Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Khadr, Arar, and Abdelrazik

Yesterday the G&M ran a story about Abousfian Abdelrazik and the recently released eight page 2003 Foreign Affairs memo detailing precisely which Canadian authorities arranged for Mr. Abdelrazik to be arrested and tortured in Sudan. Unfortunately "every single word, including the page numbers, was blacked out."
Blogged it at The Beav yesterday morning.
In comments there, Skdadl noted one particular passage in the G&M account which reminded her of Arar:
In an Oct., 16, 2003 e-mail marked “secret,” officials of the intelligence unit of Foreign Affairs note that CSIS agents will pass on details of their then just-completed interrogation of Omar Khadr in Guantanamo and planned to “send two officers to Sudan next week to interview Abdelrazik.” "
Was there some connection between the interrogation of Khadr and that of Abdelrazik?
In 2002 at Bagram prison, a 15 year old Omar Khadr was shown photographs of Maher Arar.
In January this year, we got headlines about it : Khadr linked Arar to terrorism, court hears
"Pentagon prosecutors dropped a bombshell on the last day of the Bush administration's war crimes trials, linking the case of Canadian detainee Omar Khadr to torture victim Maher Arar in stunning testimony...
An FBI interrogator told a military court in Guantanamo Bay Monday that Khadr said he recognized a photo of Arar because the Ottawa engineer had stayed at terrorist "safe houses" in Afghanistan.
Fuller testified that he started Khadr's interrogation in Bagram on Oct. 7, 2002."
and Arar was rendered to Syria the following day.
However the Pentagon's Arar "bombshell" was not born out in subsequent FBI statements :
"In contrast to testimony he gave Monday, [FBI]special agent Robert Fuller told Khadr's war-crimes hearing that the young Canadian was not immediately able to name Arar, but did say he looked familiar."
He looked familiar.
One day someone will write a book stitching all this together, or rather - if this pans out in the way we can now expect - how it was stitched together by showing pictures to a frightened injured child in Bagram prison and asking him if any of the faces "looked familiar".
They can call it "He Looked Familiar".


RevDave said...

That's a good title. I hope there is such a book.

To fill in a few details - Arar's arrest wasn't or at least wasn't just to do information from Khadr, because he'd come to U.S. attention earlier, at least when the RCMP sent over their "O Canada" database wholesale to the FBI and (I think) CIA. It might have been a final confirmation, but the wheels had already been set in motion.

Given the new evidence (however fragmentary), I do wonder at Jim Judd's suggestion a few months ago that SIRC investigate Abdelrazik's case. Maybe he was just trying to tide things over until he could retire?

Alison said...

Arar's arrest wasn't or at least wasn't just to do information from Khadr..."Agreed. Likewise Abdelrazik felt so oppressed by the constant surveillance that he was under in Canada that at one point he put in a complaint to the RCMP.

No, I'm seeing something darker here - the abuse of a child, the waterboarding of a half-wit 83 times, to elicit false confessions, predetermined results, the naming of particular names.
G&M April 28, 2009
"More than 16 months after Canada's security agencies cleared Abousfian Abdelrazik, government lawyers are now pressing him to admit to being a senior al-Qaeda operative, echoing American accusations apparently extracted from Abu Zubaydah, the al-Qaeda leader water boarded more than 80 times under the Bush administration."

Re Judd : That is also the take of Dave at The Galloping Beaver.

RevDave said...

Good to know someone shares my suspicions.

I wonder if we'll ever get to the bottom of all that has really happened in Canada in the last few years.

We took away the RCMP's security mandate in the 1980s to prevent this sort of thing. Obviously they got it back anyways. Secrecy invites abuse.

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