Thursday, August 11, 2005

Extraordinary Rendition: Now There's a Phrase We Could Do Without

The erosion of human rights around the world is starting to worry me more and more. The pursuit of national security, an increasingly maniacal obsession of the US administration, is fast overtaking any sober discourse in US foreign and domestic policy.

The secret policy (no longer so secret) of extraordinary rendition, in which the US uses another country to extract information through torture, and the declaration by the US that foreign travellers passing through the country enroute to other destinations are without any constitutional rights are very worrisome. And of course, now Tony Blair has underhandedly pushed through propositions in the UK which will seriously undermine any security that those of Arab appearance will have in the UK, all in the name of national security.

I will be watching very closely the lawsuit which Maher Arar has brought against the US government following his extradition to Syria and subsequent torture. Mr. Arar is suing the Canadian government as well for being partially complicit in his deportation to Syria and subsequent torture. For indeed they did fail to protect him, a Canadian citizen. The case against the US government, however, is by far the most crucial, in that it challenges the extraordinary rendition policy and other US policies that erode civil rights. Aside from the fact that Mr Arar wants recognition of the harm done to him, this case is critical to human rights around the world. We all need to beware.