CIA kidnappers convicted by Italian court

This video is called Trial Over C.I.A. Kidnapping to Continue.

From The Raw Story in the USA:

Italian court convicts 23 Americans of kidnapping in CIA rendition case

By Muriel Kane

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 — 10:30 am

Twenty three Americans have been convicted in absentia, after an Italian court found them guilty of kidnapping in the CIA rendition of a Muslim cleric, the Associated Press reports. Three other Americans were acquitted.

The New York Times reported earlier today, “Italian prosecutors have charged the American officials, all but one of them alleged to be agents of the Central Intelligence Agency, and seven members of the Italian military intelligence agency, in the abduction of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, on Feb. 17, 2003. Prosecutors say the cleric was snatched in broad daylight, flown from an American air base in Italy to a base in Germany and then on to Egypt, where he claims he was tortured.”

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, says that the conviction in Italy of 23 Americans, most of them CIA employees, for the kidnapping and torture of an Egyptian cleric is some good news, for a change, on the issue of torture: here.

At the end of last week, Italian president Giorgio Napolitano issued a pardon to US Colonel Joseph Romano. Romano, the head of security at the US Air Force base at Aviano in northern Italy, was involved in the CIA-led abduction of the Muslim cleric, Abu Omar, in 2003: here.

Former CIA official: Italian leaders colluded w/ US to shield Bush, Rice, Tenet & senior CIA aides from prosecution: here. …

A US registered plane named in a 2007 European Parliament report into alleged Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “extraordinary rendition” flights was observed to land at Birmingham Airport in England on October 2 of this year: here.

Britain: MPs demand law to ban rendition flights: here.

17 thoughts on “CIA kidnappers convicted by Italian court


    Former UK ambassador: CIA sent people to be “raped with broken bottles”

    By Daniel Tencer

    Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 — 3:31 pm

    “It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”

    The CIA relied on intelligence based on torture in prisons in Uzbekistan, a place where widespread torture practices include raping suspects with broken bottles and boiling them alive, says a former British ambassador to the central Asian country.

    Craig Murray, the rector of the University of Dundee in Scotland and until 2004 the UK’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, said the CIA not only relied on confessions gleaned through extreme torture, it sent terror war suspects to Uzbekistan as part of its extraordinary rendition program.

    “I’m talking of people being raped with broken bottles,” he said at a lecture late last month that was re-broadcast by the Real News Network. “I’m talking of people having their children tortured in front of them until they sign a confession. I’m talking of people being boiled alive. And the intelligence from these torture sessions was being received by the CIA, and was being passed on.”

    Human rights groups have long been raising the alarm about the legal system in Uzbekistan. In 2007, Human Rights Watch declared that torture is “endemic” to the country’s justice system.

    Murray said he only realized after his stint as ambassador that the CIA was sending people to be tortured in Uzbekistan, country he describes as a “totalitarian” state that has never moved on from its communist era, when it was a part of the Soviet Union.
    Story continues below…

    Suspects in Uzbekistan’s gulags “were being told to confess to membership in Al Qaeda. They were told to confess they’d been in training camps in Afghanistan. They were told to confess they had met Osama bin Laden in person. And the CIA intelligence constantly echoed these themes.”

    “I was absolutely stunned — it changed my whole world view in an instant — to be told that London knew [the intelligence] coming from torture, that it was not illegal because our legal advisers had decided that under the United Nations convention against torture, it is not illegal to obtain or use intelligence gained from torture as long as we didn’t do the torture ourselves,” Murray said.


    Murray asserts that the primary motivation for US and British military involvement in central Asia has to do with large natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As evidence, he points to the plans to build a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan that would allow Western oil companies to avoid Russia and Iran when transporting natural gas out of the region.

    Murray alleged that in the late 1990s the Uzbek ambassador to the US met with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to discuss a pipeline for the region, and out of that meeting came agreements that would see Texas-based Enron gain the rights to Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits, while oil company Unocal worked on developing the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.

    “The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.

