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WNBA Brittney Griner Loses Drug Appeal / Sentenced To 9 Years In A Brutal Russian Penal Colony (5/15/22 21:04 PST) (1 Viewer)

GordonGekko

Footballguy
Direct Headline: Reports: Russia wants 'Merchant of Death' in exchange for Brittney Griner

Russia is looking to exchange the WNBA star in a prisoner swap for notorious convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, several state-owned Russian news outlets reported Friday, citing unnamed government sources.....Bout, whose exploits earned him the nickname the “Merchant of Death,” flooded fierce conflicts in Africa and the Middle East with weapons....He was arrested during a sting operation in Thailand in 2008, extradited to the U.S. and sentenced to 25 years for conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles and providing aid to a terrorist organization.....

After Bout’s arrest, the U.S. alleged that his Russian allies tried to block his extradition from Thailand to America by bribing key witnesses to give false testimony. Since his 2012 conviction, Bout has been at the top of Russia’s prisoner exchange wish list and has been linked repeatedly in the Russian state media with potential swaps involving jailed Americans that haven’t come to fruition.....

While one Russian state media report quoted an unnamed source who described a potential Griner-for-Bout exchange as “likely,” experts in Russian diplomacy viewed that skeptically..... “Russia really wants to make that trade” but cautioned that they give no indication of the U.S.’s willingness...."This is Russia saying, ‘Wouldn’t this be a great idea?’.....This isn’t the U.S. saying they’re interested. We’ve had other opportunities to get rid of Viktor Bout in the past and we haven’t done it.”

Griner has been behind bars since Feb. 17 when she flew into a Moscow airport and Russian customs officials allegedly found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. She is under investigation for the large-scale transportation of drugs and faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison if convicted.....


Jeff Eisenberg Fri, May 13, 2022, 5:44 PM

https://sports.yahoo.com/russias-as...y-be-notorious-arms-trafficker-004449470.html

https://tass.com/society/1450359

https://www.gazeta.ru/army/news/2022/05/12/17729300.shtml?updated



VIDEO: Viktor Bout: "The Merchant of Death" Nov 21, 2010 60 Minutes

The DEA agents who caught alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout explain how they lured and then captured the suspect one of them calls "one of the most dangerous men on the face of the Earth." Armen Keteyian reports.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvPGIcVRKco



Direct Headline: Brittney Griner: National anthem has no place in WNBA, sports

The Mercury center and 2019 league MVP runner-up told reporters on a video call Monday that the WNBA should stop playing the anthem this season....“I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season....I think we should take that much of a stand....I’m going to protest regardless.....I'm not going to be out there for the national anthem. If the league continues to want to play it, that's fine. It will be all season long, I'll not be out there. I feel like more are going to probably do the same thing. I can only speak for myself......”

Jason Owens July 27, 2020

https://www.yahoo.com/video/wnb-as-...em-has-no-place-in-wnba-sports-222810318.html



Direct Headline:U.S. reclassifies WNBA star Brittney Griner as 'wrongfully detained' by Russia

The U.S. government now considers WNBA star Brittney Griner to be "wrongfully detained" by the Russian government, signaling a significant shift in how officials will try to get her home....."The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is among the highest priorities of the U.S government....The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner...."

The official said that does not mean that Griner is considered a hostage, which is a different legal classification than wrongful detainee....


T.J. Quinn May 3, 2022

https://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/i...griner-wrongfully-detained-russia-sources-say



*********


I consider this Griner/Bout/Russia story to be the most interesting in all of current politics right now. It has so many complex layers to it. It's just that no one is really talking about it in the MSM ( For actual strategic and tactical political reasons)

Some basic thoughts

1) The current establishment Democrats ( really Obama's Shadow Third Term force feeding a cooked intersectional agenda) and the radical left want to push identity politics at all costs. Your value is assessed in your "identity", not your character and not your merit. ( Which violates everything that Martin Luther King Jr taught about building a better world with more racial harmony. ) Since Griner is a woman, black and LGBT, that means she is inherently seen as more valuable to Team Blue based on said "identity" Is she then valuable enough to trade for the most notorious arms dealer in modern human history?

2) If Viktor Bout is released, that's going to cost millions of people around the world their lives. If you are on an airplane traveling to see family during the holidays or going somewhere for work, or your children have to travel some distance somewhere, do you want to get shot down or have your loved ones incinerated with an anti-aircraft missile that Bout will sell to terrorists looking to kill all Americans?

If you trade Griner for Bout, you are effectively trading innocent American lives for Griner

3) No one knows if Griner was idiotic enough to try to move personal illegal drugs through a foreign country or not. Or if she was set up. Or if Griner was allowed to just pass by for years because she was a celebrity athlete ( i.e. the infamous "Do You Know Who I Am" syndrome) and no one said much or were bribed and looked the other way until it was politically viable for Putin and Russia to stop looking the other way. ( Point to note, what's legal in some places in America doesn't have to apply to the rest of the entire world. Just because the Russia/Ukraine War is disgusting, tragic and inhumane doesn't mean Russia is removed from the right to have it's own laws and enforce them. Sadly I have to point that out before the endless gaggle of lefty leaning lawyers start in on their hen pecking routine.)

4) Griner has stated before she would protest the National Anthem. Would she stand for it now? Because make no mistake, the perceived might and power of the country she protested against and what it represents is her only chance at freedom ever again.

My take?

I've always considered Griner to be a gigantic idiot. Loud mouth, woke, high conflict personality type, rude, selfish, diva, and entitled. I also think people should stand by America if they want the protection that being an American provides. Don't say the National Anthem sucks and then decide you love America later because you were insane enough to try to bring illegal drugs into and out of a place like Russia. If you have values and convictions, stand by them, even if it costs you later. Values only matter if you are willing to sacrifice for them.

That being said, Griner is still an American citizen. And, under the condition she was set up and framed, any attack on a single American is an attack on all Americans. Actually standing in defense of our great Republic also means standing in defense of people who exercise their free speech/free expression, even if you disagree with it and even if you find it ungrateful and toxic. I don't believe the radical left extends that courtesy to anyone else, but no one says the rest of us have to sink to the depths of that kind of woke zealot filled insanity.

If Griner actually did the crime though, then she has to face the possibility of just doing the time. The "Do You Know Who I Am" routine only goes so far when you consider the entire world. Not just how America works and consider the United States is far far far far far more tolerant in so many ways for some many different things compared to the 2nd and 3rd World Order.


Questions To Discuss:

Would you trade Griner for Bout? Why or why not?

Do you think the Biden Administration and the US government will eventually be called racists and bigots if they don't trade Bout for Griner? Because this is the price of non stop identity politics.

What do you think about Griner and her and the WNBA's National Anthem stance in the back drop of this entire controversy?
 
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GordonGekko

Footballguy
CONTEXTUAL MATERIAL:


VIDEO: Brittney Griner detained: Video shows her going through security at airport in Russia Mar 5, 2022

This video, from the Russian Federal Customs Service, shows Brittney Griner as she was detained in Russia. It happened in February.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4dmJ6BjFCg



VIDEO: WNBA players walk off court before national anthem in WNBA season opener Jul 27, 2020

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2yu9SLNz-M



VIDEO: How 9/11 Changed the Game for Arms Dealer Viktor Bout Apr 25, 2020

Viktor Bout was not particular about who he supplied weapons to – a long as they paid. But in a post 9/11 world, his relationship with the Taliban put him firmly in the crosshairs of U.S. Intelligence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q4jY7_0Hh4



VIDEO: OPERATION RELENTLESS: How The DEA Finally Caught The Merchant Of Death (Viktor Bout) Jan 15, 2022

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgNoxETzySI



VIDEO: Viktor Bout talks with Caleb Maupin from Prison - Full Conversation Oct 9, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-KBf2_D5tk



VIDEO: Truth of Illegal Arms Trade in the world (Lord of War - 2005) Jan 24, 2012

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njCaRmpzxSo
 
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GordonGekko

Footballguy
Direct Headline: Brittney Griner situation: Adam Silver says NBA is working with WNBA to get star released from Russia

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is working "side by side" with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert in order to get Brittney Griner releases from Russian custody. According to ESPN's Malika Andrews, Silver said the NBA is following the advice of legal experts and weren't aggressive early in the process when Griner was first detained.....That changed when the State Department ruled that Griner, who was detained at the Moscow airport in February after vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were allegedly found in her luggage, is being held "wrongfully."....."We've been in touch with the White House, the State Department, hostage negotiators, every level of government and also through the private sector as well," Silver said during a televised interview at Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery. "Our No. 1 priority is her health and safety and making sure that she gets out of Russia."......

