by Dave Essel
Words and phrases such as “dual standards”, “genocide”, “human rights”, “democracy” and so on are so over-abused these days that they have practically lost all meaning when spotted in the MSM.
So I was quite pleased the other day to see an article (translated below) which did not bother to use such terms even though the story begged for it.
In November 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was done to death with polonium in London, England. According to Wikipedia, British authorities “are 100% sure who administered the poison, where and how”. However they did not disclose their evidence in the interest of a future trial. The main suspect in the case, a former officer of the Russian Federal Protective Service (FSO) Andrei Lugovoy (pictured, below), remains in Russia. As a member of the Duma, he now enjoys immunity from prosecution. Before the suspect was elected to the Duma, the British government tried to extradite him without success.
Russia resisted Lugovoy’s extradition on the grounds, inter alia, that the Russian Constitution does not allow the extradition of Russian citizens. This reading of the Constitution is in fact debatable since the document is poorly written but that’s what the Russian authorities claimed.
The same Wikipedia article summarises the extradition issue as follows:
Russian General Prosecutor’s Office declined to extradite Lugovoi, citing that extradition of citizens is not allowed under the Russian constitution (Article 61 of the Constitution of Russia). Russian authorities later said that Britain has not handed over any evidence against Lugovoi. Professor Daniel Tarschys, former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, commented that Russian Constitution actually “opens the door” for the extradition, and Russia ratified three international treaties on extradition (on 10 December 1999); namely, the European Convention on Extradition and two Additional Protocols to it. Yury Fedotov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation, pointed out that when the Russian Federation ratified the European Convention on Extradition it entered a declaration concerning Article 6 in these terms: “The Russian Federation declares that in accordance with Article 61 (part 1) of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, a citizen of the Russian Federation may not be extradited to another state.”
The text emphasised by me above is therefore Russia’s official position on sending its citizens out of the country.
That is, when it suits Russia’s authorities to feel that way.
When it doesn’t suit them, Article 61 of their p*ss-poor constitution, in any event honoured mainly in its breach, is soon forgotten, as this article elegantly illuminates:
How a Russian scientist was swapped for
the red-headed daughter of a general
From the Constitution of the Russian Federation, Article 61:
1. The citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of Russia or extradited to another state.
2. The Russian Federation shall guarantee its citizens defense and patronage beyond its boundaries.
Let’s say your name is Igor and that you are – say – thirty-five years old. You are a scientist. And not just any old scientist but a nuclear physicist. You government has spent tons of money and six years of work training you. Then the government that went to all this trouble goes and collapses. The institute in which you work is run down and looks like a rubbish dump. All the staff that could leave [the country] have left and those who were unable to do so have gone off to sell jeans at market stalls. Nuclear physics has heaved a great sigh and dropped off to sleep. You, a thirty-five year old scientist and citizen of the Russian Federation, have been reduced to penury.
For some reason, buying and selling jeans is not for you; robbery still less so. So you haven’t taken that road. All you ever wanted to do in life was to engage in science. So you go on doing so. As best you can and despite the poverty and humiliations to which this condemns you.
Because you need to buy macaroni to fee the kids, you take on whatever science work comes your way. You accept, for instance, a commission to write a report for some foreign colleagues. This, by the way, pays a measly thousand bucks – but that’s a fortune to you. In fact, that’s nearly your annual salary. You go to the library, find books, journals, scientific papers, conference notes, work the search engines. You compile the report.
What you have done is gather and collate information available from open sources.
Next, two goons knock at your door.
“Are you X?”
“You write this?”
“All right, let’s go.”
“Jail. You’re a spy.”
“Hey, come on! Everything in that report is freely and openly available…”
“Don’t know and don’t care. Come with us.”
And the result is that you’re given 15 years hard labour.
For the next eleven years, you, a nuclear physicist, sew mittens in the labour camp’s workshop. You sign no confessions. You admit to no wrong-doing. You reject all accusations of spying as stuff and nonsense. You maintain your faith in some higher justice and place your hopes on that. Your sentence is drawing to an end, just four years to go, and you are already, truth to tell, beginning to console yourself with the fact that although a third of your life may have been wasted, at least you won: you beat the baddies by not allowing yourself to be broken.
The problem is that good guys will a priori lose out to the bad guys because scum will behave like scum while there are certain things a decent person will not stoop to – he is decent precisely because he has a moral limiter built in to him.
So, eleven years into a fifteen-year sentence, another two goons call on you and say: “Right, sign this. If you don’t, it will be your fault that you and ten others besides will stay in jail for the rest of your sentences.” So you sign. If it were just for you, you would not have dreamt of doing it. But there were ten others to consider.
After that, you’re hauled off and thrown out of your country. You’re “swapped”. Like a pair of socks. Your wishes in the matter are of no interest to anyone. And what about the Constitution? Ha! You’re being exchanged in the same way as a lord in bygone days would swap a couple of serfs for a fine mare. Families not included. The old lord kept the families. True, in your case you’re told that you will be allowed to visit your family – from time to time, not too often, and not for long.
And so there you are, standing in Vienna airport, a forty-five year old scientist with ten years of time behind you – with no profession now, no home, no family, no job, no money, no country. Your life is in pieces, you’re worried you may have done the wrong thing by signing. You’ve been betrayed and sold by your country. You’ve been thrown away, an invented spy wanted by no one. You feel you’re quietly going mad…
And the reason for all this is that some red-headed daughter of a Russian general has been caught laundering money in America.
This country blows my mind at times.