Perhaps I’m mistaken, but, I never considered Bout to be Russia’s man, in the manner that is commonly presented.
It seemed to me he was a part of that big global black market weapons trade. He gave whichever party concerned the necessary plausible deniability they were looking for. He was arrested selling arms to Columbian rebels… Who’ve largely been supported by the US and used for many reasons, one was to destabilize Venezuela.
Perhaps the Russians are interested in repatriating him for reasons we don’t fully understand. The media is calling him the Russian merchant of death, but, he was actually born in Ukraine. According to some sources in the know. Others claim Tajikistan.
Bout acknowledges traveling to Afghanistan on numerous occasions during the 1990s, but has denied dealing with al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Beginning in 1994, Bout made shipments for the pre-Taliban government of Afghanistan, which later became the Northern Alliance, and knew one of its commanders, Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Now, I’m not a fan of wikipedia but Afghanistan arms shipments went to those opposing Russian involvement in Afghanistan. Massoud led the northern Alliance, but, was murdered immediately preceding 9/11. A very timely death considering what occurred afterwards- The US invasion of Afghanistan..
Bout had been involved with arms dealings during the Yugoslav Wars, e
specially with the Bosnian government forces during its uprising against the Milošević government in Yugoslavia.
Again an interesting party to supply weapons too.
Bout, a former Soviet military officer who had gained a reputation as the world’s biggest arms dealer, was arrested in a U.S.-led sting operation in 2008 in Thailand, leading to his extradition in 2010 and his conviction in New York federal court one year later for conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons illegally to the Colombian terror group called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC).
Victor Bout was definitely the higher value swap. I’m left wondering why it is exactly the Russian’s want him?
Update begins: I cannot discount the possibility that Griner is a spook. A soft power model of American influence. Connected to some type of operation to infiltrate Russian society
Think of Gloria Steinem- CIA agent
What is often missed, or mischaracterized, however, is the work she did as a CIA agent: Steinem was a spook.
CIA agents are tight-lipped, but Steinem spoke openly about her relationship to “The Agency” in the 1950s and ’60s after a magazine revealed her employment by a CIA front organization, the Independent Research Service.
Long before the formalized concept of soft power, Steinem personified and promoted abroad the vigor and progressive nature of the U.S. youth movement.