Richard Chichakli, Accused Partner of Viktor Bout Found Guilty On All Counts Amid Disgruntled Jury

Featured

Richard Ammar Chichakli

Richard Ammar Chichakli

On a freezing December afternoon on Friday 13th at about 12:30 pm the jury announced their verdict against Richard Ammar Chichakli. Chichakli was found guilty on all nine counts. One count of conspiring to violate international sanctions, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and six counts of wire fraud. Richard Chichakli will be sentenced on March 14th, 2014.

Since I was unable to be in the courtroom during the reading of the verdict, I relied on information directly from Chichakli. Here is what he wrote me:

Good day George
Thank you for your message, and here’s the update

The decision was rendered about 12:30, and it is all as expected; guilty on all counts.
Sincerely
Richard

In a letter to judge Pauley dated to December 11th 2013, Chichakli filed a motion of mistrial to the judge based on emails of at least two jurors complaining about him and dragging the trial out as long as he could. Chichakli mentioned that the prosecutors presented over 600 slides in three separate presentations in addition to the slides I counted seventeen witness’ presented by the government during the trial. I understand the legal angle that the burden of the proof is on the prosecution. However, isn’t it is a reasonable assertion that if there are many witness’ then there could potentially be a lot of cross-examination? Apparently the jury didn’t see it that way and solely blamed Chichakli.

[Read the motion here: Richard Chichakli’s Motion to Declare Mistrial]

Chichakli in another email to me elaborated and gave some insight into exactly what was said by some of the jurors. As well as pointing out that juror number 10 whom was also elected the jury foreman, stated that the trial must end by Friday because his income would be negatively impacted. That turned out to be the exact day that the guilty verdict was rendered against Chichakli. Here is what Chichakli wrote me:

Everything we have seen was leading to the conclusion that was received, that’s why it was no surprise at all.
It was difficult to operate with the court refusal of admitting evidence, the refusal to allow testimony from witnesses we needed, the unbalanced prejudicial latitude favoring the prosecution, and finally the acceptance of the juries prejudice against the defendant.

I think until receiving copy of that e-mail which was sent to the judge by jurors number 9 and number 10, I; for some reason, start feeling as if there was a chance for justice. Then, the jury email stating:

“There is serious discontent in the jury room concerning the longer than expected trial, saying the defendant trying to drag the case as long as he could while everyone else is suffering”

The reasons this email was signal of prejudice and cause for mistrial is due to:
———————————————————————————————
1-The discontent in the jury room means that the jurors were discussing the case; this is a violation of the court instruction
2-The jury; collectively, are blaming the defendant alone while accepting the 792-slides presented by the gov over 5 days
3-The jury have obviously made a decision already evident by saying “The defendant is dragging the case”
4-The jury expressed that they are suffering; whatever that means, retaliation is an expected response to suffering
5- Discontent in the jury room; again, means more than one juror – the jury room holds 12

The strange thing that the second e-mail was received from juror-10 also complaining about the lengthy trial, and stating that he cannot serve past today-Friday; the guilty verdict day because that would hurt his income. That very juror was the foreperson who seemed very proud while reading the verdict.

Chichakli’s trial has generated very little press coverage outside of a few media outlets. Over the last twenty-four hours almost every world-wide media outlet has published a story on Chichakli’s conviction. Most reports are almost identically reading more like a scripted press release as opposed to any actual news coverage or reporting. Ironically I have seen many news publications with this quote or similar variation, “His [Chichakli’s] case has raised tensions in already frigid ties between the United States and Russia.” I say ironic because the interest that I observed from Russia has been somewhere between little or none. In fact, Viktor Bout seems to be fading from the media headlines in Russia and is becoming a mostly forgotten topic. Chichakli is an American-Syrian citizen arrested and then extradited from Australia to the States. I don’t see any direct Russian connection nor any noted interest from the Russian government nor their media.

This case has been anything but usual. The jury has rendered their verdict and the sentencing will be on March 14th, 2014. However, somehow I don’t think the case is over. If I was gambling man, I’d bet big that Chichakli will be looking at the appellate court in the near future.

Contact Information:

dobroyeutro1@gmail.com

Twitter: Dobroyeutro 

Further Reading:

Richard Chichakli Asked Judge for Mistrial Based on Jurors Discontent: USA vs. Viktor Bout Et Al

The Government Rests In Richard Chichakli Trial: USA vs. Viktor Bout Et Al

Richard Chichakli Calls His First Witness in USA vs. Viktor Bout Et Al

Richard Chichakli Crowdsourcing Legal Advice

Judge Rules Merchant of Death Author Does Not Have to Testify in Chichakli Trial

Inside The Courtroom: Richard Chichakli’s U.S. Trial Begins

World Exclusive: Richard Chichakli’s First Interview Since His Extradition From Australia To A U.S. Prison Exclusive: Viktor Bout’s Alleged Partner Richard Chichakli Rejects Government’s Plea Deal

Richard Chichakli’s Extradition to the U.S. is Imminent Bail denied for Richard Chichakli: Inside The Court Room during The Hearing

World Exclusive: Richard Chichakli: “Australian Prison Is Trying To Poison Me”

World Exclusive: First Marion, IL. Prison Interview with Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout is Fair Game: In the Midst of the Shadow Wars

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and Madness in the Never Ending Viktor Bout Saga

The Half-Truths and Missing Facts of Disarming Viktor Bout: The Chichakli – Schmidle Files

Exclusive: Richard Chichakli Speaks About the Viktor Bout Trial

Viktor Bout Convicted Over Terrorism Charges Bout’s case – America’s hidden skeletons

Viktor Bout convicted in ‘arms smuggling’ case, may get life

Case closed? Final arguments heard in ‘Merchant of Death’ trial

Imaginary Crimes: The Never Ending Viktor Bout Story

The DEA’s Conduit to Viktor Bout Gets a Slap on the Wrist: Andrew Smulian Sentenced to Five Years

Was Viktor Bout’s sentence just?

Viktor Bout Stung By DEA Operation ‘Relentless’: Sentenced to 25 Years

Inside The Courtroom: Richard Chichakli’s U.S. Trial Begins

Featured

Richard Ammar Chichakli

Richard Ammar Chichakli

Inside the Courtroom

So far his case definitely has not attracted the attention of the press as well as the media frenzy that was present during Viktor Bout’s trial. Bout’s trial was packed as well as having an overflow room available where press, Federal employees and the general public could watch the trial via a CCTV. Inside the courtroom there were myself, a Reuter’s representative and several Russian journalists. We could have easily fit on one row but for comfort decided to spread out.

Inside courtroom 20 B Chichakli wore a dark grey suit and hung off him slightly due to a smaller frame caused by weight loss over the last several months. Ironically Bout’s trial was held directly across the hall in courtroom 20 A. One of the lead DEA agents from the Viktor Bout sting operation dubbed Operation Relentless that lead to Bout’s capture in Thailand sat in the back of the courtroom watching the trial intensely. Several other DEA agents popped in briefly during the trail. Those same three agents were present during the majority of Bout’s three week long trial. After a short delay due to a late juror [the judge expressed his displeasure to those in the courtroom] the trial was underway. The presiding judge in this case is the Honorable William H. Pauley III. He is very tall and looks to be average build to thin and wears a closely cropped beard. Being in the courtroom during some of Chichakli’s hearings, it was evident that Judge Pauley III has a good sense of humor, is extremely patient. After sitting through the entire day in court yesterday, the judge came across as extremely fair is this odd case where Chichakli is representing himself also known as pro se.Richard Chichakli.

