Devastating Council of Europe report on CIA involvement with kidnapping
After 9-11 the gloves come off. Cofer Black, director, CIA Counterterrorism
If this nation is to remain true to the ideals symbolized by the flag,
[we] must not wield the tools of tyrants even to resist an assault by the
forces of tyranny. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor,
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 2004
Three years ago, a CIA kidnapping ring was in Italy to snatch a radical imam,
Hussan Mustafa Nasr, from a street in Milan. Flown on a CIA plane to his native
Egypt, Nasr was held in a dungeon where he was given electric shock treatments,
hung upside down, and tortured in various positions. Released and then rearrested,
Nasr disappeared in the bowels of the Egyptian prison system.
illustration: Matthew Leake
While in Milan setting up the kidnapping, the CIA crew made many calls from
their top-of-the-line hotel rooms, but these were not, as the spying trade puts
it, on "secure phones." So, Italian intelligence agents had no difficulty
tracking them—leading to arrest warrants for these CIA spooks for violating
the sovereignty of Italy and its laws.
I was sure that our Justice Department would never extradite the members of
this gang because the president and his team continuously assure the world that
we never ever send suspects to countries where they'd be tortured. But I have
kept wondering whether, in Italy, the case of the CIA criminals has been closed.
However, this month, at a conference in Florence convened by NYU law school's
increasingly influential Center on Law and Security, Italy's renowned investigating
judge, Armando Spataro, declared—as reported in the June 4 New York Times—that
he has activated in Milan a "criminal case against 22 people allegedly
linked to the Central Intelligence Agency charged with the abduction of [Hussan
Nasr] . . . as part of a rendition operation."
The exposure of this CIA kidnapping ring is part of the growing revulsion throughout
Europe and other parts of the world against such American gangsterism. As Judge
Sparato said in Florence: "We know it's a great mistake to fight terrorism
in this way."
For example, by its own involvement in torture, the CIA has given Al Qaeda
and its offshoots an effective recruiting tool. And even among people across
the globe who have supported American efforts to export democracy, these crimes
make a mockery of the president's recurring assurances—most recently on
June 14—that "we are a nation of laws and the rule of law. . . .
This is a transparent society."
Now, further angry attention is being focused throughout Europe on an explosive
report by the 46-nation Council of Europe, which enforces the European Convention
on Human Rights. It documents the secret collusion of certain European countries
with the CIA in what the report's chief investigator—former prosecutor
Dick Marty of Switzerland—calls "a spider's web across the globe."
This exposure—says the London-based Financial Times—"is likely
to make it more difficult for European countries to cooperate with U.S. intelligence."
Next week: Dick Marty nails those countries.
I have the full 67-page report on CIA renditions—released on June 6—as
well as the documentation, which includes the flight logs of planes used by
the CIA. Dick Marty notes that the report is based on the interviews with victims
of these renditions; their families; letters from those still imprisoned; and
past and present informants inside intelligence agencies.
Says Dick Marty: "I have considered the human impact of renditions in
two ways: first, the systematic CIA practice of preparing a detainee to be transported
on a rendition aircraft; and second, the grave and long-lasting psychological
damage that extraordinary rendition inflicts on its victims."
To begin: "Four to six CIA agents perform the operation [on the blindfolded
victim]. They are dressed in black . . . wearing black gloves with their full
faces covered. . . . The CIA agents 'don't utter a word when they communicate
with one another,' using only hand signals. . . .
"The man's hands and feet are shackled. The man has all his clothes [including
his underwear] cut from his body using knives or scissors in a careful, methodical
fashion . . . the man is subjected to a full body cavity search . . . the man
is photographed with a flash camera when he is nearly or totally naked. . .
"Some accounts [the specific sources of all these accounts are footnoted]
speak of a foreign object being forcibly inserted into the man's anus . . .
in each description this practice has been perceived as a grossly violating
act that affronts the man's dignity."
I interrupt this account to make the point that—if these CIA agents are
ever brought before a court here or anywhere—there have been no charges
against their victims. The kidnappers went to no judge for authorization—in
the United States or in the country where they committed their crimes—for
these renditions to torture.
The CIA agents do not identify themselves as they pounce on a victim. If one
of these "detainees" had secreted a gun on his person—before
being stripped of his clothes—and had shot one of these ninjas, all in
black, wouldn't that be justified, in a court of law, as an act of self-defense?
That is, if the desperate shooter lived more than a few seconds afterwards.
To continue: After an incontinence pad is shoved on the victim, " 'they
put diapers on him.' " His ears are muffled . "[A] cloth bag is placed
over the man's head, with no holes through which to breathe or detect light"
and he "is typically forced aboard a waiting" airplane where "
'they bind him up in a very uncomfortable position that makes him hurt from
Finally, for this week, from Dick Marty's report: "Personal accounts .
. . speak of utter demoralization. Of course, the despair is greatest in cases
where the abuse persists—where a person remains in secret detention, without
knowing the basis on which he is being held and where nobody apart from his
captors knows about his whereabouts or well-being. . . . "
"For the 'disappeared' . . . links with normal society appear practically
impossible to restore." Makes you proud to be an American.
Read from Looking Glass News
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Ugly Truth About Prisoner "Rendition"
Investigate CIA Role in Abductions
CIA’s global gulag
and CIA "sent student to Morocco to be tortured"
in Crime - Friendly Renditions to Muslim Torture Chambers
renditions began under Clinton: agent