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Italy convicts 23 Americans in Bush Rendition Case





handfleisch
Italy has just served notice: the Bush administration's practice of so-called rendition was really just thugs kidnapping people. If these guys are guilty, their bosses who ordered this crime -- high level members of the Bush administration, if not Bush himself -- are also guilty. I wonder if the ringleaders will ever be brought to justice, or if the shame, dishonor and historic judgment as being one of the worst presidencies in history will have to be enough.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/11/04/news/news-us-italy-renditions-verdict.html

Quote:
Italy Convicts Former CIA Agents In Rendition Trial

MILAN/ROME (Reuters) - An Italian judge sentenced 23 Americans to up to eight years in prison on Wednesday for the abduction of a Muslim cleric, in a symbolic condemnation of the CIA "rendition" flights used by the former U.S. government.

The Americans were all tried in absentia because the United States refused to extradite them.

The U.S. State Department expressed its disappointment with the verdict, the first of its kind, but campaigners who have long complained that the renditions policy violated basic human rights said the ruling set an important precedent.

"This decision sends a clear message to all governments that even in the fight against terrorism you can't forsake the basic rights of our democracies," said prosecutor Armando Spataro.

Judge Oscar Magi handed down the convictions for the abduction of Egyptian-born cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, snatched off a Milan street in 2003 and flown to Egypt for interrogation.
deanhills
You probably noticed that the United States Government (the present one) expressed disappointment at the verdict. As far as I know Obama's administration is still busy with its review of Gitmo. In your opinion, would the arrest and abduction of the cleric in Italy fall under the heading of the Obama administration Gitmo review and investigations?
handfleisch
deanhills wrote:
You probably noticed that the United States Government (the present one) expressed disappointment at the verdict.


Yes of course. Even Obama's State Department could hardly be expected to cheer when the CIA gets caught and convicted of international crimes by another country. But that doesn't change the facts on the ground.
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
Italy has just served notice: the Bush administration's practice of so-called rendition was really just thugs kidnapping people. If these guys are guilty, their bosses who ordered this crime -- high level members of the Bush administration, if not Bush himself -- are also guilty. I wonder if the ringleaders will ever be brought to justice, or if the shame, dishonor and historic judgment as being one of the worst presidencies in history will have to be enough.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/11/04/news/news-us-italy-renditions-verdict.html

Quote:
Italy Convicts Former CIA Agents In Rendition Trial

MILAN/ROME (Reuters) - An Italian judge sentenced 23 Americans to up to eight years in prison on Wednesday for the abduction of a Muslim cleric, in a symbolic condemnation of the CIA "rendition" flights used by the former U.S. government.

The Americans were all tried in absentia because the United States refused to extradite them.

The U.S. State Department expressed its disappointment with the verdict, the first of its kind, but campaigners who have long complained that the renditions policy violated basic human rights said the ruling set an important precedent.

"This decision sends a clear message to all governments that even in the fight against terrorism you can't forsake the basic rights of our democracies," said prosecutor Armando Spataro.

Judge Oscar Magi handed down the convictions for the abduction of Egyptian-born cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, snatched off a Milan street in 2003 and flown to Egypt for interrogation.


You condemn the Bush Administration as if the program no longer exists. The Obama Administration continues the policy of extraordinary rendition. There has been no change in U.S. policy in this regard.

So do you therefore believe that the Obama Administration is just as guilty of crimes since they continue unabated a policy you consider (and the Italians, apparently) grossly illegal?

I lost all respect for Italian policy and their government when they let the Achille Lauro hijackers go after we forced their jet to land at our base in Sigonella. I would have had no words of condmemnation if our SEALs had engaged the Italian Carabinieri in order to secure the hijackers for immediate transport to the United States. This trial you cited is just another example of Italian lunacy.

handfleisch wrote:
deanhills wrote:
You probably noticed that the United States Government (the present one) expressed disappointment at the verdict.


Yes of course. Even Obama's State Department could hardly be expected to cheer when the CIA gets caught and convicted of international crimes by another country. But that doesn't change the facts on the ground.


The Obama Admnistration can't be expected to support a verdict against a policy that they endorse.

Respectfully,
M
deanhills
Another strike against the Italians? In mid-October there was an article in Timesonline about an Italian scandal with regard to bribing the Taliban. The article reported claims that when the Italian soldiers were operational in the Sarobi area (east of Kabul) last year, the Italian secret service had bribed war lords and the Taliban in order to be peaceful so that the Italians did not have to be involved in fights. The Italians regrettably failed to mention this to the French, when the Italians vacated the area and the French took over. The French were then under the impression that it was a very peaceful area, not knowing at all that the "peace" had been purchased by the Italian secret service. and as a result of their unpreparedness and "intelligence" from the Italians 10 French were killed in August of last year. On top of it all the Italians had boasted about their successes with keeping peace with the War Lords and Taliban in this area, but of course had neglected to mention that they had been bought off.

