Saturday, July 20, 2013

Background to CIA Bungling in Italy: Robert Seldon Lady, Abu Omar, and Agents of Incompetence, from 2005

Shadowland: Bourne Again? 4 July 2005
Who doesn't love a good spy story? Shadowy operatives, evil terrorists, dangerous betrayals and the future of the free world hanging in the balance. Throw in the suggestion of sinister conspiracies at the very top of government--and some sex, of course--and you've got a pretty good book to take to the beach. But when real U.S. officials start acting like they're living a Robert Ludlum saga, then you've got problems. And the more documentation that surfaces about the mysterious abduction of a suspected Al Qaeda figure from the streets of Italy in February 2003, the more it looks like whoever in the administration ordered the snatch got carried away with the dangerous glamour of the moment....

Shadowland: The Road to Rendition, 15 June 2005
... Last week, I passed through Milan and decided to visit the scene of the crime. As I walked the quiet roads between Abu Omar's apartment and that lonely stretch of Via Guerzoni where he was kidnapped, I kept thinking of something he was told by the mysterious visitor from Germany in that conversation tape recorded back in the summer of 2002. In the Italian transcript, which I have, they talked about reorganizing the Hizb Al Tahrir group after the post-9/11 arrests in Europe. They talked about money: where to get it (from Saudis); how to use it (to make more money). They talked about "the youth" who could be used as martyrs. And toward the end of the chat, the Unidentified Man warned Abu Omar, as if from nowhere, "You need to study the street, because war ought to be studied ..." In the shadow world of terror and counterterror, even a quiet street like Via Guerzoni can be a battlefront....

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