Two Stories from the Propaganda War

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Written by Philip M. Giraldi; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

Two recent stories about Russians have demonstrated how the news is selected and manipulated in the United States. The first is about Maria Butina, who apparently sought to overthrow American democracy, such as it is, by obtaining a life membership in the National Rifle Association. Maria, a graduate student at American University, is now in detention in a federal prison, having been charged with collusion and failure to register as an agent of the Russian Federation. She has been in prison since July, for most of the time in solitary confinement, and has not been granted bail because, as a Russian citizen, she is considered to be a “flight risk.”

Two Stories from the Propaganda War

Maria, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is now seeking donations to help pay for her legal defense as the Russian government renews demands that she be released from jail or be tried on whatever charges the Justice Department can come up with, but her release is unlikely as she is really a political prisoner.

The media has been silent about Maria Butina because the case against her is falling apart. In early September prosecutors admitted that they had misunderstood text messages used to support claims that she had offered to trade sex for access to information. Demands that she consequently be released from prison were, however, rejected. Her lawyer observed that “The impact of this inflammatory allegation, which painted Ms. Butina as some type of Kremlin-trained seductress, or spy-novel honeypot character, trading sex for access and power, cannot be overstated.”

In an attempt to make the Butina embarrassment disappear from the news, the Justice Department has proposed an unprecedented gag order to prevent her attorney from appearing in the media in a way that could prejudice a jury should her case eventually come to trial. Currently there is no court date and Maria remains in jail indefinitely, but the press could care less – she is just one more Russiagate casualty in an ongoing saga that has long since passed her by.

Given the Maria Butina story and the hysteria over all things Russian it was perhaps inevitable that the tale of Kremlin interference in American elections would be resurrected and repeated. Federal prosecutors are now reporting that another Russian woman has illegally conspired with others to “defraud the United States” and interfere with the U.S. political system, to include plans for conducting “information warfare” to subvert the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

The complaint was filed on October 19th at a federal court in Virginia which handles most national security cases. According to the court documents, Elena Alekseevna Khusyainova, a 44-year-old resident of St. Petersburg in Russia, has worked as the head accountant for “Project Lakhta,” a Russian influence operation backed by an oligarch close to President Vladi­mir Putin. According to the Justice Department, the operation “spread misinformation about US political issues including immigration, gun control, the Confederate flag, and protests by NFL players. It also used events including the Las Vegas mass shooting, and the far-Right rally in Charlottesville, to spread discord.”

Khusyainova, who is not likely to be extradited to the United States for trial, allegedly purchased advertising in social networks and also supported dissident groups. The accusation of the American authorities emphasizes the connection between Khusyainova and St. Petersburg businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was previously identified by the media as the owner of a ‘Troll Factory’ in St. Petersburg. In the U.S., several charges have already been brought against him and his staff, including interfering in the presidential elections in 2016.

The Maria Butina story reveals how there is a fundamental flaw in the justice system in the United States. When someone is found guilty by the media there is no way to right the wrong when the story shifts and starts to break down. The New York Times or Washington Post is unlikely to leap to the defense of the accused. Maria Butina has been raked over the coals in stories that were partly true but mostly false in terms of any criminal intent. She is still waiting for justice and will likely be doing so for some time.

The case of Elena Khusyainova is Maria Butina redux, only even more idiotic. No actual evidence is presented in the indictment and since Elena is in Russia and not likely to visit the United States, the entire affair is a bit of theater intended to heighten hysteria about the U.S. midterm elections. Is the U.S. electoral system really so fragile and what did Elena actually seek to do? The Justice Department is silent on the issue beyond vague accusations about trolling on the internet by Russians. One wonders who in the federal government ordered the investigation and signed off on the indictment.

Both Maria and Elena are victims of a politicized miscarriage of justice. Maria Butina should be released from prison now and allowed to pay her fine for being an unregistered agent before leaving the country. There is no justification for holding her in prison. And the indictment of Elena Khusyainova is not worth the paper it is written on. It should be torn up and thrown away.

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  • R Trojson

    She is doomed. Looks like somehow involved in Russian collusion. Strange the press is not all over this one since it has sex and Russian collusion all over it. Makes Putin look bad since that is the best he could do sending sexy agent over to collude. Would anyone here betray their country for her?

    • Snowglobe

      Yes, I guess you are used to going around and making inflammatory statements.

  • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

    If USA is gods land of freedom and opportinity, then I would prefer satans backyard tied and bound.
    Western world is only “good” if you bow and obey ” the system” to the letter.

    https://southfront.org/caitlin-johnstone-the-screens/

  • Snowglobe

    “The Maria Butina story reveals how there is a fundamental flaw in the justice system in the United States. When someone is found guilty by the media there is no way to right the wrong when the story shifts and starts to break down.”

    Exactly! The media is insanely strong and must be taken down. The media is the enemy of the people.

    • Sinbad2

      The problem with the American legal system, is it’s political.
      As soon as you hand control of the law to politicians, it is corrupted.

      • Snowglobe

        Agreed.

        It used to be that their laws made sense, but in a creeping tyrannical sort of way their laws were first weakened and changed to mean the opposite from what they were intended. Very 1984’ish. I see the same thing happening in Canada.

        • Concrete Mike

          Agreed i see the same…im lucky its slower here in the maritimes. We have our issues as well though…

          The media must be reigned in this is becoming ridiculous.

          Media are not judges but you hea them proclaim crap everyday…skripal, cw attacks, election interferce, Iran…its just endless crap.

          But when you look for decent coverage about yemen, where real crimes are being comitted…nothing, some lame humanitarian stories with the usual iran barbs added for good measure.

          How stupid do they think we are!!??

          • Snowglobe

            They think that they are VERY stupid and really don’t know what to do with those of us where the oxygen makes it all the way to our brain.

            Da Maritimes ya say dar laddie! I is gunna be needin’ ya to send me un of dem dar lobsters. ;-)

          • Concrete Mike

            Aye mac. A big storm coming this weekend…all one needs to do is walk on the beach after…lots of lobster for free :D

            The natives are always open for business as well…if one knows who to talk to ;)

  • Sinbad2

    You have to feel sorry for the woman, but America usually kills its propaganda victims, some day she might regain her freedom.
    But you have to question the intelligence of the woman, a Russian in America, it’s like painting a target on your chest.

    • Snowglobe

      I think that her big mistake was going anywhere near the White House. When she waltzed in there without her papers in order she was pretty much poking a bear with a stick in the current climate. Even-so, without a doubt there is a media fueled hysteria against Russia at the moment.

      I have many friends in the US who are in ROCOR, (The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia). They have ZERO problems. The Russians at a diplomatic level? I am not entirely sure, but between Obama and Trump, I think that they are all gone.

      I am leaving a picture of the fateful mistake that Maria Butina made.

      https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–XWCXxKhK–/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/rxtwnynrogevmwa4gyvq.jpg

      • R Trojson

        Someone who might be a Russian spy somehow got into the White House Oval Office when the President was there. She might have got some people fired and obviously made some look very incompetent. Those people are powerful law enforcement and will make her pay. She is either stupid or had something very bad planned. Might as well throw away the key. Maria who?

        • Snowglobe

          “Those people are powerful law enforcement and will make her pay. ”

          Did you even think before you typed that? …or are you used to going around making inflammatory statements?

      • Tommy Jensen

        This is the official photo.
        If you see secret photos from another angle, you can see Maria gives her f…finger to US President Abraham Lincoln behind everybody´s back.

        • Snowglobe

          She had no need to go to the Oval office for that. She could have given the finger to any $5 bill. ;-)

      • Sinbad2

        Before this is over the US will be rounding up all Russians and sending them to concentration camps.

      • Brother Ma

        Doesn’t America say it is a democracy where the Man -in- the- street can meet and shake the President’s hand? Well what is the problem ? She took Yankees at their word. That is the problem!

        • Snowglobe

          Words like those are from back in the days when a man’s word was worth something, and that if two men shook hands and made a deal neither would break it without losing honor.

          Those days are gone. Now a deal is rarely worth the paper that it is written on.

          Also, the US is a Constitutional Republic and not a democracy….and has been under a State of Emergency for may years, and has become a police state.

          Without her papers in order, she should not have made it into the White House.

  • Tommy Jensen

    Retaliation. Bullies hate it when you do the same thing, because this mirror themselves.

  • Brother Ma

    esident Vladi­mir Putin. According to the Justice Department, the operation “spread misinformation about US political issues including immigration, gun “control, the Confederate flag, and protests by NFL players. It also used events including the Las Vegas mass shooting, and the far-Right rally in Charlottesville, to spread discord.”

    So the US will imprison all Alt Right and Tea Party Supporters?