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Panama refuses to extradite CIA’s Lady to Italy

Press TV – July 20, 2013

Panama has refused to extradite the former CIA chief of Milan station to Italy where he has been sentenced to nine years in prison for the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian Muslim cleric on suspicion of terrorist activities.

Italian justice ministry’s press office on Thursday announced that Robert Seldon Lady, also known as “Mister Bob,” has been arrested in Panama. However, it is not clear when and where he has been arrested.

On Friday, the US State Department confirmed Lady was on his way back to the United States. Italy had asked Panama to hold Lady while an extradition request was being made.

Panama foreign ministry sources have said the documents submitted by Italy for the extradition were “insufficient,” according to Italian media.

Italy’s Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said Friday that she was “deeply disappointed” by Panama’s decision not to return Lady to Italy.

The former Milan CIA station chief was sentenced to nine years in jail for the abduction of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Twenty-two other Americans involved in the kidnapping were each sentenced to five years in prison.

The court ordered each of the 23 convicts, none of whom appeared for the trial, to pay one million euros (about $1.3 million) to Abu Omar, plus 500,000 euros to his wife.

The Muslim cleric was transferred to US military bases in Italy and later in Germany before being flown to Egypt. He was later set free in Egypt.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-CIA station chief in Milan detained in Panama

RT | July 18, 2013

A former station chief with the CIA has been detained in Panama after being on the run from Italian police for more than a decade.

Robert Seldon Lady, 59, was reportedly brought into custody early Thursday after surfacing in the Central American country. An Italian court convicted him in 2009 in absentia of abducting an Egyptian terror suspect from the streets of Milan, and he was sentenced in early 2013 to nine years in prison. Only now, however, has he been caught, according to a statement made Thursday by the Italian justice ministry.

The case against Lady marked the first time ever that a CIA agent was accused of kidnapping and brought to trial. Twenty-two other Americans, mostly intelligence officers, were also convicted for their role in the “extraordinary rendition” of a Muslim cleric.

Lady was the station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency post in Milan during the time of the abduction. He is accused of abducting Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr and assisting in his years’ long detention which was reportedly accompanied with bouts of torture.

“I’m not guilty. I’m only responsible for carrying out orders that I received from my superiors,” Lady told Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper in 2009.

Previously, Lady told GQ magazine in a candid interview that, “When you work in intelligence, you do things in the country in which you work that are not legal.”

“It’s a life of illegality,” said Lady, “But state institutions in the whole world have professionals in my sector, and it’s up to us to do our duty.”

“I console myself by reminding myself that I was a soldier, that I was in a war against terrorism, that I couldn’t discuss orders given to me,” Lady said to Italian journalists.

Lady had served just shy of a quarter-century with the CIA at the time of the crime. He described his former employer to GQ years later as “the vanguard of democracy” and his role as “the greatest job I ever had.”

July 18, 2013 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Panama: Indigenous Leader Murdered After Anti-Dam Protest

Weekly News Update on the Americas | April 1, 2013

Onésimo Rodríguez, a leader in Panama’s Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous group, was killed by a group of masked men in Cerro Punta, in western Chiriquí department, the evening of Mar. 22 following a protest against construction of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam. Carlos Miranda, another protester who was attacked along with Rodríguez, said the assailants beat both men with metal bars. Miranda lost consciousness but survived; Rodríguez’s body was found in a stream the next day. Miranda said he was unable to identify the attackers because it was dark and their faces were covered. Manolo Miranda and other leaders of the April 10 Movement, which organizes protests against the dam, charged that “the ones that mistreated the Ngöbes were disguised police agents.”

The Ngöbe-Buglé stepped up their demonstrations against the Barro Blanco project in January, when construction continued at the site despite a United Nations (UN) report that largely substantiated indigenous claims that the dam would flood three villages, cut the residents off from food sources and destroy important cultural monuments [see Update #1168]. As of Mar. 26 an independent study mandated by the UN report and agreed to by the government had still not started.

In addition to protesting the Honduran-owned company building the dam, Generadora del Istmo, S.A. (GENISA), indigenous activists blame two European banks for funding the project: Germany’s private Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) and the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO), in which the Dutch government holds a controlling interest. Dam opponents say GENISA also sought funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) but withdrew the application after learning that bank officials planned to visit the affected communities themselves. (Mongabay.com 3/25/13; La Estrella (Panama) 3/26/13)

In other news, as of Mar. 19 the National Coordinating Committee of the Indigenous Peoples of Panama (COONAPIP) had decided to withdraw from the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (UN-REDD+) program, which focuses on environmental problems in developing nations. The indigenous group charged in a statement that the UN and the Panamanian government “have appeared to marginalize the collective participation of the seven indigenous peoples and 12 traditional structures that make up COONAPIP” and have put “legal and administrative obstacles in the way” of indigenous participation. The Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forests (AMPB), a coalition of Central American and Mexican indigenous and environmental groups, is backing COONAPIP’s decision. (Mongabay.com 3/19/13; Adital (Brazil) 3/21/13)

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Among the Most Positive Countries, Gallup Says

Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / December 20, 2012

A new survey by the Washington, DC-based public opinion pollster Gallup finds that Latin Americans are the most positive people in the world, and Venezuela is tied for second place among all countries measured.

The survey asked citizens of various countries to answer questions including: “Did you feel well-rested yesterday?” “Were you treated with respect?” and “Did you smile or laugh a lot?”

In Venezuela, 84 percent of respondents answered “yes” to those questions, the same amount as in El Salvador, which tied with Venezuela for second place after Panama and Paraguay, which tied for first  with 85 percent.

According to Gallup, eight of the top ten most positive countries in the world are in Latin America, with Trinidad and Tobago coming in at number five (with 83 percent), followed by Thailand (83 percent), Guatemala (82 percent), Philippines (82 percent), Ecuador (81 percent), and Costa Rica (81 percent). At the low end, just 46 percent of respondents in Singapore answered “yes” to the questions.

The implications, according to the analysis, are that a country’s overall economic prosperity does not correspond with the amount of positivity felt by its citizens.

The report explains: “These data may surprise analysts and leaders who solely focus on traditional economic indicators. Residents of Panama, which ranks 90th in the world with respect to GDP per capita, are among the most likely to report positive emotions. Residents of Singapore, which ranks fifth in the world in terms of GDP per capita, are the least likely to report positive emotions.”

On average, 73 percent of adults around the world felt enjoyment a lot of the day, and 72 percent felt well-rested. A smaller proportion – 43 percent on average – said they were able to learn or do something interesting.

The report states that, on the whole, the data “reflects a relatively upbeat world.” It concludes that “Despite many global challenges, people worldwide are experiencing many positive emotions.”

Click here to see the full results.

December 22, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment