Bout Extradited To The US Amidst Controversy
Victor Bout’s reputation has been so blackened that the consensus of opinion is that he is guilty of massive arms trafficking, significantly of arranging to sell via intermediaries a veritable arsenal to a supposedly narco-terrorist organisation. Yet, perhaps all is not as it seems.
November 18, 2010: Victor Bout, after much wrangling, has finally been extradited to the US to face what some are calling his nemesis. He is currently standing trial at Manhattan Federal Court in front of U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin for alleged arms trafficking to narco-terrorists “for use in trying to kill Americans.” That he is standing trial at all says much for the influence of the US on Thailand, much to the apparent chagrin of Russia. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s final sign off of one of the most notorious of the Russian visitors to this country was something to the effect that you can’t please all the people all of the time.
Astute readers will noticed the use of the terms ‘alleged’ and ‘apparent’, indicating that there is more to this case than meets the eye. Victor Bout has been vilified for his alleged permitting of his aircraft to fly arms to various combatant groups, in such diverse areas of the globe as Africa, South America and the Middle East. One of the most damning allegations is that Bout contracted to sell millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). These arms included surface-to-air missile systems; armour piercing rocket launchers; AK-47 firearms; millions of rounds of ammunition; Russian spare parts for rifles; anti-personnel land mines; C-4 plastic explosives; night-vision equipment; “ultralight” aircraft that could be outfitted with grenade launchers and missiles; and unmanned aerial vehicles. And all this to a guerrilla organisation that is reputed to be the world’s largest supplier of cocaine. (We’d better not mention too loud at this point, the CIA’s more than alleged heavy involvement in the drug’s trade during the Vietnam War!). The US dubs FARC a terrorist organisation, whereas Bout apparently sees them as legitimate political organisation.
Bout, it is alleged, arranged to sell this arsenal via two confidential sources working with the DEA (the “CSs”), who maintained they were intermediaries for the FARC, and the ground-to-air missiles were to be used to down U.S. helicopters in Colombia. This was supposedly recorded in a sting operation in Bangkok. Yet it is significant that that there was not even a single alleged “portable anti-aircraft missile” captured.
Before we go much further, we should state that a confidential source who once held a high position in one of the Russian intelligence services and who is a close friend of Bout, declares categorically that Bout is a scapegoat of both the American and the Russians, who we noticed made loud protestations at Bout’s extradition to the US. To quote our confidential source “the Russian side was heavily involved with the Americans in the entire operation in framing Victor and in luring him to Bangkok. It was conceived and conducted by both – the Russian and the American secret services working together. In addition to the Russians, other players were involved as well. Primarily, the Israeli secret services – the Mossad and Sayaret Matkal.” Furthemore, our source maintains “Victor Bout arrived in Bangkok not alone, but in the strange company of his alleged “friend” – a certain colonel from the Russian FSB, who was initially arrested with Victor and then strangely released and sent back to Moscow on the first available flight.”
He continues “a great majority of Russian citizens as well as Russian Armed Forces, are extremely unhappy that the United States can arrogantly claim their alleged jurisdiction over territories that are not part of the United States and they are especially annoyed when such bullying directly affects Russian citizens.”
Our source’s most categorical statement in all this is: “You have to understand that Victor has never sold any weapons, whether legally or illegally, in Africa, in Asia or anywhere else. In his entire life he has never sold even a single Makarov pistol or a single AK-47, not to mention large quantities of Soviet-made or any other weapons. Yes, on several instances, airlines controlled by Victor Bout and by his brother Sergei Bout indeed transported weapons, munitions, and even armed troops, but the problem is that these were NOT THEIR weapons, these were weapons of THEIR CUSTOMERS. Moreover, all of such customers were LEGAL CUSTOMERS.”
This statement effectively dismisses all the charges against Victor Bout, supposed Master of Death. However, for the perpetrators of this likewise alleged conspiracy not to convict Bout, it would unearth a veritable can of worms, our source maintains. We shall see.