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Streetwise Professor

April 6, 2012

By typical Russian, whatabout, chutzpah double standards, yes the treatment of Bout is inhumane

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 12:28 pm

Just when I thought that Russian chutzpah could never surprise me, something like this comes along:

A federal court handed Bout 25 years in prison on Thursday for conspiring to sell weapons to Columbian guerrillas who were actually US federal agents in disguise.

. . . .

The ministry claimed the US had used “unbearable conditions” in detention as a means of physically and psychologically pressuring Bout during his trial. “Long before the verdict, the authorities declared V.A. Bout a ‘merchant of death’ and little short of an international terrorist, while the prosecution was built entirely on his imputed ‘criminal intent’,” it said, adding: “The Russian foreign ministry will take all necessary efforts to return V.A. Bout to the Motherland.”

This from the country that uses psychological pressure and physical torture and literally-literally-unbearable conditions to coerce those they want to break.

Three prominent examples: I could spend days assembling many more.

Example 1.  Today is the 6th anniversary of the arrest of Vasily Aleksanyan.  Aleksanyan worked for Khodorkovsky and Yukos.  The Russians wanted to compel him to testify against Khodorkovsky.  How?  Here’s how:

During Aleksanyan’s imprisonment, his health rapidly deteriorated due to HIV-related illnesses. He became almost blind and developed cancer of the liver with metastasis into the lymph nodes. He also became ill with tuberculosis.

Despite the grave medical situation demanding urgent antiretroviral treatment and chemotherapy in a hospital, he was denied both. The prosecutors also ignored three injunctions by the European Court of Human Rights on 27 November 2007, on 6 December 2007 and on 20 December 2007.According to Aleksanyan, the prosecutors are demanding false evidence against other Yukos executives from him before starting his medical treatment. On 26 December Aleksanyan made public a statement asking for help from human rights advocates.

Example 2. Sergei Magnitsky:

Magnitsky was arrested and imprisoned at the Butyrka prison in Moscow in November 2008 after being accused of colluding with Hermitage. Held for 11 months without trial, he was, as reported by The Telegraph, “denied visits from his family” and “forced into increasingly squalid cells.” He developed gall stones, pancreatitis and calculous cholecystitis, for which he was given inadequate medical treatment during his incarceration. Surgery was ordered in June, but never performed; detention center chief Ivan P. Prokopenko later indicated that he “…did not consider Magnitsky sick…Prisoners often try to pass themselves off as sick, in order to get better conditions.”

On November 16, eight days before he would have had to have been released if he were not brought to trial, Magnitsky died for reasons attributed first by prison officials as a “rupture to the abdominal membrane” and later to heart attack. It later emerged that Magnitsky had complained of worsening stomach pain for five days prior to his death and that by the 15th was vomiting every three hours, with a visibly swollen stomach. On the day of his death, the prison physician, believing he had a chronic disease, sent him by ambulance to a medical unit equipped to help him, but the surgeon there — who described Magnitsky as “agitated, trying to hide behind a bag and saying people were trying to kill him” — prescribed only a painkiller, leaving him for psychiatric evaluation. He was found dead in his cell a little over two hours later.

Journalist Owen Matthews described his suffering in Moscow’s notorious prison, Butyrka.

According to [Magnitsky's] heartbreaking prison diary, investigators repeatedly tried to persuade him to give testimony against Hermitage and drop the accusations against the police and tax authorities. When Magnitsky refused, he was moved to more and more horrible sections of the prison, and ultimately denied the medical treatment which could have saved his life.

And of course, Russia continues to torture Magnitsky-or his mother, to be more accurate-by insisting that he be tried-yes, tried-posthumously.

Example 3. Svetlana Bakhmina:

The drama surrounding Svetlana Bakhmina, a former Yukos lawyer who gave birth to her third child while still in prison, has come to a head after a Moscow court granted her parole.

Her release on Tuesday has raised hopes of the change in the judicial climate that President Dmitry Medvedev has been advocating. It could also affect the second trial against her former boss, ex-Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

While the court’s decision to free Bakhmina may indicate a softer line in the Khodorkovsky trial, it could indicate that she could be called to give testimony against him.

Lawyers have suggested Bakhmina was somehow a hostage in the Yukos affair, while the drawn-out hearings into her parole last year illustrated indecisiveness on the part of the authorities. Regional courts in Mordovia, where Bakhmina was serving her 6 1/2-year term for embezzlement, twice refused to parole her.

In late October, just a month before giving birth to a daughter, Bakhmina requested a pardon from the Kremlin, a move that sparked widely-publicised campaigns involving public figures petitioning Medvedev to release her. But it was later reported that Bakhmina had withdrawn her request just five days after filing it.

Bakhmina’s lawyer Roman Golovkin said that he did not know Bakhmina’s motives for withdrawing the petition because her defence was barred from seeing her at that time. But others believe the hasty withdrawal was evidence that Bakhmina had come under pressure from investigators.

“The fact that, under these conditions, she was forced to withdraw her request for a pardon – this is a significant moment in this whole story,” said Lev Ponomaryov, a human rights activist who has been watching the highly-politicised Yukos affair. “She was pressured.

So yes, by these standards the treatment of Bout is cruel, unusual, and inhumane.

