View Full Version : US extradites Panama's Noriega to France

Magda Hassan
04-27-2010, 02:41 AM
The former Panamanian leader, Manuel Noriega, has been extradited to France by the United States after spending more than 20 years in a prison there.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a "surrender warrant" after all judicial challenges were resolved.
French officials later confirmed he was on board an Air France flight to Paris.
A court in France convicted Noriega in his absence in 1999 for laundering money through French banks, though it says he will be granted a new trial.
The 76-year-old had wanted to be sent back to Panama after finishing his 17-year jail sentence in 2007.
But in February the US Supreme Court rejected his final appeal against extradition to France.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gif WHO IS MANUEL NORIEGA?
Became de facto ruler of Panama in 1983, head of defence forces
Formerly one of Washington's top allies in Latin America
US later accused him of drug-trafficking and election-rigging
Surrendered to invading US troops in 1990 and was flown to the US
Also faces a 20-year sentence at home imposed by Panama court


Q&A: Noriega extradition (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6983752.stm)

Panama's government said it respected the "sovereign decision" the state department took to extradite Noriega.
But it insisted it would seek his return to serve outstanding prison sentences there.
Noriega was escorted onto an Air France passenger jet at Miami International Airport on Monday afternoon, shortly after Mrs Clinton signed the extradition order, US officials said.
French prison officials took custody of him once he was on board, sources in Paris told the AFP news agency.
A spokesman for the French justice ministry, Guillaume Didier, said that when Noriega arrived in Paris on Tuesday morning, he would go before prosecutors to be notified of the arrest warrant against him.
A judge would then decide whether to place him under temporary detention until his case was referred to a criminal court, he added.
Mr Didier said France had been notified of the extradition two weeks ago.
But Noriega's lawyer in Miami, Frank Rubino, told the BBC he had not been notified and had only learned of his client's transfer from the media.
"Usually the government has - does things in a more professional manner and respects common courtesy and we're shocked that they didn't," he said.
"I'm surprised that they didn't put a black hood over his head and drag him out in the middle of the night," he added.
'Prisoner of war'
Noriega was Panama's military intelligence chief for several years before becoming commander of the powerful National Guard in 1982 and then de facto ruler of the country.
He had been recruited by the CIA in the late 1960s and was supported by the US until 1987.
But in 1988 his indictment in the US on charges of drug trafficking left frayed relations.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47722000/jpg/_47722697_manuelnoriegaafp226b.jpg Manuel Noriega was once a top US ally in Central America

After a disputed parliamentary election the following year, Noriega declared a "state of war".
A tense stand-off followed between US forces stationed in the Panama Canal zone and Panamanian troops.
By mid-December, the situation had worsened so much that President George H W Bush launched an invasion - ostensibly because a US marine had been killed in Panama City, although the operation had long been planned.
Noriega initially took refuge in the Vatican embassy, where US troops bombarded him for days with deafening pop and heavy metal music.
He eventually surrendered on 3 January 1990 and was taken to Miami for trial.
In 1992, he was convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering.
He was handed down a 40-year prison sentence, later reduced to 30 years, and then 17 years for good behaviour.
Noriega was convicted in absentia in France in 1999 for allegedly using $3m (£1.9m) in proceeds from the drug trade to buy luxury apartments in Paris, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Shortly before the completion of his US jail sentence, the French government sought Noriega's extradition.
When his lawyers attempted to fight the request, he was forced to remain in US custody in Miami.
His legal team argued that he should not have been extradited to a third country such as Franc.
They said that as a prisoner of war of the US, the Geneva Conventions required Noriega to be returned to Panama.
But the US Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court ruling that the US government could send him to France without violating his rights as a prisoner of war.


David Guyatt
04-27-2010, 07:42 AM
One need understand Noriega's chequered history as it concerns Operation Watch Tower (http://www.wethepeople.la/cutolo.htm).

