A shameful connection
The part owner of a US baseball team has been cited as one of the prosecution witnesses in next month's trial of CIA and Italian spies for abducting an Egyptian cleric suspected of terror offences.
Prosecutors on Friday called Boston Red Sox minority owner Philip Morse as one of their witnesses in the 2003 abduction of Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr, then head of Milan's main mosque.
The prosecutors claim Morse's Gulfstream jet was used to whisk Nasr from a US air force base in Italy to one in Germany, from where he was allegedly flown for interrogation to Egypt.
Nasr, who is also known as Abu Omar, was released from an Egyptian jail earlier this year, saying he had been tortured and raped.
As for Morse, he already has confirmed that the CIA charters his plane
Phillip H. Morse, a minority partner of the Boston Red Sox, confirmed yesterday that his private jet has been chartered to the CIA and said he was aware that it had been flown to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where more than 500 terrorism suspects are held, as well as other overseas destinations.
''It's chartered a lot," Morse said by phone from his winter home in Jupiter, Fla. ''It just so happens one of our customers is the CIA.
"I was glad to have the business, actually. I hope it was all for a real good purpose."
Hope? I admit to knowing nothing about the process involved in chartering a private jet. But I know that when I rent a car, the agent wants to know if I'll be leaving the state. So it seems unlikely to me that the rental agent for a Gulfstream IV jet would ask fewer questions than a 20-something part-time Avis employee setting me up with a Chevy Aveo, even if it is the CIA we're talking about.
Mahlon Richards, co-owner of Richmor Aviation, the plane's charter agent, said in 2005 that he believes the plane was used to transport federal workers, adding that his company had no information that it was ever used to transport U.S. detainees. Is that becuause he was lied to, or because he never asked?
I understand as well as anyone the desire to do your part for the nation, especially in the aftermath of the horrible events of 9/11. But to simply turn over a private jet to the CIA with no idea what your plane is being used for? I think at the very least, I'd want to know what they plan to do with my plane that they can't do with one of their own.
Of course, it's not like the CIA is above lying or concealing its activities. Nearly three years after the Washington Post
and Boston Globe
mentioned it, does anyone really know anything about Premier Executive Transport Services
If it turns out the agency was using the plane as part of the Bush administration's highly unethical extraordinary rendition program, and if Morse knew about it -- or should have but was too busy counting the $900,000 a week in taxpayer money the CIA paid to rent the jet to find out -- I think the Red Sox need to cut this tie to one of the darkest events in the history of this damaged nation as soon as possible. I hope someone in Fenway's owner's box is watching this.
Labels: Abuse of Power, Baseball, GOP Crime, Torture, War on Terror