The Verdict is In

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

The verdict:

MILAN (Reuters) – An Italian judge sentenced 23 former CIA agents to up to eight years in prison on Wednesday for the abduction of a Muslim cleric in a landmark ruling against the “rendition” flights used by the former U.S. government.

Judge Oscar Magi dropped the case against another three American defendants and the ex-head of the Italy’s Sismi military intelligence service, Nicolo Pollari, as well as his former deputy.

From the Guardian:

The Americans are accused of kidnapping Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, on Feb. 17, 2003, off a street in Milan, then transferring him to U.S. bases in Italy and Germany. He was then moved to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. He was released after four years in prison without being charged.

The trial is the first by any government over the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, which transferred suspects overseas for interrogation. Human rights advocates charge that renditions were the CIA’s way to outsource the torture of prisoners to countries where it is permitted.

The convicted Americans have been tried in absentia.

It would be good to have a copy of the decision in this case – in English, as I don’t speak Italian.


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    • Edger on November 4, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    an english copy for you, but I can’t find one even in Italian. Perhaps ProPublica will do a story on this? I’ll also ask around…

  1. what I suspect is we will hear deafening silence….

    • Alma on November 4, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    we aren’t prosecuting our own criminals.  I’m glad somebody is, but it should be us.

    Good to see you Kitty, I’ve been a little worried by your absence.

  2. Der Spiegel article here. Of note is the description, perhaps the first of it’s kind to reach the unclassified mainstream media, of the way Nasr was abducted. Pepper spray was used.

    Article on the “suiciding” of Adamo Bove, security expert for Telecom Italia and primary witness for the prosecution in this case.

  3. earlier today, and clapped my little hands with glee. Bravo, signore Judge.

  4. now can we move to the Bush/Cheney phase of the Europeans doing the job of American jurisprudence?  

    • Edger on November 5, 2009 at 3:49 am

    from ABC News…

    One of the 23 Americans convicted today by an Italian court says the United States “broke the law” in the CIA kidnapping of a Muslim cleric Abu Omar in Milan in 2003.

    “And we are paying for the mistakes right now, whoever authorized and approved this,” said former CIA officer Sabrina deSousa in an interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson.

    DeSousa says the U.S. “abandoned and betrayed” her and the others who were put on trial for the kidnapping. She was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.


    “Everything I did was approved back in Washington,” she said. deSousa says she was on a ski trip on the actual day of the kidnapping.

    The ruling by the Italian court was seen as landmark repudiation of the U.S. policy of rendition, involving the capture of suspected terrorists taken to secret locations for interrogation.

    “It’s clear that the kidnapping of Abu Omar was a great mistake,” said Italian prosecutor Armando Spataro, who led the five-year long investigation. “It did serious damage in fighting terrorists because we don’t need torture, we don’t need renditions, we don’t need secret prisons.”


    The kidnapping was discovered and linked to the CIA by Italian authorities due to “sloppy” tradecraft, according to U.S. officials. Much of the evidence used in the trial involved cellphone records of the CIA team assembled to take Abu Omar.

    “They were using e-mail, they were calling home, the Italians were able to connect their credit cards with true names and true addresses,” said former CIA officer Bob Baer.


    The operation to capture Abu Omar was part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, according to U.S. intelligence officials involved in his transfer. The kidnapped cleric was held in Egypt for four years and says he was repeatedly tortured there by Egyptian interrogators.

    He was never charged with a crime and ultimately set free. He remains in Alexandria, Egypt.

    “He was the wrong guy,” said Baer. “It was not worth putting the reputation of the United Sates on the line going after somebody like this.”

  5. I read the title and said, “yep, the verdict is in… they KNOW I’m crazy!”

    • dkmich on November 6, 2009 at 11:29 am

    it is now my escape destination.  I keep telling everyone who doesn’t have a passport to get one cause we’re going to need it.  

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