Is The Hit Spy Drama ‘The Americans’ Too Realistic For Viktor Bout To Watch?

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Stars of the Americans, Keri Russell left & Matthew Rhys right. Photo Credit: The Americans Face Book page.

Stars of the Americans, Keri Russell left & Matthew Rhys right.

Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout was sentenced on Thursday afternoon April 5th, 2012 to 25 years for terrorism related charges by a DEA sting operation dubbed Operation ‘Relentless’. I was present that day in the court room as well as during the entire three week trial. In fact, I first met and began covering Bout’s trial several years prior in Thailand. Today just moments ago accused CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling was convicted of espionage. However, Sterling’s trial was much shorter than Viktor Bout’s trial.

I was also the first person to speak with and share the jury’s verdict to Viktors’ wife, Alla. It was not a pleasant experience but one that I will surely never forget. I wrote about that day extensively in my article titled, Viktor Bout is Fair Game: In the Midst of the Shadow Wars.

Viktor Bout in Marion, IL Federal Penitentiary -- taken October 2012

Viktor Bout in Marion, IL Federal Penitentiary — taken October 2012

On occasion I have sent Viktor post cards, calendars and several books in prison. We also exchange emails via the U.S. Bureau of Prison’s [BOP] system named CorrLinks. CorrLinks even has an app which is very easy to use for family, friends, journalists’ and attorney’s to help keep in touch with inmates.  Just to be clear, Viktor Bout does not have access to email or internet, just the prison email system which requires an invite and approval and is obviously monitored. Viktor is actually in Marion, IL in a very tightly restricted unit called CMU. CMU stands for Communication Monitored Unit. For read my interview with Viktor titled, World Exclusive: First Marion, IL. Prison Interview with Viktor Bout. Let me jump ahead of myself and discuss briefly the hit show ‘The Americans’ and bit of background before I explain how that relates to Viktor Bout.

The Americans

Recently there has been a plethora of articles about ‘The Americans’, their creators and of course their actors in the press. This is not unusual given the huge success of the series and especially the fact that long-awaited 3rd season premiere is this coming Wednesday. Also some of the main stars of the series which include Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich, and last but not least the sexy, sultry and talented Annet Mahendru.

Annet Mahendru stars as the Russian KGB agent in The Americans.

Annet Mahendru stars as the Russian KGB agent in The Americans.

An article that I read last year in The Telegraph titled, Matthew Rhys interview for The Americans: ‘Our scripts go to the CIA for approval’ has been rehashed by several publications in recent weeks. In the article Rhys says:

“But all the scripts for our show go to the CIA,” Rhys adds. “They have to, for approval.” This seems to be part of Weisberg’s deal with his former employers. He tells me that he avoided “writing a word about intelligence for about a decade after I left the Agency..” When he eventually wrote The Americans, that was only the beginning of the hard work.

Now the fact that the show deals with intelligence, national security and espionage issues between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union is not why each episode needs to be vetted by the ‘Agency’. The reason is that the shows creator, Joe Weisberg, worked for the CIA or as insiders like to call it, ‘The Company’.

Joe Weisberg, former CIA officer and creator of The Americans.

Joe Weisberg, former CIA officer and creator of The Americans.

Another excerpt from the above mentioned Telegraph article:

Weisberg likes to tell the story of being vetted for the CIA, a process that is, says Rhys, about two years long. “Joe got to the final polygraph test. And one of the last questions from the profiler is: are you interested in joining the CIA in order to gain information to write about it fictionally or otherwise afterwards?”

Weisberg was already an amateur writer, but genuinely hadn’t thought of that. “And in that moment,” continues Rhys, “he went, ‘oh, brilliant idea!’

Then he went, ‘argh!’ His heart started going and he started panicking and he thought he might fail the polygraph because he now had that thought. But he passed it, and he got in, then served his time.

Matthew Rhys.

Matthew Rhys.

Another article that appeared just under a year ago was titled, ‘The Americans’ – FX Network Hit, CIA PR Tool. In the artcile, Weisberg discusses the close relationship and cooperation that he has with the ‘Agency':

The CIA has bent over backwards to cooperate with FX. Weisberg said the agency usually requires a month to review material, but expedites that process for him because of tight deadlines for the weekly program.

The article then goes on to mention that:

The Americans begins its second season on Feb. 26 [2014].

The CIA will be watching and I will, too.

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Weisberg has been in the press a lot as of late. He has been mentioned, interviewed or referenced to quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. In fact, Weisberg was written about today in The Washington Post in an articled titled, How did the ex-CIA officer who created ‘The Americans’ get his start?

The following excerpt is taken from The Washington Post article mention above:

The place in Brooklyn looks like a CIA safehouse. Red brick office building with peeling metal awning. No sign. Inside, writers are plotting out the popular Cold War espionage show The Americans – one of an assortment of Hollywood spy or national security dramas being driven by ex-spies.

The show’s creator and co-head writer Joe Weisberg is a former CIA officer who never fathomed he would one day sit in an office with Soviet propaganda posters and a cut-out figure of President Ronald Reagan, concocting television fiction.

Viktor Bout Denied Access To The Americans DVD By The Federal Bureau of Prisons

I mentioned previously about Viktor Bout being in the Communication Monitored Unit. Therefore, all his communications are tightly monitored. Often when we exchange messages we will write the date and time that we completed the message to help us keep track of the time delays. The time lag varies to anywhere from 1-3 days on each end. By contrast when I write Bout’s alleged partner Richard Chichakli and I exchange messages, we often can communicate with each other the same day, thus a very small time-delay.

Viktor Bout in Marion, IL Federal Penitentiary -- taken October 2012

Viktor Bout in Marion, IL Federal Penitentiary — taken October 2012

As far as I understand, all persons requesting to visit Viktor Bout in Marion, IL [including his wife and myself] with the exception of lawyers have all been denied permission to visit him. When he was in MDC in Brooklyn, NY I had several contact visits with him. Also, I have had several CorrLink messages bounced back and rejected due to security, at least that is what the BOP replied.

I remember Viktor telling me about watching the documentary used with his own personal home video footage. The documentary was about Viktor and is titled, The Notorious Mr Bout. Viktor expressed his displeasure with the end result in a message to me. Besides receiving reading material what Viktor enjoys most are the jokes that I send him. Around the same time that Viktor told me that he had finally seen his documentary about him, I was ordering a DVD of The Americans Season 1 for a neighbor as a gift. It never occurred to me before to send him DVD’s. I didn’t realize that he could he could receive them. My Russian wife and I enjoy the series very much as do many of my friends. Therefore I thought that it would be very entertaining to him given his background in the Russian military, his career as a global aviation transporter as well as being a Russian citizen. There have been a couple of titles that the BOP never gave him and that were never returned. I believe one of the titles was Jesse Ventura’s, 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read. I hope that the BOP at least put them in their library or gave them to other less restricted prisoners to read.

As Viktor states is his message to me he is actually able to view The American’s on tv but apparently not on DVD. Knowing that the CIA vetted the series and thus denied the DVD to Viktor surprised me. One can only speculate whether or not it was simply to deny him a few hours of entertainment or rejected on the basis of national security. Not to mention the fact that he is able to watch The American’s on tv but not the DVD. At least the BOP kicked back The Americans DVD and I received a full refund from Amazon.

A Corrlink message from Viktor Bout to me

A Corrlink message from Viktor Bout to me.

The biggest compliment someone can get as well a tribute to success is imitation. The hugely successful series The American’s is hours away from the 3rd Season premier. Just eight days later a new series titled, Allegiance, will premiere on NBC. The series is described as:

This high-octane thriller revolves around the O’Connor family and their son, Alex (Gavin Stenhouse), a young idealistic CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs. Unbeknownst to him, both of his parents and his sister are part of a dormant Russian sleeper cell that has just been reactivated.

Years ago, Russian-born Katya (Hope Davis) was tasked by the KGB to recruit American businessman Mark O’Connor (Scott Cohen) as a spy, and the two fell in love. A deal was struck: as long as Katya remained an asset for Russia, she would be allowed to marry Mark and move to America. After years in America building a happy life and without word from Moscow, they thought they had escaped.

It sounds a lot like The American’s to me.

Former Russian spy turned fashion model, talk show host & philanthropist.

Former Russian spy Anna Chapman, turned fashion model, talk show host & philanthropist.

Ironically today according to The Washington Times, the FBI nabs member of Russian spy ring in New York City. It is ironic because the show The American’s is based on the capture of Anna Chapman and 9 other Russian spies arrested in the U.S. by the FBI that were released via a prison swap during the Illegals Program. The American’s was based on the Illegals Program but set in the 70’s and 80’s. Perhaps it is during that era that is most familiar to the creator Joe Weisberg?

The jury is still out on whether or not I will be watching Allegiance? However, when Season 3 of The American’s premieres this Wednesday, I’ll be watching along with perhaps Joe Weisberg, the CIA and maybe Viktor Bout will be watching on tv in prison?

Further Reading:

US journalist says CIA Director’s visit to Ukraine perfectly logical

Ukraine Scenario Has CIA Modus Operandi Written All Over It

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

Was Viktor Bout’s sentence just?

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

Contact Information:

Twitter: Dobroyeutro

gmappjr@gmail.com

US journalist says CIA Director’s visit to Ukraine perfectly logical

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Original article: US journalist says CIA Director’s visit to Ukraine perfectly logical  By Voice of Russia Posted on: April 14, 2014.

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A US journalist George Mapp, specializing in investigation into secret service activities and security issues, claims it was perfectly logical for the US to organize a personal visit by CIA Director John Brennan to Ukraine in the context of the unfolding geopolitical game around the country in question.

Victor Yanukovych said earlier that it was after their meeting with Brennan that Ukraine’s power-wielding agency chiefs took the decision to launch a special operation in the east of the country.

A source close to Ukraine’s security agencies has told the RIA Novosti news agency that Brennan came to Kiev last Saturday and met with Ukraine’s security chiefs before the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said it was launching a special operation against those pressing for federalization in the east of Ukraine.

Mapp told RIA Novosti in a commentary that the situation around Ukraine was an extremely important and ticklish chess game, played by all the countries involved.

According to him, the US is trying to divert Russia’s attention from Syria, while Moscow may show one and all, above all the BRICS countries, that it is capable of damaging the US economy and currency in this standoff with the West. For these reasons, the way the chess game in question ends will have an enormous importance and consequences, it is therefore quite logical that the CIA Director decided to personally visit Ukraine.

Mapp says he believes that Brennan did pay a visit to Kiev, although he admits he has no direct evidence of that from his sources. According to Mapp, small wonder if the CIA was not only involved in, but also organized and controlled the protests from the outset.

According to the journalist, the Ukrainian scenario of the past few months is very much like any other CIA-planned scenario. He says the CIA has quite an experience in staging state coups, including in Ukraine, citing the Orange Revolution of 2004 as evidence.

Russia wants explanation of report CIA chief visited Kiev

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday said Moscow would like Washington to explain reports in the Russian media that CIA director John Brennan visited the Ukrainian capital at the weekend.

“We would like to understand the meaning of reports about an urgent visit of CIA director Mr Brennan to Kiev,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. “So far we have not been given any explanations that would be reasonable.”

CIA refuses to comment on Brennan’s visit to Ukraine

The US Central Intelligence Agency has claimed reports that CIA Director John Brennan had influenced the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to launch a special operation in eastern Ukraine,The Los Angeles Times reports with reference to a CIA official, Todd Ebitz. Ebitz chose not to comment on reports that Brennan had visited Kiev.

The report was posted on the daily’s website overnight into Sunday. The daily quotes him as saying that all statements about the Ukrainian authorities’ invitation to Brennan to come and advise on some tactical matters inside Ukraine is an outright lie, since Director Brennan strongly believes that a diplomatic solution is the only way to settle the crisis in Russia-Ukraine relations.

Victor Yanukovych, who is the legitimate President of Ukraine, said earlier that Ukraine’s power-wielding agencies took the decision on a special operation in the east of Ukraine following their meeting with Brennan.

