View Full Version : italian court convicts 23 americans kidnapping

Bernice Moore
11-04-2009, 10:45 PM
Italian court convicts 23 Americans of kidnapping in CIA rendition of Muslim cleric

CIA operatives and a U.S. Air Force colonel had been tried in absentia on kidnapping charges for their involvement in the 2003 abduction of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.

For more information, visit washingtonpost.com - http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/AADB45/6BGOV/3C6JSI/9D3DNF/MNVX2/82/t (http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/AADB45/6BGOV/3C6JSI/9D3DNF/MNVX2/82/t)


Magda Hassan
11-04-2009, 11:28 PM
CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46669000/jpg/_46669707_abuomar_ap226b.jpg Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr was snatched from a street in Milan

An Italian judge has convicted 23 Americans - all but one of them CIA agents - and two Italian secret agents for the 2003 kidnap of a Muslim cleric.
The agents were accused of abducting Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar, from Milan and sending him to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured.
The trial, which began in June 2007, is the first involving the CIA's so-called "extraordinary rendition" programme.
The Obama administration has expressed its disappointment at the convictions.
"We are disappointed by the verdicts," state department spokesman Ian Kelly said in Washington.
He declined to comment further pending a written opinion from the judge, but said an appeal was likely.
Three Americans and five Italians were acquitted by the court in Milan.
Symbolic ruling
The Americans were all tried in their absence as they have not been extradited from the US to Italy.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gif http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/start_quote_rb.gif For us, this first case puts the war on terror on trial http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/end_quote_rb.gif

Joanne Mariner
Human Rights Watch spokeswoman

The CIA's Milan station chief at the time, Robert Lady, was given an eight-year term, while the other 22 Americans convicted - one of them a US air force colonel - were sentenced to five years in prison.
Lawyers for the 23 Americans said they would appeal against their convictions.
The two Italian agents, who were convicted as accomplices to kidnapping, were given three-year prison terms.
The court also ruled that those convicted must pay 1m euros ($1.5m) in damages to Abu Omar and 500,000 euros to his wife.
CIA spokesman George Little in Washington declined to comment on the convictions, telling the Associated Press news agency: "The CIA has not commented on any of the allegations surrounding Abu Omar."
Secrecy laws
Italian prosecutors said Abu Omar was taken as part of a series of extraordinary renditions carried out by the CIA - when terror suspects were moved between countries without any public legal process.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46669000/jpg/_46669923_judge_afp.jpg Judge Oscar Magi acquitted some of the highest-ranking defendants

They told the court he had been kidnapped in daylight on a Milan street in February 2003 and flown to Germany, and then Cairo, where he was held for years until being released without charge.
Judge Oscar Magi acquitted the CIA chief for Rome, Jeffrey Castelli, saying he was protected by state secrecy rules, as were the former head of Italy's military intelligence agency, Nicolo Pollari, and his deputy, Marco Mancini.
Mr Pollari, who resigned over the affair, told the court earlier this year that documents showing he had no involvement in the kidnapping were classified under secrecy laws.
Prosecutor Armando Spataro rejected the argument that legal provisions could shield those accused from prosecution, saying any agreement to carry out a kidnapping was "absolutely against Italian law".
He had sought a 13-year jail term for Mr Castelli and Mr Pollari and 12 years for Robert Lady.
Activist group Human Rights Watch welcomed the verdict, saying it sent "a strong signal of the crimes committed by the CIA in Europe".
Spokeswoman Joanne Mariner said: "For us, this first case puts the war on terror on trial."


Peter Lemkin
11-05-2009, 06:04 AM
Italian court convicts 23 Americans of kidnapping in CIA rendition of Muslim cleric

CIA operatives and a U.S. Air Force colonel had been tried in absentia on kidnapping charges for their involvement in the 2003 abduction of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.

For more information, visit washingtonpost.com - http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/AADB45/6BGOV/3C6JSI/9D3DNF/MNVX2/82/t (http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/AADB45/6BGOV/3C6JSI/9D3DNF/MNVX2/82/t)


Ah, there is SO LITTLE GOOD news....it is a pleasure to read some every once and a while!......The USA has already said it will appeal and start to withhold intelligence from the Italians. Let them eat pasta!:wavey:

Helen Reyes
11-05-2009, 09:15 AM
Only 2 people are named. Who are the other 21? Are they eligible for arrest in any and all EU countries?:call:

David Guyatt
11-05-2009, 11:45 AM
The US declined to allow the 21 defendants to be extradited to Italy to stand criminal prosecution.

This is in distinction to the UK (and I believe most of Europe (?)) who irresponsibly signed agreements that allow the US to extradite citizens at will (for any reason) without having to provide any sort of proof of a crime having been committed.

One ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them...

Jan Klimkowski
11-05-2009, 06:29 PM
The Obama administration has expressed its disappointment at the convictions.

CIA spokesman George Little in Washington declined to comment on the convictions, telling the Associated Press news agency: "The CIA has not commented on any of the allegations surrounding Abu Omar."

Wot? Couldn't They even muster a non-denial denial?

I feel cheated. Where's today's belly laugh?

