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America’s latest witch-hunt

Tony Kevin

The current Maria Butina indictment in the US reminds one of Voltaire’s famous saying: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. I do not share Maria Butina’s fondness for guns or for the National Rifle Association’s aggressive lobbying for easy public access to guns. Nor would I put up my hand to attend National Prayer Breakfasts in the US. But she seems to be an innocent victim of current Washington elite Russophobia.

Maria Butina was keen to develop networks in these major pro- Republican US civil society organisations, especially in the years leading up to Trump’s election in late 2016. She has recently been arrested – on 15 July, one day before the Helsinki Summit – on two grounds : conspiracy (18 USC §371) , and failing to register as an agent of Russian influence (18 USC §951(a) ) . Here are the indictment documents.

With sympathetic US government representations to the Court, penalties for failing to register as a foreign agent §951 could conceivably be waived or minimised . But the conspiracy charge §371, if found proven by the Court , is very serious indeed. As Reuters reports the case:

Butina has been accused of working with a high-powered Russian official and two unidentified U.S. citizens, trying to infiltrate a pro-gun rights organization in the United States and influence the United States’ foreign policy toward Russia.’

Maria Butina faces up to ten years in US prison on these charges. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, protested vehemently to his counterpart Mike Pompeo, saying the charges are fabricated. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova was similarly forceful in condemnation, saying the long-planned indictment had been timed to try to derail the Helsinki Summit. Her detailed 18 July statement:

Arrest of Russian national Maria Butina in the United States

We are dismayed by the reported arrest of Russian citizen Maria Butina in the US on July 15. According to a statement on the website of the US Justice Department, she is charged with conspiracy to act as a foreign agent without registration.

These unsubstantiated claims against our fellow national seem odd, to say the least. As we know, Maria Butina has been in the United States for a long time as a student at a university in Washington and she has not been hiding from anybody.

It appears that instead of dealing with its core responsibilities in fighting crime, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is carrying out a blatant political order. As we understand it, the order came from those who continue to stir up Russophobic hysteria, for which purpose they regularly plant more fictional sensations about Russia’s alleged interference in the internal affairs of the United States.

On July 13, twelve Russians, who are currently outside the United States, were charged, as we have already mentioned. Now these ridiculous claims are made against Maria Butina – and she has even been arrested.

We could go on and on analysing this situation. We have the impression that the arrest, as a restrictive measure, was selected specifically to show the seriousness of the issue to the US public and to allies outside the country. The media immediately started referring to Butina as a spy and looked for connections with the security services, to build up tension without any substantial facts.

All this is happened right before the bilateral summit in Helsinki, with the obvious purpose of minimising the positive effect of the meeting and doing this as soon as possible. It appears that somebody took a watch, a calculator and timed when the decision on Maria Butina’s arrest should be taken in order to do as much as possible to sabotage the results of the summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump. This is how good the timing was.

It is possible to elaborate on the subject in the following way. If you have complaints against a person (and it is not a national security issue) you can always bring it to Russia’s attention. And more importantly, the matter could have been discussed, for example, in preparation for the summit. The US could have provided the details to its Russian counterparts and, also for example, discussed it on the margins of the summit or somehow touched base on the issue during the summit. Not a single word was said about it. The entire problem was concocted right after the summit. Given that Russia is a permanent topic of discussion in the US, that all the media are pumping up the hysteria, the bomb eventually detonated.

For our part, we are taking all possible measures to protect the rights and legal interests of the Russian national. The Russian Embassy in Washington contacted the US authorities and is pressing for an urgent consular meeting with Ms Butina, and this consular meeting is mandatory.

Immediately, allegations and rumours spread via social media. Users started to search for pictures of Maria Butina taking part in Russia-US meetings over the past two years.

There was a follow-up Russian Foreign Ministry media statement a week later, on 26 July, which offers disturbing detail of the harsh process of her arrest, and culminating in the claim that she is a political prisoner:

Arrest of Russian citizen Maria Butina in the US

We continue to closely monitor the fate of Russian citizen Maria Butina, arrested in Washington on July 15. Russian Embassy employees have visited her in prison, and have attended the court sessions where a measure of restraint and other procedural issues were determined, including yesterday. We have sent a resolute protest to the US State Department against the actions taken against her, including the severe psychological pressure she was subjected to.

