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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Crash upstages ending of gag era

The Polish air crash tragedy, whether by design or not, tends to put Vladimir Putin in a difficult position.

Even if the deaths of Poland's president and a group of other prominent Poles was simply an accident, suspicion will be rife that it wasn't, and that forces opposed to detente with the West and, in particular, opposed to the U.S.-Russia nuclear pact, a deal that substantially curbs Russian nuclear war power, were intent on creating an incident that would foment a new cold war.

Angry old-line Stalinists in the "ex KGB" and in the Russian military are perfectly capable of such "inside job" atrocities, though the chance of success, I suggest, would be low. Note that Putin is leading a commission to investigate the tragedy, signaling perhaps that he is no friend of old-line Stalinists, a number of whom see it as politically incorrect of Putin to end the communistic conspiracy of silence concerning the Katyn Forest massacre.

No doubt many communists are highly disturbed that a highly visible "KGB comrade" like Putin would signal a new attitude of openess by issuing a statement acknowledging the NKVD massacre of tens of thousands of captured Polish army officers and others when Stalin joined Hitler in launching World War II.

But Putin, despite protecting old KGB types in the London assassination of a former KGB officer, can no longer make solidarity with the communistic elements of that claque. His political position hinges on detente with the West. Otherwise, Western Europe will speed its disengagement from the Russian fuel pipeline, further weakening Russia's precarious economy.

Putin's prestige was riding on the Katyn massacre ceremony. If any communists were hoping to derail the symbolism of the end of that communistic conspiracy of silence, they will find that Putin now must make overt and covert war against that crew -- even at the risk of looking a bit hypocritical with respect to his own difficulties with the media.

Of interest

I have added the ACLU to my link list. But it should be pointed out that the organization has been notably tight-lipped on important censorship situations, making it part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

At any rate, the ACLU includes on its news site a report on a judge's decision that protects internet servers that refuse to treat all content equally. Though the case involves whether Comcast should regulate traffic by high-volume services such as Bit Torrent, the fact is that Comcast and others now have discretion to control what people read and see. This is equivalent to permitting phone companies to block phone calls based on presumed content. (In fact, that brings up another unaddressed problem: certain persons being put, against their will, on no-call lists.)

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