My guess is that he will never be allowed to be free again, hence his transportation to the French.

Who, incidentally, were the king drug runners in Southeast Asia before America arrived with Edward Lansdale to take over their Operation X (http://www.drugtext.org/library/books/McCoy/book/27.htm).

Keith Millea
04-27-2010, 04:47 PM
A rather limited story but lookie here,there's Poppie Bush with Manny.Hey,with friends like these.................:afraid:


Published on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 by The Guardian/UK (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/27/manuel-noriega-us-friend-foe) Manuel Noriega - from US Friend to Foe

As with Saddam Hussein, Noriega enjoyed American support until he turned into a wayward ally who had to be overthrown

by Mark Tran

Before Saddam Hussein there was Manuel Noriega. Like Saddam, Noriega enjoyed US support until he turned into a wayward ally, then an embarrassment, and finally an "imminent danger" who had to be overthrown.

http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/Manuel-Noriega-and-George-006.jpgVice-president of the United States, George Bush, meets Manuel Noriega in 1983. (Photograph: Sygma/Corbis)
Noriega was recruited as a CIA informant while studying at a military academy in Peru. He received intelligence and counterintelligence training at the School of the Americas at Fort Gulick, Panama (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/panama), in 1967, as well as a course in psychological operations at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was to remain on the CIA payroll until February 1988.
After a military coup in 1968, Noriega quickly rose through the ranks and became head of Panama's military intelligence and a key figure under General Omar Torrijos, the military ruler who signed a treaty with the US to restore the Panama canal zone to Panamanian sovereignty in 1977.
After Torrijos's death in a mysterious plane crash in 1981, Noriega consolidated his power, becoming Panama's de facto ruler, promoting himself to full general in 1983.

Noriega made himself valuable to the US during the Contra wars when he allowed the US to set up listening posts in Panama and by helping the US campaign against the leftist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. Noriega allowed Panama to be used as a conduit for US money and weapons for the Contras as then US president Ronald Reagan sought to undermine the Sandinistas. But Noriega's increasing brutality turned him into a liability, especially after the assassination of Hugo Spadafora, a political opponent who was found beheaded in 1985.

By the late 1980s, the US turned against Noriega. The 1988 Senate subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics and international operations concluded that "the saga of Panama's General Manuel Antonio Noriega represents one of the most serious foreign policy failures for the United States (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/usa). Throughout the 1970s and the 1980s, Noriega was able to manipulate US policy towards his country, while skilfully accumulating near-absolute power in Panama.

"It is clear that each US government agency which had a relationship with Noriega turned a blind eye to his corruption and drug dealing, even as he was emerging as a key player on behalf of the Medellín Cartel [a member of which was the notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar]."

Noriega was indicted by two US federal grand juries in Florida on charges of drug trafficking and racketeering and the CIA took him off its payroll. The next year, Noriega's image as a thuggish dictator was reinforced in the starkest terms as opposition candidates in the presidential election were stopped and beaten up by Noriega's "dignity battalions".

Following a series of incidents that culminated in the death of an American soldier, President George Bush decided it was time for regime change. In December 1989, Bush sent in US troops to overthrow Noriega, offering a $1m reward for information leading to his capture (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/1989/dec/21/usa.martinwalker).

"General Noriega's reckless threats and attacks upon Americans in Panama created an imminent danger to the 35,000 American citizens in Panama. As president, I have no higher obligation than to safeguard the lives of American citizens," Bush said at the time.

Operation Just Cause ended in Noriega's capture when he surrendered to US troops after taking refuge in the Apostolic Nunciature in Panama. In one of the more bizarre episodes of the invasion, US forces played loud rock music – including I Fought the Law, by the Clash – to put pressure on Noriega to give himself up. Losses on the US side were 24 troops, plus three civilian casualties. The number of Panamanian civilian deaths was put at about 200, although there are claims that the number is much higher.