Butina was subjected to an eight-hour search in the arrest process, as FBI agents armed with automatic firearms burst into her rented apartment, literally breaking furniture, shaking and even tearing up things, opening floors and walls. They found nothing incriminating, but despite the complete lack of evidence, Maria Butina was refused release.

The FBI’s thin case against Butina, as anyone can read on the internet, is actually based on decontextualised excerpts from her personal correspondence in social media. They are trying to incriminate her in a violation of the US foreign agents law, although she did not work for any foreign state, but studied at a Washington university and, taking a great interest in weapons, went to National Rifle Association of America events. She did this openly, not hiding her Russian citizenship, not hiding acquaintances or contacts, because there was nothing to hide.

However, certain political forces in the United States, pursuing self-serving interests, invented a story of Russian interference in the US elections, and this mudslinging campaign against Russia actually sent Butina to prison on a framed case – in fact, simply due to her nationality. What is this, if not a witch-hunt? There are fears that any of our compatriots in America might find themselves to be the next targets.

We demand that the US authorities immediately stop this arbitrariness and release Maria Butina. Her arrest is motivated solely by US domestic and foreign politics, and, therefore, she is a political prisoner.

Claiming her to be a likely flight risk into the Russian Embassy, the FBI quickly secured a court order to detain Butina pending her trial. Her trial is proposed by the prosecution to be held in secret because evidence to be presented is claimed to relate to ongoing national security investigations.

The Russian Embassy in Washington commented on Facebook:

We are surprised by the prosecution’s continued attempts to classify #FreeMariaButina case, thereby limiting public access to the details of the legal proceedings. Same tactic, as we see, is used by the 🇬🇧 special services concerning the Skripals case.

According to the Bloomberg report, the next hearing has been set for 10 September. So Maria Butina will have been jailed for eight weeks without trial, preparatory to a secret trial. One can only imagine her fear and distress.

I share the widespread Russian sense of outrage at this cruel and misconceived arrest and legal process. Maria Butina has not been accused of being a spy, of stealing American national security secrets, or of subverting American officials. At worst, she was a naive admirer of American ‘Wild West’ culture and its gun laws, which she wanted to emulate in Russia. She has publicly compared her birthplace, Siberia, to the American West, and Russian Cossacks to cowboys. She is, at worst, naive and imprudent, a fantasist about her imaginary idealised America. Not a spy or criminal by any reasonable or civilised measure.

Most of the preceding and following biographical detail comes from the Wikipedia article on Maria Butina and the court indictment papers, referenced above.

Maria Butina, now aged 29, was born in 1988 in Barnaul, in Altai Krai, Siberia. A tall athletic girl, her father used to take her hunting with him and taught her to shoot and handle guns from an early age. She did well at school and university, taking a degree in political science at Altai State University at age 19 in 2007. She moved to Moscow in 2011 , starting an advertising agency after building a successful furniture retail business in Altai. She joined the youth wing of the United Russia Party, the dominant political party in Russia.

Also in 2011, Butina founded a gun-rights organization, Right to Bear Arms, that lobbied to change Russia’s strict gun control laws. She began traveling back and forth to the U.S., initially with Aleksandr Torshin, who was then a Senator in the Federation Council of Russia, and a leading member of United Russia Party. He had hired her as his “special assistant” that year. In 2012, they lobbied the Federation Council to expand gun rights. In 2015, Butina said that Right to Bear Arms had 10,000 members and 76 offices in Russia.

In August 2016, two years ago, she moved to the United States on a student visa, and enrolled as a graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C. Torshin had become a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia in January 2015, and she worked as his special assistant until May 2017.

While a graduate student in US, her favoured hobbies were networking and cultivating her contacts in NRA and National Prayer Breakfast circles, and dipping into American Republican politics. In a June 2015 article published in The National Interest, a conservative American international affairs magazine, just before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, she urged better relations between the United States and Russia. At a public meeting in July 2015, she had asked candidate Donald Trump about prospects for lifting US sanctions against Russia If he were elected. She was delighted at his reply that he saw no need for such sanctions.

She was effectively an amateur lobbyist for the cause of improved Russia-US relations and for Russia to adopt US gun laws. In one sense, therefore, she was paradoxically an agent of American influence in Russia. There is a photo of her leading a street demonstration in Moscow with banners advocating relaxation of Russia’s quite strict gun ownership licensing laws.

She loved guns. She thought wider gun ownership would deter violent crime and make Russian society safer. Naturally she became popular in some NRA circles. There are many photos of her toting guns in her cowboy gear.

She cultivated older wealthy men along the way. Nothing unusual there, in a young ambitious woman with no family connections. Torshin had allegedly helped to fund and arrange her move to Washington, and put her in touch with the Russian Embassy there.

Once settled there, she soon developed a personal relationship with an older American, a senior NRA member. The indictment papers report that she told some people this was not for her a deep or committed relationship.

The indictment papers say that she regularly reported on her activities, through entirely overt and non-clandestine open telephone or Internet channels, to a contact in the Russian Embassy in Washington, who was expelled in March 2018 as an alleged spy, in the post-Skripal round of diplomatic expulsions. This history of contact with the Embassy is now being held against her, to support the more serious conspiracy charge.

This vindictive politically motivated prosecution will damage US-Russian relations even further. Her distressed father has called the charges against her ‘psychopathy and a witch-hunt’.

The more this sort of thing happens to Russians in the US, the more that Russians will despise America as a strange and cruel country.

My country, Australia, has just passed similar Agent of Foreign Influence laws. One can readily imagine such a prosecution of an ambitious but naive Russian immigrant or temporary student resident here , coming under surveillance and being eventually arrested for some relatively innocuous political activity like joining in environmental activism involving some minor temporary activities defined in the new laws as sabotage , with some sexual misconduct allegations being thrown in to spice the stew. Sentencing could be severe, as in US. In the current Russophobic official political climate in Australia, no mercy could be expected from government or opposition parties.

This story leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. To my mind, Maria Butina is an innocent casualty of American liberal-Democratic Party and anti-Trump Russophobia, gone feral.

She ticks so many of her accusers’ ‘hate’ boxes : Trump admirer, Putin admirer, admirer of the NRA and Prayer Breakfast cultures, sexually liberated , open about her wish to bring the two countries she loved most – Russia and America – closer together. A lot of ideological scores are being settled here, and this poor young woman is the first victim. There could be more such victims, in the US and possibly here in US camp follower Australia.

Trump has very little scope to help her, even if he wanted to. She is now caught up in the brutal mechanics of the US justice system, and the liberal democratic mainstream media are already busily trying to convict her in the court of US public opinion., crafting a false ‘Red Sparrow’ or Anna Chapman spy image of her. It is a very sad story and I fear it will not end well for Maria.

Tony Kevin, a former Australian senior diplomat, is an independent non-fiction author. His most recent book is ‘Return to Moscow’, a literary travel memoir published by UWA Publishing in 2017.

59 Comments

  1. Johnny Sacks says

    Her basic mistake was not going to work for the Saudis or Israelis, because we’re 100% cool with repressive feudal kingdoms and apartheid states.

  2. Michael McNulty says

    All totalitarian regimes abuse their legal systems to target opponents. Not only is that the case with this poor woman but the man convicted for the false-flag Boston smoke bombing looks likely to be executed at some point. Very dark days in the US in particular, in Israel also and of late in Britain for false flags leading to the convictions of patsies.

  3. This is just nonsense.

    Not that I support the NRA or the other policies she seems to be espousing, but she is hardly expressing views uncommon in America. It is an odd world when a Russian expressing hardcore Republican values is portrayed as a criminal worthy of 10 years in jail.

    Imagine me being arrested in Red Square for holding up a banner saying ‘God Bless Vladimir Putin! Support Nordstream II!’

  4. JJ139 says

    Meanwhile, the Guardian does another bitt of puffer for the puerile Pussy Riot and their ‘show’ at the Edinburgh Festival, screaming: Recently, members of Pussy Riot were again jailed for defying Putin. A timely act of solidarity.
    I presume they mean the 15-day sentence they got for invading the pitch to spoil the World Cup Final.

