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Special Report: US Not at Fault For Rendition

Reported by Janie - September 20, 2006 -

During last night's (9/19) "Special Report", host Brit Hume offered a short segment on Maher Arar, the man falsely accused on terrorism charges by the Canadian government and subsequently rendered to Syria by the United States, where he was tortured. During the segment, Hume made the entire debacle out to be the fault of the Canadians.

Hume opined: "A Canadian Judicial Report has found that American authorities transferred an innocent Canadian citizen to Syria, where he was tortured, this after Canadian intelligence officials gave Americans bad information, that the man was an Islamic extremist, who should be put on the Al Qaeda watch list."

Comment: So we acted on bad intelligence, once again, without verifying the information on our own?

Hume continued, "Maher Arar, a Muslin of Syrian descent, was detained for questioning in the US in 2002, and transferred to Syria where he was held for 10 months, beaten, he said and forced to make false confessions.

The report finds the Canadian agents were improperly trained, and did not anticipate the consequences of naming Arar without sufficient evidence."

Comment: Note that Hume is implying that all of the blame should be placed on the shoulders of the Canadians who were "improperly trained", and not pointing out the fact that the Canadians simply put Arar's name on a watch list (which is bad enough in and of itself), and it was the United States that decided to render Arar to Syria (keep in mind, Arar was a Canadian citizen) where he was tortured. Apparently, in Hume's world, the US bares no responsibility for rendering Arar - especially without verifying the intelligence supplied by Canadian officials.

Hume finished by allowing the administration to also claim they aren't at fault, without a hint of suggestion otherwise.

"Arar is demanding an apology from the U.S., but Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez said today that he was not aware that Arar was tortured."

AG: "We understand as a government what our obligations are with respect to anyone that’s rendered by this government to another country, and that is that we seek to satisfy ourselves that they will not be tortured. We do that in every case, and in fact, he had been rendered to Syria, we would have sought those same kind of assurances in every case." (This coming from the man that said torture is A-OK!)

In Hume's attempt to exonerate the Administration, he is neglecting key points:

- The United States held and interrogated Arar for 13 days before he was sent to Syria, which is ample time to determine that the Canadian information was false, if they had bothered to investigate.

- Arar was never charged with any crime

In 1998, the United States Congress passed an act that it was "the policy of the United States not to expel, extradite, or otherwise effect the involuntary return of any person to a country in which there are substantial grounds for believing the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the United States.”

According to the State Department's website, "The law prohibits such practices, and the penal code provides punishment for abusers. Under article 28 of the constitution, "no one may be tortured physically or mentally or treated in a humiliating manner." However, security forces continued to use torture frequently."

So the State Department is aware of Syria's history, but sent Arar there anyway, for what purpose?

Hume neglected to mention these key points, while allowing glaring hypocrisy from Gonzalez go unquestioned. In an attempt to aid the Bush Administration, Hume spun facts while neglecting others to pin blame solely on the shoulders of Canada, and ignoring the United States role in the affair.