Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Much Ado - And Bias - About Nothing

Jihadist imam Hassan Osama Nasr disappeared into thin air off a Rome street -- and now the LA Times has written a story even thinner than that air, presenting no credible evidence, despite much grunting and heavy lifting, to explain their theory that the CIA is behind Nasr's abduction. According to the positions stated in the story, Nasr was lifted as an act of "extraordinary rendition" -- the taking of someone illegally to a country that allows torture.

Extraordinary rendition is a rallying cry of Guantanamo apologists and defenders of Jihadists. If it's true, so what? It's war, they're legit targets, and we need intelligence.

But there's no proof in this major LAT story -- tipping the scales at a hefty 1,213 words -- that any such thing happened. What it all boils down to is this: Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi likes Bush, his opposition likes neither Berlusconi or Bush, and they have raised allegations that Nasr is an extraordinary rendition victim.

Of course the CIA and the American embassy don't comment or deny. Why should they? Especially when this is the sum total of the evidence reporters Tracy Wilkinson and Bob Drogin were able to assemble:
Italian media have cited a witness who says that on Feb. 17, 2003, Abu Omar was walking to the Viale Jenner mosque in Milan when a group of men surrounded him, bundled him into a mini-van and sped away. The busy mosque, a converted garage on a main street, was once labeled by U.S. officials as the principal al-Qaida logistics center in Europe. To this day, it is under heavy police surveillance and its members -- primarily Middle Easterners and North Africans -- are considered hostile to outsiders.
The ethnicity, politics or believability of the one witness are not shared with we readers. Here's the other "evidence:"
"The horror story of the post-9/11 world is that any foreign national anywhere in the world can be plucked from the streets of anywhere, whisked off to another country, never be heard from again and be utterly beyond the reach of the law," Joseph Margulies, a Chicago-based lawyer ....
Margulies has defended four scumbags from Guantanamo and has made quite a career recently out of alleging all sorts of mistreatment of his upstanding clients. He's about as credible as ... well, about as credible as the LAT.