Opening Statements

The case is U.S.A. v. Bout et al., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 09-1002. The Syrian born naturalized U.S. citizen, Richard Ammar Chichakli falls under the “et al”. After spending nearly 11 combined months in prison from the time he was arrested in Australia until now, he finally has his day in court. Once arrested in January 2013 he was finally extradited to the U.S. in May of this year. According to Chichakli in correspondence between us, he was bounced around quite a bit between prisons and even within prisons. You can read more in my interview with Chichakli, World Exclusive: Richard Chichakli’s First Interview Since His Extradition From Australia To A U.S. Prison.

Due to time constraints I am going to take the following excerpts from a Reuters article titled, U.S. trial begins for Russian arms dealer’s accused conspirator written by Joseph Ax:

A U.S.-Syrian citizen conspired with convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to buy aircraft, using fake names to get around sanctions that had been imposed against him, a government prosecutor told a jury on Wednesday in New York federal court.

Richard Chichakli deceived a Florida aviation company in an effort to sidestep a presidential executive order prohibiting him from conducting any transactions with U.S. businesses, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Everdale said at the start of Chichakli’s criminal trial.

“The defendant deceived legitimate business people in the United States; he violated the sanctions against him,” Everdale said. “And he did it for money.”

Chichakli, representing himself, told the court the government had concocted a false story about him because of his ties to Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death” for his purported willingness to ship arms to anyone who could pay him.

“It’s your job to try to separate the facts from the fiction,” Chichakli told the jurors. “A whole lot of this story is fiction.”

Towards the end of Chichakli’s opening statement he mentioned to the jury that you will hear a man by the name of Viktor Bout. He then added that he was the only person in the world that asked the U.S. government why they were targeting Bout and how he remained friends with Viktor Bout since they first met in 1995.

A court room sketch of Richard Chichakli during his Australian bail hearing.

A court room sketch of Richard Chichakli during his Australian bail hearing.

Witness’

Molly Miller from the Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC] was a witness for the prosecutor as well as Michael Anthony Bachtel [not sure of the spelling of his last name] a DHS / ICE agent. The DHS agent interviewed Chichakli along with FBI agent Dennis Brady in April 2005. Chichakli having no legal experience or background and by his own admission being a Certified Public Accountant and aviation expert held his on in the court room. I would have to say that for a novice representing themselves and cross examining Molly Miller from OFAC and a DHS / ICE agent he was very impressive. There were little nuances and procedural mistakes made along the way but his questions and strategy were impressive. In fact, he did better than some lawyers that I have watched in other trials.

During his cross-examinations, Chichakli tried to hammer home the point that if someone is under OFAC sanctions like he was after 2005, that you can not even buy a hamburger from McDonald’s legally in this country. His point was that you have to apply for individual licenses to get access to your own blocked money. Chichakli then demonstrated that sometimes these licenses take many months as well as having OFAC representative Miller admit that the license approval process is discretionary.

In terms of the DHS / ICE agent, Chichakli got him to say in court that an investigation that begun in 2003 and did not formally end until 2012 ended in no charges being bought against him. Chichakli also mentioned all the accusations in the ‘affidavit’ that the government used to apply for a search warrant [which was granted] ended in no charges filed against him. If you look at the case name, U.S.A. v. Bout et al U.S.A. v. Bout et al as well as Chichakli’s opening statement as well as his strategy in his cross-examination of the witness’, he seems to be hammering home to the jury the ‘guilty by association’ scenario. Chichakli appears to be saying that since he was friends with and has remained friends with Viktor Bout, which he stated several times is a strictly political case, thus because of this association he claims he was targeted by the U.S. government and that they ‘dismantled my life’.

From where I am sitting, this trial like the curious case of Viktor Bout will not be dull. It will be full of interesting twists and turns. If I was a bookie, I wouldn’t want to lay odds on the outcome of this case, stay-tuned for more updates.

Contact Information:

Twitter: Dobroyeutro

dobroyeutro1@gmail.com

Further Reading:

World Exclusive: Richard Chichakli’s First Interview Since His Extradition From Australia To A U.S. Prison

Exclusive: Viktor Bout’s Alleged Partner Richard Chichakli Rejects Government’s Plea Deal

Richard Chichakli’s Extradition to the U.S. is Imminent

Bail denied for Richard Chichakli: Inside The Court Room during The Hearing

World Exclusive: Richard Chichakli: “Australian Prison Is Trying To Poison Me”

World Exclusive: First Marion, IL. Prison Interview with Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout is Fair Game: In the Midst of the Shadow Wars

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and Madness in the Never Ending Viktor Bout Saga

The Half-Truths and Missing Facts of Disarming Viktor Bout: The Chichakli – Schmidle Files

Exclusive: Richard Chichakli Speaks About the Viktor Bout Trial

Viktor Bout Convicted Over Terrorism Charges

Bout’s case – America’s hidden skeletons

Viktor Bout convicted in ‘arms smuggling’ case, may get life

Case closed? Final arguments heard in ‘Merchant of Death’ trial

Imaginary Crimes: The Never Ending Viktor Bout StoryThe DEA’s Conduit to Viktor Bout Gets a Slap on the Wrist: Andrew Smulian Sentenced to Five Years

Was Viktor Bout’s sentence just?

Viktor Bout Stung By DEA Operation ‘Relentless’: Sentenced to 25 Years

 

 

 

 

 

World Exclusive: First Marion, IL. Prison Interview with Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout in a Bangkok, Thailand prison.

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.

The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India in flames after the terrorist attacks on November 26 2008.

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:

Inmate Locator

Inmate Mail/Parcels

Inmate Money

Viktor Bout Contact Info:

IMPORTANT: Please make sure you include his prisoner Register number

VIKTOR BOUT Register # 91641-054
USP MARION
U.S. PENITENTIARY
P.O. BOX 1000
MARION, IL  62959

 

Viktor Bout with the Marion, IL. prison inset in foreground. photo credit: © Collage: The Voice of Russia

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 !!!

Viktor Bout after his extradition from Thailand is shown arriving at Westchester County Airport, in White Plains, New York, Nov. 16, 2010. Photo by U.S. Department of Justice via Getty Images

[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.

Thai appeals court denied bail for Viktor Bout.

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.

Viktor Bout speaking into microphone behind bars in Bangkok, Thailand.

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.

An earlier photo of Russian president Putin when he previously served in the KGB.

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!!!

Charles Taylor escaped from a US prison in 1985 and some analysts believe the CIA helped with the prison break [EPA

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 !!!

