Thursday, November 18, 2010

Russia says U.S. offers deal to arms suspect Bout

Backgorund information on Bout:

Source: Wiki
Viktor Anatolyevich Bout (Russian: Виктор Анатольевич Бут) (born 13 January 1967, near Dushanbe, Tajik SSR, Soviet Union) established a number of air cargo companies and is famous for being a suspected arms trafficker.

A former Soviet military translator, Bout made a significant amount of money through his many air transport companies shipping cargo mostly in Africa and the Middle East during the 1990s and early 2000s.[citation needed] Just as willing to ship cargo for Charles Taylor in Liberia as he was for the United Nations in Sudan and the United States in Iraq, Bout may have facilitated huge arms shipments into various civil wars in Africa with his private air cargo fleets during the 1990s.

While claiming to have done little more than provide logistics, he has been called a "sanctions buster" by former British Foreign Office minister Peter Hain who described Bout as "the principal conduit for planes and supply routes that take arms... from east Europe, principally Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine to Liberia and Angola."

Source: Reuters News

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian diplomat said on Thursday that U.S. authorities pressured suspected arms dealer Viktor Bout to admit guilt during his extradition flight to the United States, offering him unspecified benefits in return.

Bout, a former Soviet air force officer who could be imprisoned for life if convicted on U.S. terrorism and arms trafficking charges, rejected the offer, Russia's consul in the United States said in remarks shown on Russian state television.

Bout was flown to New York late on Tuesday from Thailand, where he had been the focus of a tug-of-war between Russia and the United States since his March 2008 arrest in a U.S.-led sting operation.

"Some pressure was applied in transit. In Viktor Bout's words, they tried to 'persuade' him to admit to things he did not do, promising certain advantages in return," consul Andrei Yushmanov told Russian reporters in New York.

"Viktor Anatolyevich rejected these efforts," he said, referring to the Russian suspect by his name and patronymic.

Yushmanov did not elaborate and it was unclear whether he was referring to a potential plea deal.

Bout, 43, faces four conspiracy charges over arms dealing since the 1990s to dictators and conflict zones in Africa, South America and the Middle East -- allegations that inspired the Hollywood movie "Lord of War" starring Nicholas Cage.

Bout's extradition is a victory for U.S. law enforcement and the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. But it adds to strains threatening to undermine improvements in U.S.-Russian relations since Obama took office.

Russia called his extradition "illegal" and accused Thai authorities of yielding to U.S. political pressure. While Bout has been nicknamed the 'Merchant of Death' in the West, Russian authorities refer to him as a businessman.

He was arrested in Thailand shortly after arriving from Moscow, where he had lived for years with no apparent interference from Russian authorities, angering Washington and prompting speculation that he had protection from the state.

A judge ordered Bout detained without bail on Wednesday. He is due back in Manhattan federal court for a hearing on January 10.

A federal public defender was named to represent Bout, but Yushmanov said Russia would help hire a lawyer "if necessary."

He said Bout's clothes, money and toiletries were taken from him by Thai authorities, and that he was given "dirty" clothes.

"We will take care to ensure Bout is provided with basic warm clothes and personal hygiene items," he said. (Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

See Other news source on

Viktor Bout, dubbed the "merchant of death" for allegedly trafficking in arms, pleaded not guilty to U.S. terrorism charges and was ordered held without bail by a federal judge in New York. Mr. Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, arrived in New York on Wednesday aboard a chartered plane after his extradition from Thailand. He is charged with plotting to kill Americans in a 2008 indictment filed by the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan. At an arraignment Wednesday that lasted about 10 minutes, he entered a not-guilty plea through his court-appointed lawyer, Sabrina Shroff. He was ordered held without bail by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, who set his next court appearance for Jan. 10.
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Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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