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.
A backpacker and blogger recounts his encounters with David Headley’s third wife Faiza Outalha. In December, the Indian government asked the Morocco government for access to Outalha.
He says he quit the pressures of a career on Wall Street after 9/11 and turned to India seeking spiritual relief and a calmer life. According to his own account, the decision proved fateful, with his life taking a dramatically opposite direction instead.
George Alexander Mapp, Jr, a 47-year-old African American, briefly became a much sought after person by Indian intelligence agencies in relation to the Mumbai attacks of November 26, 2008, thanks to his acquaintance with Faiza Outalha, the woman he says is still married to David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani American recently sentenced to 35 years in prison by a US court for playing a critical role in the attack.
Now a blogger and investigative journalist based in New York, Mapp says he is in regular and frequent touch with Outalha, and is working on a book that will cover the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks on his life besides other equally dramatic events, persons and interactions. His initial working title for the project, Drug Smugglers, Gun Runners, Russian Intelligence Officers and Terrorists’ Wives, is a clear pointer to its contents.
“I was the Number One terrorist suspect in India because David Headley and I knew the same woman; I was in Old Manali, so was Faiza; Headley had a 5-year visa, I had a 10-year visa, he was American, I was American, there was a lot of circumstantial evidence,” said Mapp in an interview from New York.
Mapp has since renamed his book The Accidental Terrorist, which he says sums up his involvement with the 26/11 investigation and acquaintance with Outalha. It was a connection that spanned an unlikely combination of India, Morocco and cyberspace.
They first met in May 2008 in Old Manali in Himachal Pradesh through a mutual friend, according to Mapp. She told him she was divorced. “She made some references to her ex like he was – the way she talked about him was like he was a Mafia kind of guy, ‘Oh, he’s wanted in Delhi’, something like that,” recalls Mapp. But they talked about Headley “very, very little” he says, even as he and Outalha “got very close”.
Mapp says he ended up in Old Manali by accident. He had been in an internet cafe in Delhi’s Paharganj, trying to book a trip to Rishikesh because he wanted to see the Himalayas. But he learnt that Rishikesh was in the foothills and a lot of people he met advised him to go to Manali instead. So he took an 18-hour bus ride there from Delhi.
That journey actually began a few years ago in the US, when he quit a career as an international equities trader with firms like UBS and Deutsche Bank a couple of years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “It became more stressful after 9/11. Volumes dried up, margins dried up, electronic trading really affected our spreads. I got burned out,” says Mapp, explaining why he left a lucrative career to go to a massage school in New Jersey. While working as a masseur in Pennsylvania, Mapp says he was introduced to kirtans and developed a devotion to the Indian godwoman Mata Amritanandamayi, widely known as “Amma”. He first visited India in 2006 to meet “Amma” at her ashram in Kerala, was fascinated by the country and was back in 2008 on a trip that eventually led to his meeting with Outalha.
“She was a very sweet, kind and caring person,” he says about Outalha, with long pauses before each adjective. Indian investigators might describe her very differently given her relationship with Headley and alleged acquaintance with Pakistan-based terrorist Hafeez Sayeed. “I just knew that she was Muslim, I knew she was originally from Morocco, I knew that she lived in Pakistan and thatâs pretty much all I knew, and that she was divorced,” says Mapp. She had told him she went to Pakistan from Morocco to enroll in some kind of medical studies programme, and had met her husband at a cafe there. He believed Outalha was in Old Manali on a vacation.
When she was returning to Pakistan, Mapp says, he saw her off. “I was the last person to see her – I walked her to the taxi, she actually took a taxi from Old Manali to the Wagah border. I walked her there, gave her a hug and said goodbye and we stayed in touch quite a bit.” He had saved her number on his cellphone under the name “Chello Pakistan”.
Indian officials questioned him later about how Outalha, a Moroccan national, had crossed into Pakistan at Wagah, and about the apparent ease with which she had got her Indian visa extended at Kullu. “I told them that Faiza is very persuasive,” says Mapp, drawing out the last word, “unbelievably persuasive”. He added, “She was very driven, determined is the right word, if she had her mind set on something it’s almost impossible to stop her, she’s not scared of confrontation. If she felt somebody cheated her or tried to take advantage on prices, like taxis or whatever, she would fight them. I’ve seen her do it in India and I saw her do it in Morocco when I went to visit her.”
According to Mapp, some time after she returned to Pakistan, they stopped communicating in September 2008. He says he figured out why later after he learned during his questioning that she had remarried Headley. “She used to be flirtatious and joke a lot, and then she started saying ‘Oh, that’s offensive to me’. But a few weeks ago, a month ago, it wasn’t offensive. And then she said I have to delete all my pictures and stuff and I have to close my account, goodbye, blah blah blah. I think shortly after that she got remarried to him and she started acting more like a devout Muslim, you know – her attitude changed so I guess that’s when Headley came back into her life.”
Strangely, however, for someone who says he is in regular touch with Outalha, Mapp claims he never asked why she and Headley got back together, especially as he believed she was “emotionally scarred” and “hurt by whatever happened between the two of them the first time”. “By the time we saw each other again in Morocco and got reunited she had already remarried him so to me it was useless to ask why you did it and I know she wasn’t feeling good because he never had any contact with her so I didn’t want to rub it in,” says Mapp.
About a year after the Mumbai attack, Mapp says he was walking on the beach in Palolem, Goa with his then pregnant girlfriend when policemen and officials from the National Intelligence Agency surrounded him and escorted him back to his flat for days of questioning. He underwent over 30 hours of questioning, and 4-5 hours into the process, he says he learned about the connection between Outalha and Headley. The girlfriend, who is now his wife, gave birth to their daughter a few days later in India, and the family now lives in New York.
And about a year after his run-in with Indian investigators, Mapp started blogging about the experience and the 26/11 case, and wrote a blog titled Kiss and Tell: Intimacies with David Headley’s Ex-Wife, Faiza Outalha, dated October 10, 2010. He says he and Outalha reconnected shortly afterward. Initially, a lot of their communication was about Headley. “NIA was trying to get her quite a bit…she was still healing from the whole thing and getting over it.” Mapp visited her in Morocco in December 2010, staying for about six weeks. They planned to write a book jointly but it didn’t work out.
“When I saw her she was praying often, she had her hajib (sic) on and more than anything she’s just really frustrated because she hadn’t heard from Headley,” says Mapp. According to him, Outalha wants to get divorced from Headley and get on with her life, but can’t afford to go to the US and hire a lawyer for the divorce. “They’re still married, she tells me, that she has proof.”
If Mapp’s involvement with Outalha and the 26/11 investigation sounds fantastical at times, it seems par for the course going by his other stories. He has blogged about Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms smuggler currently serving a 25-year prison term in an American prison. Mapp wrote about meeting Bout in a Thailand court in October 2010 and interviewed him in a US prison last July. He mentioned that Bout “was able to read my Sanskrit tattoos with no problem”, and urged readers to send the prisoner books in “Portuguese, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Russian, and yes, even in English”.
Mapp accuses the US government of adopting double standards for Bout and Headley. While it successfully fought for the extradition of Russian citizen Bout to the US and tried him in an American court, it refused to consider extraditing US citizen Headley even though he was accused of committing terrorist acts directly on Indian soil, he writes.
However, former CIA official Bruce Riedel, who is now Director of the Brookings Intelligence Project at the Washington, DC think tank, says Headley’s sentence, while it may cause dissatisfaction in India, was part of a process that gave intelligence agencies critical information. “From the standpoint of a professional intelligence officer trying to fight terrorism, securing (Headley’s) cooperation to give information about who was involved, how it was done was invaluable. It gives us the best insights we have into the working of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its patron, the ISI,” says Riedel.
In his interview, Mapp even insinuated Headley might not serve his full prison sentence. “David Headley is a ghost, nobody knows where he is. He’s in an undisclosed location, isn’t that strange? There’s no proof he’s in prison,” Mapp said, referring to a system through which he insists he has tracked other prisoners in the US. Riedel dismissed such theories out of hand: “It strikes me as extremely unlikely. Headley’s going to serve his time in an American prison.”
For now, with Headley in prison, investigators may believe Outalha could have some more information towards fully unlocking the 26/11 conspiracy. But the man who admits he once had a close relationship with her and claims he still keeps in touch regularly, says he has no answers. “I know everybody in India wants to know this question, how much did she know – and I honestly don’t know,” says Mapp. He may be saving it for his book.