And by these standards I mean the typical Russian, whatabout, chutzpah double  standard.

Note too that the alleged pressure placed on Bout was absolutely immaterial to his trial.  He was not broken and compelled to testify against himself: indeed, any attempt to do so would have been pointless, facially illegal, and a perfect way to get Bout on a plane back to Russia a free man.  Which is exactly why the DOJ would never do it.  All of the statements made about Bout in court were SOP in this kind of trial.  And he had attorneys that were capable of rebutting these points, and cross-examining any witnesses that made them.  (Although apparently Bout erred terribly in his choice of counsel.  But that’s his mistake.) Any inflammatory statements made by witnesses (rather than attorneys in opening and closing arguments) were subject to being struck from the record, and jeopardizing the prosecution-another reason for the DOJ to avoid this.

So the appropriate response to this Russian tantrum, and any efforts to return Bout to Russia should be: (a) “F*** you.”  (b) Passing the Magnitsky act.   And then watch them really go non-linear.

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44 Comments »

  1. What right does the US have to prosecute Bout in the first place?

    Why is he fair game, and the CIA men involved in extraordinary renditions, or the officials presiding over Guantanamo, immune?

    Comment by Da Russophile — April 6, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  2. I would send this bandit and murderer back to his “Motherland”. He is useless now. But before sending him there I would demand the release of absolutely all political prisoners and other arbitrarily thrown into prison people.

    Comment by voroBey — April 6, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  3. DR or SO or WTF you are these days: Read the article:

    US prosecutors were able to bring a case because Bout was told the weapons could be used to shoot down US helicopter pilots working with Colombian officials.

    Re the CIA, Gitmo. Uhm, there was-is-a war on.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 6, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  4. SWP it may surprise you, but just like that scene at the end of Lord of War where the Interpol agent played Ethan Hawke finally thinks he’s bagged his man, there’s someone in a suit from the USG who walks through the door and sets Nicholas Cage’s Boot-inspired character free. In reality, I was told by a source who ought to know that Boot performed services for both the U.S. and Russian governments, but it was the Russian side in this case that refused to hang him out to dry while he’d surpassed his usefulness to the Americans.

    But that, much like the idea that Holder is complicit in at least as many gun deaths as Boot, is not for consumption on this blog pit.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 6, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  5. It’s see no evil when it comes to Uncle Sam, even when your Twitterati mob’s bete noire Anonymous starts hacking the Chinese. Never ask, including when it’s admitted the lead hacker kid was under FBI kontrol most of the time, whether much of ‘Anonymous’ is simply a front for getting very bad legislation like SOPA passed…to defeat the ‘threat’ that they’ve created. It’s called false flag SWP, look it up.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 6, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  6. Colombia may have a right to try him. The US does not.

    Uhm, there was-is-a war on.

    Of course it is. The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous.

    Comment by Da Russophile — April 6, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  7. And more gems like this…GOLDBUGGERY IS FOR COMMUNISTS! All hail Bernanke and unlimited fiat money printing for the empire!

    Reginald Quill ‏ @ReginaldQuill
    Reply RetweetedRetweet Delete FavoritedFavorite · Close Open Details
    China, Russia and Venezuela produce a lot of gold. Ron Paul and Alex Jones market a lot of gold. RP, AJ and Zhirinovsky HATE the USD.

    Good Friday is as good as any day to repent from keeping company with such persistent libelers and peddlers of the Joseph Goebbels-sized Big Lie.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 6, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  8. And BTW, it’s day 5 or so of Cointelpro wannabe Reggie not answering my question as to how many Romney aides have worked as registered foreign agents of foreign powers, including Randy Scheunemann, while he rambles about ‘agitprop’. He also hasn’t answered my question about Panetta claiming the UN and NATO now trump the U.S. Constitution and War Powers Act when it comes to this President’s decision to go to war. So long as SWP, Liberty Lynx and Reggie and their ilk continue to cede discussion of such blatant contempt for the Constitution to Alex Jones/George Noory their complaints about ‘foreign agitprop’ are hollow and hypocritical.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 6, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  9. “6.Colombia may have a right to try him. The US does not.

    Uhm, there was-is-a war on.

    Of course it is. The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous.

    Comment by Da Russophile — April 6, 2012 @ 3:16 pm”

    Correct, just more of the type of contempt for the sovereignty of countries in our hemisphere that would drive SWP and Andy Dzughashvili crazy if it were invoked as a ‘Monroeski Doctrine’ by the Russians in Georgia or Azerbaijan. After all Georgia has actually harbored ‘militants’ who’ve killed Russian citizens.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 6, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

  10. The ‘Mornski Doctrine’ by the The Putin mafia is a funny . The Putin -mafia extends official support to Viktor Bout because he’s member of the same mafia-clan , and because the silovki – see him as as the same type of criminal as they are. They expect him to be supported , by the Russian gangster regime .” Employees like the little Berkley boy and agent moron X is paid to write nonsense – Thank you Da Putophile and X –

    The puzzle pieces are beginning to fall into place and the picture is not very pretty. It appears that Wall Street was engaged in naked short selling for profit and to the detriment of various companies and investors. For whatever reason, the SEC appears to have been ignoring the problem. Then, some off-Wall Street activity took the naked short selling to a whole new level and that destroyed Lehman Brothers and nearly destroyed the global economy. There are strong indications that this was an act of financial terrorism. To fully understand the big picture, read http://secretweapon.org/

    Comment by Anders — April 6, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

  11. Anders, I did read the Overstock.com guy’s website on naked short selling. It made my head hurt, to be honest.

    What time is it in Oslo again? 3 a.m.?