    I wonder what sentence they would get in US for impersonating police officers and invading the Superbowl?

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      The Pussy Rot harridans are perfect examples of the type of vile creature that ‘Western Moral Values’ seek to impose on every country on Earth. Basically prostitutes cum low-rent porn wannabes, I am at a loss to decide which of their ‘performances’ best encapsulates the essence of their characters. Was it having anal heterosexual intercourse in a museum, or shoving a frozen chicken up their privates, or painting a giant dick on a bridge, or desecrating a religious building with shrieking banshee wails? No wonder the Fraudian feminazis and Russophobes love them so much. Their very debasement as human beings slanders the society from which they emerged, and which they left behind for greener pastures in the West.

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    • Another puff-piece from The Independent https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/oksana-shachko-dead-femen-suicide-cause-of-death-a8461681.html
      Oksana Shachko death: Femen founder’s body discovered in Paris apartment

      The Femen movement was founded in Kiev in 2008, and has won notoriety in Europe for its protests – usually topless – against religious institutions, dictatorial regimes, homophobia and sex tourism.

      Another post on the group’s blog called Ms Shachko “one of the heroines of our time.”

      It said she “fought against injustice, fought for equality, fought for herself and for all women as a hero.”

      “Oksana is no more with us, but she is here, she is everywhere. Oksana is in each of us, she is in Femen, she is in the history of feminism.”

  5. Yonatan says

    Secret evidence presented to a secret court with a pre-determined guilty verdict – the very essence of US ‘democracy’.

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    • Gary Weglarz says

      Yonatan – quite right – here in the U.S. “reality itself” has become “a secret” – one only those with the highest of security clearances can hope to have access to. The rest of us are left to be endlessly entertained by the daily theatre of the absurd that is U.S. media’s recounting of the latest CIA drivel about “Russians” and “Assad” and the oh so dangerous “Venezuelan’s,” and of course the pressing need for a yet bigger “defense” budget.

      Life in the U.S. is like residing in some sort of surreal nuclear armed carnival – presided over by a group of mad clowns who having embarked upon a rather bad acid trip have come to what they consider the “brilliant insight” – filtered through their pharmacological haze – that “perhaps destroying the entire planet in a meaningless nuclear holocaust wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all!”

      The entire country is now completely certifiably bat-shit crazy AND contains a populace convinced of our “exceptional” nature AND possesses a military devoted to “full-spectrum dominance.” What could possibly go wrong?

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  6. Amendment VI, United States Constitution:

    “In ALL criminal prosecutions, THE ACCUSED shall enjoy the right to a speedy and PUBLIC trial . . .”

    Note that it says “all” criminal trials, no exceptions for trials the government doesn’t want the public to know about.

    Note that it says “the accused,” not just US citizens, but anyone facing criminal charges.

    Not that it specifies “public trial,” and provides for no exceptions.

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  7. Sure, she will be tried in secret, but you can be assured that the spooks will selectively leak to it’s media partners everything that they need you to know.

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  8. Harry Stotle says

    I do not know who the US equivalent is, but these accusations bear all the trademarks of Constable Savage in action!

    • Yarkob says

      poor Maria’s been caught in possession of an offensive nationality

      in the meantime, did anyone watch the Charlie Rowley interview on Sky? “my hands were covered in the stuff”

      It just gets more surreal every day..what next one wonders

  9. On the one hand I’m not keen on the readily available to every mental challenged social misfit in the US(of whom there are many) but really, contrast that with the views of many patriot friends who feel that is a check on government power and, coming from the ‘gun culture’ of Pakistan/Afghanistan, sure, why not?

    That’s how armed resistance defeats imperial designs every time, be it Korea/Vietnam/South America/Afghanistan.

    • If I were Leader of a country and wanted to invade the U$A, the number of guns in private hands would seriously dissuade me from “putting boots on the ground”. Instead, I would do what some other countries have already done: buy the POTUS (eg, $50 Billion for Clinton), the Senate (a couple of $G) and Congress ($500 Million the Lot).

