In retaliation for the Magnitsky sanctions — in which the US placed sanctions on those deemed to have had a role in retaliating against Sergei Magnitsky’s whistleblowing — Russia just issued a list of 18 Americans who will be prohibited from traveling to Russia.
The list released by the Foreign Ministry includes John Yoo, a former U.S. Justice Department official who wrote legal memos authorizing harsh interrogation techniques; David Addington, the chief of staff for former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney; and two former commanders of the Guantánamo Bay detention center: retired Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller and Navy Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harbeson.
Also on Russia’s list are 14 Americans whom Russia says violated the rights of Russians abroad. It does not give specifics of the alleged violations, but includes several current or former federal prosecutors in the case of Viktor Bout, the Russian arms merchant sentenced in 2012 to 25 years in prison for selling weapons to a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist group. One FBI agent and four U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents also are on the list.
In addition, there’s a closed list of Americans who are, according to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, personally responsible for legalizing torture and indefinite detention. So maybe Dick Cheney is on that list.
I’m actually more interested Russia sanctioned Bout’s prosecutors than Yoo (it doesn’t take much creativity, after all, to call Yoo a human rights violator). After all, Bout only ever did the same kinds of things Erik Prince does for us, and our claim that we had jurisdiction over his sales stretched traditional jurisdiction beyond belief.
In any case, it sure seemed pretty easy for Russia to accuse us of violating human rights just like it does.