pageok
pageok
pageok
Rendition for . . . Bribery:

The LA Times reports on a recent rendition to the United States:

A Lebanese citizen being held in a detention center [in Alexandria, VA] was hooded, stripped naked for photographs and bundled onto an executive jet by FBI agents in Afghanistan in April, making him the first known target of a rendition during the Obama administration.

Unlike terrorism suspects who were secretly snatched by the CIA and harshly interrogated and imprisoned overseas during the George W. Bush administration, Raymond Azar was flown to this Washington suburb for a case involving inflated invoices.

Azar, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit bribery, the only charge against him. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, but a sentence of 2 1/2 years or less is likely under federal guidelines.

According to the article, Azar and others were caught in a sting for paying kickpacks to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official in order to obtain payments to a foreign contractor.

A Justice Department spokesperson says the FBI was just following "standard operating procedures" in how it handled Azar, adding "we take very seriously criminal fraud against the United States government." A representative of Human Rights Watch calls the case "bizarre." Unless there's more to this story, I'm with HRW on this one.

Constantin:
Hope!

p.s. Change!

p.p.s. I hope Eric Holder or any of his lackeys don't try and get a job as a law professor when they're done in D.C.
8.22.2009 4:49pm
Anon21:
This case may have been handled oddly, perhaps even badly, but of course Constantin's moral equivalence line is garbage. Rendering a person to face criminal trial within the United States, where he will be afforded full procedural protections is a far cry from rendering a suspect to a foreign country for the purpose of causing that suspect to be tortured. Rendition for purposes of trial has a reasonable historical pedigree; rendition for purposes of torture was never practiced by the United States prior to the Bush administration.
8.22.2009 5:08pm
JakeCollins:
ditto to Anon21. The Obama's civil liberties policies aren't much better than Bush, but at least he's not torturing people. This line between "torture" and "not torture" seems beyond the comprehension of most conservatives. Or maybe people like the OP are being intellectually dishonest. I'll leave that for others to judge.
8.22.2009 5:13pm
louisianalawyer:
rendition for purposes of torture

You seriously think that don't you?
8.22.2009 5:19pm
BT:
... adding "we take very seriously criminal fraud against the United States government."

Hey maybe there is some hope in bringing Barack Obama to justice concerning his fraudulent statements about Obamacare.
8.22.2009 5:29pm
Spanky von Spankowitz:
Some renditioners are more equal than others.

Toodles,
8.22.2009 5:32pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Hey maybe there is some hope in bringing George W Bush to justice concerning his fraudulent statements about Iraq War.

fixed!
8.22.2009 5:41pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Rendition for . . . Bribery

OK I get it. The OP doesn't care that rendition is being cared out. Just that its for bribery.

But hey, whatever takes the spotlight away from revelations about the Bush administration, right?
8.22.2009 5:45pm
troll_dc2 (mail):
Would we do this sort of thing in Europe? Canada? Even Latin America? I don't think that the host governments would put up with it, even if the person was a citizen of a different country. (At least since the practice came to light after 9/11.)

But Afghanistan is close to being a failed state. Moreover, we could do it without much outcry. So we did it. The extradition process (if there is one in Afghanistan) is too complicated and slow anyway, right?
8.22.2009 5:45pm
one of many:
Not rendition. Rendition is not the process of arresting people in foreign countries, but the process of turning people over (rendering them) to other jurisdictions. This is a simple arrest and detention of someone in a foreign country, extradition perhaps although there is not enough information to even know that.
8.22.2009 5:46pm
PersonFromPorlock:
In the Obama administration, they take bribing the wrong person very seriously.
8.22.2009 5:56pm
one of many:
To clarify, if Afghanistan had arrested and then shipped the person to the US it would have been rendition on the part of Afghanistan with the US extraditing them.
8.22.2009 5:57pm
mls (www):
I agree that this is not rendition, but it still seems like a very questionable way to treat an ordinary criminal suspect. Perhaps an unanticipated consequence of treating enemy combatants like criminal suspects is that law enforcement will start treating criminal suspects like enemy combatants. Something to keep in mind next time you are pulled over for speeding and the cop hoods you, strips you naked and takes your photograph.
8.22.2009 5:59pm
troll_dc2 (mail):
Apparently rendition is legal, and Afghanistan gave its consent. End of story, but it is an odd one.
8.22.2009 6:01pm
Spanky von Spankowitz:
one of many- I believe extradition presumes that the authority in the "perps" jurisdiction consents to the transfer. While the conditions in the 'stan make such a process unlikely- I'm not sure that "extradition" is a reasonable term for this type of action.
8.22.2009 6:02pm
Spanky von Spankowitz:
Oy- that should have been formally consents. Though if the 'stan was on board with formal process (as the article suggests)- it smells a lot more like extradition.
8.22.2009 6:06pm
cubanbob (mail):
"ruuffles (mail) (www):

Hey maybe there is some hope in bringing George W Bush to justice concerning his fraudulent statements about Iraq War.

fixed!"

Relying on Clinton's CIA Director, Tony Blair, Chiraq, Putin and the UN.

FIXED
8.22.2009 6:09pm
FC:
Who's Tony Blair-Chiraq?
8.22.2009 6:14pm
John A (mail):
Rendition? Or extradiction? Sounds more like the latter...

And they did a body search. Folks, this is not exactly unknown for mere suspects (think TSA/airport at the extreme), never mind those actually arrested under court-issued warrant.

Earphones... dunno. Just to block sensory input, not good - but did they supply music, like the ones you use on commercial flights? Admittedly, a lot of music I would consider to be torture, especially hours on end. I've been known to (and gotten in minor trouble for) turn down/off speakers in the office...

Hooded. Now this I admit I can not immediately come up with much of a reason for, unless it was over-application of a standard developed for known-to-be-violent cases to forestall them watching for opportunities.
8.22.2009 6:32pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
I think we're missing the really important question here: did the capture team leave a properly stamped receipt with Azar's family? And do they have a properly stamped receipt for the receipt?
8.22.2009 7:02pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
This was "rendition," insofar as U.S. agents made the arrest in another country and brought him back to the states. It was not "extraordinary rendition," however, as it did not involve an illegal transfer, as Afghanistan consented. If it were "extradition," then there would have been legal proceedings in Afghanistan to turn him over from Afghanistan to the United States.

JHA
8.22.2009 7:02pm
Constantin:
Or maybe people like the OP are being intellectually dishonest.

Yes. I'm the dishonest one. I remember during the campaign that waiving pictures of family members in front of freezing, starved, naked, hooded prisoners was a main lynchpin of Barack's stump speech.

How about this:

Four legs Barack good
Two legs Bu$hitler bad

(Fixed.)
8.22.2009 7:30pm
Owen H. (mail):
The real problem is that he got a trial, isn't it? Had he simply been disappeared, it would have been ok.
8.22.2009 8:24pm
JakeCollins:
Yeah Constantin. I'm white-washing Obama and demonizing Bush. That's why I started my post with, "the Obama's civil liberties policies aren't much better than Bush, but at least he's not torturing people." But keep on with your torture=non-torture false equivalency. It really makes you look like a tough guy. Maybe you're the next Kiefer Sutherland, or maybe you're just another cowardly chickenhawk who gets off on torturing people.
8.22.2009 8:43pm
Anon Y. Mous:

Rendition for purposes of trial has a reasonable historical pedigree; rendition for purposes of torture was never practiced by the United States prior to the Bush administration.


The policy you are referring to began under Clinton:


Both the Reagan and Clinton cases involved apprehending known terrorists abroad, by covert means if necessary. The policy later expanded.

