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Stockwell Day believed Maher Arar was/is innocent, despite Guantanamo revelations.

So, you’ve probably heard the revelations today from Guantanamo Bay by the prosecution’s first witness that not only was Omar Khadr happy to talk with them, but that he identified Maher Arar by name as being at an Afghanistan Al Queada prison camp. That of course has set off some of the frothy right-wingnuts into saying that we paid off a terrorist, and so on and so forth.

Impolitical has already mentioned how suspicious this looks – a last ditch attempt by the Bush administration to railroad Obama and his new administration not to do anything with the trials, when Obama has announced the Guantanamo gulag would close, and many expect him to suspend the military commissions.

On another note, let me remind all of one rather important fact that gets mentioned in the Toronto Star story; Stockwell Day, the then Public Safety Minister, was shown the Americans entire file on Maher Arar, and still publicly said Arar was innocent, and still agreed with the commission’s conclusions which cleared Arar, as Arar’s former lawyer recounted:

Waldman and others recalled that then-public safety minister “Stockwell Day was apparently shown the entire Arar file” by the Americans, and later said there was no reason in his view that Arar should remain on a watch list. The Canadian government went on to make its apology to Arar. “If he was told he was shown the whole file, either we have a major problem if he wasn’t shown this, or he was shown it and he attached no credibility to it. The minister said that after reviewing the file he was still satisfied with Commission O’Connor’s opinion,” said Waldman.

So, to some out there who based on today’s story claim that we let a terrorist go and gave him money to boot, what is it then? Was Day duped by our American “allies on terror” and not shown the entire file on Arar that had the alleged Khadr identification of Arar omitted, or was it included, and did Day simply not believe the claim?

Think about this: It makes little sense to me that the Americans would omit Khadr’s alleged ID’ing of Arar to Day or our government when they were trying to justify to the Canadian government Arar’s rendition or continued presence on a no-fly list. It is more likely that Stockwell Day saw the Arar claim allegedly made by Khadr, found the claims dubious, and rejected them (and quite publicly, for which I gave Day full credit at the time).

One other bit of food for thought:

If Stockwell Day was shown the entire file on Arar by the Americans, and the Khadr revelation was in there, and he still didn’t find it credible, I would assert that means he and the government unofficially had doubts about the interrogation techniques being used at Guantanamo Bay, and the information obtained as a result. If all of that is true, that means that the Conservative government should have acted a long time ago in getting Khadr out of Guantanamo Bay, if they harbored secret doubts that any “intelligence information” coming out of Guantanamo was not credible because of the torture techniques used there. Their conduct on this becomes even more disgraceful, in my opinion.

UPDATE @ 12: 19 am: Another blogger finds this release of information to be an “interesting coincidence”, and Pearce says that with tongue squarely in cheek, I don’t doubt.

Update 2 @ 9:18 am, Jan 20/09: Dawg informs us all that Ezra Levant (surprise, surprise) has jumped into the wingnut pool and is calling Arar a liar at his blog. Dawg goes thru the same motions I do in more detail – pointing out Stockwell Day saw the whole American file on Arar and didn’t see anything there to change his mind, which as I said, had to include the alleged Khadr claim – and then makes this salient point:

Given Maher Arar’s complete exoneration, there’s enough actionable commentary on the starboard side of the blogosphere today to get him another $10 million. And he’s not going to need any PayPal button should he choose to pursue that course.

I’ll go further then Dawg: I hope Arar and his lawyers are reading what is being said over there on the nut-o-sphere and preparing to serve notices. Heck, if he isn’t aware of what is being said about him, I’ve half a mind if I knew how to get ahold of him to forward the links to him so he and his lawyers could see for himself.


5 comments to Stockwell Day believed Maher Arar was/is innocent, despite Guantanamo revelations.

  • Rat’ll believe anything, like others of his kind who consider this dated little bit of prevarication a “bombshell,” etc.

    It would have been “politically expedient” to repatriate Khadr, but Day and Harper are prisoners of their ideology. I. for one, don’t believe that they slipped those surly bonds just long enough to cover for Arar and make him a multi-millionaire into the bargain, but that’s just me–and Occam’s Razor.

  • So, Rat, your position is that Arar IS guilty but Day lied about it, the O’Connor Commission lied about it and it was all one big conspiracy to give a guilty man $10.5 million dollars?

    Gee, what does that say about the ethics and integrity of your favourite party?

    Or is it just that you despise Muslims so much that you will grasp at any attempt to smear and destroy one that embarrassed the Canadian government and the Conservative Party (who were convinced of his guilt without evidence in 2002)?

    Nawwwww, you would never do that!


  • The Rat

    Yes, after spending $23 million on an inquiry (I would use the word “shoddy” before inquiry) and paying Arar $10.5 million, the Minister of Public safety isn’t willing to re-open the can’o-worms that is Arar? Shocking! Shocking, I tell you! The only way to explain it is to believe that after seeing the file on Arar, Stockwell Day told the truth. But I wonder, given how often you leftish dudes call Day a liar why are you willing to take him at his word now? I mean, couldn’t it be that there’s a teeny-weeny chance that Day told a politically expedient fib? Any chance? Nawwwww, you’re right, he’d never do that!

  • Scott–well done. I hadn’t read your post before publishing mine. Is Monia Mazigh still at the NDP Research Bureau,I wonder? Let me nose around.

  • janfromthebruce

    I agree with you final statement.

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