Warning: this story, as reported by Christopher Pyle in SFGate, may make you cry with anger and outrage: Torture by proxy / How immigration threw a traveler to the wolves.
Read it yourself, but the short story is that a Syrian-born Canadian (of 16 years, with wife, 2 children and job in Canada) was grabbed by U.S. Immigration in NYC on the flimsiest of multiple degrees-of-separation connections to al-Qaida, detained without charge, denied a lawyer or use of phone, then sent to Syria where he was put into a grave-sized cell in the ground and tortured for 10 months before being released. Pyle calls for action:
Our intelligence agencies have a name for this torture-by-proxy. They call it "extraordinary rendition." As one intelligence official explained: "We don't kick the s -- out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the s -- out of them." This secret program for torturing suspects has been authorized, if that is the right word for it, by a secret presidential finding. Where the president gets the authority to have anyone tortured has never been explained.
It is time someone asked. What our government did to Maher Arar is worse than anything the British did to our Colonial forefathers. It was worse than anything J. Edgar Hoover did to alleged Communists, civil rights workers and anti-war activists during his long program of dirty tricks. According to the Bush administration, we are at "war" with al Qaeda. If so, then delivering a suspect to torturers is a war crime and should be prosecuted as such. But first, we need to know who was responsible, and that will not be easy -- unless there is a firestorm of protest.