In a New Yorker interview with CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, an author of the rendition program under the Clinton administration, writer Jane Mayer noted, "In 1995, American agents proposed the rendition program to Egypt, making clear that it had the resources to track, capture, and transport terrorist suspects globally — including access to a small fleet of aircraft. Egypt embraced the idea... 'What was clever was that some of the senior people in Al Qaeda were Egyptian,' Scheuer said. 'It served American purposes to get these people arrested, and Egyptian purposes to get these people back, where they could be interrogated.' Technically, U.S. law requires the CIA to seek 'assurances' from foreign governments that rendered suspects won't be tortured. Scheuer told me that this was done, but he was 'not sure' if any documents confirming the arrangement were signed." However, Scheuer testified before Congress that no such assurances were received. He further acknowledged that treatment of prisoners may not have been "up to U.S. standards." However, he stated,


This is a matter of no concern as the Rendition Program's goal was to protect America, and the rendered fighters delivered to Middle Eastern governments are now either dead or in places from which they cannot harm America. Mission accomplished, as the saying goes.


Thereafter, with the approval of President Clinton and a presidential directive (PDD 39), the CIA instead elected to send suspects to Egypt, where they were turned over to the Egyptian Mukhabarat.
8.22.2009 10:24pm
subpatre (mail):
"Azar and others were caught in a sting for paying kickpacks to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official in order to obtain payments to a foreign contractor."

Is it a crime to pay bribes in Afghanistan? Can a contracting business in Afghanistan operate without bribery? And how is it a federal crime to [do some thing] in Afghanistan?

At this rate, there will be extraordinary renditions for selling 'Ro1exx' watches to American tourists. US commandos will raid Paris, dragging off sobbing French taxi drivers who protest "Bon dieu! C'est six kilometres de l'aeroport! Tres loin, beaucoup de kilometres." Before long we'll waterboard British restaurant owners for advertising good food.

Bad jokes aside, where does this stop? Under President Bush, a few people who were (apparently) real threats to Americans were kidnapped and treated viciously. Under President Obama, we invoke the same theory, expand kidnapping to people who are no threat at all, and 'only' treat them poorly.
8.22.2009 10:43pm
SG:
The policy you are referring to began under Clinton:

And it continues under Obama. According to the LA Times:


Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States. [...] But the Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration's war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.
8.22.2009 10:45pm
one of many:
Prof. Alder, if the reporting is correct there was no rendition, no one was turned over to anyone else - the FBI took custody and retained custody. Rendition is the act of giving custody over, arrest is the act of taking custody - they are not the same. If the FBI had turned Azar over to Afghan or even French officials, anyone but the US, it would have been rendition. The word rendition took a sore beating during the Bush years by people opposed to Bush's policies (although extraordinary rendition pre-dated Bush's taking office) and we should return to the meaning it had for centuries before the Bush administration and not use it as a catch-all word for any international custody situation.

Spanky, aye it could be considered extradition if the Afghan government formally agreed to the arrest. Not enough information provided to know if it was a formal agreement or a wink-and-a-nod agreement. For it to technically be extradition (in the legal sense as opposed to the commonsense sense) the Afghan government would have had to have had custody of Azar, but that's a whole different kettle of fish and makes little difference.
8.22.2009 10:55pm
first history:
Is it a crime to pay bribes in Afghanistan? Can a contracting business in Afghanistan operate without bribery? And how is it a federal crime to [do some thing] in Afghanistan?

Ha, ha, it is to laugh. Bribery a crime in Afghanistan--bribery is a way of life in Afghanistan. The country ranks 176 out of 180 in Transparecy International's 2008 corruption rankings--just above Haiti, Iraq, Myannmar, and Somalia (the US ranked 18).

Bribery of a US public official (in this case a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers, acknowledging this was a sting) is a crime, and that is what Azar pled guilty to (here is the indictment). Or do you want to give a pass to corrupt US public officials because the corruption took place outside US territory?
8.22.2009 11:32pm
ShelbyC:
I'm not sure bribing govt folks should be a crime anyway. It's too dificult to seperate from extortion. Of course, accepting bribes should be a crime.
8.23.2009 12:19am
Constantin:
Maybe you're the next Kiefer Sutherland, or maybe you're just another cowardly chickenhawk who gets off on torturing people.

