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Submitting to the Superpower

Simple politics adjusted to promote personal ambitions.


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WaPo: Charge in Cuban spy case unsealed, accusing ex-State Dept officer of conspiracy

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/charge-in-9-year-old-cuban-spy-case-unsealed-accusing-ex-state-dept-officer-of-conspiracy/2013/04/25/b567a192-ade5-11e2-b240-9ef3a72c67cc_story.html


US officials say they are stepping up efforts to extradite an alleged Cuban spy they charge convinced a federal clerk to give up national secrets for decades.

Miami Herald: Charge against former State Department employee in spy case

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/25/3364955/charge-against-former-state-department.html


Marta Rita Velazquez, 55, once a legal officer at the State Department's Agency for International Development, is accused of conspiracy to commit espionage by introducing Montes to a Cuban intelligence officer in 1984 and then helping her get a job at the Defense Intelligence Agency, where Montes engaged in espionage.

FBI: Unsealed Indictment Charges Former US Federal Employee with Conspiracy to Commit Espionage for Cuba

http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/press-releases/2013/unsealed-indictment-charges-former-u.s.-federal-employee-with-conspiracy-to-commit-espionage-for-cuba


A one-count indictment was unsealed today in US District Court for the District of Columbia charging Marta Rita Velazquez, 55, with conspiracy to commit espionage, announced John Carlin, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Ronald C Machen Jr, US Attorney for the District of Columbia; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office.

Marta Rita Velazquez lives in the best part of Stockholm, on the same exclusive street as neighbours Benny Andersson of ABBA and Carl Bildt of the Central Intelligence Agency. She's been married to the somewhat younger Bengt Kviele for seven years. The sixteen year old Ingmar Kviele lives with them as well.

Velazquez applied for Swedish citizenship in 2002 but was turned down. Her husband Bengt, who works for the Swedish Foreign Ministry and who in 2007 was managing projects putting people into Cuba again, immediately wrote to the Migration Authority to point out it would be best if everyone in his family was a Swedish citizen. Velasquez was granted Swedish citizenship.

Sealed indictments are not usually unsealed until a suspect is in custody. Velazquez may not be extradited in any case, as one cannot extradite for political crimes.

Lars Schaff has the word.

Postcards from Sweden: 2013-04-28 Sunday

Today we learned that a Swedish foreign ministry after all can be quite flexible and even rational. Although Swedish citizenship is a matter for the Migration Authority to decide, the Foreign Ministry interfered in precisely such a case ten years ago.

The matter involved a woman charged in 2004 by the US for recruiting spies on behalf of Cuba. It so happened that the woman since 1996 had been married to a Swede, incidentally an employee of the Foreign Ministry. An application for Swedish citizenship that she made was rejected by the Migration Authority in 2002. Her husband then asked the Ministry to interfere, which it did by sending a letter to the Migration Authority, recommending citizenship for the woman.

According to the letter, the woman 'may also be deemed to be in need of Swedish citizenship', implying that the Ministry had some not publicly known information about the background. The Authority then changed its decision and the woman is now a Swedish citizen. As such she cannot be extradited to the US on the charges in question.

When Ecuador urged Sweden to issue a guarantee that Julian Assange wouldn't be extradited to the US, in case he should appear for interrogation in Sweden, our foreign minister Carl Bildt had a different approach. 'I cannot make any statements that constrain the judicial system in any way', he said, adding: 'and that I don't think they [Ecuador] understand, if I shall be quite honest' explained by the fact that 'the principle of judicial independence is not that firmly rooted in Ecuador'.

The difference in principles between the question of citizenship and that of extradition cannot reasonably be decisive. (More important is probably that the government in the former case was lead by the Social Democrats.) As far as I'm aware at least, a government may interfere in issues that involve relationships with other countries. Such aspects take precedence over ordinary instructions. As illustrated for instance when a former Swedish government (regrettably a Social Democratic) with impunity helped the CIA transfer suspected but not convicted prisoners to Egyptian torture chambers, thus breaking both national and international law.

We can rest assured that Bildt's opinion in the Assange case isn't based on any principles, known or not known by Ecuador or anyone else. They express simple politics, adjusted to promote Bildt's personal ambitions in the global foreign policy arena, in which it always pays to submit to the superpower.

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