Contributed by Joe Montero
There is a great deal of hypocrisy when the Morrison government and big media led by Rupert Murdoch’s empire make a stand for who they call fighters for democracy and turn a blind eye to others. Their choice is very selective. It all depends on whether the person concerned lines up with their political interests.
The best-known omission is Julian Assange. He is locked in a British prison, waiting to be dragged to the United States, to be charged for treason. Never mind that this involves a mockery of a trial and being charged for treason to a country the Australian has nothing to do with. This is a clear violation of human rights, to which the Morrison government and the Murdoch led media are participating in.
Contrast this to the treatment of Russia’s Alexei Navalny. He is presented as a hero and fighter for democracy. He is anything but this.
Navalny heads a political party called Russia of the Future. At its core, is champions neoliberal economics, including minimal government intervention in the economy. In foreign relations it wants to pivot to the United States and European Union. These policies are not the issue. Navalny’s political track record is, and this involves his association with Russian Nazi groups and his reliance on foreign funding to run his political campaigning.
The Nazi connection a good reason why his political support is in the fringe. His past, although limited, successes have relied on the patronage of other forces. The votes come in from the wealthiest parts of the biggest cities. There is little support elsewhere.
The loss of 30 million lives during World War Two remains in the memory of most Russians.
Polls are suggesting that he would be lucky to get 3 percent in a presidential election. His so-called mass rallies for democracy, are lucky to attract a few thousand people.
Alexei Navalny and the Russian Nazis
Video from VOXKOMM International
So why the support for Navalny? Because it fits in with the geopolitical ambitions of the United States and the Morrison and Murdoch led media support these ambitions. Support for Navalny have nothing to do with defending democracy.
This is no champion of democracy. Yet he is supported financially and politically by Washington. One way is by using the U.S. Agency for international development (USAid) to channel funds and other support to opposition groups inside Russia. This is open interference in the internal affairs of another country
Russia has a law, like Australia’s, that makes it illegal for political organisations to be funded by foreign interests. Evidence presented before the court that this is the case is hard to refute. This and allegations of corruption in his private business dealings are the reasons why he faces criminal charges.
Navalny and Russia his Anti-Corruption Foundation have been major beneficiaries of this support .
This is but one example of the double standard. There is another, and it is a particularly disturbing one. Instead of misrepresentation, this time it’s a wall of silence over a clear-cut case of unlawful detention and mistreatment.
Alex Saab is a former businessman, the Colombian born son of Lebanese and Palestinian parents, also happens to be citizen of Venezuela and ambassador of this country to Iran.
Alex Saab the Kidnapped ambassador of Venezuela
On 4 June 2020, during a flight to that country, he was dragged from the plane during a stopover at Cape Verde., locked in a cell under solitary confinement, kept in the dark, tortured, and denied urgent medical treatment for his cancer. He is being denied the rights to proper access to legal representation and visits from his family and friends.
The prosecutor of this small Atlantic Island off the African west coast has publicly admitted, the United States had put pressure on his country to arrest Saab for extradition. He also admitted that legal process has been bypassed through a political decision of the government.
Originally, the abduction was connected to an accusation of money laundering in relation to Venezuela paying for imports from Iran. This case fell over when an investigation revealed there has been no money laundering. This has since been replaced with a charge of conspiracy. The new case is under U.S. law, for acting against the sanctions imposed on both countries.
This violates international law is ignored.
Video of attempt to visit Alex Saab on 6 June 2021
Video by FreedomForAlexSaab
The international campaign for his release is growing, and a statement has been signed by a range of prominent personalities, including Alfred de Zayas (appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council), Noam Chomsky (American activist and thinker), Ignacio Ramonet (Spanish journalist and UN consultant), Mario Silva (politician and host of the Venezuelan program La Hojilla), Bishop Filipe Teixeira (Cape Verdean leader of the Diocese of San Francisco, Catholic Church of the Americas), Antonio Tavares (Cape Verdean Presidential candidate), the United Steelworkers Union (USW) of Boston, Vijay Prashad (intellectual and director of Tricontinental), Medea Benjamin (co-founder of CODE PINK in the U.S.), Max Blumenthal (US journalist), Dan Kovalik (US human rights lawyer), Steve Ellner (professor of economic history and political science), Ben Norton (US journalist), Jose Pertierra (Cuban lawyer), Sara Flounders ( senior leader of the International Action Center).
Like Julian Assange, Alex Saab is not a U.S. citizen. The abduction, and the charge, have drawn criticism. This and the flimsiness of the accusation, are probably the reasons for the delay in the application for extradition and the captive remaining in the Cape Verde cell.
Australia has a right to know the whole truth and those who deny it should be held accountable. They are the ones who are a threat to democracy.