EU tide turns on Washington, Milan takes the lead
This administration's days of riding roughshod over Europe are coming to an unsightly end.
TWO senior officials of the Italian military intelligence agency were arrested yesterday for allegedly helping the CIA to kidnap a terrorism suspect on a street in Milan three years ago.And these aren't any old warrants. All of Europe is in on it.
A judge also issued arrest warrants for four Americans involved in the abduction.
The new warrants allow for the suspects' detention anywhere in the 25-nation EU, a prosecutor said.Keep in mind, Italy's not necessarily standing up for Abu Omar; they're pissed that the CIA is operating on their turf, without their knowledge.* * *
Armando Spataro, the prosecutor, has already issued arrest warrants for 22 CIA agents said to be implicated in the abduction. Of the four additional Americans being sought, three were alleged CIA agents and the fourth worked at the US military air base in Aviano, in northern Italy, where Abu Omar was taken after being seized on a Milan street.
Italian investigators do not question that Abu Omar was suspected of involvement in terrorism. They say their own surveillance of him — including wiretapped phone calls — led them to believe that he had ties to al-Qaeda and was recruiting insurgents for Iraq. They complain however that the alleged CIA abduction cut across their own investigations and was a violation of Italian sovereignty.However, there are strong signs that Europeans in general, including Italians, will no longer tolerate this administration's use of their resources to commit human rights violations.
But, not everyone agrees.
"It is extremely serious that the deputy director [of SISMI] was arrested, especially when the director came to parliament and said he knew nothing about this, and now [he] is being arrested," said Italian socialist MEP Claudio Fava when speaking in the European Parliament.
Green MEPs Cem Ozdemir from Germany and Raul Romeva from Spain said "The arrest of Marco Mancini in Milan today confirms the collusion of EU Member States in CIA abuses on European territory.""This arrest is only the tip of the iceberg. Strong suspicions of collusion exist in a number of member states," they added in a statement.
"Now that the Italian administration has begun to treat these charges with the seriousness they deserve, all other member states must follow suit and cooperate completely with the ongoing investigations," the green MEPs added.
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[T]he European parliament prepared to vote today on a report accusing the CIA of operating more than 1,000 secret flights over EU territory to transport suspects to third countries, many of which employ torture. The report's author, Italian MEP Claudio Fava, suggested some EU governments knew about the flights.
Labour members of the European parliament said they would back the report.
Claude Moraes MEP said: "Transparency and upholding decent human rights standards will ultimately aid the fight against terrorism."
Jas Gawronski, an MEP from Mr Berlusconi's party, said: "Osama Bin Laden is happy. In my country today, instead of arresting terrorists we're arresting those who are hunting terrorists."I have news for Gawronski (that doesn't sound Italian, btw). If Bin Laden is laughing - he's doing it from his grave.