Congress frustrated on Viktor Bout

US journalist Doug Farah has a new update on the world’s most notorious arms dealer:

Seems Congressional folks on both sides of the aisle are growing increasingly frustrated with the unwillingness or inability of the Pentagon and State Department to answer questions about Viktor Bout. One set of concerns centers on Bout’s ongoing and potentially illegal contracts with the U.S. military and KBR in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other is the State Deparment’s inability to get companies and individuals in Bout’s network, designated by Treasury Department’s OFAC office as bad guys with their assets frozen, onto the broader U.N. sanctions list, which would make the measures applicable worldwide. (Douglas Farah)

As I mentioned previously, Nicholas Cage’s character in the new film Lord of War is partly based on Bout. There is a key difference, however. Cage’s character makes it clear that he never sold arms to Osama Bin Laden, because "back then he was always bouncing checks."

That may be a bit of cop-out, because although there is no proof of a direct link between Bout and Bin Laden, he is accused by the US State Department of selling $50 million in arms to the Taliban at the time when they were harbouring Al Qaeda.

This makes it somewhat extraordinary that, as Farah notes, both the US and Britain are still using Bout’s air cargo companies to fly to Iraq.

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