Tuesday, July 04, 2017

U.S. Targets Russians Accused of Cyber Crimes

Stanislav Lisov is a Russian citizen who was arrested in Barcelona, Spain earlier this year. But the arrest warrant did not come from Spanish authorities. He was wanted by the United States. American prosecutors are going to great lengths to capture Russians charged with cyber crimes. Lisov is among those accused of running multi million dollar bank, credit card and identity theft schemes.

Roman Seleznev is another unlucky Russian who fell into the hands of the American prosecutors. In 2014 he was visiting the Maldives, an Indian ocean nation with no extradition treaty with the United States. But officials there cooperated with Americans and snatched him from the airport before he could enter that country. He was sent to San Francisco to face charges, was convicted and recently sentenced to 27 years in prison.

There is a long list of Russians who have been arrested by the United States if they leave their country. They have been captured and transported to the United States from the Maldives, Finland, Thailand, Czech Republic, Norway and now Spain, which recently granted the U.S. its request to extradite Lisov.

It is very suspicious that at the moment when the United States is most hostile to Russia that its citizens accused of theft would be treated so harshly and with such determination. The Unites States has the biggest prison system in the world, with more than two million people incarcerated. It is known for its draconian sentences, prosecutorial misconduct and a system weighted heavily against defendants.

If these cases are worthy of prosecutions a country other than the United States should carry them out. America's motives should always be suspect, particularly now that Russia is accused of interfering in the recent presidential election. That nation and its president, Vladimir Putin, have been demonized to an extent not seen in recent history. It is difficult to believe that suddenly individuals accused of even large scale theft would suddenly be pursued with such ferocity.

American bankers committed vast crimes when they created the 2008 financial collapse. But they went unpunished. Why is it now so important to catch Russians accused of crime? The answer is obviously political. These people are being used to punish their nation because it refuses to be subordinate to the United States, which continues its provocations against the Russian government.

Associates of Bill Clinton admitted to interfering in Russia's elections in favor of Boris Yeltsin in 1996. Since that time the United States has expanded NATO, unilaterally withdrawn from a missile defense treaty, instigated a coup in Ukraine and attacked Syria, a Russian ally. It is difficult to believe that there is no political motivation for these arrests.

Unfortunately the propaganda has been successful. Russians are assumed to be evil and guilty and there are few Americans knowledgeable enough to call attention to these questionable prosecutions. If the United States had not declared their nation an enemy the crimes they are accused of committing would be ignored. At the very least  another solution would have been worked out at high diplomatic levels. But Lisov and others are pawns in a political struggle.

These prosecutions are highly politicized and of dubious value. Given the nature of the U.S. criminal justice system and the level of  hostility between the two nations, these prosecutions should be stopped and these individuals should be returned to their country.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Black Folks in Dark Times

This is a blast from the past which I recently had recent to recall. I had an amazing experience in April of 2014. I was invited to join a  powerful group of black thinkers at a symposium entitled Black Folks in Dark Times. It was  held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. I was joined by conveners Peter James Hudson and Jemima Pierre along with Glen Ford, David Austin, Kevin Edmonds, Sokari Ekine, Kevin Alexander Gray, Aaron Kamugisha, Emira Woods, Maboula Soumahoro, Naomi Reed, Christina Sharpe, Rinaldo Walcott and Johnny Eric Williams.

Unfortunately there were technical problems which prevented all remarks from being recorded. But there is audio for comments from Kevin Alexander Gray, Christina Sharpe and Maboulah Soumaroo. Listen here beginning at about 19 minutes.  You can also get a good idea of what took place on this storify link courtesy of Peter Hudson.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Black Agenda Report and CPR News: Nancy Pelosi Sends Democrats Over the Cliff

I now think that the title of my latest Black Agenda Report column is somewhat unfair. One cannot blame Nancy Pelosi for all of the democratic party's problems. She has had lots of help in bringing the democrats to their lowest point in recent history. But she is a fair target. Whenever anyone asks why she remains that party's house leader despite her failures we are told that she raises lots of money. That is true. But it doesn't seem to help them win. In fact I believe that the money is itself a problem. The 1% aren't going to vote themselves out of existence and that is exactly what the people want. Read my column here and listen to my discussion with Don DeBar here.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Making News - Faking News

Yes I already posted this video of a panel I moderated with Ray McGovern and Mark Crispin Miller. It was the Facebook live feed, not as good as Joe Friendly's work. Much better quality here.

Seymour Hersh Exposes Lies about Syria

On June 15th I moderated a panel sponsored by the Big Apple Coffee Party entitled "Making News - Faking News: How Disinformation Corrupts Democracy." Mark Crispin Miller and Ray McGovern were panelists.

During our talk Ray mentioned a forthcoming article from investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. Hersh was once published in the New York Times and in the New Yorker but that was some years ago. He then went to the London Review of Books but apparently now they reject him too. The German newspaper Die Welt published his reporting on the Syria chemical weapons story today.

No need to wait for a punchline. We were lied to by the Trump administration and by the corporate media. Their actions were very dangerous and risked war between the U.S. and Russia. Please read Seymour Hersh's story here and McGovern's analysis here.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Black Agenda Report and CPR News: UNAC Brings Power to the People

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) conference was held in Richmond, Virginia last weekend. It was my third UNAC conference and each one has been amazing. More than 300 people attended the 2017 conference from 31 states and 9 foreign countries. I wrote about it in my Black Agenda Report column entitled, "UNAC Brings Power to the People." And as always I discussed it with Don DeBar on CPR News.

Panels were live streamed by Other Voices, Other Choices and the quality was excellent. Check out the videos on Youtube.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

UNAC conference

I love the UNAC conferences. That is all.

UNAC Conference 2017 - 3rd Plenary: Domestic Issues

I started off a panel on domestic issues at the UNAC conference. I discussed human rights violations in the United States. My comments start at about 5:55.

UNAC Conference 2017 - Welcoming Remarks by UNAC Members & Allies

Moderating two nights in a row. First at the Big Apple Coffee Party event with Ray McMcGovern and Mark Crispin Miller on June 15th. Then the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) on June 16th. It seemed crazy and I regretted making two important commitments back to back. But it all worked out and it is all important work.

The two day event was live streamed and I got it all started along with wonderful brothers and sisters in the struggle. We have many hours of footage so check it all out on youtube at your leisure.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Left Forum 2017: Jill Stein, Chis Hedges, Media Benjamin, Yours truly

I was on a great Left Forum panel with Jill Stein, Chris Hedges and Medea Benjamin on June 3, 2017.

Making News Faking News

I moderated a panel on this subject with Ray McGovern and Mark Crispin Miller on June 15, 2017. We discussed media/elite collusion, propaganda, stolen elections and why Obama was more effectively evil than Trump. We had an engaged audience at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. Event was sponsored by the Big Apple Coffee Party.

Black Agenda Report and CPR News: Under the Democrats' Bus

Hillary Clinton spends $1 billion and ends up the loser but somehow the left is to blame. But of course the democratic party wants to end up on the right anyway so that twisted logic isn't surprising. That was the theme of my column in this week's Black Agenda Report and the topic of discussion with Don DeBar on CPR News.

Zero Squared Podcast: Comey's Dismissal and Trump's Incompetence

A few weeks ago I talked to Doug Lain on his Zero Squared podcast. I always laugh a lot during our conversations, even as I discuss serious matters. I guess Doug brings that out in me. Anyway we did have a fun but serious conversation. Enjoy.