Now, Italy Must Gird for the Repercussions Over CIA Convictions
the eyes of the United States, the behavior of Italian politicians has been
confusing and unjust - so much so that state secrecy laws were used to protect
members of the Italian secret services but not the Americans."
Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, shows the scars he says were inflicted on him by torture in an Egyptian prison, after he was 'renditioned' there by America's Central Intelligence Agency.
The sentences by the Court of
Milan convicting 23 CIA agents for kidnapping a radical Egyptian imam are
without precedent in the world. In Washington it is viewed with apprehension -
threatening to reopen one of the most dreaded and thorny chapters of the new
White House of Barack Obama. Milan police and Milan Public Prosecutor Armando
Spataro have received deserved recognition for the correctness of their investigation,
which despite considerable obstacles and a hostile climate, succeeded in
demonstrating how the most famed and powerful secret service on the planet
behaved on Italian soil.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Their work shows -
even though Americans continue to deny it - that one can reconstruct in detail
the illegal behavior of the administration led by Bush and Cheney - and one can
also bring them before a tribunal to seek a ruling on the legality of actions
that infringe on basic civil rights.
Obama has always denounced these
violations, and throughout the election campaign, promised that he would put an
end the use of torture during interrogations, as well as close the special
prison at Guantanamo and the secret prisons run by the CIA - although he has kept
open the possibility of conducting extraordinary renditions (invented by Bill
Clinton) i.e.: kidnapping and transporting terror suspects like Abu Omar. Albeit
with delays and some confusion, the new American president is keeping his word
on torture and prisons. But there is one thing he has decided not to do:
investigate the past.
America is committed to cease
violating civil rights in the name of security, but on these grounds it always
refuses to prosecute those who have in the past. Obama cannot afford to keep
the CIA in the dock for years while there are two wars in progress, Islamic terrorism
has yet to be defeated and Iran is working to become a nuclear power. He will
not charge Bush and Cheney. His reasoning is this: "History will do that.
I want to use my mandate to build the America of the future, to change it and
not spend my time with my head turned back putting the Republican pair back on
center stage." The Milan ruling risks rekindling anger among liberals and
the Democratic left who have had trouble digesting the president's decision -
and could set a precedent for investigation and trials in other European
prosecutor Armando Spataro found out what commitment to truth can
His calls were tapped, the intelligence services monitored his every
and there were probes into whether he betrayed state secrets.
This doesn't mean that Milan
magistrates should take diplomatic interests into account and behave any
differently. When confronted with charges so serious, they had to proceed as they
did. But we know that this will inevitably have, as we shall see, repercussions
on relations between our two countries. Because in the eyes of the United
States, the behavior of Italian politicians has been confusing and unjust - so
much so that state secrecy laws were used to protect members of the Italian
secret services but not the Americans. "We have never acted illegally in Italy
and we have always respected its sovereignty," is what people at the U.S.
State Department have been saying for years, which means only one thing: within
an agreed framework in the fight against terrorism, the CIA was working closely
with the Silvio
Berlusconi government. The fact that Romano Prodi's government with
Arturo Parisi as
defense minister opposed the use of state secrecy only serves to confirm that
there was a political-diplomatic entente behind all this. But court on Milan wasn't
able to clear things up to that level.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Relations between the United
States and Italy have already been strained by our privileged alliance with
Putin's Russia, as well as ties with Iran and Libya - and in recent days by the
notion of a disengagement from Lebanon [reference to Italian peacekeepers in UNIFIL]. Now, paradoxically, the
first to suffer the consequences of American mistrust in unlikely to be Silvio
Berlusconi - but Massimo
D'Alema, who is still in the running to become the E.U.'s defense and
foreign policy chief [aka/the high representative for the common foreign and security
policy, who is now Javier Solana].
In the past few hours there
has likely been an intensification of American pressure in favor of the British
candidate, David Miliband, dictated by a desire not to reward Italy, even if D'Alema
is a former prime minister who committed the nation in Kosovo and a former foreign
minister who pushed for the intervention of a peacekeeping force to stabilize Lebanon.
But regardless of who the candidate is, in Washington one would reason that the
choice of D'Alema would be viewed as a green light for Italy's conduct. It's no
coincidence that just yesterday, the candidacy of our former prime minister was
torpedoed by the most pro-American Atlanticist newcomer to the E.U.: Poland. And
so the open battle over "Mr. CFSP" [Mr. Common Foreign and Security Policy]
is moving from Brussels to Washington.