Viktor Bout Arrested

Curious. The Thais just arrested the noted Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout.

For years, Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has made millions of dollars allegedly delivering weapons and ammunition to warlords and militants. Officials believe many of his activities may be illegal, and on Thursday, Thai police announced his arrest.

Bout, 41, has made his deliveries to Africa, Asia and the Mideast, using obsolete or surplus Soviet-era cargo planes.

[snip]

According to U.S. officials, Bout — a former Soviet air force officer who speaks multiple languages — has what is reputed to be the largest private fleet of Soviet-era cargo aircraft in the world.

Bout acquired the planes shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the U.S. Department of Treasury said in 2005.

At that time, the U.S. Treasury announced it was freezing the assets of Bout and his associates who are all tied to former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Taylor is currently on trial at the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague.

Intelligence officials said he shipped large quantities of small arms to civil wars across Africa and Asia, often taking diamonds in payment from West African fighters.

I say, "curious," because I doubt this could have happened without US approval–as the promise of an "announcement" in NY later today suggests.

A formal announcement on his arrest is expected later in the day in New York.

And it appears that actual warrant came from our DEA–in connection with Columbia’s FARC.

Bout, the target of an international arrest warrant and U.S. sanctions, was picked up at a Bangkok hotel after he entered Thailand on February 29. Police were searching for an associate.

Bout was attempting "to procure weapons for Colombia’s FARC rebels", the Thai police said in an arrest report.

Which suggests it ties in some way to the cross-border raid the Colombians staged in Ecuador, for which the US is alleged to have provided intelligence. The Colombians nabbed a laptop from the scene of the Reyes assassination–though already there are disputes about what kind of intelligence the laptop included. This may mean the Colombian/Venezuelan conflict will get bigger before it is resolved.

You’ll see long lists of Bout’s customers: Charles Taylor, the Taliban, Ugandan rebels. But what today’s coverage likely won’t reveal is that the US appears to have used Bout’s services in Iraq.

Now, Viktor Bout seems to be back at work in Iraq. According to several sources, his planes, flying under the name of an airline company, British Gulf, likely to disappear as fast as it was created, are assuring "transport of materiel" for the American army. The company’s advantage, one specialist in arms trafficking reveals, relates to the nature of the Russian merchant’s crews and planes: "They’re accustomed to land in any kind of war zone without having a fit. And if one of their planes is shot down, there’s no risk of American pilots’ bodies being dragged through the streets."

I guess we no longer have use of Bout’s services.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

77 Responses to Viktor Bout Arrested

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 37
  • 38
  • 39
  • 40
  • 41
  • 42
  • 43
  • 44
  • 45
  • 46
  • 47
  • 48
  • 49
  • 50
  • 51
  • 52
  • 53
  • 54
  • 55
  • 56
  • 57
  • 58
  • 59
  • 60
  • 61
  • 62
  • 63
  • 64
  • 65
  • 66
  • 67
  • 68
  • 69
  • 70
  • 71
  • 72
  • 73
  • 74
  • 75
  • 76
  • 77
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz RT @DVNJr: The shocking human toll of #FIFA’s corruption: http://t.co/uYkpDQTjvl http://t.co/RHihVjzBve
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @NYTBen: Jolani: "There is no such thing as the Khorasan group. This is something we only heard about from the Americans."
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Live by the Beard, die by the Beard
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Things people say when you are circling down the toilet into the Sepptic tank: https://t.co/lpfKLjhvXp
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @nbilka @CNN Oh crikey, don't set standards I am on the far side of the sun from.
7hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Still a number of emergency vehicles at site of San Diego Fish Market fire as sun sets. News says everyone is ok. http://t.co/W6Hhac27ii
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @nbilka Brilliant of Ficker to have gone on @CNN to yak about the former client then. [I may need to hari kari now...]
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @nbilka Heh, "vouching for your client". Cause, you know, there are no stop signs that come attendant to that idea.
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @nbilka I mean, if the best you can do is make people ask what form of dope you are, you ought not have gone in front of media #MediaRuleOne
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @nbilka Yes, apparently may have been. Irrespective, that was a clown job making that media appearance. Jeebus.
7hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @joshua_eaton They've said they were updating their systems. That's not nec storage, 215 part of whole. @AliWatkins
8hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @joshua_eaton Remember, 215 was only ever a fraction of the metadata they get, which is less storage than content bulk. @AliWatkins
8hreplyretweetfavorite
March 2008
S M T W T F S
« Feb   Apr »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031