US Political Prisoner Maria Butina Free at Last

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US Political Prisoner Maria Butina Free at Last

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

In July 2018, Butina was arrested, falsely charged and politically imprisoned for being a Russian national in the US at the wrong time.

Claiming she was an unregistered Russian agent was and remains a bald-faced Big Lie.

US dirty war on Russia by other means includes targeting its nationals, imprisoning them on trumped up charges, and abusing them in custody, including torture and other forms of abuse, notably burying them alive in solitary confinement with minimal or no outside contact. More on Butina below.

The US is a mass incarceration nation, its gulag prison system the shame of the nation, the world’s largest by far, operating globally.

Nations are best judged by how they treat their most vulnerable, notably children, the elderly, infirm, and prisoners. 

The US fails on all counts, the world’s leading human rights abuser at home and abroad, consistently blaming other nations for its own high crimes and other wrongdoing.

US prisons are notoriously harsh. Isolated prisoners lack constructive activities. Visits are rare, direct contact with others denied – rotten food delivered through cell door slots, treatment designed to inflict emotional and physical harm.

America’s rage to lock people in cages serves its prison, industrial complex, treating the most vulnerable as nonpersons, prioritizing power and profits over equity, justice, public health, welfare, and the rule of law.

Millions are held in federal and state facilities, local jails, Indian, juvenile, and military ones, US territories, and numbers held by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Around half of US prisoners are for nonviolent offenses, many for political activism, countless numbers wrongfully convicted, many others given long sentences for offenses amounting to minor misdemeanors, warranting reprimands or small fines at most.

Former political prisoner, the late Marilyn Buck, called prisons warehouses to “disappear the unacceptable…deprive their captives of their liberties, their human agency, and to punish (and) stigmatize 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 ‘criminals,’ 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.

Former attorney general Ramsey Clark, unlike any of his predecessors or successors, once said US “jails are filled with saints.”

Targeted victims are brutalized, and otherwise mistreated for supporting peace, opposing wars,  for their courage to resist injustice, defend freedom, equality, and human rights, for struggling to achieve a society safe and fit to live in for everyone — polar opposite the scourge of the American way, responsible for unspeakable abuses to countless millions worldwide.

On Friday, Maria Butina was released after months of wrongful imprisonment, much of it in brutalizing solitary confinement.

The same evening, she boarded Aeroflot Flight 111 to Moscow from Miami International Airport, arriving home Saturday to a joyous welcome by family, supporters, and Russian media.

Able to breathe and speak freely for the first time since her ordeal began, she told reporters on board her flight home that she “only wants to reunite with my family and thank everyone who supported me. I would not make it without my people, citizens of my country.”

Back home, she called US incarceration “hell…slavery because you can’t refuse to work. They will send you to solitary confinement,” adding:

“Until the plane took off, I did not believe that I would be released… I knew that the day would come, but I was afraid to think about it because I had been deceived so many times.”

When coming to the US from Russia, she “lived in the illusion that (she) was in a state of law,” learning the hard way otherwise.

She noted “(a)ll sorts of nasty articles…written about” her, calling her US ordeal surreal.

After 52 hours of interrogation by FBI agents, they knew she had no secrets, broke no US laws, yet arrested her anyway.

She may take legal action for justice after all she’s been through, adding she “prefer(s) not to say what (she’s) going to do.”

In prison, she wrote 1,100 pages on toilet paper, the back of documents, anything she could write on, reflecting on life, her faith, describing hellish solitary confinement, and what helped her survive the ordeal.

She also made about $28 dollars a month washing dishes and teaching math to other prisoners.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry called her unjust mistreatment an example how the disgraceful US (gulag prison) system operates.

Butina is no spy, no foreign agent. She did nothing wrong. Home at last and safe, she’s chastened by her long ordeal — knowing firsthand how police state America operates.

“The most important thing for me now is to tell the truth about what happened to me. People have a right to know that,” she said.

Indeed, it’s vital to spread the word about rogue state USA, contemptuous of the rights and welfare of ordinary people everywhere — a fantasy democracy, heading toward full-blown tyranny.

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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.