A source, close to Ukraine’s security agencies, told RIA-Novosti that Brennan came to Kiev on Saturday to meet the power agency chiefs before the Interior Ministry in Kiev announced the launching of a special operation against those pressing for federalization in the east of Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday said Moscow would like Washington to explain reports in the Russian media that CIA director John Brennan visited the Ukrainian capital at the weekend.

“We would like to understand the meaning of reports about an urgent visit of CIA director Mr Brennan to Kiev,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. “So far we have not been given any explanations that would be reasonable.”

CIA’s head has come to Ukraine to instruct power agencies – unofficial source

A source in the Ukrainian parliament has told the Russian Interfax news agency that CIA’s Director John Brennan has recently visited Ukraine’s capital Kiev and had several meetings with representatives of Ukraine’s power-wielding agencies.

The person who said this to Interfax in a phone talk added that John Brennan came to Ukraine not under his real name.

According to some yet unconfirmed information, the decision to suppress protesters in Slavyansk, a city in Ukraine’s east, with force was advised to Ukraine’s authorities by Brennan.

However, Interfax does not have any confirmation from any official sources that this is really so.

Contact Information:

Twitter: Dobroyeutro

gmappjr@gmail.com

Further Reading:

Ukraine Scenario Has CIA Modus Operandi Written All Over It

 

Ukraine Scenario Has CIA Modus Operandi Written All Over It

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Original article: OPINION: Ukraine Scenario Has CIA Modus Operandi Written All Over It By: Daria Chernyshova of Ria Novosti Posted on: April 14, 2014.

Last Sunday evening, April 13, 2014 I was contacted by RIA Novosti and asked to give my commentary about rumors of CIA director John Brennan’s alleged visit to Kiev, Ukraine. I stated “Yes, I do believe that CIA director Brennan was in Kiev on Saturday,” as well as explaining my rationale. Approximately 8 hours after the article below that quoted me was published, this article was published and quickly went viral on the Internet: White House confirms CIA director visited Ukraine over weekend

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MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova – The events unfolding in Ukraine are in line with other international Central Intelligence Agency operations, George Mapp, an investigative journalist and a contributor to the Daily Journalist, told RIA Novosti on Monday.

“The Ukraine scenario that has developed over the last several months has the CIA’s modus operandi written all over it,” Mapp told RIA Novosti.

“As far as the Central Intelligence Agency being involved in the protests, yes it is extremely likely that they have not only been involved but also engineered and orchestrated the protests from the onset,” he added.

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said CIA director John Brennan met with Kiev authorities over the weekend.

A source close to Ukraine’s security agencies confirmed the CIA director visited the country under a false name and might have travelled to the city of Slaviansk in Eastern Ukraine, where Kiev authorities suppressed pro-federalization demonstrations by force. The decision to sanction the use of weapons and provoke bloodshed might have been influenced by the CIA chief.

“Yes, I do believe that CIA director Brennan was in Kiev on Saturday,” Mapp said.

“I have not as of yet received direct confirmation from any of my sources. Not only is the CIA extremely experienced in political coups, they have a history and thus experience in Ukraine. I am referring to the ‘Orange Revolution’ in 2004 and 2005,” he added.

At least three people, including a pro-federalization supporter, were killed in the clashes between forces loyal to Kiev, including Right Sector fighters, and the local protestors, who had seized a local government building, a district police department and a security service office.

On Sunday, Ukraine’s acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his Facebook page that an operation was underway in the city involving “all the country’s law enforcement agencies.”

CIA veterans, who wished to remain anonymous, told RIA Novosti they were skeptical about Brennan’s visit to Ukraine. The political standoff between the West and Russia over Ukraine “is an extremely important and delicate chess match,” according to Mapp, so a visit of a high-ranking US official would be quite possible.

“The huge importance and implications depending on the outcome of this multi-faceted political chess match – it makes perfect sense that CIA director John Brennan would himself go to Ukraine,” Mapp said.

“Also, I don’t think that director Brennan would mind a bit of time away and a temporary distraction from Senator Feinstein and the Senate Intelligence Committee due to the current situation in Washington,” he added.

The US Embassy in Kiev hosted several training sessions for young digital enthusiasts known as “TechCamps” across Ukraine over the past two years. A TechCamp in Warsaw last October was attended by representatives of Polish NGOs and “socially active students from Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Belarus.”

The workshop in October 2012 in Kiev was kicked off by US Ambassador to Ukraine John F. Tefft, who expressed America’s commitment to youth development and said that technology in the hands of teachers, librarians, and youth advocates “gives hope for the future.”

On Monday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia is not interested in interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs. “It contradicts our interests,” he said at a press conference with the Sudanese foreign minister in Moscow. He also condemned the decision to use force, including army troops, against protesters in eastern Ukraine as extremely dangerous.

Contact Information:

Twitter: Dobroyeutro

gmappjr@gmail.com

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

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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

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

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Richard Chichakli

Richard Chichakli

 

Emotions are running extremely high in this strange and curious case of USA vs. Richard Chichakli. It is not surprising, with the trial in its fourth week, that jurors complained about the length of the trial. Jurors number 9 and 10 said enough is enough in emails to the judge. One juror said that their job is going to train and hire a replacement due to their long absence. After hearing this Chichakli demanded a mistrial saying that now the jury is biased against him. The judge refused.

Here is what happened today in Chichakli’s own words:

Today was the end of the witnesses and taking of evidence.
The whole thing turned into mess from the set go in the morning which started with receiving copies of two emails sent by two different juror complaining about the defendant taking too much time. The Email stated in its first line:

“There is a discontent in the jury room with the way the defendant is dragging the case as long as he could”

The other email also complained about the longer than expected trial and blames the defendant “based on our discussions” and ours is the jury. I immediately moved to have the case declared a Mistrial, and the judge immediately denied the motion, and subsequently he went after me on personal level saying that I caused the extended trial and he never seen more boring trial, and etc. Amazing stuff, unrealistically amazing.

So we are sat for tomorrow closing arguments.

[Richard Chichakli’s Motion to Declare Mistrial]

Chichakli’s frustration and emotions flared and Chichakli is apparently not happy that the government brought seventeen witness’ to the stand compared to his paltry four witness’. I say paltry because about a dozen witness’ that Chichakli wanted to testify were nullified by the judge. However, the judge has stated to the jury on more than one occasion that “the defendant is under absolutely no obligation to bring forth witness’, the burden of proof is up to the prosecutors.” The judge whom has been extremely patiently throughout this long trial also seemed frustrated. Judge Pauley stated today to Chichakli that Monday was the “most painful in my twenty-five year career. ” I was not in the courtroom yesterday. Therefore I am guessing that since Al Monica was the governments final witness and the judge denied Chichakli’s request for several other DEA and FBI agents to testify, that he was trying to questioning him as extensively as possible. But that is just speculation on my part.

DEA

Today Chichakli called Department of Justice employee John Cox  III whom he wanted to testify to the fact that he gave Chichakli permission to leave the U.S. back in 2005. Cox said that he could not detain Chichakli nor deny him the right to leave the country since there was no arrest warrant, merely an investigation. Chichakli’s ex-wife Gloria Chichakli also testified. They had not seen each other since 2005 when Chichakli left the States.

Tomorrow on December 11th, 2013 at 9:45 am the government will begin its closing argument or summation. They indicated to the judge that it should last about one hour forty-five minutes. Chichakli indicated that he would need about two and a half hours. However, it is still not clear whom will deliver the defense’s summation. Chichakli late in the day said that he was finished defending himself. Whether or not this was simply emotion or after being incarcerated and defending himself in a four week trial pro-se against the U.S. government and their legal team has in fact left him emotionally and physically spent? So we will not know until tomorrow whether Chichakli whom has handled his case in its entirety will deliver his own summation to the jury or if it will be his back up counsel Mr. Kirton.

Just a reminder for the first part of the trial Chichakli was in solitary confinement without access to email, phone calls or any communications whatsoever outside of Mr. Kirton visiting him in jail. Upon hearing this the judge ordered the Bureau of Prisons [BOP] to move him into general population as well as ordering OFAC to unblock his funds sent to him by his sister so that he could make phone calls. As late as last week Chichakli stated on record that the only Kosher meals provided to him by the prison were frozen and the U.S. Marshals denied him access to a microwave. The judge asked him at the end of that day if he ate and Chichakli stated that he had a piece of bread. The judge sternly told the prosecution to make sure that the defendant is provided with a meal that he can eat.

After the defense finishes their summation then the prosecutors get a 2nd chance called a rebuttal summation. The reason for this is that it is solely up to the prosecution to prove Chichakli’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Once that is completed then in my opinion is the most important part of the trial. It is the judges instructions to the jury on how to interpret the law. This is extremely important because in this case Chichakli is being charged with breaking Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC] sanctions and International Emergency Economic Powers Act [IEEPA] laws. According to all the witness’ that testified including Molly Miller whom works for OFAC the laws are open to interpretation. Chichakli, his back up counsel Mr. Kirton and OFAC expert attorney Hal Eren all disagreed with Molly Miller’s testimony and interpretation of the law. Chichakli wanted to have another OFAC employee testify but the judge ruled against it. The judge stated that he will interpret the law for the jury.

Contact Information:

dobroyeutro1@gmail.com

Twitter: Dobroyeutro 

Further Reading:

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

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

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Richard Chichakli

Richard Chichakli

Monday December 9th, 2013 11:00 am

Until today I have attended everyday of the Richard Chichakli trial in its entirety. Just to be crystal clear, Chichakli at this very moment is continuing his cross examination of Al Monica whom is the governments seventeenth and final witness. Mr. Monica is employed as a contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton and currently working for the DEA’s Special Operation Division more commonly referred to as SOD. According to Chicakli’s latest email he will call several more witness’, here is what he wrote me:

“On Monday I will also have my Ex-Wife Gloria testifying, My Ex-Partner William Riggs, and John Cox, the DOJ official who granted me the permission to leave in 2005.
The trial should be done by Wednesday and it is up to the Jury from that point.
That is all the summary for now, and I will keep you posted.”

Before I go into more detail about Mr. Monica’s testimony, I want to back up to last week. Specifically last Thursday December 5th, 2013 when Chichakli called his second witness Tami Loehrs, whom was deemed an expert witness. Ms. Loehrs is a computer forensic analyst at her firm, Loehrs & Associates located in Tucson, Arizona and has been in business for approximately 14 years since 1999.

Before the jury entered the courtroom, prosecutor Christian Everdell indicated to the judge that he was not happy that Ms. Loehrs was interrupting the prosecutions case. Everdell said that he didn’t think it was fair that the defense’s expert witness interrupt Ms. Seidsma whom was the governments expert computer forensic witness. Mrs. Loehrs couldn’t testify later in the week due to schedule conflicts for other trials and the judge previously agreed to let her interrupt the governments witness due to the defendant being incarcerated as well as having limited resources. Everdell suggested a compromise to the judge, that their expert witness, Ms. Seidsma be allowed to sit at the attorney’s table inside the courtroom during Ms. Loehrs testimony. Mr. Everdell had also previously raised concerns to the judge of not having enough time to prepare for the cross-examination of the defense’s expert witness Ms. Loehrs. Thus allowing Ms. Seidsma to hear Ms. Loehrs testimony would allow the prosecution to better prepare for the cross-examination. Judge Pauley stated that he thought that was a very sensible and fair compromise and Chichakli had no objections and thus it was allowed.

U.S. Federal Court House at 500 Pearl St. where Chichakli's trial is being held.

U.S. Federal Court House at 500 Pearl St. where Chichakli’s trial is being held.

