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Italian Courts, Rattlesnakes and Atomic Bombs PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Monday, 27 June 2005 04:04

Italian Courts, Rattlesnakes and Atomic Bombs

There is such a gigantic gap between the way the U.S. government is now "fighting terrorism" and the normal means for such things in relatively civilized countries that sometimes the two approaches are directly contradictory. In the following story, the Italian government is saying the CIA's methods are actually illegal and has ordered the arrest of those carrying them out in Italy.

Posted with Permission from Blank Out Times
Are the CIA men who are "putting their lives on the line to fight terrorism" heroes or criminals? Bush says they are heroes. In Italy the court system says they are criminals. Does that mean Italy is on the "other side" in the so-called "War on Terror"? Note that the Italian court system is also pressing charges against the suspected terrorist the CIA kidnapped and had tortured. The Italians know he's a terrorist and they are still saying it's a crime to just grab him off the street and have him tortured. Who is right? Who is wrong? George Bush has said that if you are not on his side, then you are on the side of the terrorists. Is civilization so far gone that prosecuting terrorists in court is considered collaboration with them?

Italian judge orders CIA team arrested over kidnap
By Emilio Parodi and Phil Stewart
Friday, June 24, 2005; 3:35 PM

MILAN/ROME (Reuters) - An Italian judge has ordered the arrest of 13 people linked to the CIA for "kidnapping" an Egyptian terrorism suspect in Milan and flying him to Egypt where he said he was tortured, judicial sources said on Friday.

"In the judge's order, it (the abduction) is clearly attributed to the CIA," a source said.

Confirming the arrest warrant without mentioning the U.S. intelligence agency, the prosecutors office said the 13 suspects were believed to be behind the abduction of imam Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, who was grabbed off a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003 and stuffed into a white van.

Nasr was then taken to a U.S. air base in Aviano, Italy and flown to Egypt, stopping over on the way in Ramstein, Germany, to change planes, the prosecutors' statement said.

The judicial source cited the warrant, which has still not been made public, as saying a CIA agent known to Italian authorities coordinated the operation.

The source added there was no indication Italy had authorized the "illegal kidnapping."

A CIA spokesperson in Washington said: "We're not even not commenting. We're saying: if we have anything to say, we'll get back to you." The U.S. embassy in Rome declined comment.

The prosecutors office said it would request "judicial assistance" from U.S. and Egyptian authorities.

Another judicial source said: "We know some of the identities of these (suspects) with certainty, but with others we are not sure of their true identity."

Foreign intelligence officials believe Nasr had fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia before arriving in Italy in 1997 and obtaining political refugee status. When he disappeared, he was under investigation in Italy for suspected ties to terrorism, including recruiting militants for Iraq.

Italy laid charges against Nasr on Friday, formally ordering his arrest for terrorism, which paves the way for his possible extradition to Milan. But his current whereabouts are unknown. (Go to original link above for the rest of Post story)

Contrary to what happens in Hollywood movies and George Bush's ideas about how to fight a "War on Terror", American police do not have the legal authority to arrest people in foreign countries. The CIA aren't police and actually don't have the legal authority to arrest people anywhere, not even in the U.S.

Americans live in a very large country that is a long way away from most other countries. It is not surprising that most Americans have little contact with other countries and know relatively little about them. It is also common that Americans know virtually nothing about how different countries interact with each other, where jurisdictions begin and end and how criminals are normally brought to justice when they flee across international borders.

For this reason, there is a tendency for Americans to not really think of other countries as real. They must be out there someplace, but for Americans who have not been abroad, Texas is a lot more real than South Africa. Because America is so large, there is also a tendency to think of other countries as being somehow subordinate to the authority of the U.S. Perhaps it will come as a shock to people who have listened to too many George Bush speeches and have never traveled outside the borders of Iowa, that there are other countries out there which are quite real, rather large and are not "banana republics" where the government is just a sham controlled by a wacky dictator or by the U.S. or by a wacky dictator controlled by the U.S.

Take Italy for example, "the old country" to many Americans or to their grandfathers. It is a fundamental principle of international law that all independent nations are sovereign and are legally equal. The United States government has recognized that Italy and about 200 other countries are legally equal to the United States. That means our laws don't apply in their territory and their laws don't apply in our territory. Our police can't go arrest people in their country and their police can't just come over here and arrest people in our country.

