Newspaper accounts of the arrest of Russian diplomat Pavel Borodin at Kennedy Airport last Wednesday focus on charges of corruption. They barely refer to the real issues - Washington's desire to a) punish Mr. Borodin for encouraging close ties between Russia and a Belarus led by the independent (of Washington) President Alexander Lukashenko and to b) embarrass and destabilize Russia. The idea is, if the Russian government does not distance itself from Borodin, the Western media can smear it as corrupt. If they do desert Mr. Borodin, or if his arrest is downplayed, this may discourage others from taking actions independent of Washington. This is American diplomacy: about as subtle as an axe.
But the American media doesn't deal with these real purposes of the arrest of Mr. Borodin. Instead the media either does not cover the story at all, or talks about corruption. This is a wonderful thing. Pres. Bush told Barbara Walters the other day ("20/20", Jan. 19th) that the world needs to "raid out corruption", and I agree. But why try to start this difficult "Raiding" process thousands of miles away? Wouldn't it make sense to pioneer "corruption raiding" right at home? In the Barbara Walters interview, didn't our new President say, in no uncertain terms, that people in uncivilized countries need to "build a democracy under our--under our image"? By "raiding corruption" right here, in the US of A, wouldn't we be showing these backward types how it is done?
For example, just before leaving office in 1992, Mr. Bush's own father granted the Barrick Gold Company (in Canada) the rights to a U.S. gold mine worth $10,000,000,000 (billion). Barrick's cost: $10,000 (thousand).
Nevertheless Senior Bush was not arrested at the airport.
THREE THINGS ABOUT THE ARREST OF PAVEL BORODIN
First , Mr. Borodin is a diplomat. Is the U.S. State Department familiar with this term?
Arresting Mr. Borodin (after inviting him to the Inauguration, no less) is not diplomatic and may be seen as a provocation by Russia and Belarus. For starters it violates diplomatic procedure, arguably international law as well. This is irrelevant of whether or not Mr. Borodin was carrying his diplomatic credentials when arrested. This arrest denies diplomacy and affirms the Law of the Bully. Did we need more affirmations?
Second, it is beyond credibility that Borodin's invitation to the Ball and his subsequent arrest were not coordinated actions. Mr. Fishkin, Borodin's lawyer, commented:
Mr. Fishkin remarked to the 'NY Times' reporter that this appears to be a setup. It does indeed.
Third, Mr. Borodin is the Secretary of the Russian-Belarus Union. The Clinton administration has made clear its fury at Belarus, which has had the temerity to resist neoliberal policies. Moreover, its government has not bowed down to the usual Fifth Column "civil society" groups run by Madeline Albright out of well-furnished offices at the National Endowment for Democracy (sic!). The U.S. finds this both authoritarian and anti-democratic.
The arrest of Borodin is the most sensational attack the U.S. has made on the Russian-Belarus Union. It demonstrates the continuity of U.S. foreign policy from Clinton to Bush. Having installed its puppet regime in Yugoslavia, the U.S. Establishment is now escalating the attack on the states of the former Soviet Union. Coming shortly after the death of Laurent Kabila, President of the Congo, under circumstances that strongly suggest U.S. involvement, this indicates a general escalation of U.S. interventionism around the world.
In case the Russian and Belarus leaders failed to get the message delivered via Borodin's arrest - that is to say, that they were being publicly insulted by a bully, with the implicit dare: "Whatcha gonna do about that, wimp?!" - in case they failed to get the message, George W. was interviewed Friday by Barbara Walters on the ABC TV show '20/20'. Junior Bush's apparent assignment was to rub Russia's face in the dirt. I say 'apparent assignment' because he himself did not seem to be sure about that or anything else in the interview but fortunately for the diplomacy of the Free World, Walters was privy to the Humiliate-Russia plan, so she helped him out. Held him up, one might say.
The exchange went as follows:
Note that when Walters cues Junior Bush, saying "Russia. You're talking about Russia?" (which means "RUSSIA! YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT RUSSIA! DAMMIT!!") George doesn't get it. So Walters prompts him further: "Do you consider Russia a friend or a threat?"
Note also that Junior Bush, in the very process of attempting to humiliate Russia (by having a corrupt, incoherent American deliver a stern warning against...corruption!) sticks in the incongruous line, "We'll be humble in our approach." Amazing coming from a fellow whose handlers have just busted at the airport a Russian diplomat whom they lured to said fellow's Inauguration.
This profession of humility reminds one of Mr. Bush's oft repeated phrase, "I am going to be president of all the people, not just those who voted for me." Apparently they teach Junior Bush these phrases, and he repeats them, amiably enough, though as often happens with phrases learned by rote, not necessarily at the correct times or with exactly the right wording.
Junior Bush's inability to get things straight when he speaks in public is apparently going to be sold to us during the next, painful, four years as Charming Stupidity; thus is virtue fashioned from necessity. The same sort of feat was performed with Slick Willie, whose tendency to rub on any available leg, and to lie, was sold to us as Puppy Dog Cuteness.
Stupidity is superior in many ways to Doggieness. For one thing, it elicits the sympathy of reporters throughout the Western media, who are forced to write nonsensical stupidity which insults their intelligence or else lose their jobs. For another, it provides an excuse for almost any occasion. When in doubt, more and more folks in the Bush entourage will tell us, "Like, you know, I mean, like, I dunno." To be stupid is the ultimate stonewall.
Consider the case of Vincent Zenga, whom you may refer to as Vincent the Dumb. Vincent was an official member of Junior Bush's Inauguration Team. (Everything with Junior is a Team, for reasons that ought to be apparent ) It was he who supposedly invited Pavel Borodin to the Inaugural "candlelight dinner". That is, Vincent Zenga is supposedly the reason Pavel Borodin got off that plane at Kennedy airport and thus could be nabbed by our corruption-fighters.
Mr. Zenga is described in the 'NY Times' as:
Have you noticed that everything with the Bush family involves lots of money? Is this corruption-fighting thing some kind of psychological projection?
Zenga denied any complicity in the arrest of Mr. Borodin. "Mr. Zenga said the invitation was sent by someone in the Moscow office of one of his companies, Star Capital, " said the 'Times.' (1-19)
MYSTIFYING, AIN'T IT?
In a 'Washington Post' interview, Vincent the Dumb took the line that Borodin had been invited "inadvertently".
Huh? How do you invite someone 'inadvertently'? Here's the 'Washington Post' again:
Then, rather incongruously, Vincent added: "We [were un]aware of his legal problems." ('Washington Post', January 19, 2001)
If Borodin was invited by mistake, whatever that means, what is the relevance of Zenga having been ''unaware '' of Borodin's "legal problems"? Is Vincent trying to tell us that, had he known of the legal difficulties of this man whom he neither knew nor invited to the Ball, he would not have invited him? Did somebody at CIA screw up and give this guy two contradictory cover stories? Or is he just trying to emulate his Master?
Just by the by, how can everybody in an American company that does business in Russia be unaware of Borodin's "legal problems"? Those problems have been discussed at least 308 times on Western TV and newspapers over the past year. (I counted) And if you add the very important word "Belarus" to the search, you still find 119 stories. This does not include news reports or commentaries in the Russian language media.
How does a highly successful man with a telecommunications company in Russia manage to unwittingly invite a well-known Russian leader to the Inaugural ball without knowing he has been accused of corruption?
Here is a bit more information.
Why did the U.S. Embassy have to send "an urgent request for guidance" to the State Department? Obviously because they read the newspapers and therefore knew there was a Swiss warrant out for Borodin's arrest and wanted to know what they were supposed to do: give him a diplomatic visa which would rule out arresting him at Kennedy Airport or not give him a visa and risk an international incident.
Nowadays urgent requests can be delivered and answered almost instantaneously. So the outgoing State Department officials certainly had time to consult with Bush's handlers. (Of course that's a bit of a moot point since it was of course Bush's handlers who arranged to send Borodin the invitation luring him to the U.S. in the first place. But then, they did that unwittingly. Right?)
