Extradition Hypocricy: cia, Afghanistan, Venezuela And Italy
26 March 2015
By Jacob G. Hornberger
A murder case in Italy stands to expose the U.S. government’s hypocritical
stand on extradition, the legal process by which one country forcibly turns
over a person within its jurisdiction to another country to stand trial for a
criminal offense committed in the latter country.
Let’s assume that John Doe, a citizen of Country A, is accused of murdering a
person in Country B when he was traveling there. If there is no extradition
treaty between the two nations, Country A has no legal obligation to turn Doe
over to Country B. Country A can ask for an extradition, notwithstanding the
fact that there is no extradition treaty between the two countries, and
Country B can grant the request if it wants but it isn’t legally required to
American citizen Amanda Knox is charged with murder in Italy. She was
convicted of murder in Italy in 2009 but freed in 2011 when her conviction
was overturned by an appellate court. While the state appealed the appellate
court’s ruling, Knox was permitted to return to the United States, subject to
the final ruling of the Italian courts. Yesterday, Italy’s highest court
decided to rule on the case.
If the Italy’s highest court rules against Knox, she almost certainly will
not return voluntarily. Since there is an extradition treaty between the
United States and Italy, Italian authorities will almost certainly seek her
extradition. According to an article on Foxnews.com, “U.S. State Department
officials say they are monitoring the case.”
If Italian officials comply with the requirements of the extradition process,
and if Knox cannot show a valid legal reason for not being extradited, it is
a virtual certainty that U.S. officials will forcibly return her to Italy,
pursuant to the extradition agreement between the two nations.
Not surprisingly, however, these same principles do not apply to officials in
the U.S. national-security branch of the government. That’s because they have
been given immunity from the law. No, not by an act of Congress but simply de
facto. Ever since the advent of the national-security state in the 1940s, the
other three branches of the federal government have constructed a wall of
immunity and impunity around the national-security branch of the government.
Consider, for example, the CIA agents who were convicted a few years ago in
Italy of kidnapping a man in Milan and forcibly transporting him to the
brutal pro-U.S. military dictatorship in Egypt for the purpose of torturing
him. The convicted agents — who are now felons — returned to the United
States and steadfastly refused to return to Italy to face justice for their
crime. They said that they couldn’t be held to account for their crime
because they were following orders and protecting “national security.”
While Italy has not issued a formal extradition request, it is clear that it
wouldn’t do any good anyway. Unlike Amanda Knox, who is a regular citizen,
the CIA agents are members of the national-security branch of the government
and, therefore, are entitled to privileged status.
A couple of years ago, the CIA station chief in Italy who was one of those
convicted, Robert Seldon Lady, was detained in Panama on a warrant issued by
Italian prosecutors in the case. He was immediately released, no doubt on
orders of U.S. officials, and permitted to return to the United States, where
officials continued harboring him.
The situation is much the same with respect to a man named Jose Posada
Carriles, who is accused of the terrorist bombing of a Cuban airliner over
Venezuelan skies, which killed dozens of innocent people, including the
members of Cuba’s fencing team.
Venezuela has long demanded the extradition of Posada, pursuant to the
extradition treaty that exists between Venezuela and the United States.
Nonetheless, U.S. officials have steadfastly insisted on harboring Posada,
even while waging their much-vaunted global “war on terrorism.” That might be
because of Posada’s close connections to the national-security branch of the
federal government. According to Wikipedia, Posada helped organize the Bay of
Pigs invasion, was an agent of the CIA, and received training at Ft. Benning,
Georgia. Check out this link to the website of the National Security Archive
regarding declassified U.S. records relating to Posada.
Finally, there is the case of Osama bin Laden and the U.S. invasion of
Afghanistan. Many Americans think that President Bush and President Obama
have waged their long war on Afghanistan because the Afghan government was
complicit in the 9/11 attacks by harboring a terrorist that it knew was
planning the attack.
If the Afghan government had been complicit in the 9/11 attacks, Bush would
never have asked the Afghan government to turn over bin Laden to the United
States. He would have simply gone to war against Afghanistan.
But Bush didn’t automatically go to war against Afghanistan. Instead, he
demanded that Afghanistan turn bin Laden over to the United States, much as
Venezuela and Italian officials have demanded that the U.S. government turn a
convicted kidnapper and an accused terrorist over to them.
But there was one big difference with respect to Afghanistan. Unlike
Venezuela and Italy, there was no extradition treaty between Afghanistan and
the United States. That meant that Afghanistan was under no legal requirement
to turn bin Laden over. Nonetheless, Afghan officials said they were willing
to turn bin Laden over to a third nation where he could secure a fair trial,
on presentation of the standard type of evidence required in extradition
Bush declined the offer and ordered his army to invade Afghanistan to effect
regime change in that country. That’s why the United States is still at war
in Afghanistan — because the Afghan government refused to comply with Bush’s
unconditional extradition demand notwithstanding the absence of an extraction
treaty between the two nations.
It can all be termed “extradition hypocrisy.” Or “Forget the law because
might makes right.”