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Exchanging Prisoners for Honor

Posted on Friday, December 16, 2022
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By – Jeffrey B. Stamm

Prisoners

The Brittney Griner/Victor Bout prisoner exchange is an affront to all those who believe in the rule of law and government responsibility.

Much ink has been spilled of late concerning the Brittney Griner/Victor Bout prisoner exchange since its announcement on December 8. 

The opinions, as usual, fall into two distinct camps depending upon one’s political orientation. Unanimously, however, they all enthusiastically or reflexively declare how good it is that we have at least secured the release of an American citizen, one who was “unjustly imprisoned” by an evil foreign power.

Really? Why?

Granted, in terms of intersectional mascots, Brittney Griner is an absolute dream! A black, lesbian, leftist celebrity who despises her country and who suffers terribly from unspecified “pain” that supposedly requires “self-medicalization” with weed. Seemingly, these are the very attributes that led to President Biden describing her as representing “the best of America” at his White House press conference announcing her release.

And, granted, as an American citizen, she does deserve the constitutional protections afforded to all Americans regardless of their race, sexual orientation, or political views.

But in terms of basic proportionality and justice, attaining her freedom in exchange for Victor Bout, the appropriately named “Merchant of Death,” is a grotesque and disgraceful offense against the nation and its people who depend upon its leaders to act in their interests and in accordance with what is right. Many have said that this prisoner swap was a slap in the face to those DEA personnel who put themselves in harm’s way to capture Bout in 2008, even to all of the men and women of DEA today who continue to risk their lives to protect their fellow citizens from violent and predatory drug traffickers, and especially to those who have given their very lives in the service of their nation and the rule of law.

Certainly, it’s all that. Yet, it’s so much more. Tragically more.

It is betrayal. The betrayal of trust. Of the expectation, even faith, that traditional America places in their leader that he will always act with their welfare—indeed, their very security—in mind. And once that trust is extinguished, it is not easily, if ever, recovered.

Described as “one of the most dangerous men on the face of the earth,” the former KGB agent and terrorist serving a twenty-five year sentence was one of the most prolific arms traffickers in the world, supplying dictators, warlords and thugs across the globe with sophisticated weapons that not only destroyed countless human lives, but destabilized entire nations and continents. Yet what makes—or should make— the release of Victor Bout particularly abhorrent and unjustifiable was that he conspired explicitly to kill Americans—the specific crimes for which he was convicted in U.S. District Court. Bout agreed to sell millions of dollars of advanced weapons, including surface-to-air missiles (SAM), to the Marxist FARC guerillas in Colombia in order to shoot down American aircraft assisting the Colombian government in the preservation of their democratic state.

It must be remembered that, in 2008, the communist Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia was not only an existential threat to that nation’s democratic government and the Colombian people, but they had also evolved and metastasized into one of Colombia’s—and the world’s—most expansive and sinister drug cartels. As such, they were responsible for not merely producing and shipping ton quantities of cocaine and heroin to the United States in general, but to those specific communities of oppressed and victimized people across America that Brittney Griner claims to represent.

And since the FARC was not just a terrorist group, but, rather, a narcoterrorist organization, the extraordinarily imaginative and relentless professionals from the Drug Enforcement Administration, despite their outsize and thankless mission, would develop a sophisticated operation to ensnare the Russian criminal in concert with dozens of other partner agencies in the U.S and abroad. In describing the Biden administration’s decision to free Victor Bout as “beyond the pale of wrong,” journalist Jason James Barry observed that, “Of all the ops teams and agencies in all the world that could have come into play, it was the DEA that made the case.”

Perhaps because it was DEA enforcing international drug laws, amidst an administration which demands that only therapeutic and compassion-based responses are permitted to fight the drug epidemic, that Bout’s incarceration was no longer deemed important. It seems we no longer have the stomach to be mean to people through arrest and incarceration, even those who wish to kill us.

