The Magnitsky Act – Behind The Scenes.

By Jerry Alatalo

he highly controversial death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Russian prison in 2009 is the focus of the film “The Magnitsky Act – Behind The Scenes”, released to the public in 2016 by director Andrei Nekrasov – literally censored in every nation (but Norway), region and locale in the Western world. People might ask themselves why a film which puts forward a different narrative than that used by U.S. politicians to pass the Magnitsky Act in late 2012 has suffered from near unanimous censorship, especially when made by Mr. Nekrasov, an artist/activist whose previous efforts in Russia were in opposition to government policies.

Perhaps Arizona Senator John McCain, one of the leaders in drafting and passing the Magnitsky Act, with Maryland Senator Benjamin Cardin and others, would welcome a Senate screening of director Nekrasov’s film, as the Arizona senator and his colleagues surely believe in free speech. What could incentivise any U.S. government elected representative to oppose bringing director Nekrasov’s film to the awareness of the American people, surely a “win-win” proposition – for, on one hand, it exposes a very serious coverup, or, however, it exposes the uncomfortable, equally serious, necessary truth.

Mr. McCain has on many occasions since 2009 referenced Sergei Magnitisky on the floor of the United States Senate, recently on the seventh anniversary of Magnitsky’s death (captured in the screenshot above). Most men and women feel appreciative when provided information which corrects previously strongly held, but erroneous, perceptions. The sole avenue for determining if the information presented in the West-censored film “The Magnitsky Act – Behind The Scenes” is the truth, leading to potentially tremendous-in-scope, beneficially corrected perceptions – is by allowing people everywhere to simply view it.

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For some context, here is what Russia’s Vladimir Putin said in late 2012, after the U.S. Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, in response to a reporter’s (lengthy) question during an annual news conference of 4-hours and 30-minutes. His exchange with a Russian reporter representing the Los Angeles Times came at slightly past the 4-hour mark.

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Vladimir Putin: “Here is our colleague, his sign says Los Angeles – he was so angry that he did not get a chance to speak. Let’s not provoke him anymore. Please, go ahead.”

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Reporter: “Dear Mr. President, I am Sergei Loiko, Los Angeles Times. … But coming back to today’s main topic, we could say that in 2009 Sergei Magnitsky found himself in 1937. … 1,500 orphans, whom State Duma deputies’ initiated draft bill prohibiting U.S. citizens from adopting Russia(n) children, of which (2012) 49 are seriously ill with American families ready to take them in.”

“You will agree with me that in any case these children will be better off in America than in an orphanage. My question is as follows. I’m going back to Sergei Magnitsky, because you talked about him yourself. Russia has had three years to resolve the case but this did not happen. And in that event (case resolved) there would have been no Magnitsky List, you would not have quarreled with the U.S., the children would have gone to America, and everyone would be satisfied and happy. But there has been no satisfactory answer. Why not?”

“You demonstrate a remarkable awareness of other high-profile criminal cases, which I will not name. I would like to hear your answer to the question about the $230 million that allegedly customs inspectors and the police – militiamen, as they used to be called – stole from the budget. These funds could have been used to rebuild beautiful children’s homes, and Mr. Medvedev would not have had to assert in vain that we should do something”.

“If we had already done something, we would have been able to keep our orphanages in normal conditions. What happened to Sergei Magnitsky? Why did he find himself in 1937? Well, this is not the case for everyone. But why does 1937 keep merging with our lives?”

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Vladimir Putin: “Regarding Magnitsky… (Applause) Why are you applauding?”

Reply: We like the question.

“You liked the question, fine. When Mr. Magnitsky’s tragedy occurred, I myself was Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. I learned about this tragedy from the media. And to be quite honest, even today I do not know the details surrounding this person’s tragic death in custody. But of course I feel that I have to find out more”.

