Who is behind the character assassination of Viktor Bout?
Viktor Anatoliyevich Bout was a very successful Russian businessman. He built a colossal air cargo empire from scratch in a very entrepreneurial fashion. Bout is a family man. He has a 14 year old daughter, Elizabeth, and has been married to his wife Alla for almost 20 years. Viktor Bout, aka ‘The Merchant of Death’ and the ‘Lord of War’ is currently awaiting his extradition from Thailand to the United States where he will face trial. If Bout is found guilty of all the charges and allegations, he could face life in prison in a strange land and may never see his wife, his daughter or his home again.
The fact remains that he is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. According to the media’s portrayal of Bout, he is guilty as sin and the awaiting U.S. trial is just a formality. Another misconception portrayed in the media about Viktor Bout is that he is a billionaire. Today that could not be farther from the truth: in fact Viktor Bout is broke.
In Viktor Bout’s own words
Viktor Bout has consistently and continually maintained his innocence. He has repeatedly denied being an arms dealer, though he acknowledges the air transport company he once ran did carry legally authorized shipments of weapons. I have read a plethora of articles, stories and blogs about Viktor Bout. Interestingly, there are just a scant number of articles that tell Viktor Bout’s side of the story. Bout has recently become very vocal in the press, mainly through the voice of his wife Alla. The following quotes were taken from various articles from The Voice of Russia:
“The U.S. is trying to create for me the image of an illegal billionaire and an illegal arms dealer. I have never traded in weapons, I have never sold weapons.”
“Many media organizations are disseminating information about me as the biggest arms dealer in the world. They do it without thinking of the fact that there is absolutely no proof of these allegations and that proof just doesn’t exist.”
Viktor Bout says, he “earned his fortune in the 1990s in the legitimate air cargo business”. He also regrets what he describes as a “sensationalist and irresponsible coverage of his case in the Western media.”
Bout goes on to say that, like the case against him, all the charges were fabricated by U.S. special services. Bout then accused the United States and international media of demonizing him as major weapons dealer without proof.
Here’s the thing
Viktor Bout has spent the last 2 ½ years incarcerated in a Thai prison. The majority of that time Bout has been held unjustly. While it is perfectly legal – to detain those who are being sued for extradition, Vikor Bout’s case was anything but simple. In fact, Bout’s case was unusual and peculiar. Most people do not realize that after Viktor Bout’s initial arrest on 6 March 2008, he was released approximately one month later and then immediately re-arrested. In Viktor Bout’s particular case, there were technical procedural violations regarding his second arrest on 9 April 2008 that invalidated him from being detained any further. Thus after those violations occurred, Bout was being detained unjustly with no legal basis and has never violated any Thai laws.
For the past several weeks a U.S. Marshals jet has been waiting for Bout on the tarmac at Don Mueang Airport while he is currently awaiting his fate in the infamous prison dubbed the “Bangkok Hilton”.
Victor Bout has committed no crime, claims Douglas Farah of the United States, a co-author of the book Merchant of Death, written about Bout. Co-author Douglas Farah, when interviewed by the magazine Mother Jones said, “It is important to note, as we do in the book, that much of what Viktor Bout does is, while reprehensible, not illegal.”
Ironically, the U.S. government used to be one of Viktor Bout’s largest clients. The same government that is now trying to extradite him, convict him and imprison him for life. Farah says that U.S. government agencies were happy to employ Bout’s services in the past, while now they accuse him of illegal arms deliveries.
In the midst of the shadows
Daniel Estulin is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group. In Estulin’s most recent book, Shadow Masters: An International Network of Governments and Secret-Service Agencies Working Together with Drugs Dealers and Terrorists for Mutual Benefit and Profit, he dedicated two chapters to Viktor Bout. Unlike Douglas Farah, Estulin has met directly with Bout and spoke to him face to face on more than one occasion.
