"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Biden Offers Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan

Courtesy of Medill DC (Flickr CC0)

Biden, after serval months of conflict, has decided to offer Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, according to some people briefed on the matter. According to sources, Biden approved the proposal to swap Bout for Whelan and Griner after it had been discussed for several months throughout the year.

Who are these people?

Former military translator Viktor Bout, 55, rose to fame internationally not long after communism was overthrown. He is currently incarcerated in a medium security facility in Williamson County, Illinois, serving a 25-year sentence. Bout avoided international arrests for years before being caught in a sting operation in Thailand in 2008.

Bout possessed numerous guns. A former American government official referred to Bout as the “Bill Gates or Donald Trump” of the armaments trade. If an exchange is not possible, he intends to make a motion for a compassionate release, often known as a reduction of sentence to time served, which would allow him to be transferred to an immigration institution up to 12 months before the end of his term. It had been suggested that the families of Griner and Whelan not talk to him.

American citizen Paul Whelan, 52, an ex-marine who was detained in a hotel in Moscow in December 2018 and arrested on suspicion of espionage, often known as spying, has repeatedly disputed the charges against him. In a jail trial that several US officials criticized as being unfair, he was found guilty and given a 16-year term in June 2020. Paul anticipates being released soon, and the potential trade may make that happen.

Courtesy of Lorie Shaull (Flickr CC0)

Basketball player Brittney Griner, 31, of the WNBA has been detained in Russia since February. According to the New York Times, “Hashish oil is a marijuana concentrate that has a high concentration of the psychoactive chemical THC, and it is commonly sold in cartridges that are used in vape pens.”

The Russian Federal Customs Service said that officers had noticed vapes after scanning the traveler’s bag. After pleading guilty to drug charges, she is now on trial and, if found guilty, may spend up to 10 years in prison. She recently addressed a letter to Biden expressing her desire to return home requesting that she not be forgotten about.

What happens next?

While speaking at a press conference at the state department Anthony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State, said that Biden was directly involved and signed off the proposal. However, Blinken did not say whether or not Bout was a part of the deal. According to CNN, he “can’t and won’t get into any of the details of what we proposed to the Russians over the course of so many weeks now,” he also says “in terms of the President, of course, he was not only directly involved, he signs off on any proposal that we make, and certainly when it comes to Americans who are being arbitrarily detained abroad, including in this specific case.”

During a background press conference regarding President Biden’s new executive order concerning unlawfully detained individuals and hostages. According to a senior administration official, he was saying things like “I’d want to take this chance to inform you of the parallel initiatives we are doing to show that we are paying attention to the problem that [senior administration official] raised.”

On July 19, the State Department’s travel advisories added a new risk signal, the “D” indicator, to alert Americans traveling abroad to the possibility of being wrongfully detained by a foreign government. They made this modification to draw attention to the increased danger of unlawful detention in specific nations whose governments have used that tactic.

Officials said they are devoted to giving Americans thorough safety and security information about other nations so they can decide on their travel plans before they leave the country. The United States rejects arbitrary detention and the practice of employing people as political pawns we are aware that these actions pose a risk to the security of every American national who visits or resides abroad. Which brings hope for the foreseeable future.

Written By Dylan Santoyo


The White House: Background Press Call on President Biden’s New Executive Order to Bolster Efforts to Bring Home American Hostages and Wrongful Detainees

CNN: CNN Exclusive: Biden administration offers convicted Russian arms dealer in exchange for Griner, Whelan

Daily Beast: U.S. Offers Bold Prisoner Swap: ‘Merchant of Death’ for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan

EXPRESS: Biden caves to Putin’s demands as US offers up ‘merchant of death’ in prisoner exchange

CNN Politics: Paul Whelan, an American detained in Russia, wonders why he was left behind

The Washington Post: Who is Viktor Bout, Russian arms dealer eyed in rumored prisoner swap?

NY Times: What We Know About Brittney Griner’s Detention in Russia

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of  Medill DC’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of Lorie Shaull‘sFlickr Page – Creative Commons License

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