By Chris Bengel 5/18/22

https://www.cbssports.com/wnba/news/brittney-griner-situation-adam-silver-says-nba-is-working-with-wnba-to-get-star-released-from-russia/

*******

I'll break it down

The State Department and the NBA wanted this resolved before the Draft Lottery. The ramp in, along with trying to use the extended good will of the international professional basketball community, was really the last resort. A public announcement by Silver is something all parties wanted to avoid at all costs. Effectively it changes the dynamic of Griner's perceived political trade cost.

It indicates all formal negotiations have broken down and all is left is informal bartering through non state actors.

Kind of like when Charles Haley was going berserk in the 49ers locker room and someone had to get Ronnie Lott from the other side of the stadium to try to talk him down.

Griner, whether she actually committed a crime on Russian soil or not, is now undeniably a political hostage.

On an indirect sidebar, this essentially destroys any likely chance that Becky Hammon will ever be a head coach in the actual NBA.

 

tymarsas

Footballguy
On an indirect sidebar, this essentially destroys any likely chance that Becky Hammon will ever be a head coach in the actual NBA.
Can you explain this? I don't understand the connection here. 

Edit: Ok. Just realized she got her Russian citizenship to play for Russia. I assume it was simply for the money. Not sure why that would prevent her from becoming a coach. So maybe you can explain that part. I would assume any damage to her reputation would already be done.

 
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GordonGekko

Footballguy
How's his jump shot?


Direct Headline: Russian court extends detention for WNBA star Brittney Griner

A court in Russia has extended the pre-trial detention for WNBA star Brittney Griner....Griner, who was detained in February, will remain in custody at least through July 2, according to Russian state media outlet TASS. Her detention was extended for another 18 days at "the request of the investigation," according to a representative from the Khimki Court of the Moscow Region, per TASS....

....Griner has been detained in a Russian prison for 117 days, more than three months. She was visiting Russia in February to play basketball for the Russian Premier League team UMMC Ekaterinburg during the offseason when she was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow for allegedly having vape cartridges in her luggage that contained hashish oil -- an illegal substance in Russia....She was charged with "large-scale transportation of drugs" and could face up to 10 years in prison....

....The WNBA, which kicked off its 2022 season on May 6, is honoring Griner with a floor decal bearing her initials and jersey number (No. 42) on the sideline of all 12 WNBA courts...."Things like that matter, like, it has her hopeful," Cherelle Griner told Roberts. "It lets her know she's not forgotten....."...Cherelle Griner said that she would like to speak with President Joe Biden...."I just keep hearing that, you know, he has the power. She's a political pawn," she said. "So if they're holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it...."

By Mark Osborne and Deena Zaru June 14, 2022, 9:34 AM

https://abcnews.go.com/International/russian-court-extends-detention-wnba-star-brittney-griner/story?id=85385157

********

I still consider this one of the most interesting dynamics in all of current politics.

Biden has pushed himself as a champion of modern identity politics despite his long Senate record that is ghastly and repugnant against Black America. But Griner refused to acknowledge the national anthem. But now the country she essentially denounced is her only hope to not be trapped in a Russian prison forever.

However Griner has all the "Infinity Stones Of Identity Politics" - She's LGBT, she's African American, she's a "woman" ( define that term as you want or how she wants, it's too polarizing now...), she's also a celebrity and she's a professional athlete with a real platform.

Griner's wife wants Biden to just submit to whatever Putin wants for the release, but it's not that simple. But if Biden doesn't submit, then the pathway for Griner's wife and the rest of the WNBA to start screaming that Biden would cut a deal for a white straight man ( He was VP during the Bergdahl trade for the Taliban Five) but not for a gay black woman.

https://ballotpedia.org/Bowe_Bergdahl_exchange

Bizarrely, this might trigger more of the far left to abandon Biden, which means the few voting blocks that still support him would also depart. Then he'd have literally no one left.

Obviously, Griner is an American citizen. And even if some or many perceive her as ungrateful and non patriotic, it's still America's duty to protect all citizens. However any trade, like Bergdahl, opens up the issue on if protecting one citizen will cost you the safety and lives of millions of other citizens.

The State Department has every reason at this point to say Griner was framed even if she was not. She might have done the crime. She might not have done the crime. At this point, no one will ever truly know except Griner and some elements within Russia.

Would she stand for the National Anthem now?

Fascinating story on all levels. This is the kind of narrative that suddenly blows up in the national daily media cycle out of nowhere when one more development hits.

 

beer 30

Footballguy
Seems easy enough. Knock him out, chip him, send him home, wait a week or two after the exchange is over then send an errant missile in to finish things up. This has got Hollywood written all over it  :thumbup:

 

GordonGekko

Footballguy
Direct Headline: Wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner says scheduled call never happened because embassy was unstaffed

WNBA star Brittney Griner tried to call her wife nearly a dozen times through the U.S. Embassy in Russia on the couple's fourth anniversary Saturday, but they never connected since the phone line at the embassy was not staffed, Cherelle Griner said Monday....The couple has not spoken by phone in the four months since Griner's arrest in Russia on drug-related charges. That was to have changed Saturday, when a long-awaited call was to have finally taken place. But the day came and went without any contact, leaving an anguished Cherelle Griner to wonder what went wrong and to suspect at least initially that Russian authorities had thwarted the call....On Monday, she said she learned from her wife's lawyers a more distressing truth: Brittney Griner had actually tried to call 11 times over a period of several hours, dialing a number she'd been given at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which the couple had been told would then patch the call through to Cherelle Griner in Phoenix. But each time, the call went unanswered because the desk at the embassy where the phone rang was apparently unstaffed Saturday....

...."I was distraught. I was hurt. I was done, fed up," Cherelle Griner told The Associated Press in an interview, recounting how an anniversary she had eagerly anticipated was instead spent in tears. "I'm pretty sure I texted BG's agent and was like: 'I don't want to talk to anybody. It's going to take me a minute to get my emotions together and just tell everybody I'm unavailable right now. Because it just knocked me out. I wasn't well, I'm still not well...."The State Department said Monday that "we deeply regret that Brittney Griner was unable to speak with her wife because of a logistical error.'' ....But Cherelle Griner said she remains "very pissed" by Saturday's ordeal, especially since the call had been on the schedule for two weeks and yet no one warned her during that time that it might be logistically impossible because of the weekend....

...She added: "I find it unacceptable and I have zero trust in our government right now. If I can't trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife's behalf to come home? Because that's a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call...''

.... Cherelle Griner said she was still hoping to talk to or meet with President Joe Biden, but "at this point it's starting to feel like a no...This was such a big moment because this would have been the first time where I truly could tell if she's OK," Cherelle Griner said. "This would have been the first time for me to actually just hear her in real time and to truly know if she's OK or to know if she's seconds away from not being in existence anymore....."

Associated Press Jun 20, 2022

https://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/34122228/wife-wnba-star-brittney-griner-says-scheduled-call-never-happened-embassy-was-unstaffed

Direct Headline: Why It's Critical that Jan. 6 Rioters’ Rights Are Respected

....Roughly 40 suspects are now in jail in D.C. awaiting trial for charges stemming from that day, and their lawyers say their rights are being denied. Some, they say, have been denied access to food and showers. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said jail officials failed for four months to move ahead with treatment for one defendant who broke his wrist while held without bail. A surgery initially scheduled for June still hasn’t taken place. Lamberth called it “more than just inept and bureaucratic jostling of papers.”

