Why is Maria Butina in Prison?

by | Apr 29, 2019

Why is Maria Butina in Prison?

by | Apr 29, 2019

Russian gun rights activist and graduate exchange student Maria Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison last week for “conspiracy to act as a foreign agent without registering.” Her “crime” was to work to make connections among American gun rights activists in hopes of building up her organization, the Right to Bear Arms, when she returned to Russia.
She was not employed by the Russian government nor was she a lobbyist on Putin’s behalf. In fact the Putin Administration is hostile to Russian gun rights groups. Nevertheless the US mainstream media and Trump’s Justice Department are treating her as public enemy number one in a case that will no doubt set the dangerous precedent of criminalizing person-to-person diplomacy in the United States.

The Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) was passed in 1938 under pressure from the FDR Administration partly to silence opposition to the US entry into World War II. While a handful of cases were prosecuted during the war, between 1966 and 2015 the Justice Department only brought seven FARA cases for prosecution.

Though very few cases have been brought on FARA violations, one of them was against Samir Vincent, who was paid millions of dollars by Saddam Hussein to lobby for sanctions relief without registering. He got off with a fine and “community service.”

Millions of dollars in unregistered payments from Saddam Hussein gets no jail time, while Butina gets 18 months in prison for privately promoting a cause most Americans support! How is this justice?

The US Justice Department is not even as tough on illegals who commit capital crimes in the US!

Unfortunately Maria Butina was in the wrong place at the wrong time. With the rise of the “Russiagate” hysteria, Butina’s case was seen as a useful tool by Democrats to push the idea that President Trump was put into office by the Russians. Plus, many of them are also hostile to our Second Amendment and to the National Rifle Association. So it was a perfect storm for Butina.

Sadly, conservatives are mostly silent on this miscarriage of justice. They are also caught up in the idea that America can only be great if it goes abroad seeking monsters to destroy.

Also, a new Cold War is very profitable to the military industrial complex and Butina serves an important propaganda purpose. The media is an all-to-willing participant in this farce.

Even though Trump has been exonerated by a Mueller investigation that didn’t even view the Butina case as worth investigating, the President has been silent on her persecution. This is similar to his sudden silence on Wikileaks now that Julian Assange may be facing an eternity in a US supermax prison.

As author James Bamford wrote recently in an excellent New Republic article on the Butina case, the national security agencies are also eager to get another notch in their belts and the Russian gun activist was low-hanging fruit for their ambitions.

Non-interventionists believe strongly in citizen-to-citizen diplomacy as a way of avoiding war and conflict overseas. Exchange students, international business ventures, tourism, and just communicating with others is such an important way to thwart the plotting of the warmongers who lurk in all governments.

I am saddened to see that the United States has made such a hostile move toward peaceful foreign citizens seeking friendship with Americans. When citizens are no longer allowed to engage in diplomacy we are left with only the state. And the state loves war.

About Ron Paul

Ron Paul is a doctor, author, former member of Congress, Distinguished Counselor to the Mises Institute, and Chairman of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Our Books

latest book lineup.

Related Articles

Related

Last Weekend, Iran Changed Everything

Last Weekend, Iran Changed Everything

On April 13, Iran responded to Israel’s attack on its embassy compound in Damascus that killed seven Iranian officers, including a very senior military official, General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, by launching over 300 drones and missiles at Israel from Iranian soil. U.S....

read more
FISA Exchanges Real Liberty for Phantom Security

FISA Exchanges Real Liberty for Phantom Security

House Speaker Mike Johnson betrayed liberty and the Constitution by making a full-court press to get a “clean” reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Act through the House. Section 702 authorizes warrantless surveillance of...

read more
Embracing Deflation

Embracing Deflation

In recent years, the specter of inflation has loomed large over the global economy, fueled by unprecedented monetary stimulus measures and supply chain disruptions. As prices have surged, concerns about the erosion of purchasing power and the threat of runaway...

read more
One Hundred Years of IRS Political Targeting

One Hundred Years of IRS Political Targeting

One hundred years ago, Senator James Couzens, a Michigan Republican, took to the Senate floor to denounce the Bureau of Internal Revenue for abusing its power and trampling innocent taxpayers. Couzens launched a sweeping Senate investigation of federal tax collectors....

read more
Gold Is Doing Its Job

Gold Is Doing Its Job

On Monday, the U.S. Commerce Department announced it was awarding Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) a $6.6 billion CHIPS Act subsidy for the fabrication of computer microchips in Phoenix, Arizona. TSMC will also receive up to $5 billion in low-cost...

read more