Friday, November 14, 2014

Politicized Persecution in America

Politicized Persecution in America

by Stephen Lendman

Justice is a four-letter word. Thousands of political prisoners languish in America's gulag. 

The world's largest by far. One of its harshest. Most unfair. Political activism risks arrest. 

Dissent is an endangered species. Anyone can be targeted for any reason. Challenging business as usual risks politicized persecution. 

Foreign nationals of countries America targets are vulnerable. Judicial unfairness is standard practice.

So is guilt by accusation. The so-called land of the free isn't fair. It never was. For sure not now.

Most political captives languish longterm. Under cruel and inhumane conditions. Enduring years of solitary confinement.

Brutality. Poor medical care. Other forms of abuse. Perfunctory parole hearings routinely denying justice.

Years earlier, constitutional expert Thomas I. Emerson expressed outrage, saying:

"The FBI jeopardizes the whole system of free expression which is the cornerstone of our society…" 

It raises "the specter of a police state. (It) conceives of itself as an instrument to prevent radical social change in America…"

"The Bureau's view of its function leads it beyond data collection into political warfare." 

Protecting privilege from beneficial social change. Denying due process and judicial fairness. 

Repressive laws, executive orders, National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives, as well as other measures target America's political enemies.

Arresting them. Trying them on secret or manufactured evidence. Convicting them on spurious charges. Imposing long sentences. Justice systematically denied.

Russian nationals are vulnerable. Konstantin Yaroshenko is one of many innocent victims. 

Obama's Justice Department claimed he's "an aircraft pilot and aviation expert who transported thousand-kilogram quantities of cocaine throughout South America, Africa, and Europe."

"In his capacity as a pilot and businessman, (he) agreed to supply the aircraft, pilots, and crew that were to be used for shipments of cocaine from South America to Liberia, as well as from Liberia to other locations within West Africa." 

He "understood that from Liberia, portions of this cocaine would subsequently be imported into the United States."

Justice Department officials claimed he was involved in "conspiracy to import more than $100 million worth of cocaine into the United States."

No evidence proved it. None exists. Russia's Federal Drug Control Service investigated. Saying Yaroshenko, his colleagues, family and friends had no involvement in drugs trafficking.

He's a legitimate commercial pilot/businessman. Framed unjustly. 

Endured "extreme government misconduct," he said. Including "torture, brutal and inhumane treatment in detention." 

In summer 2010, abducted in Monrovia, Liberia. Taken to an undisclosed location. Tortured, starved and sleep-deprived.

Threatened with rape. Told his family members would be killed. Extradited to America. Russian authorities weren't notified.

Convicted on spurious charges. Sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. For being a national of the wrong country at the wrong time. Justice systematically denied.

Viktor Bout another Russian national political prisoner in America. Victimized like Yaroshenko.

Falsely charged with arms trafficking, money laundering, and multiple counts of wire fraud.

Unjustifiably called the "Merchant of Death." "Lord of War." Framed for nonexistent crimes. He ran a legitimate air cargo business.

Operated mostly in Africa and Eurasia. Dominating areas he served. Conflicting with CIA objectives.

The Agency wanted him eliminated. Wanting full air transport control. Mischaracterized him as an illegal arms trafficker.

No evidence whatever proved it. No weapons existed. No money changed hands. It didn't matter. His reputation was tarnished.

His business destroyed. His life, welfare and future irreparably harmed. 

Convicted of conspiracy to kill US citizens and officials. Delivering anti-aircraft missiles. Aiding a terrorist organization. Charges manufactured out of whole cloth.

Sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. Russia tried unsuccessfully to help him. Calling charges against him "baseless and biased."

Complaints lodged fell on deaf ears. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at the time:

"Despite insufficient evidence and the unlawful nature of (Bout's) arrest in Thailand, which involved agents of US security services, and his subsequent extradition, the US justice system, acting clearly on political orders, ignored defense attorneys' arguments and numerous appeals from different levels in defense of a Russian citizen."

