I really can't fathom Leahy. There is no reason on earth why he could not say whether he thought that Arar should remain on the no-fly list. Given his weasel words on this I would not have much confidence that there will be much of an investigation by congress into rendition but I hope I am wrong.
This article shows how Jordan is complicit in rendition. It shows too that they have little qualms about really telling whoppers about Arar!
U.S. senators won't let Arar case drop
PAUL KORING AND JEFF SALLOT
Globe and Mail Update
WASHINGTON AND OTTAWA — A top-secret briefing yesterday failed to convince two senior U.S. senators that the Bush administration was right to send Maher Arar to Syria.
Both Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy and Republican Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate judiciary committee, said the briefing resulted in more questions than answers.
Neither would say whether they had been convinced of the merits of the U.S. government's position that Mr. Arar should remain on a no-fly list — effectively banned from entering the United States — despite being exonerated in Canada and paid $11.5-million in compensation by Ottawa.
"To respond to your questions would inevitably involve classified material," Mr. Specter said.
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Maher Arar discusses the government's apology and compensation package at a news conference in Ottawa on Jan. 26. Mr. Arar was wrongfully deported to, detained, and tortured in Syria. (Tom Hanson/CP Photo)
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Mr. Arar was detained while in transit at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport in 2002 by U.S. agents acting on information provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that identified him as a suspected terrorist. He was sent to Syria after a special order signed by the deputy U.S. attorney-general and after assurances from Damascus that he would not be mistreated.
Mr. Leahy, who has championed the Arar case in the United States, has said that that kind of midnight rendition had sullied the reputation of the United States. (Extraordinary rendition is the term used for the grabbing terrorism suspects and sending them overseas for interrogation.)
"That has happened a number of times in the past five years," Mr. Leahy said in an angry exchange with U.S. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzalez. "It is a black mark on us. It has brought about the condemnation of some of our closest and best allies."
He said after yesterday's briefing that his primary concern — an explanation as to why Mr. Arar, who is both a Canadian and Syrian citizen, was bundled aboard a chartered jet and sent to Damascus rather than returned to Canada — has not been given.
Yesterday's classified briefing came after Mr. Leahy publicly rebuked Mr. Gonzalez last month for failing to answer questions about Mr. Arar's treatment.
Asked if the senators had found out whether Canadian authorities were asked to take Mr. Arar back in 2002, before he was sent to Syria, but rebuffed the offer, Mr. Leahy said, "That's a excellent question," adding, "You should ask them."
The Pennsylvania Republican said he and Mr. Leahy were unable to provide details of what they had been told, but wanted "to give public assurance that this matter is under intensive congressional oversight."
Mr. Arar's lawyer, Lorne Waldman, said he is pleased that the two U.S. senators are not going to let the matter drop.
"There is no justification for sending anyone to Syria for torture, much less an innocent man like Maher Arar," he said.
Despite the Canadian government's apology to Mr. Arar last week and payment of $11.5-million in compensation, there are still a number of important, unfinished items of business in the case, Mr. Waldman said.
For instance, Canada should officially protest to the Jordanian government for its "bald-faced lies" to the United Nations about its involvement in Mr. Arar's deportation.
Mr. Arar was first taken to Jordan aboard a U.S. government flight before being transported overland to Syria. Senior Jordanian intelligence officials told a UN human-rights investigator that Mr. Arar arrived as a normal passenger aboard a commercial Royal Jordanian Airlines flight. The Jordanians said Mr. Arar could not remain in their country because he was on a terrorist watch list.
Mr. Arar, the Jordanians claimed, asked to be driven to Syria.
The UN human-rights investigators said in a recent report that the Jordanian claim that Mr. Arar wanted to go to Syria is "astonishing" and "is clearly contradicted" by well-established evidence. The UN report also said the Jordanian claim that it does not torture prisoners is also not credible.
Mr. Waldman said Canadian officials have to ask hard questions about whether they can co-operate with Jordan on anti-terrorism cases if Jordanian officials are so blatantly lying about their involvement in the Arar case.