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Four Americans Face Up To 10 Years Prison Time For 'Pro-Russian Propaganda'

Travis Cunha

Apr 29, 2023

On April 18, 2023, the federal government indicted four American citizens who are members of the African People's Socialist Party (APSP): Omali Yeshitela, the APSP Chairman and Founder, along with Penny Joanne Hess, Jesse Nevel, and Augustus C. Romain Jr. They are charged with collaborating with the Russian government to spread "disinformation," with the help of Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov - a Russian citizen who leads the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia. Ionov has resided in Florida since 2013, while he and the APSP have been under federal surveillance since their ties were established. According to Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen, “Russia’s foreign intelligence service allegedly weaponized our First Amendment rights – freedoms Russia denies its own citizens – to divide Americans and interfere in elections in the United States. The department will not hesitate to expose and prosecute those who sow discord and corrupt U.S. elections in service of hostile foreign interests, regardless of whether the culprits are U.S. citizens or foreign individuals abroad."

This all might sound familiar to the reader, as just last July the FBI raided the APSP headquarters or “Uhuru House," and Ionov was indicted for using funds from the Kremlin to supposedly support local politicians in the St. Petersburg area, in Florida, not Russia. Yeshitela spoke earlier this month and predicted he would be indicted, and also stated, “To say that we work for the Russians and took money from the Russians, the Russian government, the Russian Government doesn't owe us reparations, who owes us reparations is the United States government.”, and continued, “There's an NGO we have a relationship with. We have never received a single penny, not one penny from the Russian government. Never, never, never.”

The federal government's arrest of these activists is especially cynical in light of what our government has done for decades through organizations like USAID. Whether through providing arms, technology, or monetary assistance, there are countless examples of the United States funneling aid to groups in other countries to influence elections and policy. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was established with the enactment of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which marked a significant transformation in foreign assistance activities, according to their own account.

Since then, USAID has been utilized as a key organization by the U.S. government to further its foreign interests. Notably, USAID has played a pivotal role in supporting countries in the Global South that continue to require substantial economic aid in the aftermath of the postcolonial era. As stated on their website, "USAID promoted market-based principles to restructure developing countries' policies and institutions. During this decade, USAID reaffirmed its commitment to broad-based economic growth, emphasizing employment and income opportunities through a revitalization of agriculture and expansion of domestic markets."

The claims made by USAID suggest that the United States utilized this department of the state apparatus to provide various forms of aid and foreign investments to countries in dire need. However, the reality is that many nations in South America and Africa have had their productive farmland taken over by Western corporations. Instead of implementing mutually beneficial diplomacy to establish these nations for long-term prosperity, USAID has played a significant role in manipulating the political narrative and inciting unrest among the populace in other countries. Capitalism thrives in anarchy and chaos, and through the implementation of various tactics that cross political, cultural, and economic boundaries, entities such as USAID have become highly valuable to the U.S. government in creating more markets and making foreign politicians more amenable to the U.S.'s version of "democracy."

Today, USAID has prioritized "sowing discord" in nations where Russian and Chinese influence is growing. Their involvement in Cuba is well-known, where they even created a counterfeit version of Twitter to undermine Cuba's communist government. Another instance of this can be seen in Georgia, where "spontaneous" protests recently broke out over what Western media referred to as a "Russian-style law." Pictures from the Georgia protests show Georgian flags as expected, but also numerous United States and European Union flags, as well as many signs written in English. Why would a law that only concerns the locals of Georgia draw out foreign flags? It is likely due to the almost three decades of USAID infiltrating the local political discussion, creating a great deal of Russophobia and pro-Western sentiments.

USAID claims, "For 27 years, the American people have given over $1.8 billion in aid to Georgia through USAID. Building on this successful partnership, the U.S. Government dedicates about $40 million annually to 50 wide-ranging programs that support Georgia's democratic, free-market, Western orientation."

This is where the United States has no standing when accusing the APSP of acting on Russia's behalf. While we have yet to see definitive proof that those in the Uhuru Movement received funds from Russia, we have irrefutable evidence of the US meddling in countries such as Georgia. If the United States can allocate $40 million to over 50 programs in Georgia and it is seemingly acceptable, then they must immediately release all those apprehended in this scenario.

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