Maria Butina: Guilty of Being a Russian National in America
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
On Friday, Maria Butina was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for political reasons. She's innocent of phony charges. More on the imperial state's injustice against her below.
It's the wrong time to be an unwanted alien, a Muslim from the wrong country, or a Russian national in America. Worse still, there hasn't been a right time in the modern era, especially post-911.
The US is waging propaganda, sanctions, and hot wars against nations it doesn't control — what the scourge of imperialism is all about.
No nation poses a greater threat to humanity's survival, none more disdainful of human and civil rights on a global scale, none more contemptuous of the rule of law, none that more mocks what democratic values are supposed to be.
The US is a fascist police state masquerading as democratic rule, a notion it abhors at home and abroad, wanting it eliminated wherever it exists.
Venezuela is Exhibit A, the hemisphere's model democracy Trump regime hardliners are waging war on by other means — wanting the country transformed into a US vassal state, along with gaining control over its world's largest oil reserves and other valued resources.
Bipartisan hardliners in Washington consider Russia and China their main adversaries — because of their sovereign independence, opposition to the US imperial agenda, not being submissive to its will, and growing world influence at a time the self-styled "indispensable state" makes more enemies than friends.
It's in decline while Russia, China, and other nations are rising — despite spending countless trillions of dollars to remain the dominant global superpower, poured down a black hole of waste, fraud and abuse.
The US was at the height of its power post-WW II, maintained for some years in the post-war era, decline beginning and continuing in recent decades, notably post-9/11.
It's the same dynamic that doomed all other empires in history – a nation in decline because of its imperial arrogance, hubris, waging endless wars against invented enemies, and unwillingness to change.
The long ago founded republic no longer exists, replaced by the imperial state — featuring military Keynesianism, ruinous military spending while vital homeland needs go begging, eroding social justice, and police state rule.
Tolerating no opposition to its rage for global dominance and permanent war agenda are its defining features, along with judicial unfairness and tyranny replacing the rule of law.
America's gulag operates globally, the world's largest by far. Captives include thousands of political prisoners, some perishing, others emotionally and physically tormented and irreparably scared in solitary confinement, torture by other means — intended to turn humans into zombies.
Former political prisoner/the late Marilyn Buck called prisons warehouses to "disappear the unacceptable…deprive the(m) of their liberties, their human agency, and to punish… stigmatiz(ing) prisoners through moralistic denunciations and indictment based on bad genes – skin color (ethnicity, or other characteristics) as a crime."
Millions of prisoners aren't incarcerated "because they are 'criminal,' but because they've been accused of breaking (a law) designed to exert tighter social control and state repression," scapegoating, demonizing, and criminalizing them for their beliefs and activism.
America's militarized police state brutalizes them, locking them in cages for advocating peace, resisting injustice, defending freedom, equality, and human rights, along with believing another world demands resistance over injustice and other forms of tyrannical rule.
Post-9/11, anything goes more than ever in America is how its authorities operate — abroad by targeting nations for regime change, at home by injustice against unwanted aliens and Muslims from the wrong countries, as well as nationals from vilified countries like Russia.
Media disseminated fear-mongering wrongfully vilifies Muslims from the wrong countries and Russians as terrorists.
Last July, Maria Butina was arrested and detained without bond, falsely charged with operating as an unregistered Russian agent.
At the time, Moscow's envoy to the US Anatoly Antonov accused Washington of "unjustly hunting for Russian citizens not only in the US but in other countries too."
Butina's lawyer Robert Driscoll explained that she's "not an agent of the Russian Federation, not a proxy for any of the serious and substantial issues that our country has with Russia right now."
Despite innocent of false charges against her and posing no flight risk, she was denied bail, held for most of the past nine months in punishing solitary confinement — brutalizing her for being a Russian national, no other reason.
To mitigate and hopefully end her suffering, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the US (sic), saying she acted as a foreign agent which she's not.
Russian lower house's International Affairs Committee chairman Leonid Slutsky slammed her persecution, saying:
"The vaunted American justice in Butina's case is an example of modern political inquisition. All charges were fabricated."
"The entire process is clearly politicized, starting with the fact that she was detained on the eve of the meeting of the Russian and US presidents in Helsinki, and it was hardly a coincidence."
Her 18-month sentence includes nine months already served. She'll be released early next year and deported to Russia unless the imperial state decides to brutalize her longer.
Before sentencing on Friday, she in court said "I came to the United States not under any orders, but with hope, and now nothing remains but penitence."
On return to Russia, she'll be treated like a human being, her rights respected, and hopefully much more.
The Kremlin should go all out on her behalf — to help her return to normal life after the horrific ordeal she endured unjustly at the hands of a ruthless regime.
There was no reason for her to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) — long ago outdated Nazi era legislation, requiring agents representing foreign governments to disclose their relationship, along with information about their personnel, activities and finances.
Butina was innocent of charges against her, targeted solely for being a Russian national in the US at the wrong time.
She's one of countless others brutalized by the imperial state. Her lawyer Robert Driscoll noted that "(a)nyone who thinks that someone who wasn't Russian would be in this situation is fooling themselves."
Sentencing US District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Tanya Chutkan told Butina the following on Friday:
"No doubt you have suffered greatly due to the national atmosphere, including salacious details proven to be untrue."
It begs the question! Why didn't Chutkan order her immediate release, along with apologizing for the gross injustice against her.
Equal justice under law in the US is a meaningless figure of speech. Politicized injustice targets individuals like Butina.
Federal courts stacked with right-wing extremists, including the Supremes, are ideologically conservative and reactionary.
Serving corporate interests and the imperial state, they're hostile to equal justice under law the way it's supposed to be. Countless others like Butina are wrongfully imprisoned in the US.
In a long ago dissenting opinion on a Supreme Court ruling, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said the following:
"The Court has taken its task to be the constitutionalization of a totally immoral, rapacious, economic system instead of the promotion of justice, domestic tranquility, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty."
The same goes for federal, most state, and local courts at lower and higher levels — supporting privilege over justice for all, along with serving the imperial state.
A Final Comment
In response to Butina's sentence, Russia's Foreign Ministry issued the following statement, saying:
"We consider the decision by a Washington court to sentence Maria Butina to 18 months behind bars as politically motivated."
"This sentence is an ugly stain on the American justice system, which has followed a blatant political order to the letter."
"Our compatriot has been sentenced just for her being a Russian citizen. She has become a victim of tight rivalry between various US political forces and the unbridled anti-Russian campaign in the spirit of McCarthyism."
For time immemorial, notably in the modern era, especially post-9/11, the US is pockmarked by "ugly stains" — the rule of law long ago abandoned, US viciousness replacing it, an unparalleled threat to humanity.
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