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        It would be easy-just remember the Gilded Age oligarch’s words-‘I can hire one half of the American working-class to kill the other half’. Divide and conquer would be child’s play in the USA. After all, a few hundreds ‘Russian’ Tweets and Farcebook posts has them at one anothers’ throats already.

  10. Fair dinkum says

    Scapegoats are thick on the ground in repressive ‘democracies’
    And they’re being hit by bulldozers.

  11. Is this all going to turn into “The Deep State US Show Trial” except that it will be held in camera.

    Perhaps Deep State would like to bring a bit of Stalinism to America.

    Maybe, by having a picture of her holding a gun represents a threat to American security. Actually, she sounds more of a threat to Russian society in wanting a relaxation of gun laws in Russia.

    This is all the theatre of the absurd, the age of “farcism” controlled by a bunch of little “farcists”.

    I liked the comment that all people in government with dual nationality should and maybe must register as a foreign agent.

    Would anybody be surprised if the next thing we hear is that she has been transported to Guantanamo indefinitely as an enemy non combatant?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      This is typical US ‘Justice’ as dispensed by a Justice department controlled, at the top, by Zionists. The history of judicial lynchings of Palestinians in the USA is bad enough, but the widespread use of false charges, threats of horrific imprisonment in the brutal Hell-holes of US prisons, unless ‘plea bargaining’ is consented to, is well known to the black and other minority communities. It’s the ‘Rule of Law’, Imperial style, one of our fabulous ‘moral values’. You see the same sort of legal lynching here in Austfailure where the Indigenous, men, women and children, are imprisoned at the highest rates per capita in the world. It is also where brutal thug cops who beat Indigenous men so mercilessly that the injuries, like a cleaved liver, were compared by the coroner to a high-speed car crash, still are acquitted, Mississippi-style, by all White juries.
      Butina, a supporter of the Western stooge and fascist, Navalny, has been set up to ‘sing, and compose’ as was observed on RT, to further the Russophobia witch-hunt. Faced with ten years or more in gaol, she’ll gladly name Putin as her personal controller, and the presstitute vermin will regurgitate it without question.

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    • Antonyl says

      “The Deep State US Show Trial” except that it will be held in camera. No: Prosecutors made the argument during a court hearing Wednesday in Washington, saying they were preparing to turn over to the defense two batches of about 1.5 million documents each. That can’t happen, they said, until Butina’s lawyer agrees to keep the information confidential. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-25/u-s-says-evidence-against-accused-russian-must-remain-secret
      Their case is so strong that it the ‘proof” has to be kept secret, all 3 million documents. Stalinesque or Kafkaesque, now in the US of A.

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  12. Martin Usher says

    All that this tells us about Butina is that that Russians can be silly gun-nuts too — its not an exclusively US phenomenon. It also suggests that we are unwittingly taking TV shows like “The Russians” seriously. The problem we’ve got is that this appears to be a nothing case brought for political gain which unfortunately can’t be quietly disposed of because of the publicity so it looks like the lady’s going to become ‘collateral damage’.

    McCarthy wasn’t a one off; this kind of thing is a perennial undercurrent of US life that you have to be aware of. We do free speech in the US, its baked into our Constitution, but it pays to remember that its only up to a point, especially if you happen to be born overseas.

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    • Harry Stotle says

      What it tells us is that once a sufficient level of anti-Russian paranoia has been generated by the media (acting at the behest of their handlers in intelligence community) then any form of rational discourse flies out the window.

      In other words objective reality is easily suspended once manufactured threats to national security are invoked.

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  13. Jen says

    ‘… In one sense, therefore, she was paradoxically an agent of American influence in Russia …

    The irony here is that Maria Butina was an ideal candidate for grooming as a potential opposition politician who, if nudged gently and skillfully, could be persuaded to join ranks with the odious Alexei Navalny who is in need of ideas and a good-looking ally with a ready-made agenda on which he could build future political campaigns.

