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An alleged associate of the world’s most notorious arms trafficker has been arrested in Australia after he tried to apply for a job as an armed guard with Victoria Police.
Megan Neil – (AAP) -January 11, 2013 – Authorities are investigating whether Richard Ammar Chichakli entered Australia under an assumed identity.
The 53-year-old was arrested in Melbourne on Thursday for allegedly conspiring with a Russian arms dealer known as the “merchant of death” to buy two planes to ship weapons to conflict zones across the world.
He was identified after he applied to become a protective services officer (PSO) – armed guards who patrol railway stations, courts and Parliament House.
The man was found to be a person of interest through a routine background check and was not offered a job, a Victoria Police spokesman told AAP.
Defiant ‘Lord of War’ Sentenced to 25 Years
Adam Klasfeld – (Courthouse News) – MANHATTAN – April 6, 2012 – Victor Bout, depicted in nonfiction as “The Merchant of Death” and in Hollywood as the “Lord of War,” pointed an accusatory finger at federal agents at his sentencing hearing Thursday, as a federal judge gave him the minimum 25-year sentence based on qualms about the sting operation that caused his downfall.
A Russian national, Bout armed dictators, despots and warring factions in the Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone and other conflict zones around the world.
Sanctioned by the United Nations, Bout remained free for more than a decade until the U.S. government snared him in “Operation Relentless,” a sting in which undercover informants posed as guerrillas with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), which the U.S. classifies as a terrorist group.
Bout was defiant at his sentencing hearing. He turned to the federal agents who snared him, seated in the front row, and pointed at them when his time to speak came.
“I am not guilty,” he began, speaking in Russian through an interpreter. “They will live with this truth. They will have to go to bed with this truth.” (Click HERE for article)
Alaa Ali case questions whether civilians should be court-martialed
Michael Doyle – McClatchy Newspapers – WASHINGTON – April 6, 2012 – Iraqi-born translator Alaa “Alex” Ali never served in the U.S. military, but the Army still tried him and put him in jail.
Defense attorneys were critical of the FBI’s reliance on the informant [Richard Bistrong], an executive of a Florida body armor company [Armor Holdings] who they called a sociopathic liar with a devious mind. They said he was able to persuade federal agents to let him plead guilty to a single bribery count for more than $4.4 million in bribes to officials at the United Nations and overseas even though he had a history of bribery, embezzlement, tax evasion, drug use and solicitation of prostitutes. ~Justice gives up sting case over foreign bribes
Reliance on contractors in Afghanistan draws continuing scrutiny
Charles S. Clark – (GovExec) – February 24, 2012 – The use of contractors in the decade-long U.S. effort to train Afghanistan’s army and police forces continues to raise policy questions as the Obama administration struggles to meet its goal of winding down the American troop presence in the volatile region.
The Government Accountability Office on Thursday reported that the Defense Department — after it took over from the State Department in 2009 the task of training and equipping Afghan security forces — hired a contracting firm without first weighing the advantages and disadvantages of assigning U.S. government personnel to train the war-torn country’s national police.
…“God will forgive you, but the bureaucracy never will.”
This is an appropriate warning for civil servants who would report contractor fraud against the military, one of our nation’s more popular corporate pastimes. Be prepared for the Pentagon to side with the crooked contractor and fire you. No bureaucrat can afford to have fraud discovered on his watch. It’s bad for the career.
And if you happen to work for the crook, it’s even worse. Not only will you be fired, but you will never find another job in the industry. If the crook is the government itself — say, one of the security agencies — you will doubtless be prosecuted. And if the crook is a corporation, you’ll likely be sued. ~ William A. Collins, The Reporter
The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read
Michael Hastings – (Rolling Stone) – February 10, 2012 – Earlier this week, the New York Times’ Scott Shane published a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military’s top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it’s been going. “How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?” Davis boldly asks in an article summarizing his views in The Armed Forces Journal.
Viktor Bout convicted of conspiring to kill Americans in South America, what about those who hired, aided & abetted him in Iraq?
In a letter date-stamped on the eve of jury deliberations, eight members of the Russian Parliament members warned “Your Honor, Madam Judge!” that convicting Viktor Bout could “cause harm to the interests and reputation of the Russian Federation and to previously reached bilateral agreements within the framework of the ‘reset’ policy of Russian-American relations.”
~Adam Klasfeld, (CN), November 2, 2011
International Arms Dealer Viktor Bout Convicted in New York of Terrorism Crimes
Bout Convicted on All Four Counts, Including Conspiring to Kill Americans and Conspiring to Provide Material Support to Terrorists
(DoJ) – NEW YORK – November 2, 2011 – International arms dealer Viktor Bout was found guilty today of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) – a designated foreign terrorist organization based in Colombia – to be used to kill Americans in Colombia, announced the Department of Justice.