    Here’s a video for Liberty Lynx, since she can’t pretend she ain’t reading over here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThDZILl045Q
    yeah where were you Liberty Lynx when Panetta announced his treason and that U.S. military now entirely subservient to foreign powers? Well EUrocrats in Brussells all on the side of liberty and against anti-Semitism right? That’s why the original Bildeberg was started by an ODESSA man, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.

    But at least she bothered a coupla tweets about the Viktor Bout of the DOJ, that is Eric “we’ve gotta brainwash kids in prime time against guns” Holder.

    Plus why does Joshua Foust assume she’s using her own picture and not some other lady’s? Y’know like those scammers pretending to be Natasha in Kherson in distress who are really fat balding guys named Boris?

    Comment by Mr. X — April 6, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

  12. Re Russia’s complaints about us Jail conditions, can anyone spell “projection”?

    Comment by sotos — April 6, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

  13. Hey sotos, why won’t the Twitter mob rooting out those dastardly Kremlin-funded goldbugs and America hating Ronulands come over here and play? Think they’re worried they’ll get their butts kicked?

    Reginald Quill ‏ @ReginaldQuill
    Reply RetweetedRetweet
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    FavoritedFavorite · Close Open Details @catfitz His retweeting the Saakashvili bashing was just standard Russian tabloid behavior. But he had more reason for it after I nagged.

    Ah, CatFitz ADMITS she’s a nag. And Foust uses my phrase crazy Ekaterina. Sounds like Senor Equis wins again.

    Stay thirsty my friends who actually love liberty and America more than you HATE HATE HATE Russia.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 6, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

  14. Mr.X is loosing it! His posts are unreadable and mostly show that he desperately wants to be heard on anything and everything. That’s why he starts with one subject, jumps to another. He wants your respect, Professor, and doesn’t know how to get it. We are all waiting for him to disappear like he promised but he is still here taking too much space with his nonsense.

    Comment by voroBey — April 6, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

  15. No, no: the Professor is right. America would never imprison its incarcerated in anything like unbearable conditions or literally – literally – use physical torture to coerce those they want to break.

    Bwaaahahaha. Sorry.

    Oh, everyone has heard of Abu Ghraib, of course, where good, wholesome Mom-and-apple-pie American prison guards rolled a middle aged man in a sleeping bag and then sat on his chest so that it was impossible for him to breathe, in order to extract information from him. And then took gruesome trophy photographs of his bluing corpse packed in ice – yes, yes, the experiment proved that if you can’t breathe, you will die if you are an air-breather. Tragically, it did not yield any “actionable intelligence”.

    But you might be interested to know similar conditions prevail in many of the heartland’s prisons. Joliet, for instance, where a schizophrenic inmate named Michael Valent was strapped in a restraining chair for 16 hours because he would not take his pillowcase off of his head. When he was released, he collapsed from a blood clot that blocked an artery to his heart, and died. His parents sued the state of Utah, successfully, and Director of the Utah Department of Corrections Lane McCotter was forced to resign.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/exporting-americas-prison-problems

    But, like the song says, you can’t keep a good man down. Six years after being forced to resign for defending the use of the restraining chair that often left prisoners sitting in their own feces for hours, Lane McCotter found himself a new job: as part of a four-man team of correctional advisers sent by the Justice Department….to Abu Ghraib.

    Interestingly, no Russian prison made the list for Top Ten Worst Prisons. But American prisons, ladies and gentlemen, made up 40% of the list.

    http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-deadliest-prisons-world.php

    Prison ain’t beanbag, and you’re there to be punished for what you – presumably – did. I say “presumably” because America’s wrongful conviction rate is a scandal as well. And some of the wrongfully convicted, once exonerated (and it’s worth mentioning that 67% of the exonerated were convicted after 2000, when DNA testing became the standard for physical evidence) would nurse medical conditions for the rest of their lives because, yes, the prison denied them medical care.

    http://reason.com/archives/2011/06/07/wrongful-convictions/singlepage

    Anyway, I don’t think anyone is arguing the Bout should be treated like a celebrity. After all the United States government knew what kind of guy he was when they used his air transport services in Iraq.

    http://www.economist.com/node/12795502?story_id=12795502

    But the idea that the USA is in a position to condemn the prison systems and treatment of prisoners by other countries is, frankly, pretty comical.

