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Tucker Carlson: Swap for Brittney Griner Reveals Sick Priorities of Biden Admin

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WNBA star Brittney Griner committed a crime — and what’s more, she did it in a hostile nation where the justice system, such as it is, does not deal with individuals dispassionately or fairly.

We know she committed a crime because she’s said as much. Unless we discover the statements were made under duress, Griner confessed she had vape pens filled with cannabis oil, an illegal drug in Russia, where she was playing basketball. According to Fox News, when Griner arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport with the vape cartridges in her luggage on Feb. 17, she was taken into custody. She was convicted and sentenced to nine years in a penal colony — a harsh sentence for a drug crime, but not unpredictable given the new Cold War that had since developed between the Kremlin and the West.

On Thursday, Griner became a free woman, thanks to a prisoner exchange in which the United States had to give up someone literally nicknamed the “Merchant of Death” — Viktor Bout, an international arms dealer responsible for more bloodshed, misery and anguish than most of us can fathom.

And yet, another American remains imprisoned in Russia and is still being used as a political pawn. His guilt is far more questionable; in fact, if one were to weigh the balance of the evidence, his conviction seems profoundly dubious. He’s a former Marine who served his country with distinction. You’d think that, if we were willing to swap the “Merchant of Death” for someone witless enough to be caught in a Moscow airport with cannabis, we’d at least get the jarhead back, as well.

We didn’t, and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has a good idea why Griner is a free woman while Paul Whelan “is languishing in a Russian prison cell for the rest of his useful life” — Griner is woke and Whelan is not.

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First, the facts: In December, 2018, Whelan traveled to Moscow for a friend’s wedding. There, he was arrested by Russian authorities, who claimed he had accepted a flash drive with classified documents on it from a Russian intelligence source. He received 16 years in prison.

“From the very beginning, Whelan claimed he was set up. He said he was in Moscow on vacation at the wedding, he wasn’t spying on Russia. And we tend to believe him though honestly, we can’t know for sure. How could we?” Carlson noted.

Should Paul Whelan be freed?

“But either way, whether he was set up or actually spying on Russia, Paul Whelan’s case would be a priority for any American government. Here you have a man who’s actively served the United States in the Marine Corps and then possibly as an intel asset in a hostile foreign country. That man is languishing in a Russian prison cell for the rest of his useful life.”

The Biden administration has promised to get him home — but, according to President Joe Biden, getting Whelan back on American soil simply wasn’t on the table.

“We never forgot about Brittney. We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan, who has been unjustly detained in Russia for years,” he said. “This was not a choice of which America to bring home.”

The problem, as Carlson pointed out, is that early reports indicated “it clearly was a choice. And we know it was a choice because the first accounts of the prisoner swap with Russia said it was a choice.”

“Earlier today, Andrea Mitchell of NBC — this is someone who’s been in Washington covering news for more than 50 years, someone who is deeply supportive of the Joe Biden administration — contributed to a story that contained this line: ‘The Kremlin gave the White House the choice of either Griner or Whelan — or none,'” Carlson noted.

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“So Mitchell’s piece attributed this fact to a ‘senior U.S. official.’ It was not a guess. It was sourced. And then, as with the early reporting on Paul Pelosi last month, that account was scrubbed and sanitized, and the new version of the NBC story assures us that, ‘The Kremlin ultimately gave the White House the choice of either Griner or no one.'”

Imagine that. Carlson isn’t buying it, though: “At this point, we can assume the obvious: The Biden administration chose Brittney Griner over Paul Whelan,” he said. “The basketball player over the Marine facing 16 years. There was only room for one in the lifeboat and the Marine got left behind.”

Why, you may ask?

“Well, you should know that Whelan is a Trump voter, and he made the mistake of saying so on social media. He’s paying the price for that now,” Carlson said.

“Brittney Griner is not. She’s got very different politics. Brittney Griner despises the United States. She’s been very vocal about that. This country is so repellent and immoral that two years ago she said: ‘I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our basketball season.’ She hates the country so much she doesn’t want to hear its anthem.

“That’s the kind of position that gets you rewarded by Joe Biden. ‘Hate America? Perfect. We’ll free the guy who sold weapons to drug cartels to get you out early.'”

And let’s not forget intersectionality.

“There’s the matter of identity, which is central to equity,” Carlson said. “Brittney Griner is not white and she’s a lesbian. Now, those facts might seem irrelevant to you. We hope they do seem irrelevant because they are, but they’re not irrelevant to the White House press secretary. In the view of the White House press secretary, those are essential qualifications for a prisoner swap.”

Indeed, Karine Jean-Pierre made it clear that, yes, this played a role in the decision: “On a personal note, Brittney is more than an athlete, more than an Olympian. She is an important role model and inspiration to millions of Americans, particularly the LGBTQI+ Americans and women of color. She should never have been detained by Russia.”

Well, except for the fact that she should have been. This isn’t to say she was treated fairly or anything of the sort. Rather, it’s to note that Brittney Griner broke Russia’s drug laws, admitted she broke Russia’s drug laws, and then required an international arms dealer to be loosed upon the world in order to secure her freedom.

Paul Whelan, meanwhile, maintains his innocence — and the charges against him are dubious at best. But he didn’t protest the national anthem. He’s not woke. He’s not an inspiration to the LGBTQI+ community. Sorry, pal: Hopefully, we have another “Merchant of Death” stashed away somewhere in our penal system that we can use to barter for your freedom, but no such luck at the moment.

Whelan, talking to CNN on Thursday, pleaded his case to the president.

“I would say that if a message could go to President Biden that, you know, this is a precarious situation that needs to be resolved quickly. And I would hope that he and his administration would do everything they could to get me home, regardless of the price they might have to pay at this point. I have to say I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four-year anniversary of my arrest is coming up,” he said.

“I was arrested for a crime that never occurred. I’m happy that Brittney is going home today … but I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here. My bags are packed,” he added. “I’m ready to go home. I just need an airplane to come and get me.”

Unfortunately, the Biden administration has made its position clear: Don’t keep waiting on that plane, Mr. Whelan.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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