I follow Russian news fairly closely because I’m very curious about the case against Russian Viktor Bout.  Viktor Bout was picked up in Thailand when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency set up a sting there.

Has Thailand become a state or have we purchased one of southern Asia’s jewels with a large aid package (spelled “payoff”)?

I have a theory about Viktor Bout.  I think he, having such a large, multi-national transportation operation might have taken a few jobs for the C.I.A.  I don’t believe he is a kingpin.  I believe he works within a larger organization.  I believe the reason the United States, with no real evidence against him – or rather, no evidence they can share comfortably with the public – went out on such a far limb is because Bout knows things about the United States that the establishment would prefer the general public never know.

Now, after being held so long in a Thai jail, the Thai court’s ruling on the extradition of Bout to the U.S. is expected this week.  In fact, it is expected Bout will be released back to Russia.

So here’s my theory on the following story:

The U.S. wants Bout at any cost.  Could it be they are illegally detaining a bunch of innocent Russian citizens on trumped up charges in the event they might need to use them as bargaining chips in negotiations with the Russian government to get Bout?  Are we holding innocent Russians to trade for a guy who knows our dirty little secrets?

If that is the case, wouldn’t he be more valuable to the Russian establishment now than a bunch of civilians?

I would love to know what Viktor Bout knows about the United States.  I’ll bet it ain’t pretty.

Aftermath of “pressing the wrong button”

Ilya Kharlamov
23.07.2010, 15:49

The US State Department has offered its apologies to Russia for violating international law in the case of a Russian pilot arrested on drug smuggling charges. The incident is referred to as yet another scandal involving US arbitrary behavior towards a foreign citizen.

The US Special Services seized pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko in Liberia on suspicion of contacts with drug mafia back in late May, neglecting to officially notify Russian authorities. Washington thus violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and other agreements urging the authorities to make all necessary notifications when detaining a foreing national.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Yaroshenko’s arrest and covert deportation to the United States were direct arbitrariness against a Russian citizen and gross violation of basic international regulations. According to some reports, the pilot was subjected to torture and beating before he was taken to one of New York prisons.

The essence of US accusations against Konstantin Yaroshenko was to the following effect – the pilot had links to a criminal group that smuggled cocaine to America and Europe. Criminal charges have already been filed against all those arrested and they are currently awaiting trial scheduled for mid-August. The extent of their fault will be determined by a judicial investigation.

The ill treatment of a foreing citizen in the US seems strange, to say the least, especially in light of the country’s adherence to democratic freedoms and human rights. This was not the first case of America’s inappropriate behavior, in particular regarding Russian citizen Viktor Bout who was accused of dealing arms and aiding terrorists.

The US government’s explanation of its own actions invites some questions as well. According to one of the Foreign Ministry officials, “they pressed the wrong button on the fax machine” when sending a notification on the arrest of Konstantin Yaroshenko.

Anyway, there is still a hope that the US government authorities will reconsider the entire situation, says well-known lawyer Semyon Epstein.

“Technical infringements committed by the American side are superficial for the most part. It is a mercy that the official, who eventually offered apologies to Moscow, realized it and conceded Washington’s mistakes. In any country, there are clerks who are not that well acquainted with the law and therefore neglect it,” said Semyon Epstein.

Meanwhile, there is something wrong about the charge brought against Yaroshenko. US anti-drug agents say the pilot held negotiations with members of the Columbian drug mafia in Liberia from May 11th to 15th. But his passport had no stamps bearing witness that he crossed the country’s border before May 28th. Evidence confirms this.

And while Konstantin Yaroshenko faces a possible life sentence for drug-related crimes, Russia pledges every effort to ensure the observance of the law towards its detained citizen.