Italy is a fundamentally corrupt nation, with an egomaniac buffoon of a President who boasts of the tens of millions he's paid judges and lawyers. And still, every now and then, an Italian judge or prosecutor shows genuine integrity. Most likely at the cost of his or her career and, quite possibly, their life.

Carsten Wiethoff
02-10-2011, 08:51 AM
from http://www.intelligent-intelligence.com/2010/12/17/italy-extends-the-prison-sentence-of-23-cia-officers/

Italy Extends the Prison Sentence of 23 CIA Officers

Italian courts have agreed to extend the sentence of 23 convicted CIA officers to 9 years.
The officers were first convicted for 5-8 years for allegedly kidnapping imam Osama Mustafa Hassan directly from a Milan street and exposing him to the rendition program. Hassan was taken to an Egyptian prison, and consequently tortured.
An appeal was made to extend the sentence, which received strong support from Amnesty International, and an Italian court has now complied. It has also been ordered that the CIA pay $2 million in compensation to Mr Hassan.
The trial first began in 2007, creating a diplomatic tiff with the United States. Speculations have been raised as to whether the officers believed they were operating with sanction from Italian authorities, as they left a series of obvious traces to their operation, including credit cards and mobile phones. It is currently unlikely that these rulings will bear fruitful, the U.S. still refuses to extradite the officers, and none of the accused resides in Italy, however they face arrest should any return to Europe.
Sources: AHN (http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7020836715?Milan%20Court%20increases%2023%20CIA%20 agents%E2%80%99%20sentence%20to%20nine%20years), The Times (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6903439.ece)

Magda Hassan
02-10-2011, 09:07 AM
And I doubt they will be using their own passports if they return to Europe either.

Still, a symbolic victory.

Magda Hassan
07-19-2013, 02:56 AM
With the US banging on about extraditin Snowden I wonder if they will hand this fellow over to Italy?
Ex-CIA Milan chief held in Panama over cleric abduction

A former CIA station chief convicted by an Italian court of kidnapping a terror suspect has been detained in Panama, Italian officials say.
Robert Seldon Lady was sentenced to nine years in jail for his involvement in the abduction of the man, an Egyptian cleric, in Milan in 2003.
The cleric, known as Abu Omar, was allegedly flown to Egypt and tortured.
Lady was convicted in absentia with 22 other Americans for their role in his "extraordinary rendition".
But the Italian authorities have so far only sought the international arrest of the former Milan station chief, Italian media say.
The CIA said it had no immediate comment on the arrest and Panamanian Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino told the Associated Press that he was unaware of the detention.
Panama and Italy do not have an extradition treaty, so it is unclear if Lady will be sent to Italy to serve his prison sentence.
Aliases usedLady was reportedly arrested near Panama's border with Costa Rica.
According to Italian media reports (http://www.gazzettadelsud.it/news/english/54721/CIA-official-held-in-Panama-over-Italian-snatch-case.html), an international warrant was sought by the justice minister in Italy's previous government in December 2012.
A prosecutor on Lady's case said the Interpol warrant reflected Italy's determination to have him extradited.
The Milan case was the first involving extraordinary rendition, the CIA's practice of transferring suspects to countries where torture is permitted.
The practice has been condemned by human rights groups as a violation of international agreements.
Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who was considered a terrorism suspect by the US, was abducted on a Milan street in February 2003 and transferred between US military bases in Italy and Germany before being brought to Egypt.
Twenty-two CIA agents, including Lady and an air force pilot, were convicted in 2009 of abducting the cleric. Their sentences were upheld last year by Italy's highest appeals court.
Three more Americans, including CIA Rome station chief Jeffrey Castelli, were convicted by an appeals court in February.
None of the 26 convicted has ever appeared in an Italian court, and only two have had any contact with their lawyers. A number of the names of those convicted are believed to be aliases, the Associated Press reports.
Lady reportedly rushed back to the US in 2007, when court hearings began in Milan to decide whether to put the 23 Americans on trial.
He said he had opposed the proposal to kidnap the imam, but was overruled.
Italy had previously said Lady was the only one of the 23 Americans that could be extradited, given the length of his sentence.


Peter Lemkin
07-19-2013, 03:42 AM
Ha Ha Ha :poketongue:! Sadly, as Panama is a puppet government for the USA and also, I believe, doesn't have an extradition treaty with Italy, this is a storm in a teacup - but quite an international embarrassment for the Empire! Panama must be using this for something they'd like in 'return' from the USA for sending him home with his tail between his legs. I'm sure he has a tail! angryfire

Carsten Wiethoff
07-19-2013, 01:52 PM
This one (http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2013/07/18/CIA-official-held-Panama-Italian-snatch-case_9041857.html) from Italy has a few more details:

(ANSA) - Rome, July 18 - The CIA's former Milan station chief Robert Lady has been detained in Panama over his role in the abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr in Italy in 2003.

Lady has been sentenced to nine years in prison in Italy over the case. Italian Justice Minister Annamaria Cancellieri has signed a request for Lady to be detained provisionally in Panama and Italy has two months to request an extradition.

