Sunday, January 08, 2006

Time to liven up the Firedump

Firedump has gone a little cold over Christmas, so it's clearly time to bump it. Just before Christmas, I invited the public to get in touch with the Romanian government regarding the BAC-111 said to be used by San Air General Trading, 3C-QRF, serial no. 61, which is currently in storage at Bucharest-Baneasa airfield.

I've yet to see a response, although my server log shows a burst of googling from the Romanian CAA and a few other IPs there. Might it be the right moment to revisit the job? (Contacts here.)

In other related news, the boss of the UAE, horseflesh-loving dictator Sheikh Maktoum, has died. Unfortunately, the Crown Prince who will now step into his shoes after the statutory forty days' mourning is the man behind the whole project of making Dubai into the sort of world financial and trading centre where you can get away with murder in the most profitable fashion, so I'm not holding my breath for any effort to implement UN Resolution 1532 there.

But it's worth pointing out that, according to the latest UN Expert Panel report, assets can indeed be seized. The following countries were contacted by the Experts to find out what they had done about the asset seizure: Burkina Faso, France, the Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Russia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, the US, and Britain. Out of those, France, Germany, Ghana, the Lebanon, the UK and the US reported that assets had indeed been confiscated. Viktor Bout himself has apparently had to part with $2 million in US investments. (Congratulations, OFAC.)

The informed reader will notice, of course, the deafening silence on Russia's part and the fact that no-one seems even to have asked the UAE. There are several valuable assets flying from Dubai to Baghdad every day. At least two flights in each direction are still operated daily by Irbis Air Co under its own ICAO code BIS - flight numbers BIS6371 and BIS6375 inwards, and BIS6372 and 6376 outwards. Elsewhere in his realm, flight BIS6380 from Kabul to Sharjah is currently expected at 1235 local time, not to mention a ton of other dodgy operators.

In other news, I learn with distaste but little surprise that Pierre and Sonia Falcone shared a PR man with none other than George W. Bush! Or more specifically, Republicans for Clean Air, the front group set up to bash John McCain's campaign for the Republican nomination by Alleyn & Company, a well-connected rightwing PR outfit. One of the men who built RCA is one Jason Rose, who also acted for the Falcones at the same time. Small world, no?

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