October 25, 2006
How US Government fights against a Russian disabled person
For those not familiar with the case of Alexander Kashin vs. Douglas Barry Kent, let me give you a quick rundown. On October 27, 1998 then US Consulate General in Vladivostok, Doug Kent, smashed his SUV into a car carrying 23 year old Alexander Kashin in downtown Vlad. Kashin was paralyzed from the neck down and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
Witnesses and police allege that Kent blew three traffic lights leading up to the accident, came out of the car laughing and appeared to be drunk. Kent then fled the scene to a nearby club, Nautilus. The owner of Nautilus confirmed this and further noted that Kent had a grand old time after the crash, taking down the panties of a stripper with his teeth. The guy's got balls, you have to give him that much.
Once word got out about this, outrage was expressed in the local media, so the United States government removed Kent from Vlad. He left without forking over a penny to Kashin and was re-assigned by the State Department. Kent and the US ignored Kashin's pleas for help in paying medical bills.
Enter John Gallagher, a Philadelphia-based attorney who in 2000 took on Kashin's case pro bono. Gallagher spent over $200,000 on private investigators just trying to find Kent, who was eventually located at an apartment complex in Arlington, Virginia. Kent was hard to find because he used several false names (in an obvious attempt to elude the hammer of justice). He even had a phony name on the lease of his apartment. They found Kent after he carelessly used his real name at a local dry cleaner. He was served a subpoena and the case of Kashin vs. Kent was filed in US courts.
Gallagher flew to Vlad to investigate the matter and got sworn affidavits from five eye-witnesses indicting Kent. The State Department countered by shifting Kent to a series of overseas assignments ranging from Panama to Liberia, as opposed to, say, firing him. Kent's attorneys filed six separate motions to dismiss the case, to no avail. By and by, it was determined that Kent was "acting within the scope of employment" during the accident and is therefore protected under diplomatic immunity. Of course! And since that's the decision, Kashin is essentially fucked because foreigners aren't allowed to sue the State Department.
So eight years later while medical bills mount, the paraplegic Alexander Kashin still hasn't received a thin dime from either Kent or the US government. Gallagher and his team estimate the total damages at $10 million. "What shocks me in this case," says Gallagher "is that after the use of diplomatic immunity the United States wouldn't make provisions for the medical attention we were obviously responsible for."
But I'm not shocked. It sounds pretty typical of the callous, indifferent and evil old US of A I've come to know. Gallagher points out the blatant hypocrisy of the American government, when in 1997 it forced Georgia to remove diplomatic immunity for a diplomat who had killed a woman while drunk driving. The Georgian diplomat was prosecuted in America and spent five years in jail.
The Kashin case is an example of why people around the world hate America. We lecture others about justice and freedom but refuse to take seriously those principles ourselves. Most people can figure this out for themselves, but Americans will never get it. What I've learned since being back in the US is that the place is a communications vacuum. Anything that happens outside of America doesn't really happen unless it's acknowledged by the media or government. Liberals and conservatives are of equal guilt, and what's funny is that they just don't know any better. Supposedly progressive New York media and ridiculous websites like The Huffington Post don't realize how absolutely parochial and self-obsessed they are. If a bit of news has no obvious connection to the Democratic Party, you won't see it on The Huffington Post. If you tell a New Yorker that they mispronounce Maria Sharapova's name or that North Korea didn't actually test a nuclear weapon you'll get nothing but a completely blank, stupid look.
What kind of country shelters and protects a dirtbag like Doug Kent? The kind that kicks the living shit out of civilians all over the world in order to recklessly pursue its own perceived interests, that's what kind -- America. The truth is, the US and its representatives believe they can do just about anything they want and get away with it -- because it's all done in the name of freedom and of fighting fascism -- especially in an outback like Vlad where they can dismiss the locals as savages. We assert moral superiority over the rest of the world in a phony "war on terrorism" when we obviously have none. The civilized world, to the extent that is exists, is laughing at us.
This past August, the wheelchair-ridden Kashin approached US ambassador to Russia William Burns -- who was in Vlad on a PR tour -- to beg for help. A confused Burns -- who had clearly never heard of the disgusting affair -- promised Kashin he'd put in a word for him at the State Department. Does anyone believe that for a second?
Late Note: As of going to print, the FBI raided John Gallagher's office in Philly as part of the move against his friend, Sen. Curt Weldon. How convenient for Kent.
Posted at 06:31