Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Oblivious presidential irony

Bush today:
On another foreign policy issue, Bush said he expressed concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin about legal proceedings against former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Once the richest man in Russia, Khodorkovsky was convicted Tuesday of fraud and tax evasion and sentenced to nine years in prison following a trail widely denounced as politically motivated.

Bush did not comment directly on the verdict, but said, "it looked
like he had been judged guilty prior to having a fair trial."
The president said he has questioned whether the case shows a
backsliding away from the rule of law and democracy in Russia and said
it will "be interesting to see" how Khodorkovsky's expected appeal is
handled by the government.

"Here, you're innocent until proven guilty and it appeared to us, at
least people in my administration, that it looked like he had been
ajudged guilty prior to having a fair trial," Bush said.

Bush, July 18, 2003

Terrorist suspects held at the US naval base in Cuba are "bad people"
who aided and abetted the Taliban in Afghanistan, US President George
W Bush said today at a joint news conference with British Prime
Minister Tony Blair.

At a joint White House news conference today, Bush responded to a
reporter's question on the issue, saying, "the only thing we know for
certain is that these are bad people and we look forward to working
with the Blair government to deal with the issue".

When pressed that such an assertion would do little to assuage British
concerns that the men should be viewed as innocent until proven
guilty, the president responded, "Let me just say, these were illegal
combatants. They were picked up off the battlefield aiding and
abetting the Taliban".


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