    Comment by Mark — April 6, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

  16. Come again, Comrade and Mafia -clowns Mr X , Sublime Oblivion. Anatoly Karlin on geopolitics ‘Mornski Doctrine’ of Putin bootlickers

    One solution is to use points made by Russian leaders themselves. Guess who said this: “Russia is a country of legal nihilism at the level…that no European country can boast of…Corruption in the official structures has a huge scale”. That sounds as though it came from some opposition politician such as Garry Kasparov—the sort of marginal (or marginalised) figure that Russians often say gains far too much western attention. But the speaker was Dmitri Medvedev (pictured above), successor-designate to Vladimir Putin.

    http://www.economist.com/node/10598774

    Comment by Anders — April 7, 2012 @ 1:48 am

  17. Moron X – Russian-Canadian writer Daniel Estulin sounds as crazy as you . Actually these facts are open knowledge, available on the Internet, on Prince Bernhard’s Wikipedia page. Bernhard was excused for these connections, partly because the Reiter SS was, according to Wikipedia, not much more than an “equestrian riding group” for aristocrats, and because of all the anti-Nazi things he did after the war started, none of which Estulin mentions. And who is the weird-sounding Gyeorgos C. Hatonn? Estulin quotes this man without saying who he is. I had never heard of him, but I googled him, too, and out popped his book, Creation, the Sacred Universe: The Incubation of the Phoenix. It’s nuts. There are a bunch of other books of Hatonn’s, with equally outlandish titles. All of them appear to be plumb crazy.

    Conspiracism is a disaster for progressive people because it leads them into cynicism, convoluted thinking, and a tendency to feel it is hopeless even as they denounce the alleged conspirators.

    Conspiracism is so contrary to what most everyday people believe and observe that it actually drives people away because they sense the tinge of craziness to it.

    What social psychologists who study social movements say is that a social movement definitely needs a clear and visible opponent that embodies the values that are opposed, and which can be vilified and railed against. But in opposition to the conspiracists, these opponents are readily identifiable and working through visible and legitimate institutions.

    Comment by Anders — April 7, 2012 @ 2:05 am

  18. It would help if Russia had a word for whataboutism. Literally, it could be kaknaschyotism.
    Guess who said this: “Russia is a country of legal nihilism at the level…that no European country can boast of…Corruption in the official structures has a huge scale”. That sounds as though it came from some opposition politician such as Garry Kasparov—the sort of marginal (or marginalised) figure that Russians often say gains far too much western attention. But the speaker was Dmitri Medvedev (pictured above), successor-designate to Vladimir Putin.

    http://www.economist.com/node/10598774

    Comment by Anders — April 7, 2012 @ 2:13 am

  19. Sorry Anders, but Vidkun Quisling didn’t put in a good word for the ole’ Prince Bernhard. And his Nazi connections where written about long before Estulin. Hell, if you want to know my immediate source, go email Mr. Bean’s Brother (that’s Rowan Atkinson) Rodney in the UK.

    joshuafoust ‏ @joshuafoust
    Reply RetweetedRetweet
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    FavoritedFavorite · Close Open Details @LibertyLynx @streetwiseprof @catfitz big word from a coward who won’t use your own face or name. Try again.

    Looks like Joshua Foust doesn’t buy Ekaterina’s protestations that she’s not La Russophobe, judging by that Tweet.

    And again, calling people tin foil hatters is all you folks have left, along with hate for Russia. Stop telling this American that bootlicking to NATO and making the U.S. military subservient to the UN while pissing on the Constitution and the War Powers Act is patriotic from your perches abroad.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 7, 2012 @ 2:32 am

  20. Unreadable Vorobey? Sure I cover a few topics, but SWP’s glaring failure to discuss the greatest theft of customer funds in American history that made a total mockery of the CME, its president, and his futures industry/academic discipline is numero uno. Failure to discuss Fast and Furious flooding his state of Texas with high-powered rifles in the hands of Mexican cartel maniacs is number two. Failure to stand up for Texas when the Justice Department illegally and unconstitutionally threatened to blockade the state over a law that would’ve banned TSA groping of people’s private parts is number three. Failure to confront his best buds on Twitter over vicious libels of Texas Congressman Ron Paul who lives not too far outside Houston is strike number four. Add to that lies or willful ignorance about SOPA, the NDAA, and you have a person who’s basically taken a dump on the Constitution and everything he pretends to stand for.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 7, 2012 @ 2:36 am

  21. Moron X the Putin-Nazis American agent do you know what Conspiracism is ?

    In the past two centuries, and particularly in the last 50 years or so, people the world over have embraced conspiracism. When we refer to a conspiracy, we mean an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned conspiracy, as defined by the dictionary — a plot by some dark and nefarious characters to do something sinister or evil.

    In its milder forms, conspiracism isn’t too bad. You know what we mean — the kind of guy who’s perfectly sane, yet he’s absolutely convinced that the price of everything he buys is controlled by some tiny cartel of bankers in New York or Geneva. Or maybe he thinks that the United Nations wants to take over the U.S. government. Or that National Security Agency spies are tracking his movements through a microchip in his neck inserted when he had his tonsils out.

    The problem is that, as this sort of thinking has become more and more common, it’s spawned a new sort of social commentator and a new sort of world view, seeing every major world event through the dark filter of conspiracism.

    The universe of conspiracism isn’t a random place where things happen for no reason. As Michael Barkun puts it in his book, A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America:
    Nothing happens by accident: Everything that happens in the world is intentional, by someone’s (or something’s) Grand Design.
    Nothing is as it seems: Whoever or whatever is in control disguises their role and their identity. In fact, they go out of their way to look innocent, deflect blame, or just plain hide.
    Everything is connected: Because of an intricate, evil design that allows for no accidents, there’s no such thing as a coincidence, and the patterns of evil forces are all interconnected with each other. Therefore, the right type of person can see these patterns of numbers, designs, events, or activities everywhere, once they know what to look for.