I have spoken to Daniel Estulin via Skype at length several times and he has been immensely helpful in shedding light as well as the truth in regards to Viktor Bout. In order to finish his book, Shadow Masters, Estulin wanted to hear the Viktor Bout story from Bout himself. Estulin’s conclusion was: “This guy is not guilty. He was set up. The more information I gathered — from Bout, from people around him and from sources in the intelligence community — the more I discovered that the whole thing was a huge farce. None of it checked out. There’s not one piece of evidence.”
Oddly, two authors that have published books about Bout, one who has met him and interviewed him directly, both say that he has not broken any laws. Estulin goes even farther to say that “he was set up.” Why and when did the U.S. government go from Viktor Bout’s largest client to wanting to put him away for life?
Exactly when did Viktor Bout’s legal air cargo business become illegal?
September 11, 2001 — an unforgettable day. Was 9/11 and terrorism a justifiable reason for the U.S. government to cut all business ties with Bout and to suddenly regard him as a villain? Or like so many other things that changed for the worst in our country after that day, was it simply perfect timing for the CIA to seize control of Bout’s vast air cargo empire?
According to Douglas Farah, “the United States was Victor Bout’s major customer, specifically prior to the invasion of Iraq. The Pentagon began rolled back cooperation with Bout when air traffic between Washington and the Iraq-based U.S. force acquired the required proportions. The U.S. just lacked the sufficient number of transport planes to transfer military cargoes in the required amount to the Asian country.”
Richard Chichakli states, that “Mr. Bout was not sanctioned by the U.S. government until July of 2004, and prior to that date there was not any prohibition to conduct business with him.”
Ironically, the movie the Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage came out in 2005. This movie is widely regarded to be based on Viktor Bout and has practically made him a household name among Americans. Besides a few scant facts that resemble Bout’s life, the movie is fiction and part of the ongoing media campaign to assassinate his character.
Bout had approximately 90 percent of the air cargo business on the African continent as well as substantial freight business in the Middle East and Asia. According to conversations with Daniel Estulin, he had built up a virtual monopoly. Bout got in at the right time and stayed in when everyone else including the CIA were leaving. There were many bloody civil wars across Africa and other aviation risks. By sticking it out he did quite well, especially on the African continent. It was the stabilization of the region as well as a demand for oil, cobalt, diamonds, etc., as well as a means to transport it that attracted the CIA back to the region that they once abandoned.
It seems evident that when the U.S. government, specifically the CIA, wanted to get back into the arms and cargo business for a myriad of reasons, Viktor Bout stood in their way. It was then that Bout was suddenly transformed as an owner of a legal cargo business to the world’s largest illegal arms dealer and the ‘Lord of War’. Simultaneously, the U.S. government went from a long-term business partner of Viktor Bout’s to his number one enemy.
We are still left with the question of evidence or the lack thereof. Let U.S. examine this issue more closely.
Where the drones at?
Surely there must be some physical evidence of some sort, like some buy money must have changed hands?
OK, how about some AK-47′s, missiles, RP-G’s, C-4 explosives or some unmanned aerial vehicles aka drones? Actually there is absolutely no physical evidence against Viktor Bout. Just the word of DEA agent Derek Odney. Here is a list of what Viktor Bout allegedly said he could supply.
According to the U.S. grand jury indictment, Bout indicated that he could supply the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia) with 700 to 800 shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, 5,000 AK-47 firearms, millions of rounds of ammunition, various Russian spare parts for rifles, anti-personnel mines and C-4 explosives, night-vision equipment, “ultralight” airplanes which could be outfitted with grenade launchers, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles with a range of 200km-300km.
Albeit this is a nice shopping list for a terrorist but it is simply not Viktor Bout’s modus operandi.
There is not any evidence of money changing hands, nor physical evidence of any missiles, AK-47′s, RP-G’s and — last but not least — no evidence of a single drone. In fact, in the absence of any evidence, DEA agent Derek Odney even tried to bribe a Russian intelligence agent on behalf of the U.S. government to extradite Viktor Bout in exchange for any amount of money.
