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UPDATED: Maria Butina Endgame

Tony Kevin

The Maria Butina criminal investigation, cruel and futile as it has been, seems to be approaching resolution. I wrote in some detail in Off-Guardian on 29 July about the 15 July arrest by the FBI in Washington DC of a 29-year-old Russian national, a postgraduate student in Washington DC and gun enthusiast, Maria Butina.

I was not expecting Maria Butina to be still languishing in solitary confinement in a high-security prison in Virginia awaiting trial as an agent of foreign influence, over four months later. Yet this is what has happened to this unfortunate young aspiring lobbyist for better US-Russian relations.

The Russian Government considers her, with good cause in my view, to be an innocent political prisoner who has been sorely mistreated – a victim of current American elite Russophobia.

On 22 July, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told US Secretary of State Pompeo that Butina, arrested in the US on 15 July , one day before the Helsinki Summit began, under accusations that she was a Russian agent, had been detained on ‘fabricated charges’ and should be released. The Russian Foreign Ministry in ensuing months steadily upped the pressure, with regular prison visits to Maria whenever they could, and press updates by an increasingly outspoken Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, who commented officially on 5 December:

Update on Maria Butina:-

We are outraged by the pressure that the American authorities are exerting on Russian citizen Maria Butina, who was arrested in the US last summer on trumped-up charges. Once more, her detention terms have been toughened. She is in solitary confinement for 22 hours per day. Ms Butina is not receiving proper medical care. We consider this an attempt to intimidate and break her down ahead of the court hearing – I should note once again on a fabricated case – scheduled for December 19.

Russian diplomats in Washington take every effort to support Ms Butina, visiting and calling her on a regular basis. They have sent a resolute protest to the prison officials, demanding that this degrading treatment stop. A note containing a harsh demarche in this connection has been sent to the Department of State.

We will continue demanding the release of Ms Butina, who is a victim of this blatant outrage…

On 10 December, news broke dramatically in US media (which has been grossly vindictive and defamatory in its reporting on Butina, e.g., watch any Rachel Maddow MSNBC commentary to get the full nasty flavour) that Butina had agreed a plea deal with US Federal prosecutors, which was to be submitted for approval to Judge Tanya Chutkan , hopefully today (but already delayed twice).

The initial indictment in July had charged Butina with one major charge – conspiracy to act as an agent of foreign influence (18 USC §371), and one lesser charge – failing to register as an agent of foreign influence (18 USC § 951). See my earlier Off-Guardian essay.

These charges were framed around Butina’s alleged role in an alleged covert Russian influence-seeking operation in the United States in 2015-16, through her cultivating National Rifle Association (NRA) personal contacts to try to influence the imminent Trump Administration to view Russia more favourably. Butina allegedly reported regularly on her lobbying activities to her friend and financial patron, a wealthy senior Russian bank official (now retired), Alexander Torshin.

Her main contact in the NRA and Republican Party was her said-to-be lover, a middle-aged American politician, Paul Erickson. Despite frantic FBI efforts to seek evidence of covert operations or spying, her contacts with Torshin and Erickson in her social media and open emails.were overt and proudly acknowledged as such. Nevertheless, these contacts were considered by US prosecutors as evidence of a ‘conspiracy against the US’.

During her five months imprisonment, Erickson has continued to visit her. She was initially, and again recently, being held in harsh solitary confinement. Her lawyers report, I am sure truthfully, that her mental condition has deteriorated in jail and she has had no treatment for this. Her official jail photo (above) taken in August shows her suffering. Her knowledge of her powerlessness in the face of a hostile and vengeful US State justice system, which was endeavouring, through harsh prison treatment, to break her morale, would have affected even the bravest person.

President Trump has not so far bothered to comment on her case. President Putin recently tweeted:

She faces 15 years of imprisonment. For what? When I first heard about this, I questioned all the heads of the Russian special services. Who is this? No one knows anything about her.”

Maria’s father, a steadfast defender of her innocence, said she will not incriminate herself or anyone else. But she may now have no choice but to do so.

The NY Times, which said it had seen the court papers laying out the plea deal, but has not published or detailed them, says that she has agreed to plead guilty to ‘conspiring to act as a foreign agent’. It is not clear from this whether she is pleading guilty to both charges §371 and §951, of which the former conspiracy charge reportedly carries risk of up to a five year sentence.

If the judge were now to accept a plea of guilty only under the latter charge §951 of failing to register as a foreign agent, which entails possible sentencing up to six months, a best-case scenario is that Butina could be released and deported home to Russia quite soon in view of her time already served awaiting trial – hopefully, even in time for the Russian Christmas 6 January?

There is much US media speculation over the nature of Butina’s offered plea bargain – to which the judge must first agree – and how events might transpire from here. The NY Times (op.cit). reports that a condition of the plea deal is that,

Butina must cooperate with federal, state and local authorities in exchange for what could be a short prison term, or possibly a release after having already spent five months in jail.”

Butina may come under intense pressure to testify that her overt dealings with Torshin and Erickson in 2015-16 constituted a ‘conspiracy against the US’. No great significance should be attached to whatever she may say publicly at this point of extreme pressure on her. This poor young woman has suffered greatly, unjustly, at the hands of the US ‘justice system’.

She needs to get home to safety and recovery. She has borne her unjust and cruel imprisonment heroically. Her accusers and their MSM cheer-squad are the people who should be ashamed of themselves for their persecution of this young woman.
The episode has further lowered the US state’s standing in Russian eyes. It is hard to see how this could get much lower anyway, after Trump’s mounting anti-Russian sanctions, and his disappointment of the initial hopes Russians had placed in him as an East-West peacemaker. He is now seen in Russia as just another war-mongering US President: a weak mouthpiece of the Russophobic US national security establishment. It is hard to disagree.

Watching this sad story from Australia, a compliant US ally, I am struck by how easily any naive young Australian political activist of Russian or Chinese background could become embroiled in a similar stitch-up by paranoid Australian national security law enforcement agencies, under Australia’s new foreign influence laws which are closely modelled on the American laws that ensnared Butina.

The Australian government has admitted to the relevant Parliamentary committee that the enforcement of these new laws will be entirely at the government’s discretion as to what cases shall be investigated and prosecuted. People working to improve relations with Australia’s currently presumed enemies of the day – currently Russia and China – need to watch their behaviour carefully, not to enter into any working relationships of a kind that could be construed by hostile investigators as a ‘conspiracy’.

Meanwhile, such relationship-building conduct is regarded by authorities as quite normal in the cases of countries with which the Australian political culture feels comfortable – the US, Britain, and Israel being the most obvious examples.

In my own public efforts to make the case for improved Australian governmental relations with Russia and China, I am careful to ensure that nothing I say or write could be construed as indicating any ‘conspiracy’ or ‘collusion’ with any Russian or Chinese national who was not an exempt accredited diplomat.

Maria Butina’s vulnerability arose from her accepting financial support from Mr Torshin and help with making contacts from Mr Erickson , and from her freely sharing with others her hopes and plans for better US-Russian relations, and from her taking on an active and conspicuous public lobbying role to this end. Memo to my Russian and Chinese friends in Australia – be careful how you engage in politics in Australia.

The absence of any Australian MSM or human rights lobby interest in Maria Butina’s cruel treatment over the past six months (and the general elite indifference here to the cruel mistreatment in London of asylumseeker Julian Assange) warns of the dangers any of us could face, if we do not behave with prudence in such contentious areas of policy activism. Orwell’s 1984 is not so far away as some may think.

As we await final directions from Judge Chutkan, an argument has broken out in US MSM as to whether Butina was ‘tortured’ – a word recently used by Zakharova in an exclusive CNN interview but strenuously denied by CNN.

However, everything Zakharova says as Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson about Butina’s treatment in prison is supported by American MSM public reports over the past five months. Butina was initially, and is again now, in harsh solitary confinement. She was awakened every half hour under suicide watch rules. She was fed bad food, kept in a cold cell without blankets, denied exercise and sunlight and medical care, visitation rights were restricted to once a week.

It seems she was not physically tortured in the strict sense of the word but her prolonged harsh and vindictive treatment waiting over five months for her repeatedly delayed trial amounted to ‘torture’. We do not know what interrogation techniques were used. We will be told one day.

She was and is a political prisoner and has been treated like a terrorist. Politically aware Russians will remember this case with particular rage. No American imprisoned in Russia on whatever charge has ever thus been treated by the Government of Russia.

This case has done great damage to prospects for improved Russia-US relations. What has been gained by the US? Nothing.

UPDATE 14/12/18: Judge Chutkan today approved the agreed plea deal. She set a status conference for 12 February under a single charge of “conspiracy to violate 18 USC § 951, in violation of 18 USC § 371”, with a sentencing guideline of 0-6 months if Butina is deemed to have sufficiently cooperated with prosecutors’ inquiries. If she is lucky, she could then be released to return home to Russia. Meanwhile, she remains in prison and under duress: American justice.

Former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin is the author of Return to Moscow ( UWA Publishing, 2017)

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flaxgirl
Reader

How to analyse an improbable story from media/government. Part I A good way to get a sense of the reality of an improbable story is to apply the analytic tool of looking for giveaway signs that the story is fabricated. The power elite give us these signs as a way to justify their crime of fabrication (they figure it’s up to us to call them out and if we don’t, the fault’s on us and they are spared karmic repercussions – it’s obvious they derive much amusement from pushing the envelope with their signs too) so why not make use… Read more »

flax99
Reader
flax99

Part II — Contradictions: None come to mind but no doubt there are. — Over-the-top implausible: Wikipedia and Moscow rally mentioned above — A lack of expected evidence: —— A number of photos of Maria holding a microphone suggesting she’s speaking on a platform but but no video evidence or any convincing evidence of the reality of this —— No compelling evidence of Maria in Russia. There’s the rally above but the photos are not convincing, This journalist at the New Republic describes meeting her in “a shooting gallery in a basement under a shabby, mafia-ridden hotel complex built for… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

— Contradictions: None come to mind but no doubt there are. — Over-the-top implausible: Wikipedia and Moscow rally mentioned above — A lack of expected evidence: —— A number of photos of Maria holding a microphone suggesting she’s speaking on a platform but but no video evidence or any convincing evidence of the reality of this —— No compelling evidence of Maria in Russia. There’s the rally above but the photos are not convincing, This journalist at the New Republic describes meeting her in “a shooting gallery in a basement under a shabby, mafia-ridden hotel complex built for the 1980… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Part II — Contradictions: None come to mind but no doubt there are. — Over-the-top implausible: Wikipedia and Moscow rally mentioned above — A lack of expected evidence: —— A number of photos of Maria holding a microphone suggesting she’s speaking on a platform but but no video evidence or any convincing evidence of the reality of this —— No compelling evidence of Maria in Russia. There’s the rally above but the photos are not convincing, This journalist at the New Republic describes meeting her in “a shooting gallery in a basement under a shabby, mafia-ridden hotel complex built for… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

How to analyse an improbable story from media/government. A good way to get a sense of the reality of an improbable story is to apply the analytic tool of looking for giveaway signs that the story is fabricated. The power elite give us these signs as a way to justify their crime of fabrication (they figure it’s up to us to call them out and if we don’t, the fault’s on us and they are spared karmic repercussions – it’s obvious they derive much amusement from pushing the envelope with their signs too) so why not make use of this… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Well, well, well. It seems Maria Butina was born in Severn, Maryland, is of Croatian origin and has been an operative with the NRA since 2011. I thought Maria Butina was a very odd name for a Russian. I very, very much doubt that Valeryevna is her middle name. Perhaps she’s never even been to Russia – there’s no photographic evidence of it anyway.

https://brassballs.blog/home/maria-butina-stays-in-jail-isolation-without-bond-pending-sentencing-on-feb-29

flaxgirl
Reader

Hang on. Or maybe Maria Butina is really Nataliia Sova who’s married to Abid Awan, Imran Awan’s brother who was defended by Judge Chutkan. Doesn’t that all join up if so? Too labyrinthine for me – all I’ll say is – it’s all bollocks.

flaxgirl
Reader

I should say is Nataliia Sova an “aka” for Maria Butina … but really I haven’t a clue. I know nothing about all this stuff. All I know is that what they tell us isn’t backed by evidence. Interesting how we see both Maria and Natalia’s names spelt with a double i and with a single i.

flaxgirl
Reader

Obviously, the “double i” is not some strange coincidence. “Double i” can be seen as 11, the master Masonic number – 9/11, 22/11 (JFK), Armistice 11.11.11, – and perhaps this number comes from what is described below. From the book, “Book of Daleth” “Remember that many of the founding fathers of the United States were Freemasons, and Freemasonry involves Egyptian symbolism. It happens that the dollar symbol is a combination of the letter “I” and the letter “S”. The double “I” used on the original dollar sign is more likely a Masonic reference to the double columns framing the Egyptian… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

I was overstepping it on the double ‘i’. This is obviously a common spelling of the name Maria in Russia (as is Nataliia), however, they do seem to make a point of spelling “Maria” and “Natalia” both ways and refer to the spelling too so perhaps they’re just using the two spellings as part of their Masonic coding (likeness to ’11’) and “revelation of the method” (using spelling variants), even if the spelling is a normal spelling.

vexarb
Reader

From anti_republocrat BTL SyrPer #281852

Seems Adelson’s fortune and those of many other [dual citizen U$] Zioni$ts are at the mercy of the Chinese government with very little risk to China should it decide to act against them to get Meng released:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50767.htm

TFS
Reader
TFS

These pesky Foreign Agents.

In, Washington, K Street must be unnerved by the possibility of one of their kin ‘unregistered agent’ possibly spending time in the clinker.

On, and even funnier note

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-14/financial-bounty-hunters-testify-clinton-foundation-operated-foreign-agent

SpartUSA: The country where you don’t need to make sh.t up, and singularly the reason why no Aliens have made contact with Earth.

David Macilwain
Reader

Reading an article reprinted from the NYT in the Sydney Morning Herald/ Melbourne Age, I was struck by a huge contradiction between the title and the content. It says “Foreign Asset – a student has admitted being a Russian plant to inflitrate the NRA and Republican party… etc”, which may be true in a sense about her plea bargain admitted under duress. But the article says that most charges against her have been dropped for lack of any evidence. Prosecutors admitted this week that she genuinely wanted a graduate degree, was not in contact with Russian intelligence agencies, and dropped… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Here’s an interesting case that Tanya Chutkan was judge on:
https://brassballs.blog/home/imran-awan-and-wife-hina-alvi-to-accept-plea-deal-on-july-3rd

And a petition for her impeachment
https://www.change.org/p/house-committee-on-the-judiciary-petition-for-the-impeachment-of-district-judge-tanya-s-chutkan-re-usa-v-awan

This is an article in a Pakistani publication about Awan’s father’s ripping off of Pakistani farmers and claims by the farmers that Awan junior’s connections with people in high place in the US government helped exert pressure on the Pakistani police to dance to Awan senior’s tune.
https://www.dawn.com/news/944935

flaxgirl
Reader

It’s all complete nonsense – just like the Skripals. I find it odd that when a media story shows obvious signs of not adding up why people believe ANY of the story. Why believe a single word of a story that has no evidence to back it up? “Lawyer,” “judge’s name”, “jail,” “sleep deprivation,” “founder of Right to Bear Arms organisation,” etc do not mean a single thing on their own. Judges are in on fabricated stories just as lots of other high-placed people in society, including presidents, are. It’s complete nonsense and they don’t even try to hide it… Read more »

flamingosarepink
Reader
flamingosarepink

Is there not one congressperson to stand up for justice for this woman? I can understand the revolting behavior of msnbc stenographers spitting hatred, but what are all the new ‘progressive’ democrats saying/doing to alleviate her prison conditions. Where are the noises from Judicial Watch? A country of cowards. Boycott, divest, sanction USA.

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

Russia needs to follow China’s example and seize a US citizen or two in retaliation. The US is a bully and needs to be treated as such.

DunGroanin
Reader
DunGroanin

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/12/british-security-service-infiltration-the-integrity-initiative-and-the-institute-for-statecraft/

Surprised if this hasn’t been mentioned here,

But a hell of a story and cracking comments.

Not surprised, not a mention in the Groaniad. Hey Carole? Stop polishing your award, you missed something…

Yarkob
Reader
Yarkob

I fear for Carole’s sanity. I read her Twitter last week. I don’t do twatter, it’s too full of big babies and weirdos, but Cadwalladr’s is an insight into a mind losing its already tenuous grip on reality. She should really seek some professional help. If it weren’t tragic it would be hilarious

homeslicez
Reader

“Her lawyers report, I am sure truthfully, that her mental condition has deteriorated in jail and she has had no treatment for this. Her official jail photo (above) taken in August shows her suffering.” Because she’s not wearing make-up, not as hot as usual? What an unusual statement. More on topic–China is recently showing Canada that if they mess with one of theirs, one of Canada’s will be messed with. Russia has shown extreme patience with the US’ often illegal warfare by dubious charges, dubious sanctions, etc. One day though they might start playing the same game and punish some… Read more »

Arrby
Reader

My first thought about the photo and the info about it was that we need to look at it as though we know nothing about it. I don’t see anything unusual in the photo, in that regard. Which isn’t to say that she isn’t suffering.

flaxgirl
Reader

Exactly. I see ZERO evidence to back any of this story including any evidence of the Right to Bear Arms organisation.

homeslicez
Reader

Agreed. I see no bruises or other damage. And this is also the first (at least for me) I’ve seen of her without makeup and doing her hair, and with a poor camera. And I’m not trying to nay-say her status and suffering. She was basically tortured by the US’ notorious torture rooms that they hold for months or years no one even getting to trial yet. 15 years for an innocent kid snatched up in Pakistan. 4 years for a Manning. 4 months for a Butina. Just torture them. Anyway, I’ve also seen some parrots in South America or… Read more »

John2o2o
Reader
John2o2o

Rogue Nation

Yonatan
Reader
Yonatan

The CIA tortured Sheik Khalid Mohammed – waterboarding him 138 times. Some of the US MIC clearly get off on torture.

Arrby
Reader

This dark world’s paradigm, or operating principle is: Riches For The Strongest

nigelfink
Reader
nigelfink

’bout time we got all americans out of our nations and back where they belong – in the united state of arses

wardropper
Reader
wardropper

Let’s not label all Americans as if they were US politicians.
American people are just as wise, shrewd, or gullible, as people anywhere else.
The problem is always our “representatives”.
I’d like to see a survey done which reveals exactly how many weeks after embarking upon a political career a person gets corrupted.

FS
Reader
FS

I find it perplexing that no one is mentioning her links to – and support for – cartoon Russian ‘opposition’ figure Navalny. Why is that?

The USA appears to be playing its trump card, so to speak, and she looks to me like a willing accomplice in the frame-up, both of Russia and the bad Orange Man.

