CIA Agents and Their Practices On Trial in Italy

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Twenty-six American citizens, most of them believed to be CIA agents, just went on trial in Italy, but it’s the Bush Administration’s policies on extraordinary rendition and torture that are really under fire.

The accused themselves are in little danger. In 2003, they allegedly kidnapped a Muslim cleric in Milan and transported him to Germany and then to Egypt, where the cleric claims he suffered electric shocks, beatings, rape threats, and genital abuse while under interrogation. With what we know now about the war on terror, the allegations are almost certainly true — the only tricky question is whether the Italians have accused the right 26 people. It doesn’t much matter, because they’re being tried in absentia and the United States refuses to extradite them. Their chances of serving time in Italy or anywhere else are less than zero.

So even though they’re holding what amounts to a show trial, kudos to the Italians. While I’m uncomfortable with actually convicting the CIA agents of anything, since they are likely little more than foot soldiers, it’s unquestionable that holding up the war on terror’s ugliest aspects to bright lights is something we need more of, in Italy, around the world, and especially here at home.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate