- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470048662
- ISBN-13: 978-0470048665
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,935,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
While there's no shortage of books on international terrorism, drug cartels and genocide, the international weapons trade has received less attention. Journalists Farah and Braun center their absorbing exposé of this source of global misery on its most successful practitioner, the Russian dealer Victor Bout. Throughout the Cold War, they show, the Kremlin supplied arms to oppressive regimes and insurgent groups, keeping close tabs on customers; after the U.S.S.R. collapsed, the floodgates opened in the 1990s. With weapons factories starved for customers, Soviet-era air transports lying idle and rusting, and dictators, warlords and insurgents throughout the world clamoring for arms, entrepreneurs and organized criminals saw fortunes to be made. The authors paint a depressing picture of an avalanche of war-making material pouring into poor, violence-wracked nations despite well-publicized U.N. embargoes. America denounces this trade, but turns a blind eye if recipients proclaim they are fighting terrorism, they say. Ruthless people who shun publicity make poor biographical subjects, and Bout is no exception. The authors' energetic research reveals that rivals dislike him, colleagues admire him, enemies condemn him, and Bout describes himself as a much-maligned but honest businessman. Although an unsatisfactory portrait, the book surrounds it with an engrossing, detailed description of this wildly destructive traffic. (Aug.)
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Top customer reviews
Bout essentially stole abandoned Soviet cargo planes right off their runways, then stole or bought on the cheap old military equipment, then flew his planes to warzones to sell to the highest bidder. Bout would sell materiel to both sides of a conflict and to terrorist groups. He spent time with the Taliban, and was involved in many still cloudy operations with moneymen in the Persian Gulf states.
Many in European and American government and law enforcement agencies began to Bout as a threat to stability in the 1990s. American intelligence and state department officials tried to interdict him, but were roundly refused by the Russian government, who became a protector of Bout. At the time of the publication of the book Bout was still free, though in 2010 he was finally detained in Thailand and deported to the United States for trial on charges of funding terrorism.
Probably the biggest headline to come out of this book is that even though many recognized Bout as an outlaw and supporter of terrorism, it did not stop the US military in contracting logistical work through him during the early days of the Iraq war in 2003.
This book by acclaimed investigative journalist Douglas Farah has many such anecdotes about the doings of Victor
Bout. This is a great read, and I highly recommend the book.
Farah's book describes the methodology behind the movement of money, guns, drugs, and the structural foundations that prescribes war. Farah details the Taliban financing, called a "commodity-for-commodity exchange," which represents Taliban and al Qaeda trading opium and heroin for gold. Further, he details the transportation of multiple products into Belize's through a remote border with Mexico. Opium is transported from Afghanistan, over Colombian routes and by drug cartels, then by using Mexican drug cartels, the routes pass thru Ciudad Juarez and into the United States via El Paso, Texas. Farah offers a perspective that is not often available or explored.
Then consider reading author Charles Bowden's book Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields. Bowden continues to report on the life and struggles of citizens caught living in border towns of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. Bowden's investigative reporting highlights the events surrounding drug trafficking and increased violence. In just over a year, the death counts have escalated from 40 to just over 300 deaths a month. Statistically this rate exceeds that of Baghdad. Ciudad Juarez a short distance from El Paso, Texas represents a geographic location of a failed state. Bowden suggests that this condition will travel north, across the border to El Paso, challenging the security of Americans.
Connecting the dots includes Steven Emerson's Jihad Incorporated: A guide to Militant Islam in the US and Ameridan Jihad The Terrorist Living Among Us.Emerson details the global growth of the Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, and al-Qaeda cells. His compiled work is a tool used by many law enforcement agencies. Emerson has cited his work during testimony for Congress. The documentation, research, and network details, offer the direct illicit link for my research puzzle. Emerson identifies Hezbollah with ties to the U.S. Emerson, Bowden, and Farah's work when reviewed together, offers identification of drug cartels working with al-Qaeda cell members.
Who really is the merchant of death? A good read if you are looking for detailed information on the subject matter with supporting documentation.
Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields
Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US
American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us