back to article Russian MP fears US Secret Service cuffed his son for Snowden swap

The US Secret Service has announced the arrest of a man accused of being "one of the world's most prolific traffickers in stolen financial information," touching off a diplomatic firestorm in the process. Roman Valerevich Seleznev, who goes by the online handle Track2, is accused of hacking into point-of-sale systems to steal …

I'm wondering how agents of the US government can enter a foreign country and remove someone against their will (not that I have any sympathy for the defendant in this case). The Maldives government would have had to consent to this action, would they not? I wonder what incentives the US offered to secure their cooperation.

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"I'm wondering how agents of the US government can enter a foreign country and remove someone against their will"

Easy. What you do is go in there without telling them, grab the person and stuff him on your private plane back to the US, possibly drugged in a box. When the Country involves complains or mentions amusingly Naive concepts such as international law, you give them the finger. or if your on good terms with them, you ignore them. Its a winning strategy developed by the likes of the CIA, Mossad and the former KGB since the 50's.

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@Jonny Canuck

> I'm wondering how agents of the US government can enter a foreign country and remove someone against their will

Does the expression "Extraordinary Rendition" not ring any bells?

The Americans have a long history of kidnapping people to bring them to "justice" and, of course, have a nice little understanding in their Courts that it doesn't matter *how* the defendant (who is, of course, supposedly presumed innocent, whether you have any sympathy for him or not) got there...

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don't rendition in Italy

They don't like this type of thing in Italy. see:

http://jurist.org/paperchase/2014/03/italy-high-court-upholds-convictions-of-cia-agents-in-extraordinary-rendition.php

"12 March 2014 Italy's highest court ... on Tuesday upheld guilty verdicts against three US defendants in the 2003 extraordinary rendition kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect. The three Americans are CIA agents who participated in the kidnapping of terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr on a Milan street."

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Re: @Jonny Canuck

The Americans have a long history of kidnapping people to bring them to justice? Yes, that's true, but if it makes you feel any better, we didn't invent the practice. The Greeks, Romans and Persians really took the practice to knew levels thousands of years ago. Additionally, as someone mentioned earlier, the Isralies are so well known for the practice that Mossad isn't flagged as a misspelled word by computers. That's not to say I approve of my country's actions, I don't, but kidnapping for 'justice' is a really, really old practice.

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>The Maldives government would have had to consent to this action, would they not? I wonder what incentives the US offered to secure their cooperation.

"Nice island you've got here. Shame if anything happened to it" while someone whistles the the Grenadan national anthem softly in the background.?

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Guilty until proven....

"(not that I have any sympathy for the defendant in this case)"

Really? I've not seen any evidence of his guilt, only the accusations in the article. Until I or a jury does I reserve judgement. Meanwhile I'd like to know if his arrest was legal under international law. If it was and if there is enough legally obtained evidence for a judge to have issued a warrant then due process has taken place and his dad can shove his moaning and posturing where the sun don't shine.

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Roger Varley wrote:

"Nice island you've got here. Shame if anything happened to it" while someone whistles the the Grenadan national anthem softly in the background.?

Yes, but the first thing said to them would be something akin to this:

"Who do we see about making a grant to the airport authority to help buy infastructure upgrades?"

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Re: don't rendition in Italy

A very nice touch to this Abu Omar case is the fact that they also charged the head and second in command of the Italian intelligence service (SISMI). In all 26 CIA officers were indicted and a plethora of other lackey's.

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Re: don't rendition in Italy

This was farcical, in pure Italian style. What happened is that Italian secrete services collaborate with CIA to get the suspect. CIA did it without much care, probably, because thought it was allowed. But noone told Police - probably because they didn't trust or didn't care - which started to indagate and found a lot of traces leading to CIA and Italian secret services - and brought them to court making everything public...

Then Governement heads, both Prodi and Berlusconi, instead of telling judges "it was an action approved by us, stop here", hid themselves - and only themselves - behind "state secret", probably fearing retaliations if admitting Italian government was involved.

Leaving secret service agents and CIA ones in the cold, and also without any mean to defend themselves in court because they couldn't use information covered by "state secret".

