If you read mainstream media, The Justice Department in July arrested and charged Russian national, Mariia Butina, with conspiring against the US as a secret agent. She was and is still in some circles incorrectly described as a spy. Actually, she was charged with and has pled guilty to acting in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General and conspiracy to do so, or in more general parlance, failing to register as a foreign agent. Not a spy. What's really at play here? Is there a legal difference between a foreign agent and failing to register as a foreign agent and a secret agent or a spy? So we went from Ms. Butina being a Russian spy who was using sex to lure people into her web to a graduate student who has spent about 5 months in solitary confinement and has pled guilty to being a Russian national who failed to register as a foreign agent. Is that a fair summary?
The arrest of Chinese telecommunications CFO Meng Wanzhou has sent shockwaves through the global markets she was detained by Canadian authorities on behalf of the United States when she was transferring flights in Canada. Two Canadian men have been detained in China on suspicion of "endangering national security," China's Foreign Ministry said today. Spokesperson Lu Kang confirmed that entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig were taken into custody on Monday and that they are being handled separately. Is there a correlation between the arrest of Chinese telecommunications CFO Meng Wanzhou and China's huge advantage over the US in the race to introduce and develop 5G, the next generation of mobile communications, the memo complained?
White House national security adviser John Bolton rolled out the Trump administration's Africa strategy on Thursday, casting Chinese and Russian influence in the region as a national security threat and pledging to overhaul US investment and aid in the region. "Great power competitors, namely China and Russia, are rapidly expanding their financial and political influence across Africa. They are deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States," Bolton said. "The predatory practices pursued by China and Russia stunt economic growth in Africa, threaten financial independence of African nations, inhibit opportunities for US investment, interfere with US military operations and pose a significant threat to US national security interests," Bolton continued.
A recent New York Times article begins with, "The American government's broadcast service to the world has a problem: It is becoming the news itself." That statement couldn't be more true, especially when it comes to Voice of America. So what is VOA and with the Trump administration fixing their gaze on taking a hard right perspective on its airways, should the American people be concerned? And why should the American people care about Radio Marti'?
Jim Kavanagh — political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.
Netfa Freeman — Host of Voices With Vision on WPFW 89.3 FM. Pan-Africanist and internationalist organizer intimately involved with political prisoners' causes, from Mumia Abu Jamal to the Cuban 5, and an organizer with Family & Friends of Incarcerated People.
Chris Garaffa — Web developer and technologist.
Brian Williams — Co-founder and partner at Wayne and Reed, a tech consultancy and venture builder.
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