Sat Apr 7, 2012, 12:00 AM
Octafish (33,462 posts)
'Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout Sentenced to 25 Years; Trial Ignored His Ties to U.S. & Dick Cheney
Like for Manny Noriega, and Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Qaddafi, time ran out for Viktor Bout.
Weird how that always is.
"Merchant of Death" Viktor Bout Sentenced to 25 Years; Trial Ignored His Ties to U.S., Dick Cheney
April 6, 2012
(Democracy Now! interviewed) a former U.N. arms trafficking investigator who tracked Bout for more than a decade, Kathi Lynn Austin, executive director of the Conflict Awareness Project, a group dedicated to tracking global weapons traffickers and exposing the illicit world of war profiteering.
AMY GOODMAN: What was Viktor Bout’s relationship with the U.S. government and with U.S. companies?
KATHI LYNN AUSTIN: Well, Viktor Bout has served many governments in the past in their national security operations. So even when I was bringing forward compelling evidence—I collected forensic evidence, I collected documentary evidence in the field. And even as I was bringing forward that information, I was testifying before the U.S. Congress, I was talking to U.S. State Department intelligence officials—this is from the mid-1990s—still there was no action taken against Viktor Bout. And that was because the U.S. government saw that his services were very valuable for national security operations.
The most recent case where American officials and American private security firms were colluding with Viktor Bout was during the Iraq war. And that is one of the startling reveals during the trial and the sentencing. Viktor Bout wrote to the judge, basically saying, "Look, I’ve also worked for the U.S. companies. I’ve flown 140 flights. They’ve paid me $6 million." That’s probably, by the way, just the tip of the iceberg. "And so, why would you be convicting me, when, in fact, at the time that I was providing these services for the U.S. government, it was in violation of a U.S. law, an executive order signed by President Bush at the time, and it was in violation of U.N. sanctions?"
KATHI LYNN AUSTIN: Well, we know President Bush in 2004 signed an executive order making it illegal for any U.S. entity to do business with Viktor Bout. We had a number of private security firms. We had Brown & Root, we had Halliburton, that were linked to former Vice President Cheney, who were involved at the time with Viktor Bout. Even as we investigators confronted the U.S. government about these illicit activities, these private security firms continued to use Viktor Bout in violation of U.S law, in violation of U.N. sanctions, even American agencies. On one hand, you had the Department of Justice issuing a list of all companies and entities that the U.S. government and U.S. private firms were prohibited from doing business with. Viktor Bout’s companies were on that list. So you had the Department of Justice, on one hand, and yet you had the Department of Defense that continued to see—to seek out Viktor Bout’s services.
BFEE Doesn't like competition. Not one bit. Ask Mr. Sarkis Soghanalian, if we could.
12 replies, 1588 views
'Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout Sentenced to 25 Years; Trial Ignored His Ties to U.S. & Dick Cheney (Original post)
|sabrina 1||Apr 2012||#4|
|Guy Whitey Corngood||Apr 2012||#2|
|Guy Whitey Corngood||Apr 2012||#10|
|Judi Lynn||Apr 2012||#5|
Response to Octafish (Original post)
Tue Apr 10, 2012, 10:44 AM
Octafish (33,462 posts)
1. Newt Gingrich, Marianne and the Arms Dealer: A Buried FBI Investigation
A bit of history that Corporate McPravda seems to have left off Newt's vitae:
Newt Gingrich, Marianne and the Arms Dealer: A Buried FBI Investigation
By Joseph Trento, on December 13th, 2011
National Security News Service | 46 comments
On October 5, Sarkis Soghanalian, once the world’s largest private arms dealer, died at 82. He had sold weapons to scores of dictators including Saddam Hussein, and he took many secrets with him to his grave. But one secret he did not take involves Newt Gingrich when he was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. DCBureau has learned that Gingrich was at the center of a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation in the late 1990s for a scheme to shake down the arms dealer for a $10 million bribe in exchange for Gingrich using his influence as Speaker to get the Iraq arms embargo lifted so Soghanalian could collect $54 million from Saddam Hussein’s regime for weapons he had delivered during the Iran-Iraq War.
Soghanalian was an FBI informant and was responsible for launching one of the most sensitive and secret investigations in FBI history involving the former Speaker and his second wife. According to Marianne Gingrich, it took the direct intervention of then FBI Director Louis J. Freeh to “get the investigation called off.” Freeh did not return emails and telephone calls for comment.
For several years, FBI agents instructed Soghanalian to get beyond the men who claimed to have ties to Gingrich and insist upon meeting with Gingrich and his former wife directly to prove that they could deliver the Speaker. But just before Soghanalian was to meet Gingrich and his former wife at a private Miami Beach fundraiser on June 8, 1997, arranged by one of these men, FBI headquarters called off the investigation. Washington ordered the FBI in Miami not to secretly tape record the fundraiser and to stop Soghanalian from attending. Marianne Gingrich, in a series of telephone interviews from her homes in Georgia and Florida, acknowledges meeting the arms dealer in Paris but insists her participation was to solicit an investment from Soghanalian for her former employer, the Israel Export Development Corporation (IEDC). She says the company was running short on cash and her meetings with the arms dealer had nothing to do with Iraq and arms dealing. Newt Gingrich did not return repeated telephone calls for comment.
Soghanalian said in a series of interviews before his death that men associated with Marianne Gingrich convinced him that Speaker Gingrich would use his influence to lift the embargo and allow Soghanalian to collect the millions of dollars owed to him by Iraq “in exchange for a $10 million payment to Gingrich through his associates.” Soghanalian was to pay the money – not to the Gingriches directly – but through a think tank, The Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies (IASPS), which has offices in the United States and Israel.
Not that there's anything particularly un-American about making money off death. Or divorce.
Response to Octafish (Reply #1)
Tue Apr 10, 2012, 01:01 PM
sabrina 1 (34,089 posts)
4. If only we had a real press. Gingrich would have been asked about these
dealings when he decided to run for president. But I guess they know they have nothing to worry about re the 'news media'. No 27/7 coverage of their shady dealings.
Gingrich and Cheney et al are well protected by a different set of rules than everyone else.
Maybe some day!
Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #4)
Wed Apr 11, 2012, 02:23 PM
Octafish (33,462 posts)
7. Press has to protect the MIC-bribed Congress from Citizen Review
It's why all the strings to the US Attorney firings were never followed, why all the strings to Duke Cunningham were never followed, whay all the strings to Jack Abramoff were never followed... and all the rest: Corruption of Congress is part and parcel of the Military Industrial Complex modus operandi.
A guy needs a computer to keep track of all this.
Imagine what an honest Congress or US Attorney General could do.
Response to Guy Whitey Corngood (Reply #2)
Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:41 AM
Octafish (33,462 posts)
9. The sting used phony FARC rebels. So, why isn't THIS guy in jail for meeting the real FARC?
Bout was lured by US DEA agents acting as FARC rebels wanting to buy arms in Thailand.
Then-head NYSE Richard Grasso hugs now-dead FARC rebel leader Raul Reyes in Columbia, ca. 1999.
The Real Deal: The Ultimate New Business Cold Call
Catherine Austin Fitts
Monday, 18 February 2002, 10:13 am
In late June 1999, numerous news services, including Associated Press, reported that Richard Grasso, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange flew to Colombia to meet with a spokesperson for Raul Reyes of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), the supposed "narco terrorists" with whom we are now at war.
The purpose of the trip was "to bring a message of cooperation from U.S. financial services" and to discuss foreign investment and the future role of U.S. businesses in Colombia.
Some reading in between the lines said to me that Grasso's mission related to the continued circulation of cocaine capital through the US financial system. FARC, the Colombian rebels, were circulating their profits back into local development without the assistance of the American banking and investment system. Worse yet for the outlook for the US stock market's strength from $500 billion - $1 trillion in annual money laundering - FARC was calling for the decriminalization of cocaine.
To understand the threat of decriminalization of the drug trade, just go back to your Sam and Dave estimate and recalculate the numbers given what decriminalization does to drive BIG PERCENT back to SLIM PERCENT and what that means to Wall Street and Washington's cash flows. No narco dollars, no reinvestment into the stock markets, no campaign contributions.
Money. Power. Money. Power. Money. Power. Money. Power....
Response to Octafish (Original post)
Tue Apr 10, 2012, 12:02 PM
gratuitous (49,292 posts)
3. I feel so old-fashioned
I keep thinking that the Constitution and our nation's laws and treaties should apply to everyone. So, you know, when someone like Mr. Bout is prosecuted for his special crimes, his associates and accomplices should be in the dock too. Of course, I think that everyone is entitled to be informed of the charges against them and should they be subject to arrest, have an opportunity to defend themselves in open court under established rules of evidence and procedure. But I know for a fact that that is not the popular notion anymore, and it's now perfectly acceptable for the United States to carry out an international program of summary executions of anyone our faultless government and military designate (before or after the fact, it's immaterial) as very, very bad persons.
Response to gratuitous (Reply #3)
Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:37 PM
Octafish (33,462 posts)
12. The guy has an eclectic client list.
I'm a traditionalist in that way, too, gratuitous. I believe the law should apply to all, even Halliburton. Perhaps these interesting times are becoming something from the "What have you done for me lately?" school. For instance, Mr. Bout once helped the United States make war on Iraq.
Viktor Bout - Africa's Lord of War - Sentenced to 25 Years
BY ANDREW FEINSTEIN, 10 APRIL 2012
His clients included, among others, the Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, the Northern Alliance and then the Taliban in Afghanistan, a number of the protagonists in the Balkans, the Angolan government and its mortal enemy the Unita rebel movement led by Jonas Savimbi, and all sides in the complex conflict that continues to rage in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Irbis Air landed in Baghdad 92 times between January and May 2004, while also conducting deliveries elsewhere in Iraq. Bout's client list in Iraq made for intriguing and damning reading: The United States Air Mobility Command, Federal Express, Fluor and KBR - which was then part of the Halliburton group of which Dick Cheney had been CEO. At the time Bout was the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant, which the Americans were legally bound to enforce. There is also speculation that US intelligence helped the Russian evade capture by the Belgian authorities who had issued the warrant.
But as his cell door clanks shut, it is crucial to remember that there are literally hundreds of Viktor Bouts out there, some protected by their own governments, or the governments and intelligence agencies to whom they are useful. Most of them are never apprehended, let alone snared in an elaborate sting operation.
If this hypocrisy is to end, the arms trade, both formal and illicit, needs to be meaningfully regulated and actively policed, regardless of who benefits from it. Stringent criteria must not only be agreed but also actively and impartially enforced for where and when weapons can and can't be sold. Governments must impose greater transparency on the use of middlemen, agents and brokers, including public disclosure of what they are paid and the details of the specific work they have undertaken. Much of this could be addressed by passing a robust International Arms Trade Treaty currently being negotiated at the United Nations.
So, the state now re-writes history as needed and erases the parts that don't go with the "official" version. Won't be long, at this rate of transforming once-friends into new-enemies, before "non-believers" in the official version get classified as "enemies of the state" and put on the secret list for erasure. Thank heavens Halliburton's built the camps on spec.