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August 10, 2007

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Yay! Thanks hilzoy.

Of course, I've forgetten what I wanted to say...

Oh wait, I remember, I just wanted to get the darn Romney kid post off the front page.

Were you just in Karachi or did you travel elsewhere?

I imagine the traffic in Karachi is much like that in Delhi (though if it made Cairo look like rural Montana then maybe not).

Welcome home.

Welcome home.

That too!

I'm off to Portland in about 2 hours. Not quite as exciting, but still a place I've never been.

Ugh and G'Kar: thanks.

I was only in Karachi. Elsewhere comes later, on one of the subsequent visits. (There will be several.)

Welcome back, hilzoy.

I suppose since I polluted the prior thread with an OT comment I should repeat it here now that my open thread wish has been granted:

U! S! A!*">http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/10/world/americas/10arar.html">A!*

The newly released sections indicate that neither the Syrian government nor the Federal Bureau of Investigation were convinced that Mr. Arar was a significant security threat. They also suggest that the investigation of Mr. Arar was prompted by the coerced confession of Ahmad Abou el-Maati, a Kuwaiti-born Canadian who was also imprisoned and tortured in Syria. And despite claims by the United States government that Mr. Arar’s removal to Syria was mainly an immigration matter, the new material suggests that the Central Intelligence Agency led the action.

Have a good weekend everybody!

*obviously the Canadian version of the CIA hasn't covered itself in glory either, but at least the Canadian gov't is willing to try to make amends, whereas we invoke the f*ncking ridiculous and Ugh-can't-believe-there-is-such-a-thing** "state secrets" doctrine.

**Which is the standard against which all things should be judged, obviously. ;-)***

***I hate asterisks too!

Wow. The CSIS not exactly covering itself with glory there, though at least they've come clean about it.

Can I apply for citizenship in "None of the Above" country?

Now that we've (maybe) finished discussing Romney's comparing his sons to troops in Iraq, perhaps we can move on to Giuliani's comparing himself to 9/11 rescue workers.

hmm - what movie could i work that into.

welcome back hilzoy! trip sounds awesome. (your return is just in time too -- will explain over secret encrypted but NSA-accessible ObWi email)

I'm glad you are home safe.

Welcome back, Hilzoy!

Looking forward to reading your post(s) about Pakistan. (That's a grammatical construction known to fans as "plural hopeful".)

Why is it that every time I've spent more than 24 hours returning to the US, something goes horribly wrong with the last leg of my trip?

Because the tireder you are, the more likely it is that even your Grate Brane will make mistakes? (I know that, overwhelmingly, the times when something goes wrong as I attempt to transit through Heathrow are when I am suffering from extreme jetlag - or when I have had way too little sleep the night before because I was packing/tidying/too excited.)

In the spirit of Open Thread-dom: I have a new kitten! Pure black. Barely seven weeks old.

In the spirit of Open Thread-dom: I have a new kitten!

yay! i'm getting one tomorrow - 8 weeks old.

fun for everyone!

Welcome home, hilzoy.

In open thread celebration, from the liner notes of the 1999 rerelease of Steely Dan's _Katy Lied_:

"O, the things we've seen and heard! -- An Arp synthesizer burning in the courtyard of a West Hollywood sound stage"

The Globe and Mail has a handy timeline of Arar-related events here.

Ugh: "*obviously the Canadian version of the CIA hasn't covered itself in glory either, but at least the Canadian gov't is willing to try to make amends, whereas we invoke the f*ncking ridiculous and Ugh-can't-believe-there-is-such-a-thing** "state secrets" doctrine."

Um, much as I'd love to sing the praises of my nation's government with regards to all this, that's precisely what the Tories (and the previous Liberal government) did initially:

The Conservative government came under fire yesterday for its decision to censor passages of the Arar commission report that many believe were merely embarrassing to the U.S. and Canadian security officials, and not vital to national security.

[...]

The decision to cite national-security grounds to censor about 1,500 words of Judge O'Connor's report was made by Conservative cabinet ministers, and it was they who ordered federal government lawyers to fight their release in court.

[...]

Mr. Arar's lawyer, Lorne Waldman, charged that the newly released passages show that the government chose to censor information "in order to avoid embarrassment" rather than for legitimate reasons of state secrecy.

"We're concerned about the use of secrecy to suppress information that should not have been suppressed," he said.

[...]

[Arar Commission Counsellor Paul] Cavalluzzo said that he did not know precisely who in government ordered the passages censored, but he was told it was approved at the highest levels. "I don't know if the cabinet would be, but the Prime Minister and the relevant ministers would be involved. That is, the Attorney-General, the minister of Public Safety and the minister of Foreign Affairs," he said.

Globe columnist John Ibbitson (who is hardly a wild-eyed lefty) is on point here:

It is ludicrous to suppose that Canadian-American relations have been damaged because the CIA has been outed by the O'Connor report. That troubled American intelligence service already has enough on its plate right now.

The only real damage the federal government has done, through both Liberal and Conservative administrations, is to itself. There are things about the Arar affair that you can't be told, our government informed us, for reasons of national security.

National security my ass. Foreign Affairs, CSIS and especially the RCMP were simply trying to keep hidden their incompetent, duplicitous, disgraceful handling of the Arar file. And they're still at it.

Why should anyone trust anything that our government says about Maher Arar any more?

It should be further noted that the only reason the Conservative government released this information was because it was ordered to do so by a Federal Court, and only recently decided not to appeal the ruling.

Harper can shove his 'apology'.

I suppose Canada is Libertarian Hell. I just saw a Prius taxicab.

Are you in BC, Charley?

Welcome home, hilzoy. Thanks for the snaps of the bus!!

They had one of those buses at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall in June.

Mttb -- yes, Vancouver for the night.

The government of Canada is going to appeal to the Sup Ct Can from the Khadr decision. It'll be interesting to see whether they think the Charter runs to America's Tropical Gulag Paradise.

Maybe the Pithlord can be prevailed upon the speculate.

Mattt -- thanks for the reminder that Canadian journalists, at least, still know their job.

A word to the wise: do not, under any circumstances, attempt to drive in Karachi.

I'm with Ugh in wanting to immediately imagine this to be like my own experiences with Indian metropolitan traffic. Having the, um, pleasure of clinging to the back of a motorbike darting about in Bangalore, a city whose infrastructure is severely overloaded by Indian standards, pretty much ruined my ability to view most any traffic or driving anywhere else as "bad".

farmgirl: no problem. ;-)

CharleyC: Have you seen this?

(Via Impolitical by way of Progressive Bloggers.)

Not that I, as a single woman, could ride on one, of course.

Well if you'd just accept one of those bloody marriage proposals...

Also, Jes? Pictures. Stat!

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