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.

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bmaz My question at the outset was why GM concealment was not bankruptcy fraud; now that will be litigated. Good. http://t.co/CCL3wm2HYE
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bmaz @trevortimm Be terrified. Very terrified. Cause what you saw is, I think, all you get.
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bmaz @johnson_carrie According to my wife, "impossible jerk" characterizes lawyers in many locales @npratc
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bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT The constitutional framing is amazingly resilient, but resets are slow.
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bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT I represent far too many of the former and lament the latter. Things change though
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bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT Frankly, US can exert such influence, will not be effective foreign prosec either
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bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT Yes, in these considerations, that is exactly right. Not happening.
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bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT I wasn't being a smart ass, just honest as to situation.
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bmaz @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT @HoltenMark Safe enough bet; no administration will want to open that can of worms.
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bmaz @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT @HoltenMark ...ought to give pause in above regards too. If DOJ ever cared about these crimes.
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bmaz @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT @HoltenMark Well, yes, and the wild expansion of extraterritorial jurisdiction in other cases
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bmaz @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT @HoltenMark Granted, what Im saying applies to execution of US nationals as opposed to foreign nationals.
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