Filed under: Europe
Are we losing the war on global terror? This is the most frequently asked question in these times. The general feeling is that we actually are, though it may sound defeatist to say so. The efforts to undermine the fight against evil are being led by an Europe that has totally lost its mind and rationality, compares counter-terror military actions to the suicide attacks against which the civilized world should be united and, worse yet, prevents the intelligence agencies from haunting and detaining the hate preachers who recruit would-be mass murderers. In Italy, some CIA agents may go on trial for doing basically their duty: capturing an Islamist cleric, known by the alias of "Abu Omar", with proven ties to Al Qaeda recruiters. In spite of plenty of evidence about his terror-enabling activities, he is being victimized like a 'martyr of injustice'.
There is a worrisome trend, among some Western nations, to appease the enemy who plots to murder innocents. As of recently, Italy has justly come under fire by the international community, for sucessfully pressuring the Afghan government to release five (or even more) Taliban detainees in exchange for the liberation of Daniele Mastrogiacomo, a reporter working for the center-left newspaper "La Repubblica". The most baffling detail in all of this is the decision of the Italian government to rely on a so-called 'charity' to mediate with the kidnappers. Such a group, named "Emergency", is headed by Gino Strada, a controversial individual who is a communist and openly compares Bush to Bin Laden. A source in the Afghan intelligence service has accused Emergency of having ties and friendly relations with the Taliban and even Al Qaeda operatives in the country, echoing the suspects some have always had but never dared to speak publicly about them, as the mere criticism of the 'group that helps the civilians in war-torn countries' is a taboo.
The Italian government knew full well that Emergency chose one of their members, Rahmatullah Hanefi, as mediator to get the deal. It turns out that this 'mediator' was not as independent as Strada would have us to believe; the Afghan authorities detained him on charges of being a Taliban militant and even involved in the kidnapping of Mastrogiacomo and the beheading of his driver. In an effort to get him out, Italy might pave the way for a deeper crisis with the Karzai administration, which - for now - has ruled out any concession to the Taliban friends of Strada and persists in keeping Hanefi in prison.
Here you can see a photo showing Gino Strada (on left) shaking hands with what is believed to be Latifullah Hakimi. ex spokesman for the Taliban regime. (Hat Tip: Il Moschettiere )
Indeed, you can compare the above photo with the below one and you'll notice it's the exact person.
There's video of the release of Mastrogiacomo, and you'll see the above-mentioned man and Strada acting as the "liberator". Strada is him who forced the Italian government to release 5 of his Taliban friends (who were detained by the Afghan authorities because of their terrorist activities) in exchange for the Italian reporter.
You would think that the least the government of Italy could do is to investigate about the allegations against the other Taliban 'mediator', Rahmatullah Hanefi to verify if they are credible and stop funding Emergency with the taxpayers' money. But you shouldn't bet on that.
UPDATE: Emmanuele Ottolenghi at Commentary Magazine's blog writes about Strada's political agenda.