.....Still, it’s tough to ignore the facts of what followed, especially in a bureau of prisons widely known to be overwhelmed, under-resourced and branded a human-rights violation just two miles away from the U.S. Capitol. For more than a year, the District’s Department of Corrections kept inmates in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day in the name of constricting the spread of COVID-19 among inmates. Advocates have, not wrongly, argued those choices have unfairly burdened Black inmates who are merely awaiting trial. In a country that postures as a beacon for human rights, D.C.’s prisons aren’t the transmission tower....But the lack of participation a few weeks ago doesn’t negate that maybe the activists weren’t entirely wrong about detention facilities that are widely acknowledged as harsh. As Lamberth asked jail officials and their lawyers about the conditions facing the prisoners awaiting trial: “Does no one care?”

...Intellectually, though, if you stand for one group’s right to be processed through a criminal justice system fairly and with respect, you have to stand for the others. Because that’s the thing about rights: they extend to everyone in this country, even the people you vehemently disagree with....

By Philip Elliott October 14, 2021 2:48 PM EDT

https://time.com/6107063/january-6-prisoners-alleged-mistreatment/

Direct Headline: Jail violated civil rights of Capitol riot defendant, U.S. judge says

A federal judge on Wednesday held top officials at the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections in civil contempt, after ruling they violated the civil rights of a U.S. Capitol riot defendant by impeding his access to medical care...."I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abridged. I don't know if it's because he is a Jan. 6 defendant or not, but I find that this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States ... for a civil rights investigation...."

Lamberth's verbal and written order came during a court hearing on Wednesday, after the judge previously threatened to hold District of Columbia Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth and Warden Wanda Patten in contempt for failing to turn over notes from a doctor for defendant Christopher Worrell...

Wednesday marks the first time a judge has issued such an order .....against the jail over the treatment of Jan. 6 defendants, after defense lawyers in other cases have previously complained about poor conditions or treatment at the D.C. jail...Worrell has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and broke his hand while in custody in May, his attorney said. In June, an orthopedic surgeon at a nearby hospital recommended he have surgery to repair it....Since then, however, Worrell has been unable to get the surgery because the Department of Corrections has not provided the doctor's notes to the U.S. Marshals Service....Before Worrell broke his hand, his then-attorney argued in court that he had not had adequate access to medical treatment for his cancer. His new attorney, Alex Stavrou, told Reuters his client was found unconscious with the broken hand on May 16, after what appeared to be a fall possibly tied to his other medical conditions....

By Sarah N. Lynch October 13, 20211:30 PM

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-judge-says-dc-jail-violated-civil-rights-jan-6-defendant-2021-10-13/

**********

This story has a lot of layers to it.

From a media optics standpoint, the Biden Administration does NOT want Brittney Griner to talk to her wife. Not to have it audio recorded and then uploaded for public consumption and risk it going viral. Having black LGBT women denounce Biden and his entire administration as either completely inept or that they are racists and bigots because they would have done something if it was Becky Hammon would do exactly what for getting votes for the Mid Terms and 2024?

Adam Silver and the NBA/WNBA very likely don't want that call to happen, because there is a large scale push back against corporate "woke" and identity politics, as it has bled off many fans, customers and clients and has caused massive damage against the bottom line of many juggernauts of industry. Silver and Mark Tatum don't want more highlighting of their tolerance of social justice for Black America but total silence on the genocide of the Uighurs and the profit pathway through NBA China and Tencent.

There's also the natural dovetail that more public awareness of Griner will start to raise questions about the conditions and treatment of J6 defendants, as the J6 hearings are dominating the current national daily media cycle. Which leads back to Merrick Garland, who will seem more and more like a political stooge who keeps his hands behind his back as people suffer because to do something is not seen as politically expedient for Team Blue.

This is what happens when you prioritize Identity Politics within a political administration. Brittney Griner is simply worth more than other non LGBT, non women, non Black people according to the Identity Politics/Intersectional Playbook. So why isn't she being treated as being "worth more"?

The answer is simple - Team Blue only cares about Identity Politics when it's useful. When people who are "oppressed" are in situations that have no political advantage anymore, then they are discarded.

 

Shula-holic

Footballguy
I know I'm late to the party but Jemele Hill thinks this happened because we $221,450 wasn't enough to not go play in Russia.  We don't value women basketball players enough apparently.  I had no idea these were poverty wages today. 

The NBA already is subsidizing the WNBA.  It's such a sinkhole for money it would have been shuttered long ago without the NBA ownership eating the losses.  Somehow that got left out of Ms. Hill's article.  You know, when my earlier business endeavors didn't perform, things got shut down.  Seems to me she's already pretty fortunate to be able to play in a league bleeding cash and make close to a quarter million a year. 

All that said, I hope she gets home safely.  This isn't an indictment on Griner herself, just more so these ridiculous takes on what we as a society have done wrong to cause this situation.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/brittney-griner-russia-wnba-inequality/627048/

 

Ghost Rider

Footballguy
I know I'm late to the party but Jemele Hill thinks this happened because we $221,450 wasn't enough to not go play in Russia.  We don't value women basketball players enough apparently.  I had no idea these were poverty wages today. 

The NBA already is subsidizing the WNBA.  It's such a sinkhole for money it would have been shuttered long ago without the NBA ownership eating the losses.  Somehow that got left out of Ms. Hill's article.  You know, when my earlier business endeavors didn't perform, things got shut down.  Seems to me she's already pretty fortunate to be able to play in a league bleeding cash and make close to a quarter million a year. 

All that said, I hope she gets home safely.  This isn't an indictment on Griner herself, just more so these ridiculous takes on what we as a society have done wrong to cause this situation.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/brittney-griner-russia-wnba-inequality/627048/
It is always best to ignore Jemele Hill.  She is one of those people who loves to complain about everything, and her takes are usually hilariously poor. 

 

GordonGekko

Footballguy
VIDEO: Brittney Griner- I Wouldn't Play In Indiana: I Don't Want to Be Discriminated Against | TMZ Sports Apr 8, 2015

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner is taking a hard stand on the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" in Indiana -- saying if the Women's Final 4 was in the Hoosier State, she would've BOYCOTTED.

Griner -- who's openly gay and set to marry her GF Glory Johnson later this year -- was at LAX last night when she told us, "If the Women's Final Four was there, I damn sure wouldn't have went."...She added, "I wouldn't want to be discriminated [against]."

....Griner says she's happy that powerful people like NCAA president Mark Emmert have openly opposed the Indiana law -- saying, "It definitely helps. When people are quiet and don't say anything about it, it doesn't help. People think it's OK."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8zUD3Zb0_M

Direct Headline: Vladimir Putin Just Officially Banned Same-Sex Marriage In Russia

With the stroke of a pen, Russian President Vladimir Putin formally enacted a series of anti-LGBTQ+ amendments banning marriage equality and transgender adoptions, and centering “a belief in God” as a core value of the country. The homophobic and transphobic amendments were passed last July in a national referendum, with over 77 percent of voters casting their ballots in support of the measures. According to a report in the AP, the new rules also reset Putin’s term limits as president, meaning he can serve an additional two six-year terms in office.....The amendments passed by voters and signed into law by Putin specifically ban marriage equality and adoption by transgender folks. The amendments were highly popular with the socially conservative Russian populace. Religious themes play an important role in society in the nation and often drive anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments....

....Life for the LGBTQ+ community has grown even worse since then. Putin followed through on a promised crackdown in a series of moves that have silenced opposition. School teachers in St. Petersburg were instructed to comb through the social media profiles of their students and report any LGBTQ+ symbols or support to authorities.....More recently, Russian law enforcement official detained two gay men who had escaped torture and abuse in the Chechen Republic, and then handed them back to their alleged abusers. Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isayev had fled to Russia after Chechen authorities allegedly arrested and tortured the two men for their LGBTQ+ activism. Prior to their escape, the pair were forced to record a deeply disturbing video apology at the hands of Chechen authorities. Russian police detained the pair in January and returned them to their abusers across the border.....

By Donald Padgett April 07 2021 1:59 PM EDT

https://www.out.com/news/2021/4/07/vladimir-putin-just-official-banned-same-sex-marriage-russia

**********

Let's see how this story gets more and more bizarre but illuminates the problems of the radical left and identity politics.

Brittany Griner signed a contract with Russia's UMMC Yekaterinburg where she made over $1 million a year from that team. Thus the reason she was in a position to be detained and arrested in the first place.  Which is about four times the average WNBA base salary.

