Voices from Russia

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Anti-Bank Activist Prosecuted For Sidewalk Graffiti

00.02h 12.10.11 Political Cartoons. Occupy Wall Street


In America, the First Amendment doesn’t apply if the free speech upsets a bank. Jeff Olson, a 40-year-old man from San Diego CA, is facing prosecution for scrawling anti-bank messages on a sidewalk. He faces a 13-year jail sentence. RT quoted the San Diego Reader, which reported that a judge barred Olson’s attorney from “mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial”, in which Olson faces charges on 13 counts of vandalism. The judge ruled, “The State’s Vandalism Statute doesn’t mention First Amendment rights”. It isn’t surprising that the judge’s decision flabbergasted Olson’s attorney. He told the press, “I’ve never heard that before, that a court can prohibit an argument of First Amendment rights”.

Jeff Olsen, a political activist and a member of the Occupy Wall Street movement, faces trial for scrawling thirteen anti-bank messages using children’s chalk on a sidewalk outside of three San Diego CA branches of Bank of America. The slogans on the sidewalk were quite innocuous and included no profanities or strong language. Bank of America took offence at slogans such as “Stop Big Banks!” and “Stop Bank Blight!” It initiated legal proceedings against the activist who used a public sidewalk as a means of spreading his message.

 The San Diego Reader obtained records of the criminal case and found out that Darell Freeman, Bank of America Vice President of Global Corporate Security, pressured members of San Diego’s Gang Unit on behalf of the bank until they forwarded the matter to the City Attorney’s office. Instead of fighting local gangs, the San Diego Police Department Gang Unit is trying to jail an activist whose only wrongdoing is ticking off a big bank with messages written on a public sidewalk. Bank of America received a 54 billion USD (trillion Roubles. billion Euros. billion UK Pounds) bailout from the taxpayers, yet, its Corporate Security unit is fighting an activist. During the last couple of years, several former employees testified that Bank of America, as an institution, was involved in numerous instances of securities fraud and mortgage fraud. Why aren’t they charging the bank executives? Where’s justice?

30 June 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

Valentin Mândrăşescu


Editor’s Note:

Bank of America does many other questionable things. They’ll catch up with it… it’s becoming a political liability to Obama, and he’ll gladly throw some red meat to the lions. Bank of America has forgotten that it’s not above the law… it may find out otherwise in short order… and no one will cry for it. I can testify from personal experience that Corporate Security departments of large corporations believe themselves above the law. A Corporate Security sort at a former employer searched me for no good legal reason. He had no grounds for it. That’s kosher in post-Bush America. That’s what you get if you vote Republican… that’s what you march for in “Pro-Life” Marches. Show some grit and brains… you should NEVER vote for ANY Republican candidate under any circumstances… they’re the Party of Repression and Greed.




Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Australian Protester Who Highlighted Inequalities in British Society Ordered to Leave Britain for Being “Not Conducive to the Public Good”



A Home Office spokesman said that Australian Boat Race protester Trenton Oldfield, 37, was ordered to go back home to Australia as his presence in Britain wasn’t “conducive to the public good”. The spokesman said, “Those who come to the UK must abide by our laws. We refused this individual leave to remain because we don’t believe his presence in this country is conducive to the public good”. Trenton Oldfield was jailed for six months for halting last year’s University Boat Race on London’s River Thames for 25 minutes by swimming into the path of the crews. The action was designed to highlight élitism in British society. Before going on the protest, he wrote a blog setting out his rationale and making clear his plan didn’t constitute an act of terrorism. Oldfield said later, “People tell me that on the day of the race, 500,000 people looked up the word “élitism” on Google. It sparked a debate”.

Oldfield’s wife, Deepa Naik, 36, who’s to give birth in a week, appealed against the decision to deport Trenton. She added that his political protest highlighted the inequality in British society and a huge contradiction between the foreign policy and the domestic policy of Great Britain. Deepa Naik said to our VOR correspondent speaking about the court decision to depart her husband, “What we’re trying to do is to draw attention to the culture of élitism symbolised by the OxfordCambridge Boat Race. 70 percent of this current Cabinet went to either Oxford or Cambridge and 78 percent of the judges went to either of these schools. This culture élitism sets one group of people apart from the rest. The government is protecting interests of cooperation of banks, of very very wealthy people at the expense of the working persons, working mothers, and people with disabilities. It’s creating even more inequality. London now is the most unequal city in the developed world; it has the widest gap between the rich and the poor. There’s a huge contradiction between the foreign policy and the domestic policy and how protesters in this country are treated. This government and the previous government are criminalising protests, so, this idea that one has the right for political expression in other country is completely back, but how they treat the sentence in this country is very very different, I think there is a huge contradiction”.


Élitism is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an élite… a select group of people with a certain ancestry, intrinsic quality or worth, higher intellect, wealth, specialised training or experience, or other distinctive attributes… are those whose influence or authority is greater than that of others; whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight; whose views or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities, or wisdom render them especially fit to govern.

25 June 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

If you vote for the Republicans in the USA, the Liberal Party in Australia, or the Conservatives (sic) in the UK or the Conservative Party of Canada, this is what you vote for. What makes it worse is that it isn’t an old-school Burkean Conservatism of hierarchy and family status, it’s a Radical Liberal notion of crass wealth alone. Mark this down well… none of the Anglosphere “conservatives” are Conservative at all… they’re Radical Liberals who hate learning and heritage. They’re just money-bloated spiders, nothing else. When HH condemns “Liberalism”, this is what he condemns. In short, the people who’re trying to ally Orthodoxy with rightwing elements aren’t only wrong, they’re spouting the most noxious form of content-less Anarchism… Laissez-faire Libertarianism.

Think on that (especially, in view of the fact that Potapov boasted of sucking up to the wealthy)…



Sunday, 23 September 2012

Peaceful Protests Against Lawlessness in Georgia


A week of mass protests in Georgia brought dismissals of ministers and detentions of protesters. Tension in large cities is growing worse ahead of the parliamentary elections. Originally, the protests were against torture of prisoners. Now, people demand more than just punishment for those responsible. Both Georgian politicians and independent experts agree that the prison scandal is bound to affect the upcoming election.

Mass protests in defence of prisoners’ rights have continued in Georgia since 18 September. People went into the streets after TV showed a video of tortures and rapes in a Tbilisi prison. After this shocking material was broadcast, several high-ranking officials lost their posts, among them Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance Khatuna Kalmakhelidze. Late at night on Thursday, Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia got the sack. Ex-prisoner Gigla Tskhvaradze said, “The protestors demanded this because the unlawful actions in prisons occurred with the Akhalaia’s connivance. I have enough prison experience to know what kind of people work in them. They aren’t human and they don’t treat prisoners humanely. Their higher-ups tacitly support this situation”.

This isn’t merely a sadistic attitude to prisoners. Georgian public figures said in VOR interviews that most of the torture victims are principled opponents of Saakashvili’s régime. Nikolai Khomeriki, President of the Foundation for the Unity of Russians and Georgians, said, “This is one of the methods that the authorities use in struggling against dissent in Georgia. Bacho Akhalaia and his brother are Mikhail Saakashvili’s henchmen. They’ve always kept the Georgian people’s nerves on edge. They employ illegal armed gangs that beat people during mass protests. Undoubtedly, Akhalaia’s one of the filthiest people in Georgia. Ahead of the elections, Saakashvili specially appointed him Interior Minister, and his brother Deputy Defence Minister, to intimidate Georgians, to spread terror all over the country. If anyone dared say a word, they’d punish them. Certainly, all this was done with Saakashvili’s knowledge and consent”.

In addition to resignations, the authorities took an unexpected step. Former ombudsman Georgi Tugushi became the new Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance. The President also instructed Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili to reform the penitentiary system. However, people are sceptical about these moves. They don’t believe that the government will identify and punish all those responsible for the outrages either. It’s true that the government arrested some ten prison employees, but new protests on Friday broke out because the only penalty that Bacho Akhalaia faced was dismissal. The authorities seem to have recovered after their initial shock; they’re talking more about who needed this scandal, rather than about the facts of the crimes. Saakashvili talks about a war of compromising evidence ahead of the election. The Prokuratura and other Georgian judicial bodies said that the scandal is a provocation of the opposition.

The opposition, in turn, is taking an active part in public protests. It’s about a week before parliamentary elections in Georgia, and many people are using the meetings for making political declarations, amongst them Aleksandr Shalamberidze, one of the leaders of the Our Georgia-Free Democrats Party, who said, “What’s happening in the prisons and in the country in general can’t be tolerated. We need another government, and that’ll happen as a result of the 1 October parliamentary elections”. Meanwhile, the protests in Georgia haven’t grown more violent. People participating in the protests, as well as politicians and public figures, are vocal in their desire not to yield to provocations. They believe that if their protests are to result in régime change, this should happen peacefully, for the first time in Georgian history.

Soso Shatberashvili, a leader of the opposition Georgian Labour Party, told VOR, “The authorities could decide to stir up tensions intentionally; if things get worse, Saakashvili would impose a state of emergency, and, probably, would open fire on the people. We’ve already experienced this. He now dreams about postponing the elections”.

Experts agree that Saakashvili’s image has been damaged. It’s worth mentioning that a scandal broke out inside his favoured Interior Ministry after it’d undergone the reforms that Saakashvili was so proud of. For a long time, the Georgian police had a stellar reputation. This image was so strong that Brussels repeatedly ignored tortures reported by opposition sources. Only after evidence mounted up did the EU and the OSCE officially condemn the practise. Feliks Stanevsky, former Russian Ambassador to Georgia, and deputy head of the Department for the Caucasus at the Institute of CIS Studies, believes, “We shouldn’t expect any further steps from the West. I think that the Western leaders are being too lenient with Saakashvili. Even pro-Western opposition forces repeatedly warned the USA and Europe against offering so much support to the Saakashvili regime, but it’s in vain. The USA adheres to its pro-Saakashvili line despite the latter’s taste for dictatorial manners”.

Nobody dares to predict how events will unfold next week. On Friday, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia Ghudushauri-Shiolashviliof all Georgia addressed the nation, calling on the people to avoid riots. He condemned torture in prison and asked people to “peacefully wait for the elections”. Some hours later, more arrests took place, with some people reported injured during clashes in Tbilisi overnight.

22 September 2012

Polina Chernitsa

Aleksandra Dibizheva

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Did you read or hear ANYTHING in the Western media about the violence in Georgia, or about Saakashvili’s brutal actions towards his own people? You didn’t, did you? That’s because pseudo-journalistic lickspittles such as Serge Schmemann and Sophia Kishkovsky only write the pabulum that their corporate paymasters want them to… after all, they can’t put their good jobs on the line for such a chimerical thing as the truth, can they?

You can’t be informed if your only source is the New York Times or Fox News… they’re two sides of the same coin. Right-face or left-face, they’re all shills for the current system… there’s not not even one with decency or integrity left, not one in the lot of them. They’re not going to put their well-paid situations on the line for the sake of the truth… why? No one else does, these days… at least, that’s how they rationalise their cowardice and cupidity to themselves. They turn their heads as the torturers from Langley ply their trade in foreign parts and train willing hands from other countries to do so, as well. Who wants to upset one’s gravy train over that? They’re just wogs…

Pass the jug… we all need it again…


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

One Year On: Quo Vadis “Occupy Wall Street?”


Their opponents on the right paint them as a fifth column carrying out their liberal paymasters’ orders. Sceptics say they’ve squandered their political capital amidst internal squabbling. However, on the first anniversary of their inaugural protest in lower Manhattan, Occupy Wall Street activists say they aren’t going anywhere. Lacy MacAuley, 33, who marched in the Occupy Wall Street protest a year ago Monday, said, “There’s no sense at all that the energy’s dissipating. The energy’s, of course, more mature than it was a year ago. We all know each other now, and we all understand what it means to actually raise your voice amid intense police repression”. MacAuley was among the hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters Monday who descended on Zuccotti Park, the site of an encampment in the heart of the global financial empire that inspired similar protests across the United States and throughout the world. A New York City Police spokesman said that police arrested 146 activists during Monday’s protest, which aimed to disrupt the New York Stock exchange.

Occupy attracted a broad spectrum of political factions, including anarchists, environmentalists, and those upset with what they see as the American government’s subsidisation of the financial industry at the expense of the masses. Critics say the movement’s rejection of hierarchy and a unified political platform led to organisational paralysis. MacAuley, an organiser for the Occupy DC movement in the American capital, rejects this critique. She said that Occupy is about tactics… not policy, noting, “Occupy Wall Street has given an incredible amount of strength to a variety of movements, concerned citizens, and activists all over the country… and all over the world… that they didn’t have before”.

Occupy activist Suzanne Collado, who became active in the movement just days after the first Occupy protest on 17 September 2011, echoed MacAuley’s sentiment, saying the movement provided people of various political stripes with a vehicle to “come out of the shadows” to be heard. She thinks that critics are prematurely penning Occupy’s obituary, saying, “It’s only been a year. Look at the great movements that shaped history. They were never defined by where they ended up in a year”.

Ralph Young, a professor at Temple University and author of Dissent in America, said that Occupy Wall Street remains politically relevant in the United States. He believes that its most significant achievement was to propel the issue of social inequality to the forefront of the political dialogue in the United States, observing, “People have started talking about income equality, whereas before they were only talking about the [national] debt. They’ve opened up the political discussion. Even the Republicans have started talking about income inequality”.

Nina Eliasoph, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California said that the movement made it possible for politicians and public figures to discuss “income and wealth in a way that was not possible a year ago, even though the movement itself has kind of disintegrated”. Professor Young added that social movements could, indeed, lose steam if aggressive organisational egalitarianism prevents them from forming coherent strategies for moving forward, saying, “If you look back at the civil rights movements, the early protests were spontaneous grassroots actions. There was Rosa Parks, and the Greensboro lunch counter. But then they got a cohesive centre and a charismatic speaker. Occupy Wall Street has the grassroots thing, but it hasn’t really gotten to the organisation thing yet. They don’t want that. But too much anarchy isn’t a good thing”. Professor Eliasoph thinks that one enduring achievement of the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon may be the export of the movement’s values to other venues for activism. For example, many of the group’s activists in California have moved on to pressing for reform of the public university system.

18 September 2012

Carl Schreck



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