Contact Information:

Twitter: Dobroyeutro

dobroyeutro1@gmail.com

Additional articles, radio and television interviews about Viktor Bout:

Viktor Bout on the Move: Bout’s Latest Prison Stop in Oklahoma City

Viktor Bout’s Teenage Daughter Pours Her Heart Out To The Judge

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and Madness in the Never Ending Viktor Bout Saga

The Half-Truths and Missing Facts of Disarming Viktor Bout: The Chichakli – Schmidle Files

Exclusive: Richard Chichakli Speaks About the Viktor Bout Trial

Judge Orders Viktor Bout out of Solitary Confinement

Prison Warden to Judge: Viktor Bout Might Plot Prison Break

Viktor Bout is Fair Game: In the Midst of the Shadow Wars

Viktor Bout Convicted Over Terrorism Charges

Bout’s case – America’s hidden skeletons

Viktor Bout convicted in ‘arms smuggling’ case, may get life

Case closed? Final arguments heard in ‘Merchant of Death’ trial

More DEA Spies and Lies: Opening Statements in the Viktor Bout Trial

Imaginary Crimes: The Never Ending Viktor Bout Story

Face to Face with Viktor Bout: Court Room Conversations

Viktor Bout on the Move: Bout’s Latest Prison Stop in Oklahoma City

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.

Viktor Bout behind bars in a Thai prison.

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.

A sketch of Viktor Bout and judge Scheindlin whom presided his trial in NY.

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:

The DEA’s Conduit to Viktor Bout Gets a Slap on the Wrist: Andrew Smulian Sentenced to Five Years

Was Viktor Bout’s sentence just?

Viktor Bout Stung By DEA Operation ‘Relentless’: Sentenced to 25 Years

Viktor Bout’s Teenage Daughter Pours Her Heart Out To The Judge

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and Madness in the Never Ending Viktor Bout Saga

The Half-Truths and Missing Facts of Disarming Viktor Bout: The Chichakli – Schmidle Files

Exclusive: Richard Chichakli Speaks About the Viktor Bout Trial

Judge Orders Viktor Bout out of Solitary Confinement

Prison Warden to Judge: Viktor Bout Might Plot Prison Break

Viktor Bout is Fair Game: In the Midst of the Shadow Wars

Viktor Bout Convicted Over Terrorism Charges

Bout’s case – America’s hidden skeletons

Viktor Bout convicted in ‘arms smuggling’ case, may get life

Case closed? Final arguments heard in ‘Merchant of Death’ trial

More DEA Spies and Lies: Opening Statements in the Viktor Bout Trial

Imaginary Crimes: The Never Ending Viktor Bout Story

Face to Face with Viktor Bout: Court Room Conversations

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and Madness in the Never Ending Viktor Bout Saga

Edited 13 March 2012: Please see correction below:

In an article that I just wrote yesterday titled, The Half-Truths and Missing Facts of Disarming Viktor Bout: The Chichakli – Schmidle Files, I mentioned that I haphazardly came across a ‘Pandora’s Box’.

I initially merely intended to write an article about a few inaccuracies in Nick Schmidle’s latest piece in The New Yorker, titled Disarming Viktor Bout. After I was contacted by Richard Chichakli about the many inaccuracies and half-truths based on their extensive email discourse as well as a query from another international journalist, I began to delved deeper into the truth. As I dug deeper I learned many more interesting pieces of the puzzle but at the same time it seemed that the puzzle also grew larger and became much harder to solve. Here is what I discovered.

Bad Journalist or Propagandist?

Last Sunday Richard Chichakli mentioned in one of his emails (quoted below), that he had nothing against Schmidle personally, he understood that he had editors and / or an agenda. I agreed with Richard Chichakli that Schmidle skewed the article as per his instructions but finding out whom instructed him was my ultimate objective. I initially had just a few minor queries in regards to Schmidle’s article. After I forwarded the [PDF] of his article to several associates, colleagues, journalists and other interested parties, my in box became quite active. Before I delved deeper into Schmidle’s background, I didn’t think that much about the questions and inaccuracies that I had found in his article. In fact, having met and spoken to Nick Schmidle on several occasions during the trial, I contacted him about my concerns regarding his article directly.

Here is my email to him:

Do you care to comment on my article that I am writing?

Dear Mr. Schmidle, I am writing a new article on Viktor Bout.

I would greatly appreciate any comments or clarification in your article that appeared in The New Yorker.

For isntance you quoted, “The U.S. allows federal agents to entice foreigners overseas into breaking American laws, and then capture them. It is one of only a few countries to do so.”

Can you please tell me other countries that you are aware of besides the United States as you mentioned there are a few, or at least one other country?

Also would you care to comment or name your source on the following quote: “After more than two years of legal wrangling, the Thai court approved Bout’s extradition.”

I do have sourced contradictory info regarding this topic that will appear in my article.

And finally, would you care to comment on why you would choose to interview or quote Stephen Braun and / or his relevancy? Unlike you or me, and Daniel Estulin as well as several others, Stephen Braun has never met nor interviewed Viktor Bout.

Thank you for your time and cooperation regarding this matter.

Have a wonderful day! Best regards, George Mapp

To his credit, Mr. Schmidle replied extremely promptly and politely. He pointed out that he had in fact not spoken to Stephen Braun and simply did not answer any other questions. I do admit it was extremely late when I read the article but the fact that he had quoted and / or referenced Stephen Braun [see correction below] shot out at me like a flare on a moonless night.

Correction:

As I mentioned above it was extremely late when I read Schmidles’s piece. I accidentally confused the Brauns’ in the article. I apologize for any misunderstanding or confusion that this might have caused. I retract any reference to Stephen Braun being mentioned in Nick Schmidle’s piece that appeared in The New Yorker. It was in fact Michael Braun, the DEA’s former director of operations that was mentioned in his article. I am extremely proud that this is the first time that I have ever made a correction or retraction in any article that I have written! And I will gladly do so again immediately if I unknowingly print or write something that proves to be false.

As I my originally intention was to re-read Schmidle’s article and pick it apart, the truth of the matter was that I didn’t feel that it was worthy of my time. As Richard Chichakli, several other journalist’s as well as the dozen or so other articles saying that Schmidle was dishonest in his Navy SEALs take down of Osama bin Laden, including former CIA agent Larry Johnson, the direction of my article shifted. As I retracted the paragraph about Stephen Braun, it was only a small fraction of the article and doesn’t take away from all of the other stated facts nor shift or change any of my conclusions and opinions.

Nick Schmidle of New American Foundation on C-SPAN.

Now, getting back to my email with Schmidle. I will not go to great lengths in proving this quote by Schmidle was inaccurate, “After more than two years of legal wrangling, the Thai court approved Bout’s extradition.”  After I clarify that this quote by Schmidle is false, I will not say too much more about him but mostly let others do the talking for me.

In regards to the extradition, the truth of the matter is that because Viktor Bout had a pending legal appeal within the Royal Thai court which the court proceedings would take some time to be completed, and by Thai law, Viktor’s extradition request would expire on 20 November 2011, thus making him a free man. Therefore, to avoid ‘by any means necessary’ Viktor Bout walking out of Thai prison a free man on 20 November 2011, the DEA kidnapped him on 16 November 2011.

It is important to note that those who are not familiar with the Thai proceedings, the U.S. had a lot of difficulties, setbacks and losses. It was not a cake walk by any means, Bout was in Thailand for over 2 1/2 years and the U.S. almost lost him. At which time the DEA kidnapped him. As Schmidle pointed out it is not illegal to do this according to U.S. law as stated by a 1992 Supreme Court Ruling titled, The United States v. Alvarez-Machain.

I was curious and asked Schmidle in my email to him to please name a few other countries where this is legal as he stated. I am not saying there are not any other countries but none that I could find. The 1992 Supreme Court ruling is as follows:

United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 504 U.S. 655 (1992), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court, which held that the fact of respondent’s forcible abduction does not prohibit his trial in a United States court for violations of this country’s criminal laws.

So the extradition, unlike reported by Schmidle, happened secretly, suddenly and without notice. Vikor’s wife Alla nor his attorney Lak were notified. According to Bout’s lawyer Lak [now deceased], there was never any paper work filed. There was no official transfer documents from Thai prison to U.S. custody. Here is a few excerpts from my article: Imaginary Crimes: The Never Ending Viktor Bout Story:

Viktor Bout Whisked Away

Alla Bout after her husbands extradition.

On Tuesday morning, 16 November 2010, Viktor Bout’s wife, Alla, received a most disturbing and completely unexpected phone call. She was informed that her husband Viktor was being extradited to the U.S. imminently. This phone call came to her before she was able to prepare and bring Viktor’s vegetarian lunch and visit him in prison, both of which she did routinely on a daily basis. After receiving the horrifying news, according to an article in the Guardian published that same day, “Alla rushed to the prison with his [Bout’s] lawyer when she heard her husband was about to be deported but did not get to see him.” Alla did not make it in time to say goodbye, her husband Viktor was already whisked away by the Thai commandos to Don Muang airport. Alla Bout would not see her husband Viktor again until five weeks later when they spoke briefly in yet another courtroom during his scheduled court date last Friday 21 January 2011. However, this time it was in a different court in a different country, a New York city Federal court room.

Viktor Bout being led off the plane by DEA agents in White Plains, NY.

The Schmidle Effect

In my attempt to achieve my objective of trying to find out whom Schmidle was ‘really’ working for, I came across a vast number of articles that questioned his sourcing and integrity as a journalist. Some called him a liar, others a bullshitter and someone said that he was “talking out of his ass”. Since the Viktor Bout piece had not officially hit news stands until this past Monday, over the weekend most of the articles I found focused on his Navy Seals and Osama Bin Laden piece in The New Yorker.

One was a Salon.com piece written by Russ Baker, an award-winning investigative journalist, founder and editor-in-chief of WhoWhatWhy.com, the article was titled, Who’s behind the New Yorker’s bin Laden exclusive? Here are a few excerpts:

The establishment media just keep getting worse. They’re further and further from good, tough investigative journalism, and more prone to be pawns in complicated games that affect the public interest in untold ways. A significant recent example is the New Yorker’s vaunted August 8 exclusive on the vanquishing of Osama bin Laden. 

We might begin by asking the question: Who provided the New Yorker with its exclusive, and what was their agenda in doing so?

To try and sort out Schmidle’s sources, I read through the piece carefully several times. One person who spoke to the reporter, and who is identified by name is John O. Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser.

Brennan is quoted directly, briefly, near the top, describing to Schmidle pre-raid debate over whether such an operation would be a success or failure.

The mere fact of Schmidle’s reliance on Brennan at all should send up a flare for the cautious reader. After all, that’s the very same Brennan who was the principal source of incorrect details in the hours and days after the raid.

Freelance journalist Nicholas Schmidle. Photo credit: TerminalX.org

On August 7, 2011 this Terminal X report was both quite revealing as to Nick Schmidle’s real reasons for being in Pakistan as well as who actually funded his fellowship. The article titled, TX Report: How the CIA funded Nicholas Schmidle in Pakistan for propaganda, speaks for itself and also includes documented evidence. Here are a few excerpts:

In early 2006, Nicholas moved to Pakistan, backed by a writing fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs. He lived and reported in Pakistan for two years, before being deported from Pakistan in January 2008. He has also worked in Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Central Asia, West Africa, Russia and the Balkans.

Interestingly, Nicholas Schmidle is also an NAF [New America Foundation] event director and is highlighted there for his celebrated New Yorker article on the alleged killing of Osama bin Laden.

For the article he had extraordinary access to national security officials and special operations members either involved or closely linked.Taking advantage of the bountiful NGO, DC-based array, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) covertly arranges support for such organizations in return for information and propaganda, just how many is mostly unknown despite periodic revelations, but the CIA has over a half-century experience in the practice initiated as early as 1948:

Disinformation and propaganda are basic tools of special operations and CIA-paid writers. Significantly, his Marine father, Robert E. “Rooster” Schmidle, Jr., is a former general in special operations and is now a Lt. General serving as deputy commander of Cyber Command.

General Richard Schmidle, aptly, appeared on an NAF panel in 2006 (sitting on the left)

 

Finally there is Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) suddenly expelling him from the country for spying. See the quote below:

Pakistan’s intelligence agencies had found leads linking Schmidle to suspicious activities during his stay in the country after which he was booted out in 2008 on charges of espionage Another article about Schmidle that caught my eye was written by Larry C. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism, and whom is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management.

Mr. Johnson’s article which was titled, Boy, I Was Wrong About Nick Schmidle, was published in August 2011 and is referring to Nick Schmidle’s piece on the Navy SEALs mission to take down Osama Bin Laden which also appeared in The New Yorker a few days earlier.

Here are a few excerpts from Mr. Johnson’s article:

I gave Nick the benefit of the doubt that he was given access to the Navy SEALs who carried out the Bin Laden hit. Nope, I was wrong.

Great piece by C. Christine Fair, a Georgetown Professor, sheds more light on the fact that Schmidle was writing out of his ass:

Jesus Christ! The boy was writing fiction. Every thing he wrote about what the SEALs did was based on info from someone who was not there.

Mr. Johnson also embedded a correction form NPR concerning Schmidle’s inaccurate reporting. However, The New Yorker shamelessly stuck to their story that had more holes than the post-raid Osama Bin Laden.

The following are also taken from the previously mentioned article.

NPR issued the following correction: We incorrectly said that reporter Nicholas Schmidle had spoken with the Navy SEALs who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Schmidle used information from others who had debriefed the SEALs; he did not speak with them himself. I was right that the New Yorker, via Schmidle, was bamboozling the American public on behalf of Obama.I just didn’t realize how shameless the effort was.

CIA Operation Mockingbird.

After reading Larry Johnson’s article, I contacted him via email and after a few brief exchanges, I asked him if he would mind to elaborate on his previous comments as well if he would mind being quoted. I asked him in so many words if he thought that Schmidle intentionally lied or was it simply bad journalism. Here is Mr. Larry Johnson’s complete response:

George,

I think Nick was spoon fed an account by the White House and lacked the energy or incentive to actually check out the details of the story. His failure to interview a single member of the SEALS and his naive acceptance of implausible tactics exposed him as a sloppy journalist. For example, he offers an account of the SEALS entering Bin Laden’s bedroom that features one of the SEALS wrestling the Bin Laden wives to the ground.  Anyone who knows the basics about room entry techniques with weapons understands you never put yourself in a position of having to wrestle anyone.  The target could get a hold of your gun and shoot you.

You may use the above as a quote.

Best

LJ

Another article titled, John Brennan: Immunizing the Truth written on 5 August 2011 by , also questioned Schmidle’s integrity in regards to reporting. The article was also referring to the Navy SEALs take down of Osama Bin Laden. Here are a few excerpts from the Emptywheel piece:

While this piece doesn’t tell us what details are false, it emphasizes that Schmidle did not source the article where it appears to be sourced, to the SEALs who took part in the operation.