She wouldn't have played in Indiana because the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples if LGBT rights violate the company owner's religious beliefs. But she will play for Russia, that has banned same sex marriage and has openly and formally taken steps to hunt down anyone who is LGBT or supports LGBT, including those tortured for being LGBT. Not to mention that Russia right now is essentially taking steps to use what amounts to ethnic cleansing in Ukraine.

And she was OK playing in front of foreign crowds where nearly 80 percent of them voted to limit the rights of those with a lifestyle/choice/preference like hers. As long as she got a cool 1 million dollars plus a year in salary.

Would she play in Indiana now?

Principles only have true validation, both internal and external, when taking a stand actually costs you directly.

 
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GordonGekko

Footballguy
Direct Headline: Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug charges in Russian court

Two-time US Olympic basketball gold medalist Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Russian court near Moscow, her lawyers confirmed to CNN on Thursday.....Griner, whom the US State Department has classified as wrongfully detained, faces up to 10 years in prison under the charge....Griner's lawyers expect the court to take into account the 31-year-old athlete's guilty plea and hope for leniency...."Taking into account all the circumstances of the case, taking into account the personality of our client, we believe that the guilty plea should be taken into account...."

.....Griner told the court Thursday she had not intended to commit a crime, state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Griner had not meant to carry drugs in her luggage, she said through an interpreter, and it was the result of her packing in a hurry, the report said.....It's been 130 days since WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia and her trial is about to start. ....The decision to plead guilty was made by Griner alone, a source close to her said. But in recent weeks, Griner, her family, lawyers and experts had discussed this decision extensively. Given the 99% reported conviction rate in Russian criminal cases, Griner was urged to weigh all the factors, including a plea that could ultimately result in a shorter sentence.....

.....Still, before any potential prisoner swap, it was expected Griner would have to be convicted and also admit fault....Griner's Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard....also called out a perceived double standard in the "lack of coverage and the value of women's sports."...."The question is, would Tom Brady be home?" the coach said. "But Tom Brady wouldn't be there, right, because he doesn't have to go to a foreign country to supplement his income from the WNBA....."

By Anna Chernova, Abby Phillip, Dakin Andone and Alaa Elassar, CNN Thu July 7, 2022

https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/07/europe/brittney-griner-russia-pleads-guilty/index.html

********

This is pretty bad for Griner right now. She pleaded guilty in contradiction of a State Department release on the matter.

If one takes a media optics viewpoint here, this situation can explode all over the already embattled Biden Administration. This is a gay black woman who is also an Olympian and a celebrity. In the modern age of American identity politics. Biden and his handlers want him to get reelected but the entire Senate narrative of Biden as a prodigy/water boy for KKK Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd is going to spin out of control at some point.

Even if a trade happens, there's no telling how Griner will react to the MSM about this.

The quiet part needs to be spoken out loud. Griner's life is in danger right now. On both sides. From both sides. She is a political liability for the entire Biden Administration at this point. She should not have said she was guilty. Then again, we don't know what was done to her in the interim for her to take that position.

 
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beer 30

Footballguy
I know I'm late to the party but Jemele Hill thinks this happened because we $221,450 wasn't enough to not go play in Russia.  We don't value women basketball players enough apparently.  I had no idea these were poverty wages today. 

The NBA already is subsidizing the WNBA.  It's such a sinkhole for money it would have been shuttered long ago without the NBA ownership eating the losses.  Somehow that got left out of Ms. Hill's article.  You know, when my earlier business endeavors didn't perform, things got shut down.  Seems to me she's already pretty fortunate to be able to play in a league bleeding cash and make close to a quarter million a year. 

All that said, I hope she gets home safely.  This isn't an indictment on Griner herself, just more so these ridiculous takes on what we as a society have done wrong to cause this situation.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/brittney-griner-russia-wnba-inequality/627048/
I follow her on twitter just to see these kind of takes. She's incredibly inflammatory and usually has zero substance. She does the "look at me" pretty good.

As for Mrs. Griner, play stupid games...win stupid prizes. Maybe lay off the hippy lettuce while you're in a country that doesn't appreciate your lifestyle and has banned the hash? I don't know, just spitballing. Hope she gets home but I wouldn't trade a 1974 Pinto for her. 

 

Shula-holic

Footballguy
Direct Headline: Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug charges in Russian court

Two-time US Olympic basketball gold medalist Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Russian court near Moscow, her lawyers confirmed to CNN on Thursday.....Griner, whom the US State Department has classified as wrongfully detained, faces up to 10 years in prison under the charge....Griner's lawyers expect the court to take into account the 31-year-old athlete's guilty plea and hope for leniency...."Taking into account all the circumstances of the case, taking into account the personality of our client, we believe that the guilty plea should be taken into account...."

.....Griner told the court Thursday she had not intended to commit a crime, state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Griner had not meant to carry drugs in her luggage, she said through an interpreter, and it was the result of her packing in a hurry, the report said.....It's been 130 days since WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia and her trial is about to start. ....The decision to plead guilty was made by Griner alone, a source close to her said. But in recent weeks, Griner, her family, lawyers and experts had discussed this decision extensively. Given the 99% reported conviction rate in Russian criminal cases, Griner was urged to weigh all the factors, including a plea that could ultimately result in a shorter sentence.....

.....Still, before any potential prisoner swap, it was expected Griner would have to be convicted and also admit fault....Griner's Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard....also called out a perceived double standard in the "lack of coverage and the value of women's sports."...."The question is, would Tom Brady be home?" the coach said. "But Tom Brady wouldn't be there, right, because he doesn't have to go to a foreign country to supplement his income from the WNBA....."

By Anna Chernova, Abby Phillip, Dakin Andone and Alaa Elassar, CNN Thu July 7, 2022

https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/07/europe/brittney-griner-russia-pleads-guilty/index.html

********

This is pretty bad for Griner right now. She pleaded guilty in contradiction of a State Department release on the matter.

If one takes a media optics viewpoint here, this situation can explode all over the already embattled Biden Administration. This is a gay black woman who is also an Olympian and a celebrity. In the modern age of American identity politics. Biden and his handlers want him to get reelected but the entire Senate narrative of Biden as a prodigy/water boy for KKK Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd is going to spin out of control at some point.

Even if a trade happens, there's no telling how Griner will react to the MSM about this.

The quiet part needs to be spoken out loud. Griner's life is in danger right now. On both sides. From both sides. She is a political liability for the entire Biden Administration at this point. She should not have said she was guilty. Then again, we don't know what was done to her in the interim for her to take that position.
My gut feel is this was orchestrated and there is already some tacit agreement for a prisoner swap and they needed a guilty plea out of her.  

 

Sand

Footballguy
My gut feel is this was orchestrated and there is already some tacit agreement for a prisoner swap and they needed a guilty plea out of her.  
May well be.  I don't want to presume she actually was guilty of what she's charged with as Russia isn't a fair judicial system.  Having said that the guy Russia wants back looks like someone who can and will cause US citizen deaths down the line.  I don't think letting Bout out of jail is a good idea.

And Jemele Hill is the worst kind of provocateur.  Griner couldn't live on the $228k that the WNBA paid her?  Oh, please.  

 

HellToupee

Footballguy
Kennedy Finds ‘Irony’ In Griner’s Plight

If convicted, Griner could face up to 10 years in a Russian prison. And while Tim Kennedy, who competed in MMA and served in the United States military simultaneously, believes she should be saved from that consequence, he doesn’t have much sympathy for her.

In a post on Instagram, the 42-year-old Californian implied that there was some form of ‘irony’ in the fact that Griner, like many others, delivered protests against police brutality in the US during the playing of the national anthem, and is now in need of the government’s help.
“Do you remember that time that you were protesting your own government and even requesting that the National Anthem not be played at your games then going back to this same government and pleading that they intervene on your behalf to get you out of a Russian prison after you illegally brought drugs into their country,” Kennedy wrote. “Does not get more ironic than this”

Kennedy went on to note that while he believes Griner’s actions were “despicable,” he still believes that every American should be ‘fought for’, including Griner.

