Country: United States
This piece was reviewed on 21 September 2010 by the ViktorBout.Net team. Please read the article before reading our review.
SUMMARY: Issues we had with this article: There are supposed facts stated about Mr. Bout’s family that are not true. There is no tape of Bout agreeing to sell weapons. There is no evidence of Bout agreeing to meet with the FARC.
Note: We were surprised by a major mistake in this extremely popular American magazine. We had hoped for better reporting from the major publications… maybe next time.
- Paragraph 3 states: “In a complex sting operation in the penthouse of a Bangkok hotel, Bout was taped agreeing to supply 700 Russian-made MANPAD antiaircraft weapons—as well as 5,000 AK-47 firearms, millions of rounds of ammunition, various Russian spare parts for rifles, antipersonnel mines, C-4 explosives, night-vision equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles, and ultralight airplanes that could be outfitted with grenade launchers and missiles—to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency operatives posing as members of FARC.”
Viktor Bout was arrested (officially by the Royal Thai Police, but in reality by the US DEA agents) at the Sofitel Silom, an upscale hotel and conference center in the Silom district of Bangkok, about a 20 minute taxi ride from the main international airport in Bangkok.
According to Mr. Bout himself, he was most certainly not there to discuss the sale of these weapons. Official court documents back up Viktor’s claim of innocence. There is absolutely no evidence showing that Viktor was discussing a weapons deal. Furthermore, there is currently no evidence showing that Viktor was in Bangkok to meet supposed members of the FARC. In direct contradiction with the Newsweek article, there is no tape of Bout agreeing to supply arms to anyone.
Unfortunately, it is widely believed that Bout is a merchant of arms, and that he was in Bangkok to discuss an arms deal. We are not just taking Mr. Bout’s word for it here; there is no evidence to support that claim.
- Paragraph 6 states: Bout’s wife and children still live in Russia, and he has maintained a stoic silence even after two years in a Thai jail. When Bangkok-based journalist Bertil Lintner met Bout in jail soon after his arrest, he found the Russian spitting mad at America—and defiant. He would “prefer to be a Russian hero in a U.S. jail than serve as a turncoat source on Russia’s clandestine arms business” wrote Lintner.
Firstly, while Viktor Bout Dot Net does not discuss the personal details of Mr. Bout’s family, we should point out that there are 2 things that are very incorrect about this paragraph. Secondly, members of the Viktor Bout Dot Net team have legally visited Mr. Bout multiple times while in prison in Bangkok, and this account is likely to be inaccurate. In our discussions, Mr. Bout has never been “spitting mad at America.” It is quite the opposite, with several discussions taking place between us regarding the future of the United States. Viktor maintains his innocence, with proper reason.