February 19, 2007

Civil Unions in New Jersey

Steve Goldstein is someone who is a pleasure to know. He is the head of Garden State Equality, the largest organization of GLBTI rights advocates in the state of New Jersey, currently studying to be a rabbi, and part of the first gay couple to get a civil union in New Jersey. This is a big step forward, but the battle is not done yet. Oh no, it is far from over. This year we have a big election coming up to keep the people who made sure this could happen stay in office and push for true marriage.

Switching to the war on terror, the pilots who have been flying people to be tortured have been identified, as the LA Times reports.

Relying on the operatives' passport numbers, hotel records, credit card bills and aviation records, German prosecutors are seeking to properly identify the 13 Americans in a high-profile case that has upset relations between Washington and Berlin and caused a political scandal in Germany over whether government officials sanctioned the CIA operation.

Elsewhere in Europe, legal and parliamentary investigations have focused a harsh spotlight on the CIA's program to abduct suspected terrorists and ferry them to secret sites for interrogation, operations known variously as "black renditions" or "extraordinary renditions."

On Friday, an Italian judge issued arrest warrants for 26 suspected CIA operatives for allegedly abducting a radical Muslim cleric outside his mosque in Milan in February 2003 and delivering him to Egypt, where his lawyer says he was tortured. The trial is set for June 8 in Milan.

All the Americans charged, including the top two CIA officers in Italy at the time, have departed the country, but Italian law allows defendants to be tried in absentia.

None of the aliases used in Italy match those in the German case, although one of the pilots may have been involved in both incidents.

One former CIA operation officer who was involved in the Italian case at CIA headquarters, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case is classified, said he and his colleagues were increasingly nervous about traveling in Europe for fear of getting swept up in the investigations. He said he checked with a contact at the Italian intelligence service for reassurance that he would not be arrested.

No comments: