A backpacker and blogger recounts his encounters with David Headley’s third wife Faiza Outalha. In December, the Indian government asked the Morocco government for access to Outalha.
He says he quit the pressures of a career on Wall Street after 9/11 and turned to India seeking spiritual relief and a calmer life. According to his own account, the decision proved fateful, with his life taking a dramatically opposite direction instead.
George Alexander Mapp, Jr, a 47-year-old African American, briefly became a much sought after person by Indian intelligence agencies in relation to the Mumbai attacks of November 26, 2008, thanks to his acquaintance with Faiza Outalha, the woman he says is still married to David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani American recently sentenced to 35 years in prison by a US court for playing a critical role in the attack.
Now a blogger and investigative journalist based in New York, Mapp says he is in regular and frequent touch with Outalha, and is working on a book that will cover the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks on his life besides other equally dramatic events, persons and interactions. His initial working title for the project, Drug Smugglers, Gun Runners, Russian Intelligence Officers and Terrorists’ Wives, is a clear pointer to its contents.
“I was the Number One terrorist suspect in India because David Headley and I knew the same woman; I was in Old Manali, so was Faiza; Headley had a 5-year visa, I had a 10-year visa, he was American, I was American, there was a lot of circumstantial evidence,” said Mapp in an interview from New York.
Mapp has since renamed his book The Accidental Terrorist, which he says sums up his involvement with the 26/11 investigation and acquaintance with Outalha. It was a connection that spanned an unlikely combination of India, Morocco and cyberspace.
They first met in May 2008 in Old Manali in Himachal Pradesh through a mutual friend, according to Mapp. She told him she was divorced. “She made some references to her ex like he was – the way she talked about him was like he was a Mafia kind of guy, ‘Oh, he’s wanted in Delhi’, something like that,” recalls Mapp. But they talked about Headley “very, very little” he says, even as he and Outalha “got very close”.
Mapp says he ended up in Old Manali by accident. He had been in an internet cafe in Delhi’s Paharganj, trying to book a trip to Rishikesh because he wanted to see the Himalayas. But he learnt that Rishikesh was in the foothills and a lot of people he met advised him to go to Manali instead. So he took an 18-hour bus ride there from Delhi.
That journey actually began a few years ago in the US, when he quit a career as an international equities trader with firms like UBS and Deutsche Bank a couple of years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “It became more stressful after 9/11. Volumes dried up, margins dried up, electronic trading really affected our spreads. I got burned out,” says Mapp, explaining why he left a lucrative career to go to a massage school in New Jersey. While working as a masseur in Pennsylvania, Mapp says he was introduced to kirtans and developed a devotion to the Indian godwoman Mata Amritanandamayi, widely known as “Amma”. He first visited India in 2006 to meet “Amma” at her ashram in Kerala, was fascinated by the country and was back in 2008 on a trip that eventually led to his meeting with Outalha.
“She was a very sweet, kind and caring person,” he says about Outalha, with long pauses before each adjective. Indian investigators might describe her very differently given her relationship with Headley and alleged acquaintance with Pakistan-based terrorist Hafeez Sayeed. “I just knew that she was Muslim, I knew she was originally from Morocco, I knew that she lived in Pakistan and thatâs pretty much all I knew, and that she was divorced,” says Mapp. She had told him she went to Pakistan from Morocco to enroll in some kind of medical studies programme, and had met her husband at a cafe there. He believed Outalha was in Old Manali on a vacation.
When she was returning to Pakistan, Mapp says, he saw her off. “I was the last person to see her – I walked her to the taxi, she actually took a taxi from Old Manali to the Wagah border. I walked her there, gave her a hug and said goodbye and we stayed in touch quite a bit.” He had saved her number on his cellphone under the name “Chello Pakistan”.
Indian officials questioned him later about how Outalha, a Moroccan national, had crossed into Pakistan at Wagah, and about the apparent ease with which she had got her Indian visa extended at Kullu. “I told them that Faiza is very persuasive,” says Mapp, drawing out the last word, “unbelievably persuasive”. He added, “She was very driven, determined is the right word, if she had her mind set on something it’s almost impossible to stop her, she’s not scared of confrontation. If she felt somebody cheated her or tried to take advantage on prices, like taxis or whatever, she would fight them. I’ve seen her do it in India and I saw her do it in Morocco when I went to visit her.”
According to Mapp, some time after she returned to Pakistan, they stopped communicating in September 2008. He says he figured out why later after he learned during his questioning that she had remarried Headley. “She used to be flirtatious and joke a lot, and then she started saying ‘Oh, that’s offensive to me’. But a few weeks ago, a month ago, it wasn’t offensive. And then she said I have to delete all my pictures and stuff and I have to close my account, goodbye, blah blah blah. I think shortly after that she got remarried to him and she started acting more like a devout Muslim, you know – her attitude changed so I guess that’s when Headley came back into her life.”
Strangely, however, for someone who says he is in regular touch with Outalha, Mapp claims he never asked why she and Headley got back together, especially as he believed she was “emotionally scarred” and “hurt by whatever happened between the two of them the first time”. “By the time we saw each other again in Morocco and got reunited she had already remarried him so to me it was useless to ask why you did it and I know she wasn’t feeling good because he never had any contact with her so I didn’t want to rub it in,” says Mapp.
About a year after the Mumbai attack, Mapp says he was walking on the beach in Palolem, Goa with his then pregnant girlfriend when policemen and officials from the National Intelligence Agency surrounded him and escorted him back to his flat for days of questioning. He underwent over 30 hours of questioning, and 4-5 hours into the process, he says he learned about the connection between Outalha and Headley. The girlfriend, who is now his wife, gave birth to their daughter a few days later in India, and the family now lives in New York.
And about a year after his run-in with Indian investigators, Mapp started blogging about the experience and the 26/11 case, and wrote a blog titled Kiss and Tell: Intimacies with David Headley’s Ex-Wife, Faiza Outalha, dated October 10, 2010. He says he and Outalha reconnected shortly afterward. Initially, a lot of their communication was about Headley. “NIA was trying to get her quite a bit…she was still healing from the whole thing and getting over it.” Mapp visited her in Morocco in December 2010, staying for about six weeks. They planned to write a book jointly but it didn’t work out.
“When I saw her she was praying often, she had her hajib (sic) on and more than anything she’s just really frustrated because she hadn’t heard from Headley,” says Mapp. According to him, Outalha wants to get divorced from Headley and get on with her life, but can’t afford to go to the US and hire a lawyer for the divorce. “They’re still married, she tells me, that she has proof.”
If Mapp’s involvement with Outalha and the 26/11 investigation sounds fantastical at times, it seems par for the course going by his other stories. He has blogged about Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms smuggler currently serving a 25-year prison term in an American prison. Mapp wrote about meeting Bout in a Thailand court in October 2010 and interviewed him in a US prison last July. He mentioned that Bout “was able to read my Sanskrit tattoos with no problem”, and urged readers to send the prisoner books in “Portuguese, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Russian, and yes, even in English”.
Mapp accuses the US government of adopting double standards for Bout and Headley. While it successfully fought for the extradition of Russian citizen Bout to the US and tried him in an American court, it refused to consider extraditing US citizen Headley even though he was accused of committing terrorist acts directly on Indian soil, he writes.
However, former CIA official Bruce Riedel, who is now Director of the Brookings Intelligence Project at the Washington, DC think tank, says Headley’s sentence, while it may cause dissatisfaction in India, was part of a process that gave intelligence agencies critical information. “From the standpoint of a professional intelligence officer trying to fight terrorism, securing (Headley’s) cooperation to give information about who was involved, how it was done was invaluable. It gives us the best insights we have into the working of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its patron, the ISI,” says Riedel.
In his interview, Mapp even insinuated Headley might not serve his full prison sentence. “David Headley is a ghost, nobody knows where he is. He’s in an undisclosed location, isn’t that strange? There’s no proof he’s in prison,” Mapp said, referring to a system through which he insists he has tracked other prisoners in the US. Riedel dismissed such theories out of hand: “It strikes me as extremely unlikely. Headley’s going to serve his time in an American prison.”
For now, with Headley in prison, investigators may believe Outalha could have some more information towards fully unlocking the 26/11 conspiracy. But the man who admits he once had a close relationship with her and claims he still keeps in touch regularly, says he has no answers. “I know everybody in India wants to know this question, how much did she know – and I honestly don’t know,” says Mapp. He may be saving it for his book.
Chichakli Extradition Pending
Richard Chichakli now 53 years-old has been held in solitary confinement in an Australian prison since last month and he is currently awaiting possible extradition to the United States. Chichakli is facing charges in a joint indictment in the U.S. over his alleged involvement with Viktor Bout who’s been jailed in the U.S. for 25 years convicted on conspiracy charges. Despite Viktor Bout’s harsh sentence he has strongly maintained his innocence and Chichakli denies working for Bout but proudly boasts of their friendship.
According to an article titeled, Police say man wanted in US had 16 aliases:
The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have identified 16 aliases for the Syrian-born Chichakli. But lawyers for Chichakli have argued some of the aliases was similar and merely represented cases where his name has been misspelt. Victor Lewis from the AFP told court Chichakli has primarily used the name of Jehad Almustafa for bank accounts, his drivers licence and for travel in and out of Australia.
His lawyers say that his only offence in Australia has been operating under that false identity. Chichakli’s lawyers also argued that his case is complex and need more time than the contraints they are currently working with. My understanding of the Australian law in regards to Chichakli’s extradition to the U.S. is that the Aussie government has 60 days from his arrest. Chichakli was arrested on 10 January 2013 thus the clock is ticking therefore the US authorities have until March 11 to apply for his extradition.
Mrs. Chichakli’s Prison Visit
Slighty over a week ago I wrote an article titled, World Exclusive: Richard Chichakli: “Australian Prison Is Trying To Poison Me” in which Chichakli’s wife described her husbands abuse and mistreatment in the Aussie prison. Since I wrote that piece she has been able to have her first visit with her husband Richard, however, it was a non-contact visit. This is what Mrs. Chichakli wrote me:
I got a call on Wednesday morning from Ops Manager of MRC Mrs. Smith, she confirmed that I was placed on the list of visitors for non-contact visits only. I can visit Richard once a week and talk to him for 30 mins through a glass wall. I asked to see him the same day.
I heard the clicking sound of shackles being removed before Richard entered the visitors’ room. His face was very pale and skinny. It was very difficult to look at him and keep myself calm–he has lost so much weight since the last time I had seen him, he didn’t look healthy.
Chichakli’s Defense Attorney Silenced
Initially I thought it was strange that Chichakli’s legal defense team had no reply to my queries as to their clients health, treatment and prison conditions. Then Mrs. Chichakli told me they went not allowed to have any contact with the media. Mrs. Chichakli wrote:
I am in communication with Richard’s lawyer and he’s attends all of my enquiries with urgency. Mr. Sim is aware of my concerns about Richard’s health. With respect to bringing Richard’s matter to public domain, they are not allowed, as I was told, to communicate with media.
Later that day I received an official notification from Richard Chichakli’s legal defense team basically telling me the same thing. They said by law they are not permitted to speak to the press or any media while the case is ongoing.
The judge just hours ago denied Richard Chichakli bail. The reason was that since he allegedly used many alliases as well as traveled frequently in and out of the country — thus maikng him a flight risk.
Inside The Court Room
Before Richard Chichakli’s bail was denied, Mrs. Chichakli gave me a very detailed look inside the court room during the actual hearing. Unfortunately due to unavoidable travel, I was not able to post her comments sooner. In retrospect, now knowing the outcome, it makes Mrs. Chichakli’s observations, insights and intuitions that much more revealing. Here is her description in her own words inside the court room:
Dear Mr. Mapp:
I’d like to send you my observations from the bail hearing that took place on Tuesday, February 5, 2013.
The court was supposed to start at 9:30, but due to Australia Federal Police officer’s Viktor Lewis submitting a sworn affidavit right before the court, the proceedings were delayed until 10:30.
Richard’s attorneys Mr. Marsh and Mr. Sim were well prepared for the hearing with strong arguments in Richard’s favor and confidently refuted every concern of the prosecutor Ms. Folie in connections with establishing that special circumstances exist in Richard’s case and that he does not pose a flight risk.
At first, AFP’s Mr. Lewis who was involved in Richard’s arrest and has been examining seized property for almost a month now, was called to give a testimony under oath.
Barrister Marsh enquired on what basis did AFP compile such a long list of aliases (about 16 names) allegedly used by Richard to be included in the search warrant. Mr. Lewis’s response was that the United States has supplied AFP with the list of names.
Mr. Lewis has confirmed that the identity used by Richard in Australia was Jehad Almustafa.
When Mr. Lewis was asked whether the police has found any evidence of Richard using other identity, in particular the names of “Robert Cunning, Raman Cedorov, Abdullah Al Subait, and Andrey Romanov” Mr. Lewis said that there’s no evidence supporting such statement.
Mr. Marsh then referred to the remaining names of the list, which were different variations of Richard Ammar Chichakli, about 10 of them. He asked Mr. Lewis if it was possible that some were just misspelled variations, such as Chichalki (misspelled) vs. Chichakli (correct), and whether ‘Chichakli Richard A.’ and ‘Chichakli Richard Ammar’ are essentially the same. He received a confirmation from Mr. Lewis that that could be possible.
He also enquired with Mr. Lewis whether his own first name has ever been misspelled with a ‘c’ instead of ‘k’ in Viktor. The officer said that a few times he received correspondence addressed to him with such a mistake. Mr. Marsh then enquired that maybe ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ could also be interchangeable as they represent the same sound in Arabic. Thus “Chichakli” and “Shishakli” are also the same names, only misspelled.
“Do you know,”- Mr. Marsh enquired,-”that Richard’s birth name was Ammar M. Chichakli and that he legally changed it to Richard A. Chichakli when he moved to the United States?” “Would that be an explanation for another variation on the list?
Mr. Lewis stated that upon Richard’s arrest an equivalent of about $2500 in multiple currencies, including euros, and this significant amount of cash was indicative of Richard’s preparedness to flee the country. Mr. Marsh enquired that maybe instead this money was left over from Richard’s recent trip to Europe, and posed a question of how much it would possibly cost to obtain a false id? Mr. Lewis’ answer was ‘tens of thousands of dollars’. With Richard’s combined cash assets (cash in the wallet and at the bank) amounting to AU$5000, an old Renault-made car and Holden Viva in his name, with bank cards seized by police and no access to frozen funds, it was not likely that a false id can be obtained. Mr. Lewis tried to allege otherwise, his arguments however were not well supported.
Mr. Marsh also pointed out that Richard is on Interpol red alert list, and asked Mr. Lewis to clarify what that means– other countries would be alerted when the person being sought crosses the border.
Richard has significant presence on the Internet with various photos published and it would be very difficult to hide.
With respect to Richard’s character, Mr. Marsh said that the only offense in Australia was Richard’s entering and continuing to live under different name. Richard has actively sought employment, went to school, committed no crime except for perpetuity of his false identity, and just lived a normal life.
Then Mr. Brendan Money was called for testimony. He is an Assistant Commissioner for Sentencing, who is responsible for security classification. Mr. Money returned from his leave on January 30 and met with Richard on that day (after 20 days have passed since Richard’s incarceration in maximum security regime). Mr. Money stated that it was his responsibility to assess the security risk of prisoners, and currently Richard was being treated as ‘high risk’ with all the consequences. Mr. Money assured the judge that he wants to conduct a proper assessment and that it will as much time as required to review all the relevant information within specified time-frame, and up till then Richard will remain in existing condition. Richard is presently held at Exford area for Metropolitan Remand Centre, which as confirmed by Mr. Money, could be called “a prison within prison”. Richard stays all day in solitary, which is 3 by 4 metres in length (*10 by 13 feet), he is shackled to the waist when transported within the prison with only two 1-hr non-contact visits per week allowed since January 30 (none before that). Richard is kept in such conditions for his own safety and security of other prisoners. Mr. Marsh enquired whether anybody has ever escaped from MRC—Mr. Money’s answer was ‘no’, but since Richard is known to access false id’s and guns (*what made him think that?!), Richard has been classified as ‘high risk’. “But MRC is not a point of international departure?”—Mr. Marsh commented.
“If the proceedings are to take 12 months, would Richard still be kept in such conditions?”—Mr. Marsh enquired noting the loss of weight and worsening health of Richard. Mr. Money answered that usually it takes up to 30 days to make a risk assessment and if more time is required, he would need to approve it (* he who decides also approves extension of time to make the decision!?). But at present Richard would continue to stay in maximum security area of the prison. I was also astonished by the statement of the prosecutor citing some legal precedent case where deteriorating health and severe depression of defendant were not considered by the judge as extraordinary circumstances to grant bail. (*Innocent until proven guilty takes form of ‘sick and weak (or dead) before proven guilty’—Richard has lost more than 10 kilos in 3 weeks he’s been in this prison–he’s severely underweight, he looks frail, he’s not allowed to see people, doesn’t have access to standard prison resources, he’s treated like an animal—do you know that they shackle him and transport him in a metal box, guarded by security, when other prisoners are taken by a standard bus!?) Mr. Money said he didn’t notice any change in Richard’s appearance since he first saw him.
I easily get emotional when I see injustice, but I’ll try to keep going.
After the lunch break, the prosecutor made a statement that Mr. Lewis can provide additional evidence that is supplied by the United States, that would back the prosecution. The judge has allowed it, but then when notified by Ms. Folie that it only can be shown to the Judge and not the legal team of Richard, because it’s secret, the judge has declined the request because it would put defense of Richard in unfavorable position.
Mr. Marsh and Mr. Sim indicated that Richard would challenge the legality of extradition under double-criminality, better explained as whether the charges he’s facing would consist crime in Australia. Since this process is complicated and is expected to take time, they appealed to the judge that His Honor should not allow harm to defendant before guilt is established.
Mr. Marsh also pointed out that Richard’s being on the United Nations list does not give rise to an offense. He was free to leave the United States in April 2005 with no charges then or prior, and it had been long after—4.5 years after he left the US—that the charges were filed against Richard in November 2009. Mr. Marsh has indicated that the Executive Order that placed Richard’s name on the list is closely connected to domestic and foreign policy of the United States, as such giving rise to political reasons behind Richard’s case.
The decision about granting the bail will be announced on Thursday, February 7, 2013.
Coming To America
If the U.S. Dept. of justice has it way, it may finally have Richard Chichakli extradited to America. According to Richard’s wife, his current Australian legal battle to fight his extradition is a lost cause! She also told me that a final decision can come as early as April 4th.
Mrs. Chichakli stated to me that,
“He [Richard Chichakli] had a court hearing on Wednesday (March 27, 2013) where it was made clear that he no longer is granted free legal assistance by Victoria Legal Aid because he’s not likely to win his matter. Also, the magistrate (judge) brought a notion that it’s not up to the court to decide on the extradition matter, it is in the hands of the Attorney General. As such the surrender decision would be made on April 4th, the next court day, and Richard would be extradited shortly.”
Richard Chichakli now 53 years-old has been held in solitary confinement in an Australian prison since his arrest on 10 January 2013last month and he is currently awaiting possible extradition to the United States. Chichakli is facing charges in a joint indictment in the U.S. over his alleged involvement with Viktor Bout who’s been jailed in the U.S. for 25 years convicted on conspiracy charges. Despite Viktor Bout’s harsh sentence he has strongly maintained his innocence and Chichakli denies working for Bout but proudly boasts of their friendship.
Viktor Bout’s defense attorney, Albert Y. Dayan, recently filed on 30 January 2013 a 55 page appeal with the U.S. 2nd Circuit court of appeals. The link to the entire document can be found here: Viktor Bout Appeal. Bout and his attorney are appealing his 25 year sentence for conspiracy charges. Bout has mantained his innocence throughout the process.
These exclusive documents are from the U.S. State Department, including State Department Cables, Letters to Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder and between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand.
To the best of my knowledge the following exhibits have not been published or seen other than the judge as well as lawyers for the defense and prosecution. Each exhibit has its own link.
Edited: January 29 2013
Is Richard Chichakli Being Poisoned in Prison?
At the request of Richard Chichakli via his Russian wife – whom is also facing her own charges in Australia – I was contacted to report on Chichakli’s treatment as well as his conditions in his Australian prison. Mrs. Chichakli [her real named is being withheld as per her request] contacted me by email. Here is part of what she wrote me:
Dear Mr. Mapp:
My name is …, I’m Richard’s wife of eight years, a Russian national. We came to Australia together. I’m contacting you as per Richard’s instruction. He called me this morning from Metropolitan Remand Centre where he’s been held since about two weeks. He was in panic because the prison staff insisted on him taking a pill for unknown reason. He’s not on any prescribed medicine. He believes somebody wants to poison him.
Is Richard Chichakli being paranoid – possibly but if you knew his entire story as well as I do — I would have to say his concerns and fears are legitimate.
The Accidental Terrorist
I will not go into detail in this article as far as the how and why or the depth of my relationship with Richard Chichakli. For those of you who have not heard of Richard Chichakli or want some background info, please read: Exclusive: Richard Chichakli Speaks About the Viktor Bout Trial. However, I do discuss my relationship with Chichakli in detail in my upcoming book titled, The Accidental Terrorist, which should be completed this summer. Here is a snapshot of my book:
In his fascinating new book, The Accidental Terrorist, George Mapp describes how he went from an international equity trader on Wall Street, to massage therapist to international globe trotter to an accused terrorist. His unique book will discuss international travel to exotic destinations, a spiritual journey, love affairs, diverse cultures, religious clashes, drugs, terrorism, intelligence agencies, spies, lies and spy games as well as his eye witness account of 9/11.
Mrs. Chichakli in her email to me went into more detail in terms of Richard Chichakli’s prison conditions.
Since he’s been kept in prison he has been moved frequently from one cell to another. He says when he requests the management to attend the issues he has, the only response he gets is a guard.
MRC is a maximum security prison, Richard is kept in solitary. He is only accused of violation of economic sanctions, why they treat him like he’s a murderer?
For more than 2 weeks now he has not been granted visitors. I submitted my request on January 14, and his friends–a day later. Richard said that he put the requests through on the 13th of January. The phone operators in prison keep telling me to call next Wednesday, as their system gets updated on Tuedays. There have been two cycles of updates already with no results. My attempts to contact management through my lawyer took me back to where I started, as the decisions about visitors are made locally in prison, and the names of management are not disclosed. Since I’m not approved, I can’t go and visit him, I can’t bring clean clothes to him, I can send him money to make calls. And Richard is kept in solitary.
Lawyer or Puppet?
After attending everyday of the three week long Viktor Bout trial it was evident that the DEA would stop at nothing in their pursuit of Bout and his alleged co-conspirator a.k.a Richard Chichakli. The DEA operation to catch Bout in an elaborate ‘scheme’ was dubbed ‘Relentless‘ it spanned over three continents and is estimated to have cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. In fact on 17 January 2010, the DEA unsealed a new indictment against both Viktor Bout and Richard Chichakli: U.S. Announces New Indictment Against International Arms Dealer Viktor Bout and American Co-Conspirator for Money Laundering, Wire Fraud, and Conspiracy.
In one of my repliy emails to Mrs. Chichakli, I expressed my concern as to the loyalty and trustworthiness of Richard’s lawyer. What follows is a dialogue between myself and Mrs. Chichakli.
[Me] What do you think about Richard’s attorney [Andrew Sim]– is he really trying to help or is he just a puppet?
[Mrs. Chichakli] I was present in court on Jan-17 during Richard’s hearing, his attorney did not appear to be firm, seemed hesitant about what he was about to say. I spoke with him after the hearing inquiring about whether he can handle the case ’cause it may be too big for him, he reassured me that their practice is the largest criminal law practice in Melbourne and that they have staff that will attend the case properly. This morning Richard referred to him as a young boy and said he may dismiss him at the next trial. I don’t know if that was just an emotional statement.
Just for the record, I contacted Richard Chichakli’s attorney Andrew Sim and have not received a reply as of yet. I inquired about his clients’ well-being, his emotional and mental condition as well as a physical description of Chichakli’s actual prison cell.
Edited: 29 January 2013.
Several days after publishing this article I was contacted by a memeber of Richard Chichakli’s defense team. I do find it odd that a defense attorney would not care to comment on his clients treatment in prison. Especially if there are allegations of mis-treatment and abuse. The following excerpt is from Richard Chichakli’s defense team:
Your enquiry of Mr Richard Chichakli has been forwarded to me to respond to.
This email is to let you know that Victoria Legal Aid won’t be making any comment or providing any information on Mr Chichakli outside of court proceedings.
Mrs. Chichakli’s Plea For Help
What Mrs. Chichakli wanted more than anything from me was help! She is trying desperately to reach out to the media and to journalists to get her husbands story heard. One thing that caught my attention is that Mrs. Chichakli is in legal trouble in a foreign country – she told me that she is out on bail – yet she did not express much concern about herself only about her husband.
The following excerpts by Mrs. Chichakli are taken verbatim from one of our email exchanges.
Richard mentioned a specific program “current affairs” over the phone and asked me to contact them as well as you. So I did, and the newsroom person pretty much harassed me over the phone–the same issues I described to you were not enough for him–he started offensively asking me what countries Richard [Chichakli] sold the arms to–North Korea, Iran, what countries put sanctions on him, I told him to stop making assumptions and I asked him to refer me to somebody else and he refused saying that he’s the only one there and that I’m not giving him enough information to make the story. He hung up. His name was Jeff. I called again later, and he again told me off.
I’ve spoken with Channel 10 newsroom, they may contact me on Sat or Sun.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but a few things don’t seem quite right.
1–for two weeks nobody except for his lawyer is allowed to see him
2- Richard said he put requests for visitors through and the prison system doesn’t reflect that
3- The requests to prison management for urgent assistance for making visits went ananswered
4- The prison personnel made an attempt to medicate Richard by mistake or on purpose?
5- They (the government?) know that there’s nobody here to stand for Richard, they know we’ve been separated and that I’m under pressure and won’t attempt much.
Any help in publicizing what’s going on would be appreciated.
The Most Recent Photo of Viktor Bout
To the best of my knowledge, this is the most recent photo taken of Viktor Bout. Viktor sent it to me in a letter dated 30 October 2012 which was postmarked 1 November 2012.
The previously most recent picture of Viktor was provided to me by his wife Alla.
Letters From Prison
Viktor Bout and I have been corresponding via the CorrLinks prison system for some time. CorrLinks is an email system for inmates to communicate electronically. While Bout has access to CorrLinks he does not have access to internet. He can not use any search engines thus he is also unable to search any news and current events via the internet.
Viktor Bout spends most of his time reading and listening to music and meditating. While most of our correspondence between Viktor and I is private, I will share a few quotes that he has shared with several others.
Here is another quote that Viktor Bout with myself and a few others.
Viktor Bout Communication Ban
According to a Russia Beyond The Headlines article titled Bout banned from contacting his family, Viktor Bout is currently banned from receiving any phone calls from family members. From my latest chat with Viktor Bout via CorrLinks, he is banned from all phone communications with everyone not just family. However, he is still able to send and receive emails.
Viktor’s wife Alla expressed her frustration and accussed the Bureau of Prisons of appyling psychological pressure to her husband. The following quotes are from the previously mentioned article:
“Viktor couldn’t get through to me,” she said. “We usually talk on Skype. This time I kept getting cut off, and since my husband only gets 15 minutes on the phone, he called his brother, who put Viktor on speakerphone with his mother,” Alla said. “After that, Viktor didn’t call for a week. Last night the lawyer called me and said Viktor had been deprived of his phone rights for 30 days because he talked to relatives on speakerphone.”
According to Bout’s wife, “nothing took place that broke the rules” during this call.
“They didn’t discuss politics or the economy. Viktor’s mother asked how her beloved son was doing and how he was feeling,” said Alla. “Prisoners aren’t forbidden to talk to their relatives – I think this was a way of putting psychological pressure on my husband.
Russia’s Extradition Request for Bout Denied by Justice Department
[A link to the actual letter can be found here: Viktor Bout's extradition denial letter from the U.S. Justice Department]
RT just reported yesterday that the US rejects Russia’s extradition request for jailed businessman Bout. The following excerpts are taken from the RT article:
The US Justice Department refused the extradition request over the seriousness of the crimes with which he was charged, among other reasons, Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan said.
“We have received an official response from the Justice Department,” Dayan told Itar-Tass news agency. “The denial to grant the request is explained by the fact the prisoner has a pending appeal, by the seriousness of the crime, by objections from the law enforcement authorities, and also by the fact that his criminal past renders such request impossible.”
According to Dayan, the request for extradition to Russia may be filed again in two years.
“Our only hope right now is the appeal,” said Dayan, adding that Bout was “jailed for political reasons, and hasn’t committed any crimes.”
Viktor Bout Contact Info:
IMPORTANT: Please make sure you include his prisoner Register number
VIKTOR BOUT Register # 91641-054
P.O. BOX 1000
MARION, IL 62959
Blog Post Edited: 15 November 2012
Additional articles, radio and television interviews about Viktor Bout:
Виктор Бут, отбывающий наказание в американской тюрьме общего режима в штате Иллинойс, дал первое интервью после приговора. “Голосу России” его предоставил Джордж Мэпп
- Был ли для Вас перевод в Оклахому из Бруклина такой же неожиданностью, какой стал для Ваших юристов?
- Для меня перевод не был неожиданностью, мне было очевидно, что так и произойдет.
- Как с Вами обращались во время процесса перевода и какой транспорт использовался, чтобы доставить Вас во временный изолятор?
- Бюро тюрем доставило порядка 25 заключенных на автобусе на взлетную площадку Стюард (Steward Airbase), где мы ждали знаменитого Conair MD82 вместе с несколькими другими автобусами и фургонами с региона. Когда самолет приземлился, автобусы и фургоны выехали на взлетную полосу, некоторых заключенных освободили от наручников, и мы все взошли на борт. Сам перелет проходил спокойно, ничего особенного, просто было неудобно сидеть в оковах, наручниках, прикованным к сиденью.
В Оклахоме мы прилетели к зданию, которое было похоже на обычный терминал, – Добро пожаловать в Федеральное транзитное учреждение Оклахомы. По громкоговорителю назвали мое имя, и я первым покинул самолет, после чего я быстро оказался в изоляторе. Я провел там 12 дней в полной изоляции: без новостей, газет и телевизора, и только по будням мне было дозволено в течение часа гулять по площадке 4 на 4 метра, которая была ограждена словно клетка. Со мной обращались точно так же, как и со всеми остальными заключенными. Я попытался позвонить своему юристу или в посольство, но мне сообщили, что я смогу это сделать только через 30 дней заключения.
- С какими условиями и обращением Вы столкнулись в Оклахоме?
- В Оклахоме меня ждала чистая, сверкающая тюрьма. Она словно памятник тюремному промышленному комплексу – те же камеры, в смысле площади, меню, отношение и даже запахи.
- Поступило ли Вам предупреждение о Вашем предстоящем переезде в Марион, штат Иллинойс, где Вы сейчас находитесь?
- Я узнал о том, что меня переведут в Марион за неделю, и вот я тут, в Блоке управления связью (блок, в котором Федеральное бюро тюрем может отслеживать коммуникации с внешним миром, такие как телефонные звонки, почту и визиты. Спроектировано, в частности, для террористов).
- Опишите Ваши условия, особенно хотелось бы узнать о дозволенности звонков и посещениях.
- Правила в БУС достаточно строгие – дозволено всего 2 звонка по 15 минут в неделю, для которых необходимо за неделю до звонка заполнить специальную форму, где нужно указать: с кем пройдет разговор, и на каком языке. Даже чтобы отправить письмо можно указать только тот адрес, который находится в списке дозволенных адресов переписки, а сам он должен быть написан печатными буквами. И именно тут происходят бесконтактные посещения (общение происходит через стекло).
- Когда Владимир Путин стал президентом России, Вам выразили огромную политическую поддержку. Как Вы считаете, это совпадение или есть связь между Путиным и политической поддержкой?
- У меня практически нет информации о политической поддержке, так что я не могу прокомментировать то, о чем у меня нет сведений. Я знаю, что в России многие озабочены тем, что и почему со мной произошло.
- Вы заметили изменения в оказываемой поддержке со стороны российского правительства с приходом к власти Путина?
