[Vision2020] Critical Legal Issues:Canadian Sent to Syrian Torture Chambers

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Sat Sep 23 10:22:05 PDT 2006

Nick wrote:

> 1) The man is a Canadian citizen and he was on his way to visit friends in
> Tunisia.  He had no desire to visit his home country, nor did Syria submit
> any evidence about his alleged terrorist activities.

Not that this changes the fundamental legal and human rights issues
involved, but Syrian-born Maher Arar was on his way back from Tunisia when
he was detained by US authorities in New York, not "on his way to visit
friends in Tunisia," according to the article I posed to Vision2020, from
this web link:


Arar was traveling on a Canadian passport when he was detained at New York's
Kennedy Airport on Sept. 26, 2002, on his way home from vacation in Tunisia.

The "evidence" that Arar was involved with terrorist activities came from
the Canadian RCMP:

The commission found the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shared information
about Arar with American anti-terrorist agencies both before and after he
was detained.

The RCMP asked the U.S. to put Arar on a watch list as an "Islamic extremist

individual" suspected of links to the al-Qaida terrorist movement, the
report said.
US authorities violated habeas corpus in sending Ahar to Syria and "hiding
him" out of the reach of Canadian or US court monitoring of his confinement.

However, some may argue that because Arar was not a US citizen, that the US
was not bound to grant habeas corpus protections. But in fact, detainment
violating habeas corpus has been utilized in the war on terror for a US
citizen, in the Jose Padilla case.  This legal "precedent," if enshrined in
law, could mean that any US citizen if suspected of "terrorist" connections
could be held indefinitely without charges, radically undermining the
fundamental habeas corpus protections that are a cornerstone of citizen
rights in the USA:

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 10, 2005; Page A01

 A federal appeals court yesterday backed the president's power to
indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil without any
criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to
protect the nation from terrorist attacks.

The ruling, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, came in the
case of Jose Padilla, a former gang member and U.S. citizen arrested in
Chicago in 2002 and a month later designated an "enemy combatant" by
President Bush. The government contends that Padilla trained at al Qaeda
camps and was planning to blow up apartment buildings in the United States.
Padilla has been held without trial in a U.S. naval brig for more than three
years, and his case has ignited a fierce battle over the balance between
civil liberties and the government's power to fight terrorism since the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A host of civil liberties groups and former
attorney general Janet Reno weighed in on Padilla's behalf, calling his
detention illegal and arguing that the president does not have unchecked
power to lock up U.S. citizens indefinitely.



In Brown v. Vasquez, 952 F.2d 1164, 1166 (9th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 112
S.Ct. 1778 (1992), the court observed that the Supreme Court has "recognized
the fact that`[t]he writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for
safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action.'
Harris v. Nelson, 394 U.S. 286, 290-91 (1969). " Therefore, the writ must be
"administered with the initiative and flexibility essential to insure that
miscarriages of justice within its reach are surfaced and corrected."
Harris, 394 U.S. at 291.


Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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