US loses bid to extradite Lord of War


The Thai supreme court has denied the United States request to extradite arms dealer Viktor Bout, better known as the Lord of War and the Merchant of Death.

The Bangkok Post interviewed the man of whom only a few years ago precious little was known. Emphasis mine.

Bout becomes incensed at the suggestion he supplied weapons to Farc or other terrorist organisations.

”No, I didn’t. Never! This is all bullshit,” he says. ”Everything is in the Americans’ minds. They don’t know what to do anymore in the world. During the past eight years the Western media didn’t want even to talk to me because they knew that they would have problems.”

Bout is particularly angry about the 2005 film Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage as Yuri Orlov, which is allegedly based on his life story and details the gruesome trade of weapons-trafficking in Africa.

”The movie is pure fiction, fantasy and fabrication which has nothing to do with me or my previous business. The movie didn’t make much money either. I used to admire actor Cage, but not anymore.”

However, when asked if his air-freight company shipped arms before it went out of business, he replied: ”Some cargo shipped by my air-freight company included weapons, but it doesn’t mean that I am an arms dealer.”

When asked if he was involved in air freighting goods for America’s war in Iraq after 2003, he said ”I can categorically state that I have never shipped anything to Iraq as reported by the BBC and other news organisations, nor did anything for the Americans there whatsoever.”

He added: ”I must condemn reputable news organisations such as the British Broadcasting Commission, the Cable News Network and other Western media for totally distorting the facts about my past activities. I would describe most of what they say about me as lies and fabrications.”

My understand is that nobody ever talked to him because they could not find him. If you consider how much an interview with him would have been worth for the Times or Post, it seems unlikely that they did not try. My understanding is that even photos of him were scarce.

My theory is that Bout will be delivered to whoever is more embarrassed by what he knows. While he disputes it, it is generally accepted that the US made use of him to transport weapons in the Middle East. I am sure the Russians also used his services.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Matt Groom

    I agree with Viktor, “Lord of War” sucked.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Matt, serious? Lord of War ROCKED in my opinion. I loved it.

  • jdun1911

    I have to agree with Mat. LoW wasn’t good.

    I’m interested in what heavy weapons he exported and to what countries.

    Remember folks small arms don’t win wars, big guns do like artillery.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      jdun1911, the DEA sting involved the export of anti-air missiles and AKs to FARC.

  • Whatever

    “Remember folks small arms don’t win wars, big guns do like artillery.”

    It depends on what kind of war is being fought.

  • jdun1911

    Heavy weapons are really bad. They can do serious damage compare to small arms.

    So many people focus on small arms like AK, AR, etc for weapon smuggling. Small arms are just that small arms and don’t really impact the flow of battle and war like heavy weapons.

    People get high blood pressure when they heard 100k of AK smuggle into country X but break no sweat for ten 155 Howitzer. That ten 155 Howitzer with a trained crew will lay waste to 100k AK equipped soldier in no time.

    Those that have big guns are tempted to start wars against those that don’t because big guns win wars.

  • Carl

    Guns do not cause wars. People cause wars, when there is a disparity of guns. If everyone had lots of guns there would be a lot fewer wars.

    George Clooney et al should be lobbying the UN to allow the Viktor Bouts of the world to sell weapons to the opressed in Darfur etc rather than asking for interventions by troops from other countries. If the people who lived there had weapons they could defend themselves.

    Only if an arms dealer knows that the buyer is going to use his weapons for evil is he to blame. Selling guns is in itself an entirely peaceful act.

    I just saw “The International”, another movie partially about arms trade, and they of course had it all wrong too. Some rubbish conspiracy about how big banks control the world by selling weapons and thereby supposedly causing conflicts.

    It had a cool shootout set in the Guggenheim museum in NY though. But the story was crap.

  • mattling

    Lord of war wasn’t good? What other movie have you seen where the (supposedly) bad guy just walks away and gets paid for it?

  • Matt Groom

    Fight Club, No Country for Old Men, it doesn’t happen often, but usually when the villain is the star, they get away.

  • Michael

    Jdun1911,

    “That ten 155 Howitzer with a trained crew will lay waste to 100k AK equipped soldier in no time.”

    The key word here is “trained crew”. Check out the Air Force of Cote d’Ivore. At several points in their current civil war, they have purchased Migs and Sukhoi aircraft, just to have each one of them un-flyable in less than a year due to lack of maintenance. Small arms can be surprisingly effective. Executive Outcomes was able to regain control of the majority of Sierra Leone with little more than 80 men with small arms and one helicopter.

    Carl,
    +1 about arming the victims. One of the primary reasons that Executive Outcomes was so effective is because they worked very effectively with the Kamajors, essentially local militia outfits that held ground after EO was able to retake it.

    The grating thing about “the International” is that it is supposedly based on a true story, in this case BCCI. But, of course where they go wrong, as you point out, is the left-wing fantasy that the support that BCCI provided to arms smuggling was due to evil capitalists trying to make money off of fomenting wars. BCCI was in fact founded by a Pakistani to “fight the evil influence of the West,” and supported Islamic terrorist organizations, most predominantly, Abu Nidal. Something tells me that they left that out of the Hollywood rendition.

    -Michael

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Michael, I did not know that about true story behind The International! I found it a disappointing movie.

  • jdun1911

    Small Arms can be effective if there is no one to stop them. I’m not doubting that.

    In the case of Sierra Leone it was more of an infantry war without heavy weapon support. The few heavy weapon both sides had was second handed and run down.

    Big guns is what win wars not small arms. If country X is buying big guns country Y is screw if it didn’t do the same.

  • Me

    Read a good article about him sometime back, Cant remember from what source, but the “small arms” such as AK’s are usually just teasers, freebies. Much like tha pharmacutical salesman who gives the physician a ton of samples. Ak’s are usually thrown in as a sweetener on the deal, at a loss for the arms dealer. They make the real money on the heavy, and high tech stuff.

  • Garett

    I think it’s one of the best movies ever!!!

  • mike

    In terms of telling the story of how deals are made it is a good movie,and there should have been more in depth story about this area,in terms of was he guilty of course he was he was selling arms to warlords

  • mike

    he is as guilty as all those doing the killing