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Secrecy, Wars and Civil Liberties

Posted on Apr 18, 2012
Prism TV

Glenn Greenwald.

As Chris Hedges reported Monday, American Muslims are being dragged into jail on dubious and unclear connections to terrorism. Meanwhile, the president retains the authority to kill U.S. citizens without trial. But most Americans aren’t speaking up. Salon blogger and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald discusses why.

Greenwald spoke to an audience in Ottawa, Ontario, last Thursday at an event co-hosted by Prism magazine. Read commentary on the talk by Prism’s publisher, Maher Arar, here. —ARK

Prism TV:


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By gerard, April 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

JoeT:  It’s quite a stretch to attribute the depth of suspicious inquiry, the breadth of surveillance and the destructive effects of “Uncle Sam” and his 800,000+ federal, state and local agency snoops to the overweening parental controls of the present younger generation, doncha think?

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By JoeT, April 20, 2012 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

We have raise our children for the past 40 years to respect our fear that they may be abducted by strangers and/or will be physically or psychologically damaged if they so much as play ball without mom or dad there to supervise. We have essentially taught them that surveilance is a good thing—the safe thing. Now, they are grown and quite used to being watched and we wonder why they allow the government to parent them.

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By zoskia, April 20, 2012 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

It does look as if “A Lot of Americans” do not care to say Anything about their country.
At least the people on this comments box,are” trying “in a small way,even if they disagree with each other.

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By diamond, April 20, 2012 at 12:08 am Link to this comment

You’re not interested in documentation Jiminy Cricket: if you had that it would spoil your fairy story that he’s a ‘Syrian double agent’ and an ‘Islamist’ code for ‘terrorist’, for which YOU have no documentation whatsoever since it is purely and simply a lie. And when you tell lies that makes you a liar, or didn’t you know that? From your answer I take it that you’re perfectly happy for Romney, Paul and Santorum to be abducted and sent to Syria to be tortured - but only if Obama is included in the rendition. And your other lie is that George Galloway is a ‘Muslim extremist’ - never mind that he’s neither a Muslim nor an extremist but simply a rational man who cannot abide bullshit or injustice or the bullshitters who carry it out.

On arrival in Jordan Arar was put in a van with several men who beat him every time he tried to speak. They then delivered him to the Syrian border and a hell that would continue until October 2003. After interrogation he was locked up in a dark, filthy place he calls ‘the grave’ (p. 255, Witch Hunts). He was in there for 10 months and 10 days. He was tortured by being beaten with two inch thick electrical cable, ‘Mainly on his hands’ (p.255, Witch Hunts). He was threatened with electric shocks and worse torture if he didn’t ‘confess’. He told them he had been to Afghanistan, a country he had never been in, to stop the beating. He urinated on
himself twice during the beating. On the 9th August 2003, Arar was taken to see the investigator. He was kicked until he wrote a statement that was dictated to him and signed his thumbprint on the last page. On the 5th October 2003 Arar was told that he would be going back to Canada. It transpired that all the time he had been in Syria his wife had kept up a ceaseless campaign aimed at the media and the Canadian government to get him released. All that had happened to her husband was a violation of international agreements Canada was a signatory to.

On his release Arar demanded an inquiry to clear his name. This might never have happened if the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had not gone in for overkill by raiding a journalist’s home. Juliet O’Neill had written an article revealing what had happened to Arar for the ‘Ottawa Citizen’. Pictures splashed all over that paper of O’Neill being browbeaten by burly
Mounties were the last straw. Public rage exploded, much as it did in Australia in the cases of David Hicks and Mahommed Haneef, and an inquiry was at last held. Arar was eventually vindicated and received a large compensation payment from the Canadian government. But Rapley (author of ‘Witchunts’)ends the chapter on Arar with a warning:

‘...although the Maher Arar case unfolded in two countries that place great value on the freedom of the individual and the rule of law, this case met all the characteristics of a witch hunt. If it could happen to Maher Arar, it could happen to you and me – and we would have no greater protection from it all than he had’ (p. 263, Witch Hunts).”

This is the real danger for western democracy. Not that the Muslims will be able to re-establish the Caliphate or take over the world but that the U.S. military and its intelligence services have become rogue, semi-privatized organizations (as the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks show) and believe they are not accountable to anyone.  Worse still, as things stand at the moment, their assessment is correct. In fact, the Patriot Act is a greater attack on hard won liberties and protections of democratic civil rights than the most committed Islamic fundamentalist could dream of.