Clearly if these exalted beings wished to avoid an insulting provocation (and an apparent violation of international law - the arrest of a diplomat invited to a State function, no less) they could have issued Borodin a standard, diplomatic visa. Or they could have refused while warning him that there was a warrant out for his arrest. That they did neither suggests they were hoping Borodin would use his non-diplomatic visa (they knew he had one because the U.S. Embassy had issued it to him.)
Liars often talk too much. Note that the 'New York Times' reports that "Officials in Washington said the United States was tipped off by someone in Russia that Mr. Borodin was on a plane to New York." Given that the Embassy had sent "an urgent request for guidance", why the baloney about being "tipped off by someone" that Borodin was coming?
Note also that the Federal Judge in Brooklyn ordered Borodin held for a week without bail. Why, if the United States were not trying to insult and provoke Russia, did US officials insist the man be thrown in jail at all ?
Turning down this more than reasonable request is not only an insult to the Russian Ambassador (implying his word is no better than that of, let us say, an American President); it is also a further insult to Russia and Belarus. Note that as of this writing (Tuesday AM, wee hours) Mr. Borodin remains in jail, though as of Saturday, Mr. Bush became our leader.
Our leader? As my long-dead Yiddish grandma would have said, "Oy vey is mir." That literally translates, "Oh woe is me." But it means something like, "What a world."
Recently some factually challenged fan of the US-sponsored regime in Belgrade wrote a piece arguing that Baby Bush is going to give the world a whole new enlightened foreign policy. Sure he will. And I can get you this great deal on a really nice Bridge in Brooklyn.
Junior Bush may not be able to string two words together in coherent fashion but his handlers know how to get the job done. The world is their gold mine. - JI
POSTSCRIPT: LAWYERS CHARGE THAT EXCUSE FOR ARRESTING BORODIN IS SIMPLY A LIE
Since posting the above article we have posted the text of a Press Conference given by one of Mr. Borodin's Russian lawyers, Genrikh Pavlovich Padva, in Moscow on Jan. 26. As even the newspapers in the U.S. have made clear, the Swiss authorities claim to want Mr. Borodin only for questioning. At his Press Conference, Mr. Padva emphatically stated that Russian authorities offered to arrange a voluntary meeting between Mr. Borodin and the appropriate Swiss authorities but that the Swiss side refused, demanding instead the extreme step of extradition. Assuming you believe Mr. Pavda, and I do, the U.S./Swiss claim that the this extraordinary arrest was necessary because Mr. Borodin refused to meet with them voluntarily is a lie.
You may read the relevant parts of the Padva Press Conference at http://emperors-clothes.com/news/bor2.htm . There is also a second, shorter interview with another of Mr. Borodin's Russian lawyers. This brief interview was conducted before Mr. Borodin's second unsuccessful attempt, on Jan. 25, to be released to house arrest. (The Russian Ambassador himself showed up at the hearing and promised to produce Mr. Borodin if he was permitted to stay with the Ambassador instead of in jail. The Federal Judge's refusal cannot be seen as an outrageous but independent judicial action since obviously if the prosecution (i.e., the U.S. government) had agreed, the Judge would not have refused the request.)
Here is the interview, conducted in New York City with Eleonora Sergeyeva, a Moscow lawyer of Pavel Borodin:
"I now have an official letter from the Prosecutor-General's Office. They issued it in response to our request - a request from the lawyers. It says that Borodin has not been invited for questioning via the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office and that the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office proposed to the Swiss authorities that Borodin be questioned and was prepared to ensure that he came. It is therefore impossible to claim that Borodin is hiding or avoiding being questioned in Switzerland..." (Russia TV, Moscow, translated by BBC Monitoring for Former Soviet Union)
-- Jared Israel
Also see, 'Borodin Falsely Arrested - Washington's Excuse a Lie,' by Jared Israel at http://emperors-clothes.com/news/bor.htm
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