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Facepalm

Re: GotNoClue Re: Guilty until proven....

"....I've not seen any evidence of his guilt...." He was indicted in a Washington State court in 2011 (http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_26107688/russian-arrested-hacking-case-filed-seattle), so it's not like they 'snatched him on a whim', the authorities obviously have enough evidence to bring a case. The date of the indictment also makes a mockery of his father's hysterical claims that it's revenge for Snowjob given that the indictment pre-dates the whole Snowjob affair.

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Childcatcher

Re: don't rendition in Italy

Funny you should bring that up. Is the difference between kidnapping in these cases and making an arrest simply that the capture took place outside the arresting party's jurisdiction (in possible violation of a sovereign nation's laws)? Is it ever OK to do this under international law? Would defendants convicted in absentia be given a trial in which they could defend themselves should they ever come into Italy's (in this case) custody? What makes the second action (trial without the defendants present) more acceptable than the first (extraordinary rendition) from a legal sense?

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Re: @Jonny Canuck

What I have a problem with is that the (TLA or three-letter acronym) has no problem with kidnappings a real person, but they are seemingly unwilling to do the same thing virtually. I've always heard the warning that it would be 'violating the law.'

In other words why don't those TLAs use offense as 'the best form of defense' instead of kidnapping someone? Instead, just kidnap his botnet, or something similar and just as underhanded as kidnapping. Or am I unaware that it's already being done, but just secretly...

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Boffin

Re: Acme Fixer Re: @Jonny Canuck

".....just kidnap his botnet....." Whilst legal measures are taken both against genuine nasties and those providing services to them (such as the fun with No-IP - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/09/microsoft_settles_noip_malware_blocking_lawsuit_acknowledges_mistakes/), that does not mean law enforcement will ignore the outstanding warrants for such criminals. Otherwise it's the equivalent of the police abandoning the chase of a gang of bank robbers just because they found their getaway car.

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Re: don't rendition in Italy

They don't like this type of thing in Italy.

Are any of those US agents serving time in Italy for what they did?

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GUAM

Guam, is that like a cut down versionof GAUntanaMo. I suppose that is better than being dropped of in Guano.

What's the betting that Putin couldn't give a shit about Seleznev, Snowdon is a much larger fish... a very public fish.. like Jaws but with glasses.

Unless of course Seleznev is actually an NSA/FSB special/double agent/spy character who has already hacked Putin's/Obama's personal smartdevice..... dream on....

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Now you know how his father bought his seat...

You didn't know your stolen credit card was used for that also, didn't you?

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Anonymous Coward

If only.....

His father had to buy his seat.... What's really worrying is that he actually was elected....

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Re: If only.....

Do you believe votes can't be bought? Especially in some states? How naive....

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Anonymous Coward

Power play

I'm guessing that from one lot of oligarchs to their counterparts in another oligarchy this is just a bargaining chip. "Give us Snowden or your boy rots in hell".

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Anonymous Coward

Prison awaits

No one should be immune when hacking no matter where they reside as this is a world wide crime getting worse by the minute. If you give haven to hackers as some countries do, they should be held accountable as should the perps and in the very significant terms. 30 years in the slammer plus treble damages plus a 5 million euro fine would be a good start.

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Re: Prison awaits

If his alleged victims are commercial businesses as the article implies then there is no reason why he should not be promptly transferred to the US mainland where he can get access to legal and diplomatic representation. Any undue delay in so doing leaves the US Gov. open to criticism.

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Re: Prison awaits

Why only commercial businesses? I think any scammer, ID thief, etc, and their ilk a deserve special treatment. It's a pity that keelhauling is no longer a viable punishment.

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Re: Prison awaits

No problem with him being charged and arrested, but there is a proper, legal way of doing that and then there is the "sinking below their level" way of doing it that the USA seems to go in for these days.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Prison awaits

"commercial businesses" can be anything from multi-million dollar enterprises to small, family run businesses just managing to cover their costs...

Either way - no excuse for hacking credit card numbers.

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Re: Prison awaits

By "commercial businesses" I meant not Government/military/CIA/NSA targets i.e. no national security reasons to keep him in Guam, and no reason not to pursue a standard criminal prosecution. I see by the downvotes that it wasn't nearly as obvious as I thought when writing it.

Much as I like the idea of keelhauling I would want to introduce it for far more crimes than we have available ships.

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Paris Hilton

Spooky in it?

Should we redig the nuclear fallout shelters just in case?

Or will the opposing factions use more peaceable means?

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Cut and Dried

Obviously this is a legitimate police investigation of credit card fraud. The U.S. does not hold innocent people hostage, and the Russian MP is just deliberately lying through his teeth.

I'm just waiting for the day Putin stands before a court of law in Georgia or the Ukraine on the charge of aggressive war, and is sentenced like Tojo before him. All that will take is sanctions sufficient to get the Russian people to vote him out.

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Re: Cut and Dried

We may not hold innocent people hostage, but we'll sure as fuck hold accused people hostage. Guilt and innocence are matters for the courts, not the jailers. After he's arraigned all the rules for a 'speedy' trial change. If the case involves a foreign national, thus the involvement of the State Department, that accused flight risk can be kept in jail for a very, very long time while diplomatic negotiations are underway. It's legal trickery that allows for punishment before the accused has been judged, and it sucks, but that's just the way things are.

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Re: Cut and Dried

Legitimate investigation? Probably.

But, unless this is lazy and sensationalistic reporting, then the US Government acted illegally in aprehending him. They should have gone the local LEAs to have him arrested and extradited, or they should have gotten approval for the Secret Service to be on foreign soil (which usually means that a maldevan police officer would have to actually make the arrest).

The articles I'm reading are all fuzzy on this matter, saying just that the Secret Service arrested him on foreign soil and bundled him into an aircraft. If that wasn't coordinated through the local LEA in the Maldives, then it would be an illegal act and the suspect should be freed at once and returned to the Maldives, where the Secret Service can then go through the process again, through proper channels this time, supplying evidence.

If they did go through channels, that is another matter, but the reporting neglects to mention whether he was legally arrested or not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cut and Dried

"The U.S. does not hold innocent people hostage"

You must have missed Guantanamo Bay on the news. Remind me what percentage of those held were ever convicted of any crime again?

Or the case of Khalid El Masri, or Marwan Jabour or the dozens that we know of that were subjected to extraordinary rendition?

At least 39 detainees who were once held by the CIA in secret detention remain "disappeared," according to Off the Record, a report jointly published June 7, 2007 by six leading human rights groups, including Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, and Human Rights Watch. Spokesmen say that their report:

"... reveals the extent to which the United States has illegally used “proxy detention” to empty its secret sites and demonstrates that far from targeting the “worst of the worst,” the system sweeps up low-level detainees and even involves the detention of the wives and children of the “disappeared,” in violation of their human rights. 'Off the Record' also documents allegations concerning the treatment of detainees while in secret detention, including torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

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Pirate

Re: big_D Re: Cut and Dried

".....They should have gone the local LEAs to have him arrested and extradited, or they should have gotten approval for the Secret Service to be on foreign soil (which usually means that a maldevan police officer would have to actually make the arrest)...." Possibly, though the reports so far say he was arrested in the airport, so if he was arrested in the transit area or on the plane itself he may not have actually have been on Maldivian soil. That would need to be arranged up front with the locals but would give them the ability to deny too much involvement.

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Hate to spoil the snarky paranoia...

... but Guam is part of the United States, its residents are US citizens, and the rights guaranteed by the US Constitution are in full force there. The US Secret Service's mandate includes investigations of financial crimes of the sort Seleznev is accused of committing. Seleznev appeared in US District Court in Guam, and is expected to face federal charges in Washington State, where he was indicted back in 2011. When and if he comes to trial, the trial will be held in federal court, where he will have the same rights as any defendant, citizen or not. Maldives is a member of Interpol, and cooperates with the law enforcement agencies of many nations, not just the US.

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Headmaster

Re: Hate to spoil the snarky paranoia...

Guam may be part of the US, but the arrest took place in the supposedly independent and sovereign Maldives.

If you were in Mexico, would you want Russia to be able to arrest you and put you on a plane to Cuba with you, and perhaps the government of Mexico, having no say in the matter?

