This is a very rough video about the rendition of Abu Omar and what went wrong for the CIA. I hope to be able to produce a more polished product by the end of the year, once I've updated my editing equipment.
Shadowland: The Road To Rendition,
Kidnappings by terrorists are a dirty business. But what happens when the terrorists themselves are kidnapped?
By Christopher Dickey
[Note: this is undedited copy off my hard drive. During the transition to the new Newsweek Web site (http://www.newsweek.com/) several stories were lost from the archives. They are gradually being re-loaded, but I’m posting this in the meantime for reference purposes.]
Via Guerzoni is a quiet street on the outskirts of
So whoever snatched an Egyptian-born imam known as Abu Omar off Via Guerzoni in broad daylight on
The fiercely independent judiciary in
Since Italian reporter Carlo Bonini first broke the story of this investigation in the
Now that the second-term Bush administration is advocating democracy and the rule of law around the world, its own lawless ways during the first term are an embarrassment. What’s been called, with a bit of hyperbole, the Guantanamo Gulag has become a liability. So are ongoing revelations about the practice of “renditions”: sending suspected terrorists to countries with even fewer scruples about interrogation practices than the Bush administration. (“Outsourcing torture,” is the catch phrase used by human rights activists in
The agents involved in
The Italian secret service known as DIGOS (formerly “the political police”) had focused on him in the summer of 2002, when a bug they’d placed in the Via Quaranta mosque picked up a conversation he had with a visitor from Germany outlining plans to re-structure a terrorist organization that’s been connected to both Al Qaeda and the now-infamous Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. So even people who knew and sympathized with Abu Omar weren’t sure, at first, that he hadn’t decided secretly to go fight the Americans in
Too bad, from the kidnappers’ point of view, that a woman walking out of the park on Via Guerzoni that chilly February afternoon in 2003 saw two men spray something in Abu Omar’s face and bundle him into the back of a truck. Even worse, for those who wanted to hush up the whole affair, Abu Omar resurfaced – at least by telephone. On April 20, 2004, more than a year after he’d disappeared, the Italian cops listened in on a phone call he placed from Egypt to his wife in Milan, telling her he’d been in prison, but was now under a kind of house arrest; he would send her money, and she should be quiet. But Abu Omar didn’t take his own advice. He called another imam in
Over the last year, I’ve collected many hundreds of pages of court documents, warrants, official transcripts, rulings and appeals related to the various terrorist cases in
In a pleading issued last month by Judge Guido Salvini against a group of Tunisians suspected of terrorist connections, for instance, there is a concise description of Abu Omar’s case: “It is now possible to affirm with certainty that he was kidnapped by people belonging to foreign intelligence networks interested in interrogating him and neutralizing him, to then hand him over to Egyptian authorities.” Salvini writes that Italian investigators have confirmed the substance of what Abu Omar recounted in those phone calls from
Who were the agents involved? According to Bonini, they left a lot of evidence behind, including rental car contracts, hotel bills, and passport details. When Spataro issues his warrants, the names on those documents certainly will be included.
Last week, I passed through