Butina campaigns for gun rights which Putin opposes and is closer to the oppositionist Navalyn so the charges she is an agent of the Russian government -- which she just "confessed" to -- are patently absurd
Just days ago her family was saying Butina would not break despite what she was being put through:
"She isn't making deals with anybody, whether there will be such a deal or not, she's not slandering anybody nor pleading guilty for a crime she didn't commit". This is a recent comment from Maria Butina's father, who is following the news that the American press has been discussing. For example, BBC has a quite bold formulation. They say that the Russian citizen is ready to publicly report that she together with an anonymous American #1 and operated in the USA under the direction of a Russian official. That'd mean that she took part in an anti-Washington plot. But the relatives have a different interpretation. She trusts her lawyers and is satisfied with the statement of the question, which will be expressed in a deal with the investigation. That means that nothing is that simple. Butina is not going to slander Moscow and herself. Even though people that keep her behind bars want that exactly. Tell the truth, they can make her. They need to figure out with what methods.
Alas, in the end the isolation and sleep deprivation proved too much. She has now "confessed":
Maria Butina’s only crime is that she is Russian, legal analysts told RT, attacking the US justice system for keeping her in solitary confinement until she admitted guilt to at least one of the many charges brought against her.
“This is an utter and total miscarriage of justice,” retired CIA agent and whistleblower John Kiriakou told RT after Butina pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to register with the Justice Department as an agent of the Russian government. “You can see clearly, this is not about justice, this is not about criminal activity. This is about making a political point. This is about identifying Russia and Russians as the enemy of the United States, and punishing them.”
“We arrested this young woman because we need dirt on Trump and Russia. And she is Russian, political and pro-Trump,” US legal analyst Jennifer Breedon explained. “We are seeing [the Foreign Agents Registration Act - FARA] being used specifically as it relates to undermining the Donald Trump administration or conservatives really with anybody involved in Russia, friends with Russia or contacts.”
The Russian gun activist was subjected to “unbearable pressure” from US authorities, by being kept in solitary confinement in the Alexandria detention center outside Washington, and only allowed to take an hour-long break from her “cage” per day. John Kiriakou believes this borderline “torture” could have forced her to admit to a crime she might never even have committed.
“This woman is not an enemy combatant. So, unless news surfaces that there was some kind of skirmish or issue within the jail... it seems to go against US policy and laws as to who is forced into solitary confinement, just based solely on the charges that were lodged against her,” Breedon said.
“You are kept in a steel cage 23 hours a day. And for what? Because she failed to fill out a form to send to the Justice Department?” Kiriakou pondered. “It is no wonder people in solitary confinement in the United States commit suicide every day.”
Butina, recently a student, was arrested in Washington in mid-July on accusations of secretly working for the Russian government, a claim firmly denied by the Kremlin. Butina now faces up to five years in jail for failure to comply with the FARA, unless she is extradited to Russia.
Report on her treatment in US custody may shed some light as to why she would falsely confess to something that is patently absurd:
- Hello, Evgeniy.
- Good evening!
- It happens so that with high pressure they break people, and that's not even a secret for anybody.
- Of course, Alexey. Butina, for instance, is deprived of sleep. And this, by the way, is one of the most sophisticated torture methods.
Maria Butina's father shared the details about her prison conditions in an Alexandria jail. She's been in a private cell for 8 days already, 22 hours per day. The square of the cell is 85 square feet. Instead of a real bed, she has a concrete and a trestle bed. They won't let her sleep. She may walk across the prison yard alone, from 2 to 4 am. The Russian was put in a punishment cell allegedly due to sharing the number of her lawyer with another prisoner.
Sleep deprivation is a method of psychological pressure that the CIA has been using for decades. The US Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s working methods after 9/11 was recently published. Sleep deprivation is among them. Here's a quote: "at least five detainees experienced disturbing hallucinations". In at least two cases, the CIA kept up with the sleep deprivation. Here's what experts say about Maria Butina's detention conditions.
Ivan Melnikov, a UN human rights committee: "I want to draw attention to the convention against torture adopted in 1984 that says it's not allowed to deprive of sleep and to completely isolate a person, which is almost a torture as well. In this case, unfortunately, I have to admit that Maria is currently in torture conditions".
Long-term sleep deprivation is indeed an insidious form of torture, as it strikes at the deep biological functions underlying human mental and physical health. This is less obvious violence than cutting off a finger or beating someone up but it may be way more destructive and painful if taken to the extreme. During one study, British doctors tested the gene activity of volunteers who were deprived of sleep. It turned out that lack of sleep adversely affected the work of more than 700 genes. There are 6 sleep cycles, lasting from 90 to 120 minutes. If the physical recovery occurs in the first half of sleep, the psychological occurs in the second. That said, a normal adult should sleep seven hours per day and more. If sleep breaks up or lasts no more than five hours, this is considered to be a serious pathology.
It seems so that in Maria Butina's case, the prison administration acts purposefully, as the period from 2-4 a.m. is during the period of deep sleep, which is when a person recovers. They wouldn't let the Russian do so. No wonder the World Health Organization has included sleep in the main criteria of health. Dozens of studies have been conducted on the importance of sleep. Here are the results: a lack of sleep leads to weakening of the immune system, hallucinations, memory weakening, and a decrease in brain activity. Lack of sleep doubles the risks of having a stroke and increases by the risk of type 2 diabetes by six times. Let's hear the medics out.
Elena Tsareva, a sleep doctor: "At first, the body doesn't go through deep sleep, it stays in superficial sleep. That means that the quality of sleep goes down. It results in daytime sleepiness, decreased performance, loss of short-term memory, and most frequently, decreased immunity, and an increased risk of getting sick, with the flu for instance. In the long term, 3-5 years, there are risks of ontological and cardiovascular diseases".
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