Posted in Politics

Viktor Bout, “merchant of death” sentenced to 25 years

Although, unknowingly acquainted with him earlier through the character of Yuri Orlov, played by Nicolas Cage, in the film Lord of War, which was released in 2005., my first conscious encounter with Viktor Bout was when reading Andrew Feinstein’s The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade.  However, as Andrew’s book was published in 2011, it is very probable that some of the readers of this post had their conscious encounter with him beforehand in the Merchant of Death, which was co-written by the journalists Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun, and which was published in 2008. However, no matter where and how our background knowledge of Viktor Bout has been acquired, or indeed if we have any background information at all, any unbiased insight into Viktor Bout would have to empathize with Kathi Lynn Austin, the former arms trafficking investigator for the United Nations and executive director of the Conflict Awareness Project, when she says that she is “very happy that justice has been served, in the sense that he will be put away for 25 years.”

Nevertheless, in saying that Kathy is very aware, that when it comes to Viktor Bout, the Americans, who used him for national security operations for a long time. are extremely hypocritical. It is an hypocrisy that is succinctly summed up when she points out that even when the U.N. investigators confronted Washington regarding Halliburton’s cooperation with Bout, mainly through its subsidiary Brown & Root, they continued to use Bout in violation of U.S. law and U.N. sanctions .We might not be surprised to learn that these  security firms linked to former Vice President Cheney.

Yes, the evidence would indeed suggest that Bout is a criminal who deserves to be behind bars. However, it is his becoming, for whatever reason, expendable that has landed him behind bars. Moreover, his ties to the Russian government and the Russian secret service,might just have made him unwilling to collaborate with the Americans to the same extent as the two stooges who were to give evidence against him; a former military officer from Guatemala and the former military officer Colombia, both ex-cocaine dealers. Of course, it might just be that Viktor is quite simply a fall guy, the necessary scapegoat. Moreover, we can be quite sure that Ms Austin and her team calling “for an investigation, further investigation, into U.S. relationship with Viktor Bout,” will not change that to a point where the big, big criminals a la Cheney will have anything to fear. Be serious Kathy, do you really expect to get Blair and Bush and their cronies arrested?

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There are a lot of poor bastards out there being used and abused; it is just not cricket "old bean". Something tells me that ignorance is not bliss, but is, in fact, simply ignorance and in the global village we cannot look the other way.

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