Thursday, June 7, 2007

Italy Puts US CIA Agents on Trial

As if there isn't enough scandal for Prodi and Bush, Italy is now attempting to call the US secret program of "extraordinary rendition" a crime. The alleged program takes terrorist suspects and detains them in foreign nations and is alleged to torture prisoners.

The program has included Romania and Poland from 2003 to 2005 according to Council of Europe human rights investigator Dick Marty. Italy and Germany had complied with the program at the time and had not revealed the information in fear of breaking relations with the US.

The case involves the abduction and sudden disappearance of Egyptian Imam Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr that was released in February of this year after 4 years of detention. He was moved to Egypt for detention where he claims to have been tortured.

It appears for Italy, now that things are open, it is time to attack the US. Prime Minister Prodi and his government are attempting to derail the case, however. Prodi accuses Chief Prosecutor Spataro of overstepping state secrecy laws and putting secret Italian security practices at risk.

Not only are 25 US CIA agents charged, which the US will not release to Italy, but at least 5 Italians are charged as well. This includes Chief of Military Intelligence Nicolo Pollari.

In the hearings today, the judge threw out using former Prime Minister Berlusconi and current PM Prodi as witnesses for the case. However, it would seem that at least their top aids are not free from this case.

It will be interesting what this case will make public, how this will impact Prodi's sudden instability amid mutliple scandals and a visit from US President Bush, and to US/Italian relations that have been strained as of late. One is US anger is that the Italians have refused to offer more troops to Afghanistan.

Bush's arrival may have more relevance than to chat about G8 issues and Afghanistan, and it may have a lot to do with this case.

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