(Article changed on July 19, 2013 at 20:38)
(Article changed on July 19, 2013 at 11:30)
By Dave Lindorff
Ah, the rule of law. How often we hear our government leaders angrily demand that the rest of the world adhere to this sacred stricture, most recently as it demands that countries -- even countries with which the US has signed no extradition treaty like Russia or China -- honor the US charges leveled against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and send him to the US for trial.
But the rule of law, in truth, means little to the US, which routinely thumbs its nose at the whole notion.
Take the case of Robert Lady, the former CIA station chief in Rome Italy. Lady, along with 21 other CIA operatives, was charged years ago with the illegal 2003 kidnapping off a street in Milan of a man that the US claimed was a suspected terrorist. Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr was thrown into a van and then secretly renditioned first to a secret CIA "black site," and later to Egyptian police, who, he says, tortured him for the US. Four years later, Nasr was released after an Egyptian court ruled that he was not guilty of anything.
Italy indicted 22 Americans in Nasr's illegal kidnapping, and sought their presence for a trial. The US, ignoring the rule of law, refused to send its agents to Italy, a country with which the US has a long-established extradition treaty, and which is a long-standing member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), so they were tried in absentia in Italy. Lady, as station chief and chief architect of the kidnapping, was found guilty along with 13 others (eight men were acquitted) and was sentenced, also in absentia, to nine years in prison.
Subsequently, Italy sought to have him extradited by the US to accept his punishment, but the US refused.
Now Lady, who had disappeared from view, has been arrested on an international fugitive warrant in Panama, and Italy is seeking his extradition from that country.