Sergei’s Law — Revenge of the Oligarchs
By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 3, 2012
In the Brave New World of digital activism, government legislation often comes with its own promotional video. In response to a seemingly ingenuous question by ABC’s Jake Tapper about whether a “remarkable viral video” had anything to do with the decision to send U.S. special forces to Central Africa, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney intimated that “Kony 2012” was most likely on President Obama’s mind as he signed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. And if the president one day signs the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, don’t be surprised if some “pushy” reporter like Tapper asks if anyone in the White House has seen “Sergei’s Law.”
According to the film’s website, the seven-minute video is the work of “a group of Russian and American students pushing for justice” in the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer “tortured to death in 2009 for exposing a $230 million heist … [whose] killers got away clean.” Visitors to the site are invited to watch the video and “make a difference” by signing its petition — Pass the Magnitsky Act! A click on the “About Us” section, however, reveals that this is no ordinary group of students:
The College-100 (C-100) is a network of student presidents from elite schools (including the Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Oxford, Cambridge, McGill, top liberal arts schools, and flagship state schools); Rhodes, Truman, and Gates scholars; Olympians; and other distinguished young people.
Moreover, this elite student network has benefited from the counsel of some rather extraordinary mentors:
The C-100’s advisors include Ambassadors Ed Perkins, Stape Roy and Tom Pickering; US senators; Governor Bill Richardson; and other distinguished national figures.
Edward J. Perkins has served as Director of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Corps, a position that would have required a close working relationship with America’s intelligence services. J. Stapleton Roy was Assistant Secretary of State for intelligence and research from 1999 to 2000 and is currently Vice Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc. Thomas R. Pickering served as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, Nigeria, and El Salvador — a posting that led to the dubious distinction of his being called “a Reagan point man in Central America’s dirty wars.” Pickering currently chairs the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group, an NGO financed by George Soros, who could hardly be described as a disinterested party in the “push for justice” in Russia.
To be continued…