Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Perfect Example

Noon prayers were about to begin and Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr was on his way to his mosque in Milan, doubtless looking forward to another round of convivial, if obsequious, intercourse with Allah.  Others suspected more nefarious doings. But the bright day would soon go dark, and Nasr would never make the next in a series of godly ministrations. He was grabbed off the street, hooded and bound, swept off to places then unknown.

It would not be long before he was deposited in Egypt, dispatched to the attentions of the Mubarak regime and Egypt's SSI. By the hoary beard of Allah, surely this was the work of infidels. Questions must have rattled Nasr's hooded head. What on Allah's earth was the point? To what end? Who had grabbed him? And why? Was it a criminal gang? Kidnappers? The Red Brigades or some facsimile thereof? The Egyptians? If them, why? If not them, who?

Actually, it was the CIA.

CIA and SISMI (Italian Military Intelligence and Security Service), infidels to be sure, conspired to abduct Nasr, aka Abu Omar, ship him off for questioning to a cooperating regime that would have little reticence employing "enhanced interrogation" techniques. It was the GWOT, after all. Any and all measures were "on the table" now that the "gloves were off." It would not be long before the Italians, whose own surveillance operation of Nasr had been "interrupted" by CIA's extraordinary rendition of the Imam, would discover just what had happened and launch a criminal case against the perps, eventually indicting and convicting, in absentia, twenty six CIA agents, and five SISMI co-conspirators. The operation was one that Swiss senator Dick Marty would call, "a perfect example of extraordinary rendition." The convicted CIA agents still roam free, though former Milan station chief Robert Lady recently enjoyed a brief encounter with international warrants when he was detained by authorities in Panama, Central America being a locale traditionally entertained by CIA.

Well, it seems one of those convicted has come forward to explain that the Italian prosecution and convictions were undertaken and authorized to "shield higher-ups" in the Bush administration who approved the operation. CIA being thrown under the bus. Underlings, of course. That's the thing about signing up to be a disposable asset. One day, you may actually be disposed of. Spy bidness can be one ungrateful bitch.
U.S. allowed Italian kidnap prosecution to shield higher-up, ex-CIA officer says 
A former CIA officer has broken the U.S. silence around the 2003 abduction of a radical Islamist cleric in Italy, charging that the agency inflated the threat the preacher posed and that the United States then allowed Italy to prosecute her and other Americans to shield President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials from responsibility for approving the operation. 
Confirming for the first time that she worked undercover for the CIA in Milan when the operation took place, Sabrina De Sousa provided new details about the “extraordinary rendition” that led to the only criminal prosecution stemming from the secret Bush administration rendition and detention program launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. 
The cleric, Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr, was snatched from a Milan street by a team of CIA operatives and flown to Egypt, where he was held for the better part of four years without charges and allegedly tortured. An Egyptian court in 2007 ruled that his imprisonment was “unfounded” and ordered him released. 
Among the allegations made by De Sousa in a series of interviews with McClatchy:
– The former CIA station chief in Rome, Jeffrey Castelli, whom she called the mastermind of the operation, exaggerated Nasr’s terrorist threat to win approval for the rendition and misled his superiors that Italian military intelligence had agreed to the operation. 
– Senior CIA officials, including then-CIA Director George Tenet, approved the operation even though there were doubts about Castelli’s case – Nasr wasn’t wanted in Egypt and wasn’t on the U.S. list of top al Qaida terrorists. 
– Condoleezza Rice, then the White House national security adviser, also had concerns about the case, especially what Italy would do if the CIA were caught, but she eventually agreed to it and recommended that Bush approve the abduction. 
De Sousa said her assertions are based on classified CIA cables that she read before resigning from the agency in February 2009, as well as on Italian legal documents and Italian news reports. She denies that she was involved in the operation, though she acknowledges that she served as the interpreter for a CIA “snatch” team that visited Milan in 2002 to plan the abduction. 
“I was being held accountable for decisions that someone else took and I wanted to see on what basis the decisions were made,” she said, explaining why she had delved into the CIA archives. “And especially because I was willing to talk to the Hill (Congress) about this because I knew that the CIA would not be upfront with them.” 
“I don’t have any of the cables with me. Please put that down,” De Sousa added with a nervous laugh, her unease reflecting the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks of classified information to journalists. 
De Sousa is one of only a handful of former CIA officers who’ve spoken openly about the secret renditions in which suspected terrorists overseas were abducted without legal proceedings and then interrogated by other nations’ security services. 
More than 130 people were “rendered” in this way, according to a February 2013 study by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a U.S.-based group that promotes the rule of law. Many were tortured and abused, and many, including Nasr, were freed for lack of proof that they were hatching terrorist plots, said Amrit Singh, the study’s author. 
Human rights groups and many legal experts denounce rendition as violating not only U.S. and international law, but also the laws of the nations where abductions occurred and of the countries to which suspected terrorists were sent. In December 2005, Rice defended renditions as legal, however, calling them a “vital tool” that predated the 9/11 attacks. She denied that the United State “transported anyone . . . to a country where we believe he or she will be tortured.” 

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