by Jacob G. Hornberger
What would happen if agents of the Venezuelan government entered the United States, kidnapped a person suspected of being a terrorist, and whisked him away to Cuba to have him tortured?
I’ll tell you: U.S. officials would be hopping mad, along with all their statist supporters. “Bomb them into the Stone Age!” the statists would scream. “Nuke ’em! Nuke ’em all, both in Venezuela and Cuba!” they’d cry.
But what happens when agents of the U.S. Empire enter Italy, kidnap a person suspected of being a terrorist, and whisk him away to Egypt to have him tortured?
Answer: The U.S. Empire and its statist supporters exclaim, “What great freedom fighters we have working for the Empire!”
Alas, the Italian courts don’t agree. This week an Italian appeals court not only upheld the criminal convictions of 23 CIA agents who kidnapped a man on the streets of Milan and whisked him away to Egypt to have him tortured, it actually increased their sentences — from 5-8 years to 7-9 years. The agents were convicted last November — in absentia because they were too scared to return to face their accusers. The Italian court rejected the notion that following orders of their superiors mitigated their crime (which is precisely what the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal held at the end of World War II).
Meanwhile, the Obama administration takes the same position as the Bush administration. It refuses to extradite the CIA felons to Italy to serve out their sentences.
Why doesn’t the U.S. Empire’s refusal to send these convicted felons to Italy constitute “harboring terrorists”? Isn’t the supposed reason that U.S. troops are killing and dying in Afghanistan is because of the Empire’s purported concern that the Taliban will “harbor terrorists” if it returns to power?
Given the Empire’s refusal to send those CIA convicts to Italy to face the music, the irony is that real reason that the Bush administration got mad at the Taliban was its refusal to comply with Bush’s conditional demand to deliver Osama bin Laden to the United States.
Even today, the Empire refuses to extradite accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to face justice in Venezuela. He’s the CIA operative who is accused of planting a bomb on a Cuban civilian airliner, which ended up killing dozens of innocent people, including the members of Cuba’s fencing team. Why isn’t the Empire’s refusal to turn Posada over to Venezuelan authorities considered “harboring a terrorist”?
Oh well, no one has ever accused the Empire of moral consistency. But the Italian episode certainly demonstrates the utter hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy. When foreigners engage in terrorism, the Empire calls them terrorists. When members of the Empire engage in terrorism, the Empire calls them “freedom fighters.”
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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