    This last bit is important because, in most conspiracy theories, a thread of insistence exists that only certain, truly enlightened people can see the truth behind the secret plots. Most conspiracies are, so the thinking goes, invisible to the vast majority of sheeplike citizens who go grazing through the pasture of life, never suspecting the evil wolves lurking behind the rocks of everyday occurrences.

    In a way, conspiracism can be comforting to true believers because it removes the scary notion of randomness from the universe. For some, conspiracies can seem like an extension of religious faith, with God and Satan locked in a struggle for supremacy on Earth. In fact, many conspiracists are strongly connected to a belief in the coming of the end of the world. After a specific series of world events happens, these “millenialists” believe, those events will usher in Armageddon, the final battle between the forces of good and evil on Earth.

    Comment by Anders — April 7, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  22. What does Viktor Bout represent today in the new East -West relations? What may be the issues justifying the fierceness of the U.S, and Moscow ‘s bitterness in its defence? An outline of responses….

    To get straight to the point: what if Bout, as we have written, agrees to bargain the heavy sentence which would give him asylym in USA ? On 3 December 2007 a curious item appeared in the Russian media. It concerned Igor Ivanovich Sechin, a Russian political figure close to then President Vladimir Putin. Kommersant [2] featured a quote from Oleg Shvartsman, head of the Financial-Industrial Group: “For us, the Party is represented by the power bloc headed by Igor Ivanovich [Sechin].” This statement was offered in response to a journalist’s question about Shvartman’s strategic task of velvet re-privatization. “Who set this task for you?” asked the journalist. Shvartsman’s extraordinary answer slipped inadvertently from his post-Soviet lips: “The party! (laughing).”

    On 3 December 2007 a curious item appeared in the Russian media. It concerned Igor Ivanovich Sechin, a Russian political figure close to then President Vladimir Putin. Kommersant featured a quote from Oleg Shvartsman, head of the Financial-Industrial Group: “For us, the Party is represented by the power bloc headed by Igor Ivanovich [Sechin].” This statement was offered in response to a journalist’s question about Shvartman’s strategic task of velvet re-privatization. “Who set this task for you?” asked the journalist. Shvartsman’s extraordinary answer slipped inadvertently from his post-Soviet lips: “The party! (laughing).” On 3 December 2007 a curious item appeared in the Russian media. It concerned Igor Ivanovich Sechin, a Russian political figure close to then President Vladimir Putin. Kommersant [2] featured a quote from Oleg Shvartsman, head of the Financial-Industrial Group: “For us, the Party is represented by the power bloc headed by Igor Ivanovich [Sechin].” This statement was offered in response to a journalist’s question about Shvartman’s strategic task of velvet re-privatization. “Who set this task for you?” asked the journalist. Shvartsman’s extraordinary answer slipped inadvertently from his post-Soviet lips: “The party! (laughing).”

    That’s right, he said “the party.” (In the original Russian [3] he used the word Партия!) In every place within this story, the word “партии” or “партия” is capitalized when referring to a shadowy entity issuing tasks from behind the scenes. When an insignificant political party is mentioned, the word is not capitalized, so Shvartsman’s laugh cannot be mistaken: Партия refers to one thing, without any chance of confusion. There can only be one “Party” operating secretly behind the scenes, and that is the Communist Party (коммунистическая партия). In other words, Comrade Shvartsman was openly referring to the ongoing dominion of the Communist Party Soviet Union and its directives.

    The correctness of the above interpretation is rendered indisputable by the fact that Kommersant made the “Party” quote into the article’s headline. “Aha!” says Kommersant. “The Party lifts its head and winks at us!” There is no problem with this (for the Kremlin), because the West will never notice references to ongoing Communist Party control in Russia. The White House is too busy to notice. The CIA is far gone, manipulated by double agents. The foreign policy experts are advancing their careers by expounding upon more plausible themes. Even the so-called “conservative” Westerners have become useful idiots. In this case, as in most others, deception succeeds because the victim of deception wishes to be deceived. That is all-in-all sufficient. As Lenin once said: “Tell theWest what they want to hear.”

    Fast forward to the present, to a related mystery. In Thailand another agent of “the Party” is in the news. His name is Victor Bout (pronounced boot). He has been languishing in jail, wanted by U.S. authorities. In fact, he is soon to be extradited. But the Russian authorities don’t want him to fall into American hands. Perhaps this has to do with his ties to al Qaeda and his work as a KGB spy. In Thailand it is alleged that American intelligence suspects Bout of involvement in the September 11, 2001 terrorist onslaught. Consequently, Washington wants to grab and interrogate Bout. Because Moscow has something to hide, they desperately want to free him. According to Dmitry Sidorov, writing at forbes.com [4], “The Kremlin seems dead serious about Bout. The mere thought that he could be responding to prosecutors’ questions in New York apparently sends shivers down the spines of some high-ranking Russian government officials. One of these is … Igor Sechin….”