Neither. Nor am I a charlatan who runs for president based on a set of acts being actually, literally evil, only to do those precise things once I got the job.

And I'm surely not a bootlick of that president, so desperate to affirm another grown man's infallibility and majesty that I lose all sense of reason.
8.23.2009 1:12am
Milhouse (www):
I'm with ShelbyC; paying bribes should not be a crime, but accepting them should be. Note that this is exactly what the Bible does. It denounces the taking of bribes at least ten times, but not once does it denounce or forbid paying them.
8.23.2009 1:33am
Constantin:
Another thought on chickenhawks...

Our Commander-in-Chief is escalating a war in Afghanistan, overseeing another one in Iraq, lobbing missiles that kills civilians in Pakistan, and, apparently, roughing up bribery suspects with tactics I don't exactly recall him advocating this time last year. And he's left himself room in his renowned executive order to do whatever he wants to a terrorism suspect if he decides he *really* needs to.

How many days did he spend in the military?

Chickenhawk. And maybe a cowardly one who gets off on killing civilians and (almost, but not really, because he has a D after his name) torturing people.
8.23.2009 1:36am
Mac (mail):

A Justice Department spokesperson says the FBI was just following
"standard operating procedures" in how it handled Azar, adding "we
take very seriously criminal fraud against the United States
government."




Can we expect the FBI to start rounding up most members of the US Congress anytime soon?

Let's see, Barney Franks, Chuck Dodd, Chuck Schummer and their sweetheart mortgage deals with Countrywide as "Friends of Angelo" comes to mind. Gotten, by the way, while they sat in oversight committees over mortgage companies and banks, including Countywide.

Then there is that sweetheart Irish cottage deal Dodd got from his former business partner and the, it would seem, subsequent tax evasion over the very low ball valuation of the property Dodd received. Seems to me that constitutes criminal fraud against the United States Government.
8.23.2009 2:19am
Mac (mail):

A Lebanese citizen being held in a detention center [in Alexandria, VA] was hooded, stripped naked for photographs and bundled onto an executive jet by FBI agents in Afghanistan in April, making him the first known target of a rendition during the Obama administration.



I do believe just forcing a prisoner to listen to rap music or kept awake was considered torture under Bush.

My how the definition of torture has changed with the change in administrations. Who would have thought?
8.23.2009 2:22am
Mac (mail):
PS

I will acknowledge that I might agree that being forced to listen to rap music may very well be torture.

However, after much consideration, I guess I would prefer it to having my tongue cut out, being put in a shredder, being thrown off a building or having my head cut off.
8.23.2009 2:25am
subpatre (mail):
ShelbyC writes:"I'm not sure bribing govt folks should be a crime anyway. It's too dificult to seperate from extortion. Of course, accepting bribes should be a crime."

Accepting or demanding one is worse, but offering is still wrong and should be criminalized. That still has nothing to do with how the United States can 'extradite' and try a person from another country —for an offense committed in the other country.

The alleged jurisdiction is the 'eastern district of Virginia' where the electronic fund transfer ended up. Will we extend mutual extradition, shipping off US citizens to be executed for online insults to 'the prophet' that are viewed on a computer in some nation it is a crime?


one of many wrote:"...there was no rendition, no one was turned over to anyone else - the FBI took custody and retained custody. "

You are mistaking 'rendition' for 'extraordinary rendition', but the technical term shouldn't matter much. In either case, the FBI has no authority to arrest a non-American in a foreign nation for an act committed overseas.
8.23.2009 11:12am
ArthurKirkland:
This case should be investigated. If the alleged mistreatment -- hooded, blindfolded, shackled, stripped naked, denied food, photographed naked, kept in cold conditions, etc. -- has become "standard operating procedure" with respect to suspects, the decline in decency of (some corners of) the United States government is appalling.

If this is how all government contractors accused of wrongdoing are being treated, however, it might be poetic justice if Erik Prince and other Blackwater executives were picked up before the investigation were completed and any changes implemented.
8.23.2009 11:29am
subpatre (mail):
JakeCollins wrote:"... Obama's civil liberties policies aren't much better than Bush, but at least he's not torturing people. This line between "torture" and "not torture" seems beyond the comprehension of most conservatives."