He remains unjustifiably imprisoned. Locked in America's gulag.

Vadim Mikerin is Washington's latest victim. Arrested on October 29. Charged with accepting nearly $1.7 million in kickback payments.

For "conspiring to commit extortion" involving over $33 million in "non-compete contracts." 

"(D)isguised as (offshore shell entities) consulting fees or other fictitious expenses," according to DOJ charges. For transporting radioactive material from Russia to America.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. For "extortion conspiracy."

In 1992, Washington and Moscow agreed to dispose of Russian highly enriched uranium. From disassembled nuclear warheads.

For sale of so-called down-blended material to US nuclear power plant operators.

Moscow-based JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX) handled sale and transport to America. Mikerin is TENAM USA general director.

A TENEX subsidiary. TENEX a ROSATOM subsidiary. The Russian-owned Nuclear Corporation. Comparable to Washington's Energy Department.

DOJ charged Mikerin with conspiring with US-based Daren and Carol Condrey. Transport Logistics International (TLI) principles.

To deliver uranium fuel from Russia to America. All three parties remain in custody. Boris Rubizhevsky was arrested. NEXGEN Security president. A New Jersey corporation.

Charged with being a Mikerin/TLI middleman. An original Mikerin August warrant was unissued. 

FBI operatives pressured him to cooperate with other so-called Russian criminal investigations. In return for leniency. Moscow wasn't initially informed about alleged charges against him.

ROSATOM official Sergei Novikov believes Mikerin's arrest may be politically motivated. It smells like one.

Russia's Foreign Ministry human rights ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov issued a statement saying:

"Our embassy in Washington has taken the situation under its control." 

"We are rendering all necessary consular and legal assistance to the Russian national through the embassy’s contacts with his lawyers." 

"Naturally, like in all similar cases, we will exert all necessary efforts to reliably protect the interests and legitimate rights of the Russian citizen."

A separate Foreign Ministry statement expressed "serious questions regarding the circumstances of the Russian citizen’s arrest and the actions of the US special services and law enforcement agencies, which yet again failed to use the mechanisms of the bilateral Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1999 in the context of the charges pressed against Mr Mikerin."

"We will continue assisting (him) to ensure the full observance of his civil and social rights."

The Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) is a key international human rights treaty.

An international bill of rights. Together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Obligating signatories to protect and preserve:

  • life; 

  • human dignity; 

  • equality; 

  • free expression; assembly and association; 

  • religious rights; 

  • privacy;

  • freedom from torture and other forms of abuse;

  • arbitrary detention;

  • gender, ethnic and racial equality; and

  • the right to judicial fairness.

To date, 167 countries ratified ICCPR. Including America. Making it the "supreme law of the land."

Under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2). Stating all US laws and treaties "shall be the supreme law of the land."

Requiring compliance. America's Senate ratification including five unacceptable reservations, five understandings and four declarations.

Eviscerating ICCPR provisions. Circumventing compliance. Critics like International Law Professor Jordan Paust saying: "Rarely has a treaty been so abused." 

Blatant fraud on the international community. Breaching constitutional and US statute laws. ICCPR provisions unaccountably.

Defiling minimum human rights norms and standards. Contemptuously failing to uphold them. Unprincipled and then some.

Longstanding US policy. Giving abusive behavior new meaning. 

Failing to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). Depriving US citizens and others America targets of fundamental human rights.

The UN Human Rights Committee expressed serious concerns. With regard to America's ICCPR  "restrictive interpretation."

Urged immediate corrective action. Not forthcoming so far. Or expected. International, constitutional and US statute laws don't matter.

Or jus cogens laws. Higher ones. Compelling ones. Obligating countries to obey them. Denying offenders criminal liability immunity.

It doesn't matter. America governs extrajudicially. Police states operate this way. America and Israel the most lawless. Barbaric. Ruthless.

Anything goes is official policy. Rule of law principles be damned.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.