The Torturers Win - New York Times: "Terrible things were done to Maher Arar, and his extreme suffering was set in motion by the United States government. With the awful facts of his case carefully documented, he tried to sue for damages. But last week a federal judge waved the facts aside and told Mr. Arar, in effect, to get lost.
We're in a new world now and the all-powerful U.S. government apparently has free rein to ruin innocent lives without even a nod in the direction of due process or fair play. Mr. Arar, a Canadian citizen who, according to all evidence, has led an exemplary life, was seized and shackled by U.S. authorities at Kennedy Airport in 2002, and then shipped off to Syria, his native country, where he was held in a dungeon for the better part of a year. He was tormented physically and psychologically, and at times tortured.
The underground cell was tiny, about the size of a grave. According to court papers, 'The cell was damp and cold, contained very little light and was infested with rats, which would enter the cell through a small aperture in the ceiling. Cats would urinate on Arar through the aperture, and sanitary facilities were nonexistent.'
Mr. Arar's captors beat him savagely with an electrical cable. He was allowed to bathe in cold water once a week. He lost 40 pounds while in captivity.
This is a quintessential example of the reprehensible practice of extraordinary rendition, in which the U.S. government kidnaps individuals --presumably terror suspects --and sends them off to regimes that are skilled in the fine art of torture. In terms of vile behavior, rendition stands shoulder to shoulder with contract killing.
If the United States is going to torture people, we might as well do it ourselves. Outsourcing torture does not make it any more acceptable.