SWISS CABINET AUTHORIZES A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION ON “RENDITION OVERFLIGHT:” ENDS INVESTIGATION OF “AGENT TOM”

ID
07BERN151
SUBJECT
SWISS CABINET AUTHORIZES A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
DATE
2007-02-16 07:07:00
CLASSIFICATION
CONFIDENTIAL
ORIGIN
Embassy Bern
TEXT
C O N F I D E N T I A L BERN 000151

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR, L

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/15/2017
TAGS: PTER MOPS KJUS SZ
SUBJECT: SWISS CABINET AUTHORIZES A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION ON “RENDITION OVERFLIGHT:” ENDS INVESTIGATION OF “AGENT TOM”

REF: 06 BERN 2016

Classified By: Poloff Eric Lundberg, Reasons 1.4 b/d

1.(SBU) Summary: The Swiss Federal Council (cabinet) decided on February 14 to authorize a criminal investigation of an overflight by a U.S. military jet allegedly containing Milan Islamist “Abu Omar” shortly after his abduction by an alleged “CIA team” on February 17, 2003. At the same meeting, however, the Federal Council refused to authorize further investigation of an former U.S. Embassy FSO given the alias “Mr. Tom” by the press. The preliminary investigation of the overflight case took over a year, and the criminal investigation is also expected to be lengthy, according to a Swiss Justice Department contact. At the conclusion of the investigation, a Swiss magistrate will need to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to issue indictments and take the case to court. End Summary.

2.(SBU) The Swiss Attorney General’s office on February 14 received the go-ahead to proceed with a criminal investigation of a February 2003 overflight by a U.S. Air Force Lear Jet, call sign Spar 92. Swiss civil aviation records show that Spar 92 flew from Ramstein, Germany to Aviano, Italy and back, overflying Switzerland twice in the process. Though lacking any passenger manifest of Spar 92, Italian prosecutors in 2005 made the accusation that this aircraft transported the Egyptian national and Milan-based Islamic cleric Nasr Osama Mustafa Hassan, aka Abu Omar, who had been “abducted” in Milan on February 17. Responding to the Italian investigation, the Swiss prosecutor opened a preliminary investigation in December 2005. Abu Omar was turned over to Egyptian authorities, where he was held until this month.

3.(C) Justice Minister Blocher’s diplomatic advisor Corine Blesi on February 14 downplayed the significance of the Federal Council’s decision. “At some point,” Blesi said, “the Attorney General had to get approval to continue the investigations. Blesi acknowledged that her office was not privy to the evidence gathered in the overflight case, so she could not comment on the case’s viability. While not speaking to the merits of the investigation, Blesi agreed that it had a high political profile, particularly with the public activism of Swiss MP and Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly figure Dick Marty.

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Comment
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4.(C) Marty — whose public reports have failed to provide evidence of the presence of Abu Omar on Spar 92 or of any of the “secret prisons” he claimed were present in Europe — has been a persistent advocate for a full Swiss investigation. Blocher, for his part, has had to fend off media criticism that he was “moving too slowly” on the case. It is difficult to say what type of evidence the Swiss possess, but post understands that the link between this Spar 92 flight and the Abu Omar case consists only the Italian conjecture that Abu Omar went to Germany and this was the closest in chronology to the abduction of Germany-bound USG flight leaving Italy.

CONEWAY

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DE RUEHSW #0151 0470735
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 160735Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3705
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHMIL/AMCONSUL MILAN 0869
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

XTAGS: XTAGPTER, XTAGMOPS, XTAGKJUS, XTAGSZ 07BERN151

TAGS
PTER MOPS KJUS SZ
ADDED
2011-02-18 05:05:00
STAMP
2011-03-21 11:25:09
VOTE_POINTS
0
VOTE_COUNT
0
VOTE_RATING
0
PRIORITY
PP
TWEETS
0
MANUAL
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SITELINK
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FINGERPRINT1
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http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2007/02/07BERN151.html

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