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.
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.
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.
Original Post: Is technology a complicated asset for the future?
Posted on November 15, 2013 via The Daily Journalist
Please read my contribution in the Daily Journalist. I suggest visiting the original link to see more great answers and contributions from other journalists.
Is technology a complicated asset for the future?
“According to The Chopra Center, Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life [Ayur= life,Veda= science or knowledge]. Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit. What if we take the premise of Ayurveda and apply it to the macro-economic model of the American economy or even the world’s economy. Would the American or the world’s economy be in a balanced integration between ourselves and our environment? What about the U.S. standard of living, is it in balance or is it unhealthy?
Not only would I say that the U.S. economy and the standard of living are both unhealthy but are both falling off a cliff. I believe that the exponential technological advances in the last several decades are soon going to hurt the U.S. economy and standard of living. As an American and as a human being, I am extremely concerned that the advances in technology, if not managed effectively and efficiently, will cause damage and harm that will drastically outweigh the benefits.
Out of curiosity, I checked the national unemployment rate from last month which is according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, stands at 7.3%. Just for a number I went back approximately 25 years. According to the same source, in 1990 the national unemployment rate was 5.4% in January 1990. I also checked the poverty levels in the U.S. According to the Wikipedia, “In November 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau said more than 16% of the population lived in poverty in the United States, including almost 20% of American children.” According to the U.S. Census, “the number of persons below the official government poverty level was 36.6 million in 1990, representing 13.5% of the Nation’s population.” If you target specific areas, demographics and / or states the current rates of poverty and unemployment are much higher than the national average.
Jaime Ortega in his introduction to his question mentioned Walmart. How they are using intelligent scanning machines as opposed to humans thus putting people out of work. What makes this an extremely scary scenario is that Walmart happens to be the world’s largest public employer. Many of the worlds leading corporations and retailers follow and mimic what they do in order to compete effectively in the market place and sometimes just try to stay in business. Walmart has been criticized numerous times for its low wages and hard-ball pricing polices to its suppliers. They are so huge and powerful that they have the ability to dictate their terms to their suppliers, in other words they tell them what they are going to get paid. I have also observed over the years that many of our youth and young-adults can not do basic math but instead rely on what they input into the register or more times than not what they scan, then the computerized register will calculate the change for them. That is in the fraction of cash transactions, mostly items are scanned and a credit card swiped and a few buttons pressed.
Also, spelling has become a non-issue with auto-correct and spell check now prevalent in almost any electronic communication we use in this country. Another disturbing trend that I have noticed is that many teens use text-talk. A jargon of abbreviations and short cuts to words, basically another language that many older adults wouldn’t be able to understand. Not only have I noticed a decline in language skills but communication skills appear to be suffering as well. I have some younger friends that almost exclusively text instead of talking. In fact, I have a few friends that I have never spoken to on the phone. Despite the huge and magnificent technological advances in healthcare and science, we as a nation are poorer, sicker, more obese, more dependent on pharmaceutical drugs and underemployed than say about 25 years ago.
Technology is eliminating jobs from almost every facet of the U.S. workforce. From Wall Street to Main Street. I saw the impact on electronic trading first hand, I was an international equity trader on Wall Street for over 12 years. Electronic trading dried up the volumes in the Over-The-Counter market [people placed trades electronically as opposed to dealing directly with market-makers like myself] as well as the spreads narrowing drastically. The spread is the difference in price between what a market-maker will pay [bid] for a stock as opposed to what he is willing to sell [offer] it for. Just think to yourself how difficult it is to get a real person on the phone when you call customer service at your phone company, your bank etc. Often times you will hear a foreign voice.
That is another disturbing trend of U.S. corporations outsourcing jobs overseas for cheaper labor that takes away even more jobs. That compiled with the increasing number of jobs being eliminated by machines it is quite scary. From a CEO or shareholders perspective they all probably agree that machines do not call out sick, do not go on vacation, nor take lunch breaks and don’t need pensions or healthcare insurance? But eventually and unfortunately it appears that it might be sooner rather than later, the economic model will become unbalanced and things will fall apart. Basic economics of supply and demand teaches us that if supplies increase much faster than demand then the prices must come down to compensate. Eventually if we as a nation continued to outsource jobs, eliminate jobs to computers and machines the majority of Americans will be unemployed and buying solely food, water and other necessities and less ‘widgets’. If that scenario plays out then eventually many corporations will also fail thus exponentially increasing the unemployment rate and result in an economy in free-fall.
I am of the school that if a loved-one, a son or daughter, spouse or parent has cancer I want to cure the cancer and make them healthy so that they will live. I feel the same about the country in which I was born in, I want to fix it, make it healthy. Both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have been around for over 5,000 years and both treat and cure illness‘ not simply medicate the symptoms. In our society, nearly the entire medical profession is predicated upon taking pills to relieve a symptom of a disease almost never to treat or cure a disease. Technology can be also be used to teach us how to eat and live healthier, how to become less dependent on fossil fuels, how to develop more solar and wind technologies, to conserve water, to protect the ozone as opposed to mass produce more and more widgets that mostly get thrown away and become an additional burden on our environment.
Ironically I saw a Huffington Post article today titled, What India Can Teach The Rest Of The World About Living Well, here is one excerpt from the article: “India is the fastest-growing destination for wellness tourism, with an average of 22 percent annual growth, according to recent data from Stanford Research Center funded by Spafinder Wellness.” I have been lucky enough to have traveled to over 35 countries. One country that I lived in was India. That is why I started with a brief intro of Ayurveda. But mostly because the entire philosophy of Ayurveda is built around balance.
I feel the same way about technology. We can use it more effectively and more efficiently to make our economy and standard of living better and not worse. I am convinced that currently we are not using technology for enough positive and productive benefits. Unfortunately I think that if we continue in the same direction we will as a nation continue to suffer and cut off our nose to spite our face. However, maybe to my own detriment I am an optimist and continue to hope that enough people who agree with me will eventuallydevelop more technologies that create more jobs as opposed to eliminating them, technologies that cure disease, that conserve energy and help the environment more than we are hurting it. Hopefully we as a nation will make better uses and smarter decisions.
That same Huff Post article mentions 10 reasons why we should look to India to live well. I’ll mention just a few, They have strong family values, They’re making low-cost health innovations. They have a culture that prizes compassion. They value inner wisdom. They cook with turmeric. Turmeric is a popular spice in Indian cooking, and it’s a superfood that can boost longevity and ward off illness. The decline of family values in this country in my opinion is the most serious and is at the core of many of the major problems that is ailing our nation. And look at what they put in their food, a ‘superfood’ we put preservatives and chemicals that are slowly killing us.
Even India is using technology to make low-cost health innovations. According to a Washington Post article titled, The royal birth cost $15,000. The average American birth is billed at $30,000, it states that: “The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section,” My daughter was born in 2009 in India in a private hospital for less than $500.
Clearly we as Americans can do much better than we have been in utilizing technology. I have no doubt that we can became a productive nation, a healthy nation, an intelligent nation if we make the right choices on how we choose to use the quantum leaps in technology that is available to us. Hopefully not just for me or for you but for my children and your children as well as your grandchildren and for all the children that share the only planet that we have.”
LinkedIn: George Mapp Jr
In a New York Times article titled, U.S. Had Warnings on Plotter of Mumbai Attack, which was co-written by journalist Ginger Thompson was published October 16, 2010. In fact it was Thompson whom met with and interviewed David Coleman Headley’s Moroccan wife Faiza Outalha. I know this to be true because Faiza told me herself in detail about Thompson’s visit to Morocco as well as the extent of the interview. Also, the above referenced article also mentions it: “The Moroccan wife described her separate warnings in an interview with The New York Times.” There is a very good reason why I point this out. Therefore, what was told to Thompson of the New York Times was communicated by Faiza verbally, doing a face-face interview. It was not a remote interview via computer in a written question and answer format.
I recently began reading The Siege: 68 Hours Inside The Taj written by authors Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy and published by Penguin Books. What jumped out at me off the pages was a shocking revelation. What jumped out at me were the words, “she wrote in her dairy” on page 49 referring to Faiza Outalha. I know Faiza extremely well, if anything we have grown even closer than when we first met in Old Manali, India in the Spring of 2008. Faiza abruptly broke off all communications with me shortly before the 26/11 Mumbai Massacre in 2008. After I was investigated by India’s newly formed intelligence and counter-terrorism agency, the NIA, we stayed incommunicado.