One is left to wonder whether the official policies of this current White House are actually intended to degrade our nation through the premeditated diluting of standards in order to achieve some kind of twisted notion of globalized equity. Even aside from his breathtaking dereliction at our southern border, Biden’s pattern is beyond disturbing. In September of this year, we quietly sent Afghan warlord Haji Bashir Noorzai home to a warm Taliban welcome after agreeing to exchange him for American contractor Mark Frerichs, who had been kidnapped in 2020 by the Haqqani terrorist network specifically, according to reports, to strike this very bargain. Noorzai was not only Afghanistan’s biggest heroin trafficker at one time, but one of the world’s biggest. One month later, in October 2022, we exchanged two family members of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, nicknamed the “Narco Nephews,” for seven Americans held by the communist government on sham charges. The nephews had been arrested and sentenced in U.S District Court for conspiring to smuggle 800 kilos of cocaine to New York via Haiti. Both Noorzai and the Maduro nephews were also cases painstakingly made by DEA. So the narcs are pretty torqued these days. They must be thinking that this is what Democrats meant when they demanded we “reimagine” law enforcement.

As the Biden administration has recently made disturbing new diplomatic concessions to the Maduro regime in their desperate and schizophrenic attempt to acquire more oil while they simultaneously constrain it, most Americans have forgotten that Nicolas Maduro himself, along with fourteen of his top governmental officials, and two Colombian FARC leaders, were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2020 for narcoterrorism, drug trafficking and other criminal charges. The indictment specifically described Maduro, et. al., of operating “a narco-terrorism partnership with the FARC for the past 20 years” that was “expressly intended to flood the United States with cocaine in order to undermine the health and well-being of our nation.”

With Biden’s clearly established record of betrayal and depraved appeasement, he should immediately be placed on notice that, should he and his weak Attorney General, Merrick Garland, secretly dismiss the charges against the Venezuelan dictator in pursuit of some corrupt, political reward, our nation’s current disgust will explode into rage. This may sound to some like a ridiculous prediction, but, again, the president has shown us who he is and we had better be prepared to guard against such a likely scenario.

In trying to spin a narrative, the administration has plainly been lying about so many details of this repugnant transaction. No one had seriously been considering a deal to free Victor Bout for anyone—not even former Marine Paul Whelan, who has been languishing in a Russian prison for four years—until the WNBA celebrity was arrested by Moscow customs agents. Moreover, Ms. Griner was not “wrongfully detained,” as Biden has stated, nor was she a “political prisoner.” She’s a drug smuggler. And it matters not that she was only smuggling personal use amounts; she violated not only the sovereign laws of Russia, but also the same international treaties to which we adhere.

Oh, and, lastly, it was not merely “cannabis” that she attempted to smuggle into Russia, but a nearly pure form of THC, known as butane hash oil (BHO), most probably originating from one of the many out of control illegal California marijuana grows befouling the environment in shocking ways and controlled by Mexican drug cartels operating inside the U.S. Anyone who believes that marijuana—let alone clandestinely and toxically purified concentrates of the raw plant—can be considered “medicine” has either thoughtlessly succumbed to the fantastic hoax or profits from it.

In one of the most powerful scenes from the movie Saving Private Ryan, the character played by Tom Hanks, after sacrificing himself and most of his platoon to rescue the young man from hell, implores Private Ryan with his dying breath to, “Earn this!” If Ms. Griner has any shred of honor and decency, she would dedicate herself to educating her fellow citizens—of all factions—about the harms of illegal drugs on behalf of the nation that rescued her and returned her to its embrace. 

Let’s see if she earns this.

Jeff Stamm is a 40-year law enforcement veteran, having served as a Deputy Sheriff in Sacramento County, California; a Special Agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; and as the Executive Director of the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). He is also the author of On Dope: Drug Enforcement and The First Policeman.

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Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
1 year ago

Putin is laughing his a$$ off and Xi is grinning like a cheshire cat.

Ricky
Ricky
1 year ago

What a waste!!! She should have been left in Russia where she would feel much more comfortable politcally. An American hero is still there while this slime was returned to freedom. God must be ashamed of Joe and Ho in White House to start with, but this slap in the face to Him and America is an atrocity. Both of them should resign in January allowing the new Speaker of the House to become President (who I trust the speaker with be Donald Trump) and then regain his rightful place as the real President of the US.

Nick
Nick
1 year ago

Shut up, narc.

Jeri
Jeri
1 year ago

She freely made the choices that resulted in the consequences. Shame she is not being held accountable.

