Replacing Britney Greiner for Victor Bout should be easy – runaway

WNBA star Britney Grenier will sue her lawyer in Russia starting Friday Monday said After Grenier appeared before a Russian court for a preliminary hearing. The court said it again extended Greiner’s detention by six months pending the outcome of the trial, which could take weeks if not months. There’s almost no chance Grenier will be acquitted. (The Associated Press mentioned that less than 1 percent of Russian criminal cases result in an acquittal) and last month the US State Department classified her as “unjustly detained,” indicating that it had no intention of waiting for Russian legal action; Instead she will negotiate to get her house. How will you do that? Those with experience in dealing with The labyrinth of illegal detention Agree that prisoner swap is often the only, and certainly one of the quickest, way to release a person.

Talking to Washington PostFor example, Brian Whitmore, a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and adjunct professor at the University of Texas Arlington, described the holding of Greiner as a “hostage case” and its trial as an exercise in “political theater” designed to pressure the US government to take action. Prisoner exchange.” In fact, this is fairly routine in cases of wrongful arrest. In April, a Marine veteran named Trevor Reed, was arrested in Russia in 2019 for assaulting a police officer. exchanged for a Russian pilot He was convicted of cocaine smuggling.

Russian and American media reported that Grenier might be exchanged for a Russian arms dealer named Victor Bout. The Associated Press wrote:

Bot, nicknamed “The Merchant of Death”, […] He is serving a 25-year prison sentence for conspiracy to murder US citizens and providing assistance to a terrorist organization. Russia has been agitating for Bout’s release for years. But the discrepancy between the Griner case — allegedly found in possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil — and Bout’s global dealings in lethal weapons could make such a trade-off unpalatable to the United States.

Whitmore agreed, telling Mail: “it is clear that [Biden] The administration is under increasing pressure from the community, from Griner’s friends and family. It is not an enviable situation here, because it is clear what the Russian government wants. This is like negotiating with a terrorist.”

“Dealer of Death” (a pseudonym, interestingly, it was coined in the 1930s to Description of US defense contractors) sure sounds pretty bad, and it’s true that having a few vape cartridges pales in comparison to selling guns to the bad guys. However, a slightly closer reading of how the bot operates and what exactly he is accused of may improve the “palatability” of this prisoner exchange.

For example, the US media has repeated that Bout sold weapons to warlords and other terrorist groups. Of course, it’s also worth mentioning some of Bot’s other loyal customers: the United States Army. In his book on Bout, journalist Douglas Farah recounts how Bout not only supplied the Taliban, Charles Taylor in Liberia, and Congolese warlords, but also the US military and other defense contractors.

“The U.S. government’s response to the revelation that Victor Bout had used aviation by government contractors in Iraq (not just a few flights, but hundreds and possibly a thousand) was mixed,” Farah said. Mother Jones in a 2007 interview. He said:

Keep in mind that most of these flights occurred after President Bush signed an executive order making it illegal to deal with a bot, as he is a security threat to the United States. The State Department, under a congressional investigation initiated by Senator Russell Feingold, found that it had used bot companies, admitted it, and stopped. Paul Wolfowitz, while at the Department of Defense, did not respond to inquiries for nine months and then acknowledged that DOD contractors had subcontracted to Bott’s companies. Despite public disclosure, a congressional investigation, an executive order, and a subsequent Treasury order freezing the assets of Bout and his close associates, the flights continued for several months, at least through the end of 2005. Immediately, but other branches of the military continued to use it.

Douglas Farah

And this was not the only case in which the US government engaged Bout, directly, repeatedly and in violation of the law, for assistance.

“Bout, through an intermediary, contacted the CIA and the FBI immediately after 9/11, offering his services in helping to overthrow the Taliban if he got tens of millions of dollars for his efforts,” Farah said. “Negotiations were serious and lasted several months, but we don’t know which parts of the deal he offered, if any, were accepted.”

The full interview, which describes Bout as “a unique creature born from the end of communism and the rise of unbridled capitalism when the Wall came down in the early 1990s” and who operated in a legal gray area, is worth reading. At the very least, it complicates the popular narrative of Bout as an evil mastermind, portraying him instead as a greedy opportunist who has operated for many years under the tacit permission of the US government.

Then there is also the issue of the details of Bot’s actual conviction. Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 after agreeing to sell arms to secret US agents posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which the US government itself has long been involved in destabilizing and violently toppling leftist governments in the center of the country. And South America – considered a terrorist organization. A Russian national, who was arrested in Thailand, was extradited to the United States and sent to prison for something he was trying to do in Colombia, the country where US-backed death squads eliminated “Social workers, trade unionists, men and women who do not support the establishment and who are supposed to be radical communists”? We can at least agree with the US position that global moral judgment is untenable.

In the first place, Greiner He shouldn’t have been in this situation, which is much more complicated and complicated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But now the US government has a choice: get Britney Greiner home or stick with an old man and former US military business partner who hasn’t been in the gun game for a decade and a half.

After Monday’s hearing, a State Department spokesperson said, in Mail: “We have no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens abroad. The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has unjustly detained US citizen Brittney Greiner. The US government will continue to provide appropriate support to Ms. Greiner and her family. We will continue to press for her release.”

But last week, Greiner’s wife Cheryl Greiner told The Associated Press that she was losing faith in the government’s dedication to helping his wife get her free. Cheryl Greiner said the long-scheduled call with her wife via the US Embassy in Russia never occurred because the embassy phone was not staffed.

I find that unacceptable and I have no confidence in our government at the moment. If I can’t trust you to take a call on a Saturday outside of business hours, how can I trust that you’re actually negotiating on my wife’s behalf to get home? “Because that’s a much bigger request than making a call on Saturday,” she said.

Without a prisoner exchange, Greiner would almost certainly look at many years in a Russian prison cell. Bout will be eligible for release in 2029.

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