Sunday, June 19, 2005


The C.I.A.'s "extraordinary renditions" program is starting to encounter resistance from U.S. allies.

U.S. allies have begun to resist Washington's secretive role in spiriting away terror suspects: Italy is investigating the disappearance of one accused militant as a kidnapping, Sweden wrote rules to assert its authority over outside agents and Canada is holding hearings after one of its citizens was sent to Syria.

At least two of the cases bear the hallmarks of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program — stepped up after Sept. 11 — in which the Bush administration has transferred dozens of suspects to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible torture.
In Canada, Defense Minister Bill Graham testified at a hearing in Ottawa last month that he was upset Washington did not consult Ottawa's leaders before deporting a Canadian citizen to Syria for questioning on suspicion of terrorism. The case was handled by the Justice Department as an expulsion and not a rendition by intelligence agents.

Graham also expressed surprise that Canadian security officials apparently approved sending Maher Arar, to his native country for questioning about alleged ties to al-Qaida.

Graham told then-U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci it was "totally inappropriate" that Maher Arar was sent to Syria in October 2002 without first checking with Canadian officials.

"His response was that `We were totally entitled to do what we did,'" said Graham.

Arar, 35, holds dual Syrian-Canadian citizenship and was traveling on a Canadian passport when he was stopped in New York during a stopover while returning to Canada from Tunisia. He was held for 12 days before being sent to Syria on suspicion of being a member of al-Qaida, an allegation he denies.

Arar maintains that once imprisoned in Damascus, he was tortured into making false confessions of terrorist activity. Arar said he was held for more than a year in a dark, damp cell, then was released without ever being charged.

U.S. News & World Report has an article about Chuck Hagel, Republican senator from Nebraska. Hagel is mincing no words.

Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is angry. He's upset about the more than 1,700 U.S. soldiers killed and nearly 13,000 wounded in Iraq. He's also aggravated by the continued string of sunny assessments from the Bush administration, such as Vice President Dick Cheney's recent remark that the insurgency is in its "last throes." "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

No comments: