Extradition hypocrisy on the part of the U.S.:
Whistleblowers yes, terrorists no
By Eli Stephens
JULY 8, 2013
FROM PARTY OF SOCIALISM AND LIBERATION
Edward Snowden, who recently disclosed the massive nature of NSA spying on not only Americans but on every single person in the world who uses electronic communications of any kind, is currently a fugitive from “justice” in the United States. Although he is currently in a Russian airport, he has been offered political asylum by Venezuela, as well as by Nicaragua and Bolivia.
Although Snowden isn’t yet in Venezuela, the U.S. government has already requested his extradition from that country. The irony of this request abounds. For eight years now, since June 15, 2005, the U.S. has refused to extradite a notorious terrorist to Venezuela. Luis Posada Carriles is wanted in Venezuela on 73 counts of murder for masterminding the 1976 midair bombing of a Cubana airliner (the flight originated in Venezuela, and the bombing was planned there, which is why that country is involved). Posada was also responsible for a string of Cuban hotel bombings in 1997 which killed Italian tourist Fabio di Celmo, and was jailed for four years in Panama (2000-2004) for an attempt to bomb an auditorium in which Fidel Castro was speaking to university students. This is the man the U.S. Government continues to allow to walk the streets of Miami a free man, while they ask for the extradition of a man whose crime was to expose their own illegal actions.
The excuse for refusing Venezuela’s extradition request is the totally unsupported assertion that Posada might be subject to torture in Venezuela, rather ironic given the recent history of torture practiced by the U.S. Remarkably, the only “evidence” to the possibility of torture in Venezuela was the testimony of Joaquin Chaffardet – Posada’s lawyer, former boss in the Venezuelan secret police, former business partner at the time of the airline bombing, and someone who was indicted, though not convicted, for organizing the prison break which sprang Posada from a Venezuelan jail in the first place!
Posada entered the U.S. illegally in 2005, which could have been ground enough to deport him. More than 400,000 undocumented workers were deported by the Obama administration just last year, and more than a million since Obama took office, but Posada, a man who even the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledges is a terrorist, was not among them.
Having refused a valid extradition request from Venezuela, the U.S. is then obliged under the Montreal Convention to try Posada for the airplane bombing “without any exception whatsoever.” The U.S. has, needless to say, ignored that legal obligation as well.
Although it hasn’t been publicly disclosed whether the U.S. has also filed an extradition request with Bolivia, that too would be ironic, because the U.S. is also harboring a fugitive from Bolivian justice, its former President, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. In 2003, Bolivian troops attacked and murdered 59 civilians who were engaged in a peaceful protest. Not long after, Sánchez de Lozada resigned and escaped to the United States. On November 11, 2008, Bolivia formally served the US government with a request to extradite Sánchez de Lozada back to Bolivia for crimes against humanity and extrajudicial killings, but the U.S. has rejected that request, as it did in the case of Venezuela’s request for the extradition of Posada Carriles.
As Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro put it, “Who is the terrorist? A government like us, who seeks to serve the young Snowden, a figure of humanitarian asylum from persecution by the American Empire? Or the United States government that protects with political asylum Luis Posada Carriles, a confessed convicted murderer and terrorist, who is wanted by Venezuela for the bombing of the Cubana plane in 1976?”
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