Nasr, an Islamist suspected of recruiting jihadi fighters, disappeared from a Milan street on February 17, 2003 and emerged from an Egyptian prison four years later claiming he had been tortured.

Nasr was snatched by a team of CIA operatives with the help of Italian secret service agency SISMI and taken to a NATO base in Ramstein, Germany, en route to Cairo.

Last September Italy's top court of appeals upheld the convictions of 22 CIA agents, including Lady, found guilty of abducting Nasr in the world's first judicial examination of the controversial US practice of extraordinary rendition in the so-called war on terror.

Cancellieri's predecessor, Paola Severino, in December decided launch international search procedures after the Cassation's ruling, which made the convictions definitive. In a separate proceedings, former SISMI director Nicolò Pollari, his deputy Marco Mancini and the CIA's former Italy chief Jeffrey Castelli were sentence to 10, nine and seven years in jail respectively in February.

The other two CIA agents were sentenced to six years in prison.

In April Italian President Giorgio Napolitano pardoned a retired US airforce officer, Joseph L. Romano, who, like the other American nationals, was convicted in absentia.

Extraordinary rendition was first authorised by former American president Bill Clinton in the 1990s and stepped up when his successor George W. Bush declared war on terror after the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda.

During the trials the CIA had refused to comment and its officers were silent until Lady told an Italian daily in August 2009 that he was only following orders.

Lady, who has now retired, said from an undisclosed location that he was "a soldier...in a war against terrorism".

The trial of Nasr claimed headlines worldwide and stoked discussion of rendition, which was extended by President Barack Obama in 2008 under the proviso that detainees' rights should be respected. The Council of Europe, a 47-nation human rights body,called Nasr's case a "perfect example of rendition".

Magda Hassan
07-20-2013, 12:03 AM
This one (http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2013/07/18/CIA-official-held-Panama-Italian-snatch-case_9041857.html) from Italy has a few more details:

Extraordinary rendition was first authorised by former American president Bill Clinton in the 1990s and stepped up when his successor George W. Bush declared war on terror after the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda.

During the trials the CIA had refused to comment and its officers were silent until Lady told an Italian daily in August 2009 that he was only following orders.

Lady, who has now retired, said from an undisclosed location that he was "a soldier...in a war against terrorism".

The Nuremberg defense. Didn't work then and wont work now. So, the orders came from above. The Bush Stae Dept. Or if he was only using that for cover maybe Langley?

Magda Hassan
07-20-2013, 08:30 AM
Well, colour me shocked...

Panama releases former CIA operative wanted by Italy

By Greg Miller (http://www.washingtonpost.com/greg-miller/2011/03/02/ABDOymP_page.html) and Karen DeYoung (http://www.washingtonpost.com/karen-deyoung/2011/03/02/AB56xmP_page.html), E-mail the writers (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/millergreg40ee34ed-7a4a-4607-b59f-3d8cc0144a3awashpost.com;karen.deyoung40ee34ed-7a4a-4607-b59f-3d8cc0144a3awashpost.com?subject=Reader feedback for 'Panama releases former CIA operative wanted by Italy')
A former CIA operative detained in Panama this week at the request of Italian authorities over his conviction in the 2003 kidnapping of a Muslim cleric in Milan was released Friday and had boarded a flight to the United States, U.S. officials said.
Robert Seldon Lady’s release from Panama appeared to avert the possibility that he would be extradited to Italy, where he faces a sentence of up to nine years in prison for his role in the CIA capture of a terrorism suspect who was secretly snatched off a street in Milan and transported to Egypt.

Lady, who left Panama on Friday morning, was “either en route or back in the United States,” Marie Harf, State Department deputy spokeswoman, told reporters at a midday briefing.
It was not immediately clear what steps the United States had taken to secure Lady’s release.
The outcome brought a sudden close to brief diplomatic drama that began Wednesday when Lady was detained by border officials as he entered Panama.
Lady and 22 other U.S. government employees — most of whom worked for the CIA — were convicted in absentia in the case. Poor tradecraft allowed Italian investigators to track the movements of the American operatives in minute detail.
The case also highlighted the practice known as extraordinary rendition (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30275-2005Mar12.html), in which terrorism suspects secretly captured in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were delivered to governments suspected of engaging in torture.
Mario E. Jaramillo, the Panamanian ambassador in Washington, had confirmed Friday that Lady “has been arrested in Panama.” He added in an e-mail, “Procedures for this kind of international detentions are being followed by Panama at this moment.”
Jaramillo could not be reached immediately for comment on the report of Lady’s release and return to the United States.
Lady was the CIA base chief in Milan when Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/09/AR2006110901686.html), was bundled into a van as he walked to a mosque. Nasr was secretly flown out of Italy and delivered to Egypt, according to Italian court records.
Although U.S. intelligence officials have said that the Italian intelligence service sanctioned the operation, Italian prosecutors pursued U.S. officials on kidnapping and other charges.

Lady has been living in Latin American, according to former colleagues at the CIA. All of the Americans convicted in the case had left Italy before trial.

Magda Hassan
07-29-2013, 11:38 PM
Former CIA agent blames Bush, Rice for kidnapping of Egyptian cleric in Italy Published time: July 29, 2013 17:10 Get short URL (http://rt.com/usa/desousa-cia-abduction-italy-744/)

CIA (http://rt.com/tags/cia/), Court (http://rt.com/tags/court/), Crime (http://rt.com/tags/crime/), Egypt (http://rt.com/tags/egypt/), Terrorism (http://rt.com/tags/terrorism/), USA (http://rt.com/tags/usa/)

The CIA inflated the case of a kidnapped Egyptian cleric in order to protect high-ranked government officials from prosecution in Italy, a former intelligence agent admits for the first time.
Sabrina De Sousa, 55, has long denied involvement with the CIA, and even asked the United States for immunity after she was charged by Italian officials for the 2003 “extraordinary rendition” of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr. But a decade after that kidnapping, the case has reemerged in recent days upon news that her former CIA boss in Milan was captured in Panama, only to be sent back to the US in lieu of what would have likely turned into an extradition request from Italy.
Along with former station chief Robert Seldon Lady and 21 others, De Sousa was convicted in absentia for her role in the kidnapping but avoided any sentencing by straying from Italy. Now speaking to McClatchy, De Sousa admits for the first time her involvement in the plot and identifies herself as one of the CIA agents responsible for the international incident.
In an interview published Monday by McClatchy reporter Jonathan S. Landay, De Sousa outted her role with the CIA and added harsh words about the incident that will likely be unable to mend the agency’s reputation during a time of strained international relations.
According to De Sousa, the entire abduction was masterminded by Jeffrey Castelli, a former CIA station chief in Rome who she insists exaggerated claims that Nasr posed a threat.
Nasr has maintained that the CIA kidnapped him in 2003, and then relocated him to his native Egypt where he was interrogated and tortured for years without ever being charged. In her McClatchy interview, De Sousa said that Castelli plotted the mission and received approval from then-CIA Director George Tenet despite the cleric not even appearing on a list of top terrorists sought by the US intelligence community.
So unconvincing were claims that Nasr was a threat, in fact, that White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was worried about the CIA’s handling. Despite her concerns, she eventually agreed on the operation, according to De Sousa, and recommended it to then-President George W. Bush.
De Sousa told McClatchy that she personally read classified CIA cables before resigning in 2009 which support the allegations she makes today.
And while she has previously denied any involvement in the operation, to McClatchy she says she worked as an interpreter for the CIA “snatch” team that plotted the abduction.
“I was being held accountable for decisions that someone else took and I wanted to see on what basis the decisions were made,” she told McClatchy. “And especially because I was willing to talk to the Hill about this because I knew that the CIA would not be upfront with them.”
Lady, the 59-year-old former station chief at the CIA’s Milan post arrested earlier this month in Panama, told interviewers in the past that he was convicted by Italian authorities for following orders that were passed down from above.
"I'm not guilty. I'm only responsible for carrying out orders that I received from my superiors," Lady told Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper in 2009. “I console myself by reminding myself that I was a soldier, that I was in a war against terrorism, that I couldn't discuss orders given to me.”
After De Sousa was accused alongside Lady, she asked the US State Department for diplomatic immunity in order to avoid prosecution. At the time, she refused to identify herself as a CIA agent despite sources speaking on condition of anonymity largely insisting otherwise.
“The government sent me to Italy to represent this country and then basically abandoned me,” she told the New York Times in 2009, referring to herself as an American diplomat, not a spy.
Now speaking out against what really happened, she told McClatchy that “Despite the scale of the human rights violations associated with the rendition program, the United States hasn’t held a single individual accountable.”
According to De Sousa, 19 of the 21 Americans charged in Italy “don’t exist” because the CIA snatch team adopted aliases for the operation.

Magda Hassan
07-29-2013, 11:41 PM
Now You See Him, Now You Don't: Living in a One-Superpower World (or Edward Snowden vs. Robert Seldon Lady) Monday, 29 July 2013 10:58 By Tom Engelhardt (http://truth-out.org/author/itemlist/user/44703), TomDispatch (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175729/) | News Analysis

