WAR: Global Arms - Trafficking Network Designated by US (Update: Viktor Bout Extradited)

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posted on Mar, 6 2008 @ 05:33 PM
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Viktor Bout, arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, on Thursday March 6, 2008.



Photo: AP


Thais Detain Alleged `Merchant of Death'




posted on Mar, 6 2008 @ 05:57 PM
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WhooT

Fantastic!

Thanks Hellmutt!



posted on Mar, 7 2008 @ 06:43 AM
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New ATS "breaking news" thread here:


Viktor Bout "Merchant of Death" Arrested in Thailand (by northwolf)



Photo: AP



posted on Mar, 8 2008 @ 04:29 AM
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The DEA apparently intercepted emails from Viktor Bout's Gmail account, among other things...



FT.com:Viktor Bout – elusive entrepreneur


March 6 2008


The DEA arrested Mr Bout and Mr Smulian following a series of meetings this year with undercover agents in Copenhagen, Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles and Bucharest in Romania. The capture of the two men came after the DEA had intercepted phone calls as well as emails from Mr Bout’s gmail account.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

 


DEA agents posing as "representatives of FARC", set up a meeting with Bout at the hotel.


Lord of War unphased in Bangkok as US seeks extradition Times March 7 08


March 7 2008




And Viktor Vasilyevich Bout, 41, who name is usually preceded by ‘The Merchant of Death’ or ‘Lord of War’, looked as if he did not have a care in the world as he was paraded before the press at Thai police headquarters in Bangkok.

[---]

According to the Justice Department in Washington Bout and his colleague Andrew Smulian, who is on the run, told DEA agents they had 100 surface to air missiles ready, plus helicopters and armour piercing rockets. He could drop them into Columbia by parachute.



posted on Mar, 8 2008 @ 04:52 AM
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Here's a press release from the DEA.


International Arms Dealer Arrested On Terrorism Charges In Bangkok


March 6, 2008


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



[---]

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.

The U.S. plans to pursue the extradition of the defendants from Thailand.

The US wants him. The Russians "wants him". Everybody wants him, but he's still in Thailand...



posted on Mar, 8 2008 @ 06:37 AM
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Here's a couple of recent videos from RussiaToday.


"'Merchant of Death' arrested in Thailand"


"Bout vs Bush" (interview with Viktor Bout)



posted on Mar, 8 2008 @ 03:32 PM
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Some more articles. Viktor Bout is quoted as saying: "The game is over", when he was handcuffed and led away. He will face Thai court first, and then he'll likely be extradited to either the US or Russia.


Times Online: Bangkok sting nets Russia’s ‘merchant of death’

Bout gave in without a struggle. “The game is over,” he said as he was handcuffed and led away. His alleged co-conspira-tor, Andrew Smulian, escaped and was still at large yesterday.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



UPI.com: Arms dealer will face Thai court first

Arms dealer Viktor Bout will face Thailand's legal system before potentially being extradited to either the United States or Russia to face more charges.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



RIA Novosti: Lawyers for 'Merchant of Death' to seek his extradition to Russia

Lawyers for a Russian businessman who is being held in Thailand on charges of illegal arms trading are to demand his extradition to Russia, his lawyer told a Moscow-based radio station on Friday.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Douglas Farah: Now The Fun Begins With Russia Over Bout Arrest

There must be a degree of panic among parts of the Russian intel structure that Bout could sink them all if he is not brought back home.

As my friend Lee S. Wolosky, a former National Security Council deputy who led the effort against Bout for the Clinton and Bush administrations, told the Los Angeles Times,
Bout “really needs to come into U.S. custody quickly. Otherwise, there’s ample opportunity for others to mess around.”



posted on Mar, 9 2008 @ 12:32 PM
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From a South African newspaper. If Bout ever writes a biography, I'd buy it.


'Merchant of Death's' secret SA connections


9 March 2008


Bout has known a variety of African heads of state and rebel leaders across the continent and the world.

These include the Afghan northern forces leader Ahmed Shah Massoud; former Zairean dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, whom Bout claims to have whisked to safety; now deceased Angolan Unita leader Jonas Savimbi; the notorious Charles Taylor of Liberia; Congolese opposition leaders; and, closer to home, the Swazi royal house.

He admitted in a rare interview his clients included two notorious arms dealers, Alexander Islamov and Leonid Minin.

