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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Viktor Bout busted

In a day filled with news, some really big news: Arms Dealer Arrested in Thailand
Police Col. Petcharat Sengchai told reporters that Bout was wanted for conspiring to provide "weapons and explosives for Colombian rebels" known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The leftist FARC has been fighting Colombia's government for more than four decades, and funds itself largely through the cocaine trade and kidnapping for ransom.
He has been accused of trafficking weapons through a series of front companies to war-wracked Central and West Africa since the early 1990s. U.N. reports say he set up a network of more than 50 aircraft around the world, owned by small, tightly controlled companies including Bukavu Aviation Transport, Business Air Services and Great Lakes Business Co.
Counterterrorism Blog asks, Why Was Viktor Bout in Thailand When He Was Arrested?

Others blogging:
A Jacksonian
Prairie Pundit
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At 1:07 PM, Anonymous cvasiloxodroma001 said...

Johnsons Air was formed in 1995 by resident in the U.S. since the 1950s and member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Azerbajan Chamber of Commerce.


Reputed as a mayor arms-for-hostages scandal as well as to all kinds of criminal activities. (September 2001st, the Chicago Sun-Times confirmed that James H. Levin, a former strip-club owner and now president of TVR Link, had pledged to raise or donate $1 million. But despite the supposed secrecy that shrouds the identity of other high-rolling foundation backers, the website FEC Info (www.tray.com) identified 20 supporters, including Rich and Levin, as early as a year ago. Those names include California developer Walter H. Shorenstein, supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, Haim Saban - Chairman of Fox Family Worldwide, Universal Studios President Lew Wasserman, New York businessman John Catsimatides, Mattel's William Rollnick, New York designers Vera Wang and Nicole Miller, Dreamworks partners Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, Global Crossing Chairman Gary Winnick, Former DNC Finance Chairman Alan Solomont, New York investor Stanley Shuman, fashion industry executive Arnold Simon, Massachusetts financier Tom Lee, , and internet tycoon Vinod Gupta).


Note :
Ghana’s Johnsons Air, in charge of First International : Niknafs Javad also an Iranian. He was a pilot who, earlier in his career, flew for David Tokoph’s Seagreen. Aero Zambia’s owner, Tokoph, is reportedly a former associate of Oliver North, who played a key role in the Iran-Contra scandal and was Washington’s point man in the days when the United States covertly sponsored Unita. In the early 1980s, Oliver North was, according to the Belgian newspaper De Morgen of 2 October 1995, also a regular visitor to Ostend Airport. During the Iran-Iraq war, David Tokoph has been connected to the Iran-Contra affair through his Texas company, Aviation Consultants International, and his Mexico-registered company, Greco Air, who both leased aircraft to a company, called Santa Lucia Airways. In May 1987, a Belgian parliamentary commission of enquiry confirmed, that Santa Lucia Airways was indeed operating in Belgium as a subcontractor to the Belgian national airline Sabena and was connected to illegal weapons flights to Iran and to Unita in Angola as well, via the military base of Kamina in the Congo. Santa Lucia had until May 1987 an office at Ostend Airport, where its aircraft was also periodically stored for maintenance purposes. Details, for instance, were known of a Santa Lucia Boeing 707, registered as J6-SLF , linked to an illicit shipment of weapons to Israel for transhipment to Iran. This aircraft, re-registered as EL-JNS, has later been operated by Sky Air and flew in 1996 a number of boxes of Kalashnikovs from Bulgaria to Rwanda. Sky Air Cargo, used in 1996 the 33 year-old Boeing 707, Liberian-registered as EL-JNS. In October 1996, the plane flew a number of boxes containing Kalashnikovs from Bulgaria to Rwanda. In 1997 it made at least 25 flights from Ostend. The plane was also seen several times from 1996 to 1998 on the military apron of Otopeni airport, near Bucharest, Romania. Under suspicion of illicit actions, the aircraft then adopted the airport of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) as its new home. In 1998 Sky Air was, together with Air Atlantic Cargo, responsible for airlifting some 2,000 Kalashnikovs, 180 rocket-launchers, 50 machine-guns and ammunition to the UN-embargoed Sierra Leone, by order of the London-based private military corporation (PMC), Sandline International.
At Ostend Airport, Johnsons Air itself shares since the end of 2003 office, station manager and PO box with Heavy Lift, which is part of Christopher Foyle’s airline company Air Foyle, as recounted earlier, known from its two-year business partnership with arms dealer Victor Bout. Heavy Lift seems to be the air broker, who organises from Ostend the Johnsons Air flights. At the time of Heavy Lift’s shutdown, Azima was its chairman.
Farhad Azima, aviation magnate and gun-runner, ran a charter airline called Global International Airways before it filed for bankruptcy in October, 1983. Azima made headlines in 1979 when a Global plane, said to be hauling relief supplies to Costa Rica, landed in Tunisia and was loaded up with weapons. The Kansas City Star reported in June, 1984 that Global jets frequently ferried weapons and military equipment disguised as medical or food supplies. In July, 1986, a Boeing-707 owned by Azima and leased to his brother, Farsin Azima, reportedly transported 23-tonnes of military equipment to Iran. Another major player in the world of international gun-running, Nationair rented airplanes and borrowed large sums of money from Farhad Azima. Farhad has close international ties to anyplace needing weapons with an embargo hanging over them. His political donations buy him the privilege of free passage for his aircraft.

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