FRANKFURT, Jan. 31 — A German court on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for 13 people in the mistaken kidnapping and jailing of a German citizen of Lebanese descent, in the most serious legal challenge yet to the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret transfers of terrorism suspects.
Prosecutors in Munich said the suspects, whom they did not identify, were part of a C.I.A. “abduction team” that seized the man, Khaled el-Masri, in Macedonia in late 2003 and flew him to Afghanistan. He was imprisoned there for five months, during which, he said, he was shackled, beaten and interrogated about alleged ties to Al Qaeda, before being released without charges.
MADRID (Reuters) - A judge has ordered Spain's state intelligence agency to declassify any documents it has about secret CIA flights shuttling terrorism suspects, court officials said on Wednesday.
High Court Judge Ismael Moreno issued the order to the National Intelligence Center (CNI) as part of an investigation he began last year to determine whether suspects on CIA flights touching down on the Spanish island of Mallorca were held illegally or tortured, the officials said.
Up to 50 people were moved across Europe in flights to jails in third countries where they faced torture and other abuse, according to European Parliament investigators.
A Council of Europe investigator last year said Spain might have acted in "collusion, active or passive," with secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers.
MILAN, Italy (AP) -- A former Italian intelligence chief, facing possible indictment over the alleged kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, told a closed hearing Monday that he never participated in illegal activity.
Nicolo Pollari said that he was unable to defend himself properly because documents that would clarify his position had been excluded from the proceedings, as they contained state secrets, his lawyers said.
Pollari is one of five Italian intelligence officials facing possible indictment in the alleged abduction of cleric and terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003.
Prosecutors say Pollari and other officials of the military intelligence agency SISMI worked with the Americans to abduct the cleric.
Twenty-six Americans also could be indicted in what would be the first criminal prosecution involving the alleged CIA program to secretly transfer terror suspects to third countries where critics say they may face torture.
It's interesting to note that Pollari's name also surfaced during the investigation into the Niger yellowcake forgeries which ironically is the focus of the current Scooter Libby case:
From La Repubblica, October 2005
La Repubblica, investigative reporters Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d'Avanzo report that Niccolo Pollari, chief of Italy's military intelligence service, known as Sismi, brought the Niger yellowcake story directly to the White House after his insistent overtures had been rejected by the Central Intelligence Agency in 2001 and 2002.
Today's exclusive report in La Repubblica reveals that Pollari met secretly in Washington on September 9, 2002, with then–Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Their secret meeting came at a critical moment in the White House campaign to convince Congress and the American public that war in Iraq was necessary to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing nuclear weapons. National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones confirmed the meeting to the Prospect on Tuesday.
Hadley, who is Bush's current National Security Advisor, was a key player in the rush to invade Iraq and he is also a man with very dangerous ideas who is now pushing for aggressive action against Iran.
Hadley participated in the study team at the hardline National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP) that produced Rationale and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control, a study that called for the development of “mini” nuclear weapons and served as a road map for George W. Bush's Nuclear Posture Review. The NIPP report advocated the use of bunker-busting nuclear weapons—even against non-nuclear countries—to rid rogue nations of any weapons of mass destruction, such as stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. Prefiguring the preventive national security doctrine of the Bush administration, the report stated: “Under certain circumstances very severe nuclear threats may be needed to deter any of these potential adversaries” (for more information, see the World Policy Institute report, “About Face,” May 2002).
But, I digress.
The undergound intelligence and covert activity web woven around the world has begun to unravel thanks to intrepid reporters who uncovered the secret CIA prisons story and the like and to judges in foreign countries who are attempting to deal with crimes perpetrated in their jurisdictions. Not an easy task.
Whenever the Bush administration wants to make a story or case go away, it simply cries "national security - that's classified" thinking that's enough of a magic wand to make the situations disappear. But they're more difficult to hide now than those so-called suspects they've been stashing in faraway prisons for far too long.
Somehow, there must be justice for those who have been wronged at the hands of the CIA and the Bush administration. What is in the light now cannot become dark again. And, unfortunately, these cases are only the tip of a very huge iceberg whose depth is unknown.
Political interference from Washington in the form of not-so-subtle pressure, threats and arm-twisting must not be allowed to win the day in those countries and it's long past time that Americans rise up and demand that those who work on their behalf in the CIA and the more than a dozen intel agencies attached to the US government stop breaking the law. It's too easy to feign ignorance or look the other way. And there's no excuse for not facing exactly what has been done in their names.
Just as Canadians demanded justice and accountability from our government for the RCMP's part in aiding US agents to fly Maher Arar to Syria where he was imprisoned and tortured, so it is the responsibility of all Americans to end the nightmare for so many other CIA victims.