He came and he went: that was the joke that circulated in 1979 when 70-year-old former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller had a heart attack and died (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Rockefeller#Death) in his Manhattan townhouse in the presence of his evening-gown-clad (http://nymag.com/news/features/scandals/nelson-rockefeller-2012-4/) 25-year-old assistant. In a sense, the same might be said of retired CIA operative Robert Seldon Lady.
Recently, Lady proved a one-day wonder. After years in absentia -- poof! -- he reappeared out of nowhere on the border between Panama and Costa Rica, and made the news when Panamanian officials took him into custody on an Interpol warrant. The CIA's station chief in Milan back in 2003, he had achieved brief notoriety for overseeing a la dolce vita version (http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/7789/engelhardt_la_dolce_vita) of extraordinary rendition as part of Washington’s Global War on Terror. His colleagues kidnapped Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, a radical Muslim cleric and terror suspect, off the streets of Milan (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/27/197823/us-allowed-italian-kidnap-prosecution.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#.UfRpP1PkDhZ), and rendered him via U.S. airbases in Italy and Germany to the torture chambers (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/19/cia-agent-robert-seldon-lady-italy-s-most-wanted.html) of Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. Lady evidently rode shotgun on that transfer.
His Agency associates proved to be the crew that couldn’t spook straight. They left behind such a traceable trail of five-star-hotel and restaurant bills, charges on false credit cards, and unencrypted cell phone calls that the Italian government tracked them down (http://www.matthewacole.com/2007/03/01/blowback/), identified them, and charged (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/05/world/europe/05italy.html) 23 of them, Lady included, with kidnapping.
Lady fled Italy, leaving behind a multimillion-dollar villa near Turin meant for his retirement. (It was later confiscated and sold to make restitution payments (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/19/cia-agent-robert-seldon-lady-italy-s-most-wanted.html) to Nasr.) Convicted in absentia in 2009, Lady received a nine-year sentence (later reduced to six). He had by then essentially vanished after admitting to an Italian newspaper, “Of course it was an illegal operation. But that’s our job. We’re at war against terrorism.”
Last week, the Panamanians picked him up. It was the real world equivalent of a magician’s trick. He was nowhere, then suddenly in custody and in the news, and then -- poof again! -- he wasn’t. Just 24 hours after the retired CIA official found himself under lock and key, he was flown out of Panama, evidently under the protection of Washington, and in mid-air, heading back to the United States, vanished a second time.
State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters (http://news.yahoo.com/us-panama-sent-ex-cia-officer-us-not-215015192.html) on July 19th, “It's my understanding that he is in fact either en route or back in the United States." So there he was, possibly in mid-air heading for the homeland and, as far as we know, as far as reporting goes, nothing more. Consider it the CIA version of a miracle. Instead of landing, he just evaporated.
And that was that. Not another news story here in the U.S.; no further information from government spokespeople on what happened to him, or why the administration decided to extricate him from Panama and protect him from Italian justice. Nor, as far as I can tell, were there any further questions from the media. When TomDispatch inquired of the State Department, all it got was this bit of stonewallese: “We understand that a U.S citizen was detained by Panamanian authorities, and that Panamanian immigration officials expelled him from Panama on July 19. Panama's actions are consistent with its rights to determine whether to admit or expel non-citizens from its territory."
In other words, he came and he went.
Edward Snowden: The Opposite of a Magician’s Trick
When Lady was first detained, there was a little flurry of news stories and a little frisson of tension. Would a retired CIA agent convicted of a serious crime involving kidnapping and torture be extradited to Italy to serve his sentence? But that tension had no chance to build because (as anyone might have predicted) luck was a Lady that week.
After all, the country that took him into custody on that Interpol warrant was a genuine rarity in a changing Latin America. It was still an ally of the United States (http://news.yahoo.com/us-panama-sent-ex-cia-officer-us-not-215015192.html), which had once built a canal across its territory, controlled its politics for years, and in 1989 sent in (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama) the U.S. military to forcefully sort out those politics once again. Italy wanted Lady back and evidently requested that Panama hand him over (though the countries had no extradition treaty). But could anyone be surprised by what happened or by the role Washington clearly played in settling Lady’s fate? If you had paid any attention to the global pressure (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175725/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_can_edward_snowden_be_det erred/) Washington was exerting in an “international manhunt (http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-07-03/world/40349774_1_bolivian-cochabama-aymara-indian)” to get Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower it had already charged under the draconian Espionage Act, back to its shores, you knew which direction Robert Seldon Lady would be heading when he hit the nearest plane out of Panama -- and I don’t mean Italy.
But here was the curious thing: when Panama sent him north, not east, there wasn’t the slightest ripple of U.S. media curiosity about the act or what lay behind it. Lady simply disappeared. While the Italian minister of justice “deeply regretted (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/italy-bid-hold-cia-chief-rejected-panama-19751633)” Panama’s decision, there was not, as far as I can tell, a single editorial, outraged or otherwise, anywhere in this country questioning the Obama administration's decision not to allow a convicted criminal to be brought to justice in the courts of a democratic ally or even praising Washington’s role in protecting him. And we're not talking about a media with no interest in trials in Italy. Who doesn’t remember the wall-to-wall coverage of the murder trial (and retrial) of American student Amanda Knox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanda_Knox) there? For the American media, however, Lady clearly lacked Knox's sex appeal (nor would he make millions (http://abcnews.go.com/US/amanda-knox-million-book-deal-harpercollins/story?id=15690686) off a future account of his Italian sojourn).
In this same period, there was, of course, another man who almost magically disappeared. In a transit area of Moscow’s international airport, Edward Snowden discovered (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/world/europe/edward-snowden.html) that the U.S. government had deprived him of his passport and was determined to bring him back to Washington by just about any means to stand trial. That included forcing the plane (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/05/latin-america-us-morales-imperialism) of Bolivian President Evo Morales, returning from Moscow, to make an unscheduled landing in Austria and be searched for Snowden.
The NSA whistleblower was trapped in a kind of no-man’s-land by an Obama administration demanding that the Russians turn him over or face the consequences. After which, for days, he disappeared from sight. In his case, unlike Lady’s, however, Washington never stopped talking about him and the media never stopped speculating on his fate. It hasn’t yet.
He’s only appeared in public once since his “disappearance” -- at a press conference (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/12/edward-snowden-to-meet-amnesty-and-human-rights-watch-at-moscow-airport-live-coverag) at that airport with human rights activists from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The U.S. government promptly deplored and denounced the event as something Moscow “facilitated” or “orchestrated,” a “propaganda platform,” and a State Department spokesperson even suggested (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2013/07/211891.htm) that Snowden, not yet convicted of anything, shouldn’t have the right to express himself in Moscow or anywhere else.
The truth is: when it comes to Snowden, official Washington can’t shut up. Congressional figures have denounced him as a “traitor (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/11/john-boehner-edward-snowden_n_3420635.html)” or a “defector (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/23/rep-peter-king-calls-rand-pauls-remarks-on-snowden-absolutely-disgraceful/).” The world has repeatedly been lectured from the bully pulpit in our national capital on how necessary his return and trial is to freedom, justice, and global peace. Snowden, it seems, represents the opposite of a magician’s trick. He can’t disappear even when he wants to. Washington won’t let him, not now, not -- as officials have made clear -- ever. It’s a matter of morality that he faces the law and pays the (already preordained) price for his “crime.” This, in today’s Washington, is what passes for a self-evident truth.
The Lady Vanishes
It’s no less a self-evident truth in Washington that Robert Seldon Lady must be protected from the long (Italian) arm of the law, that he is a patriot who did his duty, that it is the job of the U.S. government to keep him safe and never allow him to be prosecuted, just as it is the job of that government to protect, not prosecute (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/31/obama-justice-department-immunity-bush-cia-torturer), CIA torturers who took part in George W. Bush's Global War on Terror.
So there are two men, both of whom, Washington is convinced, must be brought in: one to face “justice,” one to escape it. And all of this is a given, nothing that needs to be explained or justified to anyone anywhere, not even by a Constitutional law professor president. (Of course, if someone had been accused of kidnapping and rendering an American Christian fundamentalist preacher and terror suspect off the streets of Milan to Moscow or Tehran or Beijing, it would no less self-evidently be a different matter.)
Don’t make the mistake, however, of comparing Washington’s positions on Snowden and Lady and labeling the Obama administration’s words and actions “hypocrisy.” There's no hypocrisy involved. This is simply the living definition of what it means to exist in a one-superpower world for the first time in history. For Washington, the essential rule of thumb goes something like this: we do what we want; we get to say what we want about what we do; and U.N. ambassadorial nominee Samantha Powers then gets to lecture (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/20/venezuela-united-states-samantha-power) the world on human rights and oppression.
This version of how it all works is so much the norm in Washington that few there are likely to see any contradiction at all between the Obama administration’s approaches to Snowden and Lady, nor evidently does the Washington media. Its particular blind spots, when it comes to Washington’s actions, remain striking -- as when the U.S. effectively downed the Bolivian president and his plane. Although it was an act of seemingly self-evident illegality, there was no serious reporting (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175725/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_can_edward_snowden_be_det erred/), no digging when it came to the behind-the-scenes acts of the U.S. government, which clearly pressured four or five European governments (one of which may have been Italy) to collude in the act. Nor, weeks later, has there been any follow-up by the Washington media. In other words, an act unique in recent history, which left European powers disgruntled (http://themoderatevoice.com/184760/with-robert-seldon-lady-america-humiliates-italy-la-repubblica-italy/) and left much of Latin America up in arms (http://www.npr.org/2013/07/05/198906520/south-american-leaders-back-morales-in-plane-row), has disappeared without explanation, analysis, punditry, or editorial comment here. Undoubtedly, given the lack of substantial coverage, few Americans even know it happened.
The lucky Mr. Lady’s story has followed a similar trajectory. Having vanished in mid-air, he has managed so far not to reappear anywhere in the U.S. press. What followed was no further news, editorial silence, and utter indifference to an act of protection that might otherwise have seemed to define illegality on an international level. There was no talk in the media, in Congress, or anywhere else about the U.S. handing over a convicted criminal to Italy, just about how the Russians must return a man Washington considers a criminal to justice.
This, then, is our world: a single megapower has, since September 2001, been in a financing and construction frenzy (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-growth-fueled-by-need-to-target-terrorists/2013/07/21/24c93cf4-f0b1-11e2-bed3-b9b6fe264871_story.html) to create the first global surveillance state; its torturers run free; its kidnappers serve time at liberty in this country and are rescued if they venture abroad; and its whistleblowers -- those who would let the rest of us know what “our” government is doing in our name -- are pilloried. And so it goes.
All of it adds up to a way of life and the everyday tradecraft of a one-superpower world. Too bad Alfred Hitchcock isn’t around to remake some of his old classics. Imagine what a thrillerThe Lady Vanishes would be today.

