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You write that Il Manifesto is an 'extremely leftist paper' in Italy. Well, it is and is not. It is when you think of the US Democrats as a centre of the road party. But since this is not an American discussion board, and since Il Manifesto is not a US paper, it is probably not a very accurate description of the paper's position in the Italian political spectrum.

That is not to say that Il Manifesto has never been extremely leftist. I agree that at the time of Lotta Continua it was leftist. However that ended in 1980. And even then was Il Manifesto an extremely erudite, academic paper for the communist 'aristocracy'.

The real function of Il Manifesto is surprisingly different. Let me give you an example. Our as we say here: 'an anecdotal experience'.

Over time I was always puzzled by the iconic use of Il Manifesto. It went so far that I would always notice a stack of last month's copies of the paper in some corner of my friends study rooms. And if you'd cared to give it a closer look you would notice that Il Manifesto was not negligently dropped there but artfully assembled to add to the room's 'cool' and intellectual atmosphere.

My personal impression is that most people don't ever buy it with the intent to read it.

Il Manifesto has - over time - become a cultish art object. The handling of the paper requires a standardised routine which consists in walking to the newspaper booth in the central piazza in the morning. There you buy it. Then you put it in your trouser's or jacket's pocket making sure that it is folded it in a such a way that part of the title can be seen by by-passers. Now it is time to have a coffee at the bar and you can take a look at the front page and smoke a MS. You also look at the Rome cultural events page and then slip it back into the pocket and walk back home. There you add it to the stack of the previous copies in the study room.

I'm totally convinced that Il Manifesto is not a leftist Italian paper, on the contrary: it is rigorously Prussian. Very much like RAI RADIO TRE it strictly caters to the Italian culture crowd (with some money) for the purose 'di fare bella figura'. And academics (without money) who read it because they like its rigid intellectual seriousness.

Btw: I still own some stocks of the Il Manifesto co-operative. It's a good paper.

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Sun Nov 13th, 2005 at 03:08:51 PM EST
Well I do admit "leftist" is a bit of a misnomer, esp when referring to non-American political spectrum.

I guess it's sort of like Village Voice mixed with the Spotlight or something.  It's definitely hard hitting and has vibrant opinions in its pieces, none of that false "objectivity" that the New York Times espouses.

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Sun Nov 13th, 2005 at 04:03:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
"It's also the one for which Giuliana Sgrena writes, the journalist who was nearly killed in Iraq (her driver and the Italian SISMI officer accompanying her were killed)."

Giuliana Sgrena and her driver were wounded, SISMI officer Nicola Calipari was killed instantly.

Shooting Nicola Calipari No Accident
Fri Aug 26th, 2005 at 01:46:23 AM PST

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Nov 13th, 2005 at 05:12:32 PM EST
This seems to have dropped off the media radar in the English language press. Let's hope we get some better investigation and coverage of it.
by gradinski chai on Sun Nov 13th, 2005 at 05:37:11 PM EST
Others are transported from Afghanistan to secret prisons under American control - in Eastern Europe countries like Poland, Romania, Hungary and in Asia, the military base at Diego Garcia.
Diego Garcia is a British Possession. If I am not mistaken, at some point the US decided if would make a fine base as it is in the  middle of the Indian Ocean within reach of the Indian subcontinent and Arabia. So, the UK dutifully deported the entire population of Diego Garcia to Mauritius (I think it was Mauritius). Now it turns out the US is torturing there? Hmmm.

A Member of the European Parliament should ask Jack Straw about this during the debate on Wednesday on Iraq and Iran... The EU Commission is supposed to release a statement about the secret prisons Monday as well...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 13th, 2005 at 05:54:53 PM EST
.
Diego Garcia: Paradise Isle or Britain's shame?

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
 

▼▼▼ READ MY DIARY

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Nov 13th, 2005 at 07:34:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shame on Blair. Can his government be sued in the European Court of Human Rights for this?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 14th, 2005 at 07:16:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The situation with regards to Diego Garcia is quite complex. The US has a base there under the terms of a 50-year lease that expires in 2016. The British are responsible for "law enforcement" on the island, and there are supposedly 50 UK personnel stationed there, including military police.

I would guess that it might well be technically possible to sue the UK government over illegal activities at Diego Garcia under both British and EU law. Obviously, any "prisoners" who died there should be subject to an inquest to determine the circumstances and causes of their deaths - but that would presuppose information regarding who is held there and their fates coming to light. It no doubt will....eventually.

I don't know what kind of agreements exist between the US and UK governments regarding DG - they're no doubt highly classified secrets - but the fact of an official UK presence there suggests that we still assert territorial, and therefore, presumably, legal  sovereignty over the island.

by londanium on Mon Nov 14th, 2005 at 09:44:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if a tenant kidnaps and tortures people on the property they lease from you probably have a legal case to evict them. I think Blair in particular should be familiar with the concept (and legal ramifications) of Anti-Social Behaviour?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 14th, 2005 at 10:10:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The interviewer and author of the article is Patricia Lombroso. Here's a touched up translation that cleans up a few points.

CIA East Europe "Will Pay"

Cheriff Bassiouni, the UN's representative in Aghanistan, explains how the CIA's torture network began in 2001. If the Bush administration is primarily responsible, Poland, Hungary and Romania also played their part.