Actually, the NIA mentioned that they may want me to try to contact her on their behalf. However, that never happened. Shortly after they cleared me in an investigation that lasted several months, and returned my U.S. passport my family and I quickly and secretly moved to a new location within Goa and a few months later we left the country. Natasha and I waited a couple of months for our daughter Zoya who was born on December 12, 2009 to be slightly older before we flew internationally.
A day before my family and I were scheduled to fly to Thailand, we made a surprise visit to the NIA headquarters in New Delhi to try a last attempt to get my Apple Mac Book Pro back. Anybody who has travelled to India, lived there or is from there would understand the humor in what I am about to tell you. I have a written and signed document from the NIA that states: “The laptop would be returned after forensic analysis.” The NIA agent assured me that on November 24, 2009 that I would have my Mac Book Pro back within five days.
Once inside the NIA headquarters we received a very warm and friendly welcome. Several agents took pictures of Zoya. The last time the lead agent saw Natasha she was 9 1/2 months pregnant back in Palolem, Goa. I was then told that in early March of 2010 that the Mac Book Pro wasn’t back from Hyderabad for forensic analysis yet Incredible India! This was over 3 months later and much longer than the 5 days as promised. However, I was much more concerned about what was on the computer as opposed to the actual computer itself. It had 9 months of pregnancy photos that Natasha specifically asked me to take during her pregnancy to show our daughter Zoya when she got older [right about her current age of 4 would be perfect.] I even begged for a mere copy of the hard drive with the hundreds of priceless and irreplaceable photos but they declined.
Getting back to Faiza and I. We have been in constant contact since we were reunited back in 2010. I even spent 6 weeks with her in Morocco at and the end of 2010 and early 2011. Thus we celebrated New Year’s together in 2011 in Morocco. Keep in mind that David Headley has not had any direct verbal, written nor electronic communication with Faiza since his arrest on October 3rd, 2009. As far as I know the two only communicated briefly via Headley’s lawyer for about a year after his arrest and after that there has been no communication between David and Faiza whatsoever. Therefore, I can say with confidence that I know her extremely well. So when I saw the words, “she wrote in her dairy”, I immediately thought that either she had a physical diary stolen from her, her computer was hacked or it was a fabrication. I called her up and we talked for over an hour. As I suspected she said that there was no diary. I asked her did you discuss any of these topics via email with any journalists and / or publishers? She assured me that she hadn’t.
In the book The Siege: 68 Hours Inside The Taj, authors Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark made reference to an Indian citizen was allegedly a mole for the Inter Services Intelligence [ISI], Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, codenamed, ‘Honey Bee’. Sheela Bhatt a journalist for Rediff recently wrote an article titled, Exclusive! Who is ISI’s Honey Bee in New Delhi? Here are a few excerpts from the article:
Levy, in an exclusive interview to Rediff.com, said he tried hard to detect the identity of this Indian mole, but he is yet to succeed.
Levy and Scott-Clark travelled to ten countries on four continents and met hundreds of people to write the book. [Note: They did NOT meet or talk to Faiza Outalha] Levy says they are very sure of their information even though they have not been able to establish the identity of the ISI mole in India.
The claim about the existence of the Indian mole Honey Bee, if true, is obviously serious. However, the authors have not offered much evidence about the alleged Indian mole.
This was an attack of a major magnitude and had there been a mole by the name Honey Bee in the Intelligence agencies, it would have been known long back.
Intelligence Agencies across the world do try and set up their moles in the other agencies, but when it comes to such a major operation, they do not take such a huge risk.
This book speaking about the Honey Bee is essentially a book written by the CIA.
With regard to the Honey Bee, I do not believe that an officer of a high level would have been involved.
C D Sahay, former chief of RaW [Research and Analysis Wing (RAW or R&AW) is the primary external intelligence agency of the Republic of India.] asks about the authenticity of the Honey Bee. Anyone can write anything, but I think it would have sounded more authentic had the Honey Bee been named. I do agree that intelligence agencies from across the world do try and plant their moles in other agencies. However in this case, I am sure that it would not have been possible at all.