Denise
Denise
1 year ago

Another deliberate action by a “socialist” government headed by a muddled puppet doing his puppet master’s bidding…to continue the destruction and eventual elimination of a once free Constitutional Republic and replace it with a dictatorship of the New World Order. None of the ugly actions taken by this “administration” and previous “administrations” are random. I believe the videos of George Bush Sr. are still on youtube lauding the so-called new world order, which he also spoke of in his presidential acceptance speech. Our American Constitution and Bill of RIGHTS are an anathema to the one world order thugs…and must be eliminated. Sadly far too many leave it at a specific article and don’t attempt to connect the long line of connecting dots.

Patriot Will
Patriot Will
1 year ago

Biden’s depraved indifference to the rule of law and national security is once again displayed for the entire world to see. It’s beyond all decency and ethics that one of the world’s worst terrorists, Victor Bout, the “Merchant of Death,” is now able to once again create chaos and mass killings — just so we can be woke and bring back a hater of the US by the name of Brittney Griner. No matter how many times I mull over this travesty of justice, I am incapable of accepting this human swap even in the very slightest. My stomach, heart, and mind ache thinking about all the innocent humans that will be sacrificed for Biden’s sheer stupidity. I mistakenly think that Biden is the current President of the United States of America, when in fact, he often seems to have the powers of a demented tyrant.

James Popielarz
James Popielarz
1 year ago

It was a total Political Stunt. The fact how he bad mouthed the country, but gains from it’s benefit. Either way we got the raw end of the deal….a dangerous man is now loose to raise havoc again.

Luke
Luke
1 year ago

Griner is no better than a member of the Chinese Communist Party since she will continue to use “….the constitutional protections afforded to all Americans regardless of their race, sexual orientation, or political views” to degrade and hate America and Americans. CCP does exactly the same thing. She, (it) is disgusting and Joe Biden should be sumarily executed for treason.

But, ya know what>! This kind of behavior can be laid at the feet of the American female voter who continues to vote for politicians who support a female’s ‘right’ to abortion for convenience. A country that embraces the extermination of unborn children doesn’t deserve to survive.

Alicia
Alicia
1 year ago

This too is an agenda to save face; not with most Americans ideas of the right thing to do, but for an agenda to save face and pander to blacks, lesbians, sports, enforcing the new ideology of an illusion that to be better we must cater to the few over the many. A new frame work designed to pander, be leftist, or a transformation of lawlessness, that now is the framework to prove we are woke and we don’t discriminate. Truth is we do and it is not sticking to doing what’s right by following our own laws and upholding it shows the system is being manipulated for a need to be something we are not. There is no honesty, integrity, or respect but power, greed, and manipulation to pander to a select group of individuals. Is it the rich, poor, left, woke, elitist above our laws, control, manipulation driving a means of our destruction, payoffs, or have we been sold out to treasonous powers that do not align with our values as Americans. We… if to survive, must stand up and be accounted for!

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Trade a loser for a Arms Dealer.
There was NO thought of logic in that swap.
PRESIDENT TRUMP gets 5 prisoners freed in exchange without giving up one prisoner or paying bribe money.
Obama gives 5 prisoners up for 1 and PAYS BILLIONS to TERRORIST.
DICTATOR Beijing biden plays politics and leaves a U.S. MARINE
and AMERICANS behind. Just look at SURRENDER in Afghanistan in 2021 and $86 Billion in Military equipment and WEAPONS of WAR to ATTACK AMERICANS.
WHERE IS THE IMPEACHMENT?

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

She hates American and won’t respect our flag. She should stay there for YEARS and learn to honor our country. She was a doble check-off for Senile Joe: black &lesbian. Meanwhile, a white male MARINE, who committed NO crime, is still imprisoned!

Jerry
Jerry
1 year ago

Since when is a “gay celebrity” worth more than a patriotic MARINE?

Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen
1 year ago

A good message to be sent would be to BOYCOTT the WNBA.
Hurt them in their wallets.

David
David
1 year ago

Grindr, one of America’s embarrassing subjects, should have been forced to serve her 9 year prison sentence for smuggling dope into Russia! End of story!

Randall L. Beatty
Randall L. Beatty
1 year ago

Biden I bet did not try very hard to get others released just her someone that hates this country is not a first class citizen the way she acts and Biden and that VP of his think they did so much good they make this country look like dirt we are a laughing stock to every country some one that brings in dope into Russia and Biden thinks that is ok and his great VP thinks that is ok as well, but then Biden’s son is not a model citizen as well, this is what is running our country just sick.

Ron Page
Ron Page
1 year ago

Haters going to hate and she hates America! She has no place in a free America. Send her back to Russia and GIVE US A TRUE AMERICAN MARINE!!!!! Biden was WRONG WITH HIS WOKE BS.

RUSSELL D
RUSSELL D
1 year ago

She should have been left there to rot! What should have been done is that we ship BIDEN and his whole administration over there to rot in jail with her!

Mikey B
Mikey B
1 year ago

Honestly, what did we really expect?! Joe Biden has been a disaster since day one of his “ presidency”.

This administrations aim is to tear this country down and they’re doing it with impunity.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of seeing black, lesbian females with no talents being on the front burner.

This loser pot smoker hates this country. I’m not gonna ask why Joe Buden would pick her over a former Marine, again, we all know the answer.It’s called identity politics. That’s all Joe knows. Two years of this presidency and look what we’ve got. These next two years cannot come soon enough. Hopefully there will be something we can wipe up the mess with and perhaps get the country back on the right track after this travesty of an abomination of a circus of a sham is through digressing from this abysmal downturn this jokester has put all of us through!
Joe Biden at his finest. What a crock

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 year ago

I just hope two things: 1) that in the 10 months she was held prisoner, the Russians made her stand for their national anthem and 2) she has a little more appreciation for living in AMERICA!

Russ
Russ
1 year ago

A National disgrace on so many levels, seems to me that there are much higher priorities that should have been addressed first? All this was, is a deliberate attempt to appease a small group of people, while ignoring the vast majority, all the time thinking that we’ll be distracted long enough to forget about the issues that are affecting us the most.

Rich
Rich
1 year ago

Just one more example of the Biden administration screwing up everything they touch that has to do with MAGA or foreign policy. What a disgrace this administration is. Can’t wait for them all to be gone.

Jackie
Jackie
1 year ago

Joe, you really blew this one!!! You proved that you and your party don’t care about the rule of law in other countries any more than you care about the rule of law in your own country!!! You prove this by the obnoxious, horrible trade you made for her release when she clearly broke their law and deserved to be in jail!!! But you also prove this by the decisions you and Democrats have made concerning the southern border!!! You refuse to admit that there is a problem, you refuse to visit the border and you refuse to do anything about closing the border seemingly loving the fact that millions of illegals are flowing into our country every year under your watch and you don’t seem to understand that we can’t afford them!!!! As a senior citizen, I am disappointed, discouraged, embarrassed,I even feel threatened by your actions!!! You aren’t a President of the United States, you are a Democrat Party leader who is too old and senile to know how much damage you are doing!!

Laura Jurey
Laura Jurey
1 year ago

At least MAYBE is experience will show the ignorant of The difference between The USA and Russia to these spoiled generations. And what we are headed towards with this current direction the Current Government is taking the USA!

Cc
Cc
1 year ago

I am old and a veteran and hope to live long enough to see a end to the Biden term of office. America first,foremost and always. Where did our honor for our country go to get a ball player for a world class terrorist. We all will pay the price for this insult with lives lost in the future.We can’t get rid of Biden and hope to survive the the next two years. 1776 people joined and had enough,even the liberals are shocked today.We need a leader to come forward to replace Biden and his masters the commies again.Please Lord have mercy on us!!!

Stan d. Upnow
Stan d. Upnow
1 year ago

Screw what’s right, moral, ethical, proper, beneficial, and especially what enhances American security, honor, & prestige. It’s all about potentially currying favor with the black and LBGT-whatever voting blocks.

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
1 year ago

She deliberately broke the law in a foreign country she claimed was a better place to live in than the U.S. Why would we trade a terrorist to free her? Why does she deserve to be treated so well when she did wrong? We are pathetic!

suzanne H
suzanne H
1 year ago

That last line is a joke, she has not and will not earn crap and we all know it. In fact she always felt entitled to be rescued from the imprisonment of her own doing. Like all socialists and commies they all feel entitled to whatever they want and whenever they want it. She will NEVER deserve the freedom she was unjustly given.

Steve B
Steve B
1 year ago

I never want to hear “gun control” issues from the mouth of America’s Fabian Socialists again. They cry “ gun control” I’ll shout “ Guns for Ganja” back at them.

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