Yikes

photo_helmerFrom a post by fellow T/S-er Matt Taibbi on the threat to an Australian journalist working in Moscow:

THREE armed men have been arrested outside the home of an Australian freelance journalist in Moscow just a week after the federal government warned him it had confidential information he was in danger.

The journalist, John Helmer, said he might have been targeted because of his aggressive reporting on powerful Russian businessmen, including 42-year-old billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

The [Australian] Department of Foreign Affairs has refused to tell Helmer what information led it to fear for his safety, and appears not to have provided any such information to Russian police investigating the case.

The fact that Deripaska’s aluminum conglomerate owns stakes in Australian aluminum and bauxite concerns may explain why Deripaska’s men were after him, but it does blow a major — and rather shudder-inducing — hole in the argument oft-repeated in ex-pat journo circles in Moscow: no one with access to goons cares what you write abroad. The alleged plot on Helmer’s life seems to indicate that, perhaps, it’s not just the Russian journalists who are in danger anymore. Unfortunately, it seems that the maxim, in the words of one Taibbi commenter, applies to all of us: “if the Bastards aren’t trying to kill you….you ain’t doing your job right.”

[via Taibblog @ T/S ]

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