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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Hypocrisy and the Magnitsky Rule

Obdurate Washington

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

With its power declining, Washington was not able any longer to keep Russia out of the World Trade Organization.  Congress showed its spite over its impotence by hooking the normalizing of trade with Russia to what is called the “Magnitsky rule.

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian attorney who represented a British investment firm accused of tax evasion and fraud in Russia. Apparently, the UK firm supplied information to media alleging government misconduct and participation in corruption inside state-owned Russian companies.

Magnitsky represented the accused UK firm. He claimed that the firm had not committed fraud but had been a victim of fraud. In turn, Magnitsky was arrested. He developed serious illnesses in prison for which he apparently received inadequate medical care.

Whether he died of untreated illnesses, we cannot know. But the US Congress, acting on the unsubstantiated allegation that Magnitsky was tortured and murdered, attached to the trade normalization bill a provision that requires the US government to release a list of Russian government officials believed or imagined to have been involved with the violation of Magnitsky’s human rights and to freeze the assets of these members of the Russian government and to deny them visas to travel to the US.  Considering Washington’s belief that its law is the universal law of humankind, Washington probably intends for every country to enforce its edict or to be sanctioned in turn.

The Russian government finds the “Magnitsky rule” amusing. Here is the Russian government accused, without any evidence, of ONE torture and death, while Washington has such a large number of torture deaths from Abu Ghraib to Gitmo to the secret CIA torture centers to endless drone attacks on kids‘ soccer games, weddings, funerals, medical clinics, schools, farm houses and aid workers.  The evidence is completely clear that Washington has tortured a number of individuals to death and into false confessions and blown to pieces thousands of innocents known as “collateral damage.”  No one but Washington and its servants denies this.  But one alleged Russian offense against human rights brings forth an act of the US Congress, all in a huff about the violation of a Russian lawyer’s human rights.

A number of rulers in human history have been this arrogant.  But has a democracy ever been?  Athens perhaps, but Sparta taught Athens a lesson.

What do the members of Congress think is the response of the rest of the world to Washington’s utter hypocrisy? How can Washington pass a law punishing Russian government officials for allegedly doing once what we know for an absolute fact Washington does every day?

The holier-than-thou presence that Washington presents to the world is so phony and shopworn that Washington is becoming not only despised but a laughing stock. Peoples cease to fear the “superpower” when they laugh at its folly, hypocrisy and utter stupidity.

Certainly, the Russians are not afraid. The Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, responded to the Washington morons as follows: “It is inadmissible when one country tries to dictate its will to another.” The Magnitsky rule will bring forth a “symmetrical and asymmetrical reaction from Russia.” The Russian Duma seems intent that this be the case.

Washington is like the drunk in a bar who picks a fight with a bruiser. Washington is full of itself, but Russia and China are not going to put up with a financially busted and militarily overstretched popinjay. The evil in Washington is driving us into nuclear war and into the destruction of life on earth.

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal.  His latest book,  Wirtschaft am Abgrund (Economies In Collapse) has just been published.