Tuesday, February 21, 2006

No Rules

The US kidnapped an innocent foreigner and sent him another country to be tortured. And that's OK, right?

NEW YORK -- A federal judge has tossed out a civil rights lawsuit filed by a Syrian-born Canadian man who claimed U.S. counterterrorism officials deported him so he could be tortured in Syria.

Maher Arar had sued the officials in 2004 in what was believed to be the first case challenging extraordinary rendition - the policy of transferring foreign terror suspects to third countries without court approval.

U.S. District Judge David G. Trager rejected arguments that Arar was protected by the Torture Victim Prevention Act, which allows U.S. courts to assess damages for human rights abuses committed abroad.

Trager said that as a non-citizen, Arar couldn't demonstrate that he has a viable cause of action under that statute. Citing "the national security and foreign policy considerations at stake," the judge said Arar had no grounds in a U.S. court to claim his constitutional right to due process was violated.


Now, if he had been a terrorist, the US courts would have had jurisdiction. He could have been tried here. But since he not a terrorist and not a US citizen, he has no standing in US courts. That sounds fair, right? Anything for "national security." Really, I don't understand why Bush doesn't just start ordering the permanent detention or summary executions of Democratic leaders and liberal activists, claiming that secret evidence that he is not required to reveal shows that they have been vacationing with al Qaeda.

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