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Spiegel Online is running an interview, "CIA Kidnapping Leaves Ex-Terror Suspect a Broken Man", with Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, aka Osama Hussein Nasr, aka Abu Omar. Omar was subject to extraordinary rendition by the CIA and claims to have been tortured. All charges against him were dropped and he was released from jail on February 11, 2007 — nearly four years after being taken off the streets of Milan, Italy. Abu Omar's account of being the target of an extraordinary rendition and "interrogation" in Egypt. But also of great interest was the information he provided — none — and how extraordinary rendition has silenced Abu Omar — it hasn't.

The Italians were watching Abu Omar and he was facing imminent arrest, but then...

On Feb. 17, 2003, agents employed by the US foreign intelligence agency kidnapped the radical imam right off the street in the center of the Italian city of Milan. The imam was certainly no docile pacifist: For years he had preached messages of hate against the United States to fundamentalist Muslims in Milan. He fought in Afghanistan himself, and he's said to have encouraged young recruits of jihad to do the same. To the Italians, Abu Omar was one of the big fish, and his arrest was imminent. But for the CIA he was a target, and the US terrorist hunters didn't want to wait for the rule of law to complete its course. They wanted men like Omar to be taken out of circulation as quickly and quietly as possible.

Omar's kidnappers flew him to Cairo, back to his home country, using one of the CIA's Learjets... The plan was for the Egyptian intelligence agency's unscrupulous interrogators to extract as much information out of Omar as possible.

This is how he described what was done to him by the Egyptians. These are his unverified claims:

If what Abu Omar says is true... Omar's torturers... connected electrodes to his genitalia to make him talk. They almost drove him insane by playing loud music. He says he still can't control his bladder today. As evidence, he reveals small black spots on his skin, burns from the electric shocks.

This is an example of how extraordinary renditions can damage the United States' ability to combat terrorism and counter those who excourage terrorist acts. Abu Omar was going to be arrested by the Italians, but instead CIA agents do an end-around Italian law enforcement. The CIA allegedly kidnapped Abu Omar and allegedly had him tortured in Egypt. Today instead of sitting in an Italian prison, Abu Omar is living in Alexandria, Egypt today. If he was so imminently dangerous to warrant extraordinary rendition, why was he given an "experience of martyrdom" and then released? No one who knows is telling — "The reasons for Abu Omar's release in February remain a mystery."

If anything, Abu Omar's "message of hate" has probably been amplified. He now has a story that, at least the German press, wants to cover. Surely, the United States must have gained something of strategic or tactical value from Abu Omar? But, according to the Spiegel Online story, "The investigators didn't extract any useful information from Abu Omar..."

"I would have told them anything, but I didn't know what they wanted to hear," he says.

Okay. In the light of that statement from Abu Omar, examine the most recent confessions coming out of Guantanamo Bay. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to being responsible for: the September 11th, 2001 "operation", the Richard Reid shoe bombing attempt, the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia, the 1993 World Trade Center attack, murdering Daniel Pearl, and more. CNN reported "The list of some 29 operations he was responsible for is followed by a shorter list of operations he was partially responsible for..." But, "The verbatim translation in the transcript is not always clear." Waleed bin Attash also has confessed, while at Guantanamo Bay, to "the bombings of the USS Cole and two U.S. embassies in Africa". However likely these two men are guilty and however likely their confessions are real, there are and will always be questions and lingering doubts about their credibility since they were gained through "methods of interrogation" that can be confused with torture. But, what if they're not. Is a confession gained by "torture" really a confession? Abu Omar was willing to tell his captors anything.

So today, instead of the Italian justice system prosecuting Abu Omar, they are putting twenty-six U.S. citizens, most of them CIA agents, on trial for Omar's Milan kidnapping in 2003. Abu Omar "still faces the risk of arrest as a terror suspect if he returns to Italy... but his lawyer has said that he wishes to come to Milan nonetheless to testify during the trial." Yet another example of the Bush administration doing more harm in the fight against terrorism, than good.

Originally posted to Magnifico on Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 02:15 PM PDT.

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