Monday, August 27, 2012


     The New York Times headline, Moscow Court Finds Kasparov Not Guilty of Illegal Protest During Pussy Riot Trial, written by ILYA MOUZYKANTSKII and ROBERT MACKEY is as welcome an independent-ish announcement of a judicial decision out of Russia as, well, maybe, there ever was. Nothing greater so far? Even if there’s elitist imagery of lenience toward a World Chess Champion, still, it’s a step.
     The Times begins – MOSCOW – A judge here ruled on Friday that former chess champion Garry Kasparov was not guilty of participating in an unsanctioned political demonstration outside the courthouse where three women in the punk band Pussy Riot wereconvicted of hooliganism last week and sentenced to two years in prison.
The Times states – long active in opposition politics, Mr. Kasparov was arrested while giving interviews to journalists, in a crowd, outside the courthouse, anticipating the guilty verdict laid on the three women who staged The Anti-Putin demonstration inside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February.
     The Times continues that – This acquittal of Mr. Kasparov is a rare victory for a member of Russia’s political opposition. Rarer still the remarks fromJudge Ekaterina Veklich, who said she did not believe some of the police testimony in the case. “The facts recorded in the police report,” she said bluntly, “do not correspond to reality.” Because Mr. Kasparov was able to present contrary evidence. Oh please, oh please be a real body of legal responsibility for the Russian conscience. Please, oh noble judiciary?
     In an interview in the courtroom after the decision, Mr. Kasparov, 49, seemed stunned and exhilarated. “It’s like Christmas,” he said. One can imagine him beaming. “I’m still speechless,” The Times quotes he added. “But, I think this is quite a symbolic moment which may give hope to many of our activists who have been harassed by the police. The judge, for the first time in many years, refused to take police testimony as an absolute truth.”
     Ahead of the hearing, Mr. Kasparov had mined social media sites for photographs and video documenting his arrest. And according to The Times this is the police wrestling with Garry Kasparov inside the paddy van. Using information, Garry Kasparov argued the police report was inaccurate, pointing to video evidence which showed that he was not chanting “Russia without Putin,” at the time as the police claimed. And also produced a photograph of the original police report and time-stamped images of officers dragging him away that proved he was, in fact, arrested more than an hour before the time listed in the final police report.
     Garry Kasparov found – 754 images of my illegal arrest & beating by police.
     Before the verdict came in, Mr. Kasparov said he was gratified that the judge had accepted the video and photographic evidence submitted in his defense, instead of relying solely on the police report. He said the authorities were perhaps mindful of the fact that his arrest “had huge publicity, thanks to all the social networks and journalists,” who were present at the time. Yes, a hopeful verdict that could be read in the stars, so to speak. But here on earth? The sad news is, the question is, is everyone ready for peace that does not require manhandling anymore?
     After he was acquitted, Mr. Kasparov said the judge’s ruling offered some hope for opposition activists charged with illegal assembly. Having previously, said, noted The Times, “police officers always had immunity to provide false testimonies. Now the judge said, ‘No, they are contradicting each other.’ People who supported me, and, again, the journalists, who were so good in submitting all these video and photos today, I mean, they saved me today!”
     Under a toughened law intended to tamp down on unapproved political protests, a guilty verdict against Mr. Kasparov could have resulted in a fine of nearly $1,000, The Times calculates, then speculates – Despite Mr. Kasparov’s optimism, there is no reason to believe his case will change anything for other political opposition leaders, several of whom are under investigation or already facing prosecution. Unlike some prominent young opposition leaders, like anti-corruption blogger Aleksei Navalny, Mr. Kasparov is not viewed as posing any serious threat to the government. Then, too, he occupies a very different category in the public imagination than the brash performance artists of Pussy Riot. He is still revered as a national hero by Russians who deeply respect chess skills. Yet not enough respect to absorb his constituency within the country’s political process?
     The Times recites – Mr. Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion in history winning the title at age 22 in 1985. He retired from the game in 2005, and since then has been active in politics. He created an advocacy group called the United Civil Front, dedicated to promoting electoral democracy in Russia, and also a political union called theOther Russia, in opposition to President Vladimir V. Putin. In 2007, he briefly ran for president.
     Immediately after he was cleared on Friday, Mr. Kasparov said he hoped this ruling would also “help me to demolish the stupid case on biting.” Mr. Kasparov scuffled with police officers at the time of his arrest and has been accused of biting one of the officers on the hand. The incident remains under investigation and was not part of the case decided on Friday. Mr. Kasparov, who insists the biting allegation is false, said he intends to sue the police for illegal arrest, assault and slander. And really, why exactly are police handling protestors? That’s not keeping the peace, but holding it down.
     Outside the courtroom, Mr. Kasparov elaborated on the importance of the decision in remarks to reporters, which were translated into English and posted online by the Other Russia.
     Summed up by The Times – Mr. Kasparov said: I have a strange sensation, it’s hard to even find words for, because my lawyers, friends and I didn’t expect anything besides another typical guilty verdict. And when, over the course of so many years, all opposition activists have been inevitably convicted in courts like this, it’s hard to imagine that the day would come when the courts could provide us with legitimate consideration. Actually, today was very unusual, because from the very beginning, as opposed to many other previous similar cases, the judge agreed to allow motions by the defense.Moreover, all of the defense’s motions were accepted, including those that called witnesses to the stand and those that entered video and photographic material as evidence. Of course, this was a very, let’s say, unusual sign, but we didn’t understand that it would influence the final verdict so much. … The result was a full acquittal, and this is a very important step forward. I don’t intend to stop here; I want to have charges brought against the officers who illegally detained me. We’ve already filed the necessary paperwork with the investigative branch for the Khamovniki region. And I hope that this verdict will give us additional evidence so that my detention and beating will be given due consideration by investigators.
     There you go. If the lawyers don’t keep establishing precedent then just as a business dies that doesn’t grow, precedent is set judicial independdence will deteriorate. So let’s hear of more principled decisions in the courts. Because, for one thing, if you don’t find enough for lawyers to do, eventually they come looking for you. Smirk.
     The Times writer, Ilya Mouzykantskii, who reported from Moscow, concludes – It’s hard for me to say what sort of consequences today’s verdict is going to have for the Russian opposition on the whole. I even feel slightly guilty, because until now all of these verdicts have been guilty ones, and so many of my friends are still experiencing this pressure. We know that the widespread investigation of the May 6th events on Bolotnaya Square is still ongoing. But nevertheless, this is a very important step forward, and I’m going to do everything in my power to help those who need defense in these matters, because not everyone is so lucky to have their detentions and the police violence they experienced be covered so fully by the press.
     Yes, judicial justice from the top, for the top of the social strata, could one day trickle down?
President Putin?
8/27/2012 concluded:Yes, judicial justice from the top, for the top of the social strata, could one day trickle down?
President Putin?
March 27, 2020 - ? ?, 2020 
Narcissism's The Enemy?
     In the midst of possibly one of the worst calamities of our lifetimes, it's probably not just the President of the United States circling the wagons to protect a self and public image.
     There's an end of Dr. Strangelove aura about all of this. Anticipating who'll be receiving the vaccine first, once invented. 

     Read UP COUNTRY by Nelson deMille, kind of a tourist/criminal investigation with honorable allusions to emotionally reconciling the destructive Vietnam War. 
     I do apologize for being away from essaying every weekday. I was focused on finishing a film submission for the Bicycle Film Festival. 

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