[Ppnews] The Cuban 5 - Without Any Exception Whatsoever?
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Oct 23 16:48:37 EDT 2009
October 23-25, 2009
The Untold Story of the Cuban Five
Without Any Exception Whatsoever?
By RICARDO ALARCÓN de QUESADA
Venezuelas formal request for the extradition of
Luis Posada Carriles was well founded. There is
an Extradition Treaty between Venezuela and the
United States, ratified by both countries in
1922, which has been implemented for a century.
Venezuela followed the letter of the law, with
its Supreme Court issuing an arrest warrant for
the fugitive who had absconded from a Venezuelan
prison in 1985. The Venezuelan government
formally transmitted its extradition request to
the United States government on June 15, 2005.
According to the Treaty, Washington should have
immediately detained Posada and submitted his
case to a federal court for an extradition
process in which the Secretary of State would
have the final word. Thats how Montesquieu's
idea of separation of powers allegedly works in America.
But nothing of the sort has happened. The US
government has instead chosen not to detain
Posada Carriles or to submit the case to a federal court for extradition.
The US could have also detained Posada under its
own Patriot Act, which gives the Attorney General
the authority to detain a terrorist until his
ultimate removal from the United States. The
Patriot Act obviates the need to consult with the
courts in order to detain someone the federal
government considers a terrorist. The Attorney
General need only certify the person as a
terrorist. (See Section 1226 (A) of Title 8 of
the United States Code). By deciding not to
certify Posada as a terrorist and allow him to
roam free, the United States is in clear
violation of its own Patriot Act. And by ignoring
the extradition treaty with Venezuela and several
international conventions on terrorism,
Washington grossly violated the US Constitution,
specifically Article VI which establishes that
such international treaties shall be the supreme law of the land.
Bush decided that Posada's mendacity to a
bureaucrat was a more serious offense than 73
counts of first-degree murder. And instead of
abiding by the US constitutional and treaty
obligations, Bush preferred to try and convince
other governments to help him shelter and protect
Posada. No other government, however, was prepared to do that.
The Bush administration flatly ignored certain
international conventions that are among the main
pillars in the fight against international
terrorism: the Montreal Convention for the
Suppression of Illicit Acts Against Civil
Aviation and the Protection of Passengers and the
International Convention against Terrorist Acts
Committed with the Use of Bombs.
Both Conventions introduced a very specific
provision to make it impossible for any suspect
of such crimes to escape prosecution. They
established one alternative to extradition and
only one. If any State does not comply with an
extradition request, it shall be obligated to
immediately prosecute and put on trial the
alleged criminal for the same crime as if it had
been committed in its own territory. That has to
be done, according to both Conventions, without any exception whatsoever.
In September 2001, a few days after 9/11, the
Bush Administration urged the UN Security Council
to adopt mandatory and concrete measures that
every country must take, under the threat of
force in case of non compliance. Security Council
Resolution 1373, introduced by the US delegation
and approved unanimously, made it an enforceable
obligation for all member states to cooperate in
prosecuting fugitive suspects, denying them
shelter, condemning political excuses not to
extradite and demanding the full application of
all international agreements against terrorism,
including the two Conventions cited above.
To ensure implementation of Resolution 1373, a
special permanent UN Security Council committee
was established. It meets regularly in its New
York headquarters. At every meeting, the United
States is denounced for being in clear violation
of Resolution 1373 with its hypocritical double
standard on terrorism, as reflected in its
protection of Luis Posada Carriles and the incarceration of the Cuban Five.
The next round of the charade known as the Posada
trial is scheduled for March 1, 2010. Posada
is to be tried on perjury charges. By then it
will be five years of US adamant efforts in
protecting a terrorist and not allowing him to be
tried for his real crimes. By then, five
anti-terrorist heroes will be in the middle of
their 12th year of unjust, cruel punishment.
By not respecting its international treaty
obligations, Washington is undermining the main
legal instruments which were conceived to sustain
the struggle against terrorism, which is supposed
to be of a highest priority for the United
States. The damage to US credibility may not be
clearly perceived by many Americans because the
big corporate media do not allow them to
ascertain it. They are not permitted to know how
the hypocrisy and arrogance permeating US policy
is universally rejected. To imagine the
possibility of the US playing any leadership role
in the world, not to mention the idea of being
respected, is to indulge in irrational, unfounded daydreaming.
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada is president of the Cuban National Assembly.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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