Icarus Filmmaker Bryan Fogel Gives Update on Whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov

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Bryan Fogel

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Filmmaker Bryan Fogel's "Icarus" won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2018. His newest documentary, "The Dissident", is an investigation of the death of Saudi Arabian "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi, murdered at the hands of his own government. "The Dissident" is now available On Demand and in theaters.

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You know, I've gotten a bunch of messages since that film came out from other Olympic athletes and it's been either a mix of like, hey, man, I'm thank you so much. Or it's just like, not mad at me, just like, what the fuck? And then, you know, like, and I was actually like invited. It was the bobsled team that when they actually disqualified the Russian bobsled team and the US bobsled team was then going to get the third place medal. They like invited me to the ceremony. I didn't go, but, you know, it was crazy. Jordan said that the I guess in 2020 and 2024, the Russians can't fly a flag. Like they cannot. They can't be represented. Like they have to be individual athletes from Russia at the Olympics in 2020 and Tokyo. It's 2021 now. Yeah. And then 2024, those Olympics, you can't have a Russian flag. Like you literally can't because of what happened that you exposed in your documentary. Well, that's that's true. However, if you if you follow the story post Icarus with Rachankov is Russia was supposed to turn over this limbs data, which was this laboratory information management system data in order to be reinstated into into World Sport. That was part of the water requirements and they never basically turned it over. So water basically had to go after them, go after them, go after them. They reinstate them without turning over the data. Then they turn over the data. This is now December of 2019 or January. It was not that long ago, about a year ago. And when they turn over the data, they had literally manipulated all the data and they had already got a copy of it from Rachankov and another guy in the lab. And they literally put notes into this limbs data, basically trying to frame Rachankov for like money laundering and taking bribes and all this shit. But Wada knew that this wasn't legitimate because they had the real databases already. So they go and they say, OK, now Russia's banned for another four years. Right. Wow. And in the meantime, Russia is putting out in the media that Rachankov has tried to commit suicide because of like the exposure that he was apparently taking bribes for money, which he wasn't. Russia denies it again. And then it goes to the court of arbitration for sport. This is literally just like a couple of months ago. So they were supposed to be facing another four year total ban. Like that's what Wada was recommending. Like the entire federation is gone. And the court of arbitration for sport, which is corrupt as hell, basically knocks it down to two years instead of four years and then basically does what they did in the 2018 Olympics, which is OK. Any Russian athlete who hasn't tested positive can compete, but they can't compete under their country's flag. But if you saw Icarus, how would you know whether or not they were positive or not because they were swapping out the urine, they were breaking into the bottles. So it's like, yeah, they're kind of banned. And at the same time, they're all going to be there. And this was looked at like a huge win for Russia. In the meantime, Rachankov literally sits in isolation, in hiding, under protection. But the guy just got asylum. So he got asylum here, right? He got asylum here. You don't have to wear the headphones. Are they uncomfortable? No, they just kind of were like echoing a lot. If there's a way to maybe take down the reverb on them or something, I like them. There's echoing? Really? Do you hear echo? There's a volume control. Is that better? Yeah, I think that's better. So Rachankov has got asylum here in America. Yeah, so he's got asylum here in America. And that story is crazy, too. So, you know, in Icarus, you see this scene where basically like, I see him off at the airport. And that was July of 2016. So we keep, you know, making the film. The film comes out August 2017. And then five months later, essentially because of the film, the IOC and the reasoned decision comes forward and bans Russia. And they cite Icarus as one of their main reasons for doing that. In the meantime, Rachankov is literally trying to get political asylum. And on the day of his asylum hearing, this was now a year and a half, two years ago. I need to get with his lawyers to get the exact date. Russia files drug trafficking charges against him in Russia on the actual day that he's supposed to go in for his asylum hearing. So what this means is that Russia had a mole within the U.S. immigration system, knowing that this was the day that Rachankov was supposed to get his asylum. And under international law, anybody who's been charged with drug trafficking, right, is basically immediately ineligible for asylum. So there's like a couple of like, you know, things that you can be charged for that basically makes it you can't get asylum. So they charge him with drug trafficking and the court then gets kicked out and it takes him another year and a half, two years to get his asylum. And he finally just got his asylum like four months ago, something like that. Wow. Crazy. And so, but he's still in hiding, right? Because he's got to worry about being assassinated. Oh, yeah. I mean, he's still in hiding. I mean, I've been able to keep in touch with a guy here and there through like basically through the lawyers and then they'll arrange through the security. And then we'll, you know, find an encrypted way to like have a conversation. And last time I spoke to him was about two months ago. And, you know, the conversation always goes like, hey, Gregory, how are you? And he goes, I'm alive. I go, that's great. You know, he goes, I'm like, so how are you doing? He's like, Brian, Brian, I have to tell you. He's like, you know, you saved my life. And I mean, it's it's it's heavy. It's really heavy. I mean, we've we've tried for three years now to try to get him a dog because, you know, he loves dogs and he lives by himself. And, you know, he really doesn't have communication with the outside world. My understanding is that he'll go out, you know, for like an hour a day for a walk with like protection around him. I don't know where he lives. I don't I don't have his phone number. But his security doesn't want him to have a dog because if he has a dog, that means he has to go outside and he's got to walk the dog. He's not really able to communicate with his family, hasn't seen his family for four years now. His wife and his kids are back in Russia. So, I mean, this has been a this has been a crazy cost for for blowing the whistle. Didn't they take his wife and his children? Didn't they take their their family home away? Well, after he after he got here and then all this started to unfold, what I was told is that they basically like froze the assets of the family. He had a dacha, which is like a summer home. And apparently they they seized that and they seized bank accounts and they brought in the family to interrogate him. And they they took their their passports. From what I've heard is that his kids have their passports back and the wife does, too. But, you know, you can make the logical conclusion that they're hoping that they travel because of a then and good travel and they then go and see Gregory, right? They're going to be able to find him. But, you know, to my knowledge, the family has been pretty much left alone. It was it was bad for a little bit. But over the last few years, I've heard that, you know, that that they're OK. And, you know, none of the none of the family wants to wants to to come because even if they do, then that means that their lives are now in isolation, in hiding. So for them to come and basically, you know, visit Gregory or to come and and move to be with him because he could technically get his wife here now that he has asylum. But then her life is going to be in isolation and she's got family back in Russia. So it's it's it's complicated. And this goes on for the rest of his life. Well, I mean, arguably for the rest of his life. I mean, when you look at, you know, Michael Sherritts of the New York Times did a story I don't remember. It's probably about a year ago. And he was looking at all these kind of like murders that that were tied to Putin and Russia. And one of the stories that he came out with was basically this guy who was living in the Ukraine. He was working for the gas company. Right. And he I can't remember if he it was an attempted murder or no. The guy gets killed and they catch the guy, the assassin who goes to kill him. And they pulled him up on trial. And when they catch this assassin, apparently he's got a piece of paper on him. It's got a list of names, right? Like basically like, you know, like kill names and this guy who they arrest. And I know I'm botching the story a little bit and you can go back. It was was in, you know, part of the New York Times daily. And and this guy that they go and arrest basically goes, yes, I've been hired. I don't know why. But, you know, my job is basically to to kill these people. So they start going through the list. And none of these people are really known. It turns out that the guy that he had been hired to kill in the Ukraine, who was now living like a normal life in the Ukraine, he had apparently helped broker weapons deal to the Chechens. Right. And this was like whatever, 15 years ago. And here this guy's living this quiet life in the Ukraine, working for the power company. And 12 years later, they come and get him. I mean, you look at the case of Skirpal, you know, the guy that they poisoned with Novichok a few years in Salisbury. That was another case where, you know, the guy had. That was in England, right? Yeah, that was in England. The guy had been, you know, out of sight, out of mind for for for 15 years. You look at even the poisoning of Alexander Lithenenko in 2006. Well, at the time that they actually poisoned Lithenenko with with polonium, he had already been living in London for like seven or eight years. He had he had fled to the UK that long ago. So the whole piece that the Michael Shuritz had wrote and put forward in The New York Times was essentially that, you know, they don't forget. And there's just and there's just, you know, a list. And when they feel that that they can strike, they do catch new episodes. The Joe Rogan Experience for free only on Spotify. 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