Wayne Madsen & The Associated Press – 2007-02-03 23:01:58
Wayne Madsen / Wayne Madsen Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 31, 2007) — German prosecutors have joined their Italian counterparts in issuing arrest warrants for a number of purported CIA agents involved in the rendition of European nationals in violation of European Union and national laws.
A Munich court has issued arrest warrants for 13 purported CIA agents for the 2003 rendition to Afghanistan of Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen, from the Macedonian-Serbian border.
After the CIA realized they had the wrong man, they deposited him in Albania. Because the staging of the al-Masri kidnapping took place on the island of Mallorca, Spanish prosecutors are also looking at indicting the CIA agents involved.
Italian prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 26 purported CIA, as well as U.S. military personnel and Italian security personnel, for the 2003 rendition of an Egyptian cleric, Imam Abu Omar, a legal resident of Italy, from Milan to Egypt where he was imprisoned and tortured and likely murdered.
The Italian indictments include Robert Seldon Lady, the CIA’s Station Chief in Milan and Lt. Col. Joseph L. Romano III, US Air Force, who, at the time, was a security officer at the U.S. airbase in Aviano, Italy.
However, WMR’s sources doubted whether all the wanted Americans are actually CIA agents due to the trail of expensive bills they racked up while deployed on their rendition missions in Italy and Spain.
CIA sources have told this editor that the flashy activities and expensive bills accumulated by the Americans are more indicative of the rival Special Mission Units established by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to compete with the CIA.
These units not only relied on active duty US Special Operations forces but also reserve military personnel, retirees from the Special Forces, and select foreign nationals, including ex-British and Israeli special forces personnel.
It would have been a violation of CIA regulations and tradecraft to run up expensive and traceable personal credit card expenses on such missions and to be so obvious, according to CIA sources.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the team that abducted Masri, including individuals using the aliases of Kirk James Bird and James Fairing, stayed at one of Mallorca’s most expensive hotels where they had one food bill of $1,625 and a charge for an $81 massage.
US contract flight crews ran up expenses on Mallorca for golf course and yacht club accommodations, expensive Spanish wines, spa treatments, crystal wine glasses, and shrimp cocktails, all the US taxpayers’ expense.
The team that abducted Abu Omar from Milan stayed at Milan’s most luxurious hotels — the Hilton, Sheraton, Principe di Savoia, and the Meridien Gallia at a cost for the US taxpayers of $180,000 — and used their personal credit cards to run up expenses for high-priced rental cars and expensive meals.
Copyright 2007 Wayne Madsen Report. All rights reserved.
Berlin Issues Warrants for 13 CIA Agents in German Kidnapping
The Associated Press
(January 31, 2007) — Arrest warrants have been issued for 13 people in connection with the alleged CIA-orchestrated kidnapping of a German citizen, a Munich prosecutor said Wednesday.
Prosecutor Christian Schmidt-Sommerfeld said the warrants were issued in the past few days. He did not say for whom the warrants were issued, but indicated a statement would be issued later Wednesday.
Munich prosecutors have previously said that they had received from Spanish investigators the names of several U.S. secret agents believed to be involved in the kidnapping of Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent.
Al-Masri says he was abducted in December 2003 at the Serbian-Macedonia border and flown by the CIA to a detention centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was abused. Al-Masri says he was released in Albania in May 2004 after the CIA discovered they had the wrong person.
In September, German authorities said they received a list of about 20 suspects from Spanish investigators believed to have been involved in the case.
At the time, German media reported that Spanish authorities were probing the identities of the people they suspect flew aboard a Boeing 737 from the island of Palma de Mallorca on Dec. 24, 2003, to pick up al-Masri after he had been detained by Macedonian authorities.
ARD public television reported that investigators worked from passport photocopies made by a hotel where the suspects stayed. The report gave what it said were the cover names of three men who were pilots and lived in North Carolina.
In October, Munich prosecutors said that based on the list, they were seeking to ban several CIA agents suspected of kidnapping al-Masri from entering German territory. They did not elaborate.
The al-Masri case has been a sore point in otherwise good German-U.S. relations. The U.S. Justice Department has declined to provide Munich prosecutors assistance, citing ongoing legal proceedings in the United States.
Al-Masri has asked a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., to reinstate a lawsuit he filed against the CIA. A judge dismissed the lawsuit in May, ruling that a trial could harm national security by revealing details about CIA activities.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other U.S. officials have declined to address the case. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the United States has acknowledged making a mistake with him.
© The Canadian Press, 2007
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