Biden Releases Merchant of Death

A notorious arms dealer known under the nickname Merchant of Death, arrested on terrorism charges for providing anti-aircraft missiles to FARC and finally convicted in New York for a lifetime of running guns to every dictator in the world has been. . . released.

If you’ve seen the movie Lord of War with Nicholas Cage, this dude was the inspiration for the main character.

Just think about it, folks. A Russian gunrunner. Sent back to Russia. Just when Russia is scrambling to buy weapons illegally around the world.

And why was he released? Why was he sent to Russia to help Putin buy weapons on the black market?

This was all done so that Russians would release some American druggie they arrested some time ago.

Nah, you’ll say. Nobody cares about a random druggie to this degree.

Well, this druggie also has a whole soup of favored identities. The Biden administration is now filling the airwaves with a litany of her identities while the Merchant of Death is on his way to resume his profession.

25 thoughts on “Biden Releases Merchant of Death

  1. Poor US normie druggies, if only they had read some Critical Theory instead!
    Still, kudos to the DIE (diversity, inclusion, equity) mafia in the State Department and everywhere else in the Biden admin: they are a force to reckon with!

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  2. I thought for sure that they would get Paul Whelan back, in which case I would have said that this was really about him and Griner was the distraction. But nope, it was about Griner. Damn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Griner is hardly an “unknown druggie”. She is essentially the Michael Jordan of women’s basketball and was imprisoned for possessing a small amount of marijuana. She made an incredibly stupid choice but her punishment was frighteningly severe. And while the race/sexuality card was perhaps overplayed, I do think there is reason to believe that a black person would have a particularly hard time in a Russian prison. To me, it seems reasonable to fear that Griner would not have survived the entire 9 year sentence.

      At any rate, she is a high- profile athlete who went to Russia to play her sport and was imprisoned under concerning circumstances. No administration would have left her in prison. Now, this trade is indeed sickening. And perhaps the solution was to sacrifice Griner and leave her in prison if this is the only trade Russia would make. But it is absolutely disingenuous to suggest that she is some unknown junkie that Biden randomly decided to save because she happened to be a black lesbian.

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      1. I think it’s even more despicable to make this trade because she throws a ball through a net well. I know Americans are weirdly devoted to professional athletes but this is taking that devotion a little too far. Her skill is neither useful nor socially productive. With black people, ok, at least there’s historical guilt involved. But what’s your debt to people who throw balls into nets successfully?

        Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s not soccer fans from Poland or Spain that are cheering the liberation of a warlord in exchange for “the Michael Jordan of a sport nobody knows exists.”

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        1. It looks like I’m right, and nobody really cares about her athletic skills. Which is a good thing.

          While our president hilariously posts this in the same day that he freed the most notorious gunrunner in the world:

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        2. I think there is an argument to be made that this trade wasn’t worth it. But the point is that this is a high profile case in which a celebrity was detained for a small infraction. Any American administration would have worked hard to free her. There is no way in which this is a case about an unknown druggie.

          I also wonder if perhaps Bout has been neutralized as a future threat. He has been in American prison for ten years. Will shady contacts really clamor to work with someone who is so high profile and who is partially well-known because he was caught? I am assuming that arms dealers need to operate clandestinely and I don’t think Bout can offer that anonymity anymore. He may not even survive long out of prison. I am sure people have vendettas against him after he was caught and spent to much time in prison. Perhaps I am wrong. But the more I think on it, the more I think this is primarily a symbolic victory for Russian.

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          1. Do you think that if you stopped 20 random people in the street they would recognize this “celebrity’s” name? I asked a few people at work. The reaction is invariably “ah, is it that person who was arrested with drugs?” or “I have no idea”. It’s a very small sample but I can keep asking.

            How famous is she if nobody seems to know her outside of the drug arrest?

            As for Bout, his value is that he can be used to pressure dictators around the world who can provide weapons.

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            1. Not sure how much power Bout still has to pressure dictators? I think he might be damaged goods at this point.

              At any rate, whether or not you recognize her name, Griner is a celebrity. And she was in Russia to participate in the public spectacle of playing her sport. This isn’t some college student backpacker. Why do you think Russia targeted Griner? Because Putin is so morally offended by marijuana? Obviously not. She was imprisoned because Russia understood that the United States couldn’t leave her in a gulag without causing a domestic scandal. (And again, she made an impossibly stupid decision in choosing to use/possess marijuana in Russia.)

              To be clear, I think perhaps that Biden made the wrong decision here. But this isn’t some far left “woke” performance. It’s predictable politics. Is it true that the Biden administration is focusing on her race and sexuality to garner some brownie points with the Democratic base? Yes. Is it true that a Republican administration would have used different talking points to celebrate her release? Again, yes. But, at basis, this is a political move that any administration would have made.

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              1. First of all, I think that it’s not “a stupid decision.” It’s a serious crime. Drug trafficking is not a joke. I’m no fan of Russia, to put it mildly, but they are absolutely right to put criminals who bring illegal substances into the country in jail.

                I’m still looking for people who are aware of the existence of this hugely important celebrity. For now it looks like she’s mostly known as a drug addict. Imagine the extent of the addition for one to feel compelled to drag the narcotic on an international trip.

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  3. Bout is done as an arms dealer or player of any significance; any links, connections, etc. he may have had is is now gone; 10 years is a lot of time.
    I think you’re over hyping him.

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    1. If he were useless, Russians wouldn’t want him back. But they do. They have already invited him to speak to the international relations committee of the Duma.

      It’s not me who’s hyping this. It’s the Russians.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know to what extent Bout can rebuild his business; it’s probably a long-term project, not a rapid thing. In the meantime, the most important thing he does for Russia is remind Russian agents that the Kremlin has their backs. Which, on one level, is one of the more reasonable things the Russian government has done lately. If you want your agents to remain loyal you have to show that you’ll work to secure their release.

    The US has an obligation do the same for Whelan. Everything I’ve read about him screams “spy.” He has a bunch of passports. Nobody can quite agree on what he did or didn’t do in law enforcement. He was in the military, then got in some sort of trouble that disqualified him from holding jobs with official government paperwork (“See, there’s no way he’s one of ours!” the government can say) but miraculously didn’t disqualify him from “security consulting” jobs around the world. And apparently he liked to go to Russia and hang out with ex-military guys, i.e. guys who had been privy to Russian military secrets.

    So Whelan is clearly a US spy, and if the US wants its agents to remain loyal the US has to show that it will take care of guys like Whelan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d definitely support fighting for the release of Whelan. I agree he’s definitely a spy.

      What people don’t seem to understand is that Bout wasn’t just some random fellow who decided to run guns for personal enrichment. He’s an officer of the Russian intelligence. It would make sense to swap two spies. But a spy in exchange for a celebrity nobody heard of – I don’t get that. If it were the actual Michael Jordan, OK, I’d get it. The guy is practically a national symbol. I wouldn’t like it, but I’d understand. This woman, though, I honestly don’t get it.

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      1. Biden got played. Russia knew that the US public cares more about Griner than Whelan.

        I think the real value of Bout for Russia right now is that bringing back and intelligence officer assures all the other people working in intelligence that the system is still supporting them. Whether or not he can immediately resume setting up arms deals is irrelevant compared to reminding Russian agents that loyalty is rewarded.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The best argument I’ve heard against trading for Griner is by Kevin Drum, who regards her infraction as minor: She’s just an innocent hostage, and releasing high-value prisoners for innocent hostages encourages countries to take innocent hostages. We should have insisted on a high-value hostage along with her,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that’s really eye-opening. And the clumsy attempt to post-edit the story is very telling.

      I told you, folks, from the start. This all stinks. The relative stature of Grenier and Bout is just not comparable. He’s a real catch. And she’s a non-entity in terms of usefulness. It’s like swapping a toy marble for an emerald.

      Please note that this is happening on the heels of articles in NYTimes and WashPo accusing Ukraine of escalation after Ukraine destroyed military bases in Russia on Monday and an oil refinery in Russia on Wednesday. None of this is accidental.

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  6. And so the world continues to teach the value of taking hostages …

    It’s not just free money, it’s also free chips at the bacarat table of politics.

    Now Russia has every reason to behave like Iran and Egypt when it comes to ships, people, anything they can take hostage for leverage.

    So I’ll throw a couple of chips in then: Brittney Griner is just one example of the true heart of American politics, which is that it’s better to be entertaining than to be right.

    The entertainment complex has been so addicting and so overwhelming that the only way I’ve found I can get any actual work done is to turn nearly all of it off and to go “pure text” as much as possible.

    When I said I’m “goofing off” here, which is better, this or tuning in to the Confabulation Broadcasting Service?

    This or tuning into the National Bullshit Corporation, the American Bullshit Corporation, Confabulated News Network, Frequently Obnoxious Xenophobes … oh, wait, that’s when they’re not Fashionably Obnoxious, my bad. 🙂

    It’s amusing on occasion here, but at least the entertainment isn’t all that addictive.

    “It’s like swapping a toy marble for an emerald.”

    It’s like swapping a PEZ dispenser for a global satellite-based weapons system.

    The marble has value, but the PEZ dispenser is just a marketing gimmick. 🙂

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