Sunday, 21 July 2013

Rule[r]s of law

And speaking of legality, the government line on NSA-depantser Edward Snowden, repeated ad nauseam from all available parapets, is that he has been charged with crimes and should come ‘home’ to respond. This sounds ever so reasonable fair because, after all, we have rules, right? He broke them, right? So all nations near and far should do the decent thing and cooperate with our legal system by making him come face judicial proceedings with full guarantees, etc., etc.

The soothing tone does not mean, however, that there is any policy consistency behind it any more than Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law is color-blind. Consider the exactly contemporaneous case of ex-CIA station chief in Milan, Italy, Robert Lady, who has been convicted in an Italian court of kidnapping. And not just any kidnapping. Lady, according to the uncontested trial results (he flew the coup and so was tried in abstentia), led a team leading led a team of two dozen criminals in the pay of the U.S. government who in 2003 snatched an Egyptian citizen off the streets and shipped him to Egypt where he was summarily tortured. This was done in gross violation of the right to asylum for political persecution (by Hillary’s great friend Hosni Mubarak). The U.S. refused to do anything to facilitate the trial, and the agents remain at large.

Lady has been hiding out in Panama and was arrested there a few days ago. But instead of insisting on the sacred rule of law in this case, the U.S. government put pressure on that tiny country, which promptly buckled and handed Lady back to the Americans. So much for the safety of political exiles enjoying legal residence in a NATO country.

So keep that case in mind when you hear all the Obama-Kool-aid-drinking liberals whine about how Snowden broke his secrecy agreement and, mercy me, we can’t just be going around letting people do illegal things, now can we? After all, we might then have assassins, kidnappers and torturers running loose everywhere.

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