Saturday, December 04, 2010

the intersection of Wikileaks and Viktorfeed

If Bout agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department in a plea agreement sparing him life in prison, “we’ll certainly want to know more from him about the circumstances of those Iraq contracts,” said a law-enforcement official with detailed knowledge of the criminal case against Bout. The official was referring to large U.S. military contracts in 2003 and 2004 in which Bout’s cargo companies were used as subcontractors to deliver military supplies to U.S. forces in Iraq. “We’d want to understand if our officials knew exactly who they were dealing with. If U.S. officials knew they were dealing with Bout, that’s uncomfortable news.” Could U.S. officials face prosecution? “The conspiracy laws are broad,” the official said without elaboration.

Well, that would be fun. I'm also interested by the suggestion of a plea bargain. From here. This is something I don't think Irina from RFE/RL quite grasped.

There are some interesting Viktor Bout-related cables in the Wikileaks dump - this one suggests that part of his defence against extradition was to suggest he was in Thailand as part of a "government to government submarine deal". This one details a visit by US diplomats to Ras al-Khaimah airport, where they viewed some rotting Il-76s and made enquiries about what may have been Viktor's maintenance base. This was in any case around about the same time that the UAE gave the Antonov 12 operators the boot.

I'm surprised there aren't more, although there may be more releases yet. The relevant tags would be AE for the UAE and perhaps some others - NEA for the Near East desk is one.

Update: Moar!

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