“…Even with her despicable behavior I do believe that every American is worth fighting for even those that hate their own country.”
I like Tim Kennedy’s take on this

 

massraider

Footballguy
His statement has zero to do with her sexuality. It’s despicable and vile to use it like you just did. You really ought to be ashamed of yourself for doing that.
No, people in this thread suggesting Russia can keep Griner, that's despicable. 

These threads are always illuminating. American arrested in Russia, a country run by the corrupt, as people in here suggesting they can keep an American, because they don't like her, personally.

Totally illuminating

 

HellToupee

Footballguy
massraider said:
No, people in this thread suggesting Russia can keep Griner, that's despicable. 

These threads are always illuminating. American arrested in Russia, a country run by the corrupt, as people in here suggesting they can keep an American, because they don't like her, personally.

Totally illuminating
Your post has nothing to do with my post quoted tim and Tim’s comment has zero to do with what you posted

the whole PSF is bizarro world

 

Courtjester

The Town Drunk
She broke the law--she plead guilty--do the time--end of story. 

We don't have to discuss her views on anything. She shouldn't be treated any differently than any other American who violates another country's laws,  We are not above their laws just because we are American. The idea that we would exchanges a notorious killer for a basketball player is ludicrous. 

The only way I would suggest entertaining something else is if she receives a sentence above the maximum possible (which I believe is 10 years) for this crime. 

 

squistion

Footballguy
HellToupee said:
His statement has zero to do with her sexuality. It’s despicable and vile to use it like you just did. You really ought to be ashamed of yourself for doing that.


He didn't say that he did. Nor did he say anything negative about her sexuality. He was just pointing out that in trashing her, Kennedy missed throwing that in too.   

 

BladeRunner

Footballguy
She broke the law--she plead guilty--do the time--end of story. 

We don't have to discuss her views on anything. She shouldn't be treated any differently than any other American who violates another country's laws,  We are not above their laws just because we are American. The idea that we would exchanges a notorious killer for a basketball player is ludicrous. 

The only way I would suggest entertaining something else is if she receives a sentence above the maximum possible (which I believe is 10 years) for this crime. 


BUT THAT'S DESPICABLE!!! OMG!! HOW CAN YOU EVEN THINK THAT!! 

Ignoring the fact that not only did she actually violate their laws, she pled guilty as well.  If we aren't getting other Americans out of prisons anywhere else across the world, I don't see how her case is any more important.  Also, her views of her country certainly don't endear herself to anyone.  If you want sympathy, then you need to be a person people can be sympathetic too.  She's not.  She's a moron and an idiot, IMO.

 
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massraider

Footballguy
From the Washington Free Beacon, conservative news outlet:

It's a sad story, but Griner is hardly the political prisoner that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have made her out to be. And under no circumstances should the Democratic Party's identity politics allow a black lesbian millionaire athlete who broke the law in a foreign country to receive preferential treatment—as she already is receiving—over genuinely innocent hostages long left to rot in foreign prisons. Even if one were to leave aside the fact, which we simply cannot, that Griner clamored for the removal of the national anthem from WNBA games.

 

GordonGekko

Footballguy
It’s a despicable take. And very revealing. I’m only surprised he didn’t bring up her lesbianism as well. Might as well lay it all on the table. 


Direct Headline: Brother of Russian Prisoner Shares Horrific Conditions Brittney Griner's Living in Right Now

Women’s basketball star Brittney Griner is living a life of privation, according to the brother of an American imprisoned in a Russian jail. On Thursday, the former Olympian and Phoenix Mercury center pleaded guilty to the drug possession and smuggling charges against her....“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” Griner said, according to Reuters. “I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare.”

....She was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February after authorities said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage. In the hearing Thursday, she said she had put the items in there unintentionally because she packed in a hurry. Now Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February, faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison....

...Her cell likely has “ancient” plumbing, according to USA Today, which interviewed David Whelan, whose brother is being held in Russia. Paul Whelan, who served in the Marine Corps, was accused of being a spy, a charge he denies.  “When they talk about buildings being Stalin-era, they’re not kidding,” David Whelan said.....He said his brother’s first cell had no toilet, only a hole in the ground.....“Prisoners have to maintain the cleanliness of their cell, and so it was at first quite filthy, since the previous occupant had not seemed concerned about cleanliness,” Whelan said. “You are allowed a weekly shower and a daily walk.”

Prisoners such as Griner who have not yet been sentenced usually are allowed one hour of sunlight a day, Whelan said. The other 23 hours are spent in the cell...As for food, “there’s no interest in nutrition,” Whelan said. He said many prisoners have their food supplemented by food brought in from family members or friends....He said Russian prisons are run by either gangs or guards, and violence within them is common....Whelan said his brother’s prison combines prison and labor, a fate that could await Griner.

....Elizabeth Rood, the U.S. embassy’s deputy chief of mission in Moscow, met with the WNBA star on Thursday and gave her a letter from President Joe Biden....“I’m terrified I might be in here forever,” Griner wrote in a recent letter delivered....Rood said Griner was “eating well, she’s able to read books and under the circumstances, she’s doing well....” ...In a March 17 report, the Russian state news agency TASS quoted Ekaterina Kalugina of Moscow’s Public Monitoring Commission as saying the 6-foot-9 Griner’s height was an issue because all beds in the prison are bunk beds....“We saw in the first couple of months of her detainment she had a bed that she couldn’t lay straight in....”

 By Jack Davis  July 11, 2022 at 7:00am

https://www.westernjournal.com/brother-russian-prisoner-shares-horrific-conditions-brittney-griners-living-right-now/

*******

Kennedy didn't bring up Griner's LGBT status. Do you get enraged at what people might say instead of what they actually say?

(Actually, you do, all the time)

He also said Griner is an American citizen and should be brought home as a matter of principle. It's his free speech. The same free speech Griner used to denounce the National Anthem. You can't approve of Griner's speech and magically decide those same principles don't apply for Kennedy. You can't pick and choose when rights are applied.

(Actually you do that too, literally all the time)

Something I'm going to be fair about is Griner "confessed" but no one knows the mental duress she is under and what happened to her after all this time. It's entirely possible she didn't bring anything into the country or out of it. I do know that Becky Hammon is now quiet collateral damage here as well. My best guess is Griner did bring something and the contra band was hers. But I'm open to the possibility that the real answer could be more complex.

 
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GordonGekko

Footballguy
It’s a despicable take. And very revealing. I’m only surprised he didn’t bring up her lesbianism as well. Might as well lay it all on the table. 


Direct Headline: LeBron James Says Brittney Griner Shouldn’t Even Want To Come Back To America

Detained WNBA superstar Brittney Griner ought to rethink whether she even wants to come home to America, said fellow basketball icon LeBron James, who claimed the U.S. hasn’t done enough to free her from Russian captivity. James made the shocking comment on “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” an HBO show in which James and others, including Jon Stewart and Snoop Dogg, shoot the breeze about news, sports, and culture in a barbershop. When the conversation turned to Griner, James threw up a brick.

“Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” James said. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?'”

The guilty plea sparked speculation it could pave the way for a prisoner swap. Russia reportedly wants the release of arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is known as “the Merchant of Death” and is serving a 25-year sentence in the United States, in exchange for Griner, according to The New York Times.

James previously stoked outrage on the show in 2018 when he labeled NFL’s owners a bunch of “old white men” and accused them of acting like slave masters. “In the NFL, they got a bunch of old white men owning teams, and they got that slave mentality,” James said. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f*** I tell y’all to do or we get rid of y’all.’”

By  Greg Wilson Jul 12, 2022

https://www.dailywire.com/news/lebron-james-says-brittney-griner-shouldnt-even-want-to-come-back-to-america

*******

LeBron James "laid it all on the table"

The more he speaks about Griner, given the size of his overall platform, the more the price of her release becomes in trade.

One of the main antagonists in the recent Afghanistan withdrawal disaster was one of the Taliban Five ( one of the major terrorists the Obama traded for Bergdahl)  It's already been shown that making these kind of trades end up costing rivers of blood.

But this is what happens when Identity Politics becomes the primary consideration in all public and foreign policy decisions.  Bizarrely it operates as a declarative statement that Griner's life is simply worth more than any other person based on that identity.

That's not actual equity at work.

