Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an' forsaked

The Orange County Register newspaper claims to be Libertarian. To me, they always seemed willing to support Right Wing authoritarianism and quick to criticize Liberal or Democratic politics just because.

But today, they have an editorial condemning "rendition":
How would we feel if clandestine operatives of the government of Germany – or Great Britain, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Israel, China or Japan, for that matter – kidnapped a U.S. citizen, took him to a secret prison, questioned him unremittingly, perhaps including physical abuse, and then dropped him off on a hillside in Mexico after deciding that he wasn't the fellow they wanted after all? Would we be upset?

That's pretty close to what American CIA operatives allegedly did to Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent.

His story, which German authorities at first refused to believe, describes what the CIA calls "extraordinary rendition." It happens when U.S. operatives take somebody suspected of being involved with a terrorist group or a hostile power to some country that has few scruples and fewer laws about torture and either question the subject "aggressively" or hand the job over to the local secret police.

Nice, so far. Glad to see a true conservatarian position on government tyranny. And this:
If we abandon our devotion to liberty, due process and respect for the rights of individuals then, as the cliché goes, the terrorists indeed will have won. We will have become what our adversaries claim we are, an oppressive international bully.

But sadly, no mention of Maher Arar, perhaps the most famous victim of US cruelty:

Maher Arar (Arabic: ماهر عرار‎; born 1970 in Syria) is a Canadian software engineer. On September 26, 2002, during a stopover in New York en route from Tunis to Montreal, Arar was detained by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service who may have been acting upon false and misleading information supplied by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).[1] Despite carrying a Canadian passport, he was forcibly removed to Syria. Although Canadian (initially) and American officials characterized his removal to Syria as a deportation, there is no record that Arar's removal was ordered by a court or senior DHS official. Hence his removal's characterization as administrative removal or extraordinary rendition. Arar was held in solitary confinement in a Syrian prison where he was regularly tortured for almost a year, until his eventual release and return to Canada in October 2003.[2] Syria concluded that he had no terrorist links.[3]

As usual, freedom is on the march.