NY U.S. Attorney and John Yoo Banned From Russia

Russia has responded to the U.S. issuing a list of sanctioned Russians yesterday by putting out its own list of U.S. officials engaged in human rights violations.

The list includes Bush torture memo author John Yoo and Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, David Addington, and some Guantanamo officials. I wonder why they left Dick Cheney off the list.

Russia's list also includes Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who prosecuted Viktor Bout and pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko (African drug sting case.) [more...]

John Yoo's response:

“Darn,” Mr. Yoo said in an e-mail. “There goes my judo match with Putin.”

I guess it's easy for Yoo to joke about this since Russia doesn't send its cops to other countries to set up Americans and then haul them back to Russia for trial and put them in a Russian slammer for 20 years. Only the U.S. and the DEA do that.

One person I don't think belongs on the list is U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff. Even though he refused to dismiss the DEA African sting case, and sentenced Yaroshenko and his co-defendant to 20 and 30 years respectively, having read his rulings in the case, while I disagree with them, I think he based his decisions on his interpretation of U.S. law. There's a difference between being wrong and acting in bad faith, and I don't think Judge Rakoff acted in bad faith. I blame DOJ and the DEA for that case (and for Bout, who was set up in Thailand and extradited here.)

The 20 + Russians on the U.S. list are subject to having their assets frozen and barred from entering the U.S.. If those on Russia's list travel to Russia, they will be arrested (and held indefinitely without charges?)

On a related note, if you haven't been watching FX's series "The Americans" about KGB operatives in the U.S. you are missing out. It's really good.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Why ban them... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by unitron on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:55:36 AM EST
    ...the Russians, that is, from entering the U.S.

    Gotta be a lot easier to grab them when they go through Customs than to try to extradite them.

    Was there any indication that any of them were even thinking of paying us a visit?

    Is this list of ours anything more than a look-tough feel-good move?

    As for the Russians and their list, maybe they want Cheney to come over, at which point they have a discussion of whether he ever gets to leave.

    There (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by lentinel on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 06:51:10 AM EST
    is something both funny and gratifying about this.

    The US frequently postures as the guardian of human rights, while consisting violating them.

    This is ongoing, of course, but the Bush era represented the apex of this horrible trend.

    It is to the shame of the current administration that it will not pursue legal action against the perpetrators of torture in the previous administration. It only prosecutes those who helped identify the torturers.

    But that does not mean that the rest of the world is unaware of the people we are protecting.

    It is, as Jeralyn notes, a little bizarre that Russia left Bush and Cheney off the list. I suppose that ultimately, these "great powers" are prone to protect political leaders at the top in order to protect their own sorry keisters.

    "Bush and Cheney off the list." (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 07:18:19 AM EST
    No mystery there.  Two alternate explanations:  

    (a) One, as a result of a tacit reciprocity agreement, one elected dictatorship to another, the big dogs get a free pass.  Or (b) Bush and Cheney remain useful for fronting business deals.  Whether they're doing that or not I don't know, but the potential is there.  

    The other bozos, the likes of Yoo and Addington, are policy apparatchiks, willing but now expendable tools of powers that were.


    I'm (none / 0) (#9)
    by lentinel on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:37:42 AM EST
    most inclined to the (a) explanation you suggest.

    I really don't see... (none / 0) (#14)
    by unitron on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:21:49 PM EST
    ...a and b as being mutually exclusive.

    professional courtesy. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by cpinva on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:45:39 AM EST
    I wonder why they left Dick Cheney off the list.

    Having the Russians lecture us (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:10:32 PM EST
    is like having the Devil teach Sunday School.

    That might be, but (none / 0) (#13)
    by scribe on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:22:26 PM EST
    a good argument can be made that the USG is worse than theirs when it comes to the human rights issues.

    Is it a joke? (none / 0) (#17)
    by kto to on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:42:13 PM EST
    You cannot possibly be serious!

    Unfortunately, he is serious. (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 04:20:24 PM EST
    Never underestimate the delusions (none / 0) (#20)
    by Politalkix on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:24:38 PM EST
    of the fringe left and right in American politics!

    True (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:25:16 PM EST
    What's up with the Soviet flag? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 10:34:53 PM EST
    Honestly, Jeralyn, the USSR ceased to exist as a geopolitical entity and nation over two decades ago. The Russian Federation is but one of 15 sovereign and independent countries in existence today that once comprised the former Soviet Union.

    Speaking for myself only, I consider the use of its old flag in this manner to be anachronistic and provocative. And really, "Red-baiting" is so yesterday; what that flag represents historically runs counter to the substance of your post.

    This is the Russian flag today. The hammer and sickle symbol is no more emblematic of modern Russia, than is the swastika of modern Germany.

    Other than the Commie banner, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say here.


    Donald, I changed the flag (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:11:01 AM EST
    I had no idea that wasn't their flag anymore. The red one was much more recognizable as Russia in my opinion, and it's the one they they show on the Americans, but I certainly didn't mean to offend any Russians, so I changed it. Thanks for letting me know, but in the future, please don't assume I had some nefarious intent. I'm happy to correct mistakes.

    here is the graphic (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:16:08 AM EST
    from The Americans on FX.

    I wouldn't have assumed that. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 02:24:53 AM EST
    I figured that you probably didn't know. Lots of people don't. I notice such things because I'm an incorrigible history buff.

    That said, I think you'd agree that appearances can mean a lot, and there might be others who would take offense and jump to conclusions -- particularly since you put in a plug for that FX series about KGB spies, "The Americans."

    I guess I'm more sensitive than most because there are more than a few people out there in both the U.S. and Russia who'd love to re-ignite the Cold War in some fashion. As someone whose own father died in Vietnam as a result of misguided Cold War phobias, obsessions and misguided policies, I'd really like to see both countries look forward to the future, and not long to refight something that's long since concluded.



    lol; Russkies are flying the red, white & blue (none / 0) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 11:51:41 PM EST
    Convergence theory gets its coda.  We become our enemies.  The irony is that even the gasping remnants of Godless Commiedom won't allow a John Yoo entry.

    BTW, Don, that old Commie banner beats the heck out of the generic lint magnet which replaced it.  Iconography is everything.


    FYI, the flag of Czarist Russia ... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 02:32:39 AM EST
    ... was also red, white and blue. The late Russian Oresident Boris Yeltsin resurrected it as the Russian national flag after the abortive harline coup attempt against Soviet Premier Mikial Gorbachev in 1991.

    your mention of the Russian Flag (none / 0) (#19)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:24:19 PM EST
    and that "the USSR ceased to exist as a geopolitical entity and nation over two decades ago" brings to mind the State of Mississippi and their Flag: interestingly they both use the red, white and blue stripes

    the Confederate States of America were 11 States, 13 if you include Missouri and Kentucky, it lasted only 4 years, but continues to exist, in a sense

    the Russians Forgot to include some people on their list, Patrice Rushen makes my top 40 list


    If I had my way, I'd ... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 02:58:59 AM EST
    ... get rid of the "Stars and Bars," too. People tend to forget what that banner actually stood for in the 1860s, i.e. rebellion, sedition, the perpetuation of human slavery -- and above all else, treason.

    Further, it should be sobering to consider that the U.S. Army -- aka the Union Army -- lost 325,000 soldiers fighting against the Confederacy and that damned flag, which is more than in any other of our nation's wars throughout our history.

    This country is far better off today for having crushed the Southern rebellion 150 years ago. And in my honest personal opinion, as long as we continue to tolerate the white-wing yahoos who wave the Confederate flag and refight the Civil War and resurrect talk of secession, we as a country will never really be able to successfully move beyond base issues of racism and bigotry. We need only look to today's GOP to see that.



    Bush and Cheney off the list (none / 0) (#8)
    by scribe on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:09:29 AM EST
    That's the public list - there is also a private/classified list of people banned from Russia.  If Cheney's on a list, it's likely the classified one.

    This was in retaliation for the US banning Russian people involved in the Russians reaching out for alleged tax cheats (who just happen to be politically opposed to Putin, of course).

    This Russian action follows upon a series of raids by Russian authorities on the offices of NGOs located in Russia, searching for evidence that the NGOs were supported by or doing the work of Western goverments.  That made a real kerfluffle in European media, particularly German, a couple weeks ago as it happened, but I haven't heard much about it since.

    Here's a good post on the issues, save the NGO raids, which haven't really been covered (AFAIK) in English-language media.

    I would (none / 0) (#10)
    by lentinel on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:29:30 AM EST
    just love to see Bush flying to Russia and being told upon landing that he is on private the do-not-admit list and that he'd better get his sorry arse back on the plane to Crawford.

    NGO raids (none / 0) (#16)
    by kto to on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:40:05 PM EST
    The situation with these NGO raids is getting worse and worse. A few days ago human rights activist Mikhail Savva, who was very critical of Putin, was arrested in Krasnodar. (See this article in Russian for details http://www.svoboda.org/content/article/24956746.html)

    thanks to Americans (none / 0) (#15)
    by kto to on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:28:45 PM EST
    Russia doesn't send its cops to other countries to set up Americans and then haul them back to Russia for trial and put them in a Russian slammer for 20 years. Only the U.S. and the DEA do that.

    As a Russian citizen, I applaud the United States for doing that. The US seem to be much more concerned about human rights violations in Russia than Russia itself. American actions - sanctions against people who were involved in Magnitsky's murder, prosecution of Bout, Yaroshenko and other criminals - mean a lot to rank and file Russian citizens. Thanks!

    I'm kind of disappointed, in a way... (none / 0) (#24)
    by unitron on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 03:19:05 AM EST
    ...Putin certainly has the background to introduce to Yoo a fuller appreciation of what it's like to be interrogated in an "enhanced" manner.