Fact or Fiction
I wanted to interject the Honey Bee scenario because it raised my eyebrows as well as many others’. However, the “she wrote in her dairy” reference had me practically jump out of my chair. Getting back to the New York Times article mentioned in my opening paragraph, here is an excerpt verbatim from that article:
“I told them, he’s either a terrorist, or he’s working for you,” she recalled saying to American officials at the United States Embassy in Islamabad. “Indirectly, they told me to get lost.”
Here is a direct quote from page 54 of The Siege:
Faiza wrote in her diary: ‘I told them, he’s either a terrorist, or he’s working for you. They pretty much told me to get lost.’
Another excerpt from the 2010 New York Times article:
She [Faiza] said she told them that he was passionately anti-Indian, but that he traveled to India all the time for business deals that never seemed to amount to much.
Here is a direct quote from page 51 of The Siege: ‘He told me he worked in an immigration office but there was no real evidence of any real business,’ she wrote in her diary.
The latter example is not verbatim but suspiciously close especially given the fact that Faiza Outalha denies having kept a diary. I did read the A Note on Sources as well as the Acknowledgements sections of the book. Not surprising to me, there was no mention of Faiza and her fabricated diary.
What is very troubling is that if Honey Bee is a fabrication [this conveniently may never be known] and certainly according to Faiza Outalha her diary is in fact a fabrication, then what about the rest of the book? Okay, it is obvious that some of it is true, the police recording dates and times in the log books, the phone calls traced by ATS, text messages from victims etc. But if you read the book it is filled with an abundance of flowery and colorful dialogue that I now find extremely suspicious. Much of it can not be proven nor disproven, in fact the authors go to great lengths to try and compensate for any discrepancies as per their A Note on Sources section:
There were many challenges in getting to grips with the siege of the Taj hotel. Crisis breed confusion. People under fire or captive in a burning building can have wildly differing memories of the same events, making it difficult for us to build a reliable timeline with which to reconstruct events as they happened. Now I do not argue with the above statement but if you read between the lines, it is almost an excuse to use creative license as well as an obvious legal disclaimer.
To answer my question in the title of my article, Fact or Fiction, I would have to say both. What percentage break down, I don’t know. The book is intriguing and craftily constructed and makes for a great read. However, it appears that it is possible that a great deal of creative license has been taken and the authors are trying to pass it off as authentic and factual. I have the sense that much of the dialogue can not be proven nor disproven. However, claiming to quote from a diary that Faiza says does not exist as well as the of taking quotes from a NY Times article and passing it off as a taken from her diary is quite obvious and blatant. After all, Faiza unlike the unfortunate victims was not being attacked by gunfire, being held nor was she in a burning building, according to the authors of The Siege she was with Headley. From page 129:
“An hour later, David Headley received an SMS. With M1 (Shazia) ensconced in Chicago, he was back with M2 (Faiza) in a rented apartment in Lahore.”
However, the book did not say from her diary to the previous quote. But I did find a similar description from my blog, in a post titled, U.S. Knew About 26/11 Attacks: Headley’s Wife Faiza Outalha:
26/11 Mumbai attacks were watched by Headley and wife on television at home in Lahore
Ironically the original article by Star News was posted on September 23, 2011 and was originally titled, Warned US about impending terrorist attack: Headley’s wife, has since been taken down? However, the entire article can be viewed in the paragraph above on my blog.
Vicky Nanjappa is a very colorful, exotic and outspoken person whom also happens to be one of India’s most prominent journalists’. Vicky has been described as very dedicated as well as a workaholic and spends most of his time researching and / or writing articles. He spends his free time on some of his hobbies which include working out vigorously, gaming as well as collecting tech gadgets particularly mobile phones.
Vicky Nanjappa has become known as one of India’s top journalists’ if not the number one, in covering intelligence, espionage, national security, counter-terrorism and terrorism related journalism. Vicky Nanjappa currently works with rediff.com as a special correspondent.
In lieu of the upcoming five year anniversary of the Mumbai Massacre that occurred on November 26, 2008, I have asked Vicky Nanjappa for an interview. He has covered this case from several different vantage points and angles. I felt confident that Vicky would answer my questions directly and honestly. Also, I am very interested in his perspective since he is from India, where the atrocious crime was committed.
For those of my readers that have not heard of the Mumbai Massacre, here is a very brief description of the events that occurred on November 26, 2008. The following excerpt was taken from Wikipedia:
The 2008 Mumbai attacks were twelve coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India’s largest city by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT]. Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker who was captured alive, later confessed upon interrogation that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan’s ISI. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.
Ajmal Kasab [was captured and hanged on November 2012] disclosed that the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, considered a terrorist organisation by India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations, among others. The Indian government said that the attackers came from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan.
David Coleman Headley (born Daood Sayed Gilani; 30 June 1960) is a Pakistani American terrorist and spy who conspired with the Lashkar-e-Taiba Islamist organization and Pakistani intelligence officers in plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks. On January 24, 2013 Headley was sentenced by the United States federal court in Chicago, Illinois for his part in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Based on the recommendation of the prosecutors in the case, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
It is worth noting that David Coleman Headley is not in the Bureau of Prison’s [BOP] inmate system and is in an undisclosed location.
David Headley and his alleged co-conspirator Tahawwur Rana have been sentenced in the U.S. and Ajmal Kasab has been hanged to death for his role in the fidayeen terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Do you feel satisfied that justice has been served and that the case is over?
To begin with I would like to point out that the entire David Headley episode looks like a sham to me. What I realized and noticed over the years regarding Headley is that he spoke exactly what the FBI wanted him to speak. The NIA team from India which had questioned him too had complained that he did not say anything new to them other than what he had already told the FBI during his confession while chalking out his plea bargain agreement. Although he has been sentenced, I still would not say that the ends of justice have been met since the US should have not rushed into a plea bargain agreement with Headley and instead should have let the Indian investigators extradite him to India where the crime was committed. He ought to have been sentenced by an Indian court and tried here too.
Tawwur Rana’s case is strange in many ways. He too has been sentenced, but despite the absence of any plea bargain arrangement it is surprising why he has not been questioned as yet by the Indian agencies. His sentencing is a merely symbolic and in reality nothing really regarding the attack of 26/11 has come out.
In the case of Ajmal Kasab, the sentencing was expected. I would say that in this case the ends of justice have been met since he was hanged in India for a crime that he committed on Indian soil.
From your sources in the intelligence field, what is the consensus about David Headley being a CIA and / or ISI agent?
What my sources tell me is that he was an agent of the CIA who turned rogue. He got associated with the drug mafia in Afghanistan which is directly connected to the terror networks which are controlled by the ISI. The Indian Intelligence officials say that despite Headley turning rogue, the CIA did nothing to stop him despite having every possible information on him. They let him get away with what he was doing in Af-Pak. In fact the CIA even knew when he began cozying up to the ISI and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and did nothing really to stop him. Over the years, he became a Lashkar operative which in turn would mean that he had the blessings of the ISI. Being an American national did help him a lot since even the ISI was aware that his entry and exit into India would be easier taking into account his nationality. India, until 26/11 did have an America fixation and never really did check on the antecedents of a person holding an American passport.
Do you feel that at some level, Indian intelligence was involved in the facilitation and or cover up of the Mumbai attacks?
I would not agree with this entirely. Although I do believe that they could have issued the alerts to the Bombay police with more seriousness. There was a specific alert that was given to the police in the month of September two months prior to the attack. The alert clearly stated that Bombay would be attacked from the seas. They had even gathered intelligence based on the statements of an operative known as Sabahuddin Ahmed. However the Bombay police chose to ignore the alert. What the Intelligence Bureau could have done is convince the Bombay police about the seriousness of this alert.
Do you honestly think that the India government and / or intelligence agencies will ever get to question Rana and to get another chance to question David Headley?
I highly doubt that. With regard to Rana there is a very small chance. However where Headley is concerned it is a closed chapter.
Assuming that it ever happens, do you feel that Indian intelligence agencies would gain any useful info from questioning Headley or do you think he would stonewall or evade the questions?
First of all another round of questioning would not take place. In case they do manage to get a second shot, there would be nothing new that would come out. He will stick to what ever he has told the FBI or the NIA in the past. It would be a wasted exercise.
First of all what are your thoughts to those that say that Ajmal Kasab was an innocent scapegoat that merely looked like one of the fidayeen terrorist soldiers?
There is always a conspiracy theory attached to such incidents. He was very much a part of the operation and was caught. He in fact was a saving grace for the investigators who would have gone nowhere in their probe had he not been caught.
Is Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI protecting Hafiz Saeed?
