Michigan resident, corporate security executive and former Marine Paul Whelan has been in a Russian prison since December of 2018 when he was arrested, accused of being an American spy. He was given a 16-year sentence in June of 2020 even though he has denied the charges and reports have said that the Russians did not publicly provide any evidence of his guilt.
Also in a Russian prison has been black WNBA basketball star and two-time Olympic basketball champion, Brittney Griner. She has been in a Russian prison for bringing cartridges of hashish oil into Russia. She has been in the custody of the Russians for 10 months after getting detained in February of 2022 and then sentenced in August.
The Biden administration did a victory lap on Wednesday after getting Griner released from prison in a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout. Biden said, “I’m proud that today we have made one more family whole…she is safe, she is on a plane, she is on her way home.”
Bout has served 11 years of his 25-year sentence. He was convicted of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and officials, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles and providing aid to a terrorist organization.
The Whelan family released a statement to The Detroit News that said that U.S. government officials let them know in advance that Paul would be left behind. Brother David said, “That early warning meant that our family has been able to mentally prepare for what is now a public disappointment for us. And a catastrophe for Paul. I do not know if he is aware yet, although he will surely learn from Russian media.”
Even amid their grief, the Whelan family said of the prisoner swap, “The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen.”
What excuse has the Biden administration given for securing the release of a black, healthy younger American who has spent far less time in a Russian prison than her white, older, counterpart who was recently sent to a hospital in Russia for an undisclosed illness or injury? There is none. No reason. Just President Disaster’s hollow words, “We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan. We will keep negotiating in good faith for Paul’s release.”
Negotiate what? What does Biden have left to negotiate with? Some Russians sitting in American prisons for money laundering and cyber hacking convictions? Biden’s best chance to get Whelan out of the Russian prison was just let out of our American prison and shipped back to Russia.
And Whelan is not the only one waiting to get out of Russia. There’s David Barnes, a Texas father held in Russia on accusations of child abuse.
There’s also Marc Fogel, a 60-year-old English teacher, arrested for carrying about a half ounce of medical marijuana. It’s a pretty similar case to the Griner situation but neither the leftist media nor Biden seem to care about him or Barnes either. I haven’t heard either of their names being brought up by the Biden Administration lately.