- "U.S. federal court rules it can't hear Arar's complaint" (via CBC)
- "Federal appeals court dismisses Arar rendition lawsuit" (via JURIST)
- And my favourite crazy-making headline: "Court tosses suit by alleged rendition victim" (via Denver Post)
Before I even get to the articles there are some problems.
First, clearly, the court could hear Arar's case if it was so inclined. I am willing to admit that there may be a microscopically small range of instances where a government may be justified in screwing someone over on the grounds of national security, but I am awfully tired of the "Aw shucks, there were nuthin' I could do" attitude when they do so. This is not only a criticism of the United States (although they are major offenders). The least you could do is to own the fact that your national security trumped an individual's fundamental rights. If you truly were justified in your actions, the analysis will show that the choice--and it is always a choice--was the correct one (or at least a reasonable one).
Second, "alleged" rendition victim? "Alleged"? Here are some sunglasses, Denver Post--your eyes must be light-sensitive from so many years living in that cave.
Now, here's my concern with the actual substance of the decision: "...Arar, as a foreigner who had not been formally admitted to the U.S., had no constitutional due process rights." (CBC) If you read "constitutional due process rights" to mean "dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's of procedural niceties", then yeah, like it or lump it, these have never been available to non-legal residents of any country. Traditionally, for political reasons, one would try not to mistreat the nationals of other states who were transiting through.
On the other hand, if you read "constitutional due process rights" to mean "not imprison someone, hide them from their own consulate, and then without warning ship them off to a hole in the desert to be tortured and mistreated for months" then generally speaking this is considered dirty pool regardless of the person's nationality.
That's why HUMAN Rights and CIVIL Rights are two different things.