But Bout has also flown UN peacekeepers to East Timor and Somalia and claims he flew in French troops during the Rwandan genocide.

Bout was reliably reported to have been flying to Iraq for both private contractors and the US military.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

And now, you might say that other arms dealers will take his place? Yes and no. They're not Viktor Bout. They don't have his fleet of aircrafts, and they don't have the same "power" as Bout. Imagine Bout's connections! At the age of 41, he's probably met with more powerful people than most of the world's stateleaders! And not only met with them, but done business with them. Sese Seko's son once said that he was glad that his family was rescued by "a Russian plane" (with bullets flying around their ears during take-off). He said if it had been a Boeing, it would have exploded...



posted on Mar, 9 2008 @ 08:35 PM
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Thailand keeps Bout in Custody

Bout may be held in custody for up to 84 days without being formally charged.


Thai Court Keeps Arms Dealer in Custody


March 10, 2008


Thai police received court permission Saturday to retain custody of a reputed Russian arms dealer dubbed the "Merchant of Death" who was arrested in a U.S.-led sting operation that lured him from his home in Moscow.

[---]

The Bangkok Criminal Court authorized his continued detention while an investigation continues. Suspects may be held for up to 84 days without being formally charged for trial.

[---]

If convicted, Bout would face a sentence of 10 years in prison on the potential Thai charge, and 15 years in the U.S.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Maybe he'll write a book while in jail?



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 07:52 AM
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Viktor Bout wants to be freed on bail

Viktor Bout says he's innocent and he wants to be freed on bail. "Well-trained men" will be watching him around the clock. He doesn't look too worried about it...



Photo: AP Photo/David Longstreath


Russian Arms Dealer Claims Innocence


March 10. 2008


A Russian businessman accused of running guns to the Taliban and bloody conflicts across Africa said he is innocent and wants to be freed from a Thai prison on bail, his lawyer said Monday.

[---]

Thai prison authorities say they are keeping him under special security at Bangkok's Klongprem Prison.

"He was a soldier who knows how to use weapons and knows how to fight," said Wanchai Rutchanawong, director general of Thailand's Corrections Department.

"I have ordered special security measures," Wanchai said. "Well-trained men will be surveying him around the clock."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 07:53 PM
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This is quite extraordinar --for Thailand at least-- not all the money (I suspect a good deal of 'em) can get him free on bail.

Arms Dealer Bout Denied Bail in Thailand


However it has this important piece of info.


In 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush froze Bout's assets in various countries. Those assets, mainly small airlines, were estimated to be worth $6 billion by his business partner Andrey Smulyan. That year, a plane belonging to Bout and registered in Kyrgyzstan was photographed by the Associated Press in the rebel-control airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, carrying a load of hand-launch missiles.

Smulyan was arrested in Bangkok along with Bout, but later released. He is listed in U.S. documents as the contact through whom U.S. agents posing as FARC representatives set up a meeting. Smulyan's current whereabouts are unknown.


I guess this Smulyan's cover is blown by now ...if it not already was. I don't have the heart to go through all the pages, but have this guy been mentioned before?



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 08:05 PM
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reply to post by khunmoon
 


Interesting. He was freed? He is mentioned briefly in an article I quoted from in this post. It said he was arrested together with Bout, but "escaped and is still at large".


...And from the DEA press release posted here:


Smulian spoke to Bout over a cellphone provided to him by one of the CSs at the direction of the DEA.

Hmmmm. The DEA gave Smulian a cellphone in which he spoke with Bout? I guess the only explaination is that Smulian was working undercover for the DEA.



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 08:05 PM
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Here isan interesting piece about the airfleet of Bout. Identifiable machines, their history, where they came from and where they went.

So Why Was Viktor Bout in Thailand?


So why was Viktor in Thailand? Well, there are some possible explanations beyond the CTB theory that it was something to do with the Burmese junta, or the Chinese, or someone.

Specifically, there are reasons to think that South-East Asia might have been the next stop in the VB caravan, after Ostend, South Africa, and the UAE. Consider Imtrec Aviation; a regular on the various war routes out of Sharjah, they’re based (officially) in Cambodia but the aircraft, as ever, are based in Sharjah. Antonov-12 serial no. 1347907, for example, went from Aeroflot back in the days of respectability, via East Line or Avial and a spell on lease to the World Food Programme, to Aerocom, the Moldovan-flagged operation that was shut down after one of its planes was seized for smuggling coc aine through Belize, that shared aircraft with Jet Line International, Asterias Commercial, and ATI, and that was at the heart of the missing Bosnian guns case.



