US puts Bout on trial
12 / 10 / 2011
VIKTOR Bout, the alleged global air cargo arms dealer, has gone on trial in the US. His prosecutor launched the trial by claiming that the weapons Bout thought he was selling to the Colombian terrorist organisation FARC, but which was actually US intelligence agents, would be used to “kill Americans”, although the prosecutor did not specify how.
The US claims Bout supplied arms that fuelled conflicts in Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan.
Bout has always denied the crimes, claiming he is a victim of the US intelligence agencies.
“The US is trying to create for me the image of an illegal billionaire and an illegal arms dealer,” he said. “I have never traded in weapons, I have never sold weapons.”
He added: “There is absolutely no proof of these allegations and that proof just doesn’t exist.”
Reports put his personal worth at $6 billion.
“Viktor Bout is one of the most maniacal individuals who has no concern for the many places in the world where he has trafficked weapons,” says Kathi Lynn Austin, director of the Conflict Awareness Project, who has followed Bout for 15 years.
“We are talking about countries devastated by war, countries where American troops have been at risk, countries where terrorists are operating,” Austin says.
“We are talking about massive loss of human life. We are talking in the millions. These are the kind if wars that Mr. Bout has not only supplied, but has actually facilitated and initiated war.”
“Victor Bout is a dynamic, charismatic, spontaneous, well-dressed, well-spoken and highly energetic person,” claims his personal website. “Victor may have violated some laws somewhere, just like we all have done sometime; however he was not that arms trafficking man presented to the public by the propaganda jockeys through the media.”