Thursday, February 03, 2005

Mahjoub and Nutjob

Professional amnesiac Michelle Malkim writes on a Canadian judge's decision to refuse the deportation of one Mohamed Mahjoub - suspected terrorist - to Egypt:

Virtually all Middle Easterners can make plausible-sounding claims that they will be tortured if deported. It is a safe bet that the decision in Mahjoub's case will make Canada an even more attractive destination for terrorists.

Ms. Malkim never asks herself why these claims sound so plausible. Does Maher Arar ring a bell? The Syrian born Canadian who got deported (from the U.S) to a Middle Eastern country (Syria) and tortured? Who was denied legal representation, as he alleged? And who alleged the following things happening in the prisons in that benighted country?

Early the next morning Arar is taken upstairs for intense interrogation. He is beaten on his palms, wrists, lower back and hips with a shredded black electrical cable which is about two inches in diameter. He is threatened with the metal chair, electric shocks, and with the tire, into which prisoners are stuffed, immobilized and beaten.


Throughout this period of intense interrogation Arar was not taken back to his cell, but to a waiting room where he could hear other prisoners being tortured and screaming. One time, he heard them repeatedly slam a man’s head on a desk really hard.

The Maher Arar story was quite famous. Pissed off a whole country, and just next door to the U.S. of A.? How could Mr. Malkim have forgotten about it? And Egypt is just as bad, I hear. From the Catholic New Times (found by a direct link by her article):

During the hearing, Galati addressed the flimsy "assurances" of Jaballah's well-being if deported, noting one "assurance" came from an Egyptian army general, part of an armed force repeatedly condemned for human rights violations. Amnesty International reports that Egyptian nationals deported from Sweden under far more substantial assurances were nonetheless detained, tortured and killed upon their return to Egypt. A pre-removal risk assessment undertaken by the Canadian Immigration Department concluded last August that Jaballah would be "tortured or killed" if returned to Egypt.

 I'm just a blogger. She's an actual journalist. Then what the fuck did she learn in school? I would expect an actual journalist to do her own research, put 2 and 2 together to make 4, trace down leads, and fill in the fucking gaps. Instead, she makes a snide remark about "plausible-sounding claims" without checking whether there is truth behind these allegations. I mean, I've heard of Mr. Arar. I'm surprised she hasn't heard of it. I would have thought "torture" (WOOAH!) would be red meat to any red-blooded journo worth her salt. Get the readers hot and bothered. Nope, not interested.

By the way, the title of Michelle's piece is "Our Friends the Canadians". Can't you feel the love in there, as she drafts yet another "X is soft on terrorism" piece? But perhaps she should consider how friendship can be so easily abused by both sides. The Arar story is still going, but it did result in one controversial Canadian travel advisory:

On October 29, 2002, the Canadian foreign affairs department issued a travel advisory strongly cautioning Canadians born in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan against travel to the United States for any reason.

Fair enough, too. They're only protecting their own. You see, Michelle? If you want friendship from the Great White North, you gotta act like friends. A professional journo like you would understand quid pro quo, eh?