With 7 updates: Bout case mystery deepens

27 08 2010

Readers will recall PPT’s recent post on the case of alleged arms dealer, the Russian Viktor Bout. PPT got interested due to references to royals or their “advisers” in a New York Times report. That report raised some curiosities.

The current report fronting the Bangkok Post is making things curiouser still. It seems that some US agency has rushed a jet to Bangkok to get Bout back to the US, but almost no official in Thailand seems to know why or how this has happened or who has authorized Bout’s transfer. The report opens the way for all kinds of speculation. Weird indeed.

Update 1: For more on this increasingly convoluted and strange case, read the excellent post at Bangkok Pundit. That post suggests that the extradition of Bout followed his failure to provide links that would have implicated Thaksin Shinawatra and red shirts in the North Korean arms shipment that was impounded for a time at Don Muang airport. This was the Democrat Party perspective on those arms…. Presumably if Bout had made the claim, then the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime could have made an international case against Thaksin as a “terrorist.” It is all very strange, especially when a personal envoy from the prime minister is apparently involved!

Update 2: Read Democrat MP Sirichoke Sopha’s own account here. Sirichoke is described as “a close aide to Prime Minister Abhisit…”. Read more here about the now delayed extradition.

Update 3: In yet another intriguing report, The Nation has a brief story on the alleged taping of Sirichoke’s meeting with Bout. Corrections Department chief Chartchai Suthiklom discounts this but the claim is that Bout’s wife has a tape. He does say that Sirichoke met and talked with Bout. (See Update 7 below)

Update 4: The satirical – but oh so close to the truth – Not the Nation has a great story on the auction of Viktor Bout. Thanks to the regular reader who pointed this out.

Update 5: Thaksin’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam and his colleagues are also posting, writing and speculating about the Bout case. See these accounts here and here.

Update 6: This story just goes on and on and gets weirder by the day. See this account at New Zealand’s Scoop and also read this revealing story – if one interprets just a bit – in The Nation. The latter story does try to connect the dots to the mysterious arms plane allegedly from North Korea and Sri Lankan arms – the story that kept making the yellow-hued Bangkok media a few months ago.

Update 7: As the Huffington Post has it, “Robert Amsterdam is an international lawyer retained by the former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra to advocate on behalf of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).” It is also worth noting that Amsterdam has long experience on Russia. PPT mentioned him above at Update 5. He now has another article that takes the Sirichoke story a little further. And, to further liven this story up – in what may eventually become a Saudi gems-like saga – Bout says in the Bangkok Post that “Sirichoke Sopha, a close aide to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, met him to make inquiries into how ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s plane could be brought down.” He also stated that “He claimed Mr Sirichoke asked him whether Thaksin had paid to have an aircraft smuggle arms from North Korea to Sri Lanka in December of last year, before the shipment was seized in Thailand.” And, just for good measure, “Sirichoke asked him whether Thaksin might have bought the weapons to arm his red shirt supporters.” Finally Bout says that “Sirichoke also allegedly asked Mr Bout about the state of Thaksin’s health and why other countries were uncooperative in helping to arrest and extradite the former prime minister to Thailand.” Now if all this is true, Sirichoke must rank as one of the country’s dumbest politicians. Bout adds that there was no tape recording.



4 responses

30 08 2010
Updated: More on Viktor Bout « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] More on Viktor Bout The Bout story continues to develop. The New York Times has more background and current information, including a […]

9 09 2010
Suspicious bombs « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] on the government (as Kasit Piromya continues to scramble the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and the Bout case has the ruling party in a spin. Meanwhile, Jaruvan Maintaka’s royalist illegality, the […]

2 12 2010
Wikileaks and Thailand 2 | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] That said, one of PPT’s posts can probably fill in some details. Other PPT posts on Bout are here and […]

23 01 2011
Bout, communism and The John Birch Society | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] in unusual circumstances to the U.S. See PPT posts here (for the alleged royal connection), here and here. There was also some traffic in the Wikileaks […]

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