Sanctions Kill Innocent People and Also Destroy Our Liberty

by | Mar 11, 2022


While American statists are cheering the US government’s sanctions on Russia, 71-year-old John Hanick shows us how the cheers are also for the destruction of the rights and liberties of the American people. That’s because US officials have just charged Hanick, who is an American citizen who once worked at Fox News as a director, with a federal criminal offense for violating US sanctions on Russia.

Hanick now faces up to 20 years in a federal penitentiary, not to mention of course, that he will have to incur tens of thousands or hundreds of dollars in lawyer fees to defend himself against this malevolent criminal prosecution.

What did Hanick do to earn the wrath of the US Justice Department? He was working for a Russian oligarch named Konstantin Malofeyev to establish a Russian cable news network as well as other media outlets in Europe. It turns out that Malofeyev was made one of the specific targets of US sanctions on Russia several years ago as part of the US government’s longtime anti-Russia crusade.

In other words, Hanick didn’t rob, kill, rape, assault, or initiate force or fraud against anyone. His conduct was entirely peaceful and economic in nature. All he did was enter into an economic transaction in which one person paid him money in return for services rendered. That’s why the feds are now going after him with a vengeance. 

Thus, it’s easy to assume that sanctions just target foreigners with death and impoverishment as a way to achieve a political goal, which is evil enough. But the fact is that they also serve to destroy the economic liberty and the right of freedom of association of the American people and, in the process, place our own economic activities under the command and control of federal officials. The irony, of course, is that that’s how things work in Russia too! 

This isn’t the only example of how sanctions destroy our own rights and liberties. Ever since 1961, whenever US officials have discovered that an American has traveled to Cuba and spent money there without the permission of US officials, they have gone after him with a vengeance for daring to violate their sacred embargo. They’ve indicted, prosecuted, incarcerated, and fined Americans who have committed the grave “offense” of violating the sacred deadly and destructive US embargo against the Cuban people. So much for the rights of freedom of travel and freedom of association as well as the right to spend your own money any way you want.

One of the infamous demonstrations as to how sanctions have contributed to the destruction of American liberty was with they did to Bert Sacks, an American who lives in Washington state. Unwilling to passively acquiesce to the evil of the US government’s sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s, Sacks traveled to Iraq with medicines and other supplies. 

US officials went ballistic. In their mind, Sacks was akin to a traitor by daring to help people who US officials were doing their best to kill and impoverish with their sanctions. Recall, after all, that the US sanctions on Iraq contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Recall also US Ambassador to the UN Madeline Albright’s declaring that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it.” Sacks was considered to be a super “bad guy” for trying to alleviate the suffering of the victims of the US sanctions. After all, he was an American and, therefore, supposed to stand with his government, not with his government’s official enemies, opponents, or rivals.

They fined Sacks $10,000. To his everlasting credit — and why he will always be one of my modern-day heroes — Sacks steadfastly refused to pay their evil fine. They hounded him for years trying to extract the money from him. But Sacks held out, and he ultimately beat them by never paying a single penny of their evil fine. See my 2012 article “Bert Sacks: A Hero in Our Time.”

It’s pathetic enough to see American statists cheering sanctions that US officials inflict on foreigners with the aim of bringing death and impoverishment to them. Ironically, even while cheering the manifest evil of sanctions, many of these same statists go to church on Sundays and pray that God bring peace and love to the world. It’s equally pathetic when statists cheer the destruction of their own rights and liberties — and ours as well — at the hands of their own government officials.

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.


  • Jacob G. Hornberger

    Jacob George Hornberger is an American attorney, author, and politician who was a Libertarian candidate for president in 2000 and 2020. He is the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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