David Kenner points out that the US knew all about Syria’s torture prisons back when we used to send people there:
The only mystery for [Maher] Arar is why Americans are shocked at reports of torture in Syrian prisons. “What surprises me is the reaction of some people in the West, as if it’s news to them,” he told Foreign Policy. “As far back as the early 1990s … the State Department reports on Syria have been very blunt — the fact is, Syria tortures people.”
It’s a history that the U.S. government knows all too well — because, at times, it has exploited the Assad regime’s brutality for its own ends. Arar was sent to Assad’s prisons by the United States: In September 2002, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) detained him during a layover at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. U.S. officials believed, partially on the basis of inaccurate information provided by Canada, that Arar was a member of al Qaeda. After his detention in New York, Arar was flown to Amman, Jordan, where he was driven across the border into Syria.