I ask every American who thinks it's great for American CIA agents to grab people on the streets of Milan, Italy in violation of the law, kidnap them to a Middle Eastern country (Egypt) and hand them over to torturers: What would be your reaction to Italian intelligence agents grabbing people off the streets of Chicago or New York and taking them to Italy or Egypt or Libya to be tortured because some Italian bureaucrat thought the American they grabbed was a terrorist or was involved in the mafia. Would that be okay? And if you trust the Italians to do this, how would you feel about the Egyptian police or Libyan military intelligence grabbing Americans off the streets of American cities and kidnapping them away to foreign prisons to be tortured without trial? Still sound good? Or is it that you only think it's good if the U.S. does it? The rest of the world aren't Americans and no matter how much you want America to have a special authority and special privileges that other nations must bow down to, that is not what the rest of the world wants and it is a violation of the most fundamental principles of international law and civilized behavior among nations.

I can almost hear the reaction of the armchair jingoists who have loved every war America ever entered, but the only war they've seen is in movies and on television. In boyish ignorance masquerading as superior knowledge they will say, "Italy? Italy? Italy hasn't won a war in their entire history! In World War II the Italian salute was to hold both hands straight up (the gesture of surrender). We could bitch slap Italy with both hands tied behind our backs. Who cares if the Italians don't like it? What are they gonna do about it?"

Italians have won many wars in their history, (that's how the Roman Empire was created) but that's beside the point. The civilized way to deal with other nations is with respect for their sovereignty regardless of who would win a war if we had to fight them. If we don't respect their sovereignty, we probably will have to fight them. That's why it's better to be civilized. And no, being civilized is not the same thing as being gay.

No matter how many Italian troops surrendered in World War II, I don't think you would find any veterans of the Battle of Anzio who would tell you it was easy. A lot of Americans died there, in Italy, despite how American armchair jingoists pretend that Italian military capabilities are all that matter and they can be safely ignored because they are "wimpy". But wait, the jingoists must reply, "at Anzio it wasn't Italian troops that were causing us so much trouble, it was their allies, the Germans!"

Ah yes. And there is your clue, my clueless friends. There is your clue to why you and the president you love so much are like ignorant children playing with fire. Any nation contemplating war with a more powerful nation will of course seek ALLIES! How many allies they can find depends largely on HOW MANY PEOPLE AMERICA KEEPS PISSING OFF!

The United States has about 5% of the population of the world. Five percent. If the United States makes the rest of the world our enemy, we would be outnumbered about twenty to one. If we had Britain, Canada, Australia and Israel on our side.... we would still be outnumbered about twenty to one.

Go ahead, brag that we would win anyway. Then think about how many foreign countries already have nuclear weapons. (Do you even know?) Think about how many people would die in another world war and how many of them would be Americans. Then shut the fuck up.

If the United States does not respect the most basic principles of civilized behavior between nations such as respecting national sovereignty and not kidnapping people off the streets of foreign cities, there are dire consequences. One other basic principle of international relations is that nations gang up on whichever country is the most threatening.

When Napoleon was Emperor of France, almost every country in Europe ganged up on the French and Napoleon was defeated. In World War II, Germany and its allies were seen by most of the world as the most dangerous power. They violated the national sovereignty of many nations, insulted others, broke treaties, lied, tortured and completely disregarded the principles of civilized behavior among nations. So, most of the nations of the world, including the United States, ganged up on them and defeated them. In the Cold War, the Soviet Union's policy of supplying arms and assistance to communist rebel groups convinced many countries around the world that the Soviet Union was more dangerous to them than any other country and so they helped the United States and its allies.

George Bush wants the world to gang up on Osama Bin Laden and his small gang of terrorists. This sounds perfectly reasonable in the U.S. these days. The rest of the world does not see it that way.

Opinion polls in the rest of the world make it very clear that in most foreign countries, the United States is seen as a serious threat to them. A far more serious threat, in fact, than Osama bin Laden. That's right. Now, in unison, let's hear the jingoist knee-jerk reaction, "Well if they don't like us, then to Hell with 'em. We can kick their asses anyway."