Lebron James just added to the total cost in blood if a trade happens. So he could virtue signal on social media and feed his own ego. Is that despicable enough for you?

 

Ghost Rider

Footballguy
LeBron is arguably the best basketball player ever, but he is a ####### when it comes to talking about just about anything else.   As he is likely the most criticized athlete ever, he seems to desperate for everyone to love him now that he can't shut his yap up about topics of which he has no clue. 

 

BladeRunner

Footballguy
kodycutter said:
can we trade Lebron for griner?   does he want to stay here?


Why do we have to get one or the other?  Can't we just trade Lebron for some cash and past considerations?

 

GordonGekko

Footballguy
Direct Headline: Brittney Griner’s lawyers say she had a prescription for the drug she mistakenly carried into Russia.

Brittney Griner’s lawyers argued on Friday that the American basketball star had a medical prescription for the drug that she mistakenly carried into Russia, where she has been detained for nearly five months amid Moscow’s escalating tensions with Washington over the war in Ukraine. As Ms. Griner’s trial on drug charges resumed at a courtroom outside Moscow, her defense team provided medical documents showing that she had a prescription for medical cannabis for chronic pain, according to Reuters....The Russian authorities accused Ms. Griner in February of having two vape cartridges with hashish oil — a cannabis derivative — in her luggage at an airport near Moscow....She was charged with willfully smuggling the vape cartridges, violating Russian laws prohibiting the import of narcotics....

.... At the hearing on Friday, they provided evidence including “a doctor’s appointment for the substance that, due to an oversight of B.G., remained among her belongings when crossing the border,” according to a statement from Maria Blagovolina, a partner in the law firm Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners.

Ms. Griner has found herself caught in the growing acrimony between the Kremlin and the Biden administration, which has pledged to do everything it can to secure her freedom. Facing a possible 10-year sentence if convicted, in a justice system that heavily favors the prosecution, Ms. Griner has expressed fear that she may never be freed, and wrote in a recent letter to President Biden: “Please don’t forget about me.”

By Dan Bilefsky and Ivan Nechepurenko July 15, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/15/world/brittney-griner-trial-russia.html

Direct Headline: Russia sentences American teacher Marc Fogel to 14 years in prison for "large-scale" cannabis smuggling

A Moscow court has sentenced a U.S. teacher to 14 years in prison for "large-scale" cannabis smuggling, the latest American to be caught up in Russia's legal system. Russia and the United States regularly clash over the detention of each other's citizens and sometimes exchange them in scenes reminiscent of the Cold War.....The sentencing of Marc Fogel comes as relations between Moscow and the West, particularly Washington, are tense over Moscow's war in Ukraine....."The American citizen Fogel has been found guilty," the Khimki court said in a statement late Thursday. It said Fogel committed "large-scale drugs smuggling" by crossing the Russian border, as well as "large-scale illegal storage of drugs without a commercial purpose."

....Fogel, who worked as a teacher in the Anglo-American School of Moscow, insisted the marijuana was for medical purposes and that it was prescribed in the United States after a spinal operation. Russia has not made the use of cannabis legal for medicinal purposes....Russian officials say Fogel was employed in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and benefitted from diplomatic immunity until May 2021....."He insists that it was medical marijuana and claims that a doctor prescribed it to him in the United States, which is allegedly confirmed by an entry in the medical record," Alexander Khurudzhi, a member of a Moscow human rights committee who was among a group of lawyers that visited Fogel in December, told Russia's Interfax news agency at the time. ..."He claims he was unaware of Russia's ban on medical marijuana," Khurudhzi said....

CBS/AFP June 17, 2022  11:19 AM

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-marc-fogel-moscow-sentenced-14-years-prison-cannabis-smuggling/

********

"On January 23, the Department of State issued an update to the Level 4 Travel Advisory – Do Not Travel – for Russia due to ongoing tension along the border with Ukraine."

Griner says she had a prescription. Russia doesn't honor that. The last American, point to note that he was a heterosexual white male if anyone is counting, to use that defense got convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

I wonder when it will happen. When Griner's wife will snap from the pressure and go the national media and say Joe Biden would have immediately traded any number of terrorists in exchange for Becky Hammon. Or Tom Brady. Or Matt Damon. Well, you get the picture here.

 

GordonGekko

Footballguy
Personal responsibility is sorely lacking in the world today.


Direct Headline: A Day After Announcing Pregnancy, WNBA's Brittney Griner Seeks Annulment from Expectant Wife Glory Johnson

The WNBA stars were married just 28 days ago, but right after a fight brought arrests and suspensions for both...One day after Glory Johnson announced her pregnancy, wife Brittney Griner has moved to annul their 28-day marriage....The news comes .... six weeks after a physical altercation between the two 24-year-olds at their Goodyear, Arizona, home resulted in arrests and league suspensions for both.....“Last Wednesday, Glory and I agreed to either legally separate, get divorced, or annul our marriage,” Griner, a center for the three-time champion Phoenix Mercury, said... “I can confirm today I filed for an annulment. In the week prior to the wedding, I attempted to postpone the wedding several times until I completed counseling, but I still went through with it. I now realize that was a mistake...."

...A request for comment from Johnson was not immediately answered. However Johnson’s sports marketing agent, D.J. Fisher, tells TMZ: “Glory was unaware of the filing and still loves and cares for Brittney. Glory loves Brittney and made a huge sacrifice to carry a child, put her career on hold, to invest in their relationship and their future. As a result she won’t be playing this season.”....Both revelations, however, came after Johnson gave a revealing interview published Tuesday by Sports Illustrated in which she claimed her injuries proved she was the target in the April 22 altercation at the couple’s home....

Medical records shared with SI by Johnson’s attorney, Howard Snader, showed Johnson had been struck twice “on the back of her head by a hard carrying case.” A CT scan revealed evidence of a concussion and spinal trauma, while Griner, according to the police report, suffered only scratches....The WNBA suspended both players for seven games apiece after calling their behavior equally “unacceptable.” ....Johnson told the magazine: “If I’m being fought, I’m not just gonna sit back There’s probably a better way to handle it. But at the time You’re just thinking of protecting yourself and doing what you need to do to stand up for yourself....I’m not going to throw Brittney under the bus and she’s not going to throw me under the bus [but] what the [WNBA] did not say in the statements they released was that I pled not guilty So for them to release a statement saying that we were both guilty in the situation, it’s not right. It’s not correct Brittney pled guilty Brittney understands why I pled not guilty, and I understand why she pled guilty she was even willing to speak to whoever she needed to, to get the point across....”

On April 28, Griner accepted a plea deal to enter domestic violence counseling, after which the charges against her were to be dismissed, USA Today reported. Johnson enrolled in counseling voluntarily.....

By Jeff Truesdell December 02, 2020 01:28 AM

https://people.com/sports/brittney-griner-files-to-annul-marriage-to-pregnant-glory-johnson/

******

Speaking of "personal responsibility", if Griner is offered in a trade for Bout, then the Biden Administration and the State Department have to evaluate the optics of everything Griner did before in the public eye and whether that becomes politically toxic or not.

No one wants to say it, but if it was Alex Jones and not Griner, obviously the response and advocacy would likely be different.

Here's the problem. Griner is, on record, as a wife beater. That's not some conjecture, she's actually a wife beater. More technically and tragically, a pregnant wife beater. And the twins that arrived were born premature and Griner was ordered to pay child support for them.

If Susan Rice decides not to trade for Griner, then it's not inconceivable that this domestic violence story gets driven into the national daily media cycle as cover for Biden in case he's held to the fire from the LGBT community for not cutting a deal.

Griner is an American citizen. I think reasonable measures should be taken to try to get her back to the United States safely. However I don't believe "reasonable measures" should include anything that risks America's national security. Not even by a tiny sliver.

