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Special Reports Last Updated: May 18th, 2010 - 00:54:11

Obama, Clinton pressuring Medvedev on Khodorkovsky
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

May 18, 2010, 00:23

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(WMR) -- Informed U.S. government sources report that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have personally interceded with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other Russian officials in urging the Russian government to release from prison Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former multi-billionaire tycoon serving a nine-year prison sentence for fraud.

Khodorkovsky and his associate, Platon Lebedev, who is also in prison after being convicted of fraud and tax evasion, are currently on trial on new charges of embezzlement and money laundering.

The case of Khodorkovsky has become a cause celebre for neocons in Congress and the Israel Lobby in Washington. Because Khodorkovsky is Jewish, the neocons and Israel Lobby have marshaled their resources to stymie Senate ratification of the new US-Russian strategic arms reduction treaty and have refused to remove U.S.-Russian trade barriers imposed by the Jackson-Vanik amendment of the 1974 Trade Act imposed on the former Soviet Union to pressure it to allow unrestricted Soviet Jewry emigration. Jackson-Vanik currently denies most-favored nation trade status to Russia and its continued enforcement is a pet project of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Russia views Obama's and Clinton's pressure on the Khodorkovsky matter to be interference in the domestic affairs of Russia.

In essence, Khodorkovsky was imprisoned in Russia for some of the same crimes committed by American businessmen in the United States, most of whom have remained unindicted: tax evasion, embezzling company funds, insider trading, and money laundering. What is even more astounding is the fact that some of these same unindicted U.S. businessmen are leading the charge for Russia to free Khodorkovsky from prison.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright � 2010

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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