Watch this story disappear from the US media

In yet another event that exposes the brazen hypocrisy of the Obama administration, USA Today reports on the detention in Panama of Robert Seldon Lady, a CIA agent who was a fugitive from the Italian justice system.

Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was hustled into a car in February 2003 on a street in Milan, where he preached, and transferred to U.S. military bases in Italy and Germany before being flown to Egypt. He alleged he was tortured in Egypt before being released.

Italy conducted an aggressive investigation and charged 26 CIA and other U.S. government employees despite objections from Washington. [My italics-MS] All left Italy before charges were filed in the first trial in the world involving the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, under which terror suspects were abducted and transferred to third countries where many were tortured.

All of the U.S. suspects were eventually convicted but only Lady received a sentence — nine years in prison — that merited an extradition request under Italian legal guidelines.

If you want more details about what led up to the events in Italy, Steve Hendricks provides them, looking at how an Italian prosecutor named Armando Spataro closed the case.

Prosecutor Spataro marshaled his evidence, charged a couple dozen Americans in absentia with the kidnapping, and won convictions for nearly all of them. Bob Lady got eight years, but it seemed that neither he nor any of the other Americans would ever do their time. Lady was in Central America when the warrant for his arrest was handed down, all of the other kidnappers were long gone too, and the United States made clear that it would not hand over any of the CIA criminals to serve their sentences, even though our extradition treaty with Italy requires us to do so.

But of course, extradition laws only apply when the US wants people, not when other countries want people that the US government seeks to protect. So the US has asked the government of Panama to send Lady to the US instead of to Italy so that he will of course face the full force of justice in the US. (Ha, Ha. Just kidding. Of course he will not. He will probably receive a promotion.)

[Katherine Gallagher, a senior attorney at the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights] said U.S. efforts to help Lady escape punishment in Italy opened the Obama administration to charges of hypocrisy when they are considered in light of a U.S. push to bring National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden back to the U.S. to be put on trial. Attempts to get Snowden back have included an international push to persuade countries not to give Snowden asylum, or even let him cross their airspace on his way to a country that could let him avoid the U.S. justice system.

“We see a complete double standard here. The U.S. is saying it’s so important for Snowden to face charges in the U.S., where there is a great deal of debate over whether those charges are legitimate, as opposed to Lady, where there is a conviction for torture, a universally recognized crime,” Gallagher said.

Laws in the US are only for the little people and international laws and treaties are only for countries other than the US and its client states.


  1. left0ver1under says

    Even money says that if Panama honours Italy’s demand for extradition, the US will hijack…I mean, intercept the plane and force it to land, just as was done to the Bolivian president’s plane.

  2. says

    the United States made clear that it would not hand over any of the CIA criminals to serve their sentences, even though our extradition treaty with Italy requires us to do so.

    What? I thought the US was a big fan of extradition treaties for spies.

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