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Monday, November 2, 2009

No Justice for Maher Arar

I cannot write here, not the words that are sticking in my throat choking. This is a DARK omen. President Obama, what are you going to do? Nothing? Are you going to say nothing?

Free: Full Circuit Denies Claim Over Rendition

By Mark Fass

November 03, 2009

A Canadian engineer who claims he was sent by the United States to Syria to be tortured in 2002 cannot sue U.S. officials in federal court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said yesterday in an in banc ruling.

The 7-4 majority held that the Canadian, Maher Arar, failed to state a claim under the Torture Victim Protection Act and that his remaining claims did not satisfy the test for "implied" constitutional causes of action under the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388.

"Applying our understanding of Supreme Court precedent, we decline to create, on our own, a new cause of action against officers and employees of the federal government," Chief Judge Dennis G. Jacobs wrote in his 59-page majority opinion.

"Rather, we conclude that, when a case presents the intractable 'special factors' apparent here. . . it is for the Executive in the first instance to decide how to implement extraordinary rendition, and for the elected members of Congress—and not for us as judges—to decide whether an individual may seek compensation from government officers and employees directly, or from the government, for a constitutional violation."

In a statement yesterday, David Cole, the Georgetown University Law Center professor who argued Mr. Arar's appeal in cooperation with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the ruling "effectively places executive officials above the law."

"This decision says that U.S. officials can intentionally send a man to be tortured abroad, bar him from any access to the courts while doing so, and then avoid any legal accountability thereafter," he said. "It effectively places executive officials above the law, even when accused of a conscious conspiracy to torture."

Read the full article>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In contrast, from the Canadians:

Prime Minister releases letter of apology to Maher Arar and his family and announces completion of mediation process
26 January 2007
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today released the letter of apology he has sent to Maher Arar and his family for any role Canadian officials may have played in what happened to Mr. Arar, Monia Mazigh and their family in 2002 and 2003.

“Although the events leading up to this terrible ordeal happened under the previous government, our Government will do everything in its power to ensure that the issues raised by Commissioner O’Connor are addressed,” said the Prime Minister. “I sincerely hope that these actions will help Mr. Arar and his family begin a new and hopeful chapter in their lives.”

Canada’s New Government has accepted all 23 recommendations made in Commissioner O’Connor’s first report, and has already begun acting upon them. The Government has sent letters to both the Syrian and the U.S. governments formally objecting to the treatment of Mr. Arar. Ministers Day and MacKay have also expressed Canada’s concerns on this important issue to their American counterparts. Finally, Canada has removed Mr. Arar from Canadian lookout lists, and requested that the United States amend its own records accordingly.

The Prime Minister also announced that Canada’s New Government has successfully completed the mediation process with Mr. Arar, fulfilling another one of Commissioner O’Connor’s recommendations. This settlement, mutually agreed upon by all parties, ensures that Mr. Arar and his family will obtain fair compensation, in the amount of $10.5 million, plus legal costs, for the ordeal they have suffered.

The text of the Prime Minister’s letter to Maher Arar is attached.

* * * *

Dear Mr. Arar:

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish to apologize to you, Monia Mazigh and your family for any role Canadian officials may have played in the terrible ordeal that all of you experienced in 2002 and 2003.

Although these events occurred under the last government, please rest assured that this government will do everything in its power to ensure that the issues raised by Commissioner O’Connor are addressed.

I trust that, having arrived at a negotiated settlement, we have ensured that fair compensation will be paid to you and your family. 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.

Yours sincerely,

Fault Lines - Maher Arar full interview

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