Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bout Busted in Bangkok

The "Merchant of Death", regarded as the world's biggest illegal arms dealer was arrested by Thailand's police in Bangkok. Victor Bout, 41, a Russian who graduated from Moscow's Military Institute and known to be a Major in the KGB, is wanted for engaging in illegal arms trade in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America, Europe, and selling arms and weaponry to the Taleban and Al Qaeda. He is also the most prominent foreign business man known to be breaking UN embargoes on arms sales to Bulgaria, Slovakia, Ukraine and Krygyzstan. Bout was arrested on the strength of a US warrant issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Victor Bout, who has the reputation as the "man who makes war possible", is believed to be the inspiration for Nicolas Cage's character in the 2005 film "Lord of War". In 2002, he evaded arrest stemming from a warrant issued by Belgium and interpol when he returned to Russia. The Russian Constitution protected him from extradition. He has also been investigated in several countries but has never been prosecuted for arms dealing. As implied in the movie, the illegal arms dealer is set free by the higher authorities of the very country that arrested him, primarily because these countries use him to sell arms to the enemies of their enemy in a war for wealth and profitable resources.

Bout speaks several languages and owns the largest private fleet of Soviet era cargo aircraft, obtained during the break-up of the Soviet Union. It is chillingly possible that he has also obtained and sold some of the former USSR's nuclear weapons and ICBMs to countries that are at odds with the western powers. Bout has denied performing illegal acts. How this arrest and seizure of his cargo in Thailand will play out deserves scrutiny. Trade offs and back room deals to prevent information leaks about involvement of other countries and their officials in sanctioning arms selling, could conceal the brutal truth about these transactions and the bloody trail of death, destruction and misery it leaves behind. Bout could certainly be out of the picture, but someone from the same mold will take his place.

Men like Victor Bout see only the profit in war. They are cognizant of the lust for power among leaders, that fuel the greed and plunder of nations; unmindful of the suffering, pain, dislocation, and psychological damage to the survivors and the generation of bitter orphans it produces. These are mere collateral damage for their objective of wealth and power acquisition. The trader in Victor Bout is focused on the transaction as a business agreement; and death, in all its savagery, brutality, and inhumanity is just an economic method where the tools of his trade are applied. That such men are protected by heads of powerful agencies of states is not surprising. The pursuit of power and the desire to dominate produces the worst of scoundrels even within nations that declare their adherence to democratic principles.



The Immortal said...

You have already guessed what the result of this arrest will lead to, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

All powerful nations, and even those small despotic wannabees are involved in this somehow. That was the very purpose of the film, to show the heartlessness of the strong and to make fodder of the weak.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Immortal,

Yes there may be involvement and there may be a white wash and cover up. My only question is, what is it? The role of the USA in this arrest has not been publicized, however, it was made possible through a warrant they issued. Could this be a competitor eliminating another or is this double cross?

The nice thing to determine is who is and has been using Bout's services and where specifically were these. We know the countries, but we don't know the beneficiary.

The media should stick to this story even more toughly than they did Monica Lewinsky. --Durano, done!

Philippine Updates said...

They say that the Lord of War was taken mostly from the life of this guy. So what comes next? A phone call from somebody who outranks the arresting officers?

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi JC,

That's exactly how I feel this will play out. There could be a tug of war with Russia, even a conviction; but in the end it will all be hushed through a quiet prisoner exchange.

Definitely he will be out of the picture, but someone will always take his place. --Durano, done!

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