There is a joke in the Intelligence circles in India. ISI may hand over the President of Pakistan to India, but not Hafiz Saeed. Jokes apart, Saeed is a strategic partner of the ISI. He in fact is the torch bearer of Pakistan’s agenda against India. Looking at Hafiz Saeed over the years, he has not once gone against the ISI. The Taliban, Al-Qaeda and its leaders have all gone against the ISI at some point in time. This was largely because they felt that the ISI was helping the CIA in fighting the battle in Afghanistan. Hafiz Saeed has always been a good soldier for the ISI. Even at the time of the Bombay attack, the ISI had hijacked the plan from Ilyas Kashmiri and handed it over to the Lashkar. There was growing discontent in the Lashkar and its fidayeens wanted to fight alongside the Taliban against the Americans. The ISI sensed this and had this happened there would have been chaos. Hence the plan which was originally conceived by Kashmiri was handed over to the Lashkar so that the fidayeens remained quiet.
Do you find it odd that America’s special forces can perform such intricate missions like Operation Geronimo to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, as well as special operations to capture and extract alleged al-Qaeda leader Abu Anas al Libi and bring him to U.S. Soil but can not catch the alleged orchestrator [Hafiz Saeed] of Mumbai’s Massacre?
It indeed is surprising. In fact it is easier to nab a Saeed compared to an Osama since the former is found out in the open. However thanks to the blessings of the ISI, Hafiz Saeed will never ever come under the radar of the US. He is of high utility value to the ISI and they would never ever give him up. Moreover he has not been a direct threat to the US and hence they are not interested. There was a time when members of the Lashkar had sought to go on an all out war against the US in Afghanistan. However after a talk between the ISI and Saeed the fidayeens were told not to go ahead with this. The ISI will ensure that Saeed does not spin out of control especially against the US. As long this is taken care of even the US will not touch Saeed.
[Here is an article titled, Hafiz Saeed Bounty: U.S. Offers $10 Million For Pakistani Militant Chief, for those interested in a little background info. Just to point out the obvious, $10 million is an astronomical amount of Pakistani rupees.]
Vicky as you know, I was at one-time India’s number one terror suspect due my relationship with David Headley’s third wife, Fazia Outalha. Headley and I were both American, I had a 10 year Indian visa, he had a five year visa as well as a common bond to the same woman. We also traveled to many of the exact same cities. Thus an investigation by India’s NIA.
Yes I am aware of this unfortunate coincidence. The NIA was desperate and were attempting to lay their hands on any small lead. The agency was new and the case was a massive one. What the NIA realised was that the probe where the international angle was concerned was very much Headley oriented. They wanted to do something on their own and hence grabbed any opportunity that was remotely associated with Headley.
Vicky, the NIA has faced many criticisms and has been accused of having many intelligence failures. How would you score the agency in general in their over-all performance?
I would not rate the agency very high, but would also like to point out some teething problems that this agency faces. At the outset it ought to have been an independent body, but then it is directly under the control of the Government of India. This has often led to some of the probes undertaken by it being politically motivated. Secondly, the complete lack of coordination between the police officers of the state and the NIA has led to cases taking a very long time to complete. When an incident occurs in a particular state, it is the local police who first probe the case. It is then that it is handed over to the NIA. In most cases the NIA has complained of an ego clash where the state police do not share the first information with them which in turn ensures that the case goes haywire. I guess the NIA needs a strong officer at the top who can coordinate well with the state police and also stand up to the government and call a spade a spade.
However, from what I have read and from all of my research, it is apparent that the FBI kept their cards very close to their vests. In other words, they gave the NIA bits and pieces of intelligence and withheld much more than they gave. I also wrote in 2010 that the FBI was told to stand down by the CIA, as Headley was working for them. [David Headley goes Viral: Is the FBI really that stupid?]
I agree with what you are saying. The FBI only fed the NIA with bits and pieces which suited them. The FBI at any cost did not want the NIA to pick up information about Headley being a CIA mole and hence the entire investigation and interrogation was stage managed. I have pointed this out earlier too in this interview about the problems the NIA faced where Headley was concerned.
Vicky, with that in mind, how do you feel the NIA has performed in solving and handling the 26/11 case?
I would not say it has done any great job. It had a lot of limitations and continues to have them. It is probing the international angle to the case. On the Headley front it has no option but to rely on what has already been told to the FBI. On the other hand it deals with those masterminds in Pakistan. Now questioning a Hafiz Saeed or a Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is impossible for the NIA since Pakistan would never give them up. Hence the NIA finds its hands tied up and the progress of their investigation is nothing to boast about.
Just under a year ago you wrote an article titled, Why was Operation Morocco aborted?, which you described as “a high level operation being planned by the Indian agencies to establish contact with Faiza Outalha, the estranged wife of David Headley. Towards the close of 2012, the mission known as Operation Morocco was aborted.”
Yes I recall this article. There was a lot that was being done by the Indians to establish contact with her and get an independent account on Headley from her. However the Americans did manage to prevail over her allegedly through Headley’s lawyer.
As you know I was at one time directly involved in the Mumbai case and was questioned and investigated both by India’s National Investigation Agency [NIA] and the FBI solely for my relationship with Faiza Outalha in Old Manali, India.
Yes I am aware of this.
My personal feelings on the matter is that if the US didn’t question or bother Faiza – they had good reason not too. Perhaps Headley said to his superiors that she is innocent and leave her out of it?
There appears to be more to this. Faiza was the one who knew most about Headley during the 26/11 operation. More than Headly I guess it was the FBI which did not want anyone to question Faiza.
Vicky, what is your consensus as to what the Indian people feel about the Mumbai Massacre? Was justice served and is the case resolved or do the people feel like the Indian government and intelligence agencies failed them?
Justice has been served partially. Kasab at the end of it was a remote controlled toy in the hands of the Lashkar. Real justice would be served once Hafiz Saeed, Lakhvi, Sajid Mir, Major Iqbal and Major Sameer are brought to justice.
Finally Vicky, you have written about the Mumbai massacre in great length and detail over the past 5 years. What are your personal thoughts about the who, what, why, where and when in regards to the attacks that occurred on that unforgettable day?
Most of what I feel has already been written about. However what has surprised me the most is that none of the Indian agencies have really tried getting into the local help that was present at the time of the attack. It is just not possible for a set of 10 fidayeens to enter into a city for the first time and carry out an attack with such precision. What is also surprising is that despite Headley making so many visits, no one had raised a stink about this.
It is clear to me that this was an attack which was first planned by Ilyas Kashmiri. The ISI hijacked this and handed it over to the Lashkar which in turn carried out the attack with the help of the Pakistan establishment. The Lashkar was showing signs of breaking up since many in the network wanted to fight against the Americans and the ISI did not want this at any cost. Had the ISI let the Lashkar fight the Americans it would mean earning the wrath of the super power. Hence what was needed to keep the Lashkar quiet was a spectacular attack. Hence this attack was carried out.
Vicky, thank you very much for your time and cooperation in conducting this interview!
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.
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.
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.
——————- 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.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.
Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. I realize that you are extremely busy especially since you are representing yourself.
I have just recently been in touch directly with Richard Chichakli whom is alleged by the U.S. Department of Justice to been an associate and accomplice of Viktor Bout. We have connected via the Bureau of Prisons inmate prison system dubbed CorrLinks. Prior to this I was receiving correspondence from Richard via a third party. The following is an excerpt of my first CorrLinks message that I received directly from Richard Chichakli on September 8th, 2013:
Good day George:
Thank you for your message, it is wonderful to hear from you.
Concerning visit, I will send you the form you need to mail back to M. Mundo; I’ll have it in the mail today. Thus, tomorrow; Monday I will be in the court in Manhattan, Judge William Pauley’s court room on the 20th floor on Pearl st. I will be revealing secrets related to the false documents used by the government to keep Victor in Jail in Thailand when the extradition was refused. The indictment and warrant used in the Samar Air case were both invalid forgery as there was no indictment with his name in 2010, and certainly there was no related warrant. Unfortunately you are not here to see the show, but perhaps you can let your connections in the media know and be there. It is a twist like no other and it should earn Victor a new trial if not release based on “Government outrageous conduct”.
