Trevor Reed is an American citizen and former US Marine unjustly held in Russia since August 2019. America may appear divided on many issues but when it comes to Trevor, the White House, State Department, Senate and House of Representatives have all called on Russia to release Trevor immediately and allow him to come back home to Texas.
We speak to Trevor’s parents, Joey and Paula Reed on what happened to Trevor and where he is now, Trevor’s time in the US Marine Corps which included guarding President Obama, the Free Trevor Reed campaign, Paul Whelan, US sanctions on Russia, Alexei Navalny and the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. We also discuss what the public, US Marine Corps Generals, President Obama, President Biden and journalists can do to help bring Trevor home.
If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube.
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Free Trevor Reed
[00:00:00] Daren Nair: Welcome to Pod Hostage Diplomacy. We work to free hostages and, and the unjustly detained around the world. Together with their families, we share these stories every week and let you know how you can help bring them home. I'm Daren Nair and I've had the honor of campaigning with many of these families for years.
[00:00:24] These are some of the most courageous and resilient people among us. People who have never given up hope. People who will never stop working to reunite their families. And we will be right there by their side until their loved ones are back home. Thank you for joining us. And now let's meet this week's guest.
[00:00:49] Welcome to this week's episode of Pod Hostage Diplomacy. Today marks two years and 20 days since Trevor Reed, an American citizen and former US Marine has been unjustly detained in Russia. The current US ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan has stated that Trevor Reed is innocent and that this is a gross miscarriage of justice.
[00:01:09] The current US secretary of state Antony Blinken spoke to his Russian counterpart foreign minister Lavrov and called on Russia to release Trevor immediately so he can return home to his family. President of the United States, Joe Biden, raised Trevor's case with President Vladimir Putin when they both met at the Biden-Putin summit and told reporters shortly after that, he raised Trevor's case with the Russian president and said, he's going to follow through with that discussion.
[00:01:36] And he's not going to walk away on that. Members of both the US house of representatives and the US Senate have passed resolutions calling for the immediate release of Trevor Reed. And for him to be allowed to return home. America may appear divided on many issues. But when it comes to Trevor Reed, the White House, State Department, Senate, and house of representatives all agree that the Russians must release Trevor Reed immediately and allow him to come home to the United States.
[00:02:07] Trevor is not the only American and former US Marine unjustly held in Russia at the moment. Another American and former Marine Paul Whelan has also been detained in Russia. Trevor's detention is not an isolated incident as there appears to be a pattern of unjust detention by Russian authorities, targeting American citizens who are former US Marines.
[00:02:29] Trevor's parents believe that he's being held by the Russian government at the request of the Russian security agency, the FSB so he can be used as a bargaining chip to extract concessions from the United States. Now this would be hostage diplomacy. For those of you not familiar with the FSB, it is Russia's federal security service and is one of the successor agencies of the Soviet union's KGB.
[00:02:56] I'm joined today by Trevor's parents, Joey and Paula Reed. I'm so sorry for what Trevor, you and your family are going through. We will do everything we can to help bring him home. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. Thank you for having us. Can you please walk us through what happened to Trevor and how he was arrested?
[00:03:16] Joey Reed: So Trevor went to Moscow to visit his longtime girlfriend, Elena, and they'd been dating for about three years. She spent her summers and a, a couple of holidays here in the United States, in Texas with us. And, uh, he was there for the summer. They were going to kind of make plans for their future to see if they were going to get married or, or, you know, break it off, uh, you know, because of the distance.
[00:03:40] And, uh, he also went there to learn Russian, uh, for his, uh, international studies courses at the university of north Texas. Uh, so, um, he was there and it was, he'd been there for a couple of months for the summer. And he was about ready to come home in August. And there was a big, uh, company party at a park because it was Lena's birthday and someone else got promoted.
[00:04:02] And at that party, everyone knew Trevor and they knew he was leaving. So everyone was toasting him in vodka and he got extremely intoxicated, uh, he's not being used to drinking vodka. Uh, they caught a ride home with another, uh, two other people. And, uh, he got sick on the way home. Uh, they stopped to let him out of the car and, uh, they couldn't get him to get back in the car.
[00:04:25] And, uh, you know, he was acting strange and, you know, intoxicated. And so they were afraid he was gonna run up onto the freeway. So they called the police, um, to help, you know, getting back in the car or take him to the hospital because in Russia, they don't take drunks to the police station. Uh, if they did their police stations would be overflowing with people.
[00:04:46] So, but when the police arrived and they saw it was an American, we figure that they, uh, they thought, well, he's American, he's got money. And so we can get a bribe, which is, you know, kind of a standard in Moscow, in Russia. So they said, well, we'll take him to the police station, follow us there. They went to the police station.
[00:05:02] They found a lot of money in his wallet because he was going to pay his Russian language teacher the next day. And they asked for half of that money as a bribe to let him go and. So there, the girlfriend didn't, she didn't agree or disagree. Uh, and, uh, and so they said, okay, we'll just come back and pick him up at 9:00 AM, which is about four or five hours later.
[00:05:24] And, uh, cause this is early in the morning, uh, on a Friday morning, she came back with her mother and at that time and she called us and let us know everything that was happening. And then when she went back with her mother, uh, the KGB (FSB) had arrived, uh, and we're going to interrogate Trevor. And by the way, Trevor woke up in the lobby of the police station alone.
[00:05:45] He woke up in the lobby alone, uh unhandcuffed and unguarded, and went to the front desk and said, I'm sick is there a bathroom. And they said over there, and he went and used the bathroom, he came back and said, my phone it's not working can someone call my girlfriend to pick me up. And they said, she's on her way to pick you up now.
[00:06:01] And then just before she got there, the police came out and said, you can't leave. Uh, and then of course, about the time she got there, the FSB called him back to interrogate him, uh, without a lawyer, without an interpreter, uh, which I believe is technically in violation of Russian law. Also, uh, at the beginning of, uh, literally hundreds of violations of Russian law, uh, that were made to prosecute and the, and keep Trevor in jail.
[00:06:27] So, uh, then after the FSB left, after doing nothing but questioning about his military career in the United States, the police then told him that he was being charged with, uh, endangering the lives of police officers, which is, would be equivalent of a strong felony, like attempted murder of a police officer in the United States.
[00:06:47] And, uh, so like essentially booked him. And the first thing they held him on was the fact that they said he was prop improperly registered because he'd been staying at his girlfriend's apartment and hadn't changed his, uh, location that he was staying at, uh, which you have to do like the DMV there, you have to go to this big place and change everyone.
[00:07:05] All citizens have to do that, but it was impossible to do it because the owners of the apartment have to do it. And they lived out of the country. And this is a common problem with their registration issue, you know, with the foreigners. So anyway, uh, then he was, uh, sent to jail where he's been for over two years and, um, he was railroaded on the whole prosecution, uh, the defense, uh, we, we hired excellent attorneys, Russian attorneys, and we had video, um, traffic videos and security videos along the route where.
[00:07:41] The police officers later made up this story that he grabbed the driver's arm and that the car nearly turned over and they had almost stopped. And, uh, the officer in the backseat had to grab Trevor to keep him from grabbing the driver's arm anymore and making them crash. And that Trevor elbowed him in the abdomen two or three times, uh, now we got video and then the, uh, we had Russian government experts analyze the video, um, and determined that not only did the police car in that large area where they said this happened, did it never swerve into the oncoming lanes
[00:08:17] it never swerved at all. It drove completely straight. It never slowed down. It never did. It actually sped up in that area. So once that was, uh, brought to the prosecution's attention and the police were questioned on it in court, they changed their stories four times or five times. And their last story was, they didn't remember what happened.
[00:08:39] And the judge picked the second or third version that he liked the best and used that in his sentencing. Uh, w there, obviously there were three witnesses following the police car and another car, and they didn't see anything happened with the police car ahead of them. And, uh, of course, Trevor doesn't remember anything that happened after drinking the vodka and waking up in the lobby.
