a $10.5 million [Canadian, about $9 Million USD] compensation package to Arar and his family, along with money for legal fees, for the "terrible ordeal" they suffered after Arar spent nearly a year in a Syrian jail.

"On behalf of the government of Canada, I wish to apologize to you…and your family for any role Canadian officials may have played in the terrible ordeal that all of you experienced in 2002 and 2003," Harper said.

"I sincerely hope that these words and actions will assist you and your family in your efforts to begin a new and hopeful chapter in your lives," he said. Harper's apology 'means the world': Arar

This case has caused a lot of tension between the US and Canada, with the head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police resigning, a summit meeting and legal agreement (the "Monterrey Accord") between Harper and President Bush, several attempts at US lawsuits, which American courts have rejected on "national security" grounds, and more. It has been a big news story in Canada. Oddly, not mentioned much in the American media.

Here's his story, in a nutshell.
In 2002, the engineer was living in Ottawa and returning from a vacation when he was arrested during a stopover at New York's JFK Airport. U.S. authorities deported him to Syria, where he was tortured.

Ottawa set up a judicial inquiry into the case, led by Justice Dennis O'Connor, after Arar returned to Canada more than a year later.

O'Connor released his report in September 2006, concluding that Arar had no links to terrorist organizations or militants.

He also concluded the RCMP had provided misleading information to the U.S. authorities, which may have been the reason he was sent to Syria.

The government intends to implement the report's recommendations to ensure such an incident does not happen again, Harper said.

Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins criticized Ottawa's efforts to have Arar removed from a U.S. security watch list, saying Washington alone will decide who to let into the country.

The prime minister said the government will continue to press the U.S. to remove Arar from the watch list.

"We believe the evidence is clear that Mr. Arar has been treated unjustly," Harper said.

It is more and more difficult these days to talk about the United States in the first-person plural. I hate to say "we" sent this innocent man off to be tortured. I hate to say "we" maintain secret prisons where this sort of thing happens to thousands of inmates who have never been charged with any crime.

And I especially hate to say "we" are too stubborn to admit when "we" have screwed up. "We" are going to keep this man's name on the watch-list, so he can't travel anywhere, so he is always suspected of being a terrorist, even though the evidence against him was nonexistent and a Canadian investigation found nothing to link him to terrorism.

I just hate having to say that.

Even if "we" received bad information from the Mounties, there is no way his treatment was justified. If "we" had a legal system, with laws in writing and courts and legal representation and habeus corpus, the consequences of "our" mistake would've been something "we" could live with, instead of something "we" have to lie about and deny.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Japanese American Internment was the forced removal of approximately 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans (62 percent of whom were United States citizens)[1][2] from the West Coast of the United States during World War II. While approximately 10,000 were able to relocate to other parts of the country, the remainder – roughly 110,000 men, women and children – were sent to hastily constructed camps called "War Relocation Centers" in remote portions of the nation's interior.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, which allowed local military commanders to designate "military areas" as "exclusion zones", from which "any or all persons may be excluded." This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, including all of California and most of Oregon and Washington, except for those in internment camps.[3] In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion, removal, and detention, arguing that it is permissible to curtail the civil rights of a racial group when there is a "pressing public necessity."

President Franklin D. Roosevelt
what an evil and wicked man.

January 27, 2007 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion

Mr. Justice Black

January 27, 2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, you would be more credible if you gave the Wikipedia source for your cut-and-paste history lesson.


January 27, 2007 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scroll down and read the section in the Wikipedia entry called "Compensation and reparations"

Sometimes decades later, "we" fix "our" mistakes.

Of course "we" have to be willing to admit "we" made mistakes before "we'd" consider fixing them.

January 27, 2007 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when do you think the democrats will admit and fix the hole slavery jim crow laws lynching KKK that they used against the Blacks.

January 27, 2007 12:35 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Robert, the best I could find was a post in this thread

by Aunt Bea at January 17, 2007 11:12 AM. It apparently came from the Shidlo and Shroeder study.