Please note that as I am not taking Viktor Bout’s plight lightly, I am however being facetious with my emphasis on drones. I can not help but find the wide-ranging arsenal of arms, weapons and apparatus mentioned in the list anything but amusing. In reality the most serious offense Bout is being charged with are the missiles. However, there is not any evidence or proof of missiles either. Just Derek Odney’s testimony.
Richard Chichakli and Viktor Bout
The following paragraph was taken directly from Richard Chichakli’s website, http://www.chichakli.com/updates.htm. Richard has always called Victor a “brother and friend” and he is that to Richard, nothing more and nothing less. Richard Chichakli and Victor Bout developed a personal relation since their meeting for the first time nearly 14 years ago in the UAE. The two men were aviation enthusiasts who enjoy developing business, managing aircraft, and working in a fast-pace environment.
According to Daniel Estulin, “Richard Chichakli and Viktor Bout were friends and he had absolutely no authority to negotiate on Bout’s behalf with DEA undercover agent Derek Odney.” This is important, because the U.S. has been making no distinctions between Viktor Bout and Richard Chichakli in their case against Bout. Since Richard was an eye witness to what transpired, he was Bout’s best defense.
Bout defeated the U.S. in the first case brought against him in Thailand in 2009 after the charges were found groundless. According to Chichakli, after the U.S. first defeat in court, they had two objectives: keeping Bout in jail and silencing Richard Chichakli.
Daniel Estulin claims, that “the U.S. government lied in order to fulfill those two objectives.” Estulin told me that with Chichakli’s evidence and testimony the U.S. case against Bout would not have a chance. Therefore, to achieve their by any means necessary objective to extradite Bout, they lied to silence Chichakli and made preposterous allegations to keep him in prison.
Dimitri A. Khalezov, is not only a former officer of the Soviet nuclear intelligence, officially known as the Special Control Service of the 12th Chief Directorate of the Defense Ministry, but also author of The Third Truth, concerning the nuclear demolition of the World Trade Center and of the “9/11thology.” In addition to this, he is probably Viktor Bout’s best and closest friend. During a recent phone conversation, Dimitri told me: “I know Viktor Bout’s case better than anyone, better than his wife, in fact, I know Viktor Bout ‘s case better than Viktor Bout.”
Yesterday when I spoke with Dimitri he was ill from spending a week in prison where he was thrown at the apparent request of the Americans immediately after Viktor Bout’s final verdict had been read by the court.
According to Daniel Estulin, “About nine months ago, Derek Odney had met in Bangkok with a former Russian officer, specialist in nuclear technology and who was working on Bout´s defense. The meeting took place in front of the U.S. Embassy. This two hour meeting was photographed by an agent of the United States government and, unfortunate for Derek, the meeting was also audio and video recorded by the Russians, because the man he was meeting with is also an intelligence officer.
As it turns out, the Russian officer was a lot smarter than Odney, because after two hours of beating around the bush he was able to get Odney to say on tape, that the U.S. government is prepared-to and will pay him (Russian officer) any amount of money he wants, if he just gets out of the way of Bout’s extradition.”
Estulin continues: “The recording shows the lead DEA agent in the sting operation against Bout, Derek Odney offering to pay a bribe on behalf of the U.S. government, in any amount, to a Russian who was a member of Bout’s defense team in exchange for his help for the extradition of Viktor Bout. It was described by some as a true disaster for the United States government, the U.S. Department of Justice and the DEA itself.
Bout is no fool
On the contrary, Viktor Bout has been described as being very smart and savvy by those who know him. Bout can speak six languages fluently, he is well-educated, a proven businessman and entrepreneur.To me it seems that someone would have to be extremely smart and intelligent to run such a huge, successful international air cargo business for a long duration.