Obama's civil liberties policies are far worse. Many people held their noses while supporting Bush, believing it was repugnant-but-justified by saving American lives.

Under Obama we are doing worse, snatching foreign nationals for petty-cash related acts. No American lives were threated by these people, whose 'sin' isn't even recognized as wrong in much of the world.

The NY Times ran a series exposing and opposing Bush administration torture. Most techniques were designed to leave no physical damage: sensory deprivation from blindfolds or head bags, humiliation by nakedness, biochemical reactions from controlled hypothermia, weakness induced by withheld food, disorientation from repetitive loud noise, ad nauseum.

Two salient points. The Times relied on FBI informers, who supplied information about methods used at Guantanamo by other agencies. Both officially and unofficially, collectively and individually, the FBI and it's agents condemned these methods. Now these are being represented as "standard operating procedures". What a change; what an absolute, horrible reversal.

Then, all the coercive interrogation techniques were described as 'torture' by the media. Now there is a deafening silence when a petty-crime figure is covertly brutalized under a President who got elected on the promise to eliminate "secret authorization of brutal interrogations". Like JakeCollins, partisan defender Kevin Drum tries to minimize the broken promise by twisting 'brutal techniques' into 'waterboarding only'. The political left refuses to admit the nonexistent difference between 'Bush torture' and 'Obama not-torture' brutality and inhumane treatment.

There is a long, continuous trend toward prisoner maltreatment by America, expanding its empire, and incessant inflation of executive reach. Bush, Clinton, Bush, or Obama —the exact president is unimportant— the trend is deplorable.

If representative of policy, Azar's case is a substantial expansion of reach, widened civil rights violations, and standardization of cruelty in interrogations.
8.23.2009 2:46pm
Ricardo (mail):
The abuse allegations are quite a different matter from the rendition itself. I've never seen an actual definition of "rendition" but I wouldn't be surprised if this didn't even fit. From the article:

The FBI arrested Azar and Cobos with warrants signed by a federal magistrate. And the State Department, Talamona said, asked the government of Afghanistan "for its consent in advance to take these two individuals into custody and return them to the United States to stand trial. They consented to our request."... Azar and Cobos were arrested at Camp Eggers, a U.S. military base in Kabul, after being lured to a meeting April 7.


So let's see: the FBI had an arrest warrant for Azar and Azar was arrested after setting foot on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan by FBI agents acting on that warrant and with the consent of the government of Afghanistan. The only thing that didn't happen was a formal extradition hearing in an Afghan court but it's not clear from the facts that Afghanistan felt that was a necessary step. When he voluntarily sets foot on the U.S. base, he is arguably under U.S. jurisdiction already.

As I said, the bizarre abuse allegations are a separate matter and I'm not sure what to make of them. But there is really nothing all that remarkable about this case. This guy allegedly tried to rip off the U.S. military -- the military tends to frown on this sort of thing.
8.23.2009 10:09pm
Owen H. (mail):
I'm getting a clearer picture here- some approve (grudgingly or not) with "extraordinary rendition" to secretly capture and wisk terror suspects away to be properly interrogated outside of the light and the law, using at best questionable methods, and that's ok because it supposedly works, while openly capturing a suspected criminal using "rendition" and (gasp) giving him a trial, is bad somehow.
8.24.2009 7:28am
Seamus (mail):
At least you can't say that the Obama Administration doesn't take white-collar crime seriously.
8.24.2009 1:13pm
Charli Carpenter (mail) (www):
I do not understand how this case constitutes extraordinary rendition. A suspected criminal was extradited by Afghanistan to the US to face trial. He was mistreated in transit. It seems like an example of detainee abuse, but not extraordinary rendition. I've posted a longer analysis at .

I think it's important to distinguish these two problems - detainee abuse and rendition - because they involve different policy solutions.
8.24.2009 6:27pm

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Account:
Password:
Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.