Meet Abu Omar, the “Victim” of Robert Seldon Lady

Posted by John Rosenthal

On Thursday, former CIA Milan station chief, Robert Seldon Lady, was detained in Panama and he now faces potential extradition to Italy. In 2009, Lady and 22 other Americans were convicted in absentia by an Italian court for their alleged roles in the kidnapping of one Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, better known as “Abu Omar.” The operation is supposed to have taken place as part of the American program of “extraordinary rendition” of terror suspects. Abu Omar has been widely depicted in the American press as an innocent “victim” of the program.

But how many Americans will know that the “victim,” Abu Omar, is also a wanted man in Italy? A member, according to Italian investigators, of the Gama’a Al-Islamiya of the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel-Rahman, he is wanted, namely, as a facilitator of international terror. For the details — drawn directly from the Italian arrest warrant against him and supported by extensive translated excerpts from Italian police surveillance tapes — see my 2008 article in World Politics Review, “Who is Abu Omar? Extracts from the Italian Police Surveillance Tapes.” And for a study of the Abu Omar case and its deformed presentation in the Western media, see too my 2010 article in the Weekly Standard Online, “Selective WikiLeaks: The Untold Story of Abu Omar.”

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