“But that is not the issue. I want you to listen, too. I understand that you work for the Los Angeles Times, and not for Pravda or Izvestia, and that you have to take a certain position. I want our position to be clear. Mr. Magnitsky personally is not the issue at stake. The issue is that U.S. lawmakers, having got rid of one anti-Russian, anti-Soviet act – the Jackson-Vanik Amendment (and they were forced to do so for economic reasons) – decided they would pass another anti-Russian act immediately. So we understood it as U.S. lawmakers making clear to us ‘who’s the boss here’, and keeping a certain level of tension”.

“If Magnitsky did not exist, they’d have found another pretext. That’s what upsets us. This is the first thing. Second. I don’t know the details, but I am nevertheless aware of the fact that Mr. Magnitsky did not die of torture. Nobody tortured him, he died of a heart attack”.

“The inquiry into his case is set to establish whether he received or didn’t receive medical assistance in due time. If a person is denied assistance, especially in a public institution, of course we must figure out what happened. This is the second thing. Third. Do you think that no one ever dies in American jails, or what? Of course they do. And so what? Must we make a story of each and every case?”

“Do you know how many people U.S. law enforcement agencies seize around the world in violation of national jurisdictions, drag them off to their prisons, and try them there? Is this normal? I don’t think so. I’ve already questioned once: Why does one country feel entitled to extend its jurisdiction to the entire world? This undermines the fundamental principles of international law”.

“In addition, as you know, Mr. Magnitsky was not some human rights activist, he was not fighting for the rights of all. He was a lawyer for Mr. Browder, who our law enforcement agencies suspect of committing economic crimes in Russia, and he was defending Mr. Browder’s interests. Everything connected with this case is extremely politicized, and this is not our fault”.

“Now about the children. I have said many times and I want to repeat again that we are grateful to the American citizens, who have adopted or want to adopt our children, Russian children, Russian citizens from the heart. And they do this very well, they do so in accordance with the highest principles of humanism”.

“You said that these children will be better off in the U.S.. But judging by what we know of certain tragic events, such as the case where a child was left in a car and died of heat stroke – is that better or worse? We know of other cases where children were beaten to death. Is that better or worse? But the issue at stake is not these particular cases; after all, children also die in Russia”.

“The issue at hand concerns official liability for these tragedies. People are exempt from criminal liability, and sometimes the judicial system does not even want to consider these cases. That’s what bothers Russian legislators, and this is what they are reacting to in the well-known draft bill that triggered such a reaction. I repeat: I must look at the details of the law, but in general I understand the mood of the State Duma deputies”.

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Moving from late 2012 ahead to 2016 and the release of “The Magnitsky Act – Behind The Scenes”, the film’s director made statements perhaps impossible to ignore in an interview with Russian media group “Komsomolskaya Pravda”:

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Author: Roman Golovanov

Translated by: Sergei Malygin

Who Stole a Quarter of a Billion?

Question: Andrei, why did you choose this story for investigation?

Andrei Nekrasov: In the West Magnitsky is known as a whistleblower who paid for it with his life. There is no other version. My movie is a bomb for the West, they did not know the facts. I did not plan to investigate anything. I thought Magnitsky revealed everything and Browder told us about it – I was confined in a simplistic narrative of this complex story. The staging shooting took place in Kiev in the fall of 2014. Even then I started to realize that everything is much more complicated. Browder words were not substantiated. For example, it was not Magnitsky who went to the police with revelations, it was the other way around: the law enforcement called him for questioning in the already existing criminal case.

Question: …You started filming firmly believing in good Browder and bad Russia who killed Magnitsky?

Andrei Nekrasov: Yes, even in the movie Browder’s account remains – searches in his companies, confiscation of documents. Browder’s companies are stolen and it is Magnitsky who goes to the police where he is beaten with batons. That is how our story begins.

Question: What did you come to at the end?

Andrei Nekrasov: This picture has almost nothing to do with Magnitsky’s death. The gist is in three Russian companies Browder owned through offshore companies. These firms paid taxes from sales of Gazprom shares. Then these companies declared that they had losses and the state returned their tax payments – a quarter of a billion dollars – huge money! That is what the crime was. The question was: who controlled the companies when the payments were returned? Browder says that at the time when money was transferred, the companies were already overtaken. But there are suspicions that he is lying, he returned his money through stooges.

Question: Do you have a proof?

Andrei Nekrasov: In the movie I am not accusing him in stealing the money, I do not have direct evidence. But Magnitsky, as an expert, possibly filled out needed documents. I came to the main question – were Browder companies stolen or not? I proved that Browder’s story about Magnitsky is a lie, possibly invented to divert attention from real machinations with huge money. “Rubber baton” turns into “beating”

Question: Who was Magnitsky?

Andrei Nekrasov: He was an accountant and auditor. He could be called a martyr only in comparison with Norwegian prisoners who have comfortable cells. One must not make up a whole fairy tale out of it! Human rights activist Borschev, for example, deliberately wrote in his reports that Magnitsky was kept in “torturous conditions”. When this text was translated into English, this term turned into “torture”. On that basis the US Congress passed “Magnitsky Act”. But that is not true! In another report a “rubber baton” was mentioned which in the process of translation turned into “beating lasting for 1 hour and 18 minutes”. That is a deliberate word play for achieving political purposes.

Question: Then from what Magnitsky died?

Andrei Nekrasov: He died from a heart attack. By the end of his life he had hepatitis, pancreatitis, diabetes, obesity – the whole bunch of diseases. I have sincere sympathy for Sergei and his family, but it is not me who is using his tragedy, it is Mr. Browder. Nobody tormented or tortured Magnitsky. There was a criminal negligence on doctor’s behalf. Even the doctor from the emergency psychiatric help Kornilov, who Browder often cites and who arrived on Magnitsky’s call three hours before his death never mentions signs of beating. In the conclusion made by the Public Oversight Commission, nothing says that Magnitsky was beaten or killed. Some believe that the auditor’s death was beneficial to Browder. There is no proof for that, but it is clear that Russia did not need the murder of accountant.

Question: Are the facts supported by documents?

Andrei Nekrasov: I used public sources. At first, trusting Browder, I used his two sites. All documents are there. I am sure they simply forgot to remove some of the materials. Comparing investigator reports, texts of interrogations, I came to the conclusion that Magnitsky was not killed. Also there was a forensic examination. Browder says that these are unreliable sources, but he quotes them where it is beneficial for him. Frau turns into Fury.

Question: Did Browder lobby Magnitsky Act in the US?

Andrei Nekrasov: Of course he lobbied it, that is the whole point.

Question: Did the movie change you?

Andrei Nekrasov: I was seriously worried about all this. I have developed my attitude towards the Russian government. I sincerely love the country, previously I contributed to its democratization – I was involved in opposition politics, knew Nemtsov, talked with Yashin and Kasyanov. Magnitsky was my hero, next after Litvinenko. I could make a movie in line with this, as intended. But what broke here is not the story itself, it was my understanding of my role in Russian society – it changed. I made serious conclusions and I cannot be silent about it.

Question: Why are there so many scandals around the movie in the West?

Andrei Nekrasov: This especially affected my position. Browder has lawyers in every country. They threaten organizers of screenings and companies who financed my film. But these organizers are all western state-owned, they are not financed privately! One cannot condemn the movie as Russian propaganda! They banned showings in Belgium, threatened German channel, in Norway we could only show the movie on second attempt. In the US there was a closed screening of the movie, but Browder tried to cancel it as well. He has unlimited financial resources, I don’t have money to sue him. I have always criticized Russia for censorship and I remain a critic of the authorities now. But earlier my movies have been banned in Russia, now they are not shown in the West. This is a joke with the truth in it! The most terrifying thing is that Browder can call you a liar and a bastard who is dancing on the remains, he can destroy your reputation, insult your mother. You cannot do anything about it.

Question: Did Browder sue for libel?

Andrei Nekrasov: No, because he would have to discuss details of the story then, give official responses, I think he is afraid of it.

Question: Can your investigation lead to abolishment of the Magnitsky Act?

Andrei Nekrasov: I want politicians who passed the Act to know the truth and to feel ashamed before their voters. Democracy cannot be abused like that! One Bundestag member was a polite, democratic frau, but after I told her about a few inconsistencies in Magnitsky’s case she turned into a fury and called me an FSB agent. To friends their political circle is more important.

Question: You supported Russian opposition and you are not a stranger to them now, but you made such film. Why?

Andrei Nekrasov: It is a problem for me. Friends accused me of some kind of betrayal. When I tell Ilya Yashin that Magnitsky did not investigate anything, he turns facts on their heads in bad faith. Opposition members tell me that the movie was released specifically to abolish anti-Russian sanctions. But I started filming from a different position when there were no sanctions! I thought my friends from the opposition will not exchange the truth. The opposition is good, but when their political circle is more important to them than the truth, that is sad. I have always been a rebel, but they don’t discuss the content of the movie, they just tell me: why did you do that? They are searching for financial motivation. I have a question for the opposition: how could you have such low thoughts? I am very disappointed.

Question: Before you have been filming movies accusing Russia..

Andrew Nekrasov: Yes, they caused a furore in the West – movies about explosions of apartments in Moscow, Litvinenko’s case, the war in Georgia in 2008, wounded and killed children in Chechnya.

Question: Did they have evidence base?

Andrew Nekrasov: I understood them as opposition documentary maker. I am not denouncing these movies, but in Magnitsky’s film I became a detective. I did not do such detailed scrupulous investigation in my earlier movies.

Question: Where do you live? In Russia or in Europe?

Andrew Nekrasov: I live between Germany and Scandinavia. I am completely independent of Moscow professionally and politically. The ideological war goes on.

Question: What topics are you planning to take in the future?

Andrew Nekrasov: Norwegian producers want me to film a sequel about Magnitsky. The West has great prejudices about Russia. When a Western journalist investigates corruption in his country, he must present irrefutable evidence. When it comes to Russia he can refer to an unfounded claim in a blog: courts are corrupt, police are criminals. Proof? Not necessary. Even Magnitsky’s case was built on prejudices. I know how the West thinks, I want to make a movie to dispel these prejudices.

Question: What is going on between the West and Russia right now?

Andrew Nekrasov: An ideological Cold War is taking place. It is happening not only between Russia and the West, but also within the Russian society. I suspect Browder has more allies in Russia than it seems. How could a not elected, private citizen Browder have such a huge political influence? Why? It should concern not only Russia, but I think the West as well.

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Unfortunately it is disappointingly difficult to find any lengthy interviews about the film “The Magnitsky Act – Behind The Scenes”, either with the director or anyone else interested in what his censorship-victimized work conveys, reveals, and/or otherwise exposes. If what the director Mr. Nekrasov asserts is accurate, a global push for wide distribution and removing censorship of the film – involving people from all regions – has the potential for effecting timely improvement in U.S.-Russia relations.

If Mr. Nekrasov is speaking honestly, and while considering the amazing level of censorship of his important film in the West, one must seriously acknowledge the possibility information contained in the work is on the level of world-changing. In other words – extremely important. One place to demand the truth is at the doors of those in the U.S. Congress responsible for writing, advocating and passing the Magnitsky Act – in particular, the door of Arizona Senator John McCain.

Another place to act is worldwide through the many readily available channels on the internet.

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On the very consequential state of affairs and relations between the United States and Russia… Nothing less than total transparency will do; practicing the greatest possible freedom of speech is paramount. Honoring truth is all that matters.

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(Update: August 6, 2018. Bitchute.com link for viewing “The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes”)

Here is the link for men and women interested in viewing the important, Western-censored film by director Andrei Nekrasov. Please share everywhere. Thank you.

https://www.bitchute.com/video/y8FL1e6Bqos5/

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(Thank you to Russia Insider at YouTube)

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“The Putin Interviews”: Historic Documentary By Oliver Stone.

t the end of their long and thorough series of discussions on the most important issues facing the human race, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked famed filmmaker Oliver Stone: “Have you ever been beaten?”

By avoiding an explanation about why Mr. Putin asked Mr. Stone that particular puzzling question, perhaps men and women would become more curious, and intrigued enough to watch a cinematic event quite likely of historic consequence. 

Public reaction has yet to come forth fully on Parts 1-4 of “The Putin Interviews”. One can expect a range of reviews corresponding to the each reviewer’s level of knowledge and awareness about the issues discussed between Mr. Putin and Mr. Stone. However, it is nearly impossible to consider the film’s content and not come away feeling more positive about the future.

Viewers of “The Putin Interviews” will experience a media breakthrough with regard to U.S./Russia diplomatic relations, and at the same time gain an entirely new, more optimistic perspective on world events in 2017. 

The website “Information Clearing House” has been diligently trying to maintain its posting of the 4-part documentary:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47246.htm

Vitaly Churkin (1952-2017): Casualty Of Endless Wars.

By Jerry Alatalo

un-2Alphabet The great Russian diplomat and United Nations Ambassador Vitaly Churkin died suddenly in New York City, on the eve of his 65th birthday. As perhaps some measure of the man’s influence around the Earth, without ever meeting Vitaly Churkin personally this writer wept upon hearing the news of his passing. For men and women who have followed events at the United Nations, the Russian ambassador was a standout human being in that institution, in particular for his consistent integrity and straightforward speaking style, where one came to have high confidence his words were the truth – describing the real nature of the focused-upon situation.

His passing has fueled speculation about whether he may have been murdered with weaponry developed covertly by intelligence agencies in nations opposed to the Russian government, and therefore, some speculators suggest, Russia’s top diplomat was targeted for assassination. If such is the case nobody will ever know unless those involved confess, as certain publicly admitted top-secret weapons – the kind used for inducing fatal heart attacks, perhaps – can kill without leaving a trace. But, most likely Vitaly Churkin was not the victim of political assassination.

Endless wars are what finally destroyed Vitaly Churkin’s physical body; the damage to his heart became severe in mid-September 2016, after U.S. and coalition plane airstrikes in Deir ez Zor, Syria killed over 60 Syrian soldiers and injured more than one hundred. The immeasurable level of stress felt by Mr. Churkin and his United Nations colleagues at that time, when the potential for a dreaded World War III nightmare starting was palpable and real, damaged Vitaly Churkin’s heart as suggested with his shortness of breath while speaking to the press outside the Security Council.

In the five months that followed (the last five months of Vitaly Churkin’s life) the endless wars and conditions which cause them continued, he sensed (accurately or not) no relief but intensification ahead in the spiritual battles for all men and women who consider themselves peacemakers, until finally the stress of being in possibly the eye of the World War III hurricane – the profound responsibility and the tremendous weight – became too much, producing in him a massive and fatal heart attack.

Whatever the details and truth surrounding the passing of Russian United Nations Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whether the greatly respected world diplomat died of natural or unnatural cause(s), ultimately… he became another in the long, long line of victims falling to humanity’s endless wars.

(Thank you to Russia Insider at YouTube)

JFK’s World Peace Message For 2016.

By Jerry Alatalo

“Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.” Address to the United Nations, September 25, 1961

– JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917-assassinated 1963) 35th President of the United States

aaa-44Alphabet Shortly before his death, U.S. President John F. Kennedy (JFK) talked about world peace at the commencement at American University on June 10, 1963. Many changes have occurred on Earth in the 53 years which have passed. A group of very powerful men organized the assassination team which carried out the murder of John F. Kennedy, because world peace would interfere with, constrain and dis-empower their interests, plans and agendas.

John Kennedy’s speech in 1963, among other public announcements by JFK of his intentions, may have been the decisive event leading to his assassins’ irreversible choice of plotting what was nothing less than an American coup d’état, then ending his life. Perhaps one day soon the history books read by all students in America will accurately show the truth of what transpired in the murder of JFK. Until then, students suffer in profound measure by being given wrong history and, most importantly, from ignorance of facts necessary for making good moral choices faced over their entire lifetimes.

After 53 years, the truth of JFK’s murder – the men who carried it out and their reasons – has entered the awareness of more and more men and women around the Earth. The reasons were many and associated with the least-admired potentials of human philosophy, psychology and/or personal worldview. John F. Kennedy at the end of his life took courageous actions associated with, and striving toward, mankind’s greatest, most admirable potential. Perhaps now in the year 2016 joined efforts will strengthen and grow internationally to the point where such long-awaited and hoped for potential becomes finally realized…

Peace on Earth.

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(Transcript)

“…And we are all mortal.”

President Anderson, members of the faculty, Board of Trustees, distinguished guests, my old colleague, Senator Bob Byrd, who has earned his degree through many years of attending night law school, while I am earning mine in the next 30 minutes, ladies and gentlemen:

It is with great pride that I participate in this ceremony of the American University, sponsored by the Methodist Church, founded by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, and first opened by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. This is a young and growing university, but it has already fulfilled Bishop Hurst’s enlightened hope for the study of history and public affairs in a city devoted to the making of history and to the conduct of the public’s business. By sponsoring this institution of higher learning for all who wish to learn whatever their color or their creed, the Methodists of this area and the nation deserve the nation’s thanks, and I commend all those who are today graduating.

Professor Woodrow Wilson once said that every man sent out from a university should be a man of his nation as well as a man of his time, and I am confident that the men and women who carry the honor of graduating from this institution will continue to give from their lives, from their talents, a high measure of public service and public support.

“There are few earthly things more beautiful than a University,” wrote John Masefield, in his tribute to the English Universities – – and his words are equally true here. He did not refer to spires and towers, to campus greens and ivied walls. He admired the splendid beauty of the University, he said, because it was ” a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.”

I have, therefore, chose this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is to rarely perceived – – yet it is the most important topic on earth : world peace.

What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace – – the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living — the kind that enables man and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – – not merely peace for Americans by peace for all men and women – – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by the wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations unborn.

Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles – – which can only destroy and never create – – is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war – – and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament – – and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must re-examine our own attitude – as individuals and as a Nation – – for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward – – by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the Cold War and toward freedom and peace here at home.

First: Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many of us think it is unreal. But that is dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable – – that mankind is doomed – – that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

We need not accept that view. Our problems are man made – – therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable – – and we believe they can do it again.

I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the values of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace – – based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions – – on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace – – no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process – – a way of solving problems.

With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor – – it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors.

So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable – – and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly – – by making it seem more manageable and less remote – – we can help all people to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.

Second: Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims – – such as the allegation that ” American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of wars…that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union…(and that) the political aims of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries…(and) to achieve world domination.

Truly, as it was written long ago: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.” Yet it is sad to read these Soviet statements – – to realize the extent of the gulf between us. But it is also a warning – – a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodations as impossible and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats.

No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity. But we can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements – – in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture and in acts of courage.

Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique, among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union suffered in the course of the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked. A third of the nation’s territory, including nearly two thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland – – a loss equivalent to the devastation of this country east of Chicago.

Today, should total war ever break out again – – no matter how – – our two countries would become the primary targets. It is an ironical but accurate fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. And even in the Cold War, which brings burdens and dangers to so many countries, including this Nation’s closest allies – – our two countries bear the heaviest burdens. For we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counter-weapons.

In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of the Soviet Union as well as ours — and even the most hostile nations can be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations, and only those treaty obligations, which are in their own interest.

So, let us not be blind to our differences – – but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.

Third: Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Cold War, remembering that we are not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had history of the last eighteen years been different.

We must, therefore, persevere in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a way that it becomes in the Communists’ interest to agree on a genuine peace. Above all, while defending our vital interest, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy – – or of a collective death-wish for the world.

To secure these ends, America’s weapons are non-provocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplines in self-restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility.

For we can seek a relaxation of tensions without relaxing our guard. And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people – – but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.

Meanwhile, we seek to strengthen the United Nations, to help solve its financial problems, to make it a more effective instrument of peace, to develop it into a genuine world security system – – a system capable of resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the large and the small, and of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished.

At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends, are divided over issues which weaken western unity, which invite communist intervention or which threaten to erupt into war. Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East and in the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides. We have also tried to set an example for others – – by seeking to adjust small but significant differences with our own closest neighbors in Mexico and in Canada.

Speaking of other nations, I wish to make one point clear. We are bound to many nations by alliances. These alliances exist because our concern and theirs substantially overlap. Our commitment to defend Western Europe and West Berlin for example, stands undiminished because of the identity of our vital interests. The United States will make no deal with the Soviet Union at the expense of other nations and other peoples, not merely because they are our partners, but also because their interests and ours converge.

Our interests converge, however not only in defending the frontiers of freedom, but in pursuing the paths of peace. It is our hope – – and the purpose of Allied policies – – to convince the Soviet Union that she, too, should let each nation choose its own future, so long as that choice does not interfere with the choices of others. The communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, then peace would be much more assured.

This will require a new effort to achieve world law – – a new context for world discussions. It will require increased understanding between the Soviets and ourselves. And increased understanding will require increased contact and communications. One step in this direction is the proposed arrangement for a direct line between Moscow and Washington, to avoid on each side the dangerous delays, misunderstandings, and misreadings of the other’s actions which might occur at a time of crisis.

We have also been talking in Geneva about other first-step measures of arms control, designed to limit the intensity of the arms race and to reduce the risks of accidental war. Our primary long-range interest in Geneva, however, is general and complete disarmament – – designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. The pursuit of disarmament has been an effort of this Government since the 1920’s. It has been urgently sought by the past three Administrations. And however dim the prospects may be today, we intend to continue this effort – – to continue it in order that all countries, including our own, can better grasp what the problems and possibilities of disarmament are.

The one major area of these negotiations where the end is in sight – – yet where a fresh start is badly needed – – is in a treaty to outlaw nuclear tests. The conclusion of such a treaty – – so near and yet so far – – would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the further spread of nuclear arms. It would increase our security – – it would decrease the prospects of war. Surely this goal is sufficiently important to require our steady pursuit, yielding neither to the temptation to give up the whole effort nor the temptation to give up our insistence on vital and responsible safeguards.

I am taking this opportunity, therefore, to announce two important decisions in this regard.

First: Chairman Khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan and I have agreed that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history – – but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind.

Second: To make clear our good faith and solemn convictions on the matter, I now declare that the United States does not propose to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so. We will not be the first to resume. Such a declaration is no substitute for a formal binding treaty – – but I hope it will help us achieve one. Nor would such a treaty be a substitute for disarmament – – but I hope it will help us achieve it.

Finally, my fellow Americans, let us examine our attitude toward peace and freedom here at home. The quality and spirit of our own society must justify and support our efforts abroad. We must show it in the dedication of our own lives – – as many of you who are graduation today will have a unique opportunity to do, by serving without pay in the Peace Corps abroad or in the proposed National Service Corps here at home.

But wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our duties today, the peace is not secure because freedom is incomplete.

It is the responsibility of the Executive Branch at all levels of government – – local, state and national – – to provide and protect that freedom for all of our citizens by all means within their authority. It is the responsibility of the Legislative Branch at all levels, wherever that authority is not now adequate, to make it adequate. And it is the responsibility of all citizens in all sections of this country to respect the rights of all others and to respect the law of the land.

All this is not unrelated to world peace. “When a man’s ways please the Lord,” the Scriptures tell us, “he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights – – the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation – – the right to breathe air as nature provided it – – the right of future generations to a healthy existence?

While we proceed to safeguard our national interests, let us also safeguard human interests. And the elimination of war and arms is clearly in the interest of both. No treaty, however much it may be to the advantage of all, however tightly it may be worded, can provide absolute security against the risks of deception and evasion. But it can – – if it is sufficiently effective in its enforcement and if it is sufficiently in the interests of its signers – – offer far more security and far fewer risks than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race.

The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough – – more than enough – – of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on – – not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.

(Thank you to WorldBeyondWar.org at YouTube)