Abu Omar Describes His Abduction by CIA

Remember in 2005, when Italy issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents alleged to have kidnapped suspected radical muslims and flown them on Ghost Air to secret prisons in countries that practice torture?

One of those Italy alleged to have been kidnapped by the CIA, flown to Egypt and tortured was Abu Omar, also known as Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr.

The Washington Post reports that an 11 page handwritten account of his kidnap and torture has been smuggled out of the Egyptian prison where Abu is being held and made its way to Italian prosecutors. He describes his torture (many details have previously been made public by the Italian newspaper):

In his letter, Nasr described how his health had badly deteriorated. He had lost hearing in one ear from repeated beatings, he said, and his formerly pitch-black hair had turned all white. He said he was kept in a cell with no toilet and no lights, where "roaches and rats walked across my body."

He also gave a graphic account of Egyptian interrogation practices, including how he would be strapped to an iron rack nicknamed "the Bride" and zapped with electric stun guns.

On other occasions, he wrote, he was tied to a wet mattress on the floor. While one interrogator sat on a wooden chair perched on the prisoner's shoulders, another interrogator would flip a switch, sending jolts of electricity into the mattress coils.

Who gave the orders for the kidnapping?

Court papers allege that the kidnapping was orchestrated by the CIA's station chief in Rome and involved at least two dozen CIA operatives, most of whom arrived in Italy months before to lay the groundwork. Italian judges have issued arrest warrants for the CIA officers and have pledged to try them in absentia if necessary.

The U.S. has refused to confirm or deny the allegations.

As to Abu Omar's current whereabouts:

Nasr's wife and his lawyer in Cairo have said the cleric is still imprisoned in Egypt, although he has been released under house arrest for brief periods.

Some say the release of the letter places him in greater danger:

Abdel Hamid Shaari, president of the Islamic Cultural Center in Milan, said he was worried that the public disclosure of Nasr's letter could jeopardize his life, or at least dash any chances that he might be released. "What are they going to do with him now?" Shaari said. "He's a problem for the Italians, the Egyptians and the Americans."

Amnesty International's report on the U.S.'s use of extradorinary secret renditions (via Ghost Air) is here.

< Ken Mehlman Quits RNC Post | When Did Bob Barr Start Making Sense? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    False (none / 0) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 07:08:12 AM EST
    Frankly I think the letter is false. And publication of it with no confirmation is pure nonsense.

    And before you jump in, someone should tell Craig Whitlock that verifying that the radical Imam wrote the letter doesn't mean that it is true.

    The Washington Post falls below the standards of the Caliphate News Network.

    We send people to be tortured, Jim (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 09:52:28 AM EST
    That's the reality.  The problem you face in your blanket claim of the letter's falseness is that it flies in the face of what we already know to be true.  We don't want to stand up and just torture them ourselves, because we have to keep up our facade, so we send them away to have it done by others in our name.

    You think that's very good, I think that's very bad.  And that is much more pertainent than any speculation about the veracity of this letter.

    I wish you would just say we should torture and do it here in the USA.

    lied to (none / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:34:05 AM EST
    Dadler - I understand that you will believe any and all claims made by our enemies, and believe nothing that we say. It is your nature and you will not change, just as you do not support the war on terror, and, based on your comments re Vietnam, did not support us in the Cold War.

    I wonder. What is your basis for claiming citizenship, and why do you continue? Now I know that you were "born" here, but shouldn't there be a bit more??

    BTW - I just heard that the President of Iraq has said that in September ranking Democrats assured him that we would not pull out of Iraq. Yet that was the theme of the entire Democratic election efforts.

    How does it feel to have been lied to, Dadler. Yes, lied to! Those Democrats are dastardly liars! Impeach them! Throw'em out of office! How dare them!!!!!


    Which were the Democratic candidates (none / 0) (#4)
    by glanton on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:47:56 AM EST
    Jim, who told us that as soon as they get the gavels we're pulling out, ba-da-bang, just like that?  Inquiring minds surely want to know.

    Oh, that's right.  That isn't what they were saying.  They were instead pointing out that we'd never get out as long as GOP leadership stayed in place, that we would in fact remain "stuck in Iraq," with no definition of winning, no plan for leaving, &c.

    But its amusing to see you sticking with the "stay the course" rhetoric even when your own party has abandoned it, Jim.

    Stay alert, and stay with Fox.  


    Do you bother to read before you post? (none / 0) (#5)
    by john horse on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:50:35 AM EST
    Re: "I understand that you will believe any and all claims made by our enemies..."
    Do you bother to read before you post?  In case you missed it the letter was authenticated not by the Washington Post but by the Milan public prosecutor's office.  Are they and all democratic governments that insist on the rule of law on your enemies list?    
    We can resolve this by having bipartisan congressional hearings on the practice of rendition.  I'm sure you'll join me in calling for these.  After all, we don't kidnap and send people to be tortured.  Right?    

    Join you? (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 07:13:49 PM EST
    First... galnton's makes his usual none point. Glanton... didn't you hear what Howie said on the Caliphate News Network...??

    John Horse - If you can read...I didn't dispute who the author was, but truthfulness of the content.

    And before you jump in, someone should tell Craig Whitlock that verifying that the radical Imam wrote the letter doesn't mean that it is true.

    So who didn't read?  Oh wait, I understand. You are making a straw horse to support your claim that the letter is true. Pardon me while I giggle.

    And join you?? Heck John, I don't even like you.


    Just a claim (none / 0) (#6)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 12:24:36 PM EST
    This guy's claim of torture is only a claim.  It appears to have about as much supporting evidence as the claims of aliens doing sex research on captive humans.  Just crying "wolf" does not mean there really is a wolf.

    And if you saw photos of it... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:59:42 PM EST
    You would swear that being bitten by attack dogs was not torture...it was just fraternity hazing.

    I wrote a letter insisting I (none / 0) (#9)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Nov 11, 2006 at 06:13:22 AM EST
    Paid too much in taxes.  It has to be true.  

    Can You Handle The Truth? (none / 0) (#10)
    by john horse on Sat Nov 11, 2006 at 08:10:03 AM EST
    Was Abu Omar abducted by the CIA and sent to Egypt to be tortured?  Is he being tortured?

    I can understand those of you who don't believe Omar's story but what I can't understand is why you don't want this investigated.  We should be cooperating with the Italian government.  We should be insisting the Egyptians allow human rights representatives to visit Omar.  Our Congress should be investigating this.  We should not be afraid of finding out the truth.  After all, we are the good guys.  Right?  

    John Horse says it nicely (none / 0) (#11)
    by Sailor on Sat Nov 11, 2006 at 02:43:38 PM EST
    What is astounding about those who doubt Omar's credibility is that they don't want it investigated.

    coyote's claim about writing a letter to the irs claiming he doesn't owe taxes would be investigated by the irs. Heck, it might be true.

    I once wrote a letter to the irs saying I didn't owe taxes that they claimed, they investigated and found out I was right and they dropped their claim.

    what ppj and amir fail to mention is that they are for secret prisons and torture, so they don't care whether this happened or not.