Now, I’m not surprised folks within the Obama Administration are leaking such heroic versions of the OBL raid. But in the context of the Administration’s war on leaks, it deserves more discussion.

For example, I find it telling that a “counterterrorism official” repeatedly refutes the events presented from the perspective of the SEALs that–we know–Schmidle isn’t reporting directly.

Finally, though, the whole thing raises questions about who leaked this, presumably with Obama’sexplicit or implicit permission.

The White House Situation Room during Operation Geronimo.


One of the most interesting aspects of this particular article was the high level of access that a freelance reporter was given to very key White House officials. Here is the excerpt I am referring to:

In other words, this story relies almost entirely on four sources: the special-operations officer, the senior counterterrorism official, the senior Defense Department official, and the senior adviser to the President.

I also spoke to and emailed several other journalists that asked not to be quoted. The general consensus was that Schmidle cared much more about the byline than accuracy, truth and the facts. My understanding from the conversations was that he did or said whatever was more colorful or readable, whether or not it was factual.

I will add just one more final quote from the same Emptywheel piece: Still, this story is so thinly-veiled an Administration puff piece, it ought to attract as much attention for the sheer hypocrisy about secrecy it demonstrates as it will for the heroism such hypocrisy attempts to portray.

Operation Mockingbird

Operation Mockingbird.

 

Operation Mockingbird, according to Wikepedia, was a secret Central Intelligence Agency campaign to influence media beginning in the 1950s. Most of my readers will have not have a hard time digesting this this type of information and many know much more than I do about it. However, as I always strive to reach as many readers as possible as well as expand people’s mental horizons, a few readers may be somewhat skeptical or simply uninformed. Just a few minutes of research will bring quite surprising results to those new to such topics as disinformation and Operation Mockingbird. I plead with those whom might be skeptical to spend the time and do their own research. I intentionally include as many links as possible for the reader for both researching as well as sourcing my quotes.

In an article titled, CIA Controlled Media: CIA Admits Using News To Manipulate the USA, published by The Intel Hub, they even include a video clip of Congressional hearings. The CIA was infiltrating the U.S. media back in the 1950’s – to what extent they influence or control today’s media is unknown. However, it most probable that over the years that they have had a much larger influence as opposed to a lesser role. This reminds me one one of my favorite quotations:

We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false. ~ William Casey, CIA Director

Here is an archived clip of different Congressional hearings that exposes the fact that the CIA directly plants stories in the media, both in the United States and the rest of the world.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLVnjD_7KCw

The Ghost of Bulgaria

In my mind, one very important question in regards to Schmidle is that of access. For instance, Peter Mirchev’s name, the director of Bulgaria’s KAS Engineering as well as Viktor Bout’s long time friend was splashed throughout the trial. KAS kept coming up over and over again. At one point there were rumors that Bout’s defense would call Mirchev to testify. To this day I do not know if that was ever a realistic option. I did find it rather extraordinary both the fact that Peter Mirchev suddenly decided to talk about his business relationship with Viktor Bout as well as how easily Schmidle was able to contact him. At least according to the version in an abstract piece that also ran in The New Yorker a few days ahead of the full article.

The abstract was titled Viktor Bout and Friend, here is a quote:

Then, on one of the last days of the trial, they projected a screenshot from Bout’s computer, showing a Microsoft Outlook entry for Mirchev that included an e-mail and cell-phone number. I called the number a few days later. Mirchev answered. He said that he never spoke to journalists, and was about to hang up when I told him where I’d gotten his number, how his name had already been dragged through the dirt in an American courtroom, and that I wanted to hear his side of things—in person. I said I could be in Sofia within a week or two. He finally agreed.

A much younger Viktor Bout.

 

I also contacted Peter Mirchev via LinkedIn and asked him if cared to comment, add or dispute anything written about him in the article. I was not as lucky as Schmidle, perhaps he was the one journalist in the world that Mirchev would speak with. Peter Mirchev did not reply but he did on at least two occasions view my LinkedIn profile.I have the screens shots to prove it.

I do not take it personally that Mirchev has not replied to me, however, I find it overwhelming suspicious that he would suddenly appear to do a high profile piece and then vanish. Before the judge granted defense attorney Dayan a postponement of the sentencing date to 28 March 2012, it was originally set for 12 March 2012, exactly one week after The New Yorker piece ran. The article was without question catastrophic to Bout’s case, especially so close to sentencing and as Richard Chichakli reminded me, the DEA has another indictment pending against him. Therefore, if for any reason the prosecutors do not think that Bout’s sentence is tough enough, you can guarantee that they will bring out the second indictment. Unlike the first indictment, this second one also includes Richard Chichakli. I have added a link of the indictment for those of you who are curious. The reason this particularly indictment went almost completely unnoticed is that it was issued exactly the same time as Viktor Bout’s extradition from Thailand to America.Thus the media’s attention and was entirely focused on the actual news of his extradition as this second indictment was missed by most.

U.S. Announces New Indictment Against International Arms Dealer Viktor Bout and American Co-Conspirator for Money Laundering, Wire Fraud, and Conspiracy.

This opinion of damage to Viktor Bout’s case was expressed to me by at least two other attorneys. One attorney who asked not to be named, said that the article could very possibly be used against Bout in the future. Over the weekend during a conversation with another journalist, they were shocked that Mirchev would self incriminate himself like that, it just didn’t make sense. Then I asked them, “Does it also incriminate Bout?” They replied, “Of Course!”  At that point I said, there you have it, objective achieved. I also added, don’t worry about Mirchev, he is protected. The following excerpts are quoted by an anonymous source:

I heard that Peter [Mirchev] was an informant for the agency [CIA]. I also heard that his deal with the US government is a standard deal, he reports who wants what and by who pay for smaller deals, gets an approval for large consignment, and that keeps him alive and maintain his business going without “legal” problems. The government wants to maintain dealers like Peter in order to stay informed of what is going on in the market, and more important to avoid surprises that maybe caused by “unknown dealers or unknown deals.”  The US government wants to maintain the arms market similar to what they do with the drugs, allow it but control it and benefit from it.

However, in regards to his “future”, the way I see it, he is already way beyond his borders and he is likely to be replaced. It is possible now that he could be prosecuted after he implicated himself into the Angola and Congo affairs, the Bout matter, and the general supply of arms to “questionable” locations.  However, the prosecution of Peter is unlikely because it is [not] in any government interest to have him speak out about his dealing which they have to approve, it is rather more likely – depending on how significant of a source he is, that he could land the Agency’s special list, so a car or ski accident, or similar “unfortunate” events may cause his demise as usually happens in such cases.  It is just a matter of time, “when” not “if”.

Charles Taylor escaped from a US prison in 1985 and some analysts believe the CIA helped with the prison break [EPA

If my source is correct about Peter Mirchev it should not come as a huge shock. Especially when just last January the fact that Liberian War Lord Charles Taylor was splashed all over the international media as being a CIA asset. It sounds very similar to Peter Mirchev’s case. To keep track of the buyers and sellers, what countries and factions are at war with whom, sounds like very valuable intelligence. It is key in any market to know whom the buyers and sellers and sellers are whether you are dealing in stocks, commodities or arms. It makes sense that if it is known that Mirchev is running KAS for decades and is able to talk about it in the press and is still free, that fact speaks for itself. He is obviously being protected.

