On Thursday, July 18, a convicted American war criminal, Robert Seldon Lady, was detained in Panama near the Costa Rican border. The next day, Lady was headed back to the United States, according to news reports. Lady, age 59, was convicted by an Italian court in 2005 for kidnapping and his role in the 2003 “extraordinary rendition” of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr to Egypt. Nasr was tortured every day for seven months. Neither the CIA nor the State Department has offered any statements about the case at this time.

According to court documents, Lady watched from a cafe across the street while Nasr was sprayed with an aerosol drug, beaten, loaded into a van and driven to the Aviano airbase outside Milan, where Lady then-served as CIA station chief. Lady was given the most severe sentence, nine years, out of the 22 American CIA and Air Force personnel found guilty by the Italian court. Three Italian military and intelligence officers were also found guilty of kidnapping during the probe of Italy's role in the illegal American program.

Panama's obedience to American wishes to release “Mr Bob,” as he is called in the Italian press, are in line with the Obama Administration's recent reinterpretation of international law. Obama recently pressured five nations in Europe to engage in a high profile traffic stop of the President of Bolivia's aircraft while seeking whistle-blower Edward Snowden for rendition to the United States. Panama has no extradition treaty with Italy. Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks in 2011 show that the Italian government declined to issue an international arrest warrant for Lady after pressure from the United States. While Panama has no treaty with Italy, the United States does, yet has made no effort to turn its prized agent, and criminal, over to Italian justice. Thus, while the Obama administration attempts to enforce customary international law upon its European allies, China, and Russia, it conveniently harbors a torturous criminal duly convicted by a NATO ally.

Robert Lady readily admitted his part in the extraordinary rendition, another term for illegal kidnapping and torture. "Of course it was an illegal operation. But that’s our job. We’re at war against terrorism," Lady said, according to a 2007 LA Times article. Terrorism is something Robert Lady would know well, as his prior CIA career put him in contract with one of the hemisphere's most deadliest terrorists, Luis Posada Carriles.

Cuban born and Venezuelan naturalized Carriles masterminded the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner in a strike for freedom against the Castro regime. The bombing killed all 78 souls aboard the aircraft, including all 25 members of the Cuban national fencing team. Carriles served as a CIA asset since 1959 and was involved in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. He currently resides in Miami after having sought political asylum in the United States.

During the 1980s “Mr. Bob's” job as a young CIA agent was to be a bagman for the Iran Contra operation. In this capacity he brought the proceeds of illegal weapons sales to Iran to his El Salvador to be laundered through the drug trade by Carriles and Felix Rodriguez. The Cuban born Rodriguez was a CIA operative who ran the “shooter team” which hunted down and killed Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1965. Felix Rodriguez also resides in Miami and was a close friend of former CIA director and president, George Herbert Walker Bush.

A Senate report by John Kerry and Hank Snow showed that the Contra allies fighting the Nicaraguan government trafficking in cocaine and helped fuel the crack trade in major US cities. The airline Southern Air Transport that was shot down over Nicaragua was formerly used by the “Air America” network, which ran opium during the secret war in Laos conducted by the CIA.

According to some media reports, “Mr. Bob” has been released. Italian law authorities have up to two months to request Lady from the US-allied government in Panama. Lady’s treatment by Panamanian and US authorities as a convicted human rights abuser stands in stark contrast to the desperate an massive moves of the United States to catch whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Snowden has not been convicted of any crime, neither has he tortured or kidnapped anyone, nor has he engaged in the smuggling of drugs. Indeed, Snowden’s only “crime” is that he leaked information on the kinds of illegal covert operations that likes of Robert Lady and other covert operatives have participated in – ones that technically violate acts of Congress, the Constitution and international law.