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By jimmmmmy, April 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

Diamond before you blow a gasket where would one get hold of this documentation on this gentle islamist? I have not been able to find anything on why Canada paid him or any proof he was tortured. I agree that most of the american politcal candidates, including Obama , whom you left off your list, are christo capitalist at the very least. First they ridicule then they yell then they threaten then they try to kill you the American response to dissent.I expect your next post to be in caps or threatening. I having a great time goring sacred cows today Some one called me a troll what is that? also what does trending mean ? You seem to be an expert on these things.

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By diamond, April 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

“Until the Canadian gov. explains and I see evidence of his so called torture I will continue to hold my negative opinion of the man.”

You’re either an idiot or a liar or an idiot and a liar. Either way you aren’t fit to tie Maher Arar’s shoes. His abduction and torture have been well documented and I hardly think the Canadian government would find it appropriate to pay him millions in compensation for false arrest, imprisonment and torture if the facts of his case weren’t irrefutable. Mitt Romney’s a religious fanatic too, so is Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are you going to abduct them and send them to Syria to be tortured? Get into the real world.

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By jimmmmmy, April 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Brad Manning has been dragged to jail by Obama and neither Mr. Assange nor Mr Greenwald have seemed to have taken much notice lately . They are off protecting Muslim religious extremists ala George Galloway . Mr. Galloway, who is highly entertaining to watch, is reputed to have made a nice living with his project. Could it be that Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Assange would both like to tap this source of funding.

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By jimmmmmy, April 19, 2012 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

Refuted and reviled Bill your a legend in your own mind.

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By Bill Owen, April 19, 2012 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

So Jimmmy I will just put down as “no cogent response”
then. Get back to us when you have something

You’ve been refuted and reviled, maybe you should think
about that.

Good luck with the trolling.

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By jimmmmmy, April 19, 2012 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Bill OWEN I get your emotional attachment here but you offered no answers to my questions. I dislike your support of religionists of any stripe and fear it will harm any attempt at change, its always been a force of evil when elevated to power. Marc Emory a Canadian shop keeper was rendered by Steve Harper to the gentle graces of American justice for selling seeds over the internet. Hes a Canadian imprisoned illegaly in an American hellhole but that doesn’t seem to be an issue with you guys. Please spare me the santimony about this brown mans burden. Syria or the U.S. should be held responsible for his alleged injuries.

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By Bill Owen, April 19, 2012 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

I hosted this event Jmmmy. I met and worked with
Mehar Arar on Glenn’s talk. He is a fine, upstanding
Canadian who has harmed no one. You, on the other

Everything you said is wrong. Demonstrably wrong. You
don’t know what you are talking about. You really
need to get your facts straight and stop making
baseless, counter-factual, hurtful, smears.

Failing that, could you at least log in using your
real name? I am sure that you have the courage of
your convictions, and can substantiate everything you
spewed, so that shouldn’t be any problem for you.

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By TheEnd, April 19, 2012 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

Great talk!

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By jimmmmmy, April 19, 2012 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Diamond, I’ve been called out on my statement before and whether or not hes a spy is moot. He is however a religious fanatic , there are pictures of him and his wife walking in Ottawa She wrapped up head to toe in a burlap sack walking ten paces behind . as a Canadian I’m offended by sights like this. My irritation is with Canadian government for giving him 10 million taxpayer dollars for no good reason . We did not render or torture him . I doubt that he was tortured he looks in good physical condition. when compared to Mr. Sampson who recently died from the effects of his torture in an arab prison. Until the Canadian gov. explains and I see evidence of his so called torture I will continue to hold my negative opinion of the man.

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By diamond, April 19, 2012 at 2:28 am Link to this comment

“My point was that encouraging fanatics is never a good idea.”

It’s not really about fanatics, it’s more a case of the lunatics running the asylum and most of the allegedly sane people on the outside pretending the lunatics are not lunatics.

“Maher Arar is a Syrian double agent, being in bed with him could be painful. He was able to extort ten million bucks out of Canadian taxpayers , reason unknown.”

How the lies slip out, so easily and so assured.

“Maher Arar emigrated from Syria to Canada at seventeen. He went to university, married, had two children, became a Canadian citizen. By 2001 he had a Master’s Degree in telecommunications from McGill University in Montreal and had started his own consulting company. In September 2002 his nightmare began. He arrived alone at New York airport from Tunisia, where he and his wife had been visiting her relatives, at 2pm on the 26th September 2002 and waited for his connecting flight to Canada. Pulled aside in immigration he was fingerprinted and his
Canadian passport was photocopied. No one would explain anything and he was not allowed to make a phone call. Already the logic of the witch hunt was operating. He was ‘guilty’, all they had to do was find the evidence. He was accused of having links to ‘Al Qaeda’ and having suspicious friends.
‘(They) put me in chains, on my wrists and ankle and took me in a van to a place where many people were held’, Arar later recounted (p. 255, Witch Hunts).

