Friday, May 18, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

Tuesdays Wall Street Journal had two exceptional editorials - a scandal where there is none, and a scandal that is too large for the small minds of the MSM to comprehend:

World Bank Jobbery: More Evidence the Wolfowitz Accusers Chose to Ignore.

A lesson for us all - make too much of a difference for the better, and you'll upset those who sat in power and did nothing. In this case, the 24-member board.

'Nobody is Untouchable': Putin wants to disbar Russia's most distinguished human-rights lawyer, by Bret Stephens.

Yet it's the broader ramifications of the government's actions that most concern Ms. Moskalenko. While she scrupulously avoids mentioning Mr. Putin by name--"I am strictly not a politician," she says more than once--she is under no illusions about his methods. In today's Russia, "it isn't necessary to put all the businessmen in jail. It is necessary to jail the richest, the most independent, the most well-connected. It isn't necessary to kill all the journalists. Just kill the most outstanding, the bravest, and the others will get the message. Nobody is untouchable. I tell Kasparov: 'Look, you are not untouchable.' "

For now, however, it is Ms. Moskalenko herself who is in Mr. Putin's sights--a dangerous place to be, given the experience of so many of her clients. Characteristically, she isn't budging. Robert Amsterdam, a Canadian lawyer on Mr. Khodorkovsky's defense team, recalls that when he was arrested in September 2005 by Russian security services, she was the first person he called. "These thugs from the secret police wouldn't give us their IDs," he says. "So Karinna takes her cell phone and clicks their pictures. The woman is completely fearless. And there's nothing that scares these people more than someone who is fearless, someone who puts principle above safety or social standing."

It is telling that we have to link to a foreign news source for a story on how the Russian Union of Journalists refused an order from the Putin government. "Journalists in Russia refuse State Crackdown" C. J. Chivers, Int'l Herald Tribune.