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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Precisely the reason why the rest of the world no longer pays any attention to the U.S.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Precisely the reason why the rest of the world no longer pays any attention to the U.S.

when the u.s. righteously huffs and puffs about equal justice and the rule of law - in this instance via an nyt editorial - all the rest of the world can do is roll its collective eyes...

as usual in our context-free journalism, the nyt totally fails to mention that, even though khodorkovsky might be a victim of an unfair justice system, he nevertheless is a case study in oligarchy... in the u.s.-championed rush to privatization during the alcoholic rule of boris yeltsin following the fall of the former soviet union, opportunistic and criminal types like mikhail khodorkovsky managed to grab staggering amounts of former state resources - money, enterprises, natural resources, basically anything that wasn't nailed down (and even a lot that was) - for their own personal treasuries, most of the proceeds of which got safely tucked away in the u.s., switzerland and other financial havens... there was an understandable surge of outrage among ordinary russians and, when putin came to power, he was able to use the bare knuckle style he learned in the kgb to go after some of the more egregious examples and earn himself some points with the russian people... needless to say, the u.s. has been cluck-clucking ever since... i'm no putin fan, to be sure, and his methods definitely deserve criticism, but...

the other thing that the nyt totally fails to mention is that the u.s. has absolutely no room to talk... the only ones that seem to have the ability to gain any advantage of the current u.s. "justice" system are those who have the enormous sums of money and reservoirs of power to buy it... accountability and rule of law in the united states today seem to be a quaint notion left over from a dream of what the u.s. once was and still could be if we only bothered to walk our talk...

Russia's Dictatorship of Law

Russia's newly outrageous legal treatment of the former owner of the country's largest oil company is a reminder that it has yet to grasp the idea of equal justice under law.

Russia’s newly outrageous legal treatment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former owner of the country’s largest oil company, is a reminder that Russia has yet to grasp the idea of equal justice under law — especially when the Kremlin decides someone is in the way.

Mr. Khodorkovsky was convicted in 2005 on trumped-up charges of fraud and disobeying a court order and lost his company to Kremlin loyalists. Russians call his sort of case “telephone law,” imposed by the politically powerful through a call to the courthouse. With his sentence almost up, he was just tried again on suspect charges of embezzling and money-laundering. The judge is expected to reach a decision in December.

Two decades ago, the United States State Department urged the new Russia to resurrect the jury system, as The Times described this week, to put the law in the hands of the Russian people. Juries had been abolished after the Soviet revolution, along with anything recognizable as courts and lawyers. They were reborn in 1993.

glenn greenwald is turning in the final portion of his book - With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful - to his publisher tomorrow... i'm looking forward to reading it...

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