Grave Injustice

Maher Arar and Unaccountable America

by Lisa Hajjar | published June 24, 2010

On June 14, the Supreme Court buried the prospect of justice for Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen of Syrian origin who was “extraordinarily rendered” by the United States (via Jordan) to Syria in 2002. Arar was suing the US officials who authorized his secret transfer, without charge, to a country infamous for torture. With the justices’ 22-word statement, the case of Arar v. Ashcroft exited the American legal system and entered the annals of American legal history under the category “grave injustice.” Alphabetically, Arar precedes Dred Scott v. Sanford, which upheld slavery, and Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the internment of Japanese Americans. In this case, however, the grave is literal: Arar spent ten months of his year in Syrian custody confined in what he describes as “an underground grave.”

The US Media, Samuel Huntington and September 11

by Ervand Abrahamian
published in MER223

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For Zion's Sake

by Don Wagner
published in MER223

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From Nuremberg to Guantánamo

International Law and American Power Politics

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER229

All that is needed to achieve total political domination is to kill the juridical in humankind.
-- Hannah Arendt, On the Origins of Totalitarianism

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the US, George W. Bush used terms like "punishment" and "justice" to assert what his administration would make happen and why. Using such legalistic terms was the logical means of legitimizing the American state's planned response to the violence. This logic became all the more apparent when Bush also used the distinctly non-legal term "crusade," for which he was roundly criticized.

Musharraf's Opening to Israel

by Graham Usher | published March 2, 2006

When George W. Bush arrives in Islamabad on March 4, 2006, his will be the first visit to Pakistan by a US president since Bill Clinton touched down there in March 2000. Aside from the coincidence of the month, the circumstances could hardly be more different. In 2000, Clinton stayed for barely five hours, refused to be photographed with the then recently installed military dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and proceeded to lecture the general on Pakistan’s continued sponsorship of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamist insurgency in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The Pakistan Taliban

by Graham Usher | published February 13, 2007

Torture and the Lawless “New Paradigm”

by Lisa Hajjar | published December 9, 2005

The president who campaigned on a pledge to “restore honor and dignity to the White House” has now been compelled to declaim: “We abide by the law of the United States, and we do not torture.” In the closing months of 2005, President George W. Bush has been forced to repeat this undignified denial several times, most recently with the head of the World Health Organization standing beside him, because a dwindling number of people believe him.