Gonzales: What? Me Torture?


"Well, we were not responsible for his removal to Syria. I'm not aware that he was tortured." — Alberto Gonzales, on the fate of Maher Arar.

Arar is the innocent Canadian citizen who was disappeared by American authorities in a U.S. airport, sent to Jordan, and then to Syria where he was tortured into making a false confession of training in Afghanistan — where he'd never been — and later kept in a coffin like dungeon for 10 months.

Gonzales reminds me of a corporate CEO disavowing knowledge that his subcontrators are using sweatshop labor. My guess: This is exactly how the administration has been able to deny that they render to countries that torture. They outsource the rendering to a middleman, in this case the Jordanians, who handle the dirty work of handing off the prisoner to the thugs in Demascus. We wink. We nod. But preserve at least a pretense of plausible deniability.

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