    Instead the Americans have just (er) shot themselves in the foot by arresting and imprisoning her, and denying her the right to a proper trial.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      I don’t see it that way. I see her as someone who, once threatened with a typically Draconian sentence in some Hell-hole US gaol, will sing her heart out concerning how Putin, personally, trained and instructed her to undermine US society.

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      • Mulga Mumblebrain has obviously seen the very good recent http://www.rt.com Crosstalk 25 minute panel on Butina Affair, which I recommend to readers of off-Guardian.

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=54lB5upemT4

        ex-CIA senior agent Ray McGovern was particularly good, but the other two panellists were good too.

        The plea bargaining point is important – to ‘ sing and compose’ , i.e. to lie and incriminate others , in hope of reducing the 10 year sentence she faces. I don’t think she would do it, and I think she would denounce it publicly before or in her trial. Th3 Russian Wmbassy have consular access to her and this will help keep her spirits up. No doubt they will find the best lawyers for her.

        One troublesome point – on that panel , Joe Lauria of Consortium News said he had heard that Bukina was a supporter of Navalny . I have seen no evidence or reports of this and it does not fit her profile according to my gut instinct or research into her at all. Can Joe Lauria enlighten us as to his source? Does he think it is reliable ? Until then, I would regard this claim with extreme suspicion . It could be an American agency troublemaking , trying to drive wedges between Bukina and her government. Don’t help them, Mulga Mumblebrain.

        Tony Kevin

        • Jen says

          A story by Viktor Davydov and translated by Kevin Rothrock at Meduza.io links Maria Butina to Alexei Navalny:

          “Meet Maria Butina, the FBI’s Russian gun nut undeclared foreign agent”
          https://meduza.io/en/feature/2018/07/18/meet-maria-butina-the-fbi-s-russian-gun-nut-undeclared-foreign-agent

          ‘… In 2014, Maria Butina participated in the Civic Chamber’s electronic elections. Anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, whom many in the West know as the leader of the anti-Putin opposition, endorsed her candidacy, saying, “Butina lobbies for the civilian right to bear arms and is almost the only person leading a normal election campaign.” Butina failed to win a seat in the chamber. Sources who worked with Butina told Meduza that she has “oppositionist views” and “took part in the Bolotnaya protests,” but being a “fan of the gun idea in Russia” she was read to work “with both the opposition and the party of power.” …’

          Also according to the story, Butina is a protégée of Alexander Torshin, a former Russian Federation upper house politician (equivalent to federal senator in Australia and the US) and who recently became deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia. Torshin is also a supporter of the right to bear arms in Russia.

          Torshin’s Wikipedia entry states that he is the subject of a US Senate Intelligence committee investigation into alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential elections and is the subject of an FBI probe into whether Moscow funnelled money through the US National Rifle Association into Donald Trump’s campaign.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Torshin

          Doesn’t it seem likely that Maria Butina came to the attention of the FBI for being apparently close to Alexander Torshin, given his past history as a senator equivalent in the Russian parliament and his current senior position at the Central Bank of Russia? Could she and Torshin be the wedge to drive the Central Bank of Russia away from the Russian government?

          Normally I’d give Meduza.io a wide berth but sometimes its reporters do good work.

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          • Mulga Mumblebrain says

            Thanatopia spends tens of billions EVERY year to subvert countries around the world. The Zionist, Gershman, who heads the NED, one of the prime organs used to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs, bragged in the Congress recently, while giving testimony on the NED’s current activities, that in many countries they play ‘a long game’, financing traitors, compradores, stooges and ‘assets’ for years, even decades. In Ukraine another Zionist, Victoria Nudelman boasted that the US had spent five billion to install a neo-Nazi puppet regime in Kiev, over decades, with a Colour Revolution, the ‘Orange Revolution’ as part of the process. It all culminated in 2014 in a fascist putsch after the usual ‘mysterious sniper killings’ organised by the CIA, then a few atrocities against Russian-speakers and massive ethnic cleansing in the Donbass, all facts concerning which sewers of human excrement like the Fraudian will lie and deny until the crack of Doom.