As Richard stated I would be unable to attend his court hearing since I am currently in Moscow. Yesterday I searched various websites to see the outcome of Chichakli’s court appearance but found no mention whatsoever. However, a new CorrLinks message from Chichakli dated September 10th 2013 cleared up the confusion. According to Richard Chichakli whom made it crystal clear that he is willing to reveal any and all secrets relating to him, Viktor Bout and any connections to U.S. and Russian intelligence agencies. Due to time constraints I will share Richard Chichakli’s latest message with you.
9/10/2013 10:23:13 AM
Thanks for all the news, it is getting stranger by the minute and the intelligence files are seems to be getting on the table. I am not sure how the court will handle that but the matter is hairy, … a lot more than what it seems on the surface.
On Monday the court was cancelled as you heard and I had a meeting with the government. They offered 41 to 51 month plea, which I reject on the face. They violated every law there is and I am not pleading guilty to an alleged crime that never existed and to a charge I did not do nor been a part off just to go to jail. I have been illegally jailed for almost a year and I had enough of laying low.
If they do not let me go I’d rather go to court and open the entire book on all they did; including the arrest of Victor Bout in 2010 on an indictment which was cancelled in 2009. I wonder how would they explain issuing an arrest warrant on invalid indictment, I wonder what would that do to the reputation of the judge who signed it, to the federal court which issued it, and to the integrity of the entire justice system in the United States as a whole.
The case that was filed by the US government in February 2010 in order to prevent Victor Bout from walking after the Thai court refused the extradition is the same case I am fighting in New York now. The indictment I am fighting now does not have anyone but me, one name and one person only. The date of this indictment is November 10, 2009. Victor was Re-arrested in Thailand in Feb/2010 but there was no indictment against him in the United State on Case no 09-1002 WHP; the Samar Air Charges. The arrest is invalid, because no indictment against him existed then, the arrest warrant that was handed to the Thai authority is false and fraud, the extradition request which must be endorsed by the US Attorney General and the US Secretary of State was fraud or forgery committed by the Office of the US Attorney in conspiracy with the DEA and others. The whole thing is a circus; a scandal on an international level that was created and devised in order to conceal the crimes committed by OFAC and the politics behind the matter. Another case similar to what transpired in the Gulf since 1990 on a smaller scale. The UN they keep saying, while in fact it is just ONE PERSON; Johan Peleman who happened to use the UN as cover to pass the political policy dictated by the United States.
I had plenty of records and evidence showing his corruption payment from Alexi Yanshuk of the Phoenix aviation in Dubai; they deleted the evidence and they withheld more than 61% of the evidence handed over to the US prosecutors by the Australian Federal Police. The AFP handed them 41 storage devices with 4.2 Terra Byte of data, I received images for 18 devices with 1.5 Terra Byte only. Plus non of the evidence they collected from my homes and offices in 2005 were turned over to me; almost 10 terra-byte, more than 500,000,000 of pages disappeared from the evidence. They are hiding everything that incriminate the US government or damaging o their case, an obstruction of justice on an unseen scale.
JUSTICE… sure; let the world know the truth
I will keep my readers updated with any further developments in this intriguing and curious case of Viktor Bout and Richard Chichakli.
Original article: ‘No Justice, No Peace!’: Angry Protests Sweep US Over Zimmerman Verdict By RT Published on Jul 14, 2013
Coming To America
If the U.S. Dept. of justice has it way, it may finally have Richard Chichakli extradited to America. According to Richard’s wife, his current Australian legal battle to fight his extradition is a lost cause! She also told me that a final decision can come as early as April 4th.
Mrs. Chichakli stated to me that,
“He [Richard Chichakli] had a court hearing on Wednesday (March 27, 2013) where it was made clear that he no longer is granted free legal assistance by Victoria Legal Aid because he’s not likely to win his matter. Also, the magistrate (judge) brought a notion that it’s not up to the court to decide on the extradition matter, it is in the hands of the Attorney General. As such the surrender decision would be made on April 4th, the next court day, and Richard would be extradited shortly.”
Richard Chichakli now 53 years-old has been held in solitary confinement in an Australian prison since his arrest on 10 January 2013last month and he is currently awaiting possible extradition to the United States. Chichakli is facing charges in a joint indictment in the U.S. over his alleged involvement with Viktor Bout who’s been jailed in the U.S. for 25 years convicted on conspiracy charges. Despite Viktor Bout’s harsh sentence he has strongly maintained his innocence and Chichakli denies working for Bout but proudly boasts of their friendship.