The Canadian government was told nothing of his whereabouts. All requests to phone a lawyer, his family or the Canadian government were ignored. However, the Canadian Consul finally saw Arar on October 4th 2002. Arar was terrified he would be sent to Syria as the Americans had threatened to do. The Consul assured him this would not happen. But it did. Based on ‘classified information’ Arar was deported/rendered to Syria.”

Where he was held in a dungeon and tortured for nearly a year. His wife harassed the Canadian government until they had to act. The money he ‘conned’ out of the Canadian government was compensation for his abduction and torture in Syria.

And this is how it will be in the end, if no one speaks out against the witch hunts.

“How completely mad the process of the witch trials eventually became is illustrated by the case of Dr. Georg Haan, Vice Chancellor of Bamberg. Haan accepted that Bamberg was under demonic attack but, unfortunately for him, he had expressed doubt about the guilt of some of the accused (p. 14, Witch Hunts). He himself was accused in 1628, one of the first elite figures to be accused, but not directly. His wife and daughter were accused first and terrorized into confessing that they were witches. Haan and his son Adam appealed to the Imperial Court in Speyer – the court of the Emperor (p. 14, Witch Hunts). They obtained an injunction to halt the proceedings against mother and daughter but arriving back in Bamberg the horrified pair found that their womenfolk had already been tried and burned. Even an order from the Emperor could not save Haan or his son, even though the Emperor said ‘their arrest was a violation of the law of the Emperor and not to be tolerated’. Both men, completely innocent, were burned.

Often the story of the accused’s ‘crimes’ was simply created and given to the accused witch to sign.

In the end in Bamberg, Germany, children as young as three or four were accused of having intercourse with the devil and burned. Law students and members of the clergy met the same fate. No one was safe. The witch hunts only ended when the German states were invaded by the Swedish Protestant king Gustavus Adolphus.”

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By Bill Owen, April 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey Jimmy

Got any evidence, any evidence at all, for your
accusations against Maher Arar? Anything?

Love to see it.

Oh, wait, if you did you would have posted it. But you
didn’t, so you don’t.

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By jimmmmmy, April 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

vector, Terrorist is the latest buzz word for a man with a gun. I dislike religious fanatics of any stripe I agree the current kill ratios favor the European Christian fanatics, over the Muslims , but there was a time say 500 years between 1200 to 1700 AD or so where Christian turned on their own people and burned and tortured to death 7 to 9 million so called heretics. The game is always the same but the victims change ethnicities from time to time . I don’t agree that nigger and terrorist are synonyms One denotes an armed fighter , not on our side , the other a downtrodden piece of property. My point was that encouraging fanatics is never a good idea.

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By katsteevns, April 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

“Give me liberty or give me death.” - Patrick Henry

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By vector56, April 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

“I think Glenn has jumped the shark here supporting muslim terrorists over christian terrorists. “

jimmmmmy, my boy; you are pretty loose with that word “Terrorist”.

How would a bright boy like you define a “Terrorist” as apposed to a “freedom fighter”?

Here are a few fact to play with;

Our Military kill far more human beings then those you call “Terrorist; about 1000 to 1.

Our Military kills far more Women then those you label Terrorist; again 1000 to 1.

And Yes, Our brave Baby killing boys also kill far, far more children than those dirty Muslim Terrorist; 1000 to 1.

That being said, I am sure you will point out that our boys wear “uniforms” and they (Terrorist) do not! Ask the dead men women and children if they give a flying fuck that they were ripped apart by cluster bombs by guys who sported nice crisp uniforms?

If uniforms is a sticking point, our “special forces and CIA do their share of killing, and yes they don’t wear uniforms.

Terrorist is the new Nigger and the racist who push this “old game” repackaged as something new are as phoney and evil as the racist of NAZI Germany and those of the American deep South!

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By D.R. Zing, April 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

The five minute plus introduction was like a
combination root canal and prostate exam.

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By jimmmmmy, April 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

I think Glenn has jumped the shark here supporting muslim terrorists over christian terrorists. While enjoying the largesse of the christian terrorists is a little hypocritical. Maher Arar is a Syrian double agent, being in bed with him could be painful. He was able to extort ten million bucks out of Canadian taxpayers , reason unknown. Government secret. Glenn would be better served taking a serious look at him, rather than being a dupe for religious extremists . I wish Hitchens was still around to rip him a new one.

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By gerard, April 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Excellent presentation of where we’re at.

Occupy is trying to “figure out the best way to do it.” Support Occupy, locally, regionally, nationally.

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