08/19/13 - Information Clearing House - 4 Cases of the U.S. Sheltering Vicious Criminals that Reveal Total Hypocrisy on Snowden
>From a CIA agent to a Cuban terrorist, the U.S. shelters people who are
accused of heinous crimes.
By Alex Kane
Information Clearing House, Aug 18, 2013
Russia's decision early this month to grant National Security Agency
whistleblower Edward Snowden temporary asylum in the country has led to a
chorus of U.S. officials and media personalities denouncing Vladimir Putin.
"Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is
allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife," said Senator Chuck
Schumer (D-NY) on August 2. "Putin is acting like a schoolyard bully."
David Satter of the conservative publication National Review used the
occasion to write that " Russia, unlike the U.S., has no rule of law."
But the cries for Russia to grant the request to extradite Snowden to face
certain imprisonment and potential harsh punishment has exposed U.S.
hypocrisy. There have been a number of cases in recent years where
countries asked the U.S. to extradite suspected criminals back to their
countries. But when it comes to those who committed crimes in the service
of U.S. policy, America refuses those requests.
As the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald pointed out in a recent column, the U.S.
shelters a number of people who are accused of crimes more heinous than
Snowden's-even if the country making the request has an extradition treaty
with America, which Russia does not have.
Here are four egregious cases where the U.S. has refused extradition
1. Robert Lady
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration granted
the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to snatch people off the
streets and whisk them to other countries for interrogation and torture.
With the help of 54 countries, CIA operatives around the world implemented
what was known as Bush's "extraordinary rendition" program.
Robert Lady is o ne of those operatives. In 2000, Lady arrived in Milan,
Italy to become the CIA's station chief. Three years later, he oversaw an
operation that would become one of the CIA's worst debacles in recent
Lady and his team of operatives began working with Italian intelligence
agents on the case of Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric and a former member of a
banned Islamist group who had successfully sought asylum in Italy. The U.S.
and Italy were gathering intelligence on him because they suspected he had
ties to terrorism. But higher-ups at the CIA pressured Lady to spurn his
partnership with Italian intelligence and strike out on his own, though
Lady tried to convince the CIA that wasn't a good idea.
In 2003, CIA operatives led by Lady kidnapped Omar off the streets of
Milan. They whisked the cleric off to Egypt where he faced harsh
interrogation and torture. As Amnesty International noted, Omar said that
Egyptian security forces hung him "head down, feet up, hands tied behind my
back, feet also tied together, and I was exposed to electric shocks all
over my body." He was beaten on his genitals with a stick and kept in a
rat- and cockroach-infested cell that reached extreme temperatures. Omar
was released in April 2004 only to be re-arrested after telling friends
about his ordeal, and was kept in solitary confinement. He was finally
released for good in 2007.
The Italian government began an investigation into Omar's extraordinary
rendition in 2004. They gathered enough evidence to request that the U.S.
extradite Lady for crimes against Omar. (Lady was the only subject of an
extradition request because under Italian law, only people facing more than
four years of prison can be extradited.) The U.S. refused, even after an
Italian court convicted Lady and others in absentia in 2009. Lady himself
has admitted committing a crime, telling an Italian newspaper, "Of course
it was an illegal operation. But that's our job. We're at war against
Robert Lady disappeared from the news until he traveled to Panama last
month. He was picked up by Panamanian authorities because of an Interpol
arrest warrant. Italy requested Panama hold on to him, but Panama, a
pro-American country, instead let Lady go back to the U.S., where he lives
2. Luis Posada Carriles
The U.S. has long seen Latin America as its backyard, and has carried out
vicious policies aimed at stopping the region from carrying out economic
policies that run counter to U.S. elite and corporate interests. And the
U.S. government has long used Latin American operatives to do dirty work in
the service of U.S. interests.
Luis Posada Carriles is one of those men. Carriles is a Cuban-born
Venezuelan citizen and a staunch anti-communist. Trained by the CIA at the
infamous School of the Americas in the 1960s, Carrileswent on to carry out
spectacular acts of terrorism against Cuba.
Carriles left Cuba after taking part in the ill-fated CIA-backed Bay of
Pigs invasion, a plan by the U.S. to use Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro
in 1961. In 1968, he became a high-level Venezuelan intelligence official.
He left the intelligence service in 1974.
In 1976, a Cuban commercial airliner exploded, killing 73 people. Carriles,
who had been on the CIA's payroll until three months before the bombing,
has been described as being "up to his eyeballs" in planning the attack, in
the words of a former FBI agent. He was detained by Venezuela in the
aftermath of the attack, but escaped after nine years of imprisonment.
