Saturday, August 22, 2009

Obama Rendition Promoted as Military Fraud Deterent

A white collar criminal was renditioned from Afghanistan to a Washington suburb. It is the first known renditioning under the Obama administration. The Lebanese man, Raymond Azar, worked for Sima Salazar Group. The firm was awarded more than $50 million in Pentagon contracts for work in Afghanistan.

Military contractors offered bribes to two Army Corp of Engineer officials, one in Kabul and another in the U.S. Sima Salazar was one of the firms offering bribes. Consider Mr. Azar's treatment, as reported by the LA Times:

In court papers, Azar said he was denied his eyeglasses, not given food for 30 hours and put in a freezing room after his arrest by "more than 10 men wearing flak jackets and carrying military style assault rifles."

Azar also said he was shackled and forced to wear a blindfold, dark hood and earphones for up to 18 hours on a Gulfstream V jet that flew him from Bagram air base, outside Kabul, to Virginia.

Before the hood was put on, he said, one of his captors waved a photo of Azar's wife and four children and warned Azar that he would "never see them again" unless he confessed.

"Frightened for his immediate safety . . . and under the belief he would end up in the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib to be tortured," Azar signed a paper he did not understand, his lawyers told the court.

Prosecutors, however, said that Azar was "treated professionally," kept in a heated room, offered food and water repeatedly and "provided with comfortable chairs to sit in."

They said he was photographed naked and subjected to a cavity search to ensure that he did not carry hidden weapons and was fit for travel. Court records confirmed that Azar was shackled at the ankles, waist and wrists and made to wear a blindfold, hood and earphones aboard the plane.

And the reason for treating the white collar criminal like a terrorist?

As the Obama administration steps up efforts to curb fraud at military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior Army official said Azar's case "should serve as a warning" to other contractors.

Since rendition "works," the Obama administration used it to demotivate other fraudulent actors. What about other methods employed in the war on terror? Take summary execution by drone fired missile. Should intrepid bloggers worry about a red laser dot on their basement window?

How about torture? Instead of Tasing Granny roadside, will she have to stand on a box on one leg, holding wires? How many "working policies" will be employed domestically? Surely, others need a warning.

P.S. Now that the Carlyle Group is out of the nightmarish renditioning business, via their sale of Landmark Aviation (along with Standard Aero), did Dubai Aerospace conduct the flight? Change for the money changers.

(HT-Economic Policy Journal)

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