The US detained Maher Arar, a Canadian telecoms engineer who had a connecting flight from New York after a family holiday in Tunis. They deported him to Syria. That was in September of last year. They got around to telling his government in mid-October. Eventually Maher’s family tracked him down to a Syrian jail. He’s still there, being held without charge. It seems that the US was a bit suspicious because the Mounties interviewed him once about the Syrian community in Ottawa. Perfectly understandably, the Americans accused him of being a member of Al-Qaeda – then sent him straight to a country on their own Axis of Evil shortlist.
What is this, Wheel Of Habeas Corpus Fortune? He’s a Canadian citizen. You have a problem, you send him back to Canada. And, continuing this week’s theme, when you realise you’ve fucked up, you apologise nicely to the country next door, and try to get him back for them.
Instead, the American authorities are acting as though nothing untoward happened.
Funnily enough, nothing untoward just happened again.
Boing Boing has a piece documenting this week’s “borrowed Canadian“, Berna Cruz – a canuck who had her passport destroyed and got deported – without papers – to India. Via Kuwait. That’s to say, into your own freaking soon-to-be warzone, you nutty superpower you.
Admittedly, Berna Cruz wasn’t suspected of being a secret member of Al Qaeda that the Mounties had irresponsibly chatted to and then somehow neglected to arrest and charge. No, she (and her passport) merely looked funny.
But, then again, she got got back. Maher (phone engineer, wife, two kids, job in Ottawa) is still missing. Amnesty International Canada has some ideas of what you can do to help secure his release. And if you’re a US citizen, you might like to drop your representative or senator a call. Fair enough, Maher wasn’t an American citizen, so it might not be a domestic matter – but think of it this way: Maher wasn’t an American citizen. It wasn’t a domestic matter.
Plus you never know when Canada will start picking off Americans and sending them back to the land of their forefathers. Yeah, then who will come save your ass – the Native Americans?