Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

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Press Releases

Viktor Bout's Planes Still at It
The Times of London has just outed another aircraft tied to Viktor Bout by U.N. reports, to arming Islamist radicals in the Horn of Africa.

The undercover sting operation by the newspaper found that a Russian, Alexander Radionov, whose Antonov 8 aircraft in Sharjah was already identified as a Bout aircraft, was willing to fly a load of weapons to the Islamic Court Union forces in Somalia, even though Somalia is still under a U.N. arms embargo.

It is worth remembering that the ICU is the radical Islamist organization that was imposing _sharia_ law in Somalia before being driven out last December by Ethiopian troops, who acted with the support of the United States.

Not only does the embargo exist on paper, but the journalist posing as an arms purchaser specifically stated the flights would not be declared, and that they would be dropped in an area clearly controlled by the Islamists.

As the Times noted, "The offer to hire out an aircraft and provide parachutes for the mission to Somalia, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, demonstrates how easy it is to flout the efforts of western governments to stop illegal arms trafficking."

This, years after the problems with Bout and his aircraft have been known, exposed and written about.

Pardon my plug for my book, but that is exactly what my new book, Merchant of Death, with Steve Braun, is about. It also describes how Bout has flown for other Islamist groups, including the Taliban, Islamists in Bosnia etc., as well as his flights for non-Islamist terrorist groups like the FARC in Colombia etc.

A sidenote: If you read the reviews of the book on Amazon you will find that someone, with all the grammatical, syntax and style errors of Bout's associate Richard Chichakli, is trashing the book under the name of Virginia Cook. Either Ms. Cook shares the same manic drive, penchant for telling the same falsehoods and tortured grammar as Mr. Chichakli, or someone is unwilling to put their name to their postings, which are riddled with factual errors, slander and tripe. I understand why one would hide one's name from that, but still...

But, back to the real story. The London Times piece comes just before the reported a major bribery investigation into the operations of KBR, the giant contractor, for the flights it hired into Iraq and Afghanistan. (KBR were among those who hired Viktor Bout's aircraft to fly to those destinations.)

As the NYT reports, "a former Houston-based executive for an air-freight carrier hired by KBR pleaded guilty in federal district court to dispensing bribes and then lying to federal investigators. The executive, Kevin Andre Smoot, 43, of The Woodlands, Tex., served as a managing director for Eagle Global Logistics Incorporated, a carrier that received a subcontract from KBR to ship the freight." And who did KBR and its contractors then subcontract to?

Great to see your tax dollars at work sometimes.

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