Russia Confirms To The World That It's Not A Fan Of Free Speech: Pussy Riot Gets Two Years In Jail

from the pussy-riot-in-jail dept

Hopefully, many of you have been following the legal fight in Russia over the band/collective Pussy Riot, who performed an anti-Putin song inside a key Moscow cathedral. If so, then you know that, today, the band was sentenced to two years in jail. The sentence could have been worse, but just the fact that they're being punished, at all, for expressing their views is troubling enough. The three women have already been in jail since March, while the case moved forward. At the beginning, it was assumed that they would end up with jail sentences, but there had been some hope that the Russian judiciary would recognize the general horror of the rest of the world at the case and perhaps back down. The women are planning to appeal, so this isn't over yet.

Either way, the verdict is unfortunate in many ways. We talk about free speech issues all the time around here, and we recognize that other countries don't always view freedom of speech as being as central or as important as the US does. That said, the whole idea that a band would end up in jail over political speech should be distressing and problematic to anyone with a developed sense of "right" and "wrong." Some will say this isn't surprising, or that this is the way that some countries operate, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still be offended by the decision on principle.

Filed Under: free speech, protests, pussy riot, russia, vladimir putin


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  1. icon
    sgt_doom (profile), 17 Aug 2012 @ 11:09am

    Re: And why Assange and Pussy Riot matter

    A WikiLeaks Primer

    Originally, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange fled Iceland as he was under surveillance by business-suited strangers, plus he was tipped off by the bank where the WikiLeaks’ account was located that they had been approached by US government personnel.

    In Sweden, Assange was immediately approached by a Bonnier family publication for exclusive rights in publishing WikiLeaked documents. Assange declined their offer, both against the principle of exclusivity, and because he’d been advised that the publication was similar to Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloids; not necessarily respectable.

    It is important to understand that the Bonnier family is a major European media family (Bonnier AB is one of the 10 largest media companies in the world), who’s ownership extends to American publications such as Sports Illustrated, Popular Science, Time, etc.

    The woman who first approached Assange for consensual sex, Anna Ardin, worked for one of the Bonnier family publications, and while her present source of income is difficult to determine, she appears to be surviving nicely. Ardin would later approach the second young lady, Sofia Wilen (who also had consensual sex with Assange), to accompany her to the police.

    The law firm which volunteered to represent the two women is comprised of two law partners, Claes Borgstrom, who has two sisters who work for Bonnier family companies, and Thomas Bodstrom, who publishes through the Bonnier family media company (he writes legal fiction).

    Bodstrom was also the Swedish Minister of Justice who had OK’ed the CIA’s illegal kidnapping of several Swedish citizens of Arabic origin --- also called extreme rendition --- who were transported to Egypt for torture (and what could have led to murder), but were eventually released and sued the Swedish government in Swedish courts, winning a financial judgment against them.

    Sweden claims it would never allow extradition to any country with a legalized death penalty, yet by allowing extreme renditions to such countries, we know this to be a lie.

    Originally when the women approached the police, a junior prosecutor on duty ordered Assange to remain in Sweden, but the Swedish Prosecution Authority shortly dropped all charges as they had no merit.

    Later, after allowing Assange to leave Sweden, and due to political pressure from the highest levels of government, the Swedish Prosecution Authority resumed the case without merit, seeking Assange’s extradition, solely for questioning, in violation of both existing Swedish law, and the regulations pertaining to issuing European Union arrest warrants (two very important points!).

    During those early events in Sweden, Anna Ardin had chat message traffic with reporters for a Bonnier family tabloid, Expressen, which indicated criminal conspiracy and malfeasance on her part, and while her attorney, Claes Borgstrom, illegally directed her to delete this evidence, she forgot to delete the copy from her blog site, later downloaded by an enterprising Australian journalist.

    Unfortunately, this has received scant attention or reportage in the corporate media.

    Later, the other law partner and former Justice Minister, Thomas Bodstrom, went on a book tour in America, where he routinely spread disinformation about the WikiLeaks/Assange case. Much of the time Bodstrom stayed at a residence in Virginia, a short drive from the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

    A curious coincidence, or logistical necessity?

    The present Justice Minister, Beatrice Ask, who resurrected the extradition case against Assange, was originally appointed to her cabinet positions by Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister who is presently the Swedish foreign minister.

    Carl Bildt appears unfavorably mentioned in several WikiLeaked cables, and was a director at Lundin Petroleum during their involvement in massacres of Sudanese living on oil-rich land in that African country.

    Later, in America, a relatively unknown author named Jaclyn Friedman, would attempt to publicize the consensual sex case against Assange as rape charges. Friedman’s web site, at that time, displays her boasting of enjoying sex with multiple male partners in a given week’s time, although at times Ms. Friedman claims to be an avowed lesbian?

    Perhaps more troubling is that Ms. Friedman was published through Perseus Books, which at that time was owned by the private equity firm, Perseus LLC, which was also listed as the business address, for tax purposes, for the American Friends of Bilderberg, Inc., whose directors are listed as David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and Richard Perle.

    The business contact for that group at Perseus LLC and either the firm’s CEO or a senior executive, was James Johnson, a major character featured in a recent book by NY Times financial reporter, Gretchen Morgenstern, cited as playing a major governmental role in the subprime mortgage meltdown.

    A Bonnier family member, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier, was and still may be the Swedish ambassador to Israel.

    Quite a bunch of improbable connections pertaining to a strange case of consensual sex?

    [A recent important article on Bradley Manning’s trial can be found at the site below.]

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/the-most-disturbing-thing-about-the-case-against-bradl ey-manning/Content?oid=14460991

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