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Friday, February 25, 2005



italian prosecutors are investigating the disappearance of an islamic militant from milan last year, and may have linked his abduction to the cia.

Spataro (the milanese prosecutor) was quoted earlier as saying that if any Americans played a part in Omar's abduction, "it would be a serious breach of Italian law."

The newspaper La Repubblica reported last week that some targets of the investigation worked for the CIA. The leading Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera of Milan, said Thursday that "at least 15 persons have been under investigation for months."

Another paper, Il Giorno, reported that all 15 were CIA employees. One source told the Tribune that the police are satisfied that they know the identities of those who carried out the abduction, and that Spataro is now trying to determine at what level the action was approved.

Spataro was able to link Omar's disappearance to Aviano through records of cell phone calls made by his abductors as they drove the 175 miles to the air base from Milan, Corriere della Sera reported Thursday. The calls included conversations with someone at the base, the paper said.

The newspaper reported last year that, about 14 months after his disappearance, Omar telephoned his wife from Cairo to tell her he had been released from prison by the Egyptians.

During that conversation, monitored by an Italian police wiretap, Omar reportedly told his wife that he had been kidnapped by American and Italian agents, "narcoticized," and, after several hours of questioning at Aviano, flown aboard a small plane to Egypt.

Once there, he said, he was imprisoned and tortured by the Mukhabarat, the Egyptian intelligence service. The Italian police said Omar was re-arrested by the Egyptians a few weeks after that phone call and has not been heard from since.

The subsequent discovery that Omar had been taken to Egypt has raised questions about the fate of the former Al Qaeda chief in Italy, Abdelkader Mahmoud Es Sayed, another Egyptian Islamist who disappeared from Milan two months before Sept. 11.

Like Es Sayed, Omar was one of several Egyptian militants opposed to the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who were granted political asylum by the Italian government.
it's becoming clear that the united states government is "disappearing" people that it considers dangerous via the process of extraordinary rendition. as kevin drum poignantly notes, this is the sort of behavior by which we once identified the soviet union as an "evil empire". now it is our modus operandi -- all in the name of freedom.

before this is done, i suspect most americans will abhor and fear freedom as they once did monarchy.

Interesting stuff!

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