An interview with Radio Free Europe
So Viktor Bout got extradited at last. As a result, I was interviewed by Radio Free Europe’s Irina Lagunina. They wanted to hear about how the whole Viktor-blogging project got started – I told them about the Defence Energy Support Center files and the T-DODAACs and the like, and the plane spotter websites, and the fact I basically borrowed the idea from the people who were trying to monitor CIA rendition flights.
They wanted to hear about bloggers, and I thanked everyone who took part in Operation Firedump and made the point that all sorts of people across the ideological spectrum had taken part. They asked about my feelings about the extradition, and I said that I’d done the rejoicing when he was arrested and had since been mostly interested in seeing if there was any noticeable change in air movements through the UAE. What really cheered me was when the UAE government kicked out the An-12 operators.
They also wanted to know about the Russian government using VB’s companies to move humanitarian aid. Specifically, they referred to something in Doug Farah’s book that apparently quotes me on this. Unfortunately, my review copy never turned up so I’m completely in the dark as to what this might be. I said that given the numbers of heavy, ex-Soviet tactical airlifters that he controlled at the peak of his career, it was unlikely that many humanitarian agencies had been able to avoid occasionally dealing with him, and that they were probably right on balance to do the job rather than worry too much. If you need to move 40 tons of drinking water or flour labelled “Gift of the European Union” or whatever before people starve or get cholera, I’m not going to whine about it.