|..:: Hot News:|
Monday, 11.26.2012, 07:34pm (GMT+1)
Russian Arms Smuggler with links to the Bush Administration and the Northern Alliance Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in New York:
Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, celebrated as ‘The Lone wolf’ amongst the cognoscente of the international arms and drug smuggling circles, and as the ‘Merchant of Death’ in the lexicon of international arms control monitors, was recently extradited from Thailand to stand trial in the U.S. for selling arms to terrorist organizations around the globe. A Federal Grand Jury in New York returned the indictment after hearing the evidence. Moscow has characterized the indictment as ‘Kafkaesque’ and has lodged a jurisdictional-protest with the U.S. Department of State, demanding Bout’s repatriation to Russia. (2, 5)
Viktor Bout has highly questionable links to the previous administration of George W. Bush and was reportedly very close to Vice President Dick Cheney, he also boasts of ties to the Northern Alliance both during the Jihad and post-Jihad periods. Viktor Bout was a close, personal friend of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, and they often went on hunting trips together in pursuit of the rare Marco Polo (Ovis Poli) wild sheep. (7)
When and if details of these links surface, they could well embarrass the U.S. Government in the event of an open and well-publicized trial that could disclose and compromise secret contracts and accommodations between the U.S. Government and the notorious Viktor Bout. (1)
Who is Viktor Bout? Born in Dushanbe in 1967, Viktor Bout attended the Soviet Military Institute for foreign languages in Moscow and attended a Russian military college, where at the age of 18 in 1985, is said to have met , for the first time, General V.I.Varrenikov’s protégé, the late Ahmad Shah Massoud. An enterprising student, Viktor Bout graduated at a young, impressionable age from the learning institutions of the KGB to achieve the rank of major. Among his close and personal friends (read clients): Ahmad Shah Massoud, B. Rabbani, Qanooni, Abdullah Abdullah, Khalili, Fahim, Dostum, General Atta, General Daoud Daoud, Engineer Saleh and amongst Africans, Mobutu, Savimbi, and Jonas Taylor of Sierra Leone are but a few examples of Bout’s clients addicted to weapons and power. During a recent interview with a Norwegian journalist, Viktor Bout bragged of his association with the world’s most notorious, and in the words of the interviewer spoke ‘glowingly’ of Massoud. Bout also referred to a ‘major contract with Rabbani,’ signed during the war against the Taliban. Invoices were produced and examined by the interviewer which covered one such shipment prepared on the letterhead of San Air General Trading, based in Sharjah, UAE, one of several front companies used by Bout. The invoices enumerated the following military equipment: 2 MI8T helicopter gunships, 4 missile launchers, 3 helicopter FAB 250 bomb dispensers, ammunition and spare parts totaling 2 billion dollars. (1, 5, 7)
During August of 1995, one of Bout’s jets laden with ammunition was forced down in Kandahar. Bout seized the opportunity to establish links with the Taliban for future sales. During his KGB tour of duty, Bout corroborated his role as a supply-side link between the Soviet military and Ahmad Shah Massoud. He admitted that Russia had ‘supplied most of Massoud’s hardware.’ Bout also confirmed that he had leased aircraft to both the Najibullah and Taliban regimes. When pressed for details of the Russian Government’s role in weapons re-supply to Massoud during the Soviet/Afghan War, and on behalf of Russian developers and as a counter or proxy force to frustrate the U.S. in securing the contract for the oil-pipeline (TAP), he replied ‘my clients are the governments and I keep my mouth shut.’ It was Bout that lent a helping hand as mentor to Massoud with the smuggling of arms from Soviet weapons stockpiles to Somalia between 1992 and 1995, utilizing Ariana Afghan Airline aircraft. With his long-established association with Bout, Massoud inherited the USSR’s fully operational systems of clandestine transport, banking, and document (forgery) specialists organized and administered by a sophisticated criminal element who understand how to use them and have established, decades-old back channel contacts into countries under UN embargo. Massoud, reportedly paid Bout in emeralds for arms consignments while receiving payment from his clients in the form of raw, uncut diamonds from one of Bout’s numerous African sources. (1, 6, 7)
During the contentious negotiations for the Trans-Afghan-Pipeline, Bridas of Argentina contracted with Ahmad Shah Massoud, paying him 1.0 million dollars to keep the country in turmoil and therefore make it difficult if not nearly impossible for their competitor UNOCAL to successfully ratify an agreement with the Taliban with the country enmeshed in endless conflict. Ammunition and weapons re-supply were provided by Viktor Bout. (3, 6)
One of Bout’s controversial government clients certain to raise many, many questions was the administration of George W. Bush. As a point in fact, Bout provided a ferrying service for the U.S. Air Force, Army Corps of Engineers, and for KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton Corporation. Under contract with the U.S. Government, Bout flew 142 missions to Iraq. Bout’s contact in the Bush Administration is said to have been former Halliburton executive and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. (1)
Recent allegations surrounding illegal narcotics and arms smuggling by the Afghan Air Force, presently allies of the U.S., pose serious questions and concerns about the role of America’s northern allies in illegal arms, opium, Afghanistan’s antiquities and gem trafficking and are certain to open inquiries into the activities of one Viktor Bout and his relationship with the U.S. and their Northern Alliance allies. It remains dubious however, whether the trial of Viktor Bout will in fact be open or closed. Without doubt, there are highly disturbing questions as to how it is that the U.S. Government contracts with one of the world’s most notorious smugglers of contraband. One cannot but be skeptical as to whether Viktor Bout will survive his incarceration by the U.S., considering the embarrassing and damaging secrets that could result from testimony provided through witnesses for the prosecution and his reliance on insulation from prosecution garnered through his covert association with the U.S.
It appears that two government agencies are here in opposition and at work: the Department of Justice that seeks Bout’s prosecution and the Pentagon who will attempt by any means necessary to protect their clandestine activities from public and Congressional disclosure. Testimony as to his contractual obligations and accommodations to and with the U.S. Government, are bound to surface in the media and therefore to the public in any open court hearing or protracted trial. Pre-trial reports suggest that Bout will rely on his covert activities on behalf of the U.S. in their so-called ‘war on terror’, (a war without borders increasingly viewed around the world as a ‘global war of conquest’) as his primary defense.
Intelligence agencies since time immemorial have relied on nefarious characters in pursuit of their agendas. Arms dealers such as Viktor Bout could not operate without the knowledge and cooperation of government agencies, agencies that often operate outside the law and Congressional oversight and have a long and sordid record of utilizing drug, gun and gem smugglers to aid with the financing of wars and to secure a political outcome. (6)
Bruce G. Richardson, 11/24/12
(1) Afghanistan, a Search for Truth, Bruce G. Richardson, 2008, pp. 26-266.
(3) Ghost Wars, Steve Coll, 2004, p.329
(7) Merchant of Death, David Farrah and Steven Braun, 2007, pp. 15, 46, 126