Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The European Parliament CIA Saga

Well CEEI readers, yours truly has been chronicling off and on this European parliamentary probe into CIA rendition flights and other skullduggery on European soil. Well, on Valentine's Day, they issued their final report. More precisely, the report was voted on by over a thousand lame lawmakers. Yes, that number is right. Here's how the vote broke down: 382 backed the report, 256 voted against, and 745 abstained. Wow, the European parliament is big. Anyway, the final report more or less repeated some of the stuff I've already reported. At least 1,245 CIA flights alleged in and out of Europe since 9/11. The lawmakers picked on several countries including Spain, Romania and Poland. It also said the Italian government had to know of the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar within its territory. An Italian prosecutor wants to try 26 Americans, all but one CIA spooks, and six Italians over the 2003 kidnapping of the Muslim cleric Abu Omar in Milian. The vote broke down the left-right political spectrum. Socialist Claudio Fava, who authored the report, said, "It is the rigorous analysis of five years of excesses and abuses often tolerated in the name of the fight against terrorism." On the other side of the aisle, rightwingers accused the accusers of 'anti-Americanism." Jas Gawronski, a leading conservative, said the report, "presumes there is one chief guilty party and that is the United States. That's why we don't like this report." Think this will be anything more than another report to be tossed in the pile and forgotten, think again. EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said: "It is not for the European institutions to pass judgement and to hand out verdicts but... to ask that the truth be sought." He was refurther to further probes at the national level now ongoing in several states including Germany, Spain and Portugal. On Wednesday, Switzerland started criminal proceedings against those responsible for the abduction of Abu Omar in Italy and allegedly flown thru Swiss airspace. According to the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, U.S.-registered planes suspected of being used by the CIA crossed Swiss airspace at least 74 times since 2001.

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