Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

**Victor Bout - Wanted in Africa, Needed in Iraq - Arrested in Thailand* Uncle Dick & Viktor

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-13-08 08:22 PM
Original message
**Victor Bout - Wanted in Africa, Needed in Iraq - Arrested in Thailand* Uncle Dick & Viktor
Edited on Thu Mar-13-08 08:39 PM by seemslikeadream

Fran Yeoman and agencies
A Russian arms dealer thought to have inspired the lead character in the blockbuster film Lord of War was arrested in Bangkok today.

Viktor Bout, 41, was detained while allegedly attempting to buy weapons for Colombian rebels.

Dubbed "the merchant of death", he has been accused of breaking UN embargoes since the early 1990s by selling arms to conflict-torn regions in Africa and around the world.

Thai police said today that Mr Bout had been arrested in a Bangkok hotel. "He was attempting to procure weapons for Colombias FARC rebels, the arrest report said.

Exposed: the Somalia arms boycott breaker
The battle to break Britain's crime lords
According to the United Nations and the US Treasury Department, Mr Bout has sold arms or brokered deals that have helped fuel wars in Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

In 2006, the US Treasury Department seized his cargo planes and froze other assets.
In his article dated Dec. 14, 2005, titled All Roads Lead Back to Dick Cheney, Madsen claimed that Vice President Dick Cheneys old company, the oil giant Halliburton, through its subsidiary in Iraq, Kellogg, Brown & Root had links with an airline based in Moldova, Aerocom/Air Mero, owned by one Viktor Bout, which has reportedly been involved in flying low-wage earners from East Asia to Dubai and on to Iraq where they work for paltry salaries in sub-standard living conditions. Halliburton/KBR has sub-contracted to a shadowy Dubai-based firm, Prime Projects International LCC which trades mostly in workers from Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, India, Pakistan and other poor Asian nations...

Posted October 5, 2007
..... Bout flew hundreds of flights for the Pentagon and its contractors in Iraq. He did so despite having been:
1) identified by U.S. and British intelligence as a supplier of weapons, ammunition and aircraft to the Taliban and, indirectly, to al Qaeda;
2) the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant at the request of the Belgian government;
3) named in almost a dozen U.N. public reports as the chief illegal provider of weapons to Africa's rogue regimes, and;
4) the subject of an executive order signed by George W. Bush in July 2004 making it illegal to do any business with Bout. The executive order was followed by an order from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in May 2005, freezing the assets of Bout, his senior partners and main companies, again making it illegal for U.S citizens or their government to do business with any of the named entities.
Yet the flights in Iraq went on, at the request of Halliburton, KBR and others, on behalf of the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, until early 2006. Farah and Braun, based on flight and refueling records from Iraq, estimate Bout's companies may have flown up to 1,000 flights as a secondary contractor for the U.S. government. Each flight cost about $60,000 -- not a bad chunk of taxpayer dollars. Bout managed to up his profit margin considerably by having his pilots apply for and receive special refueling cards that allowed them to gas up for free when they landed in Iraq.
Using an Amnesty International report as a starting point, the authors trace a deeply troubling incident that, based on a July GAO report, was not unique. The GAO report found that tens of thousands of weapons purchased by the U.S. military and destined for delivery in Iraq remain unaccounted for.
Some of weapons--200,000 AK-47 assault rifles--were transported by Bout's aircraft before going AWOL. One of his airlines, Aerocom, registered in Moldova, obtained a contract from the Pentagon in August 2004 to fly the weapons from Bosnia to Iraq, along with millions of rounds of ammunition.
But, according to Amnesty International and the authors, there were several problems with the deal. Aerocom was already named in U.N. reports to illicit weapons trafficking in Africa, and Bout was on UN and U.S. sanctions lists. The day before the first flight, the Moldovan government canceled the Aerocom aircraft's air-operations certificate, making taking off illegal. Still, the flights went on, although there is no record of them ever landing in Iraq or of the weapons being delivered to their declared destination.
"These undercover sources were acting as high level representatives of the FARC, attempting to obtain arms," he explained, referring to the rebels of the illegal Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"You never shoot the postman."

Thursday, March 06, 2008
Viktor Bout busted

In a day filled with news, some really big news: Arms Dealer Arrested in Thailand
Police Col. Petcharat Sengchai told reporters that Bout was wanted for conspiring to provide "weapons and explosives for Colombian rebels" known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The leftist FARC has been fighting Colombia's government for more than four decades, and funds itself largely through the cocaine trade and kidnapping for ransom.
He has been accused of trafficking weapons through a series of front companies to war-wracked Central and West Africa since the early 1990s. U.N. reports say he set up a network of more than 50 aircraft around the world, owned by small, tightly controlled companies including Bukavu Aviation Transport, Business Air Services and Great Lakes Business Co.

