Ex-CIA Sabrina de Sousa Granted Partial Pardon by Italian President Mattarella

Posted: 2:19 am  ET
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We’ve followed the case of Sabrina de Sousa in this blog since 2009. She previously worked as an FSO for the State Department from 1998 to 2009. In a July 2013 interview with McClatchyDC, Ms. De Sousa confirmed that she worked under cover for the CIA in Milan, Italy.

 

According to the Guardian, the office of Italian President Sergio Mattarella issued a statement late Tuesday saying that De Sousa had been granted a partial pardon. It means a reduction of her four-year sentence of detention by one year.  The statement cited by media reports indicate that De Sousa “would be able to serve her sentence with “alternative measures” to detention, meaning that she could avoid spending any time in jail.”

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CIA Officer Declared as @StateDept Officer at Consulate Milan Faces Extradition to Italy

Posted: 1:33 pm ET
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Via WaPo:

More than 13 years after an Egyptian cleric was kidnapped off the streets of Milan by CIA operatives, one former agency officer now living in Portugal faces extradition to Italy and the possibility of a four-year prison sentence for the abduction — an outcome that a former agency historian describes as “unprecedented.”

Sabrina De Sousa, 60, was one of 26 Americans convicted in absentia by Italian courts for her alleged role in the February 2003 rendition of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.
[…]
De Sousa’s extradition and potential imprisonment would be an astonishing turn of events for a case that raises major questions about how much diplomatic protection CIA case officers abroad possess when carrying out operations sanctioned by their superiors. During her CIA tenure, De Sousa was registered in Italy as a State Department officer at the U.S. consulate in Milan. She did not work as a “NOC” — a non-official cover operative.

“Those of us who were convicted were accredited diplomats and declared to the Italian government,” De Sousa said. “We instead find ourselves treated like NOCs with our U.S. government affiliation disavowed. I would have never joined the CIA if I was told there was a remote possibility that I would never see my mother in Goa again and not travel abroad. This has set a terrible precedent. This rendition was funded by Congress with approval of senior government officials in the U.S., Italy and Egypt.”

It all began on Feb. 17, 2003, when two men snatched Omar while he was walking to a mosque in Milan and stuffed him into a van. The cleric was flown to Egypt where he was beaten and subjected to electric shock , but eventually released. It wasn’t until early 2005 when reports surfaced that Italian authorities were investigating the CIA officers for breaking local laws against detaining terrorist suspects in Europe.
[…]
In early 2009, De Sousa resigned from the CIA, after failed bids to persuade the State Department to grant her immunity.

 

 

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Happy 239th Birthday America! #July4inJune

Posted: 2:14 am  EDT
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The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta generated some controversy this month when it moved its July 4th celebration to June 4th to avoid conflict with the month-long Ramadan observance in the country.  (See US Embassies Move Fourth of July For Heat, Monsoon Weather, and Now For Ramadan — Read Before Getting Mad). Al Arabiya News Channel reported that Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has announced Thursday, June 18 as the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.  Below is a round-up of posts that marked Fourth of July in June this year.  Our posts in Muslim countries who have yet to celebrate independence day may have to wait until after July 17th to hold their annual celebration.  If you don’t get why, click here or here.

U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia with Ambassador Robert Blake

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US Embassy Cairo, Egypt with Ambassador R. Stephen Beecroft

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U.S. Embassy Rabat, Morocco with Ambassador Dwight L. Bush, Sr.

June 4, 2015 | ‘We celebrate tonight not only the anniversary of America’s independence, but also the longstanding and warm ties of friendship between the United States and the Kingdom of Morocco.” – Ambassador Bush at last night’s Independence day celebration here at the Embassy, which is the first such celebration at our new Embassy compound.

Image via US Embassy Rabat/FB

Image via US Embassy Rabat/FB

U.S. Consulate General Casablanca, Morocco with CG Nicole Theriot

June 14 | U.S. Consul General Nicole Theriot in Casablanca, joined by Ambassador Bush to celebrate 239 years of American independence. This year’s event was a Luau (“great feast”) which incorporated fire dancers, Tiki carvings, volcanoes and delicious food showcasing the rich culture and traditions of the state of Hawaii.”

Image via US Embassy Rabat/FB

Image via US Embassy Rabat/FB

U.S. Embassy Dushanbe, Tajikistan with Ambassador Susan Elliott

June 8, 2015 | Did you know the United States gained independence 239 years ago? Here are some photos from this year’s early celebration at the Hyatt Regency Dushanbe! This year’s Independence Day commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act – a law securing access, opportunity, inclusion, and full participation for persons with disabilities. In her address, Ambassador Susan Elliott praised U.S.-Tajik cooperation and advocated for greater collaboration to improve conditions for all Tajiks, and highlighted the importance of persons with disabilities having the same rights as non-disabled persons regardless of any disabilities that may prevent them from engaging in daily life.

US Embassy Dushanbe, Tajikistan/FB

US Embassy Dushanbe, Tajikistan/FB

U.S. Embassy Algiers, Algeria with Ambassador Joan A. Polaschik

US Embassy Algiers/FB

Ambassador Joan A. Polaschik leading the 4th of July celebration at the US Embassy in Algeria, June 15, 2015 | US Embassy Algiers/FB

U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Ambassador Joseph Yun

June 15 | This year, we celebrate our diverse heritage on the 239th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America in the beautiful island of Penang as well!

US Embassy KL/FB

US Embassy Malaysia Fourth of July celebration in Penang with Ambassador Joseph Y. Yun | US Embassy KL/FB

Time to re-up our favorite Fourth of July video from US Consulate General Milan featuring President Obama, Lady Liberty, then Ambassador David Thorne, Consul General Kyle Scott  and the USCG Milan  crew:

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USCG Milan: How to Talk With Your Hands Like a Real Italian – Watch!

— Domani Spero
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The same post that brought us Statue Of Liberty celebrates 4th of July last year is back; this time teaching Americans how to talk with their hands like a real Italian. Here is US Consulate General Milan with the 16 hand gestures in rap.

Italy remains one of the top most visited countries in the world. Over 2 million Americans visited it last year. If it’s on your travel list this year, this might help you?

 

 

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2013 Fourth of July Embassy Events: Sights and Sounds Around the World

— By Domani Spero

Bad news folks — US embassies and consulates have completely ignored the State Department’s guidance for zombie-themed events this Fourth of July. (See State Dept Issues New Guidance for 2013 Fourth of July Embassy Events – More Zombies, Please).  So no brain food this week.  The good news is, the parties are still on (with special mention to those that had their parties in March, way before the “guidance” was issued).   Also with the exception of US Embassy Cairo where the July 4th event was finally called off  on Sunday as the capital city burst into mega-anti govt protests with an anti-American tone.  Here is our round-up for the Fourth of July celebrations around the Foreign Service.

US Consulate General Milan, Italy

Special mention goes to the US Consulate General in Milan for “hosting” President Obama, Lady Liberty, Ambassador David Thorne and other guests for its 4th of July celebration to “To advance freedom, liberty, to celebrate the Statue’s reopening and its link to Milan.”

 

U.S. Embassy Kuwait

Celebrated the U.S. National Day on March 27, 2013

4july13_kuwait

Ambassador Matthew H. Tueller at the US Embassy Kuwait Fourth of July celebration, March 2013 – Photo by US Embassy Kuwait/Flickr
(click on image to see more photos)

US Embassy Lithuania

June 27, 2013

Fourth of July cake courtesy of Ramada Hotels & Suites Photo via US Embassy Vilnius/FB

Fourth of July cake courtesy of Ramada Hotels & Suites
Photo via US Embassy Vilnius/FB
(click image for more photos)

US Embassy New Zealand

June 26, 2013

4th of Steel, US Embassy New Zealand

US Embassy Finland

June 19, 2013

US Embassy Finland, June 19, 2013 (click on image for more photos)

Presentation of Colors with the ambassador’s dog, Deckard on the foreground, dressed for the celebration.
US Embassy Finland, June 19, 2013
(click on image for more photos)

US Embassy Norway

June 19, 2013

On June 19, the US Embassy Oslo invited 2000 friends and contacts to celebrate Independence Day (in advance) in the Ambassador’s garden. The party included music, color guard, BBQ, ice cream and a wonderful atmosphere.

4july13_oslo

US Embassy Ghana

June 27, 2013

Ambassador Gene Cretz, Fourth of July, US Embassy Ghana (photo via US Embassy Ghana/Flickr)

Ambassador Gene Cretz, Fourth of July, US Embassy Ghana (photo via US Embassy Ghana/Flickr)

US Embassy Estonia

July 4, 2013

U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Levine,  a proud Californian will take guests on a culinary tour of his home state. The U.S. Embassy staff will trade in their suits and ties for something a bit more casual as they share a relaxing afternoon on the lush grounds of the residence in picturesque Pirita.  Guests are invited to come and enjoy the tunes of Liis Lemsalu, take a test drive on a Segway, and enjoy some delicious California cuisine by the Ambassador’s chef and provided by the embassy’s generous sponsors.

Photo via US Embassy Tallinn

Photo via US Embassy Tallinn

US Embassy Israel

July 4, 2013

On July 4, 2013 beginning at 7pm, the embassy will stream live from the Residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro the 4th of July party.  Expected guests include: Dr. Eric Huntsman to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner,” Ms. Hagit Yassu to sing “Hatikva,” and the U.S. Ambassador, Israeli President, and Prime Minister will deliver their remarks.  Musical entertainment throughout the evening will be provided by an ensemble from the Israeli Conservatory of Music and the U.S. Military Band “Winds Aloft.” The embassy promises fireworks to “light up the night sky above the cliffs of the Mediterranean!”

US Embassy Latvia

June 29, 2013

Photo via US Embassy Latvia (click on image to see more photos)

Photo via US Embassy Latvia
(click on image to see more photos)

US Embassy Uganda

July 2, 2013

U.S. Embassy staff get a large American flag (“Old Glory”) ready for the Fourth of July.

Photo via US Embassy Uganda/FB

Photo via US Embassy Uganda/FB

Happy 4th of July everyone, stay safe!

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