Jen
Reader
Jen

We have had this discussion about Alexei Navalny endorsing Maria Butina as one of seven candidates for election for the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation for the professional way in which she campaigned in a previous comments forum at Off-Guardian.org. https://off-guardian.org/2018/07/29/americas-latest-witch-hunt/ The general agreement was that Navalny’s support for these seven candidates, of whom he made recommendations, and none of these recommendations included Butina, was not in itself evidence that Navalny regards Butina as someone he would want in his party or that Butina supports Navalny. The original Navalny post in which he mentions Butina as a candidate he… Read more »

Jen
Reader
Jen

We have had this discussion about Alexei Navalny endorsing Maria Butina as one of seven candidates for election for the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation for the professional way in which she campaigned in a previous comments forum at Off-Guardian.org. https://off-guardian.org/2018/07/29/americas-latest-witch-hunt/ The general agreement was that Navalny’s support for these seven candidates, of whom he made a recommendation, and this recommendation not being Butina, was not in itself evidence that Navalny regards Butina as someone he would want in his party or that Butina supports Navalny. The original Navalny post in which he mentions Butina as a candidate he… Read more »

John2o2o
Reader
John2o2o

You’d be “willing” too Bozo if you had been kept in solitary confinement ( =torture) for as long as she has.

This is a political conviction. Russiagaters wanted blood – they were beginning to look stupid. Now they get to crow that Russian interference is a fact. (It isn’t of course).

At worst Maria Butina failed to fill in a form. Nothing more.

Bodger
Reader
Bodger

Interesting

Moscow Exile
Reader
Moscow Exile

Russian Eastern Orthodox Christmas falls on 7 January (Gregorian Calendar) and 25 December (Julian Calendar).

John2o2o
Reader
John2o2o

I thought they only celebrated New Year.

Con Crete
Reader
Con Crete

You have that the wrong way around: the Gregorian calender ( named after the Pope who introduced it) is used in the “West”.

John2o2o
Reader
John2o2o

The world uses the Gregorian Calendar.

John A
Reader
John A

A classic case of breaking a butterfly on the wheel. She would appear to be a not too bright girl who is a gun nut, with delusions that the US is a friendly place. Anyone in solitary confinment for months on end in a foreign country, with all sorts of tricks to make her predicament worse, lack of contact, being woken up every 30 mins, rubbish food (or prob just typical American food), would finally say, yes give me a pen, I’ll sign what you want so I can go home. Pity the Skripals will never have the chance to… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

This affair smacks of the Skripals to me. Could Maria really be a US agent rather than a Russian one? They fake absolutely everything – people going to jail, etc. There is no way that Jack Ruby went to jail for the alleged killing of Lee Harvey Oswald. Nor is there any way that the neofascists who allegedly killed 85 and wounded 200 at Bologna station in 1980 went to jail for that false-flag hoax (as opposed to “real” false flag). You cannot believe a WORD the media tells you, especially when the situation seems as absurd as this one.… Read more »

John2o2o
Reader
John2o2o

Or could she just be a Russian that liked America? I think so.

FS
Reader
FS

Couldn’t agree more, flaxgirl. (See my earlier comment). I’ve believed she was part of yet another American scam against Russia since her arrest and the odd circumstances and rumours surrounding that. The Navalny connection is there.

I also wonder if the author of this article has ever seen an unsmiling 30-something woman without make-up, because that’s all the photo above shows. I don’t see the ‘suffering’ he seems determined to emphasize.

Scam.

flaxgirl
Reader

Not a single photo that I can see identifies her clearly as being in Russia. If she was the founder of the organisation, Right to Bear Arms, why don’t we see images of her in Russia at a conference or similar? A number of photos show her with a weapon that is photoshopped in although there are a number that look real enough too. Photoshopped images – another clue. In the NYT they show a photo of her saying it is of her in Moscow but the background is completely blurred so there is now way to identify where she… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Oh, and how about this one? They always give you clues – and name spelling variants is one type.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/us/politics/trump-russia-indictment.html

Mariia Butina, Who Sought ‘Back Channel’ Meeting for Trump and Putin, Is Charged as Russian Agent

I couldn’t help chortling.

