Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow [October 17, 2018]

We continue to watch the situation with Russian citizen Maria Butina who was arrested in the US on fabricated charges of acting as "a foreign government agent." Russia qualifies her as a political prisoner.

On October 10, Russian Embassy diplomats in Washington made their regular visit to Butina in prison. After she was transferred to a general detention facility in late September, thanks to our efforts, the prison administration's attitude towards Butina improved, she is not being subjected to the humiliating procedures we spoke about and is well-treated. We note that. Maria is allowed to leave the cell more often, take walks outside, communicate with other inmates and read books in Russian. This has generally helped stabilise the moral condition of our compatriot.

At present, Butina's lawyers are preparing for the next court hearing, which is scheduled for November 13 of this year. We continue to insist on the absolute innocence of this Russian citizen.

Once again, we state our demand that Maria Butina be released and that she has become yet another victim of so-called "American justice" and is in fact a political prisoner due to the Russophobic hysteria reigning in Washington, D.C.

The next scheduled consular visit with Maria Butina in prison will take place today.

Maria Butina and the Criminalization of Citizen Diplomacy | The Nation - Dec. 26, 2018 |

30-year-old, flame-haired Maria "Red Sparrow" Butina plead guilty this month to one act count of conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent. The announcement came after the mainstream media's front-page stories announced her arrest in July as a suspected Russian spy. The details and political implications of these Russophobic headlines were well covered in Aaron Mate's recent article in The Nation. But further discussion is necessary to provide context and to clarify the significance of this latest precedent-setting, slippery slope where the unintended consequences may turn out to be far worse than whatever it is Russia may have been doing. In Butina's case, the potential consequences are even more mystifying since she was only doing what the US government and numerous western private foundations have spent millions of dollars promoting Russians to do: become active, create an NGO, and generate increased understanding between the two countries.

When Butina was born during the perestroika era there was no such thing as an independent, registered NGO in Russia. Small, informal groups were starting to appear, such as "Diplomacy Through Families" in Novosibirsk that organized citizen diplomacy exchanges, but NGOs as we now know them did not exist in the country. By the time she was a teenager, however, there was a whole infrastructure of legislation and funding in place to support NGOs, much of it established in partnership with western institutions and organizations. In Siberia this process began in 1995 when US AID gave almost $2 million to support the expansion of a small NGO resource center into the Siberian Center and create a network of NGO resource centers in 11 regions across Siberia, including Butina's home region of Altai.

Collusion Russia 'Spy' Butina with Top Israeli Banker
Another Huge Arrest in the Russia Investigation | Washington Monthly |
Inside the Decade-Long Russian Campaign to Infiltrate the NRA and Help Elect Trump | Rolling Stone |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 30th, 2018 at 08:22:52 PM EST
[Russian] Lawyer for American Held in Russia Alleges Unlawful Arrest
An unnamed source inside of a Russian security service, according to Rosbalt, also claims Whelan received the USB only after inviting a local Russian citizen to his room at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow.

Agents with the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, or FSB, promptly burst in after the handoff, Rosbalt reported.

Courthouse News Service was not able to independently verify these claims.

Fusion GPS is for hire
It could take more than a year for a trial to finally get underway, Zherebenkov said Thursday. If Whelan is found guilty, he could face 10 to 20 years in prison.

The former U.S. marine served two tours in Iraq and was discharged for bad conduct in 2008 after a military court found him guilty of attempted larceny.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Jan 4th, 2019 at 05:36:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Must be a key person as US Amb Jon Huntsman visites Whelan in person . 🙂

Latest news says Whelan is a dual US and ...
UK citizen. Interesting development fir the Russian FSB!

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 4th, 2019 at 06:36:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Latest info on Paul Whelan from the media, a great diversity in coverage ...

Russia's Arrest of Paul Whelan Is Payback for Maria Butina, CIA Veterans Say | Daily Beast |
Russia Charges American Marine With Espionage As Moscow's Relationship With the U.S. Deteriorates | Newsweek |
Paul Whelan latest: Ex-US marine accused of spying in Russia is British citizen

"Rosbalt reported that on the day of his arrest, Whelan met a Russian citizen, a person he had known for a long time and whom he had repeatedly tried to recruit as an agent to obtain information about the staff of Russian intelligence agencies, according to its source. Whelan received an electronic device with a list of employees of a classified department, Rosbalt reported, then Federal Security Service officers broke into his room at the Metropol Hotel five minutes later and detained him."

His position at Kelly Services put him in frequent contact with a variety of federal agencies.

"Kelly Services is a global company, and we work with federal agencies all the time, whether it is OSAC or the LEGATT at the foreign embassies, or we work with HUD or DEA, FBI, ATF, whomever in the United States. We work with federal agencies in Canada, and what have you, all over the place. So we come in contact with federal agencies and officers all the time."

Related reading ...

Maria Butina and the Criminalization of Citizen Diplomacy | The Nation - Dec. 26, 2018 |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 4th, 2019 at 11:04:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeremy Hunt reacts UK citizen spy case of Paul Whelan in Moscow

Britain worried about U.S./UK citizen detained for spying in Russia | Reuters - 12 min. ago |

Britain is extremely worried about Paul Whelan, a dual U.S./UK citizen who has been charged with espionage in Russia, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Friday.

"We are extremely worried about Paul Whelan, we have offered consular assistance. The U.S. are leading on this because he is a British and American citizen."

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 4th, 2019 at 11:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series