Do you all feel better now? That's great, but that doesn't make any of this go away. Gigantic numbers of people in the world hate the U.S. Not all of them. In fact, it's impressive that recent polls still show that 43% of the people in France have a favorable opinion of the U.S. and even 23% in Pakistan, believe it or not. Those numbers were higher until recently, but there are still many with those views. After all, even if people see the U.S. as an unpredictable, dangerous, militarist aggressor, it's not the only one. People in Pakistan, for example, are probably a lot more worried that they will be killed in a nuclear war between their country and India than that the U.S. will hurt them. In case you weren't paying attention, Pakistan and India almost had a nuclear war in 2002. If that war they fear so much actually happens, those 23% with a favorable impression of the U.S. are probably hoping the U.S. would be on their side in that war. It's harsh situations like that which keep so many people from seeing the U.S. as their enemy. They have other enemies closer to home.

But George Bush's government has been working every day at implementing policies which bring home America's "War on Terror" to more and more people in more and more countries around the world. The polls show the results. More and more people feel threatened by the U.S. Polls show substantial support in in foreign countries for some nation or alliance of nations to challenge the military dominance of the United States. For those Americans too naive or too ignorant of how the world works to realize this, the primary foreign danger America faces today is not from terrorists. It's not from Iran. It's not from China or Russia. The biggest foreign danger to the U.S. is that virtually ALL the major powers of the world will form an alliance against us. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, this has been the main danger to the U.S. If that happens, there is likely to be either a new Cold War or another world war which will be worse than the others.

It doesn't have to happen.

The U.S. could be friendly and respectful to other nations, large and small. But insulting foreigners (like the French, for example, who were subjected to a recent pointless outburst of American hatred) or violating their sovereignty (like the case above in Italy) or disregarding international law (like invading Iraq when Iraq had not committed an act of war against the U.S.) will cause more and more people and nations to feel that the biggest threat to them is coming from the U.S.

I'm trying to make complex issues simple because there's so much simplistic thinking being exhibited in public comments in the U.S. on these topics. "Freedom fries" indeed. Think about that for a moment. France certainly did not engage in any act of war against the U.S. All they did was warn us that invading Iraq was a bad idea and, frankly, they were right. For that they were scorned, mocked, insulted and threatened by pundits, politicians and even the President of the United States.

It has come to be "common knowledge" in the U.S. that France has no military capabilities to speak of. Many people in the U.S. have talked about how France has "never won a war in its entire history." France did lose in Vietnam, but did America do any better? France was one of the winners of World War I, World War II and the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Yes, there were thousands of French troops fighting against Saddam in that war. In case you don't believe the news reports, a friend of mine who was fighting in that war as a U.S. Army soldier saw the French troops himself. True, France had ALLIES, such as the U.S., in those wars. France is pretty good at forming alliances that win world wars, even when France is much weaker than their enemies. Think about that.

One other thing. You jingoist fools who derided France on command like Pavlov's dogs, you seemed pretty scared of the idea that Iraq might, maybe, possibly have almost gotten an atomic bomb. Just one atomic bomb. A little one. With no missiles or bombers capable of flying it to the U.S. Does it occur to you that France already has nuclear weapons? France has 348 nuclear warheads. France has four ballistic missile submarines that are designed, like all ballistic missile submarines, to go far and deep into the ocean, hide anywhere from the tropics to the Arctic Ocean, evade hostile naval forces, and be ready to fire their nuclear missiles on a moment's notice.

The range of their weapons is thousands of miles and they are easily capable of reaching any target in Europe, North America or anywhere else if they have time to reposition the submarines. Those weapons could kill tens of millions of Americans at any time if the French weren't our friends despite all the insults. The U.S. Navy is not capable of finding and destroying those submarines before they could launch their weapons. You armchair admirals may remember that France bought old U.S. submarines with Polaris missiles from the U.S. They're ancient and we know every bolt on those subs, you may say. But if you say that, you're showing how out of date you are. France has two new ballistic missile submarines built in France in 1997 and 1999 named Le Triomphant and Le Temeraire. They're not old and we don't know all their capabilities.