 

GordonGekko

Footballguy
Direct Headline: Moscow says US must respect Russian law in Griner case

....The spokesperson for Russia's Foreign Ministry lashed out Thursday at the United States characterizing basketball star Brittney Griner's jailing on drug charges as “wrongful detention,” saying it shows disrespect for Russian law....Griner has been jailed since she was arrested in mid-February at a Moscow airport after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage. The Phoenix Mercury standout and two-time Olympic gold medalist acknowledged in court this month that she had the canisters, but said she had no intent to break the law. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Her trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

The State Department in May designated Griner as wrongfully detained, moving her case under the supervision of its special presidential envoy for hostage affairs - effectively, the government’s chief hostage negotiator. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday that the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use in parts of the U.S. has no bearing on what happens in Russia....“If a U.S. citizen was taken in connection with the fact that she was smuggling drugs, and she does not deny this, then this should be commensurate with our Russian, local laws, and not with those adopted in San Francisco, New York and Washington...You understand, if drugs are legalized in the United States, in a number of states, and this is done for a long time, and now the whole country will become drug-addicted, this does not mean that all other countries are following the same path....”  Russian officials have said no exchange could be discussed until the conclusion of the legal proceedings against Griner. It is unclear how long the trial will last, but a court has authorized Griner's detention until Dec. 20....

JIM HEINTZ Thu, July 21, 2022

https://sports.yahoo.com/moscow-says-us-must-respect-114844309.html

******

Griner should have never pleaded guilty. Even if she did it. The State Department would rather leave her for a decade in a gulag rather than lose face.

 

GordonGekko

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

...After months of internal debate, the Biden administration has offered to exchange Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year US prison sentence, as part of a potential deal to secure the release of two Americans held by Russia, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, according to people briefed on the matter....

These sources told CNN that the plan to trade Bout for Whelan and Griner received the backing of President Joe Biden after being under discussion since earlier this year. Biden’s support for the swap overrides opposition from the Department of Justice, which is generally against prisoner trades....Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday that the US presented a “substantial proposal” to Moscow “weeks ago” for Whelan and Griner, who are classified as wrongfully detained....

....Speaking at a press conference at the State Department, Blinken said Biden was “directly involved” and signed off on the proposal. Although Blinken did not directly confirm Bout was part of the deal, saying 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 said “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.”...The top US diplomat said he intended to discuss the matter on an expected call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week – his first conversation with his counterpart since the war in Ukraine began – telling reporters, “my hope would be that in speaking to Foreign Minister Lavrov, I can advance the efforts to bring them home.....”

“There is in my mind utility in conveying clear, direct messages to the Russians on key priorities for us. And as I mentioned, these include securing the return home of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan,” he said....A senior administration official suggested Moscow has not been responsive to the “substantial offer” first presented in June, telling CNN “it takes two to tango.”...“We start all negotiations to bring home Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained with a bad actor on the other side. We start all of these with somebody who has taken a human being American and treated them as a bargaining chip,” the official said. “So in some ways, it’s not surprising, even if it’s disheartening, when those same actors don’t necessarily respond directly to our offers, don’t engage constructively in negotiations.....”

....The official declined to comment on the specifics of the “substantial offer.” They said it was in Russia’s “court to be responsive to it, yet at the same time that does not leave us passive, as we continue to communicate the offer at very senior levels.”....The families of Whelan, who has been held by Russia for alleged espionage since 2018, and WNBA star Griner, jailed in Moscow for drug possession since February, have urged the White House to secure their release, including via a prisoner exchange if necessary.....National Security Council Strategic Coordinator for Communications John Kirby said Wednesday that a senior administration official spoke with the families prior to Blinken’s announcement about the “substantial proposal.” Biden recently spoke by phone with Griner’s wife, Cherelle, and Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth.....

Griner, who pleaded guilty in early July but said she unintentionally brought cannabis into Russia, testified in a Russian courtroom Wednesday as part of her ongoing trial on drug charges, for which she faces up to 10 years in prison. It is understood that her trial will have to conclude prior to a deal being finalized, according to US officials familiar with the Russian judicial process and the inner workings of US-Russia negotiations....During months of internal discussions between US agencies, the Justice Department opposed trading Bout, people briefed on the matter say. However, Justice officials eventually accepted that a Bout trade has the support of top officials at the State Department and White House, including Biden himself, sources say....

The US government has long resisted prisoner swaps, claiming concerns that they only incentivize countries to detain Americans so they can be used as bargaining chips. Advocates have questioned these concerns and have argued that it is more important that Americans are able to come home....Securing their release would also give the White House a much-needed political win ahead of the midterm elections in November, a point that some officials quietly acknowledged when speaking privately to CNN......

By Kylie Atwood, Evan Perez and Jennifer Hansler, CNN  5:00 PM EDT, Wed July 27, 2022

https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/27/politics/griner-whelan-biden-offer-viktor-bout-exchange-russia-arms-dealer/index.html

************

Bout has previously supported, with his weapons trade, such luminaries as -

Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)

Militant factions in Mozambique and the UNITA guerillas in Angola.

Terror cells in Afghanistan

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Bad faith actors and despots in endless conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Philippine's Muslim Abu Sayyaf Group

Taliban

al-Qaeda

Hezbollah

South African and Balkan organized crime rings

Bout specializes in anti-aircraft missiles. Something to think about for everyone here every time they get into a plane or someone they love has to fly somewhere.

So Biden can get a "political win" for the coming Mid Terms, how many millions are going to have to be slaughtered around the world? Keep in mind that many of the organizations that Bout supports also conducts and engages in drug dealing and illegal drug operations on a mass scale, child trafficking, the illegal sex trade with what amounts to forced prostitution, organ harvesting, terrorism and it's rumored that he has previously facilitated the sale of chemical weapons.

If Biden doesn't make the trade, Griner's wife starts shouting in public that he helped Bergdahl get out, but he wouldn't for a gay black woman. Whelan is added to the "trade" to operate as deflection for the coming media counter narratives that are likely to hit hard and fast.

Griner couldn't clean out her luggage before going to an airport and soon millions will suffer and die from it.

 

GordonGekko

Footballguy
Direct Headline: Former Gov. Bill Richardson suggests Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan may be released by end of year

By Aaron Pellish and Devan Cole, CNN October 9, 2022

Former Gov. Bill Richardson said Sunday he is “cautiously optimistic” that two Americans .... detained by Russia will be released and suggested they could be freed by the end of the year.....He recently traveled to Russia to discuss with Kremlin officials the possible release of basketball star Brittney Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan, and he said Sunday that he’s working with the families of both Americans and coordinating with the White House for their release.

“I do think so. Now, I hate making predictions, but yes,” Richardson told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked if he believed Griiner and Whelan may be released before the end of this year.....“....I’m just giving you my assessment after two visits to Russia on behalf of American hostages.”....The Biden administration had previously distanced itself from Richardson’s efforts. Last month, a senior administration official told CNN that anyone “who’s going to Russia is going as a private citizen and they don’t speak for the US government....”


https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/09/politics/bill-richardson-paul-whelan-brittney-griner-cnntv/index.html



Direct Headline: Brittney Griner situation explained: WNBA star is 'afraid' the U.S. won't secure her release soon, per report

By Wajih AlBaroudi, Isabel Gonzalez & Shanna McCarriston Oct 17, 2022

.... On Oct. 16, Kremlin Aide Yury Ushakov told Rossiya-1 -- a state-owned Russian television channel -- that reaching a deal is not currently a priority for Moscow. ..."In this tense situation, I think that he is thinking first and foremost about the upcoming midterm elections so he keeps emphasizing the need to bring back home the basketball player who was detained for drug smuggling. However, it's not the main issue that we are concerned about...."

....Griner isn't as optimistic as Richardson. In an Oct.12 report from The New York Times, Griner's lawyer, Alexandr D. Boykov, shared that Griner is skeptical the U.S. will be able to secure her release any time soon. ....."She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home.......She is very worried about what the price of that will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia....."....Her experience has been anything but pleasant. According to the aforementioned report from The New York Times, Griner has been facing hard conditions at the Russian penal colony....

Griner is sharing a small cell with two other English-speaking individuals who are also there on drug charges. The 6-foot-9 Griner was originally expected to sleep in a bed that was too small for her. She was given a bigger bed after journalist Ekaterina Kalugina visited in April and told a Russian prison oversight commission that Griner needed a different bed.....Kalugina told the Times that inmates are only allowed to shower twice a week and that Griner told her that she experiences frequent physical pain, especially headaches. In the same article, Boykov said temperatures inside the building fluctuate dramatically based on the weather, and that Griner's time outside is just one hour a day to walk laps around a "small courtyard.".....