In January, Al Jazeera published an article titled, Accused war criminal Taylor ‘worked with CIA’, here are a few excerpts:

Liberia’s ex-president, now on trial in The Hague, worked with US intelligence agencies, officials admit.

He stands accused of funding rebels who hacked the arms off small children, smuggling blood diamonds, keeping sex slaves and torturing his opponents, but former Liberian President Charles Taylor also had another career – providing information to US intelligence agencies, according to information obtained by the Boston Globe newspaper.

While the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon’s spy arm, confirmed its agents and CIA agents worked with Taylor in the 1980s, they would not reveal details of the relationship on national security grounds.

“When he became president [in 2001], George W Bush found out that Taylor was still being paid by CIA and put a stop to it,” Alexander Yearsley, a former investigative campaigner in West Africa with the NGO Global Witness who now works in the private sector, told Al Jazeera.

Jeffrey Michaels, a professor of war studies at the University of King’s College in London, said US-support for Taylor needs to be viewed in the context of the Cold War.

“I think that they probably recognised there are problems in getting into bed with these dictators and other unsavory people,” Michaels told Al Jazeera. “

If you look at the most prominent cases where the US has been involved, such as Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam… and [Manuel] Noriega in Panama – the CIA is there as an adjunct to foreign policy, to keep a leader who is generally aligned with US interests in power.”

Miraculously, he [Charles Taylor] escaped from the Plymouth House of Correction in 1985. Analysts believe US intelligence operatives helped with the prison break.

Taylor was elected president in 1997, after inspiring almost a decade of virtual civil war. “He was being advised [by the US] on how to carry-out the conflict,” Yearsley said.

Now that it comes out that Taylor was a proven CIA asset whom was working in the interests of the U.S., he would say about anything to put money in his pocket and to stay out of jail and especially to remain in power. Viktor Bout told me in front of several other journalist’s that he never met Taylor. In fact Bout said he has never been in the same room with Taylor. Two of the journalists I remember by name, a Swiss journalist named Kurt Pelda and a German journalist form Der Spiegel, named Thiole Thielke that he never met Taylor.

Child soldier from Liberia.

This article from Aangirfan titled CHARLES TAYLOR WORKED FOR THE PENTAGON, is much more blunt in its approach to Charles Taylor. Here are several excerpts from the article:

From the early 1980s onwards, Charles Taylor worked for the USA’s Defence Intelligence Agency.

In January 2012, this was confirmed by the Pentagon, thanks to a Freedom of Information request from the Boston Globe.

Taylor, former president of Liberia, is linked to the financing of 9 11.

“According to British and Israeli intelligence sources, Taylor enabled Al Qaeda to launder blood diamonds for cash through Liberia…

Liberia is run by the CIA and Pentagon, reportedly.

The Madness of Crowds

It is becoming very hard to decipher what is true as compared to half-truths, lies, planted stories and propaganda in todays media. However, it is obvious as it did exist over 50 years ago that todays media is also tarnished, manipulated  and infiltrated by governments and intelligence agencies to meets their objectives and agenda’s. Exactly whom Schmidle is working for, is not certain. It is very possible he is an asset working in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency. I say asset as I would never knowingly reveal an actual agent.

However, I think it is more plausible given his recent escapades with the Osama Bin laden fairytale and his access to high level White House advisors, he is working for someone within the current administration. This especially makes snse given the current administrations record on leaks which is abysmal. The leaks in the current administration almost rivals that of Anonymous and Wikileaks. Thus the Bout case would falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, which would be under the watch of Eric Holder’s and President Obama. This is what former CIA agent Larry Johnson alluded to, someone within the White House was feeding Schmidle. One must keep in mind that Schmidle is a ‘freelance’ journalist thus making him a free-agent if you will.

Former CIA covert operative and author Valerie Plame Wilson.

We have seen far too many examples of those in power abusing those who put them in power. Former President Bush outed Valerie Plame a covert CIA agent and lied to the American people about fake WMD’s, to start a war under false pretenses. Nada Prouty was a former FBI and CIA agent who was stripped of her U.S. citizenship, accused of being a Hezbollah spy until she was finally vindicated. That happened all because of a power hungry district attorney wanted to advance his career in the name of the war on terror.

In the Viktor Bout case, it has become crystal clear that he has far more enemies than friends. Especially as those who once did business with him are all coping a plea or dropping the dime on him. Andrew Smulian, Michael Snow and Peter Mirchev just to name a few. Viktor Bout is  very strong and coping very well for a person who has endured so much. As of 6 March 2008, over four years ago is when Viktor Bout  was first arrested in Thailand and has been incarcerated ever since.

In an email from Viktor a few days ago, he said “don’t worry about me.” He then went on to explain the various meditation and breathing exercises that he does to calm his mind. One thing is for sure, the saga is not over. I am sure whatever the result of the sentencing is at the end of the month that we can expect an appeal and perhaps some time in the near future another trial or a re-trial, anything is possible.

Contact Information:

Twitter: Dobroyeutro

dobroyeutro1@gmail.com

Additional articles, radio and television interviews about Viktor Bout:

The Half-Truths and Missing Facts of Disarming Viktor Bout: The Chichakli – Schmidle Files

Exclusive: Richard Chichakli Speaks About the Viktor Bout Trial

Judge Orders Viktor Bout out of Solitary Confinement

Prison Warden to Judge: Viktor Bout Might Plot Prison Break

Viktor Bout is Fair Game: In the Midst of the Shadow Wars

Viktor Bout Convicted Over Terrorism Charges

Bout’s case – America’s hidden skeletons

Viktor Bout convicted in ‘arms smuggling’ case, may get life

Case closed? Final arguments heard in ‘Merchant of Death’ trial

More DEA Spies and Lies: Opening Statements in the Viktor Bout Trial

Imaginary Crimes: The Never Ending Viktor Bout Story

Face to Face with Viktor Bout: Court Room Conversations

The Half-Truths and Missing Facts of Disarming Viktor Bout: The Chichakli – Schmidle Files

Read the exclusive and complete email exchange between Richard Chichakli and The New Yorker’s Nicholas Schmidle. I have attached links to all 19 unedited email exchanges between the two. Richard talks about how, when and where he first met Viktor Bout. Chichakli discusses Bout’s brother Sergey, United States OFAC sanctions as well as how and why he fled America plus much much more.

Illustration of Viktor Bout. Photo Credit: The New Yorker

What is most revealing about these emails is that it proves (once again) that Schmidle was deceptive in his journalism techniques. Simply ‘cherry picking’ bits of  information while at times omitting facts and details. What is worse, according to Richard Chichakli, Schmidle outright twisted, lied and contradicted information contained within the Chichakli – Schmidle email files. At times Schmidle knowing stated in his article half-truths, missing facts and lies that can be proven by comparing what was written in his published article as compared to his email exchange with Richard Chichakli.

