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Who’s involved in smear of Maher Arar?

The day before Barack Obama became president, an FBI agent named Robert Fuller testified in Guantánamo that Omar Khadr had seen Maher Arar in an Al Qaeda safe house in Kabul in the fall of 2001. Was his charge believable?

Kerry Pither, author of a book about Arar and three other Canadians tortured in the Great War on Terror, doesn’t think so.

In an interview with The Hook on Wednesday, Pither said the intelligence agencies, not Arar, need to be held up to scrutiny. “He’s been exonerated,” she said.

“Stockwell Day saw the whole file, and saw no reason to keep Maher Arar on a watchlist. Stephen Harper issued Arar an official apology.

“The FBI deliberately set out to inflict as much damage as it could on Arar’s reputation. They were caught on Tuesday [when Arar was proven to have been in North America at the time Khadr supposedly saw him in Afghanistan], but I’m sure they knew the damage was done. There’s not a shred of evidence to back up the FBI allegations.

“The question now is: Were Canadian officials involved in this? This was a story for a Canadian audience. No Canadian officials have been held accountable for smearing Maher Arar repeatedly since 2002.”

Asked if Maher Arar himself had responded to these new charges, Pither said she’s not a spokesperson for him.

“But if I were Maher Arar, I wouldn’t respond to a baseless, malicious, desperate smear.”

You can read more about Kerry Pither’s position on her website. Maher Arar’s site is here. An editorial in the Globe and Mail backs up her view of the smear against Arar.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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