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.