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 08:11 PM
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reply to post by khunmoon
 


That article was written by Alex Harrowell ("The Yorkshire Ranter"). His original post in his blog can be found here:

TYR: So Why Was Viktor Bout in Thailand?


Alternate site here:
So Why Was Viktor Bout in Thailand?



posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 08:24 PM
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Well, I just opened a 7-day free trial account w. einnews.com. It's like picking candy, ordered by subject and country.

Can't help to bring this one on Thailand as safe heaven for all kind of criminals.

Arms dealer’s arrest exposes Thailand as fugitive haven


Thai police say the rising number of arrests and deportations proves they are making progress in fighting international crime.

Immigration officials say 329 people were deported in 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available, up from 207 in 2002.
But experts say criminals will continue to be drawn to Thailand and other developing countries in Southeast Asia because of lax law enforcement.
“It’s rooted very deeply in the issue of official corruption that allows not just arms dealers, but paedophiles and other people fleeing their own countries, to use Thailand and other developing countries as a safe haven,” said Sunai Phasuk, a researcher with Human Rights Watch.
“Someone like this Russian guy or terrorists or extremists benefit from loopholes in immigration law.”

Fugitives are supported in Thailand by a well-developed network of forgers who can provide fake travel documents, he noted. – AFP


With not even Victor Bout able to buy security things HAVE changed in Thailand.



posted on Mar, 11 2008 @ 01:27 PM
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Smulian appears in US court, Manhattan, New York!



TurkishPress.com: Co-defendant of Russian arms trafficker appears in US court





Andrew Smulian appeared in Manhattan district court late Monday on charges of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization and was detained without bail.

Prosecutors did not say where or when Smulian was arrested.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

"Arrested"... yeah, right...



posted on Mar, 11 2008 @ 04:53 PM
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On February 28 2008, Belgium issued an international arrest warrant on Bout for supplying arms to terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda...


RIA Novosti: Lord of War


11/ 03/ 2008


The sensational arrest of a Russian businessman and international arms dealer, Viktor Bout, may trigger one of the most outrageous spying and political scandals of the recent decade.

[---]

A few days previously, on February 28, 2008, Belgium issued an international warrant for the arrest of Viktor Bout and turned to Interpol for assistance. The Belgian authorities are accusing Bout of supplying arms to various terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



posted on Mar, 11 2008 @ 11:13 PM
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reply to post by Hellmutt
 



they had 100 surface to air missiles ready, plus helicopters and armour piercing rockets. He could drop them into Columbia by parachute.


I wonder if there might have been something else than "just" helicopters and missiles involved? Bout was arrested when the DEA were posing as FARC people. Remember the FARC leader who got killed in Equador recently, causing Venezuela to send tanks to the Colombian border? This FARC leader was apparently in Romania in January, meeting with Mogilevich's people seeking to buy uranium, to be able to make a dirty bomb. I bet Bout would've been involved with transporting this stuff to Colombia after such deal.



posted on Mar, 12 2008 @ 04:05 AM
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Smulian, gets "released" and then shows up in the hands of the American government, in NY no less!?!?! This story just gets juicier and juicer!!

I am absolutely thrilled at how this is turning out and am watching this thread more intensely than the Champions League matches.
I'm with you Hellmutt, I'm anxiously awaiting the day that this story is told in book form and would love to hear it told straight from the proverbial horse's mouth.

I seriously can't think of another story that has intrigued me quite like this one. Thank you very, very much Hellmutt for the plethora of links and sources you have provided here. You've been doing an absolutely stellar job keeping up on this. Kudos!

On a side note; I find the FARC connection to be one of the most interesting aspects to this story. Hugo Chavez has been shaking things up pretty badly in South America and while the media may be concentrating on the war on terror I think they are missing the fact that US intelligence agencies are spending a great deal of effort and assets in that region. This story and the recent killing of two of FARC's top leaders, Luis Edgar Devia Silva (aka: Raul Reyes) and Manuel de Jesus Munoz (aka: Ivan Rios) seem, to me, to be evidence of that.

Thanks again Hellmutt,

-Cypher





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