“Former Guatemalan President Pleads Not Guilty After Extradition”

May 29, 2013

The Wall Street Journal on May 28, 2013 released the following press release:

“Samuel Rubenfeld
Wall Street Journal

A former Guatemalan president was extradited last Friday to New York to face money laundering charges, the latest in the Justice Department’s heightened efforts to get defendants detained internationally to face corruption charges.

Alfonso Portillo,who led Guatemala from 2000 to 2004, embezzled tens of millions of dollars in state assets, some of which he laundered through U.S. and European bank accounts, prosecutors alleged Tuesday.

Portillo pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson. If convicted, Portillo faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

He has long denied the allegations against him, telling CNN en Español in January the charges are a political witch-hunt borne of his opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war.

“If deposits were made, they are deposits that first of all come from institutions that are not illicit,” he was quoted by CNN as saying. “In order for there to be laundering, the first requirement is that the money is from an illegal origin or comes from an illegal activity.”

Portillo’s extradition to the U.S. highlights a recently favored tool in corruption cases by law enforcement authorities, in which people are detained overseas and brought to the U.S. to face the charges against them.

The Justice Department built up its capacity and bolstered its relationships with foreign counterparts, allowing it to more frequently pursue cases and defendants internationally, said Peter Carr, a spokesman, in an email.

“The result is we are pursuing the extradition of more defendants, including high-profile defendants, such as [Viktor] Bout and Portillo,” Carr said.

However, the results of these efforts are somewhat mixed, based on a review of recent cases.

Bout was extradited and convicted, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. His associate was extradited to New York last week.

In January, a U.K. businessman was extradited, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in El Paso, Texas, federal court to three years behind bars for trying to help ship missile parts to Iran.

And in April 2012, the leader of a Mexican drug cartel was brought to the U.S. to face racketeering and money-laundering charges, for which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

But prosecutors are struggling to bring a former Thai official to the U.S. to face money-laundering charges in a case that’s been stayed until March 2014, and their support to Bahamian authorities in another case still ended in failure.

In another case, prosecutors have been trying to extradite a South Korean man since 2009 to face U.S. foreign bribery charges, but court papers from the man’s lawyers say Seoul won’t do it because the people he’s accused of bribing aren’t considered public officials under local law.

Carr declined to comment on the Justice Department’s record of extradition.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


“International fugitive Richard Chichakli requests extradition to US to face charges linking him to Russian arms dealer”

April 4, 2013

Herald Sun on April 4, 2013 released the following:

Emily Portelli From: Herald Sun

“INTERNATIONAL fugitive Richard Chichakli, arrested in Melbourne after applying to become a protective services officer, has asked to be sent back to the US to face charges linking him to a Russian arms dealer.

“I consent to the extradition and ask the court to kindly send me home to the United States as soon as possible,” the Syrian-born US citizen said today via video link at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

“I thank Australia for its hospitality, I just need to go home.”

The alleged associate of war criminal Viktor Bout arrived in Australia in June 2010 on a false Syrian passport and left and returned to Australia six times before his arrest in January.

The 53-year-old was living in Melbourne’s north and was arrested after his fingerprints were matched to an Interpol alert when he applied for a job as a PSO.

He had already passed Victoria Police psychological and fitness screening.

The US sought to extradite Mr Chichakli to New York to face charges relating to his alleged conspiracy with Bout to purchase planes to transport arms to international conflict zones.

Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg told Mr Chichakli he was facing charges of conspiracy to violate the International Economic Emergency Powers Act, conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six wire fraud offences.

“Of course I deny all of them but that is for a United States court to try,” Mr Chichakli said.

“I am ready for extradition, sir.”

Mr Rozencwajg told him he would send a letter this afternoon to the Attorney-General, who would then likely order his surrender to the US.

Bout, who is currently serving 25 years on US terror charges, inspired the character played by Nicholas Cage in 2005 war film Lord of War.

It is alleged the pair provided arms to former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, who was last year sentenced to 50 years’ jail for war crimes.

Mr Chichakli had been on the run from American authorities since 2005.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Bout Defense Prepares Extradition Request and Appeals

May 24, 2012

RIA Novosti on May 24, 2012 released the following:

“The defense team for imprisoned Russian businessman, Viktor Bout, has started work on an appeal to Russian Ministry of Justice requesting his extradition from the U.S. as well as appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court and the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan said.

