The ‘human rights concerns’ in relation to the Sochi Winter Olympics are painfully hypocritical, patronising and dishonest.
During the Atlanta Olympics (1996) and the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics (2002), did the BBC and WSJ worry about ‘human rights concerns’? The US has the largest prison population in the world, by a long way. It has political prisoners on death row. It discriminates in the most shocking way against its African, Latino and indigenous population. It is the world’s primary exporter of state terrorism. Utah (of which state Salt Lake City is the capital) is one of the few US states not to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
During the London Olympics (2012), did the BBC and WSJ worry about ‘human rights concerns’? These Olympics took place less than a year after the extrajudicial killing of Mark Duggan, in a context of rising police brutality, and in a situation where austerity measures are increasingly affecting people’s basic human rights. A few months previously, Britain had taken the lead in the illegal military destruction of the sovereign African nation of Libya, in the process denying tens of thousands of Libyans that most basic of human rights: the right to life. Britain maintains its colonial domination in the north of Ireland, Las Malvinas, Gibraltar and elsewhere. It has repressive anti-terrorism legislation which contains massive scope for abuse of power. As in the US, media is so totally dominated by corporate interests that “freedom of speech” is practically meaningless.
The US and Britain are not seriously concerned about free speech or gay rights in Russia. Their bitterness towards Russia is borne out of the fact that Russia is pursuing an independent policy that often runs counter to the interests of NATO/EU-led western imperialism. Russia has done more than any other state to help save Syria from imperialist-sponsored regime change. It is currently standing firm against EU/NATO subversion in Ukraine. It is providing refuge for Edward Snowden. It is getting closer and closer to China. It has excellent ties with all the usual ‘enemies’: Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Belarus, Zimbabwe, DPR Korea. THAT is the reason for the demonisation and the crocodile tears over freedom of speech.
And hey, it’s Bob Marley’s birthday. In the spirit of Bob: don’t let ‘em fool ya!