    Murray said part of the motive in hyping up the threat of Islamic terrorism in Uzbekistan through forced confessions was to ensure the country remained on-side in the war on terror, so that the pipeline could be built.

    “There are designs of this pipeline, and if you look at the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, as against other NATO country forces in Afghanistan, you’ll see that undoubtedly the US forces are positioned to guard the pipeline route. It’s what it’s about. It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”

    The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is slated to be completed in 2014, with $7.6 billion in funding from the Asian Development Bank.

    Murray was dismissed from his position as ambassador in 2004, following his first public allegations that the British government relied on torture in Uzbekistan for intelligence.


  2. Egypt: Rendition Redux?

    William Fisher

    11 November 2009

    New York — On the heels of a federal appeals court ruling that only the U.S. Congress and the executive branch of government – not the courts – can interfere with government-sponsored “extraordinary rendition”, a U.S. citizen from New Jersey is asking another court to tell the government it wasn’t okay to secretly imprison and abuse him in three different African countries over a period of four months.

    The citizen is Amir Meshal, 24, the son of Muslim immigrants from Egypt. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the lawsuit in Meshal’s behalf, after fleeing hostilities in Somalia in 2006, Meshal was arrested, secretly imprisoned in inhumane conditions and subjected to harsh interrogations by U.S. officials over 30 times in three different countries before ultimately being released four months later without charge,

    “This case challenges the U.S. government’s effort to evade accountability for illegal detention and interrogations in counterterrorism operations by masking and hiding its involvement,” Jonathan Hafetz, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, told IPS.

    According to the ACLU, Meshal was studying Islam in Mogadishu, Somalia, in December 2006, when hostilities broke out. With the airport disabled by bombing, Meshal fled to neighboring Kenya, where he wandered in the forest for three weeks seeking shelter and assistance before being arrested.

    Following his arrest, he was detained and repeatedly interrogated by U.S. officials who threatened to harm him, denied him access to counsel and accused him of receiving training from al Qaeda, which Meshal denied.

    Following his arrest and detention in Kenya, the suit says Meshal was illegally rendered to Somalia and then to Ethiopia where he was imprisoned in secret for over three months. There, U.S. officials allegedly subjected him to harsh interrogations while denying him due process and access to a lawyer, his family or anyone else in the outside world.

    “The harsh treatment and mental anguish this individual suffered should never be experienced by anyone, let alone an American citizen at the hands of his own government,” said Hafetz. “This violation of basic constitutional rights must be remedied.”

    Court filings say that during his detention, Meshal was kept in “filthy, crowded conditions in cells infested with cockroaches and given inadequate access to food, water and toilets. While in Kenya, the Americans who interrogated him repeatedly threatened him with torture.”

    “The interrogators warned Meshal that he could be sent to Somalia or Egypt, where the Egyptians ‘had ways of making him talk’, if he refused to answer questions or agree to the interrogators’ allegations. Meshal was also threatened with being sent to Israel, where, the interrogators said, the Israelis would “make him disappear,” the papers charge.

    At least one consular affairs official from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi met with Meshal and was aware of his detention, but later claimed he lost contact with Meshal following his rendition to Ethiopia. Meshal was finally released in May 2007 with no additional explanation.

    “This is a U.S. citizen who was caught in hostilities abroad, and instead of helping him return, U.S. officials abused him and mistreated him and never charged him with a crime,” said Nusrat Choudhury, one of the lead lawyers from the ACLU representing Meshal. “Should they be allowed to do that without helping a U.S. citizen get home, and instead, denying him access to lawyers?”

    The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and two other unnamed U.S. government officials.

    Last week, another federal court ruled that the courts have no jurisdiction over matters relating to the practice known as “extraordinary rendition” – kidnapping a person in U.S. custody and sending him/her to a prison in another country.

    In a seven to four decision in the celebrated case known as Arar v. Ashcroft, the appeals court for the second circuit in New York wrote, “If a civil remedy in damages is to be created for harms suffered in the context of extraordinary rendition, it must be created by Congress, which alone has the institutional competence to set parameters, delineate safe harbors, and specify relief. If Congress chooses to legislate on this subject, then judicial review of such legislation would be available.”

    Some legal authorities believe Meshal may have a better chance of influencing the court because he is a U.S. citizen.

    The only other U.S. citizen whose lawsuit against a U.S. official has not been dismissed is Jose Padilla. Deemed an “enemy combatant” and currently serving a prison sentence for providing material support to terrorists, he is suing John Yoo, the former lawyer at the Justice Department who justified torture and Padilla says personally helped to devise his illegal treatment.

    A federal court in California refused to dismiss his case, in part because there was no other way for a U.S. citizen to hold U.S. officials accountable.

    The ACLU also believes its case is stronger because the FBI agents named in the suit were not acting in a high-level supervisory role but were actually in the room, participated, and threatened him, while Meshal was being interrogated.

    The Arar case involves a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, who was detained by U.S. government officials at Kennedy International Airport in 2002 while enroute to his home in Canada following a vacation in Africa. He was held incommunicado for two weeks, then flown to Jordan and finally to Syria, where he was imprisoned in a coffin-size cell and tortured for 10 months before being released by the Syrians without charges or explanation.

    A two-year-long Canadian government inquiry established that Canada had provided the U.S. with incorrect information about Arar, and that he was guilty of nothing. He received an apology from the Canadian government and a cash award of 10 million dollars.

    The U.S., far from apologising to Arar, has barely acknowledged that an error was committed. Condoleezza Rice, who was secretary of state at the time, has said only that the matter was not handled as well as it should have been.

    Four judges in last week’s decision issued dissenting opinions. One of them, Judge Guido Calabresi, wrote, “I believe that when the history of this distinguished court is written, today’s majority decision will be viewed with dismay.”

    Arar’s attorney, David Cole, indicated that the decision would be appealed to the Supreme Court.

    He told IPS, “If the rule of law means anything, it must mean that courts can hear the claim of an innocent man subjected to torture that violates our most basic constitutional commitments.”

    There is at least one other major case involving rendition pending before U.S. appeals courts. In California, four men who claim they were “rendered” to secret prisons where they were tortured are suing a Boeing subsidiary company they say knowingly handled the logistics of their rendition flights for the Central Intelligence Agency.


  3. Tougher sentence in rendition case

    Italy: A prosecutor has asked for a tougher sentence for a CIA station chief convicted in the 2003 kidnapping in Milan of Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr.

    Twenty-three US citizens, including Robert Seldon Lady, then a CIA station chief in Milan, and two Italians were convicted in November for the kidnapping.

    It was the first conviction anywhere in the world involving the CIA’s “extraordinary renditions” programme.

    During the appeals trial on Thursday prosecutor Piero De Petris asked that Mr Lady’s initial eight year sentence be increased to 10 years in prison.


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  14. Saturday 16th January 2016

    posted by Morning Star in World

    by Our Foreign Desk

    A PORTUGUESE court has ordered that a former CIA agent be extradited to Italy to serve a sentence for kidnapping an Egyptian preacher for rendition.

    A court official, who did not want to be named, said yesterday that the decision to extradite Sabrina de Sousa was handed down on Tuesday.

    Ms De Sousa’s Portuguese lawyer, Manuel Magalhaes e Silva, said he was officially informed of the decision yesterday and intends to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court.

    He said that if that fails, he will go to the Constitutional Court.

    Ms De Sousa was among 26 US Citizens convicted in absentia for the 2003 kidnapping of Egyptian Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, in Milan. She has since requested a pardon from Italy.

    The CIA agent was masquerading as a US diplomat in Italy at the time. She was was arrested at Lisbon airport in October last year.

    Mr Nasr, a member the al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya organisation dedicated to the overthrow of Egypt’s government, was under surveillance by Italian police at the time.

    He was rendered to his home country where he says he was tortured.


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