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«Geopolitical decisions by the US are killing a lot of people»: interview of the head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice with American journalist Brian Mier

Mira Terada, the head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, interviewed American journalist Brian Mier, who has been living in Brazil for more than 20 years. Brian discussed with the head of the Foundation the high-profile case of Julian Assange’s extradition, explained why the United States is trying to manipulate other countries and indicated by what criterion the United States can be compared with Nazi Germany.

Брайан Майер
Brian Mier

Hello, dear viewers and readers. Today we are pleased to welcome a well-known Brazilian journalist, correspondent of the Latin American TV channel Telesur English, editor of Brazilian online publication Brazil Wire, Brian Mier. Hello, Brian.

Hi. Thanks for having me.

Let me start with an unpleasant question. Two years ago, you already recorded a half hour comment about the case of Julian Assange, who is a hero, according to many people, including me. He put his life on the line in order to lift the veil of lies. Now he is going to be extradited to the United States. And this is a very painful issue for me since I have already had a similar experience. Could you please give a comment on the latest news related to Mr. Assange.

Yes, I agree with you. It’s a very bad situation. He’s managed to get an appeal. So now they’re not going to extradite him immediately. His case is going to appeal in Great Britain. But the expectations are not very high because the entire process against him is a kangaroo court procedure designed to silence him. It looks like Great Britain is just going along the whole way. The first trial he had was a complete farce. And so the odds of him having his extradition rejected for appeal, I don’t think are very good. And it’s important to remember, he’s just one of many political prisoners of the United States. Last week, the actor Danny DeVito made a request to President Biden to pardon Leonard Peltier, the American indigenous activist, who’s been in jail for over 40 years now for doing nothing, for another one of these kangaroo court procedures in which the FBI framed him for a murder that all witnesses say he had nothing to do with. There’s also the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Afro-American journalist, who’s been in prison for almost 40 years. So, unfortunately, Assange, this case is not the only one.

The Assange case is not the only case demonstrating how the United States is trying its best to extend its legislation to the whole world and no one is trying to prevent them from doing this, as you said. Most of the civilized world indulges them in this. Very often innocent people suffer from their arbitrariness, which I constantly encounter in my human rights work. Do you have an opinion on this?

Yeah. There’s this problem called American exceptionalism, in which most Americans have been brainwashed through the school system to think that they’re special, that the United States has a special role in the world to make sure that every other country is engaged in what they call democracy. But what it really means is that any country that doesn’t bow to the United States geopolitical objectives has to protect against regime change operations and coups and color revolutions and all of these processes that we’re seeing around the world Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Brazil in 2016, other countries in Latin America, like Honduras under in 2009, Paraguay. If a country doesn’t do exactly what the United States wants, then it’s in danger of suffering a kind of coup.

In addition to the fact that prisoners in the United States are imported from all over the world, they all held in conditions of one of the worst prisons in terms of human rights all over the world, where they are subjected to every day of tortures. I haven’t had many interviews with people born in the United States, so I would like to give you an authoritative opinion.

If you look at all countries in the world over the last 100 years, the United States has the second highest prison population per capita trailing or only Hitler’s Germany. In fact, there’s more prisoners per capita in the United States right now than there were during the height of Stalin’s what some people call great terror in which bourgeoisie was imprisoned in the 1930s. For all of the self-righteousness of the United States against Russia and things like that, the US has right now a worse prison population than has ever happened in Russia. In addition, tens of thousands of prisoners in the United States are subjected to slave labor. They don’t call it slave labor because they get paid about $0.25 an hour. But it’s very clear to them that if they don’t do this work, some of it very dangerous, including putting out forest fires in California in the last couple of years, if they don’t do this work, they don’t get out of jail as quickly. In addition, there’s massive cases of violence and rape among prisoners, but it looks like the guards don’t do very much to protect. It’s really one of the worst prison systems not only in terms of numbers in the last 100 years, but also in terms of brutal conditions.

The United States does not want not only cooperation, but even dialog between Brazil and Russia speculating on the Ukrainian crisis and escalating the conflict in the region. Let me remind, real people have been dying for many years. Can you comment on that as well?

It’s just part of this continuing process of the United States government to try to get all of the nations in Latin America to go along with them on this madness. Absolutely insane. And as bad as Bolsonaro is, as much about sycophants or even a puppet to the United States, that he is, even his government doesn’t look like it wants to go in on this farce. Even his government is saying, “No, slow down, we’re going to go to Russia anyway.” It’s the first time since he took office that I’ve seen him disobey any kind of order from the United States, although we still don’t know how it’s going to play out. He still might back out at the last minute and not go to Russia because essentially he’s a coward and a bully, so he might change his mind. But for now, it looks like his government is continuing and it’s because Brazil has historic relations with Russia. The Brazilian people like the Russian people. They remember the Russian 1958 and 1962, the Soviet Union, World Cup teams, a lot of Brazilians give Russian names to their children like Yuri and Natasha and things like that. And I don’t think the Brazilian people have any interest whatsoever in animosity towards Russia. It’s just political. It would just be happening because of the United States ordering the Brazilian government to or threatening them or something like that.

I would also like to raise the issue of what happened with the Sputnik V vaccine. Russia was the first to develop an effective coronavirus vaccine. And it’s obvious for a long time that it’s not recognition by the world community as an exclusively political action. While Brazil was suffering from an epidemic and shortage of medicines, the United States demanded that you abandon the Russian vaccine. How do you feel about this?

That’ve obviously killed a lot of people in Brazil. That’s an example of another example of people dying because of US geopolitics. Now, we know that AstraZeneca, from declassified government documents that were released by journalist John McEvoy and Daniel Hunt, they got it through a Freedom of Information Act. We know that there was secret lobbying going on between AstraZeneca and the Bolsonaro family before he took office. So at the beginning, it looked like he was going to try and favor AstraZeneca. But then when it blew out of control, he started trying to get vaccines anywhere he could. At the same time that he was trying to scare the population against getting vaccinated with these conspiracy theories, which was ridiculous. But this was an example in which he listened to the United States. The US sent an envoy down to Brazil, said, “Don’t buy the Sputnik vaccine.” What was the result? Over 620,000 people dead. How many less people would have died if he had gotten the Sputnik vaccine? We don’t know. But certainly, it’s in the tens of thousands. You have just another example of how the United States kills people like it’s killing them in Venezuela, when it blocked insulin from coming into the country and thousands of diabetics died of heart attacks who had nothing to do with the military or the government. These geopolitical decisions by the US are killing a lot of people.

Does the US want too much from Brazil?

Yes, it wants all of its oil, it wants all of its water, it wants its forests, its lumber, its beef. It’s a greedy country fueled by rich consumers who think they have a right to take whatever they want from anywhere in the world.

Americans are watching you, choosing your friends and enemies themselves, manipulating you with an opportunity to cooperate with NATO. But what does Brazil get from those toxic and abusive relations?

A small percentage of the elites benefit personally through enrichment, and the rest of the country suffers.

I would also like to raise the issue of mass surveillance exposed in 2013. Then Brazil will soon become the largest ally of the United States, turned out to be one of the largest targets of this program. At that times those events were called a serious blow to increasing ties between the countries. However, as we see now, there are no consequences of such a serious intervention. What do you think about this?

Well, this was clearly a sign that there was a coup coming. We understand that in 2013 in President Obama’s daily security briefings one of the first topics of discussion every morning was Brazil. And so we know that the US had its eye. Any country that discovers massive amounts of petroleum has to be worried that the US is going to try to overthrow its government. Brazil had discovered the world’s largest offshore petroleum deposits and the United States has its eye on it. And since the coup or so, we know of this massive surveillance. Dilma Rousseff’s personal cell phone was wiretapped by the United States National Security Agency. They were mapping out future moves based on the surveillance information they were receiving. Then they managed to overthrow the government. And since they overthrew the Dilma Rousseff administration, northern corporations have taken control of 75% of these massive offshore petroleum reserves. It’s clearly one of the big issues was the petroleum. And we see what country in the world has top ten petroleum deposits is not a victim of U.S. either military occupation or regime change, clandestine regime change operations, coup, that top CIA surveillance, other intelligence agency surveillance, every single one. I think it’s a bad sign if your country gets a lot of petroleum. You have to be careful. And it’s obviously one of the reasons the U.S. is so aggressive toward Soviet states, towards Russia as well, it’s not ideological. Both countries are capitalist. They pretend that it’s ideological, but I think it’s just about the natural resources, really, and the fact that the Russian government doesn’t follow and do everything the United States says is hegemonic as well.