Extraordinary Rendition After Milan: What Now?

Italy convicts Americans for C.I.A. renditions

Italy convicts Americans for C.I.A. renditions. BRENNAN LINSLEY/AFP/Getty Images

American courts and politicians have been reluctant to take a stand against the use of kidnapping and torture by American officials in the war on terror, but critics of those policies today received a stunning vote of support from an unexpected source – the Italian courts.

An Italian judge convicted a CIA station chief and 22 other Americans in the kidnapping of the 2003 Egyptian cleric from the streets of Milan.  The cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, was seized and rendered to Egypt where he was allegedly tortured and held in detention without trial before his release nearly four years later. Abu Omar said he was tortured while held in secret detention in Egypt and that methods included alternating extremes of temperature and electric shocks to the genitals. There was no indication that the allegations were the subject of any investigation by the Egyptian authorities.

Supporters of American renditions insist that the policy is limited to actions against the most dangerous of the dangerous, but in fact the American kidnapping thwarted an Italian investigation into the cleric that might have resulted in criminal charges and a fair trial.  The fact that the Egyptians released the cleric after four years, despite that countries record of long-term administrative detention, simply underscores just how much of a loser the American policy is.

So now former CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady and 22 Americans, all of whom were tried in absentia, are fugitives from Italian law.  The practical consequences of the Italian ruling are minimal, but the ruling sets a standard of truth and justice that American courts and politicians have yet to make.  For all the talk about moving forward, the extent of the illegal American practices, particularly involving rendition and torture, has still not been publicly disclosed.  If the Obama Administration doesn’t heed the call of the Italian courts and act, it may be that other nations are willing to do the job for us.

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7 thoughts on “Extraordinary Rendition After Milan: What Now?

  1. Why do you cover up the fact that while the US government might have sent these people to be tortured, it was the governments of three countries primarily, Jordan, Egypt and Syria that actually carried out the physical acts of brutal torture? You bizarrely suppress all mention of this fact in this campaign and focus entirely on the US government culpability in sending them there and ignore completely the Jordanian, Syrian, and Egyptian government torturers themselves.

    Source:
    Testimony of Maher Arar, the Canadian engineer renditioned from the US and tortured for one year by the Jordanian and Syrian government, as confirmed and verified by a Canadian judicial inquiry. http://www.maherarar.ca/mahers%20story.php

    “October 8, 2002
    Arar is placed on a private jet. They fly from Washington DC. to Amman, Jordan.

    October 9, 2002
    The jet lands in Amman, Jordan at 3:00 a.m. There are six or seven Jordanians waiting for him. Arar is blindfolded and chained and put into a van. He is forced to bend his head down in the back seat. He is beaten intensely every time he tries to move or talk. About forty-five minutes later, they stop and he is put in a different car. He is forced to keep his head down, and he is beaten again. Over an hour later they arrive at what Arar believes was the Syrian border. He is handed over to a new team of men, and put in a new car which travels for another three hours to Damascus.

    October 11 to 16, 2002
    Early the next morning Arar is taken upstairs for intense interrogation. He is beaten on his palms, wrists, lower back and hips with a shredded black electrical cable which is about two inches in diameter. He is threatened with the metal chair, electric shocks, and with the tire, into which prisoners are stuffed, immobilized and beaten. The next day Arar is interrogated and beaten on and off for eighteen hours.“

    etc. etc.

    Arar's brutal torture by the Syrian government continued for over a year:

    I ask you, Amnesty, why do you not, along with calls you are making for prosecution of US officials, also call for the arrest and prosecution of the government officials of Jordan, Egypt and Syria who actually did the brutal acts of torture itself.

    Why do you not call for INTERPOL to issue international arrest warrants for government and security officials from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt should they set foot outside of thier country's borders so they can be arrested and sent to the Hague for prosecution by the International Court of Justice for all the torture they carried out?

  2. Why do you cover up the fact that while the US government might have sent these people to be tortured, it was the governments of three countries primarily, Jordan, Egypt and Syria that actually carried out the physical acts of brutal torture? You bizarrely suppress all mention of this fact in this campaign and focus entirely on the US government culpability in sending them there and ignore completely the Jordanian, Syrian, and Egyptian government torturers themselves.

    Source:
    Testimony of Maher Arar, the Canadian engineer renditioned from the US and tortured for one year by the Jordanian and Syrian government, as confirmed and verified by a Canadian judicial inquiry. http://www.maherarar.ca/mahers%20story.php

    “October 8, 2002
    Arar is placed on a private jet. They fly from Washington DC. to Amman, Jordan.

    October 9, 2002
    The jet lands in Amman, Jordan at 3:00 a.m. There are six or seven Jordanians waiting for him. Arar is blindfolded and chained and put into a van. He is forced to bend his head down in the back seat. He is beaten intensely every time he tries to move or talk. About forty-five minutes later, they stop and he is put in a different car. He is forced to keep his head down, and he is beaten again. Over an hour later they arrive at what Arar believes was the Syrian border. He is handed over to a new team of men, and put in a new car which travels for another three hours to Damascus.

    October 11 to 16, 2002
    Early the next morning Arar is taken upstairs for intense interrogation. He is beaten on his palms, wrists, lower back and hips with a shredded black electrical cable which is about two inches in diameter. He is threatened with the metal chair, electric shocks, and with the tire, into which prisoners are stuffed, immobilized and beaten. The next day Arar is interrogated and beaten on and off for eighteen hours.“

    etc. etc.

    Arar's brutal torture by the Syrian government continued for over a year:

    I ask you, Amnesty, why do you not, along with calls you are making for prosecution of US officials, also call for the arrest and prosecution of the government officials of Jordan, Egypt and Syria who actually did the brutal acts of torture itself.

    Why do you not call for INTERPOL to issue international arrest warrants for government and security officials from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt should they set foot outside of thier country's borders so they can be arrested and sent to the Hague for prosecution by the International Court of Justice for all the torture they carried out?

  3. Why do you cover up the fact that while the US government might have sent these people to be tortured, it was the governments of three countries primarily, Jordan, Egypt and Syria that actually carried out the physical acts of brutal torture? You bizarrely suppress all mention of this fact in this campaign and focus entirely on the US government culpability in sending them there and ignore completely the Jordanian, Syrian, and Egyptian government torturers themselves.

    Source:
    Testimony of Maher Arar, the Canadian engineer renditioned from the US and tortured for one year by the Jordanian and Syrian government, as confirmed and verified by a Canadian judicial inquiry. http://www.maherarar.ca/mahers%20story.php

    “October 8, 2002
    Arar is placed on a private jet. They fly from Washington DC. to Amman, Jordan.

    October 9, 2002
    The jet lands in Amman, Jordan at 3:00 a.m. There are six or seven Jordanians waiting for him. Arar is blindfolded and chained and put into a van. He is forced to bend his head down in the back seat. He is beaten intensely every time he tries to move or talk. About forty-five minutes later, they stop and he is put in a different car. He is forced to keep his head down, and he is beaten again. Over an hour later they arrive at what Arar believes was the Syrian border. He is handed over to a new team of men, and put in a new car which travels for another three hours to Damascus.

    October 11 to 16, 2002
    Early the next morning Arar is taken upstairs for intense interrogation. He is beaten on his palms, wrists, lower back and hips with a shredded black electrical cable which is about two inches in diameter. He is threatened with the metal chair, electric shocks, and with the tire, into which prisoners are stuffed, immobilized and beaten. The next day Arar is interrogated and beaten on and off for eighteen hours.“

    etc. etc.

    Arar's brutal torture by the Syrian government continued for over a year:

    I ask you, Amnesty, why do you not, along with calls you are making for prosecution of US officials, also call for the arrest and prosecution of the government officials of Jordan, Egypt and Syria who actually did the brutal acts of torture itself.

    Why do you not call for INTERPOL to issue international arrest warrants for government and security officials from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt should they set foot outside of thier country's borders so they can be arrested and sent to the Hague for prosecution by the International Court of Justice for all the torture they carried out?

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  5. Why do you cover up the fact that while the US government might have sent these people to be tortured, it was the governments of three countries primarily, Jordan, Egypt and Syria that actually carried out the physical acts of brutal torture? You bizarrely suppress all mention of this fact in this campaign and focus entirely on the US government culpability in sending them there and ignore completely the Jordanian, Syrian, and Egyptian government torturers themselves.

    Source:
    Testimony of Maher Arar, the Canadian engineer renditioned from the US and tortured for one year by the Jordanian and Syrian government, as confirmed and verified by a Canadian judicial inquiry.
    http://www.maherarar.ca/mahers%20story.php

    “October 8, 2002
    Arar is placed on a private jet. They fly from Washington DC. to Amman, Jordan.

    October 9, 2002
    The jet lands in Amman, Jordan at 3:00 a.m. There are six or seven Jordanians waiting for him. Arar is blindfolded and chained and put into a van. He is forced to bend his head down in the back seat. He is beaten intensely every time he tries to move or talk. About forty-five minutes later, they stop and he is put in a different car. He is forced to keep his head down, and he is beaten again. Over an hour later they arrive at what Arar believes was the Syrian border. He is handed over to a new team of men, and put in a new car which travels for another three hours to Damascus.

    October 11 to 16, 2002
    Early the next morning Arar is taken upstairs for intense interrogation. He is beaten on his palms, wrists, lower back and hips with a shredded black electrical cable which is about two inches in diameter. He is threatened with the metal chair, electric shocks, and with the tire, into which prisoners are stuffed, immobilized and beaten. The next day Arar is interrogated and beaten on and off for eighteen hours.“

    etc. etc.

    Arar’s brutal torture by the Syrian government continued for over a year:

    I ask you, Amnesty, why do you not, along with calls you are making for prosecution of US officials, also call for the arrest and prosecution of the government officials of Jordan, Egypt and Syria who actually did the brutal acts of torture itself.

    Why do you not call for INTERPOL to issue international arrest warrants for government and security officials from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt should they set foot outside of thier country’s borders so they can be arrested and sent to the Hague for prosecution by the International Court of Justice for all the torture they carried out?