Quote:
When ten French soldiers were killed last year in an ambush by Afghan insurgents in what had seemed a relatively peaceful area, the French public were horrified.

Their revulsion increased with the news that many of the dead soldiers had been mutilated — and with the publication of photographs showing the militants triumphantly sporting their victims’ flak jackets and weapons. The French had been in charge of the Sarobi area, east of Kabul, for only a month, taking over from the Italians; it was one of the biggest single losses of life by Nato forces in Afghanistan.

What the grieving nation did not know was that in the months before the French soldiers arrived in mid-2008, the Italian secret service had been paying tens of thousands of dollars to Taleban commanders and local warlords to keep the area quiet, The Times has learnt. The clandestine payments, whose existence was hidden from the incoming French forces, were disclosed by Western military officials.



Details of the fight last year are contained in a previous article of last year:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4569122.ece
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:


You condemn the Bush Administration as if the program no longer exists. The Obama Administration continues the policy of extraordinary rendition. There has been no change in U.S. policy in this regard.

So do you therefore believe that the Obama Administration is just as guilty of crimes since they continue unabated a policy you consider (and the Italians, apparently) grossly illegal?


Where did you get that? Sounds like you are once again laboring under a delusion. Perhaps you swallowed the load of right wing baloney that accompanied the infamous LA Times piece on the subject? You should go back to whatever source fed you this and complain. This is the perfect example of how otherwise intelligent people can hear some malarkey, assume it's true, and spread the garbage along, damaging their own credibility and the search for truth in general.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/02/02/renditions/
Quote:
The L.A. Times, Obama & renditions
A new report, celebrated by the Right, claims that Obama has ordered the Bush rendition program to continue. That report is wildly inaccurate.

By Glenn Greenwald

Other commitments prevented me from writing today (in particular, I finalized the proposal and outline for my next book, an event that prompts great joyousness). But numerous people have emailed all day, and otherwise expressed concern, about this Los Angeles Times article from yesterday that claims -- citing anonymous "current and former U.S. intelligence officials" -- that the Obama administration has preserved and continued the Bush administration's "rendition" program that created so much (justifiable) outrage around the world.

The L.A. Times article is wildly exaggerated and plainly inaccurate. Harper's Scott Horton and The Washington Monthly's Hilzoy have typically thorough explanations as to why that is the case. Anyone with any doubts should read both of their commentaries. Suffice to say, the objections to the Bush "extraordinary rendition" program were that "rendered" individuals were abducted and then either (a) sent to countries where they would likely be tortured and/or (b) disappeared into secret U.S. camps ("black sites") or sent to Guantanamo and accorded no legal process of any kind. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Obama will continue any of that and, as Hilzoy documents, there is ample basis to believe he will not. Unfortunately, I don't have the time today to dissect the Times' claims in detail, but Horton and Hilzoy both say virtually everything that should be said on the topic.


http://harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004326
Quote:
The Los Angeles Times just got punked. Its description of the European Parliament’s report is not accurate. (Point of disclosure: I served as an expert witness in hearings leading to the report.) But that’s the least of its problems. It misses the difference between the renditions program, which has been around since the Bush 41 Administration at least (and arguably in some form even in the Reagan Administration) and the extraordinary renditions program which was introduced by Bush 43 and clearly shut down under an executive order issued by President Obama in his first week.

There are two fundamental distinctions between the programs. The extraordinary renditions program involved the operation of long-term detention facilities either by the CIA or by a cooperating host government together with the CIA, in which prisoners were held outside of the criminal justice system and otherwise unaccountable under law for extended periods of time. A central feature of this program was rendition to torture, namely that the prisoner was turned over to cooperating foreign governments with the full understanding that those governments would apply techniques that even the Bush Administration considers to be torture. This practice is a felony under current U.S. law, but was made a centerpiece of Bush counterterrorism policy.

The earlier renditions program regularly involved snatching and removing targets for purposes of bringing them to justice by delivering them to a criminal justice system. It did not involve the operation of long-term detention facilities and it did not involve torture. There are legal and policy issues with the renditions program, but they are not in the same league as those surrounding extraordinary rendition. Moreover, Obama committed to shut down the extraordinary renditions program, and continuously made clear that this did not apply to the renditions program.