[00:09:00] Uh, also, uh, one more thing, uh, key point, and in most real justice systems, there was a camera inside the police car, which not a dash, not a dash cam, but a camera that shows what's happening with the police officers and the suspects and the investigators and the police officers and the people at the police station all confirmed in the trial that that camera was working.
[00:09:24] And there was video from the ride to the police station. And, uh, they refused to give us that video. We requested it immediately. We told them that it's the standard to erase it in 30 to 60 days and they need to be held and we wanted to utilize it. And in Russia, the prosecution and the investigators can refuse evidence to the defense and they refused to have it.
[00:09:46] And our attorneys, you know, told the judge said, look, if you've got this video, Trevor has told you at the beginning of the trial, I will, if you show me that I did something inappropriate, then I will plead guilty and be on the mercy of the court. And so the defense said, why did we spend all these months in court?
[00:10:04] And if you've got that video, just show it to us. If he did this, he'll plead guilty. This is all over with. And they refused to show it, which I mean, anyone with any common sense can realize that it showed that Trevor didn't do anything and no one was hurt. And then the, um, and at the end of the long story, there is that Trevor was given the longest sentence in modern Russian history.
[00:10:27] For that charge of assaulting police officers. He received nine years out of a possible 10. And the longest sentence on record in the last 20 to 30 years is eight years. And that was for suspects who stabbed or shot police officers and nearly killed them. And Trevor didn't hurt anyone.
[00:10:45] Daren Nair: So you mentioned that murderers get shorter sentences and people with the same charges only have to pay a fine.
[00:10:53] And in this case, no one was hurt. Because even if what the police officers say is true, they were wearing body armor.
[00:11:01] Joey Reed: Yeah, the police, the police officer in the back seat, who said he grabbed a bear hugged Trevor and pulled him back from grabbing the driver's arm. He said, Trevor elbowed him. Well, he wasn't sure, maybe one, two or three times.
[00:11:14] He said all of this supposedly occurred in about a four second period. And, uh, so the police officer later wrote the next day that he had a bruise, a small bruise on his abdomen. And, uh, but he was wearing body armor. And when the defense attorneys questioned him on it, he said he was wearing body armor.
[00:11:31] And they said, well, you know, they looked at the body armor and they said, and you were in a sitting position in the, in the back seat. And he said, yes. And they said, does your body armor, not hit the top of your legs. And they said, oh no. And it's obvious that it did. And so, you know, an expert said, you know, you can't bruise someone with your elbow that it's being held close to you when you're wearing body armor.
[00:11:53] And the other thing is that police officer never showed the supposed bruise to a single person.
[00:12:00] Daren Nair: So I also understand that the Russian Supreme court itself said these charges were excessive. Is that right?
[00:12:07] Joey Reed: Well, what the Supreme court said was we initially about a month after Trevor's arrest, we appealed his bail because they, the initial judge denied his bail.
[00:12:16] And, uh, so we appealed that and, and it really was the only, uh, good outcome we had, any, any of the, I don't know, 30 or 40 hearings we've had. And that judge actually granted Trevor bail based on the fact that we showed that we already had video and it had already been analyzed by government experts and that he didn't do any of this.
[00:12:36] And he hadn't been allowed to say any of that in his first arraignment. And, uh, that judge granted bail, they immediately appealed that and threw it out the grounds for throwing it out and denying bail was that he was not properly registered. He was a foreigner and that he was a flight risk and that it was a, a, you know, a severe charge.
[00:12:56] And, uh, we appealed that all the way to the Supreme court, like what they call a constitutional Supreme court of Russia and that court and the court and appellate court just below it both said that, um, it was violation of Russian law to deny him bail based on the fact that he was improperly registered because he had no control over that.
[00:13:17] Um, and his girlfriend really didn't either the person who was staying with because the, you know, the owners who have to the laws messed up is what it is. And, you know, if the owners live in France, they're not going to fly all the way back from France, you know, to go and you know spend 10 minutes at the office to get him his little registration card changed.
[00:13:34] And I, by the way, that's a problem with all Airbnbs in Russia. So, um, a lot of them, they give you your Airbnb and you get there and they say, okay, well I need my registration. Oh, we don't do that.
[00:13:45] Daren Nair: So, uh, so I'm a bit baffled here. How is it that the Supreme court, which I'm assuming is the highest court in Russia is able to say he should be granted bail, but a lower court refused.
[00:13:59] How is that possible?
[00:14:00] Joey Reed: Well, but so we're in Paula and I attended the court of causation, which is like a federal appeals court. The Supreme court sent it back to them to handle it. said this is improper. It's a violation of procedures and law. You cannot deny his bail based on this, they send it back to the court of cassation and the court of cassation agreed.
[00:14:18] And it was just so strange. The prosecutor agreed. And by the way, in Russia, it's not like your case and your appeals all have one prosecutor, every courtroom that you go to, there's a new prosecutor who knows basically nothing about your case. But what he's given, you know, in a little folder and, uh, because they don't really have to do much work to, you know, they say we want this or he's guilty and the judges go, okay.
[00:14:41] And then you fight to get your sentence lowered. It's a, it's a punishment system, not a justice system. But anyway, this prosecutor said that the appeals court said, oh, we don't have a problem with him being released on bail. But because this is a new court and it's, uh, during the, uh, COVID, we don't have the means of bringing him in and releasing him here.
[00:15:01] Uh, cause he wasn't actually in the jail. I mean, he wasn't in the courtroom, he was on video and they said, so let's send it back to the Moscow city court, you know, to handle, you know, releasing him. And then they send it back to the Moscow city court where the whole thing started. At least the appeals part started and they denied him being released based on the same grounds that the Supreme court had said, were invalid.
[00:15:25] So the Supreme court doesn't have the, uh, apparently the ultimate authority over certain things in Russia. So
[00:15:35] Daren Nair: can you talk to us about Trevor's closing statement? I believe his closing statement was I would rather stay in prison, an honest man, then walk away tomorrow, a liar and a coward. That was his closing statement prior to being sentenced.
[00:15:51] He refused to plead guilty. Can you just talk to us a bit more about that?
[00:15:56] Joey Reed: Yeah, so I was at all of his hearings and, uh, and that day, uh, CBS and ABC news, and I believe maybe one other news agency was present. It was the day before a sentencing. And, uh, and by the way, when he said those things, he said, uh, I think it's immoral, um, and, um, it would be wrong for me to admit guilt to something that I didn't do.
[00:16:19] And he said, What's been shown in court. I mean, any one, you know, with any again, common sense could see that I didn't do this. And so I'm not gonna plead guilty. And, uh, he said, and then also preface that by saying to the judge that I know if I plead guilty, I might get a shorter sentence, but he said, but I'm not going to do that.
[00:16:38] I'm not going to sit here and be a coward and, uh, and plead guilty to something I didn't do. Just so you're giving me, uh, you know, one or two years off of some ridiculous prison sentence. And I have to tell you, it was a, it was almost like something out of a John Wayne movie. I mean, literally everyone, but the judge in the room was crying.
[00:16:58] I mean, the news media, the translator, the female, our female attorney, Victoria. Um, and you know, and quite frankly, I think the prosecutor looked uncomfortable too. Uh, it's just like, you know, I'm not gonna to, I didn't do this and I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna plead guilty. And it was very, yeah. One of the bravest things I've ever seen?
[00:17:24] Daren Nair: Well, he's a very honorable man and you should definitely be proud of him. , I'm sorry for what's happened to Trevor and what you're all going through. Since he's been arrested and detained, he hasn't been given appropriate access to medical care.
[00:17:40] It's my understanding that communications have been cut off several times. He's been transferred from one prison to the other and the Russian authorities didn't tell the US government or yourselves where they transferred him. And he's apparently working in a labor camp. Can you just talk to us about where he's being held, the conditions, et cetera.
[00:18:02] Paula Reed: No, actually he's at a prison camp now, but he's not working. He has refused to do forced labor. So he's in solitary confinement. Uh, prior to that, they had moved him to hospital when he had COVID. Uh, but before that they had moved him for an evaluation, supposedly, sorry. And they, um, took him to a psychiatric ward and left them there for a few days.
[00:18:26] That was one of the times that we didn't know where he was. We feel that was an intimidation
[00:18:31] Joey Reed: tactic. Yeah. They, they sent him, he went to the hospital for an evaluation and then he was supposed to be sent back to his Moscow jail, but he never returned to his jail. And no one would tell us where he went.
[00:18:43] This lasted nine days. They took him to one of the worst, top 10 worst prisons in the world. And they put him in a psychological ward of the worst prison. Where Trevor said there were like seven or eight murders in the room that were, you know, had mental issues. There was blood all over the walls, you know, and there was a hole in the floor for the bathroom.
[00:19:02] And he was in there for a couple of days. And a doctor, you know, realized though he shouldn't be in here and they moved him to another cell with one guy, but it took him nine days and it was seven days before they would tell the embassy where he was. And then
[00:19:16] Paula Reed: even at that time, when they did tell the embassy where he was, they said it was an administrative error that they didn't know the people who were taking him back from the evaluation.
[00:19:24] They didn't know he was supposed to go back to the court, the jail in Moscow, where he had been before. And, um, I think probably the embassy has to deal with all these kinds of things. And so when they were just like, okay, that's how we're going to just go with, however, when we talked to Trevor before, after that Trevor said before he went for the evaluation, they made him pack up all his personal belongings before he left.
[00:19:47] So they already knew they were going to take him somewhere else. When the evaluation was over. But they told the embassy that it was an administrative error and they just made a mistake and we feel it was just to intimidate him. Um, so yeah, we've had a lot of times where we couldn't communicate with him and also the embassy didn't communicate with him.
[00:20:07] And sometimes probably because we're his parents, we think the embassy should have tried harder possibly to, you know, make those connections. Um,
[00:20:17] Joey Reed: we're we were very happy with, uh, with the state department and SPEHA , you know, special presidential Envoy and hostage affairs and the embassy and everything they're doing now.
[00:20:25] But, you know, initially we had some issues. There was a period of time where Trevor had no contact whatsoever with the embassy for four months. No phone calls, no court appearances where they were at. It was no, no visitations, nothing at all. Part of that was a couple of months where they couldn't have any visitors, but, uh, and now the embassy has not been allowed to contact Trevor for, I don't know, about 40 days, um, because, uh, when they transferred him to the prison camp, uh, they refused to tell us where he went.
[00:20:58] And then now after he, after a month, they told the embassy where he's at, but they won't let him have any contact with us or with the embassy, no letters, no phone calls, no nothing. We paid an attorney to go visit him a week ago. And that's how we found out that he had told them he wasn't going to be forced to work.
[00:21:17] And he was in a small room again with a hole in the floor, I think for toilet. And, uh,he can use a bed at night and, um, and that's, it. He's locked in a room by himself because he's refusing to work.
[00:21:34] We still, we still haven't heard from him, so,
[00:21:36] Daren Nair: okay. I can't, I still can't get past the fact that this was a guy charged for being drunk and disorderly. And he was interrogated by the FSB. I've never known someone who was drunk and disorderly in the United States who then ended up being interrogated by the FBI, Homeland or the CIA.
[00:21:55] So why, why is someone who's drunk and disorderly being interrogated by the FSB in Russia?
[00:22:01] Joey Reed: if you, if you assaulted a police officer, let's say here in Texas, you know, um, would you expect the FBI to come and ransack your home and confiscate all of your electronic devices? No. Which is what happened, which is what happened to, they confiscated all of his girlfriends, computers and telephones, uh, at her, at her home, like a month after his arrest.
[00:22:28] Daren Nair: So clearly there is something that they're not telling us. So there's obviously a malicious reason behind, Trevor's arrest. Can you talk to us, about his background? Because I know, I know he was a United States Marine. Uh, you mentioned that Trevor joined the Marine Corps to fight in Afghanistan.
[00:22:49] Joey Reed: Well, you know, first I want to touch on what you said. There's like, uh, you know, there's been a lot of talk the last week because of the Marines who died in Afghanistan. A lot of them were, I guess, what you would call, you know, children of the Afghanistan war.
[00:23:01] You know, they were, they've never known a time when we weren't at war. You know, Trevor was old enough, uh, when 9/11 happened that I'm sure like millions of other children it.
[00:23:16] It affected him. And he was a, you know, a Cub scout. We blow on a boy scout and an Eagle scout. Um, and he was very active in sports in school. And, um, and I had been in the Marine Corps. We didn't, you know, push that. I didn't want my son to join the Marine Corps just because it's, uh, no, it's, it's very hard.
[00:23:34] Um, especially if you're in the infantry, but he had made up his mind somewhere along the way he wanted to be in the Marine Corps and he joined. But then in bootcamp, uh, partially because of his athletics and his Eagle scout, uh, they asked for volunteers for, um, uh, presidential security, uh, yeah. And out of, I think 400 Marines in his company.
[00:23:57] I think they whittled it down to two or two or three, maybe four, uh, that actually made the initial, uh, uh, screening process. And then he had to enlist for an additional year, a fifth year. To be eligible for the program or cause you have to go to a special training and then you go stand guard over Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, DC for a year or more while you're all here, you know, you've got, you know, FBI secret service, NCIS, all these backgrounds going on, all these screenings going on.
[00:24:29] And then once you pass that, you're either moved to the white house communications agency, uh, or to camp David. And he was assigned to camp David. So only needless to say, it's a, I think they say one 10th of 1% of all Marines are selected for that position. Uh, you know, you're, you're allowed to stand next to the president of the United States with an automatic weapon.
[00:24:50] And I think that requires a lot of, uh, uh, confidence that you're, you know, you're loyal to the United States and to the president.
[00:25:01] Daren Nair: I understand the money and time, the effort you spent was to convince the US that Trevor was innocent. Not Russia.
[00:25:09] Could you just elaborate further?
[00:25:13] Joey Reed: Yeah, we, uh, in fact, uh, I'll be honest with you. Trevor was, I think he's calmed down some but for the first year. He was really, really angry with us, that we had spent the amount of money that we did for these attorneys, uh, because he was in cells with a millionaires, you know, that were, you know, you have to remember too Trevor believes that over half of the people that he's met in jail are completely innocent.
[00:25:38] And a majority of the other people that are in prison are there for non-violent crimes. They're there for allegedly, you know, uh, breakingsome trademark law or import law or whatever. And a lot of those are schemes where someone who doesn't like you or a competitor files charges against you, and then you're arrested and then you lose your business because you're sitting in jail or in court.
[00:26:01] Um, and so, uh, he, um,
[00:26:09] Paula Reed: the thing was, first of all, Trevor did want it to be clear to every well. He, at first when it happened he didn't want us to tell anyone because he was embarrassed and ashamed. And especially because he had been an Eagle scout and because he was presidential security detail, he didn't want to bring any dishonor to America.
[00:26:23] So he didn't want us to let anyone know at first. But then when we saw that they weren't going to let him go. Um, and we started talking about getting an attorney and stuff. He wanted us to do that so that we could prove that he was innocent. However, he didn't want us to spend a lot of money doing it because he said the people that he spoke to in Russia said it doesn't really matter.
[00:26:43] You're going to be found guilty no matter what. So save your money. Et cetera, et cetera. But we really wanted there to be, uh, a defense put on, you know, and, and the other cases they're really, they, they don't, like they said, they just negotiate. Okay, I'm guilty. And then you just send it to me. And he told us that what they would do is say, the prosecutor says, I want this much.
[00:27:03] And the judge says, um, and how much does the defense want the defense says? And the judge picks usually somewhere in between, but we didn't want that. We wanted Trevor to be seen as truly innocent because he is. And plus Trevor also wanted to know since he couldn't remember, because he said, you know, if I did this, then I want to plead guilty.
[00:27:21] Because if I did that, that's horrible because Trevor has a lot, has a lot of friends who are police officers and the community that he grew up in where a lot of fire department families, a lot of Sheriff's department families. And, um, he said, you know, I would never in his right mind assault, a police officer.
[00:27:37] And so he thought that if there was any possibility whatsoever that he did while he was intoxicated, that he, he deserved to pay the price because that's how hard he was on himself. Um, but we wanted to prove that he didn't do it for the United States and for his self. And so for all of our friends to know that he was not guilty
[00:27:56] Joey Reed: of that, the United States generally does not get involved in cases of an American arrested, unless it's like a case where they're directly saying that the person is an agent of the United States, like Paul Whelan and, uh, which again is horrible.
[00:28:12] And, uh, so they let it run its course so, and they don't, they're not involved a lot. And so we wanted to make sure. The United States government understood, you know, our lawyers and people that we're talking to in the system are telling us that there's something really wrong here because they're breaking every rule.
[00:28:28] They're breaking every core practice and, and law to keep him in here and to put the heaviest charges on him. Like you said before, we have cases in Russia where people did what Trevor was accused of and they paid a fine and were released. Um,
[00:28:44] Paula Reed: and some put the policemen in the
[00:28:45] Joey Reed: hospital, no, there was a guy that was intoxicated and he grabbed the driver and the other policemen in the back seat stopped him.
[00:28:53] And he hit him in the eye. And that policeman went to the hospital for an eye injury that guy paid to find him was released. We were told by government officials that normally they would never put this charge on Trevor that even if he did what they said he did, it would be an infraction you would just, or a misdemeanor.
[00:29:09] You would pay a fine and be released. So, but, but that's, we wanted to prove his innocence and, uh, and we, anyone who went, you can ask anyone who went to that court. In fact, I'm pretty sure that sitting on the other side, on one, one of the final days of the hearing, or when the sentencing, there was a TASS reporter, you know, the main Russian news agency sitting on the other side of, uh, the ABC reporters next to me, and he was shaking his head and he got up and left halfway through just kind of like, this is a joke.
[00:29:41] I mean, that's the Russian reporters. I mean, it was obvious to everyone in the court, if you were there for more than an hour on any given day, it's like, okay, this is a scam or this there's enough, you know, because we approach even the guards. Cause you know, they put Trevor in a cage in the courtroom and then they put a guard on both sides.
[00:29:59] Like he's some danger to everyone out there being handcuffed inside the cage. But anyway, it's for show and they have these guards there. And when our attorneys were questioning the police officers. Um, these guards look dumbfounded like in their, in their careers, they had never seen defense attorneys, you know, attack police officers for their actions and their changing stories like, like ours.
[00:30:20] And we were very happy with our attorneys and the way that they were, like I said, any real courtroom in the world, you know, that this would have been a hands-down I'll give this stop here. Let him
[00:30:30] Paula Reed: go. Also Joey said a couple of times, because I wasn't in Russia the entire time, like Joey was after a few of the first initial hearings translators that were there to work for the court came and said to Joey.
[00:30:42] I am, they apologized and said, we're sorry that our country is doing this to your son. And there must be some big reason that we don't see, because there's no way he should be going through all of this for that kind of charge.
[00:30:55] Daren Nair: Again, I'm very sorry for what you're going through. I came across your campaign, the Free Trevor Reed campaign over a year ago, and that's when I started following you.
[00:31:04] I've been working with many families, of those held hostage and unjustly detained around the world. I know there is no playbook to follow for the families. So can you talk to us about your decision to go public? And what was your plan when you started the Free Trevor Reed campaign?
[00:31:21] Joey Reed: Well, obviously each individual hostage or wrongful detainee, and that's the first thing you need to do is just look up a dig and find the state department's definition of the, of hostage versus wrongful detainee.
[00:31:35] And, uh, and then ask someone to explain it to you. And I know that that's apparently in a constant draft mode, it's, it's changing and it's fluid, but first of all, understand that and then. Uh, you have to understand that every group or nation that you're dealing with has different, it's a different situation.
[00:31:53] I mean, there's some similarities, but they're all can be radically different. Also. Like if it's some, uh, terrorist group, obviously, you know, I may not want to publicize it too much because it might, they might just kill them. It might just kill your family member. Uh, and in certain nations, um, that basically are just, uh, you know, rogue nations that if you were to, uh, talk negatively about them, they might, you know, torture them or do something that they weren't doing until you started making them look bad.
[00:32:24] Uh, right. And, and luckily, and I have to say this, luckily, other than the strange treatment that Trevor's gotten compared to other Russian prisoners, um, Trevor has not well of course we haven't talked to him and, you know, in a month and a half, but to this point he hasn't been tortured. And I think, you know, Paul Whelan had some mistreatment on each initially, but so we've been lucky in that respect that he hasn't been, uh, physically mistreated.
[00:32:50] He doesn't get medical treatment, but that's pretty much standard for all prisoners in Russia. Um, so anyway, the playbook was in the United States if you want. Cause I look at the government, myself being a government worker, um, you've got the professional part of the government, people that are government workers with college degrees in whatever field it is they do.
[00:33:11] And then you've got elected officials. Well, the elected officials tell the government professionals want to do. And, but so you've got to affect the political people and you do that through the media. It's like this big ecosystem, this circle of life. And so you got to affect politicians, you try and do it directly, but also through the media, the more media attention you get.
[00:33:37] Uh, then the more apt, uh, elected officials are to act. And, uh, so we started that. We started a letter writing campaign, uh, for, uh, everybody to contact their Congressman. So obviously in Texas and in California, we had where we used to live. We had a lot of people do that. And then we got great support from our Congressman Conaway.
[00:33:58] And now Congressman Pflueger here in Texas, along with Congressman McCaul who he's, we're not even his constituents, but he's the ranking member on the house foreign affairs committee. And, uh, he's been fantastic. He's been a real cheerleader for Trevor's case all along and, uh, you know, help move through the two resolutions in the house.
[00:34:19] Paula Reed: I want to point out though that, um, like you said, we waited a little while before we tried to go public because of Trevor's desire to not, um, bring bad light on our, on our, our family. But once we did decide that we wanted to do that. Uh, besides the letter writing campaigns and because, you know, we're from Texas, we, Trevor and Taylor were both born here, but.
[00:34:38] They grew up in California. Um, so they had the letter writing campaigns on both sides, but we still had a hard time getting a media support like national coverage because every time it seemed like we, we kinda joked about it. Every time something happened where we thought we were getting some momentum, then something bigger in the world happened.
[00:34:57] Like it was the impeachment. And then there was the second impeachment and then there was uh black lives matter. And then there was COVID and all these things, absolutely newsworthy and everything. But as Trevor's parents, we were just sitting like, oh my gosh, you know, right. When we thought we were getting somewhere, something like this happens.
[00:35:18] And, um, it's just very frustrating because you know, it's, it is hard to get the media's attention. And even though you have, uh, social networks, Facebook, Twitter, all that stuff well neither Joey, nor I had a Twitter account. Um, we each have Facebooks, but we weren't on it a lot, you know, or that's more like a young kids thing, Instagram or whatever.
[00:35:39] But we were told when we got in touch with Jonathan Franks, he said, you need to get a Twitter account. You need to get an Instagram account and you need everything. So because you'd have to blast it out there, we just weren't aware of that. You know, at the time it was just really hard for us.
[00:35:51] Joey Reed: We've, we've also searched for, uh, we were, luckily we had the other people who were already in this situation who advised us, you know, Hey, here's some peopleyou can call.
[00:35:59] And we contacted Jonathan Franks, Jonathan Franks works for Montel Williams. And, uh, he Jonathan helps us both politically and with the media, he has contacts in both areas and, uh, and Montel, he works, Montel, Montel supports him in doing that. And we're just, they've been an unbelievable help. We would, you know, and so we we have Montel who's in our corner, but you know, it's always great.
[00:36:26] If you can find some celebrity. You know, to kind of at least be there, if not a spokesperson for your family and, and other than Montel, we've been unable to get anyone including former Marines, uh, former generals, uh, any, anyone of any stature, um, you know, like movie stars or comedian, anyone that the Marine Corps never spoken out at all about Trevor, um, which, uh, me being a Marine myself, you know, the whole Semper Fidelis is just like, well, where is it?