"BG has truly suffered beyond her crime already," Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, told CBS Mornings.....Cherelle has talked to Brittney on the phone twice since February. The first call felt like a relief because she was finally able to hear Brittney's voice, but the second one left her with negative feelings. ...."I think I cried for about two, three days straight," Cherelle said. "It was the most disturbing phone call I'd ever experienced."

....According to CNN, the Russian government replied to the U.S.'s initial offer by requesting that convicted murderer Vadim Krasikov also be added to the proposed swap. Russian officials reportedly communicated the request earlier in July, but they did so through an informal backchannel. Due to the form of communication, the U.S. initially questioned the legitimacy of it. Also, the request to include Krasikov in the trade isn't a simple one: He was convicted of murder in Germany last year and still remains in German custody.....


https://www.cbssports.com/wnba/news...-u-s-wont-secure-her-release-soon-per-report/



**********


"We want Russia to take the offer that we have put on the table, a substantial offer, as you've heard us say many times seriously. If not, they can make a counteroffer. But they need to make a serious counteroffer." - Karine Jean-Pierre, current WHPS


From a media optics standpoint, what is not being said but what is apparent by reading between the lines?

1) Putin wants Biden out of office. He wants Democrats out of office. The funding and arming of Ukraine is a huge problem for Russia at this point, because it also gives media and political cover for other NATO allies to also arm Ukraine. Putin has a better relationship with Trump and Kevin McCarthy, the likely next Speaker Of The House, has indicated the raw blank check for funding Ukraine isn't going to work the same with the GOP.

2) The most damaging thing Putin can do to Biden and the US government is to keep the conditions on Griner to the level of tension that she commits suicide. That's unsavory, but it would cause international headlines and force Biden's hand to trade Bout and Krasikov for Whelan. It would have the triple impact of helping to get Biden and other Democrats out of office, increase Trump's chance to be reelected and better guarantee McCarthy ascends into a leadership role to cut off most of that funding.

3) If Bout is released, the strongest media optics play for Putin is to have Bout take some of the weapons that Biden abandoned in Afghanistan, paid for with our tax dollars, and sell them to mercenaries fighting in Ukraine. Thus you have the conditions of a war being fought where US weapons and equipment are the proxies of death on BOTH SIDES.

Something to point out again is that Bout is heavily rumored to have done weapons deals that include chemical weapons. This is no small issue in terms of the risk of future world wide terrorism.

And, as noted before, Bout specializes in anti-aircraft weapons sales. If Bout sells Stingers to a terrorist group and they put down a US passenger plane, that would have a crippling and destabilizing impact on the US economy, thus slowing down the money machine that is funding Ukraine in this proxy war.

The involvement of Richardson, an informal Agency cut out, confirms Whelan's operational role in country before capture.

This is where it gets unfortunate for Cherelle Griner. Media optics cover, if Griner dies, by suicide or otherwise, will require a hard blitz of Griner's previous domestic abuse. Meaning there will non stop stories of Griner beating up her pregnant former wife through back channels. It does not soften the blow for Griner's wife and family, but it would soften the media narrative against Biden himself. Griner is a total political liability for the Biden Administration. The marijuana pardons were a practical ramp in to facilitate some kind of trade. As the pressure mounts with all the other Biden Administration scandals and failures, there are fears that making this kind of stupid trade would seem like a short term "political win" But it's truly short term as the backlash over releasing the Merchant Of Death will be an endless leverage point for the GOP.

Brittney Griner's life has no current practical political value for the Biden Administration. The longer the timeline extends, the more people associated with Griner will forget her. It's the same hard reality when someone in the US is incarcerated at length. People move on. People informally associate you with someone out of their lives and are never coming back.

Right now, Cherelle Griner's life is in immediate danger. She's the potential trigger point to incite the rest of the LGBT community, which voted at minimum of about 79 percent for Biden in 2020, with a 93 percent turnout rate, against the Biden Administration. There are too many ancillary narratives that can't be controlled.

If Bout is somehow released, I would advise each and every one of you to never let your children fly again.
 
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Stealthycat

Footballguy
Will he make a deal before midterms?


I think Biden is influencing the election every way he can from sowing fears of GOP's being elected to releasing strategic oil reserves to going to his knees with the Saudi's to get help ..... if he thinks it'll bring in a few votes, Biden will do whatever Putin tells him to do

Putin hold all the cards ..... its actually sad to see Biden being pushed around
 

GordonGekko

Footballguy
Direct Headline: Russian Court Upholds Brittney Griner’s 9-Year Sentence

Ivan Nechepurenko, Ruth Maclean and Neil MacFarquhar, Oct. 25, 2022, 10:43 a.m. ET

...Griner, an American basketball star convicted in Russia on drugs charges, is expected to be sent to a penal colony after her appeal was rejected...A Russian court on Tuesday upheld the American basketball star Brittney Griner’s sentence on drug smuggling charges, clearing the way for her to serve nine years in a penal colony and adding to pressure on the United States government to negotiate a deal for her release....“We are very disappointed,” Ms. Griner’s lawyers said in a statement after the ruling by a three-judge panel of an appeals court near Moscow. “The verdict contains numerous defects, and we hoped that the court of appeal would take them into consideration....”

.....The decision means Ms. Griner will begin serving her sentence soon, but it was not immediately clear if her legal options were exhausted. There are two higher courts above the appellate division, culminating in the Supreme Court, but Ms. Griner’s lawyers said they had not decided whether to take the case any further....Higher courts in Russia also are not known for overturning verdicts, especially in a case involving foreign policy and the interests of the Kremlin....

...Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin are both expected to attend a summit of Group of 20 leaders next month in Indonesia, and Mr. Biden has said he would only speak with the Russian leader there if it was to discuss Ms. Griner’s case...Ms. Griner admitted her guilt in court but insisted that she had no intention to break the law, saying that the small amount of hashish oil appeared in her luggage because of negligence....Since she was sentenced in August, her lawyers have argued that the nine-year prison term — near the 10-year maximum for such a conviction — was too harsh for a first-time offense and was politically motivated....

...Some prisoners are tortured, or beaten by fellow inmates. Some have to work 16-hour days. A few are forced to watch Russian propaganda on repeat....This is the world of the Russian penal colony, into which Brittney Griner is about to be inducted for a nine-year term....But the penal colonies, many of them scattered across Siberia as gulags were and laid out in barracks, are still characterized by brutality, overcrowding and harsh conditions, and they are often governed by a rigid prison culture....In an interview from a penal colony last year, Russia’s most famous prisoner, the opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, described a schedule of calisthenics, sweeping the yard .... as well as five daily sessions of screen time where inmates are forced to watch state television and propaganda films.

“You need to imagine something like a Chinese labor camp, where everybody marches in a line and where video cameras are hung everywhere,” he said. “There is constant control and a culture of snitching.”...In June, Mr. Navalny was transferred to a maximum-security prison, where he said he spends seven-hour shifts at a sewing machine..... said that there was no hot water, warm clothes or medicine in the penal colony .... and that people who got sick could die as a result....


https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/10/25/world/russia-ukraine-war-news/an-appeals-court-upholds-griners-nine-year-sentence


********


My media optics assessment remains the same. Putin wants Griner to commit suicide, while under video surveillance, in a Russian penal colony. That way he can say American abandoned her, for propaganda purposes, and have the death smear America's foreign policy positions around the world. While also claiming the blood is not directly on his own hands.

It is the one pathway, albeit the most brutal, that can insert itself and dominate the international daily media cycle and attempt to fracture America's already contested internal political divide. From a projection standpoint, sadly, I believe this is where this situation is ultimately headed.

This is a very tragic situation. I am very sorry for Griner's wife, children and family. I don't agree with Griner's politics, but she is an American citizen. As a fellow American, I would like to see her released under more practical terms than some exchange for arms dealers and terrorists. I don't believe that is currently possible at this point.
 

Stealthycat

Footballguy
Putin has Biden in a corner

Putin will ask for the moon and I'm saying there is a 90% chance Biden will cave to the demands and allow Putin to push him into whatever Putin wants right here before election time

If it doesn't happen before elections, it'll not happen for a long long time
 

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