    Aha! Igor Ivanovich appears once more, presumably in the context of yet another strategic task. What was Shvartsman’s phrase? “For us, the Party is represented by the power bloc headed by Igor Ivanovich [Sechin].” In his Forbes piece, Sidorov describes Sechin as having “deep roots in the GRU (Russian military intelligence) that go back to Angola and Mozambique, where he worked officially as an interpreter….” Does anyone remember the assassination of Mozambique’s president, Samora Machel [5], by way of a plane crash in 1986? (See also, the more recent elimination of Polish President Lech Kaczyński [6].) If only some new crash could be devised. It would be terribly inconvenient if Bout reached America as a prisoner bound for interrogation by the Justice Department and the FBI. It is only obvious that he knows something. Why would the Russian foreign minister look so upset? As Sidorov pointed out, “It is hard to imagine the current regime in Moscow would allow anyone [like Bout] to make hundreds of millions of dollars without a nod, if not a cover, when it comes to sensitive business.” And from what we know, Igor Ivanovich Sechin was up to his neck in this business — which involved weapons smuggling to Communist guerrillas in Latin America and to Islamic terrorists in the Middle East.

    To get a clearer picture of Sechin’s role in Latin America as it relates to “the Party” and its many strategic tasks: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims that his country’s nuclear program was Igor Sechin’s idea. Sechin even negotiated weapons sales to the emerging Communist dictator, as well as nuclear technology transfers. In 2009 Sechin negotiated an oil deal with Cuba, allowing Russia to become involved in deep-water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. How prescient! How omnipresent!

    One last set of revealing items: In 2008 Igor Ivanovich Sechin negotiated with the BP oil company, which has since fallen on hard times. We should not be surprised to learn that Sechin is an expert in “the economic evaluation of investment projects of transit of oil and petroleum products.” He is also the chairman of the board of directors of a leading Russian oil company, and Russia’s top energy official. He is also considered the leader of Russia’s Siloviki power bloc, which consists of politicians from the security and military services. But most of all, as Comrade Shvartsman revealed: “For us, the Party is represented by the power bloc headed by Igor Ivanovich [Sechin].”

    Comment by Anders — April 7, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  23. @Mark-Even someone as idiotic as you should be able to see the differences (plural) b/t Aleksanyan, Magnitsky, and Bakhmina and the single episode you mention.

    WRT no prison in Russia in the Top Ten Worst. Please. Don’t embarrass yourself. (I know that is a real, real challenge. But take the strain.) Yes. Prisons are awful places. (Is that news to you?) That is in large part due to the fact that they are inhabited by very awful people. Several of the US prisons that make your list (Alcatraz, San Quentin, ADX Florence) incarcerate the most awful-by a large margin-of the awful. Propose an alternative way to deal with such base, evil people. And please again-Alcatraz? When do we get to the Trojan War?

    As horrible places as most US (or British, or French, or German, or . . . ) prisons are, if given a choice you would select a Russian prison (in Chita, perhaps?) over an American (or British, or French, or German . . . ) one, I would say: 1. You are a even a bigger fool than I thought (a staggering thought in itself), and 2. Enjoy your choice! Don’t let the door (or anything else) hit you in the backside on the way in!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 7, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  24. As regards prisons conditions anywhere.

    Always be very careful about statistics from any source, particularly ex soviet ones, For example, engineers in soviet speak usually included what we would call a technician, like an air conditioning repairman or plumber. For years, Cuba defined literacy as the ability to sign and read one’s name, and later copy and read party slogans – most of which were memorized during the interminable speeches and party sessions. Later international sampling was a joke – with special classes given to the randomly selected participants. It also was a standing joke that the longevity numbers were based on births versus deaths on the island in aggregate- ignoring the fact that 20% of those who were born on the island left, and whose deaths could therefore not be reported (e.g. everyone who left is still alive!). I haven’t looked into this in a decade – so I am sure that everything is now A OK.

    As to the local hoosegows, let us remember how the “Reforming and Reformed, Humane” prisons of Stalin were praised by the Webbs and GB Shaw – I doubt they visited much of the Gulag.

    Don’t be fooled by appearances; miserable people make any place a horror. I have had the same arguments with Eurotards about their happy asylums. Just as any place filled with violent people is miserable, so to is any insane asylum. While the pharmacology has improved vastly in the last 8 years, much of the movement to limit physical restraint depended on drugs such as Thorazine (and many stronger) that would have the patient look OK, but be in much worse mental shape and pain than if he or she was straitjacketed. It did, however, look better, Misery hidden in a cloud of drug induced agony – when silent – makes all the onlookers happy! To hell with the patient.

    After “improving conditions and treatment of inmates” in the US came de-institutionalization.

    One of the dirty little secrets was that the influx of de-institutionalized patients on the streets as homeless in the 70′s and 80′s was caused not just because there were no local shelters for them, but also because what facilities there were were appalling. It was safer to be on the street than have what little you had stolen, while being shanked to boot. In addition the anti-psychotics of the time were so miserable to use that many would do almost anything to avoid taking their medication. Finally misery in the street served a political purpose – to support the welfare state. In New York the arguments were endless, with every two bit would be Learned Hand on the NY Bench weighing in with another useless ruling or order. Statistics as a weapon, misery as a prop for political theater; to hell with the patients.