[00:37:01] You know, it's like, is that just, you know, it's not, is it not real anymore? Is it, you know, is it something you just say, you know, Semper Fidelis is their motto, which means always faithful. Like, you know, you always help your brother, sister Marine, other than the Marines who served with Trevor. Who, uh, you know, we've had a lot of contact with, with the Marines I've served with Trevor and it just makes you cry.
[00:37:26] The things I say about what a great Marine he was and that they wouldn't have made it through the Marine Corps that hadn't been for him and things of that nature. But the Marine Corps as a whole, we're really surprised that, I mean, you know, a few Marines, you know, follow us on Twitter and things like that.
[00:37:43] And we're thankful for that and sharing the story, but we just expected a much, much more support from the Marine Corps as an organization and from its members and former members.
[00:37:56] Daren Nair: Like I said, at the beginning, you're not the only family in this position. Paul Whelan, also an American citizen, also a former US Marine, his family's in the exact same position and you've been working closely with them.
[00:38:08] Can you talk to us a bit more about how you've been working with the Whelan family?
[00:38:12] Paula Reed: Well, first, originally when this happened, um, Joey is very good about researching stuff and he went online. And started looking up all our old articles about Paul Whelan and he found out the name of the attorney that they were using that was here or whatever.
[00:38:25] And then we, um, I guess Joey reached out to the Whelan family and, um, Elizabeth Whelan, uh, Paul's sister, you know, so it's, uh, we have been working with them lately, um, more so because they're both in Russia and like you said, both Marines and stuff, but I'll let Joey elaborate
[00:38:45] Joey Reed: more on because they'd already been in this situation nine months longer than we had.
[00:38:50] Um, and, uh Paul, because he's charged with espionage, he's been treated differently. He has been treated worse. He was in solitary confinement for, for a long time and had no contact with his family. And for the most part with the embassy for like a year, um, it was a long time and. You know, no one could attend his trial.
[00:39:11] Uh, his defense attorneys who were hired by the Russian government, you know, said that no evidence was presented in the court, you know, cause everything's secret. Uh, so that was, uh, we believe that was also a railroad and abuse and I'm gonna, and I don't mean this derogatory. I mean, in his defense, we've spoken to government experts that deal with espionage in the United States.
[00:39:32] And they said, Paul Whelan is not someone who would be a candidate, you know, for the CIA or to be a spy. And then also the, for the most part, the United States doesn't send spies to Russia. You know, anybody that would be, you know, in those fields would be someone that works at the embassy, which I'm sure is the same with Russians in America.
[00:39:51] So Paul Whelan is not a spy. That's complete bogus setup. Um, just like our son just happened into the police and then someone like, oh, he's looking at his visa deal. He's an ex Marine, oh, let's call it an associate. We call the FSB, you know, everybody's making a brownie point here. The cops who called the FSB and the FSB said, Hey, hold on to this guy, make it look legitimate.
[00:40:12] Those guys get brownie points. And then it goes on up. And then somebody like, you know, a top prosecutor Moscow is like, Hey yeah, put the heavy charges on this guy. Don't let him go. He makes brownie points. You know? So cause it may have not been somebody at the very top who said, Hey, grab this guy. We're gonna use them as a bargaining chip.
[00:40:28] It starts from the bottom, but then it goes up.
[00:40:32] Paula Reed: But once they had him, they thought he's, he's an attractive target.
[00:40:35] Joey Reed: We believe the United States. And when we really got full on support was the day of Trevor's sentencing, where they gave him the longest sentence in modern history for nothing. And, uh, that's immediately, the ambassador spoke out and, uh, we started getting, you know, major support at that point.
[00:40:53] We think that that nine year sentence was basically, uh, a, uh, a message to the United States government. Like, Hey, we got this guy, he's a former presidential guard who had high security clearances, and we got him and you've got things we want back. And, uh, so start, start making a deal.
[00:41:14] Daren Nair: I've also seen, your messages on Twitter, where you're worried about, US sanctions and escalating tensions between the United States and Russia, because you're worried that there will be repercussions on Trevor as a result.
[00:41:26] Can you talk a bit more about that?
[00:41:30] Joey Reed: Well, I mean, a perfect example of that would be, uh, Trevor's transfer to this, uh, IK12 location in Mordovia. Um, it's, uh, you know, if you look it up online in Russian, there's very little about it. There's like two pictures of this prison. Um, and so, uh, there's an article from two years ago where there were reports of, uh, torture and possibly even killings in this prison
[00:41:55] Paula Reed: prisoners by guards. Oh yeah. The, the, the violence is, is, uh, portrayed as done by the guards, not the prisoners and when Trevor was in the first jail in Moscow. He told he, he wanted me to know because of course, obviously I'm concerned about him and I'm thinking of the American prison system. And he said, The prison system here is nothing like it is in America.
[00:42:16] He said about 90% of the people in here are innocent. And he said, so there is no criminal element in the prison here, the criminal element. And it's at the labor camps. We understand it by reading is brought upon by the guards. They they're the ones who are beating the prisoners. It's not the prisoners beating each other.
[00:42:34] Joey Reed: So that's the situation with, you know, where he's at now, from what we know from the one meeting with the attorney,
[00:42:43] Daren Nair: you also mentioned that there is a big difference between the United States response to Trevor's imprisonment and Alexei Navalny's imprisonment. The outrage was a lot more vocal from the U S government, even though one of their own citizens and a former Marine who used to guard their president is in.
[00:43:05] in, prison in Russia. Don't get me wrong. Alexei Navalny deserves all the attention he's getting. , but so does Trevor and, I understand you were quite surprised in the difference in responses from the U S government.
[00:43:20] Joey Reed: It's not, I don't think it's so much a surprise. It is frustrating. And I know it's, uh, and because where Trevor was in in Moscow, they had a TV in his cell and with the five people he was in there with.
[00:43:31] And so you get European news and, uh, and then so they can see these reports of, you know, the president of the United States calling for Navalny's release and, you know, multiple times. And that's very, uh, it's demoralizing for Trevor. Oh my gosh. Can you imagine being in prison because you're a former presidential guard and both president Trump and it, to that point, president Biden, won't speak about you but.
[00:43:57] They'll go on and on and on about releasing a Russian dissident. And so, and I'm just saying, I understand the playbook and the, and the strategies behind that president of United States can say all he wants about Navalny and whatever they do to Navalny it doesn't impact him or an American citizen. Now, when he speaks about Trevor or Paul Whelan, if they were to do something, you know, uh, uh, to them because of what he says, something negative, then that's on him.
[00:44:26] And so we understand that, you know, that that deal, but at the same time, you know, we,
[00:44:32] Paula Reed: yeah. And like you said, it is frustrating for us, but we get to hear things that Trevor doesn't get to hear because he's locked up. So they also told us that. We really didn't want the president going on national TV at that time saying things about Trevor, because it raises Trevor's uh value in the eyes of the Russians makes it seem like he's more valuable.
[00:44:53] Like we really desperately need him or her to come home or whatever, but sitting there as the Marine who guarded the president and at the time it was during president Obama and Biden's administration. So it's his president, vice president at the time. And he's seeing these things on TV and, you know, it had to have, um, upset him,
[00:45:13] Joey Reed: you have to remember these.
[00:45:14] And I didn't even think about this till, uh, you know, Jonathan Franks mentioned it, yesterday, you know, Trevor wasn't secret service, but at the same time, all of those Marines, that guard, uh, camp David, you know, one of the most secure facilities in the world, they're ready to take a bullet or a bomb or whatever to protect that president, whoever that president is.
[00:45:33] And I, and I, you know, as I say, take a bullet for him and that's not just some Marine. I mean, and these guys added time to their enlistments just to do that service, by the way, go through all the junk. You got to go through with that, uh, standing guard in Washington and then the background searches and all those things.
[00:45:52] Um, so, um, anyway, so you could see how that would be very hurtful to Trevor, not understanding the bigger picture, but, uh, but we understand why presidents do that.
[00:46:04] Daren Nair: So for everyone listening or watching this podcast, there is something you can do to help free Trevor read. So Joey and Paula for members of the public that are listening, what can they do to help you, or, help Trevor
[00:46:21] Paula Reed: right now, we want people to call their representatives in the white house and let them know that Trevor has not been forgotten and that we want to bring him home.
[00:46:33] He's been there over two years. That's long enough. Um, it's, it's too long. And so we want him, we want the people just to go online and there's a form. You can just go online and fill out a little basic form to the, to your representative or the white house. And, um, but there's also a phone number you could call and just say, Hey, what about Trevor?
[00:46:55] What about Paul? Bring them home.
[00:46:57] Joey Reed: You know, you know that we were very thankful for the members of the house and the Senate and the president. Who've all spoken out for Trevor and, you know, the house and the Senate have put it in writing and I've had press conferences and, uh, and again, uh, giant bipartisan support, except for some extremists in the house of representatives who, uh, were voting on a group of bills, which Trevor's resolution was included in, but we're very thankful to Congress and the president for what they're doing, but we want people to contact them so that it stays.
[00:47:29] And I won't even call it a priority because it's not a priority. It should be a higher priority. And, uh, and I just, I should've mentioned because we're older, you know, in our minds uh growing up, you know, in America, in the sixties and seventies, you know, back then, if you, if you took Americans, uh, even if you were a nation or not, I mean, there were major repercussions and now it's just like, oh yes, this is all bring them home and this is wrong.
[00:47:57] And there's a lot of rhetoric and there, but there's not a whole lot. I mean, when's the last time the United States took sanctions against anyone because they took an American hostage or wrongfully detained them. I mean, we've put sanctions because of Navalny on Russia, but, and again, there might be that question of, well, if we do sanctions for Paul and Trevor, what's the repercussions, to Paul and Trevor.
[00:48:18] Uh, but anyway, I'm just saying that it's very frustrating with us that it's not a higher priority. And I think like, uh, Congressman McCaul said. Uh, we have lots of things that we need to discuss and make agreements with with Russia. And we shouldn't make any of those until Paul and Trevor are released and then we can move forward with all those, you know, those big things that we need to do.
[00:48:40] So the other thing is we have a, we have a GoFundMe page, uh, you know, gofundme.com/f/free-trevor-read. And we don't try not to talk about it too much, but it is there. And we use that to, we have been using it to send food to Trevor to augment the food that he gets in jail. We can't do that now. Uh, but we would use that to pay attorneys, uh, trips to see him, because right now that's the only way we can communicate with him, uh, to send him books and, uh, and you know, the other things that we're allowed to do, we will use that money to do those things.
[00:49:18] Paula Reed: We were, we had a little bit of news coverage and someone was saying, you know, well, they want to make a switch. They want to maybe do a trade for certain prisoners that they want, we won't name their names. And they were saying, you know, surely you don't want them to release those kinds of prisoners for your son.
[00:49:34] And I made the comment that I really don't care who they released right now, because I just want my son home. He deserves to be home, but had some time to think about that. And we have come to the consensus point amongst the two of us that it really isn't a bad idea if they let those people go for Trevor and the reasons why we think it's not a bad idea.
[00:49:54] Do you want to go into that?
[00:49:56] Joey Reed: I'll just touch on that a little bit, Daren, if that's okay. Um, so the Russians have sent all on. They have, there's a lot of Russians in American prisons that they would like to be returned to Russia. Um, namely they have a big problem with, uh, America. Um, arresting or, or foreign governments that are friends of ours, arresting Russians, uh, citizens for crimes that we consider international crimes.
[00:50:21] And then those people are sent to the United States and tried and put in American prisons and Russia in many countries have a major problem with that. Uh, that kind of like America is the world's police force. And, uh, and so, you know, they've been asking for certain Russians to be returned that are in that situation that were arrested on the other side of the world, uh, for different crimes.
[00:50:43] And we're not saying they're not innocent and they didn't do those crimes. Uh, but you know, they were, you know, indirectly, uh, uh, affected American citizens. And so, uh, if they, you know, served, you know, a decade or more in our, in our prisons, um, and, and they've falsely taken Trevor and then, I mean, they've, they've done time, you know, just make sure they can't do those crimes again.
[00:51:08] And, and, uh, and, and by the way, some of those prisoners, you know, have medical problems and they're older or they're aging and they probably, you know, and why do we, why don't we want to pay a half million dollars to house these prisoners in the United States and just, that's just for a couple of prisoners, but then for the next 10 years, uh, when we could, you know, send that cost over, you know, and then get, get our people back financially, it would be a win for us.
[00:51:36] Um, and, uh, again, these aren't, you know, Al-Qaeda members or, you know, any terrorist organizations that are directly attacking the United States and things of that nature. So we're, you know, we're open to any type of resolution that will bring Trevor home, a free man. And he will not have any record in the United States because, uh, you know, as far as his future goes is because, you know, the United States consider's his arrest and detention and, uh, there's a Russia, a wrongful detention.
[00:52:06] Paula Reed: And plus it's really not our choice to make that decision. We don't get to make that decision. So whatever they end up doing, it's not because of something that we said, Hey, let's do this. You know, so we just want our son home.
[00:52:19] Daren Nair: I completely understand if I was in your position, I would want the same thing as well.
[00:52:23] So the U S special presidential Envoy for hostage affairs, who, works for the state department has been assisting you in some way. There's also a fusion cell that works to recover. Americans held hostage overseas. Have you been working with them and what more can they do to help you.
[00:52:45] Joey Reed: Well, we, uh, Roger Carstens is the special presidential Envoy on hostage affairs. And I believe they're well, they have, so he has a lot of people working for him in that, uh, that section or group and, uh, there, uh, under the state department. So I believe he works directly for the secretary of state. Um, so and the fusion cell, they're also involved with the hostage fusion recovery cell, but we haven't had any direct dealings with them.
[00:53:12] We deal with the SPEHA office and that may be because Trevor's considered a wrongful detainee. I'm not sure on that, but they, uh, they try and keep us informed. They can't tell us everything they're doing. They don't want anyone to know when there's negotiations going on, because if word got out in the media, things could get messed up.
[00:53:30] And so they, you know, we, so we just, they just say, well, we're, you know, and we talked to them, you know, to talk to the embassy, to try and make contact with Trevor. Make sure he's getting medical care, uh, which is a giant hassle to try and get him even ibuprofen, much less, you know, treatment for COVID. Um, so, uh, yeah, but they've been great.
[00:53:50] We speak to them weekly. We speak to the embassy sometimes daily, uh, and, uh, but all I can say is it's our understanding. they look at these situations and they're analyzing, you know, the possibilities with this country or this group, but you know, what they want and different options and those things. And I guess what I would like to say, it's not that we need more out of SPEHA
[00:54:13] We need more out of the NSC and the secretary of state and the white house, listen to SPEHA? They need to listen to this group and they need to, um, And they need to, these are the people, like I said earlier, the professionals, these are the people that are looking at all the details of all the options and analyzing the situation and giving, you know, here's a here's option, A B, C, D, whatever, and they need to listen more to them.
[00:54:39] Instead of listening to their political advisors.
[00:54:45] Daren Nair: You mentioned earlier in the podcast, there's a difference in definition of hostage and wrongfully detained. if there's anything that the state department can do better, I mean, obviously there are, what, what should they do to update this definition?
[00:55:03] Joey Reed: Well, one thing is, uh, you know, it's our understanding that, uh, what I read initially was a hostage is someone who was taken by a non-state actor, you know, like a terrorist group.
[00:55:12] Uh, versus a, if you're taken by a government such as Russia, Venezuela, China, Iran, then you're considered wrongfully detained, even though you're taken because of, uh, you're a government employee or, you know, a government employee or, or you're a past employee, those kinds of things you're considered wrongfully detained and I'm not positive on this.
[00:55:32] But my understanding is that if you're considered a hostage, then you're actually given some financial support for assistance with, you know, whatever it might be, attorneys or, you know, food and those types of things. Versus if you're taken by a state actor like Trevor and Paul are you get no financial assistance from the government whatsoever.
[00:55:51] The, uh, tens of thousands of dollars that we spent on attorneys in Russia, that's all out, that's all from us. Although we have had, you know, a great support from friends and strangers, uh, you know, through our GoFundMe, which have helped offset some of those costs that we're just unbelievably grateful and thankful to all the wonderful people who helped us.
[00:56:15] Paula Reed: So I think that, um, early in the process before Trevor's, uh, sentencing, like Joey said, they really kind of changed their attitude towards the whole situation after Trevor got sentenced. But I understand that they were already in, in the SPEHA office considering Trevor, uh, wrongfully detained, but we were not known, we were not notified of that.
[00:56:34] And we were walking around with hurt failings, like, you know, we know our son's innocent. We, we bet I think that maybe they could reach out to the families a little bit sooner or maybe have somebody make somebody designated in that area to say, Hey, we know you're going through this where it's not lost on us.
[00:56:52] We know about it or whatever, because we didn't know that they were doing that. And even though we were talking to the embassy, uh, via, you know, emails and stuff that Joey was there. I didn't have any communication with anyone here. Uh, in the state side for, for us to know what was going on.
[00:57:09] Joey Reed: I think part of that issue though, might be like how they don't talk to us about their discussions.
[00:57:14] Because if we were to say something by accident, it could impact those discussions. And I think in Trevor's case, they didn't want us to know that they'd already considered him wrongfully detained. Because if we, if we were to say something publicly, it could have impacted his sentencing. Um, you know, so that's, again, that's probably why they were already looking at it and going, okay, what's the deal here and why are they doing this?
[00:57:37] And what, what do they want? And all those things before he was even convicted. And like we said, the nine-year sentence was, it was confirmation that they were right. He was wrongfully detained.
[00:57:48] Daren Nair: You also mentioned earlier this year, when Secretary Blinken first came into office, He had a call with yourselves and the families of other Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained overseas.
[00:58:00] He said to yourselves, feel free to criticize us. We want to hear from you. We may do things in the national interest that may not be in the interest of your family. Um, so that was, that was kind of an an honest. At least he was honest, right? They might do not necessarily do what you want, but at least there'll be honest about it.
[00:58:22] And that was, a change from the previous administration. Now, could you just tell us, how has that changed your campaigning experience for yourselves?
[00:58:36] Joey Reed: Well, you get a lot more media coverage when you've got the secretary of state speaking to you and saying your loved one's name in press conferences.
[00:58:44] And through their press briefings and things of that nature, so that the media, then it peaks their interest and it's like, oh, well, if the government's talking about it, it must be more important than versus trying to get news coverage. You know, before that was, was a struggle we did get, you know, we did get, you know, AP here and CNN here in ABC, which by the way, ABC, thank you.
[00:59:04] We just wish that, you know, Good Morning America would pay more attention to Trevor because they, ABC was literally at every trial hearing their representatives in Moscow were fantastic. And thank you, Patrick Reevell and Tanya.
[00:59:19] Paula Reed: Right. But also, uh, earlier previous administration, president Trump and secretary Pompeo, never once, uh, said Trevor's name in public.
[00:59:29] And, um, you know, there was supposedly this great friendship amongst, uh, between Putin and Trump. So we kind of thought that, you know, well maybe he's doing something behind the scenes or whatever, and they just, again, didn't want to elevate it and not by not speaking about it. Um, it just was very refreshing after that when president, uh, Biden was there and secretary Blinken made the phone calls for us and told us, you know, your family members are important to us and, um, you can criticize us or whatever if you need to.
[01:00:02] So that was uh refreshing.
[01:00:05] Joey Reed: And we, and we understand that, um, just like president Carter, I was in the Marine Corps during that time. If president Carter, wasn't going to send thousands of American soldiers to die. Um, while those prisoners, those American hostages were being held in Iran. And, uh, you know, a lot of people looked at him as being weak for that.
[01:00:24] But my understanding is president Carter told Khamenei, if one of those hostages dies, I'll unleash the full force of the United States, military against you. And so that's what we're looking for. We don't expect them to, you know, to, you know, cut off. And by the way, you know, we talked about these sanctions against Russia.
[01:00:42] They really wanted to make sanctions against Russia. Cut their oil imports. Everybody's sitting here complaining about Nord Stream 2, coming into Germany, and they're going to get natural gas and all Russia is going to make a fortune and it's going to make Germany dependent. Our number one importer of crude oil into the United States as of right now is Russia.
[01:01:04] No, they're filling the gap that we've, we sanctioned Venezuelan oil. We've replaced it with Russian oil. So we're sitting here taking millions of gallons of Russian oil and telling the Germans. You can't have Russian natural gas. You want to sanction Nord Stream 2 sanction all the Russian oil company, the United States, but they're not going to do that because it will affect our economy and our gasoline prices and everything revolves around that.
[01:01:25] But my point is, uh, when you look back at Carter and then you look back in the times before that, when they took Americans hostage, it was a major, it was a major deal. I mean, you didn't see anything in the news in 1979. that wasn't every day about the hostages in Iran. Now we've got two veterans being held by Russia. And other than just before the summit, we struggled to get a news report here and there, even on local media.
[01:01:52] Daren Nair: Yeah. Barry Rosen. He was one of the American hostages in Iran. I actually heard him say that, that back in the day, if Americans were taken hostage the media, coverage was so much better. A lot more people would care, and it's not the same now.
[01:02:08] Where are the ribbons? Um, exactly. So I completely take your point. , you are a former Marine, your son's a former Marine. Joey, what can the Marine Corps Generals do to help.
[01:02:22] Joey Reed: Well, one thing we've been asking recently is, uh, and I reached out to general Mattis, uh, back when I was in Russia, but, uh, he apparently, uh his representative responded and said he was aware Trevor's situation and he was very sorry this was happening.
[01:02:36] And, uh, you know, we hoped everything worked out, but at that time he was under some two-year commitment where he couldn't speak out about anything, you know, that would, uh, impact the current administration, which he had left. Uh, but I think that time has passed and the, you know, I'm sure Trevor would love to get a letter, uh, from general Mattis who, uh, he and I both, I highly respect or any of the other generals, like general Dunford and, uh, people that he'd guarded at, uh, Marine Corps barracks.
[01:03:05] And, uh, and then there's, you know, obviously there's other generals that he would know and, uh, and really we're right now, we're hoping that we can get people like that to, uh, to write him and tell him, you know, to hang in there and you're not forgotten. And, uh, and we care about you and, and we think about you all the time and, uh, and get through this right now, Trevor considers himself a prisoner of war.
[01:03:28] That's why he's refusing to work. And, uh, we're afraid he's going to do something more radical, like, you know, go on a hunger strike or something.
[01:03:36] Paula Reed: Also. I want to intercede and say, it's not just the Marine Corps that we would like, I would personally love it. If president Obama, who Trevor guarded at camp, David would reach out to Trevor, write a letter
[01:03:47] Joey Reed: Or at least contact us. So we can tell Trevor that he's, that he has, he knows about what's going on with Trevor. I mean, you can see behind us a picture of the president with his hand on Trevor's shoulder. And, uh, and I and Trevor got to go and have Trevor's photograph taken at the oval office. And, and, uh, we liked president Obama, we were supporters of president Obama.
[01:04:05] And, uh,
[01:04:06] Paula Reed: and it think that would mean the world to Trevor to get a letter like that. That would just be awesome.
[01:04:12] Daren Nair: No, I completely understand. I've seen the photos so I can see the one right now behind you, uh, Trevor, standing right next to president Obama, as well as the photo of yourself, Joey, Trevor, and president Obama in the oval office, um, president Biden, has he spoken to yourself or Trevor?
[01:04:31] Joey Reed: No. No. And I always say this and I'm told not to say that we know obviously the secretary of state and the president are the most, they're the busiest people in the world. We understand that. Um, but you know, if you're, if you're going to be contacting, you know, these other people in related situations, then, you know, I mean, you know, take, take a couple of minutes and just look, you know, to reach out.
