I see that Maher Arar, the huckster who lied his way into $10.5 million of our tax dollars, has had less luck with the U.S. legal system than he had with ours. A U.S. appeals court threw out his nuisance claim against the U.S. government.
Now, that’s not quite fair of me, is it? I mean, it’s not fair to Canada’s legal system because, had Arar actually gone to trial here, his case would have been thrown out, too. Arar’s testimony would have been torn to shreds; he would have wilted under cross-examination. He would have been proved the liar that he is.
So, let me retract and apologize: Arar did not have good luck with our legal system. He had good luck with a politicized inquiry that bore his name — the Arar Inquiry — but in which he never testified. Of course he didn’t: he doesn’t want to answer questions.
Arar the hustler — and his lawyers-of-fortune — will have to find a new target to shake down. Of course, they won’t go after the Syrian government — the Syrians know too much about him, and what really happened. He’s already squeezed what he can out of Canada. Who will keep Arar in the style to which he’s become accustomed?
My advice to Arar is to stop with the lawsuits, and focus on the real money: taking huge speaking fees from every university and other left-wing bureaucracy in Canada to tell his fictional account of woe. I bet the UN would give him a gig, and probably some global warming NGO, too.
Just remember not to have a Q&A session afterwards.
Here’s a repeat of my blog entry on the subject from January:
Maher Arar was declared by the breathless mainstream media to be a saint whose lamb-like innocence was never tainted by association with terrorists.
Word comes from another media darling — Omar Khadr — that Arar in fact was at an Al Qaida safe house in Afghanistan on various occasions, contrary to Arar’s denials of ever being in that country.
All of which vindicates one of the most important cover stories the Western Standard ever ran, entitled “What really happened to Maher Arar?” You really must read it — you’ll learn things that just haven’t been reported elsewhere, ranging from that fact that Arar’s purported injuries from “torture” were never examined by an independent doctor; that when he was picked up by Canadian diplomats in Syria, he showed no signs of torture whatsoever — only signs of not having bathed. Those are just two little tid-bits. Really: read the whole thing. It’s a great story, written by Kevin Steel.
Here was my publisher’s note, introducing the story:
The real cost of the $10.5-million payout to Maher Arar isn’t the money, it’s the demoralization of Canada’s police and security services, and the wild encouragement given to any accused terrorist to wage legal and political war against Canada. A quick visit to Arar’s vanity website shows a half-dozen smiling faces of his lawyers, no doubt eager to make the money and publicity of a dozen more such claims.
How ironic that our western legal system, with its checks and balances designed to protect our liberal freedoms, has become the favourite instrument of illiberal attackers of the West. The Western Standard itself has been a victim of that abuse: In 2006, after we published a story about the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, a radical Calgary imam used Alberta’s human rights law to attack us. One year and thousands of dollars in legal fees later, we’re still fending off that contortion of our justice system, while the Saudi-trained imam’s case is funded by Canadian taxpayers. His concept of “human rights” is alien to our Canadian values, but that doesn’t stop him from using a legal shield as a sword against his enemies. Unlike the federal government, we won’t cave in to political pressure.
Of course, Canada’s media was gaga for Arar; the CBC should get a cut of the payout. Hyper-skeptical when reporting the spin from government or corporate press secretaries, the mainstream media became stenographers for Arar’s PR machine. Not just stenographers–cheerleaders, actually. For in Arar they saw a weapon to demonize the police, the military and the war on terror. They painted Arar as an unalloyed victim of racial profiling and police excess, conveniently ignoring facts about his visits with other terrorist suspects, his unusual international travel, and even his purchase of a gun–something that would normally condemn a man in the eyes of the press. Of course they didn’t question his tale of torture. And, as Kevin Steel’s outstanding story on page 34 demonstrates, neither did the multimillion-dollar Arar Commission. You’d think it might have come up.
What will happen now? The Arars will retire on whatever part of their fortune is left after his lawyers take their cut; Arar’s wife, Monia Mazigh, has turned her crusade into a permanent political campaign, even running for office as an NDP candidate. Arar will no doubt do the speaking circuit, telling tales of his suffering–not so much at the hands of his coreligionists in Syria as at the hands of Canada, the country that welcomed his family and secured his freedom. Just don’t expect there to be a question-and-answer session after Arar’s speeches–he didn’t take the stand in the commission, and he’s not likely to risk answering some of the prickly questions that we write about here.
Regrettably, the most important facts about Arar likely will remain confidential for security reasons. How frustrating it must be to be an RCMP officer or diplomat, knowing the secret dossier on Arar, but unable to disclose it, either for reasons of security or a political gag order. We don’t know those details either–but we know there is enough on the public record to conclude that there is more to Maher Arar than the media darling the mainstream press have manufactured.