    Vassily Aksyonov in his “In Search of Melancholy Baby” described trying to come to grips with America and its fascination with improbable statistics. He read that 20% of students had serious drinking problems and were often drunk in class. At that point he had spent several years teaching at Gower, and had yet to see any student in his or other teachers’ classes “drunk within the European, much less Soviet meaning of the word.” After this he wisely decided to take any such comparative statistics with a small salt mine.

    I don’t know who coined the phrase, but these types – so called reformers – love humanity but hate people.

    Comment by sotos — April 7, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

  25. @sotos-Right on all counts. And it’s funny re your last line. I just tweeted something to that effect.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 7, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

  26. Well your last line isn’t ha-ha funny-it was just funny/interesting that we said the same thing about the same time in different venues.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 7, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

  27. For those who find Russian priosons apealing…

    http://online-docfilm.com/national_geographic/ngtravel/110-samye-strashnye-tyurmy-rossii.html

    Comment by MJ — April 7, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

  28. Golly, Professor; there was a lot of spit flying around – hope you didn’t get any on you.

    While you were knocking yourself out coming up with superlatives for idiocy – something I would have expected from your groupie VoroBey/Les/Elmer/Man of a Thousand Faces, Sancho Panza to your Quixote and Igor to your Frankenstein, you evidently got too worked up to take your own advice, and read the article. Not very professorial, if I may be permitted a small observation.

    Rather than a single (singular) episode, there were in fact nearly 40 cited (that’s multiple) at Joliet alone, under the administration of Lane McCotter. The article states that attorney Jensie Anderson interviewed “close to forty” inmates who had been restrained in the same chair that Valent died in. What’s “close to 40”? Stipulate to 38, what do you say? Then the ACLU filed suit – successfully – against 3 doctors employed by the Utah Department of Corrections for binding a man clad only in his underwear to a stainless steel pallet known, in an endearing burst of whimsy that would have made you chuckle if you had actually read it, as “the board”, for 85 straight days. Some people might consider that torture, although you are of course made of sterner stuff. I’ll bet if he had worked for YUKOS, though, you’d have been reduced to a puddle of maudlin tears.

    Our man McCotter popped up again about a year later, in Santa, Fe, New Mexico. In his new job – still in Corrections, you can’t keep an artist away from his muse – McCotter’s company got a 3-year contract to operate the Santa Fe Detention Centre. And wouldn’t you know it? A team from the Department of Justice you praised earlier for their integrity found serious civil rights violations; “numerous (that’s more than one) and horrifying examples” of “woeful deficiencies in healthcare and basic living conditions”. The DOJ pulled 100 federal prisoners out, fired the warden, and later one of the medical administrators got the boot as well. I have no doubt those prisoners were all the most awful of the awful; base, evil people – but the Department of Justice is such a bunch of prisoner-coddlers.

    And yet. Here’s McCotter again, in Iraq, at Abu Ghraib, one of the biggest stains on American honor ever. The article suggests he probably didn’t have anything directly to do with the abuses, he was just an adviser. But it’s funny how bad pennies keep turning up, innit?

    I daresay I could do this all day, too; I hope I didn’t give you the impression that finding these examples was the product of days of grinding toil.

    But I’m interested in hearing your impressions of Russian prisons as an insider. You have, of course, been in prison in Russia. What? You haven’t? Then what you know about it – aside from what you read, the same as I do – is exactly bupkes, so stop going on like you know every moldy corner of Butyrka. And the United States of America is in no position to be finger-wagging at anyone.

    Comment by Mark — April 7, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

  29. if given a choice you would select a Russian prison (in Chita, perhaps?) over an American…

    It depends. The thing is, prison sentences for comparable crimes in the US are much longer than in Russia, so I’d rather take the somewhat higher risk of death in a Russian prison than rotting away in an American one.

    Revolutionaries protest their love for Humanity. Humans, not so much.

    Because all too many humans get in humanity’s way. E.g., AGW deniers. In a way, they’re worse than Holocaust deniers, insofar as their lies will contribute to the excess deaths of millions of people as this century rolls on.

    Comment by Da Russophile — April 8, 2012 @ 12:06 am

  30. @da Who the hell are you to make such a judgement? This is nothing more than the first step towards the death camps or reeducation process of a Pol Pot.

    Comment by sotos — April 8, 2012 @ 6:22 am

  31. What’s really amazing about Bout is not the Kremlin’s hypocrisy, Russia is a country where hypocrisy and lies are served to children for breakfast with price and pleasure. It’s that the Kremlin doesn’t seem to mind at all openly siding with a man the whole world considers to be a merchant of terror. Didn’t the Kremlin learn anything from its misadventure in Georgia, which was repudiated by the entire planet? Didn’t it see then that it doesn’t have any friends at all, much less the reserve of good will and respect that would be required to get away with siding with a man like Bout? What we see from today’s Kremlin is no different than what we saw from the Soviet Kremlin, absolute blindness to reality brought on by purging the last vestiges of real criticism from domestic Russian society.

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 8, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  32. Interesting that DA SOCIOPATH is apparently an international attorney, whereas SUBLIME PSCYOPATH was a demographer and economist. It’s amazing to see so much expertise packed into such a tiny, tiny space. How long before the particle physicist makes his appearance, one can only wonder with bated breath . . .

