Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

New Developments in the Abu Omar Kidnapping Case

by de Gondi Tue Dec 6th, 2005 at 04:41:21 AM EST

I apologize for not posting on this. I have been writing a lengthy diary on this case since this news broke some ten days ago in the center pages of il Corriere, l'Unità and la Repubblica. The Washington Post does have some interesting new information on the phone interceptions of Abu Omar in 2004.

What is interesting is that Robert Lady Seldon has decided to argue his case by putting in a defence plea. His 59 page argument was rejected by the preliminary judge. There is speculation here that CIA lawyers may have helped prepare his case, since one of the defence arguments directly implicates the Italian government, who according to the defence should apply the state secrecy act. The judge ruled that state secrecy concerns Italy's national and international interests- not those of a foreign power. This also implies that the judge does not consider the CIA argument valid that Italian authorities were involved or aware of the kidnapping. Lady also pled that he was covered by diplomatic immunity and that the DIGOS (special investigative police) had no right to confiscate his personal effects nor use them as evidence. This was rejected on the grounds that their is no such thing as diplomatic immunity for crime. Lady had cancelled his hard disk. The Digos was nevertheless able to reconstruct it and gather further incriminating evidence, not only of the photo of Abu Omar, but of his trip to Cairo.

Other than that Joseph Romano who used to command security at Aviano and is now at the Pentagon is also indicted.


There has been speculation that the CIA had been spying electronically on the Milan procura or had an informant within the Procura or the DIGOS. Robert Lady Seldon apparently had been alerted of the imminent arrest warrant according to several cryptic emails from presumed CIA officers recovered in his computer.

The affair of Robert Castelli, Minister of Justice, and prominent member of the right-wing racist political party, Lega Nord. When Castelli returned from his meeting in the States with Gonzales, he attacked the head investigative prosecutor in the case, Armando Spataro. Spataro's alleged "crime" was the fact he had voted in the primaries held by Left opposition. With this sort of delirious argument, Castelli questioned Spataro's professional neutrality in handling the case and remarked that Spataro was an anti-American. Spataro had just returned from the States where he had attended an international meeting on terrorism.

Approval for the request for extradition by the government is not strictly necessary for the trial's ends. In this case, other than a legal act, it is more a political act that puts the American government before its responsibilities to collaborate with Italian authorities and abide by international law and treaties.  

Another point of interest is the concluding statement of the arrest warrant (richiesta di custodia cautelare).

"...[at present] other accomplices of the kidnappers are still unknown, some of whom most likely occupy a decisional level within the structure of the CIA or another American administration, just as [their] Egyptian accomplices: there is absolutely no doubt, in fact, that the violent and illegal transfer of Abu Omar to Egypt could never have been enacted without the [preliminary] assent of individuals belonging to the Egyptian administration."

"...Restano allo stato ignoti altri complici dei sequestratori, alcuni dei quali verosimilmente collocati anche a livello decisionale nella struttura della C.I.A. o di altre amministrazioni statunitensi, così come restano ignoti i complici egiziani: non vi è alcun dubbio, infatti, che il trasferimento violento ed illegale di Abu Omar in Egitto non sarebbe mai stato realizzato se non vi fosse stato l'accordo di appartenenti all'amministrazione egiziana."

In short, the request for extradition now pending on Castelli's desk implies that American authorities should cooperate in identifying everyone involved in the case and act accordingly.

The other two agents who have been positively identified and for whom arrest warrants have been issued are Sabrina De Sousa and Barbara Suddath who are American diplomats. Most of the 22 agents have not been identified as they acted under the pseudonyms. Here is a full list of  the individuals now incriminated for the violent and unlawful seizure and transportation of Abu Omar out of Italian territory.

1)Adler Monica Courtney 2) Asherleigh Gregory 3) Carrera Lorenzo Gabriel 4) Castaldo Eliana 5) Castellano Victor 6) Channing Drew Carlyle 7) De Sousa Sabrina 8) Duffin John Kevin 9) Gurley John Thomas 10) Harbaugh Raymond 11) Harty Ben Amar 12) Kirkland James Robert 13) Jenkins Anne Lidia 14) Ibanez Brenda Liliana 15) Lady Robert Seldon 16) Logan Cyntia Dame 17) Medero Betnie 18) Purvis L. George 19) Romano Joseph L. III 20) Rueda Pilar 21) Sofin Joseph 22) Suddath Barbara Patricia 23) Vasiliou Michalis.

Also posted at Daily Kos and Booman by rom wyo.

Display:
Very impressive and the first indictments to be handed down. Has the magistrate issued a European Arrest Warrant? If nothing else that would prevent them from entering the EU to carry on their dirty deeds.
by Londonbear on Tue Dec 6th, 2005 at 05:00:25 AM EST
European arrest warrants were issued in July if I recall. At the beginning there were 13 indictments. The prosecution appealed the decision. There are presently 23 indictments.

The request for extradition is another ballgame. It will probably be ignored IF Castelli gives it the go ahead.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Dec 6th, 2005 at 08:19:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian press correspondents in Brussels will have a unique chance to question Rice on this case this week. Here's what she'll say.
We didn't do it, and besides nobody saw us do it, and besides our people had diplomatic immunity, and besides Berlusconi knew, and besides talking about it helps our enemies, and besides we saved lives by doing it, but we didn't do it, and besides nobody saw us do it, and besides...


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 Tue Dec 6th, 2005 at 05:08:18 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]