The Biden administration’s Department of Justice has just charged four members of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) for conspiring to act as agents of Russia by using speech and political action in ways the DOJ says “weaponized” the First Amendment rights of Americans.
The Washington Post reports:
Federal authorities charged four Americans on Tuesday with roles in a malign campaign pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda in Florida and Missouri — expanding a previous case that charged a Russian operative with running illegal influence agents within the United States.
The FBI signaled its interest in the alleged activities in a series of raids last summer, at which point authorities charged a Moscow man, Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, with working for years on behalf of Russian government officials to fund and direct fringe political groups in the United States. Among other things, Ionov allegedly advised the political campaigns of two unidentified candidates for public office in Florida.
Ionov’s influence efforts were allegedly directed and supervised by officers of the FSB, a Russian government intelligence service.
Now, authorities have added charges against four Americans who allegedly did Ionov’s bidding through groups including the African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement in Florida, Black Hammer in Georgia, and an unidentified political group in California — part of an effort to influence American politics.
AFP reports that the conspiracy charges carry a sentence of up to ten years, with three of the four APSP members additionally charged with acting as unregistered agents of Russia which carries another five years.
“Russia’s foreign intelligence service allegedly weaponized our First Amendment rights – freedoms Russia denies its own citizens – to divide Americans and interfere in elections in the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen in the DOJ’s press release regarding the indictments, adding, “The department will not hesitate to expose and prosecute those who sow discord and corrupt U.S. elections in service of hostile foreign interests, regardless of whether the culprits are U.S. citizens or foreign individuals abroad.”
Looks like the United States has decided to dispense with those freedoms as well.