[01:04:54] Paula Reed: And I always say that, um, it's not really important for me to get a phone call from the president, because I do know that he's busy and especially with Afghanistan and everything going on, if he could use that time, To make a discussion or pass it down to someone about how to, you know, get Trevor home, then I'd rather he do that.
[01:05:12] Joey Reed: So, and we understand that there, you know, there's post summit, you know, they, you know, there's, hopefully there's some kind of discussion going on with Russia. And I realized that he might not want to make any public comments or the secretary of state regarding the issue. But here's our, our belief that at some point, if those discussions are going nowhere, then I think it's time to choose a new strategy and how, how to, uh, get an agreement with Russia, uh, regarding Trevor and Paul Whelan.
[01:05:43] Daren Nair: So what can the journalists and news media do to help? So, like I said, I've been following your campaign for over a year. Now. I remember when you had just a Twitter account and a website and a GoFundMe, and now you've been on, uh, CNN and Fox. What can journalists and news media do to help? So I would assume that first of all, not to repeat Russian disinformation, and I would also assume that if the Russians say something about Trevor, they should also contact yourselves as well to get your side of the argument, not just publish, what the Russians have
[01:06:17] Joey Reed: said.
[01:06:18] I don't want to pick on any, I don't want to pick on any one news agency, but the news agencies that heavily cover Russia. Um, I mean maybe if you're going to report what is being told to you by the Russian media or by Russian officials, maybe you should preface that in your story. Yeah. And, and also get feedback from us before you print it, because basically you're just spreading the Russian angle on this what's happening is the Russian government is utilizing our media to, uh, to, uh, penetrate our public's awareness of the situation and what they want and what they think is going on and their accusations.
[01:06:54] We're still seeing reports in a written form on the internet that Trevor was intoxicated and had a confrontation with police. After a night of partying on the town, Trevor was at a company party and in a reserved park. It was a closed deal. They were not partying around the town and people were toasting him to United States and to Russia in vodka.
[01:07:16] And that's how he got intoxicated. And so we hear, and we hear trades, oh, they want to trade this guy. And this guy, that's the Russian, that's the Russian side. And the American media. Just spreading these stories that the Russians are leaking or giving to their media. And for the
[01:07:32] Paula Reed: least they should do is try to contact someone in the state department for a rebuttal or a response to that before they just say that story, because my family even calls me and says, is this happening?
[01:07:44] You know? And I'm like, no, that's not happening. You
[01:07:45] Joey Reed: know? And so we, we don't expect a Trevor and Paul to be on the news every day, but I mean, a story every week or two, just to keep, like we said, keep them on people's minds. And the fact that Trevor's in solitary confinement, because he's refusing to work and they're not allowing the, I don't think people understand that this isn't just in Russia, you can go to a foreign country and, uh, and you go to jail and it's you, we have this impression that we'll well, the United States embassy will be able to go see them or talk to them.
[01:08:14] And that's not the case. They're. I mean, they're not, Nope. You can't talk to him. And usually they don't say no, they just don't answer the call or they say, oh, well, I'll contact someone else. There's like 150 ways to say no. And they know every one of them is there
[01:08:28] Paula Reed: for a while, but we were having no contact with Trevor.
[01:08:31] When the embassy would call to speak to someone about getting access to Trevor, they would just hang up on them.
[01:08:38] Joey Reed: The jail got tired of them calling and going. What's his condition today? Is he still there? Blah, blah, blah. And they just would hang up on them. So, uh, don't, don't expect when you go to foreign countries, you know, whether it be, you know, Italy or wherever, uh, not just Russia that you know that you're going to have that embassy there too.
[01:08:56] I mean, the embassy in our case, wouldn't even show up at Trevor's arraignment. In fact, when we called and, uh, his girlfriend called the embassy and said he's injured and, uh, he's been beaten or whatever. And when we contacted the embassy, this was on Friday morning and they said, oh yeah, we'll check on him on Monday.
[01:09:14] Um, it's like, okay, you got an American citizen who have witnesses, who says he's been beaten and he's in a Russian jail and they won't even go over there. And literally the jail is five minutes from the embassy. And, uh, so they wouldn't do that. And then this is, again, this is one of the hundreds and hundreds of things that all happened to Trevor.
[01:09:31] So on Saturday was his arraignment. They didn't show up for that. And, uh, and then on Monday they made arrangements with the investigative bureau to, to go visit Trevor. And they said, yeah, come over and we'll give you your permit so you can take it to the jail. And then they went, they went over there to get the permit and they go, oh, sorry, we can't give you the permit.
[01:09:49] And so you just told us on the phone to come get it. And he said, well, someone higher up said you can't visit him yet. And they told us that's because he'd been beaten or he'd hurt himself either way. He had injuries and the Russians didn't want the embassy to see him in that condition. They would, regardless of how he got the injuries, they would blame it on the Russian police.
[01:10:09] And so they filed a diplomatic note and it was another three or four days before they were allowed to see Trevor. And by that time, you know, a lot of his bruises and scratches had dissipated. He only had a couple left when they went to see him, but that's, that's the type of thing that you're dealing with in Russia and other foreign countries.
[01:10:26] Paula Reed: And plus these diplomatic notes that they write when they complain, when they're not following procedure properly, or they're not letting them have access to, I was saying it doesn't really seem like those diplomatic notes mean anything to the Russians because there are no repercussions for them. It seems like.
[01:10:40] I mean, not that I'm aware of, you know, so
[01:10:42] Joey Reed: you have to understand too, while you're up against, as an American, when you go out of the country and I've been to many countries, the issue is, is that everyone knows our playbook. Everyone knows that the United States tries to have a higher standard of how we treat prisoners and how we have courts.
[01:10:56] And don't, don't around. There's no perfect justice system. We've got plenty of problems, but we're way better than everybody else. And the issue is they all know that and they know that they can do whatever they want to our people there, and that we will not retaliate against their prisoners in the United States, whether they're political prisoners or whether they're just prisoners, that they can, they can cut off communications or food or medicine or whatever they want with Trevor or Paul or all the people in Iran.
[01:11:22] They can do whatever they want to them. And they know that any prisoners in our federal prisons will not have that we will not cut off their phone or their letters in Russian or their medical treatment or any of those things. I know that that's, we won't retaliate for those actions. So that's what we're, we're, you know, everything's one sided when it comes to American prisoners in foreign lands.
[01:11:44] Daren Nair: So how can people keep up to date with the Free Trevor Reed campaign?
[01:11:49] Joey Reed: The main way is Twitter. Uh, cause we, we try and, you know, put something on there every day or two and we retweet other comments or information that's being received and news reports. Uh, we have a website, uh, and I apologize, I'm I'm, I haven't updated in like a month, but, uh, there's a lot of news stories that we attach to the news stories, articles, and videos to that.
[01:12:11] Um, and then we try to update, uh, what we know and what we've been told, um, on the website. But you can get a lot of background as to what's gone on, uh, during the, his time there. So
[01:12:21] Daren Nair: the Twitter handle is @FreeTrevorReed. Yes. And the website is FreeTrevorReed.com. Right. Okay. Thank you. So if any of our listeners would like to send a message of solidarity to the Reed family, or have any questions, please post them on Twitter using the hashtag Pod Hostage Diplomacy, and we'll respond.
[01:12:43] If we get many questions, we may have a separate Q and A episode with Joey and Paula Reed to answer them. Thank you very much, Joey and Paula for joining us, we really hope Trevor is freed and comes home, until then. We will be right here by your side. Thanks again. And let's work to free Trevor Reed. Thank you
[01:13:02] Joey Reed: so much.
[01:13:03] And thank you everyone else out there.
[01:13:05] Daren Nair: Thank you for listening to this week's episode of Pod Hostage Diplomacy. We're not just a podcast,. We're a community. If you're on Twitter and would like to post a message of solidarity to the families, or have any questions for us, please tweet it. Using the hashtag #PodHostageDiplomacy. And we'll get back to you.
[01:13:23] If you like what we're trying to do, please do consider supporting the show financially. You can do this using the support, the show link in the description of this podcast episode. We're grateful for any contributions, no matter how small. Thanks again for listening and we'll be back next week. Take care. .