I'm not trying to convince anyone that France is a threat or an enemy. But I want people here in America to understand some harsh realities. We insult, injure and invade foreigners at our peril. International law and diplomatic norms are not "legal niceties". They are ways of avoiding wars.

American military power is not infinite. At this point, with over 150,000 U.S. troops fighting unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can't even afford to insult harmless old beggars on the streets of little towns in Iraq. Why not? Because they see who drives on the roads. They see who plants bombs that kill our soldiers every single fucking day. And the ones who hate us say nothing and watch our men die. The ones who like us, warn our troops and save the lives of American soldiers. Unfortunately, friendly Iraqis are in short supply so the bombs keep catching our troops by surprise. I doubt a single one of those bombs was planted without sympathetic witnesses who said nothing to warn U.S. troops.

That's happening partly because dumbasses in the U.S. thought it didn't matter if Arabs didn't like how friendly America was with Israel or didn't like things Israel did to other Arabs. So what if some Arab beggar in Balad, Iraq is mad that American weapons are being used by Israelis to kill Palestinian Arabs. The Arabs were terrorists anyway, right? The Israelis are the good guys, right? Maybe so, but every time another bomb kills American soldiers on the roads of Iraq, try to remember that it does matter if we piss off foreigners. Even poor old beggars who live in weak countries and have no nuclear weapons.

Now let's consider how monumentally stupid it is to piss of people who DO have nuclear weapons. Do you really want to keep insulting the French? We won't ever need their help in another war, right? We don't have to worry about them joining an alliance with Russia, China, Germany, India, Japan, Italy, Iran, North Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, etc. etc. etc. And it doesn't matter that France and five other nations on that list already have nuclear weapons, right? All of us here in America are magically immune to radiation and ten megaton nuclear blasts, right?

You fools. Do you think it's fun to tease rattlesnakes? They're small and easy to stomp on. You would win any fight against them. Right?

Teasing rattlesnakes would be less dangerous than voting for presidents who threaten and insult countries armed with nuclear weapons. Did you hear President Bush lecture President Putin about democracy? Now I know most Americans can only name eight foreign countries if their lives depended on it and even then only if they have been there on vacation or if the countries in question have been mentioned in the American news recently. But try hard. Think back. Didn't there used to be a country called Russia that we were supposed to be scared of a few years ago? Does any of this ring a bell? Can you remember why Russia was scary? Communism? No, no, Albania was communist, too, were you afraid of them? So was Yugoslavia and Ethiopia. All of them were communist back then. So what. There is one other reason besides it being communist that maybe made Russia a little more scary than Albania. That might have been the tiny little detail that Russia had THOUSANDS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!!!! THOUSANDS! Did you know they still have them? Intercontinental ballistic missiles. Nuclear bombers. Ballistic missile submarines. Air launched nuclear cruise missiles. Sea launched nuclear cruise missiles. Ground launched nuclear cruise missiles. Backpack nukes. Suitcase nukes. Every kind of nukes. They also have biological weapons. Chemical weapons. Nerve gas. Anthrax. Small pox. They have it all. It doesn't matter now, though, right? They're not communists anymore. They're our friends. Aren't they? Well, yes, pretty much. Let's try and keep it that way. It's kind of important.

When President Bush insulted Putin and lectured him like a teacher to a child about democracy, did you cheer Bush on? When President Bush accused Russia of interfering in the elections in the Ukraine (which until 1991 was part of the same country as Russia) did you cheer Bush on? Meanwhile, the U.S. government was giving millions of dollars to one of the presidential candidates in the Ukraine. Bush intervenes in elections in the Ukraine, thousands of miles away from the U.S., and threatens Putin (with what, war?) if Russia intervenes in elections in the Ukraine right across the border from Russia.

Get the idea? Don't play with rattlesnakes. Don't insult the French. Don't piss off the Russians. And don't vote for politicians who think it's okay to kidnap people off the streets of Italy and have them tortured. Even if they are terrorists. (The Italians were going to lock the guy up, anyway.)

But it's still safe to hate "rag-head" Moslems, right? They're still the enemy, right? They still don't have atomic bombs thanks to our glorious army and a president who actually has some balls for a change. Right?