It makes absolutely no sense to me that Bout suddenly gets entrapped in a sting operation. It is not intelligent to let yourself get setup by a bunch of DEA agents. Viktor Bout does not come across to me as unintelligent. Ironically, the agent running the sting operation, Derek Odney got caught red-handed trying to bribe Russian intelligence. This is the same agent that said Bout tried to sell him night-vision equipment, AK-47′s, surface to air missiles and among other things, drones.
Bout’s character assassination by the U.N.
Front Line World published an article about Viktor Bout in May, 2002, titled The Embargo Buster. At that time they wrote: “Perhaps most striking is the fact that while Bout has been accused by U.N. investigators, the press and intelligence sources, no government has yet charged him with gun-smuggling.”
Everything changed after September 11, 2001. Look at how drastically Viktor Bout’s image has changed in the media. From becoming obscure, mostly unknown to many, to becoming the world’s most notorious arms dealer and being dubbed ‘The Merchant of Death’. Here is another excerpt from the Front Line World article in 2002:
“An in-depth examination of the media’s coverage of one of these arms dealers –Victor Bout — from an obscure aviation company owner, known only to arms control activists, to a “businessman” helping Angolan UNITA rebels rearm, and finally into the leader of what some officials are now calling “the world’s largest arms-smuggling network” — shows how international priorities are changing following September 11.”
It was Daniel Estulin with his brilliant research and in-depth investigative journalism who discovered that the United Nations was behind the smearing campaign, that ultimately destroyed Viktor Bout’s business, reputation, life, family and that stole his freedom. This is another quote from the same Front Line World article in 2002: “Using the diplomatic prestige of the United Nations, they publicize the results of their international detective work, hoping the bad publicity will prod governments into action.”
According to Estulin, the front man for the U.N. who has produced reports and “evidence” against Bout is a guy named Johan Peleman who has received millions of dollars in funding from the U.N. to write these reports. He has created a kind of flow chart which is cited as evidence by everyone else but there is apparently no tangible proof against Bout at all. It is clearly evident that Johan Peleman via the U.N. as his voice was out to get Bout and being paid millions of dollars to do it.
When the U.N. published its report about Victor Bout in 2001 it led to the financial collapse of Victor Bout, almost all of Victor’s friends abandoned him except for Richard Chichakli. Any business in any industry would suffer catastrophically, fail or become bankrupt and insolvent if it lost its biggest client overnight.
Why would the United States government want to demonize Bout?
It is obvious that whoever was paying Johan Peleman millions of dollars to slander Viktor Bout’s name within the U.N. wanted him out of the way. My economics professor embedded this pearl of wisdom into me and I still believe firmly today, that “the entire world revolves around economics.” In a nutshell, the CIA wanted the economic benefits of the air cargo monopoly that Viktor Bout built up over the years.
In a recent article by Foreign Policy In Focus dated September 1, 2010, titled Viktor Bout, Much Bruited About by Far Left (and Right), Just a Fall Guy? the author Russ Wellen quotes an unnamed source as: “This thing smells like a disinformation campaign which is about par for the course with the NYT [considering how they danced] to the CIA’s tune in regards to Vietnam and Guatemala.”
Besides the economic benefits, controlling the majority of weapon and arm sales on the African Continent and Middle East would be priceless. The intel of knowing the buyers and sellers in the arms trade would be extremely valuable information for the CIA’s strategy and planning in the region.
It is a known fact that Bout was employed by the Pentagon and probably also directly by the CIA as a logistic “subcontractor” in Iraq and Afghanistan. One can even speculate that Bout’s in-depth knowledge of the international players in the arms arena has kept him alive. Otherwise, he might have been eliminated and his franchise taking over.
Apparently destroying Viktor Bout’s business was not enough for the U.S. government. It was not just about business anymore, it got personal. The United States in order to obtain their objective to extradite Viktor Bout by any means necessary, have destroyed a man, his reputation, his family and stole his freedom.
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