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Russia Detains American in Moscow Over Suspected Spying

Rogue Valley

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Russia Detains American in Moscow Over Suspected Spying

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12/31/18
The Federal Security Services (FSB) said on Monday it had detained an American citizen suspected of spying in Moscow. The FSB, which said the American had been detained on December 28, said in a statement that a criminal case had been opened against him. It did not provide any detail about the nature of the alleged espionage. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow could not immediately be reached for comment. Russia's relations with the United States have soured since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Since then the United States and other Western countries have imposed a wide-range of sanctions against Russian officials, companies and banks.

Although the Kremlin would never reveal as much, this was without doubt approved by Vladimir Putin.

The KGB Colonel probably needs some US trade-bait for Russian spy Maria Butina who has plead guilty to being an undeclared foreign agent.
 

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The American's name is Paul Whelan. No other information was offered by the FSB. This could be a "Checkpoint Charlie" grab. Someone that was handy to be used as a bargaining chip.

The purpose? Some possibilities:

1) A conveniently added incentive for Trump to meet again personally with Putin and conveniently secure Whelan's release or trade. (the great dealmaker and all that nonsense).
2) Simply a warm American body snatched to trade for the Russian spy Mariya Butina. A tit for tat trade so to speak.
3) Provide Trump an [artificial] excuse to flex "presidential muscle" over this travesty and help mute the wide impression that Trump is Putin's boy.

A problem is that Trump's image vis-a-vis Russia is so compromised at this point that no matter what he does (or doesn't do) it will seem mighty suspicious.
 

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The American's name is Paul Whelan. No other information was offered by the FSB. This could be a "Checkpoint Charlie" grab. Someone that was handy to be used as a bargaining chip.

The purpose? Some possibilities:

1) A conveniently added incentive for Trump to meet again personally with Putin and conveniently secure Whelan's release or trade. (the great dealmaker and all that nonsense).
2) Simply a warm American body snatched to trade for the Russian spy Mariya Butina. A tit for tat trade so to speak.
3) Provide Trump an [artificial] excuse to flex "presidential muscle" over this travesty and help mute the wide impression that Trump is Putin's boy.

A problem is that Trump's image vis-a-vis Russia is so compromised at this point that no matter what he does (or doesn't do) it will seem mighty suspicious.

And that it happens now is a sign to the NRA loving Russian that she need not tell too much.
 

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American Paul Whelan of Novi, Michigan. Imprisoned in Moscow.

It seems that American Paul Whelan (48) of Novi, Michigan is a retired Marine and director of global security for Michigan-based automotive components supplier BorgWarner. According to his twin brother David, Paul was in Moscow attending the wedding of a fellow ex-Marine and a Russian woman. Paul never made it to the wedding. Although born in Canada, Whelan is an American citizen and served multiple tours in Iraq with the Marine Corps. Whelan travels the world in his job capacity (physical plant security), but this was a private trip. BorgWarner has no facilities in Russia. The Russian FSB Security Service has charged Mr. Whelan with violating Article 276 (espionage). Conviction carries a sentence of 15-20 years.

It's looking more and more like the Kremlin needed an American hostage.
 

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U.S. Demands Immediate Return of Ex-Marine Detained in Russia on Spy Charges

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1/2/19
The United States is demanding the immediate return of a retired U.S. Marine detained by Russia on spying charges, and wants an explanation on why he was arrested, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday. Speaking in Brasilia the day after Brazil's new president Jair Bolsonaro was inaugurated, Pompeo said the U.S. government hoped to gain consular access to Paul Whelan within the next few hours following his arrest in Moscow.

According to the Vienna Convention which Moscow signed, arrested foreign nationals are allowed visits by their embassy/consular officials. Moscow typically denies this right to Ukrainian/Tatar prisoners.
 

Rogue Valley

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It seems Whelan is a bit of a Russophile, visiting Russia numerous times (Moscow and St. Petersburg) and taking Russian language lessons.

He has a VK page (Russia's version of Facebook). One of his VK friends is a Russian soldier, and another is a Russian Frontier Guard, both are stationed in Moscow.

No doubt the Russian FSB has a file/dossier on Paul Whelan.
 

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Russia Detains American in Moscow Over Suspected Spying

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Although the Kremlin would never reveal as much, this was without doubt approved by Vladimir Putin.

The KGB Colonel probably needs some US trade-bait for Russian spy Maria Butina who has plead guilty to being an undeclared foreign agent.

Exactly what I was thinking. With Mueller indicting all the Russians who interfered in our election process, this is a "warning shot" from Putin not to mess with his spies and vandals.
 

Rexedgar

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It seems Whelan is a bit of a Russophile, visiting Russia numerous times (Moscow and St. Petersburg) and taking Russian language lessons.

He has a VK page (Russia's version of Facebook). One of his VK friends is a Russian soldier, and another is a Russian Frontier Guard, both are stationed in Moscow.

No doubt the Russian FSB has a file/dossier on Paul Whelan.

Whelan’s brother was interviewed this morning and states that he did not know that his brother was discharged under less than honorable conditions in the USMC in 2008. But he was emphatic that brother was not a spy. How can he be so sure?
 

Rogue Valley

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Whelan’s brother was interviewed this morning and states that he did not know that his brother was discharged under less than honorable conditions in the USMC in 2008. But he was emphatic that brother was not a spy. How can he be so sure?

I don't think he can be sure. Moscow says US Consular officials were allowed to visit with Whelan (there is a 72 hour window for this). He enlisted in the USMC in 1994, rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, did two tours in Iraq (2004/2006), and was dishonorably discharged (theft/larceny) in 2008. He has been visiting Russia since 2007. It seems he has a working command of Russian. The US military language school at Monterey rates Russian as a Class III language (mid-to-high level difficulty). Since he received less than an honorable discharge from the Corps, I'm wondering how he was hired as Corporate Security Director for BorgWarner. He must know some people who pulled some strings.
 

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U.S. Envoy to Russia Visits American Detained on Spy Allegations | The Moscow Times

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Lefortovo Prison in Moscow where Paul Whelan is being held.

1/3/19
Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, visited an American detained in Russia on suspicion of espionage and spoke afterward with his family. Huntsman visited Paul Whelan, a former Marine who is the director of global security for Michigan-based auto-parts supplier BorgWarner Inc., on Wednesday, according to a State Department official. Whelan hadn’t been in touch with his family since his Dec. 28 arrest, his brother David said on Twitter. “Ambassador Huntsman visited Mr. Paul Whelan today in the Lefortovo Detention Facility,” according to the State Department. “Ambassador Huntsman expressed his support for Mr. Whelan and offered the Embassy’s assistance.” The State Department official, who commented on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. expressed “concern about the delay in consular access” for Whelan, adding that there would be no additional comment due to privacy considerations. Whelan was arrested “during an espionage operation,” Russia’s Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, said on Monday. He faces a sentence of as long as 20 years in prison if found guilty of spying. “We’ve made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he’s been accused of and if the detention is not appropriate we will demand his immediate return,” Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said earlier. The detention came two weeks after Maria Butina, a Russian gun enthusiast, pleaded guilty in the U.S. to conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent. Following her deal with prosecutors, in which she faces a maximum sentence of five years. “Whelan now becomes a bargaining chip and his fate is political, not judicial,” Julian Rimmer, a London-based trader at Investec Bank Plc, said by email. “Russians probably need leverage in the Butina affair, and an ex-Marine is both useful and guaranteed to generate publicity.”

It's highly unusual for an ambassador, the highest ranking US official in a foreign land, to engage in a consular mission such as this.

On the face of it, Putin needed an American hostage to trade for Maria Butina.
 

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Moscow Accuses Washington of Detaining Russian Citizen After Whelan's Arrest

1/5/19
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday the United States had detained a Russian citizen, days after Moscow arrested the former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan on suspicion of spying. Whelan was arrested by Russia's Federal Security Service on Dec. 28. His family have said he is innocent and that he was in Moscow to attend a wedding. The ministry said the United States detained Russian citizen Dmitry Makarenko in the Northern Mariana Islands on Dec. 29 and had moved him to Florida. "... Makarenko, born in 1979, has arrived on Saipan Island with his wife, underage children and elderly parents. He was detained by FBI personnel at the airport right after his arrival," the ministry said. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow could not immediately be reached for comment.

The plot thickens further. What goes around comes around.

Related: Moscow accuses Washington of detaining Russian citizen after arresting ex-US Marine
 

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Rogue Valley

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Guess what - two can play that game and there are many more US citizens in Russia than vice versa.

Remember also - according to you guys, Russia can ignore its laws.

Still want to play stupid games?

It's not me Ivan. I'm just a bystander.
 

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It's not me Ivan. I'm just a bystander.


I don't think that this kind of game is constructive for anybody.


How many passports does this guy have :shock:? I guess that nationality means nothing any more in the west, so who cares?
 

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I don't think that this kind of game is constructive for anybody.

How many passports does this guy have :shock:? I guess that nationality means nothing any more in the west, so who cares?

I guess he should have used GRU issued fake passports which are all the rage for Russian "tourists".
 
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