Chichakli Extradition Pending
Richard Chichakli now 53 years-old has been held in solitary confinement in an Australian prison since last month and he is currently awaiting possible extradition to the United States. Chichakli is facing charges in a joint indictment in the U.S. over his alleged involvement with Viktor Bout who’s been jailed in the U.S. for 25 years convicted on conspiracy charges. Despite Viktor Bout’s harsh sentence he has strongly maintained his innocence and Chichakli denies working for Bout but proudly boasts of their friendship.
According to an article titeled, Police say man wanted in US had 16 aliases:
The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have identified 16 aliases for the Syrian-born Chichakli. But lawyers for Chichakli have argued some of the aliases was similar and merely represented cases where his name has been misspelt. Victor Lewis from the AFP told court Chichakli has primarily used the name of Jehad Almustafa for bank accounts, his drivers licence and for travel in and out of Australia.
His lawyers say that his only offence in Australia has been operating under that false identity. Chichakli’s lawyers also argued that his case is complex and need more time than the contraints they are currently working with. My understanding of the Australian law in regards to Chichakli’s extradition to the U.S. is that the Aussie government has 60 days from his arrest. Chichakli was arrested on 10 January 2013 thus the clock is ticking therefore the US authorities have until March 11 to apply for his extradition.
Mrs. Chichakli’s Prison Visit
Slighty over a week ago I wrote an article titled, World Exclusive: Richard Chichakli: “Australian Prison Is Trying To Poison Me” in which Chichakli’s wife described her husbands abuse and mistreatment in the Aussie prison. Since I wrote that piece she has been able to have her first visit with her husband Richard, however, it was a non-contact visit. This is what Mrs. Chichakli wrote me:
I got a call on Wednesday morning from Ops Manager of MRC Mrs. Smith, she confirmed that I was placed on the list of visitors for non-contact visits only. I can visit Richard once a week and talk to him for 30 mins through a glass wall. I asked to see him the same day.
I heard the clicking sound of shackles being removed before Richard entered the visitors’ room. His face was very pale and skinny. It was very difficult to look at him and keep myself calm–he has lost so much weight since the last time I had seen him, he didn’t look healthy.
Chichakli’s Defense Attorney Silenced
Initially I thought it was strange that Chichakli’s legal defense team had no reply to my queries as to their clients health, treatment and prison conditions. Then Mrs. Chichakli told me they went not allowed to have any contact with the media. Mrs. Chichakli wrote:
I am in communication with Richard’s lawyer and he’s attends all of my enquiries with urgency. Mr. Sim is aware of my concerns about Richard’s health. With respect to bringing Richard’s matter to public domain, they are not allowed, as I was told, to communicate with media.
Later that day I received an official notification from Richard Chichakli’s legal defense team basically telling me the same thing. They said by law they are not permitted to speak to the press or any media while the case is ongoing.
The judge just hours ago denied Richard Chichakli bail. The reason was that since he allegedly used many alliases as well as traveled frequently in and out of the country — thus maikng him a flight risk.
Inside The Court Room
Before Richard Chichakli’s bail was denied, Mrs. Chichakli gave me a very detailed look inside the court room during the actual hearing. Unfortunately due to unavoidable travel, I was not able to post her comments sooner. In retrospect, now knowing the outcome, it makes Mrs. Chichakli’s observations, insights and intuitions that much more revealing. Here is her description in her own words inside the court room:
Dear Mr. Mapp:
I’d like to send you my observations from the bail hearing that took place on Tuesday, February 5, 2013.
The court was supposed to start at 9:30, but due to Australia Federal Police officer’s Viktor Lewis submitting a sworn affidavit right before the court, the proceedings were delayed until 10:30.
Richard’s attorneys Mr. Marsh and Mr. Sim were well prepared for the hearing with strong arguments in Richard’s favor and confidently refuted every concern of the prosecutor Ms. Folie in connections with establishing that special circumstances exist in Richard’s case and that he does not pose a flight risk.
At first, AFP’s Mr. Lewis who was involved in Richard’s arrest and has been examining seized property for almost a month now, was called to give a testimony under oath.
Barrister Marsh enquired on what basis did AFP compile such a long list of aliases (about 16 names) allegedly used by Richard to be included in the search warrant. Mr. Lewis’s response was that the United States has supplied AFP with the list of names.
