This is from a US source but hardly a mass circulation newspaper! The article has a good summary of the significance of the new material. By now though the case is cooling off quickly. The Iacobucci inquiry is also in a deep media freeze. Unless some public hearings are called it seems that no progress reports are being released.
Canada: Arar case heats up again
By: Reuel S. Amdur / The Arab American News
Maher Arar is the Canadian citizen rendered by the CIA via Jordan to Syria, where he was born. His plane from Europe had landed in New York, where he was to transfer to another plane to take him home to Montreal. However, he was seized on arrival. Justice Dennis O'Connor headed up a major public inquiry in Canada, which completely exonerated Arar of any connection with terrorism. However, the Canadian government demanded that certain extracts of O'Connor's report be deleted for security reasons.
O'Connor challenged the deletions in court, and as a result on August 9 the government was forced to disclose about 1,000 of the 1,500 words previously restricted. Those words tell a sad story about shady practices by both Canadian and American governments. The Americans relied largely on faulty intelligence supplied by Canadian security officials.
The principle conclusion that observers have made regarding the hitherto secret passages is that the deletions were not made for reasons of security. They were made to prevent further embarrassment to security agencies in Canada and the United States. As a "Toronto Globe and Mail" columnist expressed it, the exercise was one of "covering your ass."
The main revelations in the liberated passages relate to the origins of the faulty information about Arar, Syria's attitude toward their captive, the apparent concealment of information from elected politicians, and the general knowledge in the security field of American practices of torture by proxy.
It turns out that the original source of false information about Arar came from torture of Egyptian-Canadian Ahmad El Matti, who was taken into custody when he went to Syria to get a wife. El Matti's ordeal and Canadian officials' role in it are now part of the charge to Judge Frank Iacobucci's judicial inquiry.
While officials from the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), who went to Syria while Arar was in prison and being tortured, were told by Syrian officials that Arar was "a nuisance," rather than an al-Qaeda operative, CSIS and the RCMP did what they could to forestall Canadian government efforts to get Arar released and returned to Canada.
CSIS deputy director Jack Hooper wrote a memo in October, 2002, in which he said, "I think the U.S. would like to get Arar to Jordan, where they can have their way with him." Yet, it appears that this kind of information was confined within the agency and not shared with Canadian elected officials.
Hooper's comment ties in with observations of a CSIS agent in Washington, who reported on a developing practice on the part of the American government: "When the CIA or FBI cannot legally hold a terrorist suspect. . . they have them rendered" to places where interrogation will take place in "a firm manner." While reports from Guantanamo and elsewhere discredit Condoleezza Rice's pointed "We don't do torture," much of the dirty work is simply contracted out.
One other note: It was the current Conservative Canadian cabinet that attempted to censor the O'Connor report, though Prime Minister Stephen Harper has tried to lay all the blame on the previous Liberal government.