Now, you'll be sure to go clear up this fabrication with whoever told you it, right?
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
Where did you get that? Sounds like you are once again laboring under a delusion. Perhaps you swallowed the load of right wing baloney that accompanied the infamous LA Times piece on the subject? You should go back to whatever source fed you this and complain. This is the perfect example of how otherwise intelligent people can hear some malarkey, assume it's true, and spread the garbage along, damaging their own credibility and the search for truth in general.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/02/02/renditions/
Quote:
The L.A. Times, Obama & renditions
A new report, celebrated by the Right, claims that Obama has ordered the Bush rendition program to continue. That report is wildly inaccurate.

By Glenn Greenwald

Other commitments prevented me from writing today (in particular, I finalized the proposal and outline for my next book, an event that prompts great joyousness). But numerous people have emailed all day, and otherwise expressed concern, about this Los Angeles Times article from yesterday that claims -- citing anonymous "current and former U.S. intelligence officials" -- that the Obama administration has preserved and continued the Bush administration's "rendition" program that created so much (justifiable) outrage around the world.

The L.A. Times article is wildly exaggerated and plainly inaccurate. Harper's Scott Horton and The Washington Monthly's Hilzoy have typically thorough explanations as to why that is the case. Anyone with any doubts should read both of their commentaries. Suffice to say, the objections to the Bush "extraordinary rendition" program were that "rendered" individuals were abducted and then either (a) sent to countries where they would likely be tortured and/or (b) disappeared into secret U.S. camps ("black sites") or sent to Guantanamo and accorded no legal process of any kind. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Obama will continue any of that and, as Hilzoy documents, there is ample basis to believe he will not. Unfortunately, I don't have the time today to dissect the Times' claims in detail, but Horton and Hilzoy both say virtually everything that should be said on the topic.


http://harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004326
Quote:
The Los Angeles Times just got punked. Its description of the European Parliament’s report is not accurate. (Point of disclosure: I served as an expert witness in hearings leading to the report.) But that’s the least of its problems. It misses the difference between the renditions program, which has been around since the Bush 41 Administration at least (and arguably in some form even in the Reagan Administration) and the extraordinary renditions program which was introduced by Bush 43 and clearly shut down under an executive order issued by President Obama in his first week.

There are two fundamental distinctions between the programs. The extraordinary renditions program involved the operation of long-term detention facilities either by the CIA or by a cooperating host government together with the CIA, in which prisoners were held outside of the criminal justice system and otherwise unaccountable under law for extended periods of time. A central feature of this program was rendition to torture, namely that the prisoner was turned over to cooperating foreign governments with the full understanding that those governments would apply techniques that even the Bush Administration considers to be torture. This practice is a felony under current U.S. law, but was made a centerpiece of Bush counterterrorism policy.

The earlier renditions program regularly involved snatching and removing targets for purposes of bringing them to justice by delivering them to a criminal justice system. It did not involve the operation of long-term detention facilities and it did not involve torture. There are legal and policy issues with the renditions program, but they are not in the same league as those surrounding extraordinary rendition. Moreover, Obama committed to shut down the extraordinary renditions program, and continuously made clear that this did not apply to the renditions program.


Now, you'll be sure to go clear up this fabrication with whoever told you it, right?


I appreciate the rebuttal of the February ’09 Los Angeles Times article. However recent articles pertaining to the Italian verdict continue to state that the Obama Administration maintains the program, albeit with apparently better assurances from other countries that people turned over to them from our extraordinary rendition program will not be tortured and will receive due process. As a point of fact in our discussion, the Italian verdict did not address or consider the notion that anyone might be ferreted off to a foreign country and tortured. The verdict relates only to the act of the United States kidnapping someone overseas. Therefore, as far as I can tell, the verdict indicts the present program just as much as the previous program.

Italy got it right: CIA renditions are wrong
Excerpt: wrote:
Obama has since ended CIA interrogations in secret prisons and shut overseas jails used by the CIA, but he has not stopped the practice of extraordinary rendition. The difference between his and his predecessor's policy is that the administration will now demand credible assurances that prisoners won't be tortured, and that prisoners will be "rendered to justice" rather than held indefinitely without trial.

Amnesty International Urges Obama Administration to Repudiate Extraordinary Rendition as Italian Court Convicts American Spies

Italian CIA verdict puts pressure on Obama
Excerpt: wrote:
CIA officials have said renditions might continue, albeit under closer oversight, ensuring that no crimes are committed and that suspects are treaty humanely. (Washington doesn't see rendition as a crime, and a major U.S. court has yet to render a verdict on the issue).

Italian judge convicts 23 in CIA kidnap case

Excerpt: wrote:
Human rights groups hailed the decision and pressed President Barack Obama to repudiate the Bush administration's practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries where torture was permitted. The American Civil Liberties Union said the verdicts were the first convictions stemming from the rendition program.

The Obama administration ended the CIA's interrogation program and shuttered its secret overseas jails in January but has opted to continue the practice of extraordinary renditions.


Respectfully,
M
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