Why Was Viktor Bout in Thailand When He Was Arrested?

If he was shopping for arms, my educated hunch is he was buying surplus Chinese weapons from the Burmese junta. They have enormous stockpiles of weapons provided by China and need the cash. Bout used to buy up the huge cache of weaponry (mainly Chinese) at the border market between Thailand and Cambodia, but his consignment-amount of weapons aren't so available there anymore.

Bout may also have been in either Burma or Cambodia to illegally purchase end-user certificates which would allow him to purchase large amounts of weaponry illegally. One could also not rule out a meeting with North Korean arms dealers. North Korean operatives are active in Southeast Asia, where they purvey everything from weapons, to metamphetimines, to "Super Notes" (high-quality counterfeit U.S. dollars). The Koreans have a history of selling end-user certificates to unsavory figures. A few years ago they sold the Tamil Tigers end-user certificates that allowed them to purchase a large consignment of weapons from NORINCO.

Thailand is the regional transit hub, and it has a long history of being a center of narcotics trade and document forging. But since 9/11 the government has upgraded its intelligence capabilities as well as its border security. Bout was not the first big fish to be arrested there. These investments are paying dividends.

DEA Investigation Nabs Victor Bout for Conspiracy to Provide SAMs to a Foreign Terrorist Organizatio

International Arms Dealer Arrested On Terrorism Charges In Bangkok
DEA Investigation Nabs Victor Bout for Conspiracy to Provide SAMs to a Foreign Terrorist Organization

MAR 6 -- DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart and Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the arrest of Victor Bout, an international arms dealer charged with conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the "FARC") -- a designated foreign terrorist organization based in Colombia. Bout and co-defendant Andrew Smulian were arrested yesterday on the U.S. charges by Thai authorities in Bangkok.

According to court documents, between November 2007 and February 2008, Bout and Smulian agreed to sell to the FARC millions of dollars worth of weapons including surface-to-air missile systems (SAMs) and armor piercing rocket launchers. During a series of recorded telephone calls and emails, Bout and Smulian agreed to sell the weapons to two confidential sources (CSs) working with the DEA, who held themselves out as FARC representatives acquiring these weapons for the FARC for use in Colombia.

In addition, during a series of consensually recorded meetings in Romania, Smulian advised the CSs, among other things, that Bout had 100 SAMs available immediately and could also provide helicopters and armor piercing rocket launchers. During one of the meetings with the CSs, Smulian provided one of the CSs with a digital memory stick that contained an article about Bout, and documents containing photographs and specifications for the SAMs and armor piercing rocket launchers that Smulian had previously said Bout could provide.

In between his meetings with the CSs, Smulian spoke to Bout over a cellphone provided to him by one of the CSs at the direction of the DEA. During one of these conversations, Bout and Smulian discussed the $5 million delivery fee for the weapons.

Bout and Smulian are charged with conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment.
Friends in high places
March 11, 2008
You can bet that Bout will continue to proclaim his innocence if extradited to the United Statesand (to the embarrassment of U.S. authorities) his argument will not be entirely empty. As Farrah and Braun reported in their book about the arms dealer, Bout's planes were among the first to ferry supplies to U.S. forces after the fall of Baghdad in 2003, "despite his being the subject of an Interpol red notice, an Executive Order signed by President Bush, and numerous Treasury Department sanctions," writes Farrah on his blog. Bout's fleet of aircraft, working for the U.S. military and on contract for firms like KBR and FedEx, ultimately made an estimated 1,000 trips to Iraq, consuming 500,000 gallons of free aviation fuel provided by the Pentagon. For his trouble, Bout netted about $60 million. And as distasteful as this association may be, it was not the first time the U.S. had considered tapping Bout as a resource in the war on terror; he was granted a temporary visa waiver to enter the Unites States on two occasions after September 11, allegedly for discussions with U.S. officials on how he might help combat Al Qaeda and the Taliban. One wonders how many other stories Bout could tell if given the chance in a U.S. courtroom. Enough to score him a "Get Out of Jail Free" card? Hey, Nicholas Cage did it. Maybe Bout can, too.

A formal announcement of Bout's arrest is due to be made later today at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. Chances are his recent dealings with Uncle Sam will escape mention.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-13-08 08:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. "Lord of War"! THIS is the guy that Nicholas Cage played
in the movie. A blood drenched snake of the first water.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-13-08 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes
but unlike in the movie, apparently this guy didn't have a change of heart. He's a right scumbag.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
wildbilln864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-13-08 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
3. A definite k&r! nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-13-08 11:03 PM
Response to Original message
4. I can't think of a better Bout
to put up w's ass

this bitten snake may very well bite back
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Fri Sep 29th 2023, 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC