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BANGKOK – A Russian businessman dubbed the "Merchant of Death" for allegedly arming dictators and warlords said Friday there is no proof showing he's the world's biggest arms dealer and accused the U.S. of pressuring Thailand to extradite him.

Viktor Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, also complained of inhumane treatment at a Thai prison that he said was cramped, hot, uncivilized and "worse than Guantanamo."

The 41-year-old Bout has long been linked to some of Africa's most notorious conflicts, allegedly supplying arms to former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. He has been jailed in Thailand since his arrest in Bangkok a year ago and is accused of conspiring to arm Colombian rebels.

Bout's extradition hearing started in June but was repeatedly delayed, with a revolving door of defense attorneys. There are at least three more hearing dates scheduled for later this month but still no indication of exactly when the process will finish or when a ruling will be made.

Shackled at the ankles with his face pressed against the bars of a holding cell, Bout shouted to reporters ahead of Friday's hearing at Bangkok's Criminal Court.

"If they say I am the biggest arms dealer — so, where is the proof?" Bout said, calling the accusations against him "lies and rumors."

"What about human rights? What about the presumption of innocence? What about rule of law?" Bout said.

Dressed in an orange prison uniform, Bout yelled at guards who tried to quiet him at several points during a 10-minute exchange with reporters in French, English and Russian.

"Enough! You've had one year!" he snapped at a guard. "You can't deprive me of my freedom of speech."

The United States is seeking the extradition of Bout, who was arrested March 6, 2008, at a Bangkok luxury hotel in an elaborate U.S.-led sting operation.

Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration posed as rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, looking to buy millions of dollars in weapons.

Bout was charged with conspiracy for allegedly trying to smuggle missiles and rocket launchers to FARC, which is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

He was later indicted in the U.S. of four terrorism-related charges, including conspiring to kill U.S. officers or employees. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

"I was arrested not for committing any crime but as a result of ... a frame-up by U.S. intelligence," Bout said, in a press release distributed by his wife. When asked by reporters if he felt politics were behind his arrest, Bout shouted, "It's a theater."

Bout was purportedly the model for the arms dealer portrayed by Nicolas Cage in the 2005 movie "Lord of War."
I think it's interesting to see the man behind the portrayal. Loved that movie...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090306/ap_on_re_as/as_thailand_us_arms_dealer
 

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I was telling my friend just the other day how fucking SLEPT ON that movie is. That's Nicholas Cage's best movie in my opinion and one of my personal favorites. :rockon:
 

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Hermit and alien hunter
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Great post USMCSupra ;)

People have said that this man actually is one of the most intelligent persons on this planet. You might want to take a look at this link

http://www.aircess.com/

This is the airline that was originally started by Viktor Bout.

There is also an interview with Bout here that I found on Youtube not long ago. The quality is really bad, but it is worth watching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MdrJEjnsv4&feature=channel
 

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!black
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Ah, so the US is pissed this guy supplied arms (exactly which international laws did he break?) while the government has been supplying "bad guys" with weapons for fucking decades :lol:

Love hypocrisy
 

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Hermit and alien hunter
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The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I do rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of these men are the enemies of "your" enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss - the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year - sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So. You call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil.

 

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The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I do rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of these men are the enemies of "your" enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss - the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year - sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So. You call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil.

Needless to say, He's correct:agreed:
 
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