With their latest American bargaining chip, Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine-years in prison for drug possession, the Kremlin on Friday, jumped to offer Washington immediate prisoner swaps.
According to Breitbart News, a judge in Russia convicted the American basketball star of drug possession and smuggling Thursday, sentencing her to nine years in Russian prison. Apparently not a very “bright bulb”, the WNBA Star, Griner was arrested on Feb. 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.
Cannabis just happens to be illegal in Russia for both medicinal and recreational purposes. It is usually a good idea to know the rules of a country when you travel and oh yeah, - take care to follow them, instead of whining about your being rushed for your flight. Excuses don’t work where there is little compassion – like at home.
It was reported that Griner, who had been prescribed medical cannabis in the United States to relieve pain, from chronic injuries, said she had made an honest mistake by inadvertently packing them as she rushed to make her flight. This oversight could have cost her ten years in prison. As it is she has been detained, tried and now convicted in a court of law in Russia.
Apparently, the Russians weren’t swayed by her “guilty with a good reason” plea? Why should they care if she gets caught – they can just use her as a bargaining chip to get what they want out of “Uncle Joe”. Reportedly, she pled guilty to the charges against her but insisted she did not intend to break Russian law.
Likely, used to notoriety here in the U.S. for her Gold Medals, her disrespect of the U.S.A. by walking out with her WNBA peers, before the national anthem is played and her obvious arrogance in what she thinks is due her – all of a sudden like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz – “There’s no place like home”.
Maybe she is learning to really appreciate what she has, time will tell. Trump likely called it, when he called her a “potentially spoiled person.” At this point, she certainly is the Kremlin’s pawn.
According to AFP, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said
“We are ready to discuss this topic, but within the framework of the channel that was agreed upon by Presidents Putin and Biden,”, (although a warning was added) “If the Americans decide to once again resort to public diplomacy… that is their business and I would even say that it is their problem.”-Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Saying it could only derail efforts to secure a potential swap, the Kremlin previously warned the United States against resorting to “megaphone diplomacy” in the case of Griner. The Kremlin could agree to swap of convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who had been sentenced to 25 years in U.S. prison, in exchange for Griner and corporate security executive Paul Whelan, who has been imprisoned in Russia for alleged espionage that he denies.
A White House National Security Spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters President Joe Biden personally signed off on the deal to free Griner, and Whelan, stating
“The president and his team are willing to take extraordinary steps to bring them home”-John Kirby, White House National Security Spokesman
America is a diverse family who need to be grateful to call her “home”, and not take her for granted. God Bless the U.S.A.
“Mid pleasures and palaces, Though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, There's no place like home. A charm from the skies, Seems to hallow us there, Which seek thro' the world, Is ne'er met with elsewhere. Home, home, sweet-sweet home, There's no place like home, There's no place like home.”-1823 Home, Sweet Home, by John Payne and Sir Henry Bishop