Hmmm... are you sure about that? I mean, if you believed George Bush's lies, then you thought Iraq was darn close to having an atomic bomb and giving it straight to terrorists on their way to attack America. And if you still believe George Bush, then Iran is supposedly real darn close to doing the same thing. Other Moslem countries have tried to get atomic bombs too. There are reports that Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria tried to get atomic bombs or chemical weapons. Clinton said Sudan was even trying to make chemical weapons, although it turns out that probably wasn't true.

If you believe all that, then there's Moslems all over the place trying to get atomic bombs and other weapons of mass destruction. If the U.S. kills more Moslems, desecrates more Korans (Moslem holy books) like happened at Guantanamo, keeps siding with Israel against Moslems, and Americans back home keep boldly insulting "rag-heads" and talking about "let's just nuke 'em", do you think that Moslems will work harder on getting nuclear weapons, or slack off? And if any Moslem country anywhere succeeds in getting an atomic bomb, do you think that their decision on whether to store it away or use it to blast New York City to ruins will be at all influenced by how mad at the U.S. they are at the time?

Now if you are big Bush fan with an average level of knowledge of world affairs then you are probably saying, "That's why we need to do whatever it takes to make sure they never GET an atomic bomb, you pompous liberal peacenik fag." (Actually I'm not anything like that, but that's what you're thinking, isn't it?)

Now, if you are one of the less common Americans who know a few basic facts about the world (or you aren't American and know a few basic facts about the world) then there is one obvious gaping hole in my analysis above that probably has you calling me a moron and jumping up in down in frustration that I could be so stupid. Let me reassure you. Yes, I know. I left that out on purpose.

I thought it would be more effective to get the warmongers to think it all through in their own way and convince themselves that I am a fool who thinks that being nice to terrorists will prevent war. Some will say it with glee because war excites them and advocating war (but not fighting in one) makes them feel more manly than they usually feel. Some will say it with grim determination because they think they understand the grim facts better than I do and that there is no other way. They figure the danger is just too great that if an undemocratic Moslem country full of people who hate America had atomic bombs that they would give them to terrorists and we would be bombed.

I let them get self-righteous and adamant about how important it is for the U.S. military to go anywhere, break any law and kill anyone to prevent Moslems from getting atomic bombs. I let them think it through with only the knowledge they have and what I have given them so far. I let them imagine they understand the situation and that Bush's policy makes sense and is wise. I didn't tell them anything that wasn't true. I just didn't tell them something that is true. Something George Bush never talks about, but is absolutely indisputably true and not in dispute. If you don't know what I'm talking about and you still think the U.S. military must prevent Moslems from getting atomic bombs even though that meant invading Afghanistan and Iraq, and even if it means invading Iran, then I want you to think really hard about whether the picture of the world George Bush has given you is accurate when I tell you this one additional fact:

Pssst... Pakistan is a Moslem country and they already have atomic bombs.

Yes, they do. Pakistan actually exploded SIX atomic bombs in May, 1998 in a series of tests. They also have nuclear missiles, nuclear bombers, nuclear weapons factories, and chemical and biological warfare research programs. They already have all the stuff Bush said Saddam was trying to get.

It's too late to prevent Moslems from getting atomic bombs. And it's too late to pretend you know what you're talking about if you thought U.S. troops should fight to prevent Moslems from getting atomic bombs.

If you imagine that Moslems in Pakistan are more moderate (they're not) or not hostile towards the U.S. (only 23% had a favorable opinion of the U.S. in a recent poll) or that they are democratic (Pakistan is ruled by a military dictator who seized power by force in 1999) then you are mistaken.

If enough Moslems in Pakistan get mad enough and feel threatened enough, they can give atomic bombs to terrorists any time they want to. Keep calling them "rag-heads". Cheer on American troops as they bust down doors and storm into Moslem homes in Iraq. Let Bush's men keep torturing Moslems at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Hundreds of thousands of Moslems have protested and even rioted over all this, including gigantic crowds in Pakistan. So what, you say. So what.

Go ahead. Tease the rattlesnake. You're bigger than it is. What can it do?

Comments on this article can be viewed and posted here.

Posted with permission.  Original source: Blank Out Times
Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2005 04:04

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