Mr. Lewis has confirmed that the identity used by Richard in Australia was Jehad Almustafa.
When Mr. Lewis was asked whether the police has found any evidence of Richard using other identity, in particular the names of “Robert Cunning, Raman Cedorov, Abdullah Al Subait, and Andrey Romanov” Mr. Lewis said that there’s no evidence supporting such statement.
Mr. Marsh then referred to the remaining names of the list, which were different variations of Richard Ammar Chichakli, about 10 of them. He asked Mr. Lewis if it was possible that some were just misspelled variations, such as Chichalki (misspelled) vs. Chichakli (correct), and whether ‘Chichakli Richard A.’ and ‘Chichakli Richard Ammar’ are essentially the same. He received a confirmation from Mr. Lewis that that could be possible.
He also enquired with Mr. Lewis whether his own first name has ever been misspelled with a ‘c’ instead of ‘k’ in Viktor. The officer said that a few times he received correspondence addressed to him with such a mistake. Mr. Marsh then enquired that maybe ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ could also be interchangeable as they represent the same sound in Arabic. Thus “Chichakli” and “Shishakli” are also the same names, only misspelled.
“Do you know,”- Mr. Marsh enquired,-”that Richard’s birth name was Ammar M. Chichakli and that he legally changed it to Richard A. Chichakli when he moved to the United States?” “Would that be an explanation for another variation on the list?
Mr. Lewis stated that upon Richard’s arrest an equivalent of about $2500 in multiple currencies, including euros, and this significant amount of cash was indicative of Richard’s preparedness to flee the country. Mr. Marsh enquired that maybe instead this money was left over from Richard’s recent trip to Europe, and posed a question of how much it would possibly cost to obtain a false id? Mr. Lewis’ answer was ‘tens of thousands of dollars’. With Richard’s combined cash assets (cash in the wallet and at the bank) amounting to AU$5000, an old Renault-made car and Holden Viva in his name, with bank cards seized by police and no access to frozen funds, it was not likely that a false id can be obtained. Mr. Lewis tried to allege otherwise, his arguments however were not well supported.
Mr. Marsh also pointed out that Richard is on Interpol red alert list, and asked Mr. Lewis to clarify what that means– other countries would be alerted when the person being sought crosses the border.
Richard has significant presence on the Internet with various photos published and it would be very difficult to hide.
With respect to Richard’s character, Mr. Marsh said that the only offense in Australia was Richard’s entering and continuing to live under different name. Richard has actively sought employment, went to school, committed no crime except for perpetuity of his false identity, and just lived a normal life.
Then Mr. Brendan Money was called for testimony. He is an Assistant Commissioner for Sentencing, who is responsible for security classification. Mr. Money returned from his leave on January 30 and met with Richard on that day (after 20 days have passed since Richard’s incarceration in maximum security regime). Mr. Money stated that it was his responsibility to assess the security risk of prisoners, and currently Richard was being treated as ‘high risk’ with all the consequences. Mr. Money assured the judge that he wants to conduct a proper assessment and that it will as much time as required to review all the relevant information within specified time-frame, and up till then Richard will remain in existing condition. Richard is presently held at Exford area for Metropolitan Remand Centre, which as confirmed by Mr. Money, could be called “a prison within prison”. Richard stays all day in solitary, which is 3 by 4 metres in length (*10 by 13 feet), he is shackled to the waist when transported within the prison with only two 1-hr non-contact visits per week allowed since January 30 (none before that). Richard is kept in such conditions for his own safety and security of other prisoners. Mr. Marsh enquired whether anybody has ever escaped from MRC—Mr. Money’s answer was ‘no’, but since Richard is known to access false id’s and guns (*what made him think that?!), Richard has been classified as ‘high risk’. “But MRC is not a point of international departure?”—Mr. Marsh commented.