Thursday December 5th, 2013 at 10:05 am the jury entered and then Ms. Loehrs. After Ms. Loehrs briefly described her credentials and experience Chichakli began questioning her. Chichakli asked her about ‘hash values’ as compared to the ‘size of data’ comparison in forensic analysis. The reason Chichakli raised this question was that the Royal Thai police seized Viktor Bout’s laptop in March 2008 and it was stated by the prosecution that a forensic copy of the original laptop was made. However, it came out in testimony during the trial that the DEA’s forensic analyst compared the size of Bout’s laptop with a forensic copy via the ‘data size’ method. Much of the evidence presented in Bout’s trial that led to his conviction as well as a lot of evidence in Chichakli’s trial presented in the courtroom was allegedly taken from Bout’s laptop.

Ms. Loehrs when asked by Chichakli how can you authenticate the DEA’s forensic copy of Bout’s laptop with the original via the ‘data size’ method [as compared to the hash value method], she answered, “you can’t.” Loehrs continued, “there is no way to verify size or data, you absolutely can not verify data. It is “not an acceptable method [referring to the ‘data size’ method] because it is not accurate.”

Chichakli continued questioning the witness. Asking that if you replaced a photo of myself with my 100 year old grandmother and the data of each image was exactly the same, would it alter the size of the data on the computer. Loehrs answered that you can add and / or delete many files and as long as they are the same file sizes that total data size of the computer would not change.

Viktor Bout being led off the plane by DEA agents in White Plains, NY February 2010.

Viktor Bout being led off the plane by DEA agents in White Plains, NY February 2010.

At 10:45 am Christian Everdell for the government begins cross-examining the witness. He was fairly tame asking Ms. Loehrs if she had forensically evaluated the evidence in this particular case. Everdell also asked her if she had any evidence if the forensic evidence presented in this case was manipulated or altered, she stated “I have no idea.  She stated she had no evidence that it was authentic or tampered with, she couldn’t say either way. Chichakli asked a few additional questions on re-direct examination to try to hammer home his previous points of the hash value being the only valid and accurate method in forensic analysis. At 11:23 am during Everdell’s re-cross of Ms. Loehrs, things got very nasty. Everdell attacked her character by asking her if she remembers posting a 2010 FaceBook post demeaning the FBI? Ms. Loehrs smiled and chuckled slightly and stated, “yes I remember that post.” Everdell then continued and got more vicious and started questioning several previous trials that Loehrs testified as a witness. Everdell pointed out at least a half-dozen examples and negative reactions to Ms. Loehrs previous court testimonies. She remained dignified and composed during this verbal assault and one of her last responses in reply to Everdell was, “that is what happens to you when you testify against and question the techniques and methods of forensic analysis used by law enforcement, they sometimes say bad things about you.”

Ms. Loehrs testimony ended almost exactly at 1:00 pm just in time for the lunch break. After lunch, at 2:00 pm Chichakli continued his cross-examination of the prosecutions 16th witness, Ms. Seidsma whose testimony was interrupted by Ms. Loehrs.  About thirty minutes later Ms. Siedsma was excused and the governments 17th and final witness took the stand at 2:32 pm. During Al Monica’s initially testimony he stated that he is a contractor working for the DEA’s SOD. The judge stopped both the prosecutor Ian McGinley and Mr. Monica and said wait, who do you work for? Monica then stated that he was a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton hired by the DEA’s SOD. The judge later stated when the jury was on a break that the fact that Monica wasn’t directly working for the DEA almost slipped past him. He expressed his displeasure to the prosecution as to the way they presented their witness to the court.

Monica’s testimony was almost exclusively a slide presentation that also included a timeline. Chichakli objected to the entire slideshow and it was overruled by the judge. After the second slide Chichakli’s standby counsel Mr. Kirton said, “Your honor, I know the court has previously ruled on this but we object. We object to all of it.” The judge then called another sidebar [ an area in front of or next to the judge’s bench away from the witness stand and the jury box, where lawyers are called to speak confidentially with the judge out of earshot of the jury].

The judge said that the slide show was closing argument material. He actually removed slide one from evidence and it seemed to me that the judge almost considered not allowing the entire slide show which the government argued to keep it in evidence. After another sidebar, when the prosecution resumed in a very brisk manner almost flying through the slide presentation. Based on the previous two slide shows presented by the prosecution which was presented at a snails pace, the witness Monica was reading so fast that the court reporter had to ask him to read slower.

Viktor Bout with translations headphones and the honorable judge judge Shira A. Scheindlin on the bench.

Viktor Bout with translations headphones and the honorable judge judge Shira A. Scheindlin on the bench.

In Viktor Bout’s trial there were very few sidebars, in fact on one occasional when Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan asked to approach the bench, judge Scheindlin said, “Yes but don’t make a habit of it.” I have been told by reporters covering trials for years that every judge is different. In terms of sidebars judge Pauley is much more liberal, in fact he calls them many times, if I had to guess how many sidebars there have been during this trial, I would say close to thirty. However, this trial is unique and highly unusual I have no idea if judge Pauley would call this many sidebars if Chichakli was not defending himself. One thing is apparent, he has been extremely fair and patient with Chichakli inside the courtroom, and in my opinion going out of his way to help him with his legal limitations since he is representing himself with no prior legal experience.

However, I do know for a fact that Chichakli would argue that the court has been very unfair in what it has allowed to be used as evidence in testimony and especially in the case of the allowance of witness’ that he requested to testify. Chichakli has stated very clearly on numerous occasions that he feels that about a dozen of his witness’ being denied by the court to testify is completely unfair and denies him a fair trial. The next several excerpts are taken verbatim directly from Chichakli’s emails, some are to others where I was cc’d and the rest were sent to me directly.

Good day [name intentionally left blank]:
Thank you for your message.
The trial is going as usual, with the usual denial of witnesses and documents. Nothing new, just about the same but with different witnesses.

On top of the denial of witness I am as of last week, neither allowed to bring-up or reference my US intelligence service nor allowed to ask witnesses about the subject all together. I am also not allowed to ask witnesses regarding my earlier discussion with the government, it is a strange way of conducting fair trial …. the least to say.

This is an excerpt of a very recent letter to the judge by Chichakli asking him to reconsider his decision on whether or not to allow Department of Justice employee Adam Szubin to testfy. the ful letter can be read here: Richard Chichakli’s Letter to the Judge for Reconsideration of a Potential Witness

IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE, EQUITY, DUE PROCESS and FOR THE PURPOSE OF ATTAINING FAIR TRIAL AT EQUAL BASIS Defendant is humbly requesting that the court reconsider its previous ruling concerning the exclusion of documents from the 2006 Chichakli Civil Case against the government, and the denial of the defense request to call Adam Szubin to testify. Both the testimony of Mr. Szubin and the document used in Chichakli’s 2006 legal action against the government are directly related to the case on trial now, they are related, and they were both used by the government in preparing its case against the defendant.
Respectfully submitted

Richard Chichakli, (Pro-Se)
Defendant

 

Richard Ammar Chichakli

Richard Ammar Chichakli

In terms of bringing up Chichakli’s past work for U.S. intelligence agencies, Chichakli tried to ask Special Agent Larsen whom testified on Tuesday December 3rd if he was aware of his prior work with the NSA? The question was objected by prosecution and sustained by the judge. Chichakli tried to rephrase the question but it ended with the same results. Chichakli in frustration then turned to the judge and said to the judge, “Why can’t I ask about the NSA?” The judge answered, “I’m forbidding it. I issued an order under CIPA.” CIPA is the Classified Information Procedures Act. I did not attend every pre-trial hearing but the judge made it clear that it was discussed and some point and a ruling was made. Obviously it was at a pre-trial hearing that I didn’t attend. Shorty after I posted this article a friend and colleague sent me this pdf: GOVERNMENT’S MEMORANDUM OF LAW TO PRECLUDE THE DEFENDANT FROM OFFERING CERTAIN EVIDENCE which explains why Richard Chichakli’s testimony and evidence is extremely restricted.

The trial will probably end Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday depending on the judge Pauley’s ruling on Chichakli’s reconsideration of witness’. For more detailed information about Chichakli’s first witness, please read Richard Chichakli Calls His First Witness in USA vs. Viktor Bout Et Al. Please stay tuned, we are getting close to the closing arguments and the end of the trial. It is impossible to guess how long a jury will deliberate but deliberations could possibly start as early as Thursday or possibly Friday.

Contact Information:

dobroyeutro1@gmail.com

Twitter: Dobroyeutro 

Further Reading:

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

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

Featured

Richard Chichakli

Richard Chichakli

 

On Wednesday December 4th, 2013 at approximately 2pm the defendant Richard Chichakli, defending himself pro se called his first witness to the stand. Chichakli’s first witness was OFAC [Office of Foreign Asset Control] specialist attorney Hal Eren. This was one witness more than was called during the entire Viktor Bout trial. Chichakli will call several more witness’ including Tami Loehrs an expert computer forensic analyst, FBI special agent Dennis Brady who is currently a Legal Attache in Nairobi, Kenya and possibly DEA agent William Brown pending judge Pauley’s approval. Richard Chichakli submitted a proffer yesterday afternoon to the judge in regards to special agent Brown whom also testified in the Viktor Bout trial.

Mr. Eren was already introduced to us by name via previous exhibits entered into evidence by the prosecution. Despite several protests and objections to the the judge by the prosecutor’s, Eren’s testimony interrupted the prosecutions case as well as their 16th witness, Christine Siedsma. Ironically Siedsma works as a digital forensic examiner in the DEA labs in Lorton, VA. The prosecutor was not as upset over Eren’s testimony as compared to to the upcoming testimony this morning by the defense’s expert witness Tami Loehrs. The prosecution argued that it was not fair to interrupt their case with their expert witness testifying with an expert witness for the defense. They added that it may be interpreted as being prejudicial. Prosecutor Christian Everdell asked if Loehrs could testify on Monday which would also allow prosecutors more time to prepare their cross-examination. Judge Pauley reminded the prosecutor’s that Chichakli is not the U.S. government with unlimited resources as well as pointing out that Ms. Loehrs only anticipated being in New York for a day plus she had scheduling concerns with another trial.

Richard Ammar Chichakli

Richard Ammar Chichakli

Hal Eren previously worked for OFAC for approximately seven and a half years and has been in private practice for twenty years with his partner Mr. Pinter. Pinter worked at OFAC for seventeen and a half years, according to Eren making them the most experienced private law firm specializing in OFAC related issues. Eren testified that in his legal opinion that Chichakli did not violate OFAC sanctions because he was acting solely as a broker in an airplane deal that exceeded $1.7 million which funds were frozen by OFAC on April 26 2005 and remained frozen to this day. This airplane transaction is at the heart of the government’s case, alleging that Chichakli violated OFAC sanctions specifically IEEPA laws. Chichakli’s defense is that no other parties nor individuals involved in the airplane transaction were on the OFAC sanction list and since Chichakli alleges that he acted only as a broker between the two parties when he was outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. that he did not violate the law. Eren did testify that in addition to contacting OFAC in defense of Chichakli and the companies involved [Aventura Aviation and Samar Air] that the funds that were frozen in 2005 were not tied to Chichakli in anyway. Eren testified that Chichakli was to be paid a $50,000 brokers fee or finders fee directly by Samar Air and that those monies were separate and segregated from the monies involved in the frozen airplane transaction.

During cross-examination Eren seemed to be an entirely different witness and appeared to completely flip. At one point Ian McGinley one of the prosecutor’s asked Eren did we speak previously about this case and he answered yes, then the McGinley asked him did you in fact tell me that you thought Aventura Aviation was conned by Chichakli. Eren stumbled and bumbled and put it in a more diplomatic phrase saying that he felt that he “wasn’t provided with all the available information.”

