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“Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice” is the motto of the American Bar Association, and among the association’s four stated goals, one is to “advance the rule of law.” Toward this goal, the ABA is committed to “hold governments accountable under law,” “assure meaningful access to justice for all persons,” and “preserve the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary.”
Given these pledges, it may seem odd that the association’s newly appointed president has worked as both a lawyer and lobbyist for some of the world’s most repressive regimes, as well as institutions and corporations connected to them. Nonetheless, it is true: Carolyn Lamm, a D.C.-based corporate attorney who was named ABA president in August, has registered as a lobbyist in the past for such authoritarian states as Libya and Zaire. A longtime partner at the prestigious international firm White & Case, Lamm has also had close ties in recent years to entities associated with the tyrannical government of Uzbekistan and its ruling family, working, for example, as the legal counsel of Zeromax, a massive Swiss-registered company widely reported to be controlled by Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s authoritarian President Islam Karimov.
Lamm declined to comment for this story, and an ABA spokeswoman stated in an email refusing to comment that “she is comfortable that her work with a wide range of clients around the world speaks for itself.”
Yes, it does.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”