“If the proceedings are to take 12 months, would Richard still be kept in such conditions?”—Mr. Marsh enquired noting the loss of weight and worsening health of Richard. Mr. Money answered that usually it takes up to 30 days to make a risk assessment and if more time is required, he would need to approve it (* he who decides also approves extension of time to make the decision!?). But at present Richard would continue to stay in maximum security area of the prison. I was also astonished by the statement of the prosecutor citing some legal precedent case where deteriorating health and severe depression of defendant were not considered by the judge as extraordinary circumstances to grant bail. (*Innocent until proven guilty takes form of ‘sick and weak (or dead) before proven guilty’—Richard has lost more than 10 kilos in 3 weeks he’s been in this prison–he’s severely underweight, he looks frail, he’s not allowed to see people, doesn’t have access to standard prison resources, he’s treated like an animal—do you know that they shackle him and transport him in a metal box, guarded by security, when other prisoners are taken by a standard bus!?) Mr. Money said he didn’t notice any change in Richard’s appearance since he first saw him.
I easily get emotional when I see injustice, but I’ll try to keep going.
After the lunch break, the prosecutor made a statement that Mr. Lewis can provide additional evidence that is supplied by the United States, that would back the prosecution. The judge has allowed it, but then when notified by Ms. Folie that it only can be shown to the Judge and not the legal team of Richard, because it’s secret, the judge has declined the request because it would put defense of Richard in unfavorable position.
Mr. Marsh and Mr. Sim indicated that Richard would challenge the legality of extradition under double-criminality, better explained as whether the charges he’s facing would consist crime in Australia. Since this process is complicated and is expected to take time, they appealed to the judge that His Honor should not allow harm to defendant before guilt is established.
Mr. Marsh also pointed out that Richard’s being on the United Nations list does not give rise to an offense. He was free to leave the United States in April 2005 with no charges then or prior, and it had been long after—4.5 years after he left the US—that the charges were filed against Richard in November 2009. Mr. Marsh has indicated that the Executive Order that placed Richard’s name on the list is closely connected to domestic and foreign policy of the United States, as such giving rise to political reasons behind Richard’s case.
The decision about granting the bail will be announced on Thursday, February 7, 2013.
Viktor Bout’s defense attorney, Albert Y. Dayan, recently filed on 30 January 2013 a 55 page appeal with the U.S. 2nd Circuit court of appeals. The link to the entire document can be found here: Viktor Bout Appeal. Bout and his attorney are appealing his 25 year sentence for conspiracy charges. Bout has mantained his innocence throughout the process.
These exclusive documents are from the U.S. State Department, including State Department Cables, Letters to Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder and between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand.
To the best of my knowledge the following exhibits have not been published or seen other than the judge as well as lawyers for the defense and prosecution. Each exhibit has its own link.
Edited: January 29 2013
Is Richard Chichakli Being Poisoned in Prison?
At the request of Richard Chichakli via his Russian wife – whom is also facing her own charges in Australia – I was contacted to report on Chichakli’s treatment as well as his conditions in his Australian prison. Mrs. Chichakli [her real named is being withheld as per her request] contacted me by email. Here is part of what she wrote me:
Dear Mr. Mapp:
My name is …, I’m Richard’s wife of eight years, a Russian national. We came to Australia together. I’m contacting you as per Richard’s instruction. He called me this morning from Metropolitan Remand Centre where he’s been held since about two weeks. He was in panic because the prison staff insisted on him taking a pill for unknown reason. He’s not on any prescribed medicine. He believes somebody wants to poison him.
Is Richard Chichakli being paranoid – possibly but if you knew his entire story as well as I do — I would have to say his concerns and fears are legitimate.
The Accidental Terrorist
I will not go into detail in this article as far as the how and why or the depth of my relationship with Richard Chichakli. For those of you who have not heard of Richard Chichakli or want some background info, please read: Exclusive: Richard Chichakli Speaks About the Viktor Bout Trial. However, I do discuss my relationship with Chichakli in detail in my upcoming book titled, The Accidental Terrorist, which should be completed this summer. Here is a snapshot of my book:
In his fascinating new book, The Accidental Terrorist, George Mapp describes how he went from an international equity trader on Wall Street, to massage therapist to international globe trotter to an accused terrorist. His unique book will discuss international travel to exotic destinations, a spiritual journey, love affairs, diverse cultures, religious clashes, drugs, terrorism, intelligence agencies, spies, lies and spy games as well as his eye witness account of 9/11.
Mrs. Chichakli in her email to me went into more detail in terms of Richard Chichakli’s prison conditions.
Since he’s been kept in prison he has been moved frequently from one cell to another. He says when he requests the management to attend the issues he has, the only response he gets is a guard.