Carriles went on to assist the contras, the CIA-financed rebels fighting a
brutal war against the Nicaraguan government.
The CIA-financed operative wasn't done with his exploits against the Cuban
government. In 1997, Carrilesorchestrated a bombing in Cuba that killed an
Italian man. He admitted his involvement in an interview with a New York
Times reporter, telling her "the Italian was in the wrong place at the
wrong time, but I sleep like a baby."
But it's his 1976 bombing of the Cuban airliner the Venezuelan government
wants to try him for. Documents obtained by George Washington University's
National Security Archive leave "no doubt that Posada [Carriles] has been
one of the world's most unremitting purveyors of terrorist violence," as
Peter Kornbluh, the Cuba documents director at the National Security
Archive, put it.
In 2000, Carriles was arrested in Panama with explosives he hoped to use to
kill Fidel Castro. While he was detained for four years, the pro-American
Panamanian leader let him out in 2004. The next year, he showed up in
Miami, home to the most hardline anti-Castro elements. U.S. authorities
have prosecuted Carriles, but notably not on terrorism charges. In 2005, he
faced trial for entering the U.S. illegally, but charges were dismissed. In
2011, he was again acquitted after going to trial on charges of lying to
He currently lives in the U.S. Venezuela requested his extradition in 2005
and 2011, but the U.S. has refused to grant it.
3. Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Up until the indigenous activist Evo Morales rode to power in Bolivia on an
agenda for social justice and land redistribution, many leaders of the
Latin American country had been U.S. allies. For instance, General Rene
Barrientos came to power in a 1964 military coup that was backed by the
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada is another former Bolivian leader who was a close
ally of the U.S. Lozada was president of Bolivia from 1993-'97, and
implemented controversial privatization policies. He returned to the
presidency in 2002, and served until his resignation in 2003.
During his second term as president, Sanchez de Lozada embarked on his most
controversial project yet: awarding contracts to foreign companies to
extract and export Bolivia's natural gas without any congressional
oversight. Massive protests broke out as a result, and Bolivian security
forces cracked down harshly.
In October 2003, Lozada sent security forces to crack down on a
demonstration, resulting in the deaths of 67 men, women and children, most
of whom were part of the country's indigenous community. After the
protests, Lozada resigned and fled to the U.S.
After Morales came to power, the Bolivian government began proceedings to
demand Lozada come back to the country and be tried for crimes. The
Bolivian government charged him with genocide in 2007, charges the Bolivian
Supreme Court agreed with. In 2008, they requested that the U.S. extradite
Morales and his government got their answer in 2011. The Obama
administration refused to grant the extradition request. Morales reacted by
calling the U.S. a "paradise of impunity" and a "refuge for criminals."
4. Roberto and William I saias Dass um
In 1998, Ecuador suffered through a economic crisis. The economic implosion
came after a long period of International Monetary Fund-forced measures
that led Ecuador to follow the neoliberal policies backed by the U.S. In
the 1980s, Ecuador needed a loan from the IMF, and in order to get the
money it needed to liberalize its financial system. In practice, this meant
the deregulation of Ecuador's banks, which in turn led to the banks taking
on risky practices that contributed to the economic crisis.
By 1998, several major banks, including Filabanco, lacked the proper
liquidity and the government was forced to step in and bail them out. While
the owners of Filabanco, two brothers named Roberto and William I saias
Dass um, said they delivered a solvent bank to the government, an official
investigation found otherwise. The brothers were blamed for over $660
million in losses. The collapse of major Ecuadorian banks cost taxpayers $8
In 2003, after a criminal investigation against the brothers was opened,
they fled Ecuador for Miami. They were accused of embezzling millions of
dollars from their bank and bringing the assets to the U.S. They were
sentenced in absentia in 2012.
A case brought by Ecuador's government was filed against the brothers in
the U.S., and it went to trial in 2013. But the judge ruled in favor of the
brothers. Ecuador was asking for authority to seize $20 million from the
Dassums, and the judge ruled the U.S. does not have the authority to
confiscate property in the U.S.
After the ruling, Ecuador's government pressed the U.S. to extradite the
brothers to face punishment for their alleged crimes. The U.S. refused the
Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant
editor for Mondoweiss.
CUBA-L FAIR USE NOTICE
This server contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of Cuba's political, economic, human rights, international, cultural, educational, scientific, sports and historical issues, among others. We distribute the materials on the basis of a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. The material is distributed without profit. The material should be used for information, research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/ uscode/17/107.shtml.