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 8, 2012 @ 9:48 am

  33. @ LaR The Nazi courts were well manned with competent lawyers, Derrida wrote for the fascist press, Heidegger was a Nazi Party member and Mengele had two Doctorates(Anthropology from Munich and Medicine from Frankfort, if memory serves). Credentials and intelligence are not an inoculation against criminal politics, they just give the would be criminals more mental tools to justify their actions, and capacity to enable their felonies.

    Comment by sotos — April 8, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  34. @DR. Thanks for proving my point. Again.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 8, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  35. What is AGW denial, which places short-term corporate profits over the lives and wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people in the Third World, other than criminal politics?

    At least if the likes of Harper or Putin question AGW, they act in their own country’s national interests. It’s understandable, if sociopathic like Hitler. But it’s actually more like a suicidal form of sociopathy in SWP’s case, seeing as it will turn his beloved Dixie into a sweltering wasteland by mid-century or so.

    Comment by Da Russophile — April 8, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  36. @DR. I suspect you are not a real person, but a progbot. You are pitch perfect in your progprop. If were in fact a sentient being, with real concern about the well being of people in the Third World, you would place “AGW” so far down on your list of concerns that most people would tire of reading before reaching it. AKW-anthropogenic kleptocratic warlordism-would be at the top.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 8, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  37. AKW-anthropogenic kleptocratic warlordism-would be at the top.

    I was not aware it is much of a problem outside central Africa.

    Comment by Da Russophile — April 8, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  38. The most desperately poor and marginalized and brutalized populations are in AKWs. Central Africa tops the list, but east Africa (Somalia), parts of west Africa, Central Asia (Afghanistan, but not merely there), and parts of South America suffer from it. Certainly it is a far more real an immediate danger to tens of millions than speculative and overhyped AGW.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 8, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  39. You have left out a lot of the Middle East – notably Yemen which seems to be surviving on remittances from the Deli I go to on Broadway, Algeria with mass murders by and of Islamists, etc. Other countries that come to mind are Belarus and most of the Central Asian Republics with their KGB trained overlords (Thanks Lenin!).

    Also let’s not forget some spectacular regional areas within countries – Mindanao is famous for massacres to control land and elections, ditto cast/religious violence in India along with a 40 year Landlord versus Naxalite issue, and not to be missed is Karachi, probably the most gangster and poverty ridden city on Earth. Add to that non free Kurdistan (that part that wasn’t liberated by those nasty evil Amerikkkans), torn between the Turkish Army, Iran and that little contretemps in Syria, and so on and so on.

    So many to name, so few pixels available!

    Comment by sotos — April 8, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  40. I agree, sotos. But if you are really concerned about the fate of the poorest and most oppressed, you need to obsess about AGW.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 8, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

  41. Where’s the Yekaterinburg chapter of the RCLU when you need it? Oh, yeah. There isn’t one.

    Warning. The video at the link contains graphic violence. It is age limited on YouTube.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 8, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

  42. If anyone wants to get an idea of what Rooshan prisons are like – watch this video from Ukraine.

    http://blogs.pravda.com.ua/authors/usov/4f7b6f67ec61a/

    It is Lukyanivka prison, where a political prisoner, Yury (George) Lutsenko, has been held.

    It is about 45 minutes, and it was filmed by the inmates.

    La Russophobe is absolutely right – perception and reality are two absolutely different things for sovok mafia thugs, wherever they are.

    The sovok system literally created psychopaths, and an institutional “legitimacy” for psychopaths.

    Countries like Georgia and Poland have managed to break away from it.

    Roosha is an insane asylum run by psychopaths. So is Ukraine.

    Obama and his lefties are striving to achieve the psychopathic lunacy that was and is – sovok mafia thug-ism.

    Reset button, anyone?

    Comment by elmer — April 9, 2012 @ 8:19 am

  43. Because Bout refused to cooperate with U.S. authorities, his highly placed Russian patrons do not consider him a traitor, as they did former Federal Security Service agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was found dead from poisoning in London.

    When he starts singing Da Sublime Putlerophile , the siloviki agents and neo-Stalinists unabombing him

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB61/

    Comment by Anders — April 10, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  44. After the film of the atrocious conditions at Lukyaniv prison aired on TV, the sovok mafia “president” of Ukraine “ordered an investigation” – typical sovok window-dressing.

    And after that, since shit rolls down hill, the “Prosecutor General” of Ukraine, Pshonka, ordered an investigation.

    But what is really happening?

    Prosecutors are preparing to bring criminal charges against the journalist who ran the story on the Lukyaniv prison.

    http://tsn.ua/politika/zhurnalistu-shiyut-kriminalnu-spravu-za-syuzhet-pro-luk-yanivske-sizo.html

    Журналісту “шиють” кримінальну справу за сюжет про Лук’янівське СІЗО

    The headline says that they are “stitching together” a criminal matter against the journalist.

    Also, Lytvyn, the speaker of Parliament, refused to show the film of the atrocious conditions to the members in Parliament, claiming that they had too much legislative work to do, and anyone who wanted to see the film had already seen it.

    So much for “yanusvoloch ‘orders’ investigation”

    And so much for “pshonka ‘orders’ investigation because yanusvoloch ordered it”

    What a bunch of psychotic sovok mafia thug putzes.

    The sovoks really created some dreadful monsters all over the place.

    Comment by elmer — April 11, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

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