Documents released by the Arar Commission suggest former foreign affairs minister Bill Graham asked for Washington's help in staving off a public inquiry into the case.
In a memo marked 'secret' the director of Canada's Foreign Affairs Intelligence Division writes that Graham spoke directly with former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell about negotiating a protocol for handling future problematic security cases.
The memo says Graham pointed out to Powell that "agreeing to negotiate such a protocol would [provide] a way to deal with the pressure for a public inquiry in Canada and to turn the page of this issue."
The government did call an inquiry shortly after, but only after a politically embarrassing raid by the RCMP on the home and office of a journalist who had been investigating Arar's case.
Remember the raid... Court orders sealing the detailed reasons for national security raids against the Ottawa Citizen and reporter Juliet O'Neill violated the constitutional guarantees of a free press, freedom of expression and the public's right to an open court system, a judge ruled yesterday.
Ontario Superior Court Judge Lynn Ratushny said an Ottawa justice of the peace was wrong when he hastily agreed to an RCMP request to keep secret the reasons for Jan. 21, 2004, police raids on Ms. O'Neill's Ottawa home and the Citizen's downtown office to execute search warrants under the Security of Information Act.
And he is another guy that should be fired along with the Commisioner of the RCMP, the RCMP involved in the above raid and the Arar case, as well as CSIS Director General and agents involved as well as those from Foreign Affairs under Graham.
While the RCMP is likely to suffer the most devastating criticism, the report is expected to highlight the conduct of Foreign Affairs officials who testified they were unaware Arar was being tortured while in Syrian custody. Among those who addressed the inquiry was Canada's former ambassador to Syria, Franco Pillarella.
And lets not forget that none of the current Conservative Government members have clean hands in this affair. As Opposition members they pressed the government to treat Arar as a criminal terrorist.
However, Mr. Harper, who has been in office since January, previously led a party known as the Canadian Alliance, which had called Mr. Arar a dangerous terrorist and attacked efforts by the earlier Liberal government to secure his release.
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