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Law and Disorder December 6, 2010

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A Kidnapping In Milan: The CIA On Trial

A Kidnapping In Milan: The CIA On Trial is the title of Steve Hendricks’ new book. It is a fast paced account of the realities of counter terrroism. Hendricks gives the reader a beginning to end view of international Islamist terrorist networks in Europre while examining the questions of justice and the rule of law. He writes in detail on the February 2003 disappearance of the radical imam Abu Omar and how under the leadership of prosecutor Armando Spataro, Omar was kidnapped, and sent to be tortured in Egypt. Hendricks traces Omar’s roots in the jihadist world of the Middle East and his travels to Pakistan, Albania and eventually the rundown fringes of Milan. Rivalries, mistrust and bad communication is chronicled amid the CIA, the FBI and the Italian counter terrorism agencies as operatives snatched Abu Omar from the streets of Italy.

Steve Hendricks:

  • The Italian counterterror police had this imam, Abu Omar under tight surveillance, under suspicion of terrorism. He was one of the ring leaders of a terrorist cell. They were about a month away from arresting him. But one fine day in February 2003, he sets off for his mosque and disappears.
  • The CIA had grabbed him off the street literally at high noon. They roughed him up, gagged him, drove him several hours across northern Italy –sent him to Cairo were for months and months he was savagely tortured.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood, which really might thought of as the godfathers of radical Islam, got its start in Egypt and toehold in Alexandria. Islam is not going to be re-born simply on its goodness, we have to fight for it.
  • The Egyptian authorities cracked down on the radicals and a great number of them fled all over the world, they scattered. Europe was tolerant of foreigners, Italy was one of those countries.
  • Abu Omar was tortured for about a year and then they let him out and said don’t talk about it.
  • Armando Spataro is this charismatic figure. He did his formative work as a magistrate prosecuting terrorists of the left.
  • When the kidnapping in Milan (by the CIA) happened on his watch, he treated it like anything else. He put his foot down on the rule of law.
  • SIM Card – Subscriber Identity Module. It’s not just reading the radio waves, it’s in constant contact with the cell tower back and forth. Most cell companies keep record of those interactions. What these kidnappers sloppily did is use their cellphones like teenagers.
  • The Italian prosecutors were able to find these kidnappers, they were able to track their movements everywhere they went.  Armando Spataro eventually brought charges against 25 CIA agents and one US Air Force Colonel that coordinated the arrival of agents at Aviano Air Base.
  • 23 of the 26 of the accused were convicted of kidnapping. They recieved five to eight years depending upon their degree of involvment.  What moved me to write this book, over everything was outrage over our inhumanity.
  • America has been conducting renditions for about a century.

Guest – Steve Hendricks, a freelance writer living in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Helena, Montana. He is the author, most recently, of A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial. His previous book, The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country, made several best-of-the-year lists in 2006.

GazaInCrisis NoamChomsky

Noam Chomsky – Gaza in Crisis:  Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve chronicled the events of Israeli forces in Gaza and the West Bank. Today we’re delighted to have with us Noam Chomsky, one of the world’s foremost social critics, institute professor emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy and author of many books including Failed States and Hegemony or Survival, but we talk with him today about his latest book Gaza in Crisis:  Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians. Noam Chomsky wrote Gaza In Crisis with Ilan Pappé, professor of history at the University of Exeter in the UK. This book surveys Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza from Operation Cast Lead to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in a very sobering analysis.

Noam Chomsky:

  • Let’s start with wikileaks. One of the interesting cables from the Tel Aviv embassy and it was to Clinton.
  • It was giving her talking points, about the attack on Gaza, and it tells her Israel had to attack on December 2008 in self defense because Hamas had violated the truce.
  • In December 2008 Hamas called for a renewal of the truce that Israel had broken. Israel considered it and rejected it.  I should say US/Israel because these are joint activities.
  • The fact that this can pass without comment, tells you quite a lot.
  • In the whole wikileaks episode, in my opinion is the remarkable fact is the absolute contempt of democracy that’s revealed by the embassies.
  • The most critical issue is did Israel have any right to use force in the first place? Any right?
  • Why have a border cutting Galilee in half?
  • The only way I know how to proceed is to get the United States to join the rest of the world and stop its rejectionist opposition to the overwhelming international consensus, agree to a two state settlement.
  • The strongest support for Israeli crimes is coming from the business world.
  • The most rabid supporter of Israel in the media is the Wall Street Journal. They’re not part of AIPAC, that’s the business world.
  • US military intelligence are tightly integrated with Israel. Israel destroyed secular Arab nationalism, that’s when US / Israeli relations took off in their current form.
  • It’s about expansion of settlements. Israel already controls 42 percent of the West Bank.
  • The issue is the settlements, they are all illegal.
  • It designed so that there will be no Palestinian self determination.

Guest – Noam Chomsky, n American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and political activist. He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chomsky is well known in the academic and scientific community as one of the fathers of modern linguistics, and a major figure of analytic philosophy. Since the 1960s, he has become known more widely as a political dissident and an anarchist, referring to himself as a libertarian socialist. Chomsky is the author of more than 150 books and has received worldwide attention for his views, despite being typically absent from the mainstream media.

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