Monday, May 17, 2010

Take it from the top: "The US Does Not Engage in Torture"

I love it when the guy beating you with a stick pauses to assure you that "this hurts me more than it hurts you!".

That's what the US government -- yep, that "change you can believe in!" Obama government -- is doing with the Maher Arar case. You know, the Canadian who was seized in transit as his flight made an intermediary stop in New York, bundled off, and tortured for a year in a Syrian dungeon. All at the request of the US government.

Well... here's how Obama is "handling" that ugly little case. From a blog on Supreme Court cases:
With Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan not taking part, the Obama Administration on Wednesday afternoon urged the Supreme Court not to hear a major test case challenging the once-secret program of “rendition” — that is, capture of terrorism suspects and transporting them to other countries, often for aggressive questioning and even torture. Solicitor General Kagan’s deputy, Neal K. Katyal, signed the new brief as “Acting Solicitor General.” It is unclear whether this was an indication that, while Kagan’s nomination to be a Justice is pending, she will opt to stay out of government cases. The new brief is here.

The government brief, filed on behalf of former Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and other federal officials, came in the case of Arar v. Ashcroft (09-923), involving Maher Arar, a dual citizen of Canada and Syria. He claimed that he was seized at JFK Airport in New York after arriving from Tunisia via Switzerland in the fall of 2002. His lawsuit against Ashcroft and other officials contended that he was taken to Jordan and then to Syria, where he was subjected to harsh questioning and torture by Syrian security officials.

Acting SG Katyal, reacting to “factual allegations and the tenor” of Arar’s plea for Supreme Court review, insisted that the case “does not concern the propriety of torture or whether it should be ‘countenanced’ by the courts.” Torture, the document said, “is flatly illegal and the government has repudiated it in the strongest terms.” Federal law makes it a crime, Katyal said, and President Obama has “stated unequivocally that the United States does not engage in torture.”
I love it. This is the same logic the US applied in Vietnam: we had to destroy that village in order to save ie!.

Go read the whole article.

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