- Опять же, здесь, в Марионе, я не получаю вестей из России. Я только звоню родным, чтобы узнать, как они.
- Отразился ли Ваш перевод в Марион в Иллинойсе на поддержку со стороны российского консульства или российского правительства? Если да, то как?
- Я не знаю, чтобы что-то оказало какое-то влияние. Но на прошлой неделе мне позвонили из консульского отдела посольства России в Вашингтоне и сообщили, что планируют меня навестить.
- Джеймс Брук с The Voice of America сообщил о том, что Игорь Сечин прибыл в Нью-Йорк как только Вас осудили. Встречались ли Вы с Сечиным во время его пребывания в Америке?
- Как я уже не раз говорил, у меня нет личных связей с Игорем Сечиным. Я никогда его не встречал, так что спрашивать меня о его визите в Нью-Йорк бессмысленно.
- Меня не было в здании суда, когда корреспондент The Voice of America Кэролин Уэйвер спросила Вашу жену, как долго Вы служили в КГБ. Могли бы Вы это прокомментировать?
- В 2004 году я послал запрос в архив КГБ, и теперь у меня есть официальное подтверждение, что я никогда не служил и никоим образом не помогал КГБ.
- Виктор, есть много организаций типа “Предупреждение конфликтов”, отслеживающих незаконную торговлю оружием, которые следили за Вашим делом. Вам важно просветить их о международной торговле оружием, в том числе и о главных игроках?
- Я думаю, что нахожусь не в том положении, чтобы просвещать их. Более того, я не знаю ничего, о чем у них не было бы информации. Но что меня интересует – это кто и почему финансирует эти организации? Работают ли они исключительно на энтузиазме помочь другим нациям? Я никогда не верил в эти “истории для прикрытия”.
- Во многих статьях Вас связывали с бывшим агентом ЦРУ и либерийским полевым командиром Чарльзом Тейлором. Вы когда-нибудь вели дела с Тейлором?
- Я никогда не встречался с Чарльзом Тейлором и не имел никаких дел с его режимом.
- Я был в России, когда анонимный источник сообщил мне, что Вас не отправят в тюрьму особого режима в Колорадо. Я был первым человеком, опубликовавшим эту информацию в Интернете. Сразу после меня ее сообщил “Голос России”. Это решение, равно как и вмешательство прокурора Эрика Холдера, стало для Вас сюрпризом?
- Я ничего не знаю о вмешательстве Эрика Холдера. Насколько я знаю, он все еще “босс Федерального бюро тюрем. Я не понимаю, о каком вмешательстве можно говорить, речь идет о его собственном департаменте.
- Признаете ли Вы свою вину, если Вам гарантируют, что экстрадируют в Россию для исполнения наказания?
- Это сложный вопрос. Мне надо будет проконсультироваться с адвокатами.
- Виктор, имя Ричарда Чичакли упоминается в обвинительном заключении Управления по контролю за оборотом наркотиков, опубликованном в ноябре 2010 года вместе с Вашим именем. Можете ли Вы рассказать, какие личные и деловые отношения у Вас были с Ричардом?
- Ричард мой друг, я о нем рассуждать или давать комментариев не буду. Его жизнь – еще один пример того, что представляет собой эта страна.
- Во многих журналистских расследованиях операция Управления по контролю за оборотом наркотиков “Неумолимый”, которая привела к Вашему аресту в Бангкоке, связывается с тем, что Вы располагали информацией об организации терактов 11 сентября.
Например, занимающийся расследованиями журналист Вейн Мэдсен заявил: “Бута арестовали потому, что он слишком много знал о 11 сентября, и секретные службы хотели его куда-то припрятать”. Другие утверждали, что Вас арестовали, чтобы косвенно обвинить в подготовке терактов 11 сентября. Что можете на это ответить?
- Это прекрасная идея для голливудского сценария. Я не собираюсь комментировать эти фантазии, спекуляции и слухи по поводу 11 сентября.
- Как проходит процесс апелляции?
- Лучше обсудить это с Альбертом Даяном, я собираюсь с ним увидеться. Я не знаю, что произошло за последний месяц.
- Ваши адвокаты имеют к Вам прямой доступ? Или им тяжело общаться с Вами из-за того, что далеко от них находитесь?
- Это еще одна проблема. Я поддерживаю связь с офисом моего адвоката Альберта Даяна по е-mail, мне не разрешили звонить ему без прослушивания разговоров. Поэтому мне надо направить запрос в суд и ждать соответствующего решения в течение двух недель. И тогда, возможно, я смогу позвонить ему.
- Кто-нибудь из Вашей адвокатской команды смог посетить Вас в тюрьме, после того как Вас перевели в Марион?
- Нет еще. Я знаю, что г-н Даян был в Москве, и я надеюсь с ним скоро встретиться.
- Виктор, спасибо Вам за интервью.
- Спасибо Вам и всего наилучшего.
Это интервью впервые было опубликовано на блоге сайта SkyPotrol.net.
Original link: The Voice of Russia — Обвинения против Бута – “прекрасная идея для голливудского сценария”
Additional articles, radio and television interviews about Viktor Bout:
Drug Smugglers, Gun Runners, Russian Intelligence Officers and Terrorists’ Wives
How, when and why I first met Viktor Bout is too fascinating and too long a story to discuss here. In fact so intriguing that I am currently write a book about it. Viktor Bout is a part of but by no means entails my entire book. The book will also discuss my intimate encounter in the foothills of the Himalayas with David Headley’s — Mumbai’s 26/11 terrorist mastermind — wife Faiza that led to India’s intelligence agency tracking me down for interrogation and questioning along with the FBI. My book is in five parts: India, Thailand, Morocco, America and Russia. For a brief description see below:
In his fascinating new book, Drug Smugglers, Gun Runners, Russian Intelligence Officers and Terrorists’ Wives, George Mapp describes how he went from an international equity trader on Wall Street, to massage therapist to international globe trotter to an accused terrorist. His unique book will discuss international travel to exotic destinations, a spiritual journey, love affairs, diverse cultures, religious clashes, drugs, terrorism, intelligence agencies, spies, lies and spy games as well as his eye witness account of 9/11.
Contact and Book Donation Details for Viktor Bout
Since I first met Viktor back in October of 2010 in a Bangkok court room, I have followed his case extensively. I attended everyday of his New York trial, form opening remarks to the jury’s decision to the sentencing. I have visited him more than once in prison in Brooklyn and continue to communicate with him frequently via the prison email system dubbed CorrLinks. By default, I got to know him, his close friends, ex-partners and family quite well.
