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A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trialby Steve Hendricks
Synopses & Reviews
As propulsively readable as the best "true crime," is a potent reckoning with the realities of counterterrorism. In a mesmerizing page-turner, Steve Hendricks gives us a ground-level view of the birth and growth of international Islamist terrorist networks and of counterterrorism in action in Europe. He also provides an eloquent, eagle's-eye perspective on the big questions of justice and the rule of law. "In Milan a known fact is always explained by competing stories," Hendricks writes, but the stories that swirled around the February 2003 disappearance of the radical imam Abu Omar would soon point in one direction--to a covert action by the CIA. The police of Milan had been exploiting their wiretaps of Abu Omar for useful information before the taps went silent. The Americans were their allies in counterterrorism--would they have disrupted a fruitful investigation? In an extraordinary tale of detective versus spy, Italian investigators under the leadership of prosecutor Armando Spataro unraveled in embarrassing detail the "covert" action in which Abu Omar had been kidnapped and sent to be tortured in Egypt. Spataro--seasoned in prosecutions of the Mafia and the Red Brigades and a passionate believer in the rule of law--sought to try the kidnappers in absentia: the first-ever trial of CIA officers by a U.S. ally. An exemplary achievement in narrative nonfiction writing, is at once a detective story, a history of the terrorist menace, and an indictment of the belief that man's savagery against man can be stilled with more savagery yet.
Book News Annotation:
In early 2003, a radical imam disappeared in Milan. An investigation by Italian authorities revealed that a covert CIA action had grabbed Abu Omar and sent him off to be tortured in Egypt. In this gripping nonfiction book, Hendricks sets the kidnapping into the context of the development of modern terrorist networks and of the counter-terrorism efforts of the US and its allies. The author shows what led one of Italy's leading anti-Mafia prosecutors to bring charges against the CIA agents responsible for the kidnapping, and how he then had them tried for their crimes in absentia. Telling a powerful story that raises many disturbing questions about the "war on terrorism," Hendricks' book deserves a wide readership. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The riveting true story of the CIA "snatch" of a radical imam in Italy.
A book so compelling it deserves to become one of the nonfiction classics of our time.
In 2003 the police of Milan were closing in on a network of Islamic terrorists-until the radical imam at the heart of their investigation suddenly disappeared. Abu Omar had been kidnapped by the CIA and sent to be tortured in Egypt. But the kidnappers were sloppy, and Amando Spataro, an Italian magistrate brave enough to stand up for the rule of law, traced, tried, and convicted them in absentia—the first-ever such convictions of CIA officers by a U.S. ally.
Steve Hendricks's revelatory account also yields fascinating context: the CIA's role in Italian politics, the seedy history of Alexandrian tourism, the role of ex-Nazis in training Egyptian security forces, and the utterly ordinary backgrounds of the spies next door. A Kidnapping in Milanis at once a detective story, a history of the terrorist menace, and an indictment of the belief that man's savagery against man can be stilled with yet more savagery.
About the Author
Steve Hendricks is a freelance reporter. He is the author of A Kidnapping in Milan and The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country, which was named to several best-of-the-year lists in 2006. He lives in Tennessee and Montana.
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