Hollywood on the Potomac

Magnitsky Law

January 14, 2014

“I’m in from London to attend the book party for Elana,” said Jado Russell at the Kalorama home of Juleanna Glover and Christopher Reiter. Elana Servettaz is a Russian-French journalist and a news anchor at Radio France Internationale where she covers international relations and high-profile political cases including that of Sergei Magnitsky which is what her book is about.

Not to diminish our intellectual capacity, but the subject matter was a bit heavy to grasp at a cocktail party so we are going to spell it out for you. 

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian accountant and auditor whose arrest and subsequent death in custody generated international media attention and triggered both official and unofficial inquiries into allegations of fraud, theft and human rights violations. Magnitsky had alleged there had been a large-scale theft from the Russian state sanctioned and carried out by Russian officials. He was arrested and eventually died in prison seven days before the expiration of the one-year term during which he could be legally held without trial.  His case has become an international cause célèbre and led to the adoption of the Magnitsky bill by the US government at the end of 2012 by which those Russian officials believed to be involved in the lawyer’s death were barred from entering the United States or using its banking system. In response, Russia blocked hundreds of foreign adoptions.” Wikipedia


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January 8, 2014

Rumor has it that if you walk into any cocktail party in Washington you’ll be rubbing elbows with the CIA where half the guests are agents. We’re not sure how that stands up on the truth-o-meter, but it was certainly the case at the screening of ABC’s new TV mini-series “The Assets” at the International Spy Museum.

The Assets” is a fact-based miniseries that follows the Aldrich Ames case as told by Sandy Grimes in her book Circle of Treason, co-authored with Jeanne Vertefeuille.  Grimes is a former CIA agent who helped uncover one of the most notorious traitors in US history during the cold war.  Ames is a former CIA  counter intelligence officer who in 1994 was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia.  Color him orange: Federal Bureau of Prisons #40087-083, courtesy of Allenwood U.S. Penitentiary.


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December 26, 2013

“Dogfight” is not about the NSA vs. Edward Joseph Snowden, though it could be if you subscribe to the ‘one thing leads to another’ philosophy of life. Silicon Valley provided Snowden with the tech tools needed to operate and expose mountains of classified documents in the first place. Because it’s headline news we asked author Fred Vogelstein what he thought of the situation.

“I don’t think he was a traitor,” he said. “I think if you go back and we look at the whole Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon papers thing … we look at that whole incident with the benefit of hindsight.  Granted I was still a kid then, but if my memory serves, there were a lot of people calling Daniel Ellsberg a traitor too …that went on for a for a very, very, very, long time and that there was a pretty good sized debate over it.”

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