"Poland, Romania and Hungary, being members of the European system, are gravely responsible for having collaborated or allowed the CIA to torture presumed terrorists, seized with impunity throughout the world, in secret prisons in these sovereign nations. All of these countries have signed the European Convention on Human Rights and other EU treaties outlawing torture. They have committed clear and unquestionable violations of these European conventions. There have been both prosecutable civil and criminal violations". It is in these harsh terms of "complicity and collusion" with Washington that the jusrist in international law, Cheriff Bassiouni, spoke in his interview with Il Manifesto. Bassiouni was UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's representative on Human Rights in Afghanistan in 2004 and is the author of a report about the secret prison scandal in which the CIA tortured Afghan and foreign citizens. His investigation was published in May and it angered Washington and his mandate [in Afghanistan] was not renewed.

Q: Professor Bassiouni, how do you interpret these revelations of secret CIA prisons in eastern countries, which these countries deny, including Bush's "we do not torture"?

Bassiouni: This method of acting in secret with impunity will continue until they are discovered. It's part of how the CIA has operated since the Cold War. America now operates illegally based on secret "executive orders" from President Bush: it's a common procedure in dictatorial states and it's incomprehensible that America can tolerates it. The CIA operates in Afghanistan or in Italy, such as the case of the Imam Omar, who was taken to Egypt to be tortured. From their 14 military bases in Afghanistan or their secret prisons in Eastern Europe or other locations in Asia, they act in total illegality contrary to international law, in violation of human rights. My investigation upset Washington. But the investigations will continue and the international consequences will soon catch up with Bush.

Q: Poland and Hungary are in the EU. Romania is slated to enter in 2007. What are the future consequences of these violations of human rights treaties and conventions against torture?

Bassiouni: The request to join the EU entails a clear commitment by these countries to follow the Convention on Human Rights. These obligations have not been honored, indeed the violations by these governments is incontrovertible. The intelligence agencies of these countries form part of the institutional organs of a sovereign state. And in Poland and the other Eastern European countries they have collaborated with the government in Washington and therefore they are legally prosecutable.

Q: As the governments of Poland, Hungary and Romania have stated they know nothing about this, what can the EU's organs do in terms of legal litigation?

Bassiouni: These countries must respond to these serious crimes committed by their state institutions such as their intelligence agencies. If the CIA operates or interferes in Poland or in any other third country, the responsibility falls on the Polish government and those countries which collaborated with the government in Washington to violate the laws that all EU countries must follow. In this case, crimes against torture and violations of human rights. On top of that the CIA agents who are responsible for these crimes are criminally responsible.

Q: And who in Washington is legally responsible for the crimes of torture committed by the CIA in their secret eastern prisons?

Bassiouni: The American intelligence agencies operated under the authorization of President Bush, who after September 11 created the system and the structure for the so-called "global war on terror".

Q: How was this CIA torture network created?

Bassiouni: Since February 2002, the CIA has operated with intelligence agencies of allied countries in the "global war on terror". Starting in 2001, Bush issued executive order, described in memorandum 13224, which launched the "joint doctrine for detainees operation". This presidential directive must be renewed annually. The last time it was renewed was on March 23, 2005. In that administration document it is pointed out: "Any detainee or presumably connected to terrorist organizations is henceforth classifed an enemy combatant". In the last three years, the Pentagon's strategy for this "mission" has been to create a structure and a system of secret prisons to torture and to move people around, as an alternative to Guantanamo. In Afghanistan, at the air base in Bagram and in Kandahar, prisoners are brought from all over the world by CIA aircraft and from there they are sent to the other 14 American military centers to be tortured. The others from Afghanistan are transported to secret prisons under American control - in Eastern Europe countries like Poland, Romania, Hungary, whereas Asians [are taken to] the military base at Diego Garcia.


by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Nov 13th, 2005 at 05:59:38 PM EST
L'Unità had a small article on November 13th, page 12, that cites the Moroccan weekly, Le Journal. According to the article, which I could not find on the net, the well-known Boeing 737, N313P, landed in Morocco at least ten times between December 2002 and February [no year]. A member of the Moroccan intelligence services, the DST, affirmed in an interview to have personally taken part in the transfer of prisoners at the Salè airbase, near Rabat, in January 2004. He said that four men, shackled and blindfolded, were taken out of the Boeing accompanied by eight men in civilian clothes, presumably CIA agents.

Last July, Swiss authorities opened an investigation into the use of airbases in Swiss territory by the CIA's favourite Boeing and if prisoners had been on the craft when it stopped in Switzerland.

La Repubblica Sunday has a long article by the Italian Constitutional Law Expert and former President of the International Criminal Tribune at the Hague, Antonio Cassese, on the opportunity of formalizing the international arrest warrants for the 22 presumed CIA agents involved in the Abu Omar kidnapping. The warrants should preferably have a final clearing by the Minister of Justice. The ball would then pass into American hands who have the political, moral and legal responsibility for their acts. It is possible that the indicted agents will be tried in absentia.

The Procura of Zweibrecken has opened an investigation into the Abu Omar transit at Ramstein, thanks to the Milan investigation and its formal conclusions. German authorities are well known for their determination.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Nov 13th, 2005 at 06:37:23 PM EST

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