Flag of the African People's Socialist Party

Four leaders of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), including Chairperson Omali Yeshitela, were indicted on April 18 for allegedly working on behalf of the Russian government and Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to conduct a “malign influence campaign” designed to “sow discord” and “advance Russian propaganda.”

Except for the latter charge, the indictment could be directed at members of the Republican Party in their campaign to undermine the democratic process and certainly to sow discord, which they have done malignantly since the January 6 insurrection.

The APSP members were charged by a federal grand jury in Tampa, Florida, along with three Russian nationals that the Department of Justice (DOJ) said recruited, funded, and directed them to act as unregistered (illegal) agents of the Russian government and that they covertly funded and directed candidates for local office in the U.S. They could receive 10 years in prison if convicted.

At the crux of the indictment is an organization called the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, whose agent contacted Yeshitela and sponsored his all-expenses paid trip from Florida to Moscow to attend a conference on separatism and allegedly discuss future cooperation with Russian plans.

All of these charges and the indictment have been denounced by the agent representing the Anti-Globalization Movement. He claims there is “no evidence of funding and no intelligible arguments.”

A tweet from Max Blumenthal, founder of the Grayzone Project, declared that “This fake and racist case [against the APSP] flows from the Russiagate hysteria that convinced millions of Americans that Russia was paying dissident groups to destabilize the U.S. political system. The FBI was unable to find anything real, so it went after the African People’s Socialist Party.”

Were Yeshitela and his comrades duped by a possible double agent who believed they could be used since they espoused anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist policies?

The indictment is hypocritical, given the extent to which the U.S. government carries out policies to foment coups and spread disinformation campaigns in the tradition of the CIA. If right-wing rhetoric against the U.S. government is tolerated, what about the free speech of those opposed to the government’s policies, particularly when those pronouncements coincide with some so-called enemy nation?

Just because you advocate programs that are not aligned with or approved by the U.S. government, siding with anti-racist, anti-colonial forces should not make you a target of U.S. cointelpro actions, raids on the homes of citizens, and humiliating arrests.

Judging from the outcome of past indictments against those charged with visiting and allegedly conspiring with Russia, Cuba, or any socialist country, this affair is not going to go well for the accused, nor will it be fair.

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