TCS Daily


Tortured Logic

By Martino Pillitteri - December 9, 2005 12:00 AM

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had no scheduled stop in Italy on this week's European itinerary, but that hasn't stopped the Italian press from unleashing a typical torrent of bias, blame and accusations against her and against US policy. Usually, Italian journalists tend to wait until a particular White House representative is heading home to the United States before commencing fire. With this latest Rice visit, however, though, they changed tactics, attacking the target with various allegations even before she landed on European soil.

Their beef relates to the alleged kidnapping of an Egyptian terrorist by a group of CIA agents that took place in Milan on February 17, 2003. According to the Italian press, this man, whose name is Abu Omar, had been kidnapped while walking alone in Milan, was placed aboard an Italian plane and kindly returned to Egypt where he belongs. The Italian press, at the time of the incident, accused the American administration of violating Italian sovereignty and supporting the kind of brutal practices that take place in Egypt. Many Italian journalists, representatives of the former communist party, and Marxist oriented opinion makers, blamed President Bush for daring to act in such a way outside U.S. soil, and allowing a terrorist to be tortured in some prison in the Sahara desert.

What strikes the conscience of the few conservative Italian minds and offends the common sense of many, is that instead of saluting the CIA for doing what the Italian police cannot do because of a politically correct piece of legislation that does not recognize funding Al Qaeda as a crime, the Italian anti-Bush folks voiced their outrage towards the American administration. They also neglected to direct their wrath towards the Egyptians who, if the allegations are proven true, torture their prisoners even when they commit crimes in other countries.

The twisted logic works like this: Removing a terrorist from the streets of Milan (yes, a bit roughly) is worthy of indignation, but physical abuse carried out by the Egyptians is totally irrelevant. Bush and Berlusconi are the bad guys, while Mubarak is the hero. Basically, according to the lectures of the Italian press, you can torture a terrorist who is planning terror missions and funding terror groups, but you cannot kidnap him. This position is emblematic of the anti-American sentiment that dominates the Italian press, which does not see reason in anything the Bush administration does, even when a criminal is finally expelled in whatever fashion from our country.

While Sec. Rice was on her way to Europe, the Italian press filled printed editorials and TV broadcasts with stories about the "bossy" behavior of the CIA agents in Europe, assigning guilt to countries like Poland and Romania for allegedly giving American agents places and equipment where they could interrogate captured terrorists. This was just an excuse to revive the three-year-old story of the abduction of Abu Omar, and shoehorn it into a current news context. Italian journalists and opinion makers are so anti-American that they don't even seek current facts they can exploit in order to challenge Rice in her press conferences.

When representatives of places like Cuba and Iran come to town for an official visit and someone dares to raise the constant abuse of human rights in those countries, the anti-American press defends Castro and the mullahs citing, in the name of cultural relativism, that we have to respect the practices occurring in other countries. The rest of the world can do what CIA agents in Milan cannot.

The author is a journalist living in Milan who writes for the Opinione delle Libertà www.opinione.it
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"The rest of the world can do what CIA agents in Milan cannot". Maybe Europeans wrongly assume America is a civilized country ...

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