Saturday, March 05, 2016

Italian Justice & The Telling Status Of Extraditions To And From Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell

The Italian Justice System

Any faithful adherents of this campaign know that, in two respects, Italy’s popular justice system is very unusual. 

First, crime-rates and especially murder-rates are low by European standards and very low by American standards and its incarceration rate is only 1/6 that of the United States. At the same time it still does suffer under the presence of several mafias and their fellow travelers and nefarious cousins the rogue masons and corrupt politicians.

Second, Italy’s justice system was set up post WWII to be exceptionally fair to defendants and in subsequent reforms even more-so, for example all appeals are automatic and “fairness” process steps can stretch on for years. And yet even so, the mafias and their fellow travelers and rogue masons and corrupt politicians bend the system even more now and then to their advantage.

The Knox-Sollecito-Guede case played out in these contexts and was unquestionably corrupted.

There has still been zero attempt to repudiate these accusations of law-breaking by Judges Marasca and Bruno of the Fifth Chambers of Cassation. Sollecito’s several visits to the Caribbean hideyhole of these relatives to try to pull strings is known about on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Italian justice system does not give up easily. Multi-prong law-enforcement and media investigations do continue into those angles and other angles. To our occasional frustration they mostly play out behind the scenes. But clearly the case will not be not fully over for some years yet.

International Votes Of Approval

If countries agree to extradite to other countries, that suggests a high degree of trust in justice at both ends. They are in effect voting confidence in each other’s justice systems.

Italy achieves an exceptionally high rate of extraditions in both directions and continues to sign more bilateral treaties.

It is clearly trusted almost worldwide as a destination where those charged will receive a fair shake. And it is very no-nonsense about sending back fleeing felons who try to go to ground there.

Had Amanda Knox’s final appeal not been corrupted, it is extremely unlikely that any a-political judge in the United States would have concluded Italian police and prosecutors had done a poor job and refused to extradite her. Right now she would be serving out her much-deserved time in a nice Italian prison.

The CIA Operatives Case (Resumed)

Now back in the news is the Abu Omar kidnapping case. Remember that one? We posted on it frequently. See our posts here and here and here and here.

Milan CIA Chief Robert Lady and over 20 other CIA agents and several Italian agents kidnapped Abu Omar - a suspected radical who actually had zero involvement in terrorism - and most received prison sentences, some later anulled but not all of them.

For murky reasons Italy’s Ministry of Justice never formally requested the United States to extradite the operatives.

But they did initiate both European and worldwide arrest warrants (red notices) which are close to being the equivalent - they create a kind of living hell, label fugitives as felons worldwide, and make all their foreign travel parlous.

The fugitive Milan chief Robert Lady quietly set himself up in Panama which then had no extradition treaty with Italy. Panama was about to hand him over anyway, but he skipped out on an American aircraft. He was last heard from somewhere in the US lamenting that he is flat-broke (Italy seized his planned retirement home, his main asset) and not in good health and was muttering about suing the CIA or the State Department.

The President of the Italian Republic - the head of the justice system - did agree last year to reduce his sentence from nine to seven years.

Operative Sabrina de Souza

Sabrina de Souza (who has joint US and Portuguese citizenship) was another CIA operative the Italians have long wanted.

You can see her image above and in this report where she too was muttering about a lawsuit against the US government.

Five months ago, Sabrina de Souza was nabbed in Portugal and the Portuguese justice system observed due process in examining the arrest and extradition warrants.

It now seems likely that Sabrina de Souza will become the first CIA operative in the case to serve time in an Italian prison.

The US is not intervening, even though she may spill the beans in a way that could be embarrassing (well, embarrassing for the GW Bush legacy).

Our Own Learning Experience

Note that this case is five years older than Meredith’s case - the crime was in 2003 and trial in 2009 - and yet the legal processes keep ticking.

And Knox faces known further trials, and may not be safe from a red notice during her lifetime.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/05/16 at 03:46 PM in The judical timelineThe legal followupsUS etc related


The morality that potentially drives these operatives is interesting (assuming they’re in it for things more than just the money and the houses): ‘following orders’ and being outside and above the law.

But isn’t that the same ‘morality’ that (some of) the terrorists and insurgents follow?

Posted by catnip on 03/06/16 at 12:43 AM | #

Hi catnip

Sure. Same morality. That’s why waterboarding and rendering were wound back, by the Obama team. Also the info squeezed out was said to be never very good. Obama then continued the drone strikes, which are notorious for taking whole families out.

I dont think the Russians would have needed 30 operatives to nab one mullah off a street. I guess all the manpower was employed to chauffeur Omar to his flight to Egypt. Seems like a lot.

I encountered CIA etc guys now and then, the ones embedded in embassies, they would regard us in the UN hopefully as a source of what goes on inside governments (which we did know, sometimes to an astonishing extent) but I was never actually asked, and I dont know of any colleagues who were.

Staff of bilateral aid programs would come by to be briefed and that was okay as it was their governments who were funding us too. In Khartoum it was also quite often missionaries headed for the south where they were christianizing anybody they could nab. For their education and health and increasingly food programs we regarded them as a plus.

Worst by far were the IMF and World Bank guys flown in (my wife worked for field offices of the Bank) who had this one-note approach: first, the harsh Washington Consensus, in theory to set things up for growth. But, but, but…

Growth never happened, unsurprisingly to me. What saved dozens of countries from this rabid economic puritanism was the fact that Japan from the 80s and then the Little Tigers (Singapore etc) and then China and India all rocketed forward without any “help” from IMF and World Bank economists at all.

I like figures and use them a lot but pure math brains can be very scary things. Knox’s father, mother and stepfather are all pure math brains. Most are good but a few not - they show psychopathic signs. It could be revealing to put the Knox tribe through CAT scans.

Knox never took a polygraph test either. Experts who study her expressions and language skills tell us she would fail such a test big-time.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/06/16 at 04:57 PM | #

Sabrina de Souza is from Goa, India, but it was a Portuguese colony sometime back and that is how she got Portuguese citizenship. I believe her parents are still in Goa.

According to Washington Post, CIA told her not to leave the US for her own safety which she ignored. She did make a brilliant defense of all her actions in Italy as a CIA agent. I was impressed.

Morality? It is nothing but lack of opportunity!

Posted by chami on 03/07/16 at 04:21 AM | #

Oh?! Thank you Chami. That sure is interesting. Maybe its to her advantage to get back to Italy and mediate with them?

India is an astonishing country to wander around in and parts have great beauty including the coastal Cochin (which I know) and Goa further north (which I need to get to) and the Himalaya foothills which are the subject of an ongoing historical BBC drama now (“Indian Summers”) which sure shows some of the pre-partition complexities.

My guess is Meredith would have been pretty proud of her heritage and probably saddened and angry at how badly sustained colonialism post WWI continues to mess all of us up.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/07/16 at 02:00 PM | #
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