Sunday, March 4, 2007

With Allies Like These, Who Needs Enemies

The Wall Stree Journal has an article discussing the Italian prosecution of 25 CIA agents involved in a joint operation with Italian intelligence to capture Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, an Islamist terrorist recruiter then living in Milan.

[This capture] . . . four years ago in an operation carried out by U.S. and Italian intelligence could have been a model for transatlantic cooperation in counterterrorism. Instead, it is becoming Exhibit A in how European politicians are working against the U.S., undermining the fight against Islamic terrorism and endangering the NATO alliance.
. . . .

. . . no one, including the Italian prosecutors, doubts that Nasr posed a security risk. In 2005, a Milan court, at Mr. Spataro's behest, issued an arrest warrant for Nasr, charging him with building a terrorist network in Europe that actively recruited terrorists, including for Iraq. Eight of his accomplices have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison on similar charges, and Italian authorities believe more are at large
. . . .
European politicians are more at fault here than any prosecutor. Since the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., many European leaders have been playing a double game, working with the U.S. to root out terrorist plots on the sly -- and saving countless lives -- while publicly condemning "American methods" in rhetoric that has fed rising anti-Americanism. It doesn't help that many Europeans embrace the preposterous legal notion of "universal jurisdiction," the idea that an ambitious prosecutor can indict and try anyone for an alleged crime committed anywhere in the world.

This is the climate in which, for example, a German court this month issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents allegedly involved in transferring a German-Lebanese terrorist suspect, Khaled al-Masri, to Afghanistan for questioning. It made no difference that Mr. al-Masri had been arrested in Macedonia. Also in Germany, prosecutors are considering whether to bring war-crimes charges against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA Director George Tenet and other senior civilian and military officials. Mr. Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney were targeted by Belgian courts until the law there was changed. And so on.

European officials need to understand the risks they're running if they keep this up. Italy and the U.S. are NATO partners, but such an alliance is meaningless if "allies" make a habit of prosecuting each other for cooperating against a common threat. Italy's political grandstanding is endangering NATO, as well as the lives of millions on both sides of the Atlantic.

The pettiness of our alleged allies, as well as the danger they run in the face of an ever growing internal radical muslim threat, never ceases to amaze me. Their blind anti-americanism, often used for political gain, is both appalling and, in the current state of the world, potentially suicidal. At any rate, read the whole story here.

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