During cross-examination Eren was asked do you feel that you were misled, and answered that since being provided with the indictment from the government he felt that he was misled. During Eren’s re-direct by Chichakli he was asked if he thought that the documents and evidence that the government provided was authentic? Eren answered that since it came from the government that he assumed it to be true. The judge took notably exception to this comment. In fact shortly after this temper and emotions were escalating on both sides and the judge called for the mid-afternoon break and dismissed the jury for a short recess. About twenty-five minutes later, a slighter longer break to allow all parties to collect their thoughts and to clam down, the jury re-entered. The judge told the court directing his comments to the jury in a very firm tone that what he heard was “an astonishing statement especially coming from an attorney” referring to Erens comment that he presumed the governments evidence to be true. Judge Pauley told the jury that an indictment is not evidence and is only a legal charge to bring the defendant to trial. Judge Pauley emphasized that “the only assumption is that the defendant Mr. Chichakli is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” The judge then made a comment as to Eren’s bias to the prosecutor’s despite the fact that the defense called the witness.

Please stay tuned for more updates!

Contact Information:

dobroyeutro1@gmail.com

Twitter: Dobroyeutro 

Further Reading:

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

Richard Chichakli Crowdsourcing Legal Advice

Featured

Richard Chichakli

Richard Chichakli

Crowdsourcing Legal Advice

Richard Chichakli is fighting an uphill legal battle against the U.S. government. Chichakli has been accused of being Viktor Bout’s co-conspirator, sometimes accused of being Bout’s money-man and / or partner. Chichakli was extradited from Australia this past May to the U.S. where he is currently facing trial. Chichakli’s trial is unusually in many ways but most notable is that he is defending himself pro-se. With my limited court experience, I have been impressed with Chichakli’s handling of his case thus far. Chichakli does not have a law degree nor as far as I know any legal training whatsoever.

Chichakli has been frustrated as of late, especially as to the honorable judge Pauley’s recent decisions in denying Chichakli’s request to have several high-profile witness’ testify. I recently wrote an article about Douglas Farah, co-author of ‘The Merchant of Death’ asking the judge to grant his request not to testify. Farah said that what he knows “is based on hearsay and would not be admissible in court.” My article titled, Judge Rules Merchant of Death Author Does Not Have to Testify in Chichakli Trial goes into more detail. I just received an email from Chichakli earlier today asking me for legal advice. I am obviously not a lawyer but Chichakli then sent me a second email asking me to post a blog with his legal questions, in other words to crowdsource some legal advice for him. This is what he wrote in his second email:

Howdy:
Just sent you some updates for your pages, I wonder if the public can give me an answer through the internet?
Sincerely
Richard

Chichakli seemed very sincere in his quest to understand the law as well as getting any legitimate feedback and opinions to his legal questions. As per Chichakli’s request I am sending out his first email.

Good day:

Judge William Pauley have ruled in favor of the government’s request to preclude witnesses including; among dozen others, Johan Peleman, Dennis Brady, and Douglas Farah

I am questioning whether such ruling is “legally sound” given for the facts that material that were used by the government in the prosecution of this case belongs to these witnesses.

In Peleman’s case, the invention of Chichakli-Bout relation was created by Johan Peleman in his UN report S/2000/1225 and later in his report S/2003/1035. Both reports are included in the indictment, both reports were used to obtain the indictment through the grand jury, and both reports were used by the government in replying to the motions by Chichakli. The judge’s decision in calling this material “irrelevant” and “Hearsay” and these witnesses “Unrelated” seems to be prejudice, or subject to “double standards” the least.

The same applies to Denied Brady of the FBI and who’s affidavit is among the evidence used by the government, so is the case of Douglas Farah who lied twice under oath in his testimony to the US Congress in 2005 and 2008, and who was used and still being used by the US government as “The expert” in the matter of Bout-Chichakli!

My questions are simply:

- How material and witnesses can be used by the government and then excluded and precluded for the defense purpose?
– How material and evidence can be called relevant to the government case and irrelevant to the defense cross-examination?
– How would the government be allowed to bring witnesses that are not on the list of witnesses?
– Is the preclusion of cross-examination constitutional under the 14th amendment?
– Is this trial held under a single set of standards or more than one set of standards?

I am not a lawyer, but these are rather common sense questions!

Richard

Judge Orders Chichakli Out of Solitary Confinement 

I plan to post an update of the trial in sort of a timeline fashion within the next day or two. However, I thought this one particular occurrence was worth mentioning now.

Shortly before Chichakli’s trial began he was moved from MDC Federal prison located in Brooklyn where he was in general population to MCC prison in Manhattan to be closer to the Federal Court house located at 500 Pearl Street. This was no surprise in fact in was anticipated. What occurred next or actually how it happened is not clear. Richard Chichakli was accused of breaking the prison rules and was immediately put into maximum security aka the SHU [Security Housing Unit] upon his arrival to MCC prison in Mahattan. Chichakli told the judge that he did not do anything to warrant the punishment.

Last Monday November 25, 2012 judge Pauley told the prosecutors to have a representative form the Bureau of Prison’s [BOP] to come at 1pm. After the jury was dismissed for lunch, Mr. Johnson from BOP spoke to the judge about moving Chichakli. At which point judge Pauley ordered Chichakli to be moved from solitary confinement to general population as soon as a bed is available. The judge told the prosecutors that this is in their best interest. The judge said, “that if Mr. Chichakli is convicted, this will be the first line in the appellate court.” Since Chichakli is defending himself, while in solitary confinement he has no access to the telephone and no email access. Therefore he had no ability to contact potential witness’ to testify on his behalf nor access to any communications for any purpose. Chichakli earlier in the day mentioned that his sister sent him some funds that were received by the prison but he was blocked by OFAC [Office of Foreign Asset Control] from making any phone call. The judge additionally ordered that BOP and OFAC unblock his commissary account immediately so that Chichakli would have access to his funds.

Contact Information:

dobroyeutro1@gmail.com

Twitter: Dobroyeutro

Further Reading:

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

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Richard Chichakli holding documents.

Richard Chichakli holding documents.

Richard Chichakli now 54 years-old was being held in solitary confinement in an Australian prison since his arrest on  January 9th 2013 until his eventually extradition to the U.S. on May 24th, 2013. 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.

Richard Chichakli is currently being detained at The Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, more commonly known as MDC, Brooklyn. The interview was conducted between Richard and I via the Bureau of Prison’s CorrLinks email communication system.