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        • Jen says

          Evidence that in the past Alexei Navalny has endorsed Maria Butina for the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation:
          https://navalny.com/p/3571/

          This is the source of the information that Joe Lauria later picked up, either directly or through an intermediary source. Sputnik News and Meduza.io quote Navalny as saying Butina was the only one of a number of candidates able to conduct a “normal election campaign”.

          • Hi Jen, reading the article through Google translate I see Navalny mentions her as one of seven candidates worth supporting for an otherwise useless chamber 3) “Butina lobbies the right to civilian weapons and almost the only one who conducts a normal election campaign” but prefers others?

            • Jen says

              Navalny did recommend others over Butina in 2014, you are correct but the fact that he includes her in a list of seven candidates worth voting for and that he singles her out for the way she campaigns shows that he is endorsing her as someone worth following, even if not straight away.

              • Tony Kevin says

                Thank you for these details, from which I am satisfied there is the thinnest of Navalny connections. To be included in a list of seven candidates for a council Navalny would support is not a substantial working connection by any reasonable definition.

                As to Torshin: Butina was working for this Russian Central Bank Deputy Governor as his special assistant, so naturally they would have attended meetings with relevant American government Treasury officials together . No conspiracy here that I can see – just two people doing their jobs. Stephen Cohen recently referred to ‘the criminalisation of diplomacy.’ Here is an example. Tony Kevin.

                • Jen says

                  The thing is, Maria Butina could potentially have been someone willing to work for or with Alexei Navalny as an agent of American influence and infiltration into Russia, and into her home region of Altai Krai, which I understand borders northern Kazakhstan, in particular.

                  Instead in their drive to purge the US of Russian meddling (political, economic, cultural, whatever), the US authorities practically threw away that opportunity to groom Butina as someone they could use.

      • JJ139 says

        She will probably admit to smearing novichok on door knobs in Salisbury, chucking cellophane sealed perfume packages in bushes in parks there, and driving around in a Romanian registered car with a group of dodgy Russian.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          A ‘group of dodgy Russians LED BY V V PUTIN HIMSELF!!!!’. Get with the program, boyo!

    • Michael McNulty says

      You have a good point, so maybe this arrest has saved her life. Anybody who opposes Putin is useful to the west when murdered by the CIA/MI6/Mossad so the blame can be placed on Vladimir.

  14. MichaelK says

    The phrase… breaking a butterfly on a wheel, comes to mind. I feel sorry for this young woman. Her prospects are not good. At this rate virtually any Russian can be picked up and charged with almost anything, and probably convicted. It’ll be a show-trial.

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  15. Achie1954 says

    When I read all the Russian witch hunt nonsense emanating from Washington, it makes me wonder just how ignorant and foolish American political leaders truly are! They are making themselves the laughing stock of the World!

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  16. I seem to recall this ‘failure to register’ law was used extensively and to great fanfare was during the years of the US Red Scare of the late 1940s to about 1960. Then the Feebs used it prosecute US citizens who had Leftist politics. Many (but not all) were members of the Communist Party USA. All laws are political. All law enforcement is part of class war.

  17. Baron says

    What surprises is that the American Congress hasn’t yet sanctioned, issued a warrant for the arrest of Putin, he’s the one they want, not some gun crazy young woman befriending older men.

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  18. Harry Stotle says

    I assume trumped up charges against Maria Butina are a means of ramping up psychological pressure against Russia – the only surprise in a country that has suspended legal norms (epitomised by Guitmo) is that it has taken them this long to embrace the kind of methods usually associated with terrorist organisations.

    I’m sure the likes of Julian Assange will be following developments with a fair degree of trepidation.

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    • Skip says

      “.. the only surprise in a country that has suspended legal norms (epitomised by Gitmo)

      The United States has the world’s largest prison population & a mere 5% of that population was sentenced following a TRIAL. The USA stands for imprisonment without trial, in such a country anything goes.

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        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          Civil trials in India sometimes continue for generations. And one state declared, some years ago, that they were going to abolish red tape, in a trice. From that date forward all legal and Government documents were to be bound in blue tape, instead.

      • USAma Bin Laden says

        Yet America never fails to run its mouth and boast about how it is the Land of the Free and Leader of the Free World.

        Yes, the self-styled Land of the Free imprisons more of its own people than any nation on the planet.