Viktor is quite a gifted linguist — he was able to read my Sanskrit tattoo’s with no problem. I can’t even read them, of course I know what they say but I am unable to read Sanskrit.
When you read the entire interview you will understand what extremely isolated conditions he is currently being held under. I am asking on Viktor’s behalf that anyone that would like to or that has the means to please consider sending a letter — or better yet ordering books for him online or perhaps donate money to him directly via the U.S. prison system so he can buy items from the commissary and phone his daughter, wife and mother in Russia which is extremely expensive.
Just so that there is no confusion — Viktor does NOT have access to the internet — ONLY a prison email system that is tightly monitored and restricted. Thus, Viktor can not read any news or websites, he can not download books or movies nor Skype. He is — with very few exceptions — completely isolated. Viktor would especially love books in Portuguese, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Russian and yes even in English. Please remember — you can NOT send him books directly — they must come from a publisher directly. No more than 5 books at a time.The best way is too order online and have them sent to him — they MUST include his register number along with his name.
PLEASE NOTE: The BOP’s rules are extremely strict, Viktor can NOT receive any books or magazines directly from ANY individual — ONLY a company like Amazon or a newspaper subscription that comes directly from a publisher — for example Gazeta.ru. If you have any questions here are some links:
Viktor Bout Contact Info:
IMPORTANT: Please make sure you include his prisoner Register number
VIKTOR BOUT Register # 91641-054
P.O. BOX 1000
MARION, IL 62959
Viktor Bout Exclusive First Interview from Marion, IL. Prison By George Mapp Jr
Viktor, first of all I want to thank you for taking time out for this interview. I haven’t seen you in person since April at MDC in Brooklyn. A lot has happened to you since then. I would like to first ask you, was your transfer to Oklahoma City from Brooklyn as sudden and unexpected for you as it was for your legal team?
The transfer wasn’t sudden or unexpected, it was clear that it was about to happen.
How were you treated during the transfer process and what mode of transportation did they use to move you to the temporary facility?
BOP [Bureau of Prisons] “bussed” about 25 inmates in same base to upstate’s Steward Airbase, where the infamous “Conair” MD82 was expected by several buses and vans from the region. When the plane landed, the buses and vans went to the tarmac and then some inmates were disembarked, and then they boarded us. The flight was OK, nothing special, just to sit in iron legs, shackles, belly chain, lock and box quite uncomfortable! At Oklahoma City there is a huge terminal like building – welcome to Federal Transit Facility Oklahoma! They called my name on public system and then they got me out first, and quite quickly I was in SHU !!!
[The Federal Bureau of Prisons' solitary confinement units are known as Special Housing Units aka the SHU.]
So I spent 12 days in the SHU in full and complete isolation from News, newspaper or even TV, only on work days they would take me for “recreation’- for one hour inside a caged roof (size 4mX4m).
I was treated exactly like anybody else in the SHU! I tried to request my legal call to my lawyer and to the Embassy, but they said only after 30 days I can have a call.!!!
How were your conditions and treatment at Oklahoma City?
Conditions at Oklahoma – it is clean, a shining jail like a monument to the prison industrial complex – still same cells ( size wise, same BOP menu, same attitude and even same smells!!
Did you have advanced notice of your final transfer to Marion, IL. Where you are currently being held?
It was clear a week before the transfer that it will be UPS Marion, so here I am, in CMU (you can check what it is your self)
[According to Wikipedia, a Communication Management Unit or CMU is a recent designation for a self-contained group within a facility in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons that severely restricts, manages and monitors all outside communication (telephone, mail, visitation) of inmates in the unit. The CMU permits two hours, twice per month, and no contact, meaning the visitor and inmate are in separate rooms with viewing through a glass window and talking via telephone. All conversations must be in English unless special permission is granted 10 days in advance. This is in contrast to ordinary inmates in ordinary units, where the visitation standard includes unlimited contact on their visitation day, once each week or biweekly. In addition to the already imposed restrictions, CMU “prisoners are banned from any physical contact with visiting friends and family, including babies, infants, and minor children.”Compared to other inmates, those placed in the CMU have little contact with the outside world. At least $14 million is spent on surveillance of the CMUs. A counterterrorism team in West Virginia monitors verbal communication remotely.
You have described briefly to me – via CorrLinks prison email system – your conditions in Marion. Can you please describe for my readers your conditions – especially phone privileges and visiting conditions?
CMU’s rules are quite restrictive – only 2 calls of 15 minutes per week with the special forms where you have to use available timing and mention to whom you will call and which language you are going to use, 1 week prior to yours calls. Even a letter you can only send if the address is in the your approved contact list and you must use only the printed labels for the address. Here I will again have non-contact visits (through glass).
Since Putin has been elected as the Russian president, there seems to have been a plethora of political support for you out of Russia – is this just coincidence or is there a connection with Putin to the political support?
As I have very little information about the political support I really can’t comment on something that I am not aware of. I know that many in Russia are concerned what has happened to me, and why it is happening.
Have you noticed an increase or any change in support from the Russian government since Putin’s election?
Again, here in Marion I have very little news from Russia, and I am only calling my family to check how they are.
Has the support from the Russian consulate and Russian government been affected by your transfer to Marion, IL? If so, how has it changed?
I don’t know of any facts that something was affected, just last week I got a call from the Consular Section of the Russian Embassy in the Washington, and soon they are planning to visit me here.
According to The Voice of America’s James Brooke, Igor Sechin visited New York shortly after you were convicted – did Sechin visit you or speak to you during his visit?
As I said many times, I do not have any personal connection to Mr. Sechin, never meet him before, so even to ask about his visit to NYC is useless.
I was standing outside the courthouse last fall when The Voice of America’s Carolyn Weaver [I actually have this on video] asked your wife Alla, “How long have you been in the KGB?” Do you care to comment?
Well, in 2004 I even requested the Archive of the ex-KGB for that, and I do have an official statement, that I never been in there service and never help any position.
Viktor, there are many so called conflict awareness groups, arms trade organizations that have been following your case. Do you care to enlighten them to the facts and reality of the international arms trade including the major players?
I think I am not in the position to enlighten them. As I know nothing special, which they didn’t know. What is interesting for me is who finances them and why do they exist? Just there honest desire to help other nations? I never believe in these “cover stories” !!!
The former CIA asset and Liberian war Lord Charles Taylor has been linked to you by various publications. Have you ever met or done business with Taylor?
I never meet C.Taylor, and never had any dealings with his regimes!!!
I was in Russia when an anonymous source notified me that you would not be sent to the ‘Supermax’ prison facility in Colorado. I was actually the first person to publish this on the internet followed by The Voice of Russia. Was this decision and attorney general Eric Holder’s intervention a surprise to you?
