In this media-bias piece we take a look at a typical right-wing attack on Russia and Obama by someone who is supposed to be an “expert” on Russia. Once again the pompous, sanctimonious, self-righteous, holier-than-thou, hypocritical right-wing conservative view is filled with tired clichés, factually challenged, completely biased and filled with half truths and outright lies presented as fact.
This week’s biased-media report focuses on an article by right-wing conservative Ilan Berman the Vice President of the conservative right-wing American Foreign Policy Council in the right-wing conservative propaganda rag the Washington Times. According to what I have dug up he is supposedly a respected expert, or was, and the “think tank” the American Foreign Policy Council provides information to members of US Congress, the Executive Branch, and the US policymaking community, as well as world leaders outside the US (particularly in the former USSR). I suppose you could call them a mini-CIA then, as it is usually a function of the CIA to provide intelligence to officials.
Apparently the “expert” must not be making enough as the vice president of the right-wing think tank and if judging by his article in the Washington Times, the information he provides is of the same caliber, the reason is obvious. Why someone in that position would resort to writing fact-starved, vitriolic hate speech masked as anti-Russian propaganda pretending to be another sanctimonious self-serving call for justice is beyond me.
The fact that he published his vitriol in the Washington Times almost says it all. This is a paper that gave a column to Ted Nugent, an American “patriot”, who was scared and avoided being drafted and sent to fight for America in Vietnam. That’s right “Reverend” Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church which owns the Washington Times gave him a column.
Back to the matter at hand, Ilam Berman’s anti-Russia piece, which was published on November 6th, on the eve of the US elections. Perhaps he thought Romney would win and wanted to become an advisor for the Romney administration and was showing what he was made of? Just speculation, but who knows?
Let’s start looking at Berman’s bias with his subject choice. The tragic case of Sergei Magnitsky, a sensitive topic and another straw man argument by the West so that it can continue to demonize Russia. The right-wing sponsors of the Magnitsky bill need people to support it, they need people to believe their mis-characterizations and shameful self-serving mis-representations so that they can continue to demonize Russia for their own self-interests, and they oh so need the Magnitsky Bill so they can look righteous and throw up another threat against Russia and seize assets or whatever other machinations they have up their sleeves.
Paragraph one of the Berman piece: We will start with the word “languishing”. Sergey Magnitsky was in jail for 11 months in pre-trial detention for rather serious charges. I will not say anything bad about Magnitsky as he is no longer with us, bless his soul, and can not defend himself, but I will say any lawyer, and this includes US based attorneys use their knowledge to benefit their clients and sometimes that includes using the system to their own advantage, meaning bending the law.
If we want to talk about jail terms, as the word languishing implies, perhaps we can bring up millions of US cases, right now the NATO 5 comes to mind, already in jail for almost 9 months with perhaps more than a year to go before their trial begins. Guantanamo anyone?
Mr. Magnitsky’s death was tragic, he was improperly diagnosed and was not treated on time, but to characterize the case as being denied medical attention is incorrect. However Berman can attack people who can not defend themselves as they are Russians, do not read rags like the Washington Times and many have lost their jobs who were anywhere near the case, but I can defend them and I will.
Bill Browder the co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management was most likely guilty of tax-evasion and bribing officials, there is no other likely explanation as to how Mr. Magnitsky “uncovered” corruption and tax fraud, and as Browder’s lawyer it would have been up to him to be in the middle of it, he was doing his job and made the fall guy by Bowder.
Back to Berman’s twisted article. Berman states the case and the circumstances surrounding Magnitsky’s death are “fraught with absurdity”, I wonder if all of the police officers and people involved who have lost their jobs and prosecuted would say the same thing. My Berman’s article however, is in fact filled with absurdities, as in the next sentence he brings out that tired and worn cliché “Soviet”, he says “in time-honored Soviet tradition” the lawyers have not seen the case files. Maybe someone should tell Berman the Soviet Union has not existed for over 2 decades. Maybe not as a trip to the Soviet Union is his “think tanks” only claim to fame. We wouldn’t want to burst his bubble now would we?
Berman continues his rant and with uncharacteristic restraint for a right-wing hack, waited until paragraph 4 to attack Obama. Saying Obama has tried to ignore the Magnitsky case to appease Russia. He then characterizes Russia’s permission to allow for limited use of Russian airspace to allow the US to supply troops in Afghanistan as acquiescence, after the US pleaded with Russia for Russian assistance.
Berman next unbelievably attempts to transpose right-wing “Russia is geopolitical enemy #1” rhetoric onto the Russian people. He cites Russia’s independent position on Iran and Russia’s calls for an internal resolution in Syria to its own sovereign problem as “strongly suggesting that Moscow still sees Washington as the “main enemy”. Wrong again Berman, your right wingers openly and stupidly state this repeatedly, no Russian official has ever stated such nonsense. Another strike for you. In the same paragraph he says “the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin is capricious, unaccountable and deeply anti-democratic”.
Hold on a minute! Capricious, unaccountable and deeply anti-democratic? Again Berman must be suffering from overload spinning America’s failure as virtuous. Capricious, shall we mention US arbitrary laws and the stripping away of civil liberties? Unaccountable? Shall we mention George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condeleezza Rice and everyone who was instrumental in committing and continuing all of the war crimes and crimes against humanity the US has been guilty of in the last decade, not to mention torture, extra-judicial executions, indefinite detention and droning. Anti-Democratic? Ask the thousands of Occupiers, third party followers and leaders, and any non-white non-Christian in the US about that.
Should I continue? Berman then cites “a punk band” I guess he couldn’t remember what they were called and Sergey Udaltsov as examples of Russian authoritarian rule. First if you want to know what I think of P-Riot follow this link (P-Riot: provocation against church and state) as for Udaltsov, he may be tried for treason, he is guilty of organizing illegal rallies and attempting to subvert the government in my opinion, and is a traitor in the pay of the west as I see it.
These are two examples of how almost anything is allowed to take place in Russia, not authoritarianism Berman. If similar deeds were committed in America would you be so defensive Berman? Of course you wouldn’t. They would probably get the death penalty. Should I mention Manning? Assange? Jeremy Hammond?
Berman did say one thing almost truthful in his pre-penultimate paragraph about the Obama Administration’s position on the Magnitsky Act, “They also fear that Moscow might make good on threats of retaliatory measures if the act is actually signed into law.” That would mean Moscow could go and ban everyone involved in any illegal prosecution in the US, anyone associated with an “accidental” execution of an innocent man (happens all the time in the US), anyone involved in prosecuting whistleblower Bradley Manning, in persecuting WikiLeaks, in illegally kidnapping and prosecuting Victor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, in carrying out and ordering extra-judicial executions, torture, violations of the Geneva Conventions, aggressive wars, the list goes on and on.
If the Government of the Russian Federation decided to try to make America bend to its will or give it a black eye by making such a list as the Magnitsky List or passing a law like the Magnitsky Act, the names on it would be in the millions.
Berman closes with “The road to a true “reset,” therefore, cannot lie in keeping silent about the Kremlin’s criminalized domestic conduct.” I would say the same thing for Washington.
As for Sergey Magnitsky, his death was tragic, the way he was manipulated and made the fall guy by his Western employer was despicable, and everyone directly involved in his death has already been punished. In case you did not know that Berman.