Saturday, January 27, 2007

That's a Hell of a Deal!


If you got a deal whereby someone said to you, "How'd you like to make $10.5 million dollars? All you have to do is let us kidnap you out of an airport, fly you halfway around the world, turn you over to some sadistic despotic prison guards, and have you thrown in a hole the size of a grave and then hauled out on a regular basis so you can be beaten bloody. We'll give you one million and fifty thousand dollars a month for ten months if you let us. Sounds good, huh? Piece of cake, right?"

That's pretty much what Stephen Harper just did to Maher Arar. I hate to even say this, because it shouldn't be necessary to stroke someone's ego for doing the goddam right thing, but at least Stephen Harper had the minimal levels of decency (and shoe soles getting toasted from the judicious application of flame) to issue a public apology and offer compensation. (Rumour has that Arar's settlement package will also include a sum to cover his not-inconsiderable legal expenses.)

This is all well and good, since the RCMP (as well as CSIS and DFAIT) definitely fucked up by providing the US authorities with erroneous information, and so it's good that the RCMP Commissioner resigned in disgrace over the issue, especially as it seems he either deliberately or accidentally lied during his testimony.

Arar was originally asking for $400M in compensation, which doesn't actually seem so unreasonable to me. After all, when your home country's state security apparatus lies about you to another country, which means you get "kidnapped by persons in the employ of U.S. agencies acting under color of authority," flown to the Middle East and thrown in a hole in the ground and beaten bloody with electrical cables, and nobody even knows where you are for the longest time, I'd say you deserve a pretty big apology and enough compensation so you never have to worry about a damned thing ever again.

Even still, as he says in an interview (Andrew Sullivan has it, but I don't have a link), "They ruined my life." No shit. Ten and a half million dollars: Syrian-born Canadian-citizen computer programmers from Ottawa are a glut on the market these days, I guess.


Anonymous Eli said...

It's a miracle the poor guy isn't spending his whole life in Gitmo.

Innocence is no defense.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Eli said...

P.S. Don't forget, I have a new address...

12:26 PM  
Blogger Interrobang said...

Thanks, Eli. I promise I'll get around to updating my links Real Soon Now...

3:25 PM  
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