Friday, July 01, 2005

Implausible deniability?

Two news items caught the eye today, one very silly, the other not so.

Having seen his club win the Superbowl for the third time in three years, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was understandably proud to show off his 124 diamond winners ring when he and other business moguls met Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg. Having taken off the ring to show Putin, Kraft may have been surprised when Putin tried it on, put it in his pocket, and walked out of the room. Expensive misunderstanding or generous gift? We may never know. But as James Alder summises: "If Kraft's intention was to present Putin with his prized possession, then it was a very generous offer. If he did not, however, this could develop into a huge embarrassment for Kraft and the United States should he attempt to recover it." Quite.

A more serious item has excited the Italian news agenda this week. On 17th Feb 2003, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (aka Abu Omar) was kidnapped while walking down a Milan street, and flown to his native Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured. A week ago, an Italian judge ordered the arrest of 13 foreign (nationalities unspecified) CIA operatives under Ialian kidnapping laws. Berlusconi is in a tricky position. Did he collaberate with the CIA to break Italian law? Or did the CIA unilaterally carry out a covert kidnapping in the land of one of it's allies in Iraq? The CIA implausible claim that "rendition" was undertaken without the knowledge of Italian security services, but with the knowledge of certain Italian officials, in order to protect the CIA's usual cover story viz. "plausible deniablity."

Finally, we are currently plagued by a TV ad campaign fronted by the stupidly beautiful Adriana Lima. You can watch them here, should you wish, and I include a photo for information purposes only!



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