When I first received an email with the subject line, Notes concerning the New Yorker Story, from Mr. Chichakli, at first  I did not find it shocking or surprising knowing what is sadly now not uncommon in the mainstream media – the slandering, twisting and editing of stories done for numerous unethical reasons. It wasn’t until an unnamed international journalist asked me my thoughts on Schmidle’s article as well as asking me if I found it factual? The journalist wanted my opinion knowing that I attended the Viktor Bout trial every single day, was now in contact with Viktor Bout via email as well as having written extensively about him over the last two years. When we hung up and I started to Google Nick Schmidle, a Pandora’s Box was opened!

Nicholas Schmidle. Photo Credit: Terminalx.org

Coming Soon

I am currently writing a piece titled, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and Madness in the Never Ending Viktor Bout Saga. I hope to have it published within 24 hours after finishing this article. It goes into great detail about Nick Schmidle’s dubious past, his shady journalism, allegations that his father was a CIA agent, documents stating his two year Pakistan fellowship was paid for by the CIA. It also discusses Operation Mockingbird as well as allegations that the White House spoon fed Schmidle the Navy SEALs take down of Osama Bin Laden story to bamboozle the U.S. media and the American public. As well as details of the sudden appearance and then disappearance of The Ghost of Bulgaria aka Peter Mirchev of KAS engineering.

Richard Chichakli’s Email

Good day George:

I have just read the article [Disarming Viktor Bout] and I wonder if you would like to have a copy of the entire set of the communications Schmidle and I had in connection with writing his article to post for the public on your blog.

I do understand that Mr. Schmidle had to cater to whatever agenda and propaganda he is associated with,; but a small percentage of the truth is not – by any mean – the complete truth.

I am thinking perhaps you posting the complete body of the messages on your blog will help clear all the exchanges that took place between Schmidle and I; thus, providing the reader with what was intentionally omitted in order to serves Mr. Schmidle agenda regardless what that could be.

I have nothing against him and he is neither the first, nor will be the last trying to dwell on the story of Victor Bout. Thus; I seem to have always believed that a version of the truth is never the truth, and if you read the exchanges between us you would clearly see that Mr. Schmidle deliberately lied about “Victor having worked or transported cargo for the US government” as h[sic] claimed in his story without even mentioning that he have heard information to the contrary.

Please let me know

Sincerely

Richard Chichakli

Chichakli Disarming Schmidle

Richard Chichakli.

I have always prided my self as being a rare breed of journalist that reports raw facts. I enjoy passionately seeking, discovering and sharing the truth with as many people as I can. Thus, I felt that if I ignored Richard Chichakli’s email proving that Schmidle once again misled his readers, then I would be as guilty and shameless as Schmidle but for ignoring the truth and not sharing it.

Here is another excerpt from an email sent to me by Richard Chichakli where he specifically points out where Schmidle was dishonest.

In page 5 of the article Sc[h]midle stated that Victor was working for the US government transporting goods in Iraq; however, in the messages he sent me he clearly stated that he knows that Victor never worked for the US – as Victor also told him and he mention in the message. I explained to him that it was me and Sergey who were transporting goods for the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The question is why would not he come clean about this point? This related directly to Airbas, which he intentionally did not mention by name. makes me wonder why!

I had heard from an unnamed source that Schmidle’s father was at one time a CIA agent. I asked Chichakli about this and here is his reply:

Considering Schmidle it is also correct, the details of his father is available on the internet.  This is the reason I am questioning why he did not mention airbas by name and why he said “Victor worked for the US government”  My guess is that he was told to do so by the US officials who provided him with information. Remember, there is another case pending against Victor.

What is quite ironic and quite humorous, at least in a dark sense, is that the following quote was extracted verbatim from the Chichakli – Schmidle email exchange:

Thanks Richard,
Again, I cannot stress how grateful I am for your help. It has gone a long way towards making the article better – and certainly more
accurate. A few follow up queries:

Without further ado here are the links to the entire set of emails. Please note in order to keep the thread complete and unaltered and some of the messages may have some repeated content from the previous messages. I preceded the links to each email with a quote or excerpt from each of the corresponding emails.

Chichakli – Schmidle Files

Douglas Farah as you know is making living out of the Bout story, he is “the key expert used by the US government agencies; and par cularly the DOJ in 2005, and
the DEA in 2007.  Email 1

That said, I imagine I’ll have still more questions before we gear up for publication, if you’ll bear with me.
Thanks, Nicholas Email 2

Wanted to ask you a bit about Peleman. I think you’d suggested to me some dubious (potentially criminal) facets of his background.
Could you tell me more? Email 3

Nicholas, these are very simple and very obvious questions that no one is asking, and they are not asking because no one is
interested in revealing the truth about the “white elephant story”. The matter of Victor Bout has became an institution, a political
platform, and a source of revenue and fame to so many; and until someone brave enough, driven enough, and hungry enough
for fame and fortune, until such a person shows up, everyone, perhaps including you will just regurgitate what been intentionally
placed out there for that purpose since more than 10 years. Email 4

Viktor mentioned to me that Air Cess had been named the second-largest cargo operator out of Sharjah in 1997. Is there any
chance you have any record or confirmation of that?
Also, regarding the FBI raiding your office … Email 5

As to OFAC sanctions, rest assured that they are absolutely worthless and ineffective; certainly, except for the political propaganda and scare tactics used by OFAC and the US government –Email 6

On part one, it is true that aircess was the second volume operator in Sharjah as stated by Victor and I think that I mayEmail 7

You mentioned earlier that evading sanctions is easier than buying a hamburger at McDonalds. Email 8

Well, I wonder how would the government could possibly explain puting any kind of strain on Victor? He never had any business in
or with the US, nor he ever had any assets in the or its positions or allies. Email 9

Thanks Richard,
I agree with you entirely about Viktor not having any assets inside the US or registered in the US (besides the one Gulfstream,
currently sitting in Ras al Khaimah, right?), but the sanctions surely affected his ability to conduct business abroad, don’t you think?  Email 10

As to OFAC sanction, it indeed provide credibility and legitimacy to the designated person as an accredited and trusted friend to any entity that despises the US government and its political agenda and propaganda. Email 11

Interesting about the G1 and the Il76s not having any engines. I didn’t know that. The one that’s been converted into a billboard, I’ve
seen photos of that, but whose plane was it actually? Email 12

Thus, I do not understant “you all” perhaps you can explain to me what do you mean by “you all” which seemed to form your later question. Who are “you all”  Email 13

I had a question for you. On your website you write about your relationship with Viktor and Sergei but you don’t mention when you
met them. Email 14

Good day:
IThe first time I met Victor was in about July or early August 1995 few month after I start working for the Government of the State of
Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates as the Commercial manager of Sharjah Airport free economical zone. Email 15

What was his project? And how did he have to adapt to meet the requirements of the free zone? In other words, how did his
business had to change to be admitted to the free zone? Email 16

Also, I wanted to see if you could help me be clear on the corporate lineage of Air Cess, Air Bas, and Irbis. When Viktor effectively
split the company in 1998, what did put in Sergei’s name and what did he keep in his?
Email 17

Okay, so in 1998, when Air Cess splits, Viktor takes 14 planes, Sergei takes 5 and gives him $1.1 million. Do we know why they split the
company? I knew that Viktor had moved to South Africa but was told (by him and others) that he returned to the UAE after, among other
things, his home in Johannesburg was broken into. Email 18

1- The split was the result of Sergey refusal to go to South Africa; he wanted to stay in Sharjah and that was not subject to discussion. Among other, the main underlying
reasons behind Sergey’s refusal were three: Email 19

Contact Information:

 

Viktor Bout convicted in ‘arms smuggling’ case, may get life

Original link: RT

My live interview at the RT New York television studio approximately 2 hours after the Bout verdict was read at 2:01 pm EST, on Wednesday 2 November 2011.