Badger Down
Reader
Badger Down

Is that something like a “stimulus package”?

flaxgirl
Reader

From Wikipedia:
In August 2016, she moved to the United States on a student visa, and enrolled as a graduate student in International Relations at American University in Washington, D.C. While a student at American University, Butina got drunk on at least two separate occasions and bragged to her fellow students about her contacts in the Russian government; on both occasions, her classmates reported her to law enforcement.

Sounds a little hokey, doncha think?

mohandeer
Reader

Flaxgirl. She sounds like a jumped up braggart living fast and loose with a big mouth and a small brain. Have you seen the way American students behave when they are plastered? It sounds like a vicious “fit up” to needle Russia – again. The poor woman may be a numb nut, but does not deserve to be treated in this way like a pawn in a stupid game the US excels at(not chess, just the stupid game part). There is absolutely no reason to suppose that Butina is party to some sort of “conspiracy”, not everything in everyday life… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Sorry, mohandeer, I cannot believe anything about this story. Perhaps she has been put in jail and is sleep deprived but I don’t find it credible and I find no reason to believe any of this story, even if some of it happens to be true.

RealPeter
Reader
RealPeter

Great classmates. What a shithole country the US has become.

flaxgirl
Reader

But why do you believe it, Peter? Don’t you think it sounds implausible?

FS
Reader
FS

‘Become’?

Badger Down
Reader
Badger Down

It sounds fake. This is in DC, right?

Students at American University got drunk on at least two separate occasions and bragged to Butina about their contacts across the street in the US government. Butina, however didn’t rat on them.

That’s better.

frank
Reader
frank

Maria Butina pleads guilty to US charge of conspiring to act as foreign agent
https://www.rt.com/news/446395-butina-pleads-guilty-agent-charges/

So what’s the verdict?

Was she really a spy?
Or did the US “flip” her to act against Russia?
Or simply a way to get out of the torturous prison conditions?

Roberto
Reader
Roberto

The last line of the NYT article reveals evidence of the dastardly plot conducted by this young lady, all alone, as she reports to a Russian banker:
“After the November 2016 election, Ms. Butina wrote to Mr. Torshin on Twitter, prosecutors said: “I am ready for further orders.””
If all superspies hoping to undermine the ‘democracies’ of the Western world (well, the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and NZ anyway) conducted their affairs on Twitter it would make things so much easier for those who protect us.

frank
Reader
frank

Ah, how convenient, a confession on Twitter. Thanks! All is cleared up now.

mohandeer
Reader

Frank. Sleep depravation to this degree IS a well used and advocated torture method, as is leaving someone in a cold cell without a blanket. If any country on the US “shit list” were to do this there would be much published outrage from the MSM, but their standards are set high for others while they limbo dance beneath them. Butina(or Butiina) would have signed a pact with the devil to escape her imprisonment. She was likely an aspiring activisst who knew not what she was getting herself into. The reality of being a “spy” will probably keep her quiet… Read more »

UreKismet
Reader
UreKismet

There will be much much more of this type of carry on all around the world as the petty tyrants who we – as foolish as always – have allowed to take the controls, desperately search around for a ‘hot button topic’ to distract citizens from the tyrants’ own evil doing. It is easy to tell which are genuine cases of espionage and which are not. For example both the Canadians currently languishing in China appear to have extremely dodgy credentials – one works for a DC based think tank which appears to have alphabet agency front tattooed across its… Read more »

James lake
Reader
James lake

What I don’t understand about this case is who did she conspire with?

An American boyfriend is mentioned Mr Erickson – was he questioned or accused of being in this conspiracy?

The bank official Mr Torshin why was he not named and accused of this was a conspiracy and she was working with or for him?

She has been kept in conditions that contravene her human rights.