(The Saker) – As defined in various civil rights acts and codes of civil crimes and offenses, the crime of harassment takes place when actions are committed with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another. The relations between states are not much different, especially when one state intentionally annoys, alarms and harasses the entire population of another country.
In yet another barbaric act of harassment of the Russian diplomats in the US, BuzzFeed, an online content generator and a click farm, announced on November 14th their “secret finding” of “60 Russian Payments “To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016.” In human language, the Russian Foreign Ministry wired to the business accounts of Russia’s embassies around the world some small amount of money to provide Russian citizens abroad with a chance to vote in the parliamentary election on September 18, 2016.
This “breaking news” were instantly distributed among the pro-Trump and against-Trump crowds, with both sides claiming the this somehow proved the guilt of their opponents. “Russia wired $30,000 to its own U.S. embassy in August of last year. Per @BuzzFeedNews, “to finance election campaign of 2016” was the memo line. Dozens of other transactions were marked similarly.”
Right up front, the Buzzfeed acknowledged that although, “The FBI is scrutinizing more than 60 money transfers sent by the Russian Foreign Ministry to its embassies across the globe, most of them bearing a note that said the money was to be used “to finance election campaign of 2016,” they received a clarification from the Russian government that the money were used to organize the polling stations in its own parliamentary election.
Nevertheless, the FBI reportedly stated to “investigate” “why Russia transferred nearly $400,000 to its embassies ‘to finance’ the ‘election campaign of 2016.”
‘The FBI is reviewing a series of wire transfers totaling more than $380,000 sent in August and September of last year by the Russian government to its embassies around the world. Most had the memo “to finance election campaign of 2016.”
The Business Insider reported that “The Senate Intelligence Committee, which BuzzFeed News says has been made aware of the wire transfers, asked the Treasury for its FinCEN records in April, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. It received over 2,000 documents from the financial-crimes unit, which monitors over 200 million Bank Secrecy Act records involving more than 80,000 financial institutions.
Same day, the Embassy of Russia in the USA / Посольство России в США issued the following statement
“The issue of “Russian meddling” in the 2016 US presidential elections is close to becoming openly marginalized. This is obvious for the American media environment, as well as for numerous investigators into these allegations. Leftovers are being vacuumed throughout the media space, slow movers are being leaked.
A yet another confirmation of this is publication by BuzzFeed. Citing the FBI, they reported of an investigation of ‘suspicious’ transactions by the Russian Foreign Ministry to our embassies worldwide – ‘from Afghanistan to Nigeria,’ ‘to finance election campaign of 2016.’ It mentions Citibank, a bank used by the Russian Embassy in Washington.
It is of absolutely no surprise to us that in the universe of the US mainstream, Russia and the Russian Embassy in Washington have the only goal of undermining the basis of the local democracy. Now, BuzzFeed together with the FBI and Congress are investigating money transfers, on which the Embassy exists and carries out its functions in strict compliance with the Vienna convention. In fact, with assistance from Citibank, the Embassy’s activities are being investigated. This is the new American norm.
By the fact, we will have to disappoint those ‘investigators.’ We have carried out and we will carry out the State Duma and Russian presidential elections in line with our constitution. Including for Russian citizens abroad, worldwide. Including in the United States. If additional funds are needed to organize them, we will receive them from Moscow. Through Citibank. Or other one. Lawfully.
We are even grateful to BuzzFeed journalists for uncovering a yet another gross violation of elementary norms of interaction between local authorities and foreign diplomatic missions. And this attempt to artificially link Russia and the Embassy to domestic US political wrangling has failed in the most shameful manner.”
The information on the election was distributed via the Embassies’ web-sites and also by the local Russian language press and public organizations like KSORS.org – The Russian American Cultural Heritage Center.
The event was well organized and went without any reported problems. Before the election day there was some concern about the safety of people coming to vote. In Ukraine, for example, a Russian citizen was viciously attacked by a group of men. In the US, the election poll workers were college-age men and women along with some men acting as security. Everyone was exceptionally charming. There were no protests of any kind outside of the venues. However, at least on one occasion, a middle aged woman came inside and tried to vote without having a proof of citizenship. She told her tale of woe about residing too far away and being forced to take public transportation, and how she was very nervous and forgot her Russian passport. The poll workers acted with understanding and compassion, but refused to let her vote, advising her to go back home and to return with her passport, since there was still enough time.
Outside she was joined by a man, they both got in a car and drove away, never to return. The witnesses agreed that her accent was somewhat a giveaway of her being from one of the Baltic republics.
The most superficial analysis of the election polling places has revealed no surprises. They were opened for one day on September 18th from 8AM to 8PM local time.
They all looked similar to this one
Russia's parliamentary elections took place on September 18, 2016. Russian citizens, including those living outside of Russia voted at the polling places rented by the Russia's Embassies. @BuzzFeed @mfa_russia https://t.co/0vJ5Fl40Eu pic.twitter.com/YbDSWzncjV
— Scott's Humor (@ScottsHumor) November 15, 2017
- Washington, D.C. – in the Russia’s Embassy in Washington, D.C.: 2650 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington D.C. 20007;
• New York – in the Consulate general of the Russian federation in New York: 9 East 91 Street New York, NY 10128;
• San Francisco – in the Consulate general of the Russian federation in San Francisco: 2790 Green Street, San Francisco, CA 94123;
• Seattle – in the residence of the Consul General in Seattle: 3726 East Madison Street, Seattle, WA 98112;
• Huston – in the Consulate general of the Russian federation in : 1333 West Loop South, Suite 1300, Houston, TX 77027.
- Boston: 20 Linden Street, Allston, MA 02134;
The office building owned by the Partners Properties LLC in Allston, MA. Managing partners were Alex Matov and Andrian M. Shapiro
Judging by this disposition agreement, both of them and also on of the employees contributed to the republican campaigns of the Thomas Koch Committee, Martin Walsh, and Maura Haley.
- Philadelphia: 10100 Jamison Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116;
Occupied by the KleinLife, a Jewish active adult community
- Chicago: 3100 Dundee Road Suite 915, Northbrook, IL 60062;
An office building hosting MELTSER LAW GROUP by Yevgeny Meltser is a Immigration Attorney and shared by Steven Wilensky, another attorney at law.
- Miami: 16850 Collins Ave, Unit 106-B Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160;
Operated by the Red Square Holdings.
The business directory lists Roman Bokeria as a President of Miami Red Square Realty.
- Denver: The Honorary Consulate General of Russia in Colorado, Denver, CO 1552 Pennsylvania St., Denver, CO 80203;
- Los-Angeles: 1317 North Crescent heights Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046;
This address is listed for the Hollywood Temple Beth El synagogue
- Sacramento: 5525 Hemlock St., Sacramento, CA 95841;
An office building that hosts multiple small businesses like the Jerry 300 Club, a local funeral florist, the College Life Epic Group, Hope for Israel, service to the Jewish community, and Marina’s Dance club.
- Dallas: 6039 Churchill Way, Dallas, TX 75230.
An address for the Dallas International School Mission Laïque Française, an elementary, middle, and high school in the North Dallas area in Dallas, Texas, United States that uses the French educational system.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that by July 1, 2016 1,872,390 people living abroad were eligible to vote during the last parliamentary election.
What no one talks about is the scoop of investigation with over 80,000 domestic and foreign financial institutions being “audited” by the FBI, and easiness with which media obtains most detailed information on the activities of the sovereign governments using American banks.
Needless to say, that actions of the City Bank, the Buzzfeed, and the FBI constitute the most flagrant violation of the elementary norms and international agreements that govern interactions between local authorities and foreign diplomatic missions.
Also, this diplomatic scandal is one of many instances of the U.S. interfering with Russia’s elections.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.