Convicted Criminals Assisted by the Irish Authorities

On 4 November an Italian judge convicted 23 CIA agents and two Italian agents for their role in the 2003 kidnapping of a Muslim cleric. Milan judge Oscar Magi sentenced former Milan CIA station chief Bob Seldon Lady  to 8 years in prison, and 22 other agents to 5 years for their role in the abduction of Egyptian cleric Abu Omar. Italian Air Force Colonel Joseph Romano , who was responsible for the CIA kidnapping team’s flight to Egypt from a U.S. air base in Italy was also convicted.

The Wall Street Journal of Nov 5th called the decision "a landmark ruling on the controversial [illegal] U.S. practice of abducting [kidnapping] suspected terrorists and flying them to other countries for interrogation [torture]".

To our shame, the Irish government has aided and abetted these CIA agents as they went (and possibly still go) about their business of torture. The plane that they used to bring Abu Omar to be tortured was refuelled at Shannon on its return flight. Sadly the Irish police, most likely under orders from senior authorities, have repeatedly and steadfastly refused to investigate this grave violation of national and international law.

Abu Omar was abducted in Milan on 17 February 2003 by the CIA agents. He was taken to the joint US/Italian airbase at Aviano, Italy, and then flown to the US airbase at Ramstein, Germany. From there he was flown on a CIA-leased plane to Egypt where he was tortured. On 18th February 2003 the airplane with registration number NV85VM landed in Shannon airport at 5.52am directly from Egypt where it had deposited Abu Omar. It refuelled before leaving for the USA. (See Amnesty International's report "Breaking the Chain: Ending Ireland's Role in Renditions" (pages 16/17), available at http://www.amnesty.ie/amnesty/upload/images/amnesty_ie/...n.pdf).

As the Irish authorities insist on helping these CIA torturers, there seems to be little point in contacting the local or national police here should they be on board - or even step off - another plane at Shannon. Repeated requests asking the Gardai there to search known rendition planes have failed. So if anyone does see them on Irish soil, or suspects that they may be on it, it is important to insist that an Garda Siochana do their duty and uphold the law. But because they will most likely fail to do their duty, it will also be necessary to contact Interpol,  the international police agency. This can be done by going to  http://www.interpol.int/Public/mail/mail3.asp?id=fug or by faxing +33 4 72 44 71 63 (Swiss number). +33 4 72 44 71 63

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