Jan Klimkowski
07-30-2013, 05:06 PM
Benito Mussolini declared in speeches across fascist Italy: "O con noi o contro di noi".

You're either with us or against us.

Carsten Wiethoff
08-02-2013, 11:28 AM
On the current 2013 Black Hat conference (where yesterday NSA chief Alexander held the keynote speach) there is a talk about how the Italian authorities identified the 23 CIA operatives that were later convicted, amongst them CIA Station Chief Seldon Lady.

See https://www.blackhat.com/us-13/briefings.html#Cole

The CIA is no more technologically sophisticated than your average American, and as a result, has suffered serious and embarrassing operational failures.
This is a rare peek inside the CIA's intelligence gathering operations and the stunning lack of expertise they can bring to the job.
In 2005, news organizations around the world reported that an Italian court had signed arrest warrants for 26 Americans in connection with an extraordinary rendition of a Muslim cleric. At the heart of the case was the stunning lack of OPSEC the team of spies used while they surveilled and then snatched their target off the streets of Milan.
The incident, known as the Italian Job inside the CIA, became an international scandal and caused global outrage. What very few people ever understood was that the CIA's top spies were laughably uneducated about cell phone technology and ignorant of the electronic fingerprints left behind.
The story would be startling, though old, if not for the fact that eight years after the debacle in Milan, history repeated itself.
In 2011, an entire CIA network of Lebanese informants was busted by Hezbollah. The reason: cell phone OPSEC failures. After receiving a warning from Mossad, who had lost their network a year earlier the same way, the CIA dismissed Hezbollah's ability to run analytic software on raw cell phone traffic. But they did. And with a little effort, the CIA's network of spies, as well as their own officers, were identified one by one.
This is the true story of American Intelligence's Keystone Kops.

I did not find a video or transcript of the talk yet.

Carsten Wiethoff
09-17-2013, 06:25 AM
From http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/09/12/Former-CIA-member-asks-for-pardon-in-Italian-kidnapping/UPI-52271379024250/

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A former U.S. CIA station chief in Italy has reached out to the Italian president seeking to be pardoned for his role in the kidnapping of a Muslim cleric.
Robert Seldon Lady, the former CIA station chief in Milan, was among 23 Americans sentenced in absentia in 2009 for kidnapping Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (http://www.upi.com/topic/Hassan_Mustafa_Osama_Nasr/) in Italy and flying him to Egypt, where Nasr was held and tortured by Egyptian officials for seven months, The Telegraph, Britain, reported.
Lady wrote a letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano (http://www.upi.com/topic/Giorgio_Napolitano/) asking to be pardoned from his sentence, saying he was acting "under orders from senior American officials in liaison with senior members of the Italian government" when he participated in the kidnapping.
"Your advisers will inform you, I am sure, that my efforts and those of my colleagues were able to stop numerous plans and targets of terrorists operating in Milan and elsewhere in Italy," the letter said.
"After the Sept. 11 (http://www.upi.com/topic/Sept._11/), 2001, attacks, my government took extraordinary steps and extraordinary risks for those extraordinary times, in order to protect lives," Lady wrote. "I regret the circumstances which existed in 2003 and I regret my participation in any activities which could be viewed as contrary to the laws of Italy. I ask you and Italy for personal forgiveness and pardon."

Yeah, sure, we all follow orders, don't we?

Magda Hassan
09-17-2013, 08:34 AM
The Italian courts should increase his sentence for trying to pervert the course of justice or the local equivalent. Kidnapping and torture is illegal in Italy. People who do it and are caught just have to wear the consequences of their crimes.

Jan Klimkowski
09-17-2013, 06:11 PM
The Italian courts should increase his sentence for trying to pervert the course of justice or the local equivalent. Kidnapping and torture is illegal in Italy. People who do it and are caught just have to wear the consequences of their crimes.


Lady wrote. "I regret the circumstances which existed in 2003 and I regret my participation in any activities which could be viewed as contrary to the laws of Italy."

No. These activities were illegal, and thus prima facie contrary to the laws of Italy.

Carsten Wiethoff
02-23-2016, 11:30 AM
From http://intelnews.org/2016/01/18/01-1845/

Portugal court rules to extradite ex-CIA officer wanted in Italy for kidnapping (http://intelnews.org/2016/01/18/01-1845/)

January 18, 2016 by Joseph Fitsanakis (http://intelnews.org/author/intelnewsjoe/) Leave a comment (http://intelnews.org/2016/01/18/01-1845/#respond)

https://intelligencenews.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/first-post-h3.jpg?w=630A court in Portugal has ruled to extradite a former officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency to Italy, where she faces charges of kidnapping a man as part of a secret operation. Sabrina De Sousa, 59, was an accredited diplomat stationed at the US consulate in Milan, Italy, in 2003, when a CIA team kidnapped Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr from a Milan street in broad daylight. Nasr, who goes by the nickname Abu Omar, is a former member of Egyptian militant group al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, and was believed by the CIA to have links to al-Qaeda. Soon after his abduction, Nasr was renditioned to Egypt, where he says he was brutally tortured, raped, and held illegally for years before being released without charge.Upon Nasr’s release from prison, Italian authorities prosecuted the CIA team that abducted him. They were able to trace the American operatives through the substantial trail of evidence that they left behind, including telephone records and bill invoices in luxury hotels in Milan and elsewhere. In 2009, De Sousa was among 22 CIA officers convicted (http://intelnews.org/2009/11/06/01-298/) in absentia in an Italian court for their alleged involvement in Nasr’s abduction. Since the convictions were announced, the US government has not signaled (http://intelnews.org/2009/09/24/01-251/) a desire to extradite those convicted to Italy to serve prison sentences. However, those convicted are now classified as international fugitives and risk arrest by Interpol and other law enforcement agencies, upon exiting US territory.De Sousa was arrested (http://intelnews.org/2015/10/09/01-1790/) at the Portela Airport in Lisbon, Portugal, in October of last year. She spent two nights in jail before being released. However, her passport was seized by Portuguese authorities until they decided whether to extradite her to Italy to face her conviction. The Reuters news agency said (http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/ex-cia-agent-convicted-in-rendition-case-to-be-extradited-to-italy-by-order-of-portuguese-court-160117?news=858123) on Friday that De Sousa would “be surrendered to Italian authorities” so that she could be informed of the Italian court’s decision to convict her in 2009. The news agency was reportedly told by a Portuguese court official that De Sousa would have to travel to Italy in order to be given official notice of her conviction, as well as the sentence, according to European legal conventions. Following that, she would have to return to Portugal to serve her sentence. Her lawyer said, however, that De Sousa planned to challenge her conviction at the Supreme Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest court of appeal.

Also interesting in this context:

From http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2016/01/26/letter-to-the-president-of-italy/

Dear Mr President Mattarella
This letter is to inform yourself of little known facts concerning the career criminal Sabrina De Sousa; a woman most undeserving of a pardon by your office.
I am a former anti-corruption investigator now in self-exile for eight full years. My problem stems from having discovered a criminal ring working the inside of United States government for Chevron Corporation, an investigation that turns up the names John Yoo, Jay Bybee and ultimately, Condoleezza Rice.
It was at the end of my first year of life in exile I had encountered Sabrina De Sousa at Wiesbaden, Germany, summer of 2008. At this time I was in informal (unofficial) cooperation with German police, who were monitoring my circumstance, at my request, concerning criminal parties determined to assassinate myself. My encounter with De Sousa coincided with a circumstance where I managed to evade a trap nearly identical to the abduction of Abu Omar off the street in broad daylight.
The immense institutional cowardice of the German authorities, in possession of full knowledge of this and much more, officials who have sat on and refused to acknowledge and prosecute the several attempts at murder and/or kidnap of myself, is unconscionable. No doubt this institutional malfeasance is due to political pressures brought by the USA.
I am asking you to be different. To stand up and refuse any pressures to pardon the criminals of what amounts to an executive assassination ring of the United States. The rule of law has been in a serious state of deterioration and requires men of principled stance to end this erosion.
If we are to countenance what amounts to an empire of contemporary Gladio criminals, what hope will we hand to our children and grandchildren? The plain answer can only be “none.”
I respectfully request any USA pressures to pardon Sabrina De Sousa be refused politely but also refused firmly and refused unconditionally.
I have arranged to have this letter translated to Italian. I will separately provide English language references testifying to my character and veracity, as well some certain further information.
With kindest regards
Ronald Thomas West

Magda Hassan
02-23-2016, 01:30 PM
Wow, institutional cowardice indeed.

Carsten Wiethoff
02-23-2016, 02:03 PM
I am still awaiting, if not with my breath held, if Mrs. DeSousa will be the first (and probably only) CIA operative going to jail for the rendering operation in Italy, seven years after being convicted.
The other interesting aspect is that letter by Ronald Thomas West, pointing to direct evidence that the CIA (with Mrs DeSousa) in Germany in 2008 tried to assasinate a US citizen to protect Chevron and Condoleeza Rice from criminal charges. Obviously US interests extend to the business interests of US corporations and the terrorists are the ones exposing fraud and criminal behaviour. Nothing to see here, move along.

Carsten Wiethoff
02-23-2016, 02:22 PM
BTW, a glimpse view into the mind of Mrs De Sousa can be had here:

The problem is, like so often, that these people are not thinking of their actions as crimes, but of heroic deeds for their country and for humanity. And if something goes wrong, they scream for protection and insurance.

Sorry, illegal warfare does not work like this.

David Guyatt
02-23-2016, 02:41 PM
I can't but help think that considerable pressure Italy is going to come under from across the Atlantic, despite her saying she's being hung out to dry.

I thought the Chevron connection to Condo Rice and NSA intelligence plus the assassination team in Germany spoke volumes about the world we really live in today.

Carsten Wiethoff
02-23-2016, 02:56 PM
I did not see this at the time:

Lady, "who was sentenced to nine years in prison, has received a partial pardon of two years," a statement from the Italian presidency said.

Betnie Medero, also a CIA agent, was granted a similar pardon, the statement said.

The decision to reduce the sentences was based on the United States' suspension of the extraordinary rendition programme since President Barack Obama first assumed office in 2009, it added.

And here is the letter from Robert Seldon Lady, former Milan Station Chief, in which he asks for pardon: