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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 do so.

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.

Not so.

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 proceedings.

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.” 

 

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