Saturday, January 03, 2015

Who'll Sanction the Sanctioner?

Who'll Sanction the Sanctioner?

by Stephen Lendman

America imposes sanctions recklessly. Like street bullies shoving around anyone they please. Because who'll stop them?

Washington acts lawlessly. Against targeted states. For political reasons. With no international law permitted authority to do so. 

Security Council members alone may impose sanctions. Not individual nations against others. 

US veto power has final say. Preventing other SC members from targeting America. Reason enough to bar countries from voting on issues relating to themselves.

Who ever heard of defendants sitting on juries in their own trials? Which ones ever had acquittal authority by veto power?

No nation more warrants sanctioning then America. None more guilty of high crimes against humanity. Genocidal ones.

Demanding accountability. Targeting culpable officials. Making them pay for offenses too grave to ignore. 

No longer letting one aggressive war after another go unpunished. Targeted assassinations. Regime change by coup d'etat. 

Plundering world resources. Turning planet earth into America's colony. Running things by its own rules. Claiming what it says goes, or else!

America currently has sanctions in place against Cuba since 1962. Iran since 1979. North Korea since 1950. 

New ones added. For political reasons. Unrelated to hacking Sony Pictures. "(D)estructive, coercive cyber-related actions," said Obama's executive order.

Irresponsibly claiming "provocative actions destabiliz(ing) the Korean peninsula." Washington alone holds that distinction.

Sudan's been sanctioned since 2002. Syria multiple times since 1986. Russia over Ukraine and other issues.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) lists various other countries. Targeted largely for political reasons.

Including Belarus. Lebanon. Myanmar. Somalia. Zimbabwe. Other nations.

On Monday, the State Department announced four Russians were being sanctioned under the so-called Magnitsky Act. For alleged human rights abuses. 

With no corroborating evidence. Standard US operating practice. Hardball and then some. Against Soviet Russia for decades.
Jackson-Vanik legislation remained a Cold War relic.

Section 401, Title IV of the 1974 Trade Act affected commercial relations with communist and former communist countries. 

Affecting US/Russian relations until December 2012. Repealing it came with strings. 

On December 6, 2012, House and Senate legislators passed the Magnitsky Act. On December 14, Obama signed it into law. 

Claiming important human rights legislation. In the name of democracy.

Russia's Foreign Ministry responded angrily. Calling linking human rights to trade "cynical."

"We regret that a US administration declaring its commitment to the development of stable and constructive bilateral relations was unable to defend its stated position against those who look to the past and see our country not as a partner, but rather an opponent - fully in line with the canons of the Cold War," it said.

Putin called Magnitsky legislation a "purely political, unfriendly act."

"I don't understand why Russian-US relations should be sacrificed for some domestic political gain," he added.

Key is anti-Russian sentiment. A previous article explained the following:

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian attorney. In 2009, he died in police custody. His death drew international media attention.

He specialized in civil law. Did anti-corruption work. Uncovered evidence of tax fraud. Implicating police, judiciary figures, tax officials, bankers, and Russia's mafia.

Accused them of stealing around $230 million dollars in 2007 through fraudulent tax refunds. 

On issues relating to courts, taxes, fines, and civil law, he was called the "go to guy" in Moscow.

In November 2008, he was arrested, imprisoned, and abusively treated. For 11 months denied family visits. Serious health problems developed. Inadequate treatment followed.

On November 16, 2009, he died for reasons attributed officially to a "rupture to the abdominal membrane" and subsequent heart attack. If untried, he was due for release in eight days.

His death sparked public outrage. Improving prison healthcare was demanded. Reducing the number of inmates awaiting trial was stressed.

In December 2009, an independent Moscow Public Oversight Commission said he was subjected to "psychological and physical pressure..."

Initially his death was blamed on medical neglect. Later claims suggested murder. Official investigations began. In July 2011, death by medical neglect was ruled.

The 2012 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act normalized US/Russian trade relations. Doing so came with strings. Moscow raised legitimate objections.

Legislative provisions impose visa bans. Asset freezes. Other sanctions on Russian nationals accused of committing human rights abuses.

Publishing and updating information on individuals the Secretary of State believes were responsible for detaining, abusing, and/or causing Magnitsky's death is required. 

Others accused of concealing what happened are targeted. So is anyone believed to have benefitted financially.

As well as those involved in an alleged criminal conspiracy regarding his treatment and death.

Targeted offenses include extrajudicial killing, torture, and/or other human rights violations committed against individuals seeking to expose illegal Russian activity, or against persons promoting human rights and freedoms.

In response to Obama imposiing new Russian sanctions, Kremlin Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the following:

"Rushing to bring the year to a close with a strong anti-Russian sentiment, Washington has stood out by another outburst of sanctions against our citizens and organisations." 

"We are getting the impression that someone there is particularly enthusiastic about shaking the foundation of our bilateral relations as hard as possible, and is coming up with more ways to do so."

"It is absolutely clear that the inclusion of four Russian officials on the so-called Magnitsky List has purely political motives rather than being based on a concern about the fate of the lawyer who was tragically killed." 

"Washington is once again using apparent double standards by making complaints of human rights violations while closing its eyes to a situation in the US that is very far from exemplary." 

"In the US, until recently, security services were granted the right to carry out medieval forms of torture and police officers have been escaping punishment for killing people only because of their different skin colour."

"The ungrounded restrictions against Russian companies based on an intra-US law on sanctions against Iran and Syria is beyond criticism, as is the breach of obligations toward Russia that the Obama administration has undertaken." 

"The US is stubbornly trying to spread its own laws across the entire world and dictate its own rules. However, these measures of pressure will not succeed in the case of Russia." 

"Moreover, the actions of the US bring in question the prospects of bilateral cooperation in resolving the issue of the Iranian nuclear programme, the Syrian crisis and other urgent international problems." 

"As Washington has been able to see, we never fail to respond to such unfriendly actions."

It bears repeating. Who'll sanction the sanctioner? Acting as judge, jury and executioner! The world's leading human rights abuser.

Waging war on humanity for wealth, power and privilege. Threatening its survival. Who'll stop this menace while there's time?

Who'll act responsibly because it matters? Who stands for right over wrong? 

Who'll prevent global war? Possible nuclear war if erupts. Catastrophic if happens!

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.