Richard, Australia to the United States is quite a long journey for anyone. Please describe what your extradition process was like, also if you know, how long did it take and by what mode of transportation did you travel to the United States?

The extradition process on the Australian side was fast. I did not protest the extradition and waived my right for any legal process in Australia. I was ready for extradition in about 15 days; however, the US government waited all the 6 month allowed prior to pick me up. I was arrested Jan/09/2013 and picked up almost 6 month later on May 25th, 2013.

The trip to the United States was horrible, I was not allowed to bring any thing with me not even a jacket, a pants, T-shirt, and my keppah. Throughout the trip I was shackled and handcuffed, no food, no drinks, no bathroom through the 19 hours flight; the worst inhumane treatment you could expect.

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

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

Once you arrived in the U.S., how were you treated as a Federal inmate and how were your facilities at the prison or prisons where you have been detained?

On arrival I was delivered to the MCC prison, small prior of seclusion prior to placement at 7-north at MCC, three days later moved to MDC- West building, few days more and again moved to the old East building, and before long moved yet again to the west building. Movement creates undue pressure and that is what the government is trying to achieve by keep moving me around.

Richard, for those readers that may be new to this story, can you please briefly describe the nature of your relationship with Viktor Bout? As well as when and where you first met Viktor Bout?

My relation to Victor is described in detail on my web site; he is a brother and a friend that is all.

——————-

The following excerpts are taking directly from my article titled, Exclusive: Richard Chichakli Speaks About the Viktor Bout Trial.

The Richard Chichakli Viktor Bout Connection

Before I share Richards’ comments with you I wanted to first discuss briefly the connection between the two men. What better way than to let Richard do that in his own words? Therefore, all of the following excerpts are taking verbatim form Richard Chichakli’s website from the page titled What connects Richard Chichakli to Viktor Bout. I did, however, take the liberty of merely rearranging some of the paragraphs but not the words.

Richard Chichakli first introduction to Victor Bout took place about 14 years ago, in August of 1995, in the state of Sharjah, one of the seven states in the United Arab Emirates. At that point of time Richard was an employee of the government of Sharjah, serving as the commercial manager of Sharjah Airport International Free Zone and Victor Bout was one of the hundreds of investors who were interested in setting up a business in that free zone.

A Russian Antonov cargo plane.

A Russian Antonov cargo plane.

Richard has always called Victor a “brother and friend” and he is that to Richard, nothing more and nothing less. What was unique in the friendship of these two men is that after the UN [the infamous Johan Peleman] published its report about Victor Bout in 2001 and which led to the financial collapse of Victor Bout, almost all of Victor’s friends abandoned him except for Richard Chichakli.  For those who know Richard that would not be surprising because Richard is a descendant of a large Arabian family with history of values and traditions. Richard will not abandon a friend on the basis of “hearsay”, nor will he accept to “hush up” in order to be politically correct. Therefore, he publicly demanded of those using Victor Bout for personal gains to show evidence and corroborate facts, and that was fatal because he was the only one standing in the face of a current. 

Richard is not and was not an employee/associate of Victor Bout or any of his companies for any length of time. Richard is not, nor was he ever the chief financial manager of Mr. Bout’s, nor the spokesperson for him or any of his organizations, nor was he ever an officer and/or director of any company belongs to Victor Bout and to which account any amount of money was sent or received for any purpose.  It is imperative to understand that Mr. Bout was not sanctioned by the US government until July of 2004, and prior to that date there was not any prohibition to conduct business with him.  

Viktor Bout in Marion, IL Federal Penitentiary -- taken October 2012

Viktor Bout in Marion, IL Federal Penitentiary — taken October 2012

——————-  Interview continued …

Have you ever worked for, with or were contracted by any U.S. or Russian intelligence agencies? What about Viktor Bout?

Sorry, cannot answer that yet. Those in my military records there are a couple of recommendations from the 311 Military Intelligence and the 902 Counter Intelligence. I also use to be a full-time employee of the US Dept. of Justice; well, and finally I seem to have filed W2s issued by the US Dept. of Agriculture with my tax returns; thus, I never worked for the Dept. of Agriculture. Concerning Victor, it seems that few letters released by the UN and IPIS; and which are available on the internet can help answering your question. More details could also come to light during my court appearance on Sep/27th. That is all I can say about the intelligence.

Richard, it was one of the world’s worst kept secrets that you spent many years living in Moscow. Why did you risk you freedom to go to Australia?

I did not spend that much time in Moscow in reality, perhaps just a year in Total! As to Australia it was about 2.5 years. The rest elsewhere. As to risking freedom; I would not characterize it that way. Australia was in my view a safe bit, far away and I would not be expected to be there.

Did you feel that you were no longer safe in Moscow and if so why? 

I never was safe in Moscow, and that is the reason I did not live in Russia. The reason… perhaps later.

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

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

Have you ever met or transacted any business transactions with former Liberian President, notorious War Lord and former CIA asset, Charles Taylor?

Never knew where is Liberia until I heard about it from OFAC, nor ever heard of its president. Never done business with, about, around, or with any one related to Liberia or its government, past or present, not Taylor nor anyone else.

The elaborate sting operation carried out by the DEA’s Special Operations Division to catch Viktor Bout which was dubbed Operation ‘Relentless’ that spanned over three continents, is estimated to have cost U.S. taxpayer’s several hundred million dollars. In your opinion, what was the real impetus behind this operation?

The matter of Victor Bout is a matter of politics, too many politicians and too much of resources went into the story. The matter also involves Russia as far as I know. Now it is clear that Clinton and Holder had their signature on an invalid document evident and in testimony to the political nature of the matter. The Re-arrest of Victor in Thailand after the refusal of his extradition was a complete fraud by the US government. Evidence will be shown in the federal court on the 27th after a couple of weeks.

Is there anything about you or your case that you would like to tell or share with the world?

Sure, the United States politics should stay outside the court room and should not interfere with justice.

Richard

Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. I realize that you are extremely busy especially since you are representing yourself.

Best regards,

George Mapp

Contact Information:

Twitter: Dobroyeutro

dobroyeutro1@gmail.com

Further Reading:

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

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