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CIA Shames Us Abroad beyond Drones

February 20, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

I am interrupting the end of my series on Barack Obama’s nonexistent legal justification for drone killings because of a breaking news story deeply submerged in last week’s New York Times.

A former Italian military intelligence chief and his former deputy were sentenced to prison (10 years and 9 years, respectively) for assisting the CIA in 2003 with the rendition of Egyptian Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, who was kidnapped from the streets of Milan and, later, tortured in Egypt (“Italy Jails Ex-Officials for Rendition,” Gaia Pianigiani, The New York Times, Feb. 13).

Furthermore, not many Americans probably know that, last year, Italy’s Supreme Court “upheld the conviction of 23 CIA agents and also ordered a re-trial for five Italian ex-spies who were also accused of taking part in the abduction and rendition to Egypt of Imam Abu Omar” (“Italian Supreme Court upholds conviction of 23 CIA agents,” Ken Hanly, Digital Journal, Sept. 19, 2012).

The chance of President Obama handing over the CIA agents — convicted in absentia of violating the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Italian law — to Italy for imprisonment is as likely as his giving a national prime-time speech on the vital importance of the Constitution’s separation of powers, which he has abandoned since moving into the White House.

In the meantime, however, none of those convicted CIA agents had better go to Italy as tourists, or they’ll wind up behind bars.

I have been reporting for years on the American global network of torture, starting soon after 9/11 and now ignored by the Obama administration. As this series continues, I’ll examine the extent of U.S. renditions covered in a Feb. 5 report by Open Society Justice Initiative called “Globalizing Torture,” which documented 136 people “who reportedly were subjected to CIA secret detention and/or extraordinary rendition operations” in 54 countries complicit with the CIA.

What does President Obama have to say about these appalling “rendition operations”?

Well, as Amy Goodman at democracynow.org reported last September, when Obama was running in 2008, he sounded like then-President George W. Bush:

“We have to be clear and unequivocal: We do not torture. Period. … That will be my position as president. That includes, by the way, renditions. We don’t farm out torture. We don’t subcontract torture” (“As Italy Sentences 23 CIA Agents in Rendition Case, Obama Refuses to Prosecute Anyone for Torture,” Democracy Now, Sept. 21, 2012).

Then how come, …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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