A New York jury has convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout of trying to sell heavy weapons to a Colombian terror group. He could face from 25 years to life in prison.

Bout will be sentenced on February 8, 2012.

A federal jury in New York City reached the verdict on Wednesday. Bout has been convicted of seeking to make millions of dollars in a proposed deal with a terror group enabling it to attack what prosecutors said he told his customers was a common enemy, namely the US forces helping the Colombian government.

Viktor Bout's dfense attorney Albert Dayan speaks to the media after the verdict.

The jury had been deliberating since Tuesday in a federal court in Manhattan. The arms dealer was convicted of conspiracy to kill US citizens, including US officials, to deliver anti-aircraft missiles and aid a terrorist organization.

Defense attorney Kenneth Kaplan says it was a tough case.”We’re disappointed, obviously,” he is quoted as saying by AP. The defense has said that Bout will appeal against the verdict. That can be done until December, 2.

Investigative journalist George Mapp at RT's New York television studio.

George Mapp, an investigative journalist who’s been following the case, says Victor Bout was too shocked to react to the news.

”The case against Victor Bout for all practical purposes is a case closed. After the jury was dismissed, Victor Bout stood there as if he was in shock. He didn’t react in any way – as if he was lifeless. He didn’t even turn around to face anybody,” he said.

The State Duma of the Russian Federation’s Letter on Behalf of Viktor Bout

Translated by Natasha Tenerezza
EDITED by skypotrol.net

The 5th State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
Deputy of the State Duma
(2008-2011)

7th of October, 2011

To the Presiding Judge of The Southern District of the Federal Court of New York
Shira Scheindlin
USA, District Judge Southern District of New York, United
States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, 10007

Your Honor,

The parliamentarians of the highest body of legislative power of Russia, deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation are addressing you in the hope that your high professionalism, rich life experiences, independent thinking and attachment to humanitarian ideals will help you to preside objectively in the jury trial all the circumstances that had lead to our compatriot Victor Anatolyevich Bout from his arrest in Thailand and then to his extradition to the U.S.A., imprisonment and this trial.

The mere fact of his arrest, instigated by the secret services of the U.S.A., and then his extradition to the U.S.A., which was handled with gross violations of Thai law and international standards as well as a violation of human rights, makes us extremely concerned and worried about the further fate of Victor Bout, a Russian citizen.

V. Bout’s court case is being made much worse by the U.S. media, which has portrayed him to the mainstream audience an absolutely false image of him as a greedy speculator, cynic, arms magnate and arms dealer with no principles, as well as being connected to such ominous organizations as theTaliban and Bin-Laden’s creation, Al-Qaeda.

But in reality everything is the exact opposite. It is not a secret that Victor Bout’s name is still on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda‘s black lists’, because he was the major organizer and sponsor of a successful operation (held in August, 1996), which resulted in an impudent escape of a Russian crew of an IL-76 (civil cargo plane) from Taliban captivity which resulted in brining the aircraft safely back to the Russian airline in Tatarstan. The aircraft and its crew were hijacked by the Taliban in May 1995, and were held for more than a year in an occupied territory close to Kandahar. Considering this context the campaign against Bout, started by the international media across the globe, looks like a premeditated action, organized in advance in order to discredit both a Russian citizen and Russia.

V. Bout’s case, according to his lawyers, is based mostly on non proven facts, speculation, dubious allegations, doubtful evidence and unpersuasive accusations, that have been proclaimed in the media for almost 10 years as the truth. Therefore, the formation of a negative international public opinion about V. Bout has started years before the provocative DEA operation [Relentless], which resulted in his arrest.

Also, the thorough analysis, conducted by V. Bout’s defense, of the United Nations’ documents, showed that reports of expert groups of UNO Security Council to Angola, Sierra Leone and Somalia, where he was mentioned as “head of the biggest illegal arm trade network”, in fact does not consist any proof of any unlawful activity by V. Bout and is based almost entirely on hearsay, that came from unreliable sources.

More than that, Russia finds that the mere operation against V. Bout is questionable. Victor Bout claimed to his lawyers many times that before the meeting in Bangkok he had no doubt that people he was going to meet, are not FARC members or their trustees. According to V. Bout, he thought that he is dealing with international swindlers.

Also it is very hard for Russians to understand why V. Bout is being charged for attempting to achieve and agreement in order to commit murders and other grievous crimes if in reality he was talking not to FARC, but to American paid informants [Fake FARC], who were trying to entrap him into unlawful activity. And it is even more difficult for Russian people to agree that the person is being charged based only on what he allegedly had said, considering that there is no solid evidence of the fact that he was really and materially taking part in agreement.

Also, according to Russian law, similar to the law of most countries (including Thailand, where V. Bout was arrested), FARC is not a terrorist organization.

We ask that you pay special attention to the heavy conditions of V. Bout’s imprisonment in Thailand and in the U.S.A., that are also violation’s of human rights and international standards and that affect the physical and physiological health of our compatriot.

In the business community, among colleagues, friends and relatives of Victor Bout, they all think about him as an honest, respectable, moral and charitable man and law-abiding, responsible and a reliable businessman for many years. Victor Bout was never sued in the Russian Federation. He is also an exemplary family man.

Deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation believe that there are political motives in this case and attempts of a certain group of people in the U.S.A. to imitate an attachment of this case to fight with international terrorism and by that to harm the Russian Federation interests and reputation, as well as agreements that were achieved earlier as part of “RESET” policy in the Russian-American relationships.

Announced recently by the leaders of our countries “RESET” in relation to the U.S.A. and Russia suppose implies behavior of mutual respect of both governments and the people of our countries’, steadfast compliance with citizen rights of U.S.A. and Russia. Will this “RESET” come true de-facto or not that depends not only on the presidents of our countries, but also on each representative of every Branch of Government: the Executive, the Legislative, the Judicial.

American government is famous for independency and objectivism of judges’ decisions. We hope that you will continue this honorable tradition and present to the trial jury all the details of the V. Bout’s case impartially, objectively and dispassionately, and that that the jury will make their deliberations, fair and a humane verdict.

With due respect,

Deputies of the State Duma of Russian Federation
/signatures/

ORIGINAL link in Russian with signatures: DUMA

Contact Information:
Twitter: Dobroyeutro

info@skypotrol.net

http://skypotrol.net/

Additional Articles about Viktor Bout written by me:

More DEA Spies and Lies: Opening Statements in the Viktor Bout Trial

Imaginary Crimes: The Never Ending Viktor Bout Story

Face to Face with Viktor Bout: Court Room Conversations

The Curious Case of Viktor Bout: Bout’s extradition case has more curves, twists and turns than Penelope Cruz naked

The Assassination of Viktor Anatoliyevich Bout

Убийство Виктора Бута по найму on

Viktor Bout: ‘The Lord of War’ Quietly Awaits his Fate – The Silence is Deafening Part 2

Viktor Bout: `The Lord of War` Quietly Awaits his Fate – The Silence is Deafening Part I