New info on rendition from Italian trial

If you've been following the renditions story at all, this is a must-read with tons of new details from testimony to an Italian court by intelligence officers. It combines the worst tradition of shadow government among Italian intelligence and security agencies with the worst you can expect from the CIA, as well as highlight the complicity of several EU governments in the rendition program, against their own citizens. Remember that there has already been at least one case of mistaken identity, not to mention that while I'm not surprised that Morocco or Egypt (or for that matter Italy) don't care about rule of law it'd be nice to see that at least some European countries do. And spare me the mock surprise, European politicians.

Most frightening, though, is this:

Arman Ahmed al-Hissini, imam of the Viale Jenner mosque in Milan and an acquaintance of Menshawi and Nasr, said both have been silenced by the Egyptian security services.

"The Arab secret services, they give names to the CIA of people who they want, people who are on the outside, such as Europe," said Hissini, an Egyptian native known locally as Abu Imad. "They give the names to the CIA, because the CIA can go to work in these countries."
I am quite willing to believe that some of the people targeted by the CIA rendition program are really nasty al-Qaeda types, although I still think it is the wrong way to go about neutralizing them, especially if there is little evidence that they are up to anything serious (indeed, surveillance might allow the uncovering of a bigger network.) But if the CIA just accepts a shopping list from the Egyptian and other services without questions -- what, are they trying to meet quotas? -- then we can all start worrying.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.