Noriega was convicted in Miami in 1992 on multiple charges, including drug trafficking, and sentenced to 40 years. That was reduced for good behaviour and he completed his sentence in 2007. Since then inmate 38699-079, as he was numbered in prison, has dedicated himself to fighting extradition to France (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/27/manuel-noriega-extradited-us-france), where he has been accused of laundering up to $3m (£2m) of drug money through property purchases in Paris.

© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited

David Guyatt
04-27-2010, 05:14 PM
Indeed Keith. One might even argue that the invasion and "regime change" of Panama was a dry run for the later invasion and regime change of Iraq --- providing one also factors in a few other invasions and regime changes along the way...

Uncle Sam has an uncanny ability to choose type A crooked, murdering bastards as their bosom friends only to later make them their deadly enemies. I can only suppose that deals and understandings made in deep secret - because of their complete contravention of international law - were later reneged upon thus necessitating a Herculean cleaning of the Augean stables.

Profits derived from the narcotics trade makes for itchy fingers I imagine.

And just like the Mafia Boss of all Bosses - the Capo di tutti capi - if an under-boss skims from the top a ruthless example must be made of them in order to show other under-bosses what they can expect if they also ever consider straying from the agreed path.

Carsten Wiethoff
07-08-2010, 08:18 AM
from http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iwFop1-UsXGNbhYRru5SpS57HWzwD9GL00100

Noriega says French laundering trial a conspiracy
By JENNY BARCHFIELD (AP) – Jun 29, 2010
PARIS — Relishing the chance to defend himself in court, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega declared Tuesday that French money laundering charges against him are trumped up and part of the same "conspiracy" that kept him in U.S. custody for 20 years.
An animated Noriega spoke for an hour as he described how he came to power in 1983, and his long, friendly relationship with the U.S. government — including the CIA.
Then he gave his take on why the relationship soured.
Noriega was deposed after a 1989 U.S. invasion and went on to spend two decades behind bars in Florida for drug trafficking. In April, he was extradited to France to face charges that he laundered profits from cocaine trafficking through French banks in the 1980s.
Those charges, he said Tuesday, were nothing more than "an imaginary financial setup."
"I am a victim of the same conspiracy that the United States brought against me," he said.
He faces up to 10 years in prison in France if convicted.
Noriega has maintained that he fought against drug trafficking and that the money in French banks came from other sources, including payments from the CIA. He had been considered a valued CIA asset for years before he joined forces with drug traffickers and was implicated in the death of a political opponent.
Given the stand Tuesday, he gave a long speech, starting with his own biography and including geopolitical comment and talk of Panama's colonial history and the Panama Canal. He described missions in which he interceded as mediator in conflicts with Cuba, Nicaragua and Iran.
After rising through the ranks to the head of Panamanian Armed Forces, Noriega said, "I set about fighting against drug trafficking with much zeal and was warmly praised by the United States, from Interpol."
Noriega said the United States turned against him when he refused to participate in a U.S. plan aimed at ousting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. The leftist Sandinistas fought U.S.-backed Contra rebels in the 1980s.
His vigorous testimony contrasted with his feeble appearance at the start of the trial Monday, his shoulders trembling uncontrollably as he addressed the three-judge panel.
On Tuesday, Noriega spoke in a booming voice and gesticulated broadly. He wore a black suit with checkered tie. He is not permitted to wear his military uniform in France since he is not being treated as a prisoner of war here — an issue hotly contested by his lawyers.
Panama is seeking Noriega's extradition, bringing hope to his countrymen who want to see the former military strongman face justice at home for alleged torture and killings of opponents.
France already convicted Noriega and his wife in absentia in 1999 for laundering several million dollars in cocaine profits through three major French banks and using drug cash to invest in three luxurious Paris apartments on the Left Bank.
France agreed to give him a new trial if he was extradited. Noriega's wife, Felicidad Sieiro de Noriega, is living in Panama and faces no charges there.