It turns out that Russian businessman and former Russian Army officer Victor Bout freed by a Thai lower court in August 2009, after being caught up in a US sting operation, was declared guilty a year later in a Thai court of appeals, and whisked via extradition to the US. The reversal means he could face charges of smuggling arms and supporting terrorists, which could mean life in prison.
Ex-Russian Air Force officer Viktor Bout, accused of selling weapons to insurgents across the world for two decades, has been extradited to the US to face terrorism charges. Bout was flown from Bangkok to New York Wednesday and directed to the Metropolitan Correction Center in lower Manhattan and appeared in Federal Court yesterday.
Touted as “The Merchant of Death,” Bout, according to the Wall Street Journal, pleaded not guilty to charges that he agreed to supply Colombian terrorists with weapons with the intent to kill Americans.” An earlier, updated NY1 story included accusations that Bout provided support to “groups in Africa, South America, and the Middle-East who tried to kill Americans,” the recurring theme.
Run time: 64:06 min
In Merchant of Death, Douglas Farah and Stephan Braun tell the true story of Viktor Bout, a young Russian intelligence officer who, since the end of the Cold War, has redefined how wars are fought in much of the developing world. By gaining access to unguarded weapons arsenals and a fleet of several dozen aircraft, Bout became a one-stop shopping service for all sides in many wars, from Afghanistan, where he armed the Norther Alliance and the Taliban, to the jungles of Colombia and the diamond-rich regions of West Africa.
The human cost of the illicit weapons trafficking has been enormous, enabling criminal and terrorist groups to achieve new levels of violence and destruction. The national security cost has also been high, enabling a sometime-ally to enrich his coffers in order to develop new lines of business into Somalia, Lebanon and Nigeria, where he arms those seeking to destabilize entire regions and plot against the United States.