Aftermath of Beslan School Massacre, Russian Federation, September 2004
Anna Politkovskaya was born in New York City on 30 August 1958 which, presumably, rendered her an American citizen. Not a Green Card holder.
Ms. Politkovskaya died in Moscow on 7 October 2006 at age 48. She was murdered in the elevator of her block of flats by five men who were sentenced to prison in June 2014, but who sent those men remains unclear.
Anna spent seven years reporting on the war in Chechnya. She was arrested by Russian military forces and subjected to a mock execution. She was poisoned while on a flight from Moscow via Rostov-on-Don to help resolve the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis, but had to return to Moscow for immediate medical treatment. The Beslan school siege lasted three days, and ended when Russian security forces stormed the building, killing 334 people, excluding the terrorists, including 186 children.
She is one of many Russian dissident journalists who have perished mysteriously during the reign of Vladimir Putin. But has there been any outcry against Russia or Putin himself which begins to approach the cacophony among American politicians to distance the country from Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?
Khashoggi’s gruesome elimination, while reprehensible, seems to have grabbed disproportionate attention because of his association with The Washington Post, its history and its current association with Jeff Bezos, richest man on the planet, who just decided to plunk a portion of Amazon’s second headquarters in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
Khashoggi’s murder, having taken place in Ankara, has supplied the aspiring leader of a new Ottoman Empire, Recep Erdogan, with powerful ammunition to attack his rivals in Riyadh and, specifically, to undermine the King-In-Waiting, Mohammed bin Salman, whose hand in Khashoggi’s murder is as inexplicable as it is likely.
Erdogan is as dangerous a figure as any on the world stage today. He is a domestic authoritarian, suppressing freedom of speech, the press and his Kurdish population, not only within his country, but across the Turkish borders in Iraq and Syria. Though an erstwhile NATO member, he cultivates relationships within the Russia-Syria-Iran Shi’a sphere as a counterweight to Saudi and Sunni influence in the sphere.
Erdogan could care less about the murder of a dissident journalist, given that he imprisons and silences as many journalists as any regime on Earth. No, his objective is to sow discord against the Kingdom and thus weaken it; to guilt the forces of Progressivism in America to turn against the Prince and push them into a greater sense of isolation; to make it more difficult for them to act against Shi’a extremist groups in Yemen, Gaza, Lebanon and, ultimately, Tehran.
Erdogan is and expects to remain a power player in what remains of Syria. He expects that Putin, Assad and Khamenei have little choice, but to carve out a role for him in the redevelopment of Syria. He will defy American sanctions against Iran and trade with them, believing that the Russians will backstop any threats directed against him by the Americans. He has already announced his intention to purchase S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems which were designed to defend against American and NATO intrusions. His antipathy for Israel continues to percolate, his fear of any thaw between the Saudis and Israelis one of his deepest concerns.
Put simply: there are no actors in this affair with altruistic motives. None of the protagonists have any kind of record protecting reporters or ensuring that the Fourth Estate is permitted to tell truth to power. Human rights are subverted, dissidents disappear, the United Nations gives a wink here and there, and no one dares speak ill of Putin or President Xi or Erdogan. There is never any video evidence of people entering diplomatic compounds and not emerging in their societies. Or extensive audio recordings of brutality which are then leaked – TMZ-like – to frame regional rivals.
The number of journalists jailed in Turkey is reported to be the highest in the world. More than those jailed in North Korea, Cuba, Russia and China combined. Of course, many journalists detained in those last four countries are never heard from again, so the number in actual, living detention is unknowable.
But, somehow, we are led to believe by the American mainstream press, that Turkey’s rendition of the Khashoggi murder is accurate, unedited and their rightful indignation rests solely in a desire to identify and bring to justice those responsible.
“Stop all arms sales to the Saudis!”, they bellow. “MbS must be removed from all governmental posts by the King!”, they shout. “See? We were right all along. Donald Trump has no understanding of ‘American Values’. How can he possibly stand with the Saudis? He must be impeached!”, they reiterate.
But not a word is uttered about coming to the defense of journalists in Russia, China or Turkey. Not a single editorial criticizing Putin, Xi or Erdogan for jailing reporters without due process or severing relationships with those countries.
Anna Politkovskaya was an American citizen! She was gunned down in the elevator of her apartment building because she dared to bring light to the butchery the Russians were perpetrating in Chechnya. This was not about one man dying mercilessly in an embassy as horrific as that was. Putin did not want the world to know what was going on there. Russian forces killed 186 children at that Beslan school and we barely heard about it.
The American Press has turned Jamal Khashoggi into a martyr in order to find another club with which to beat Donald Trump about the head.
No one ever heard of Anna Politkovskaya because there was no agenda her death could serve.