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Re: Hate to spoil the snarky paranoia...

Russia doesn't care to bring you back, polonium tea is enough, faster, and cheaper.

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Re: Hate to spoil the snarky paranoia...

@unitron: If that's what happened here, I believe it would be a treaty violation. But so far only the elder Seleznev seems to be claiming that this was a kidnapping by US agents operating in the Maldives. I would think that might jeopardize his detention, if not their entire legal case, if it's what occurred. Need more facts from more neutral sources on this point.

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Unhappy

All I ask is his dad is not called a defendant....

"He said his son knows nothing about using computers "

Either he lives in a cave, his dad is utterly ignorant, or he is plain lying.

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Re: All I ask is his dad is not called a defendant....

The father is a politician so the fact his son doesn't have at least one oversized headphone jack mounted in his skull is more than enough evidence he's not a cyber hacker.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All I ask is his dad is not called a defendant....

If his online "handle" really is Track 2 then it suggests he's interested in payment cards, as that's the name of the data field. And for all the conspiracy theorists - shut the fuck up, as he was initially indicted back in 2011, well before Snowden did a bunk.

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@Chris Wareham

Don't try to confuse them with facts. At best it interrupts a good 2 minute hate but is more likely to turn the 2 minute hate on you. See Don Jefe's downvote count when he made a factual observation AND posted a disclaimer that he doesn't support the action.

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Re: @Chris Wareham

Yes. Facts are, sadly, rarely as important to some people as emoting all over the place. I will say this though, everybody in the foreign policy world, who wasn't a loon, predicted the 'extraordinary rendition' and 'extrajudicial prosecution' stuff was going to create serious backlash and jeopardize the capture and prosecution of actual criminals in the future. What should have been a straightforward arrest and deportation that got little/no attention has turned into a full fledged diplomatic issue and the State Department has now superseded the Secret Service so everything is up in the air now.

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Pint

An Innocent Russian that Doesn't Know Computers? HA!

Isreal routinely sneeks into other countries, kidnaps former supposed (N)a(z)i Germans, and drags them back to Tel Aviv for kangaroo trials. Maybe the US should have had Isreal snatch him. His father would have never heard from him ever again. At least he's on Guam. He could have been dumped in a black-ops prison in middle of Laos.

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Confessions

...Of An Economic Hit Man by John Perkins, will explain how the USA managed to persude the Maldives to look the other way. As for keelhauling as a viable form of punishment they call it waterboarding these days.

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Big Brother

US Secret Service agents in the Maldives

"Secret Service agents arrested Seleznev Junior as he was boarding a plane in the Maldives and put him on a plane to Guam, where he is currently being held."

I wasn't aware US political jurisdiction extended to the the Maldives.

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Boffin

Re: pakkuman Re: US Secret Service agents in the Maldives

"I wasn't aware US political jurisdiction extended to the the Maldives." Well, that's where it all gets a bit legally woolly. By the Chicago Convention rules on air travel, whilst the country has sovereignty of the airspace over it, the aircraft itself is not the sovereign territory of the airport's country. If you step off the aircraft onto the Tarmac, in theory you are then on the territory of that country and subject to their laws. However, the country can designate an area of the airport as non-territorial (an example is how Snowjob initially got stuck in limbo when his US passport was rescinded in the transit lounge in Sheremetyevo Airport, as the Russians said he couldn't actually cross the border into Russia without it). So, if Seleznev Jr was on the boarding steps or onboard the aircraft then, legally, he may not have been on Maldivian soil any more. Similarly, if he was walking from an international transit area to the aircraft when he was nabbed, he may also have been legally outside of Maldivian territory. As I said, legally it's a bit woolly, but the US may feel they have enough wriggle room if the aircraft he was boarding was from a country that had previously signed an extradition warrant or where the Secret Service had jurisdiction.

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Facepalm

(Extra)Ordinary Rendition

Secret Service agents arrested Seleznev Junior as he was boarding a plane in the Maldives and put him on a plane to Guam, where he is currently being held.

I was going to sarcastically write "Is that a thing now?" but fuck it...

Is anybody surprised anymore?

Where's the 'Stop this train, I want to get off' icon?

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