I don’t know anything of the interventions by Eric Holder – as I know he is still the Boss including the BOP! So what kind of the intervention your are talking about, this IS HIS PERSONAL DEPARTMENT!!!Would you plead guilty if you were guaranteed to be extradited to Russia to serve out your sentence?
That’s a 64kUSD question, I will need legal advice from my team.
Viktor, Richard Chichakli’s name has appeared on a second DEA indictment issued in November 2010 along with your name. Do you care to comment about either your personal and / or business relationship with Richard?
Richard is my friend, and I will not comment or speculate about him – his life is just another example of the reality of this very country.
Their have been many investigative journalists associating DEA sting operation ‘Relentless’ that ended in your initial arrest in Bangkok, Thailand to either your knowledge of or involvement in 9/11. Some like investigative journalist Wayne Madsen said, “Bout was arrested because he knew too much about 9/11 and the intelligence agencies wanted you off the streets.” Others have said that you were arrested to be indirectly blamed for 9/11. Do you care to share your thoughts on these allegations?
Well that’s a nice idea for Hollywood. As all that happened on 9/11 itself. I have to intention to comment on there fantasies and speculations on the rumors.
How is the appeal process going?
Best is to check with Mr. Albert Dayan, I am looking to see him, I Don’t know what is going on for the last one month.
Do your lawyer’s and legal staff have direct access and communication to you? Or has it been very difficult due to your distant geographical location?
That’s another problem, I am in contact with Dayan’s office via corrlink e-mail, but I was denied a possibility to make an unmonitored legal call to him, for which I have to have 2 week deadline in the Court and I have to provide a docket number then maybe I will have chance to call him!!!
Has any of your legal staff been able to see you in person since your transfer to Marion?
Not yet. I know Mr. Dayan was in Moscow and looking to see him soon.
Viktor, I would like to take this time to say thank you for your interview.
Thank you and best wishes to readers of your site !!!
Additional articles, radio and television interviews about Viktor Bout:
According to The Voice of Russia’s article by reporter, Vasily Sushko, Viktor Bout’s exact whereabouts are completely unknown to his attorneys and legal staff. In this at The Voice of Russia report titled, Bout allegedly transferred to medium-security prison in Illinois, Bout is supposed to be at Marion, Illinois or at least in transfer. According to Andrew Garkusha — a member of Bout’s legal team — Bout is no longer in the state of New York. Garkusha spoke to Bout on Tuesday night approximately at 8pm and went to MDC prison in Brooklyn [the exact location where I visited Viktor twice] on Wednesday at approximately 11am and was told, “He [Viktor Bout] is no longer in this facility or state.” According to Garkusha, Bout said he was expecting his visit the next day during their phone conversation. Garkusha also said that he believes Bout was not on the weekly flight — dubbed Con Air — that leaves every Tuesday to transfer Federal inmates across the country.
What is unusual to me is that according to BOP’s website — under the prison locater section — Bout is in the OKLAHOMA CITY FTC prison. Whether this is his final destination or simply a stop-over in the transfer process is still uncertain. As far as I know, Bout’s legal team still does not know about stopover in Oklahoma City.
I just received an email from attorney Barry Bachrach, concerning Bout’s stopover in Oklahoma City. Mr. Bachrach has explained that this stop over in Oklahoma City is quite typical. According to attorney Bachrach:
“Oklahoma is where a transfer station is which is a stop prisoners typically make when they are being transferred from one prison to another. In my experience, It is virtually impossible to get contact him while in Oklahoma. His stay there is unpredictable, whereby he can stay there a short time or anytime up to a month or more. Unfortunately it is not unusual for a prisoner to be transferred without family or attorney knowing. It has happened to several people I have represented.”
Nonetheless, Bout’s ordeals with the BOP have not been easy. Bout was initially held in Manhattan in the Special Housing Unit also known as the ‘SHU’ where he was in solitary confinement for just under two years. Finally at the bequest of Bout’s attorney, Albert Dayan, the presiding judge of the Bout trial, Shira A. Scheindlin ordered Bout moved into general population. I write about it in detail in my piece in February titled, Judge Orders Viktor Bout out of Solitary Confinement. Before it was recently announced on June 1st by The Voice of Russia that Viktor Bout to be transfered to a medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois, the BOP tried to send Bout to a super-maximum security facility. The Bureau of Prison’s originally announced on May 11th that Bout would be sent to the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’ in Florence, Colorado. According to a Ria Novosti article titled, Russian Arms Dealer Bout Faces ‘Supermax’ Prison:
The Colorado prison, known as a Supermax, is the most secure in the U.S., and holds Ramsi Yousef, convicted for bombing the World Trade Center in 1993. Most prisoners in the facility are in solitary confinement.
Then on May 24th as stated in my article, The DEA’s Conduit to Viktor Bout Gets a Slap on the Wrist: Andrew Smulian Sentenced to Five Years, I was the first entity to report that Viktor Bout would NOT be transferred to Supermax in Colorado:
I was the first to publicly break the story of Viktor Bout’s imminent transfer to Florence Colorado’s Super Maximum security prison (dubbed Supermax) to be canceled. A reliable source whom wished to remain anonymous informed me of the news last week. Approximately an hour after I tweeted the breaking news [Timeline], The Voice of Russia was the first to publish an article after my announcement.
There have been an array of rumors floating around concerning Bout and some sort of spy / prisoner swap. What has become apparent since Eric Holder’s sudden and by many unexpected announcement — Holder also recently visited Russia amid high level discussions [U.S. Attorney General Holder Meets with Russian Legal Officials] – to halt Bout’s transfer to Supermax is that this case is very complex. In the realm of politics, it is most certainly chess and not checkers. Attorney General Eric Holder has also publicly stated that he has agreed to the possibility of letting Viktor Bout being transfered to Russia to serve out his term there as opposed to in America. [U.S. Attorney General to Study Bout Transfer Possibilities]
The latest rumors of a prisoner swap for Bout have been dismissed as early as today by Russia. [No Spy Swap for Bout - Security Service] Also rampant in the rumor mill are ties between Bout and newly elected Russian President Vladimir Putin via the intermediary of Igor Sechin. Also resurfacing are Bout’s ties to the GRU formerly the KGB. Viktor Bout has dismissed these rumors on several occassions including to me personally. Ironically, support for Viktor Bout has been substantially bolstered in recent months since President Putin’s new tenor.
The extraordinary case of Viktor Bout continues to surprise us with its twists and turns. Perhaps the future is already mapped out by those in power but for the rest of us — stay tuned!
Additional articles, radio and television interviews about Viktor Bout: