Aletho News


The NYT’s Selective Spin on Extradition, Torture, and Murder

By Michael McGehee ·  NYTX · August 5, 2013

The way the New York Times presents Moscow’s rejection of Washington’s extradition request for Edward Snowden, the leaker of details on the massive NSA global spying program, one would think Russia is in the wrong.

According to last Friday’s front page article by Steven Lee Meyers and Andrew E. Kramer, “Defiant Russia Grants Snowden Year’s Asylum,” the words chosen reveal a lot about the paper’s tone.

Moscow was “defiant “ as they “infuriated” Washington by “brushing aside pleas.”

A look at the treatment of Bradley Manning to see how Washington might treat Snowden is apt, but this is not mentioned by Meyers and Kramer.

Nor do Meyers and Kramer mention Ilyas Akhmadov, a former Chechen separatist leader who is on Russia’s most-wanted list. Akhmadov lives in Washington.

Also missing from the coverage is how Moscow has had their requests for an extradition agreement ignored by Washington. As Newsweek reported last week: “The bottom line, Russian officials agreed, was that Snowden would be useful for Russia,” because “Moscow’s biggest complaint was that Washington ignored Russia’s idea to sign ‘an agreement for extradition,’ that would guarantee both sides a mutual exchange of bad boys.”

There is also a differential treatment provided to leakers and whistle-blowers, as opposed to those who commit serious crimes in service of the government.

While Bradley Manning faces more than 130 years in jail for leaking classified documents, consider the following:

Marine Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, a squad leader, participated in the brutal killings of 24 Iraqis in Haditha seven years ago. Many of the victims were women and children . A plea bargain on Wuterich’s case resulted in a drop in rank and conviction for dereliction of duty. No jail time.

As U.S. troops were leaving in December of 2011, Michael Schmidt, a New York Times reporter, stumbled upon hundreds of pages of U.S. military documents pertaining to the 2005 Haditha massacre. Schmidt reported on a testimony of a soldier who said the murders were not “remarkable” because, “It happened all the time, not necessarily in MNF-West all the time, but throughout the whole country.”

In 1995 three American soldiers kidnapped and raped a 12-year old Japanese girl. The three men got no more than seven years jail time.

Even Charles Graner and Lynndie England, who were found guilty of abuses in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal—where detainees were tortured, humiliated, beaten, raped, and killed—received no more than ten years in jail.

The writing on the wall is clear: sounding the alarm to the general public about widespread crime and corruption (some of which includes the kind of crimes I bring up above and below) can get you life in prison—but raping, torturing, and killing dozens of civilians will get you no more than a reduction in rank, or a fraction of the time in prison.

And it is more than the differential treatment. There is also the hypocritical attitude towards extradition. Mentioned above was the case of Akhmadov, but he is hardly an exception.

During the spring of 2000 Washington helped Tomas Ricardo Anderson Kohatsu, a Peruvian intelligence official accused of torture escape arrest, saying he was entitled to diplomactic immunity.

In October of 2001, as Washington was asking the Taliban to turnover bin Laden, Haiti was asking Washington to turnover Emmanuel Constant for his role in a 1994 massacre. Washington was “defiant” as they “infuriated” Haiti by “brushing aside” their request.

Then there is Venezuela’s request for Luis Posada Carriles over his role in the 1973 bombing of a jet airliner that killed 73 people off the coast of Cuba.

Nearly a year ago Washington defied and infuriated Bolivia when they brushed aside the latter’s extradition request for former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozado, who was wanted for charges of genocide.

Also, there is Armando Fernandez Larios, a Chilean soldier who was part of The Caravan of Death, a death squad group that went from prison to prison in Chile, following the 1973 military coup, and executed prisoners. But it wasn’t this crime that got him in trouble in the U.S. It was his role in the assassination of Americans on American soil. Though, as SF Weekly reports:

Fernandez Larios later fell out of favor with his military. He cut a deal with the U.S. Justice Department, much of which remains secret. In exchange for providing information on the assassin and Chilean intelligence operations, he’d go to a federal prison for seven years and would never be deported to Chile. Argentina wanted to extradite Fernandez Larios for his alleged involvement in another political hit, but the plea agreement protected him from that as well.

And finally there is the case of Robert Seldon Lady, the former CIA station chief in Milan, who is wanted in Italy, along with 22 of Lady’s accomplices in the agency, for his role in the 2003 abduction of Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric. Omar was renditioned to Egypt, where he was repeatedly tortured.

A more exhaustive search of Washington’s foreign policy could reveal a book’s worth of examples where Washington comes to the aid of kidnappers, torturers, terrorists, executioners, and war criminals, either to avoid extradition or be granted a punishment considerably less than what a whistle-blower can expect. And it is this context which the New York Times has conveniently left out of their coverage of both Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.

August 5, 2013 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russian official slams US for turning down Moscow’s extradition requests

RT | July 22, 2013

The US is pressuring Russia to hand over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to face espionage charges. However, it routinely denies Russian requests to hand over suspected criminals living in America.

“Law agencies asked the US on many occasions to extradite wanted criminals through Interpol channels, but those requests were neither met nor even responded to,” spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry Andrey Pilipchuk said on Monday.

He named Ilyas Akhmadov and Tamaz Nalbandov as examples of people living in the US, who Russia unsuccessfully tried to get for prosecution.

Akhmadov, a former officer in the Soviet Union’s Red Army, joined the militant movement in the Russian Republic of Chechnya in the early 1990s, fighting for some time along with the notorious terrorist Shamil Basayev. He is wanted in Russia over his connection to crimes committed by the insurgents.

He served as an official of the short-lived ‘government of Ichkeria’, an entity which wanted to form a sovereign Islamist state on Chechen territory. In 1999, Akhmadov was appointed ‘Foreign Minister of Ichkeria’, and toured Western countries to rally support for his cause.

After Moscow re-established control over Chechnya, he settled in the US in 2003 and sought political asylum there. He received it a year later, despite objections from the US Department of Homeland Security.

Nalbandov, an ethnic Ossetian, is suspected of abduction and extortion in Russia. In 2001, he was placed on domestic and international wanted lists.

In 2000, he moved to the US seeking political asylum and successfully obtained it. He was granted a residence permit in 2002.

Russia sought extradition of both men on several occasions in vain.

The criticism comes as the US pressures Russia to hand over Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, who exposed the agency’s secret surveillance programs and the role that other countries played in them.

Snowden is stranded at a Moscow airport after arriving there from Hong Kong last month. The US cancelled his passport as part of its effort to apprehend him and prosecute him on espionage charges. His limbo status means Snowden is unable to leave the airport’s transit zone in any direction.

The whistleblower is seeking political asylum in several countries, including Russia. Moscow tried to distance itself from Snowden’s case, although several Russian officials voiced their support for him and called on the government to help him.

Snowden won sympathies from activists worldwide, as many people see him as a hero, who sacrificed his career and possibly freedom to expose questionable secretive government policies. Russian human rights activists supporting the American said they regularly receive offers of money, jobs and even marriage to Snowden, the latter to facilitate his entrance to the country.


July 23, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment