Out & A Bout

Caution:  this post contains bold assertions that are unlikely to be corroborated –or refuted– by anyone involved.  Would you expect anything less from Lunghu?

The news that Viktor Bout has been scheduled for extradition from Thailand to the US didn’t really come as a tremendous surprise to Lunghu, and neither does the timing of the announcement in the dog days of summer.  Since roughly this time last year, Lunghu has been convinced that Viktor Bout is a cooperating source/witness for an inter-agency US task force engaged in anti-competitive practices counter-proliferation efforts in the global arms trade.  Two high-profile events of 2009 point in this direction:

1]  the MV Arctic Sea adventure, and

2]  the Kazakh IL-76 air cargo shipment of ‘oil drilling equipment‘ from Pyongyang that had trouble clearing customs at its Bangkok refueling stop.

In both cases, an extensive network of Russian arms brokers and logistics specialists pooled their resources and deployed their operatives in order to effectuate the step-by-step transfer of large armament stocks from one side of the globe to another.  In both cases, things didn’t work out as planned.  Viktor Bout was the common denominator –-and so was US involvement as the covert orchestrator of these operations from start to finish.

Lunghu deems it highly likely that Viktor Bout acted in an undercover role (at US behest) to set up both arms shipments, using ‘smuggled’ cellphones from his Bangkok jail cell to convince his colleagues (and masters) back in Moscow that the proceeds of these deals would generate the cash to buy his freedom from corrupt Thai officials.   For plenty of people in Russia, this was a repatriation mission well worth the apparently minimal risk:  the Russian arms export business involves apparatchiki and nomenklatura at every level of government and industry –up to and including Putin and Sechin.   In American hands, Bout’s secrets would be secrets no more –much safer to have him back in the motherland.

‘Twas not to be.  Bout was already working off his US charges, with the full (but unacknowledged) cooperation of the Thai government.   In negotiating the arms deals and coordinating shipment, Bout’s phone calls triggered a cascade of SigInt intercepts that have undoubtedly snared thousands of hours of very interesting Russian-language conversations.   Comrade Bear is now in deeper dung than ever, but he doesn’t even know how long a snorkel he’s gonna need.   The next few months should be interesting … because there’s always the possibility that Comrade Wolf will try to milk yet another sting operation out of the three-month period in which Thai officials ‘review’ extradition procedures before sending Bout on his way wherever.

So what’s next?  Lunghu believes that two scenarios are possible/likely:

1]  Bout is brought to the US, prepares his ‘defense’ and undergoes a full debriefing by interested parties.   After a show trial at which certain matters are written into the public record (and others not),  Bout will be found guilty and receive an exemplary prison sentence … to be served at FPC Pensacola or a similar facility.   Following a suitable lapse of time, he will be released, perhaps in a prisoner exchange of the type we witnessed earlier this summer.   That is, if he actually wants to go back to Russia.

2]  Bout is brought to the US and pleads guilty to (somewhat) lesser charges (dropping the counts of conspiracy to kill US nationals, etc.), with DOJ declining a trial in order to avoid exposing intelligence sources and methods in open court.   Matters then proceed as outlined in Option 1 above.

Lunghu wishes Comrade Bout the very best of health in the coming weeks, months and years.  Будем здоровы !

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2 Responses to “Out & A Bout”

  1. Aloha, Viktor « Waking the Dragon Says:

    […] Lunghu predicted back in August, there’s been an air of inevitability surrounding this saga from the outset. [Bout] showed no […]

  2. Like Whitey on Rice « Waking the Dragon Says:

    […] Whitey on Rice By lunghu Seems like some folks either can’t learn from the Viktor Bout experience or still believe that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place.   News from Thailand […]

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