        Orwellian American values at their very finest!

  19. David William Pear says

    This is a very frightening trend. As with the entrapment of Muslim US residents and citizens plotting “terrorism”, there will be many more “Russian spies” rounded up.

    I wonder how many of the 40 plus members of Congress that have dual citizenship with Israel have registered as “agents of a foreign government”. I would expect none.

    The reason I bring Israel up is just an example of how the FBI–government–will use political repression selectively. It is fascistic.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Nearly all the trials for ‘terrorism’ in the USA in recent years involved stupid and young Moslem dupes, and FBI-controlled informers, or provocateurs to be accurate. Some of these set-up agents were involved in more than one case, and many of the ‘perps’, like the Boston Marathon patsies were long and very well-known to the FBI. But then again a very high percentage of ‘terrorists’ in the West, like the so-called 7/7 bombers (more patsies) were so well known that they were more or less part of the ‘intelligence’ apparatus (just like Oswald) until they proved more useful in another role.

      • Jen says

        Indeed, the patsy Tsarnaev brothers’ uncle Ruslan Tsarny was once married to the daughter of a former CIA agent Graham Fuller, the same fellow who also brought Fethullah Gulen from Turkey to the US.

        And dear Uncle Ruslan also had links to a group of energy execs in Kazakhstan, one of whom owned an offshore trust that bought Prince Andrew’s old Summerhill digs.

        https://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2013/04/boston-bombers-cia-connection-and.html

        Getting a little incestuous, aren’t we?

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          I remember well how the Tsarnaevs’ mother stated that the FBI were always around at her place, visiting her boys. The fakestream media ‘Memory Holed’ that one. Then there is Ibragim Todashev, an inconvenient witness to matters, murdered in cold blood by an FBI goon, during an ‘interview’.

  20. vexarb says

    ” It is a very sad story and I fear it will not end well for Maria.”

    In the end it’s not how we ended but what we stood for that matters.

    Sophie Scholl.

    Ahed Tamimi
    https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5318985,00.html

    Maria Butina

    Alive or dead, freed or imprisoned,, they will all be remembered as examples of vulnerable human courage in the face of a stampeding herd.

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  21. Thanks for this timely analysis Tony Kevin. In the United States of Atrophy the Neo-con and deep state’s psychopathy continues and is spinning out of control vastly magnified through the WMSM’s warped looking glass.

    This is a sad story of a Russian who bought into the crazed gun-slinging ethos which forms the basis of the world’s most exceptional democracy. Well we are seeing now how that hubristic claim is unravelling fast. I agree with the authors belief that this will not end well for Maria Butina. But it ought to send a clear signal to anyone in Russia or elsewhere on the big blue ball that the US of A is a criminal state with no handle on the brake…

    To paraphrase Ian Anderson a little…

    He picks up Gideon’s Bible
    Open at page one
    I think God He stole the handle and
    The train won’t stop going
    No way to slow down
    No way to slow down
    No way to slow down etc. etc.

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  22. summitflyer says

    A childish move on the part of the US to be sure.It never ends does it ,they keep making fools of themselves .And I thought America was exceptional .NOT.

    12
    • vexarb says

      @SummitFlyer. Ever since his MacArthy circus I have considered Uncle $cam exceptionally funny? (Funny ridiculous, not funny hahah)

    • Now, now summitflyer, least you remember that in the great exceptional U.S. democracy there is plenty of room for “making fools” of themselves.

      Being “childish” and fucking stupid is what we do best. It is damn close to being its own political party!

      Well, Tubularsock is off to another Prayer Breakfast with Tubularsock’s AK47, amen.

      • Jen says

        Well Tubularsock better be careful praying or else Tubularsock’s prayer to be closer to the Tubularsock deity might be fulfilled a little too early.

        Perhaps bowing more slowly and gently so Tubularsock doesn’t keep bruising his (her?) head against the gunstock is the solution?

        • Jen, Tubularsock has taken your fine advice and put rubber bumper pads on all Tubularsock’s gunstocks. Now do you have any solution for the black rubber marks across Tubularsock’s forehead?

          Just wondering.

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