MRC is a maximum security prison, Richard is kept in solitary. He is only accused of violation of economic sanctions, why they treat him like he’s a murderer?
For more than 2 weeks now he has not been granted visitors. I submitted my request on January 14, and his friends–a day later. Richard said that he put the requests through on the 13th of January. The phone operators in prison keep telling me to call next Wednesday, as their system gets updated on Tuedays. There have been two cycles of updates already with no results. My attempts to contact management through my lawyer took me back to where I started, as the decisions about visitors are made locally in prison, and the names of management are not disclosed. Since I’m not approved, I can’t go and visit him, I can’t bring clean clothes to him, I can send him money to make calls. And Richard is kept in solitary.
Lawyer or Puppet?
After attending everyday of the three week long Viktor Bout trial it was evident that the DEA would stop at nothing in their pursuit of Bout and his alleged co-conspirator a.k.a Richard Chichakli. The DEA operation to catch Bout in an elaborate ‘scheme’ was dubbed ‘Relentless‘ it spanned over three continents and is estimated to have cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. In fact on 17 January 2010, the DEA unsealed a new indictment against both Viktor Bout and Richard Chichakli: U.S. Announces New Indictment Against International Arms Dealer Viktor Bout and American Co-Conspirator for Money Laundering, Wire Fraud, and Conspiracy.
In one of my repliy emails to Mrs. Chichakli, I expressed my concern as to the loyalty and trustworthiness of Richard’s lawyer. What follows is a dialogue between myself and Mrs. Chichakli.
[Me] What do you think about Richard’s attorney [Andrew Sim]– is he really trying to help or is he just a puppet?
[Mrs. Chichakli] I was present in court on Jan-17 during Richard’s hearing, his attorney did not appear to be firm, seemed hesitant about what he was about to say. I spoke with him after the hearing inquiring about whether he can handle the case ’cause it may be too big for him, he reassured me that their practice is the largest criminal law practice in Melbourne and that they have staff that will attend the case properly. This morning Richard referred to him as a young boy and said he may dismiss him at the next trial. I don’t know if that was just an emotional statement.
Just for the record, I contacted Richard Chichakli’s attorney Andrew Sim and have not received a reply as of yet. I inquired about his clients’ well-being, his emotional and mental condition as well as a physical description of Chichakli’s actual prison cell.
Edited: 29 January 2013.
Several days after publishing this article I was contacted by a memeber of Richard Chichakli’s defense team. I do find it odd that a defense attorney would not care to comment on his clients treatment in prison. Especially if there are allegations of mis-treatment and abuse. The following excerpt is from Richard Chichakli’s defense team:
Your enquiry of Mr Richard Chichakli has been forwarded to me to respond to.
This email is to let you know that Victoria Legal Aid won’t be making any comment or providing any information on Mr Chichakli outside of court proceedings.
Mrs. Chichakli’s Plea For Help
What Mrs. Chichakli wanted more than anything from me was help! She is trying desperately to reach out to the media and to journalists to get her husbands story heard. One thing that caught my attention is that Mrs. Chichakli is in legal trouble in a foreign country – she told me that she is out on bail – yet she did not express much concern about herself only about her husband.
The following excerpts by Mrs. Chichakli are taken verbatim from one of our email exchanges.
Richard mentioned a specific program “current affairs” over the phone and asked me to contact them as well as you. So I did, and the newsroom person pretty much harassed me over the phone–the same issues I described to you were not enough for him–he started offensively asking me what countries Richard [Chichakli] sold the arms to–North Korea, Iran, what countries put sanctions on him, I told him to stop making assumptions and I asked him to refer me to somebody else and he refused saying that he’s the only one there and that I’m not giving him enough information to make the story. He hung up. His name was Jeff. I called again later, and he again told me off.
I’ve spoken with Channel 10 newsroom, they may contact me on Sat or Sun.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but a few things don’t seem quite right.
1–for two weeks nobody except for his lawyer is allowed to see him
2- Richard said he put requests for visitors through and the prison system doesn’t reflect that
3- The requests to prison management for urgent assistance for making visits went ananswered
4- The prison personnel made an attempt to medicate Richard by mistake or on purpose?
5- They (the government?) know that there’s nobody here to stand for Richard, they know we’ve been separated and that I’m under pressure and won’t attempt much.
Any help in publicizing what’s going on would be appreciated.