There is also some worthwhile quotes in here

from a couple of prominent mental health professionals.

and here

you may find some useful bits although it has some overlap with the previous URL I gave.

Hope this helps.

January 27, 2007 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
So when do you think the democrats will admit and fix the hole slavery jim crow laws lynching KKK that they used against the Blacks.

January 27, 2007 12:35 PM

Before Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy were elected President, Southern Democrats passed many laws intended to degrade the lives of African Americans. After JFK was assassinated, President Johnson got the Democratically controlled Congress to pass The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Americans of every color witnessed a clear demonstration of which party was respectful, inclusive, and welcoming and which party was not. Wikipedia covers this pretty well:

"Democratic factionalization over the Civil Rights Movement

The "Solid South" began to erode when Democratic President Harry S. Truman took steps toward supporting the civil rights movement. His policies, combined with the adoption of a civil rights plank in the 1948 Democratic platform, prompted many Southerners to walk out of the Democratic National Convention and form the Dixiecrat Party. This splinter party was significant only in the 1948 election; the Dixiecrat candidate, Strom Thurmond, carried Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. In the elections of 1952 and 1956, the popular Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower carried several border southern states, with especially strong showings in the new suburbs. The Deep South was still the bastion for his Democratic opponent, Adlai Stevenson.

In the 1960 election, the Democratic nominee, John F. Kennedy, continued his party's tradition of selecting a Southerner as the Vice Presidential candidate (in this case, Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas). Kennedy, however, supported civil rights. In October 1960, when civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested at a peaceful sit-in in Atlanta, Georgia, Kennedy placed a sympathetic phone call to King's wife, Coretta Scott King, and Robert Kennedy telephoned the judge and helped secure King's release. King expressed his appreciation for these calls. Although King himself made no endorsement, his father, who had previously endorsed Republican Richard Nixon, switched his support to Kennedy.

The Democrats, however, lost ground with whites. The 1960 election was the first one in which a Republican presidential candidate received electoral votes in the South while losing nationally. Nixon carried Virginia, Tennessee and Florida. In addition, there were unpledged electors in Mississippi and Alabama.

The parties' roles on the civil rights issue continued their evolution in the 1964 election. The Democratic candidate, Johnson, having become president after Kennedy's assassination, fought strenuously to pass a strong Civil Rights Act of 1964. His Republican opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater, voted against it, although large majorities of Republicans in both houses of Congress supported the bill. Johnson won a landslide victory and the Republicans also suffered significant losses of Congressional seats. Goldwater carried his home state of Arizona, but the rest of his electoral votes all came from the deep South, which had suddenly switched parties for the first time. In just eight years, from 1956 to 1964, the region that had seen almost the only victories by a Democratic challenger against a popular Republican incumbent had switched to providing almost the only victories for a Republican challenger against a popular Democratic incumbent."

Almost immediately after the critically important Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, Nixon and the GOP began employing the Southern Strategy in their efforts to win the White House. Many Southern Democrats became Republicans. It wasn't until 2005, nearly 4 decades later that the GOP finally apologized for their hateful Southern Strategy tactic. Maybe that's because now they have a new target for their hatred -- LGBT people.

GOP: 'We were wrong' to play racial politics
By Richard Benedetto, USA TODAY

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman apologized to one of the nation's largest black civil rights groups Thursday, saying Republicans had not done enough to court blacks in the past and had exploited racial strife to court white voters, particularly in the South.

"Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," Mehlman said at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

Mehlman's apology to the NAACP at the group's convention in Milwaukee marked the first time a top Republican Party leader has denounced the so-called Southern Strategy employed by Richard Nixon and other Republicans to peel away white voters in what was then the heavily Democratic South. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Republicans encouraged disaffected Southern white voters to vote Republican by blaming pro-civil rights Democrats for racial unrest and other racial problems.

January 30, 2007 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:38 PM  

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