Thursday, September 21, 2006

Robert McCloskey redux

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

Or the Alberto Gonzales version:

The Justice Department backed away Wednesday from a denial by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of responsibility for the treatment of a Canadian who was seized by U.S. authorities in 2002. The man was deported to Syria, where he was imprisoned and beaten.

Asked at a news conference on Tuesday about a Canadian commission's finding that the man, Maher Arar, was wrongly sent to Syria and tortured there, Gonzales replied, "Well, we were not responsible for his removal to Syria." He added, "I'm not aware that he was tortured."

The attorney general's comments caused puzzlement because they followed front-page news articles of the findings of the Canadian commission. It reported that based on inaccurate information from Canada about Arar's supposed terrorist ties, U.S. officials ordered him taken to Syria, an action documented in public records.


Asked about Mr. Gonzales’s remarks, Mr. Arar said in an interview on Wednesday with National Public Radio that American officials had sent him to Syria despite his protests that he would be tortured there.

“The facts speak for themselves, you know,” Mr. Arar said. “The report clearly concluded that I was tortured. And for him to say that he does not know about the case or does not know I was tortured is really outrageous.”
"Land where my fathers died/Land of the pilgrim's pride/From every mountainside/We should be ashamed."

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