Thursday, November 05, 2009

You can run ...

Oh, dear ... just following orders isn't a defense anymore:

Italian court finds CIA agents guilty of kidnapping terrorism suspect

Twenty-three Americans were tonight convicted of kidnapping by an Italian court at the end of the first trial anywhere in the world involving the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" programme for abducting terrorist suspects.

The former head of the CIA in Milan Robert Lady was given an eight-year jail sentence for his part in the seizure of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, who claimed that he was subsequently tortured in Egypt. Lady's superior, Jeff Castelli, the then head of the CIA in Italy, and two other Americans were acquitted on the grounds that they enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

But another 21 alleged CIA operatives and a US air force officer were each sentenced to five years in jail. All were tried in absentia and those who were convicted will be regarded as fugitives under Italian law.

And after all that, what exactly was accomplished, anyway? Oh:

According to testimony of witnesses, Omar was bundled into a van after being stopped, apparently by Italian police, on a Milan street in February 2003. The prosecution said that he was driven to the US airbase at Aviano, near Venice, and then transferred to another American military facility, at Ramstein in Germany. He was allegedly flown from there to Egypt.

Four years later he was released without charge.

I'm wondering if any CSIS agents are starting to get a bit moist in their Underoos.


The Seer said...

The judge did not convict three high-ranking Italians charged in the abduction, citing state secrecy, and a former head of Italian military intelligence, Nicolò Pollari, also received diplomatic immunity. All the Americans were tried in absentia and are considered fugitives.

Let me get this straight, sez Kevin Drum — —
the Italian judge was happy to convict a bunch of Americans who he knew would never pay a price since they'll never be extradited, but he wasn't willing to convict the Italians involved in all this, who would have paid a price. You'll excuse me, I hope, if I don't exactly see this as a triumph of judicial independence. Convicting a bunch of foreigners is easy. It's holding your own people to account that's hard. Wake me up when either of our countries starts doing that.

CC said...

Read my link again, particularly this part:

"The judge ruled that neither the former head of Italy's military intelligence service Nicolo Pollari nor his deputy could be convicted because the evidence against them was subject to official secrecy restrictions. But two other Italian intelligence officials were each given three-year prison terms."

So some Italians were convicted, just as some Americans were not because of diplomatic immunity. Your smugness is misplaced.

Ti-Guy said...

Thanks, Seer, for another episode of "Talking to Americans."