Under a convention between Russia and the U.S. dating from the 1980’s the Russian Ministry of Justice may request the handing over of Russians sentenced in the U.S. Eric Holder, the current U.S. Attorney General, has said that the U.S. may consider an application for Bout, who has been sentenced to 25 years in jail, to serve his prison term in Russia if they receive the request.

“The appeal to the Justice Ministry is already at work, it will take months to prepare the necessary documents. We simultaneously work on three lengthy legal documents; on the appeal and the claim to International Court of Justice in the Hague,” Dayan said.

Dayan added that the defense team had been extended to manage the volume of work required.

“Victor Bout’s appeal is not a personal letter from a Russian, not just a private request. We are working on a document that will prepare a legal base for the governments of Russia and the United States on his extradition. We are studying precedents, materials, bilateral and international agreements, and conventions. We are preparing arguments for the negotiations between Russia and the United States,” Dayan said.

Dayan also noted that Bout is keeping his spirits up and believes he will return to Russia.

“Viktor Bout continues to believe that the country would stand for him. He works hard and hopes to return home”, the lawyer said.

Bout, a former Soviet Air Force officer who was dubbed the “Merchant of Death” in the United States, has been sentenced to 25 years in a U.S. jail for conspiring to kill U.S. citizens and sell arms to Colombian militants. He maintains his innocence.

On May 11, the U.S. penitentiary authority said Bout would be sent from his Brooklyn jail to a super maximum security prison in Colorado, where convicted terrorists and other dangerous criminals are serving their sentences, often in solitary confinement.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Bout could serve sentence in Russia – US Attorney General

May 16, 2012

RT.com on May 16, 2012 released the following (edited on May 17, 2012):

“The US may consider an application to transfer Viktor Bout, sentenced to 25 years in jail, to serve his prison term in Russia if it sends one, US Attorney General Eric Holder told Russian reporters.

The­ US Attorney General gave an exclusive interview to a number of Russian media outlets. A full interview will be published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily on Thursday.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated recently that the country will do everything possible to get Bout back.

Earlier this week, the US Bureau of Prisons announced that it was reconsidering its plan to send the Russian businessman to the high-security Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Bout’s attorney Albert Dayan said that he was informed about this decision on Tuesday. On the same day, prosecutors notified the judge in a letter that the Bureau of Prisons was re-evaluating where to transfer Viktor Bout from a federal lockup in Brooklyn.

Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military officer, was found guilty of conspiracy to kill US nationals, including military officers and employees, conspiring to use anti-aircraft missiles and selling millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. He is now serving his 25-year prison term in the US.

Russia has repeatedly condemned Bout’s trial on the grounds that the charges were not connected to any crime, but rather were over alleged criminal intent.The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement that blasted the US trial as politically motivated, adding that it has blacklisted the US officials involved in the case.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Uncle Sam fabricates crimes due to political agenda – Bout

May 14, 2012

RT.com on May 13, 2012 released the following:

“Convicted arms trafficker Victor Bout told RT in an exclusive interview his case is purely political. Bout says his false conviction exposes America’s justice system as one of a police state on the brink of dictatorship.

Bout, who continues to maintain his innocence, is serving 25 years for conspiring to kill US citizens and sell arms to Colombian militants.

This week, it was decided that Bout will be sent from a New York prison to a super-maximum security prison, despite his trial judge recommending medium-security confinement.

The Colorado prison is known as the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’, and houses America’s most-dangerous and violent criminals. Bout’s lawyer is fighting to overturn the decision.

RT: You are sentenced to a quarter of a century behind bars. What does it feel like?

Viktor Bout: They can put physically your body in jail but they cannot jail your spirit. If your spirit is free and you understand what freedom is – it is impossible to break you down to your knees. I know I did not commit anything to get that punishment. Whatever they allege me as crimes – these crimes would never exist, unless the US government would invent that crime.

They labeled that conspiracy with “kill Americans” which works like a magic bullet for the jury here. The trial was very similar to medieval witch-hunt trials of inquisition when you must confess that you did bad things.

I understand the reality. I try to bring the message to my friends and my family, to the Russian people: listen, what is happening to me is a pure political case.

RT: You’re in a process of appeal and you’ve also asked Russia’s State Duma to file a complaint against the US and Thailand. What are you hoping for legally and politically?

VB: Legally the lawyers would know better the precedent of American law and what my perspectives are and what they are going to do. But I have almost no hope because this system works so that once you’re put under judicial decisions – no judge, even the Supreme Court, would ever cancel that. Because this is a “truth in Über state”. Nobody can ever reconsider that decision. [In the US] it is accepted that juries cannot fail.

RT: We know you’re about to be transferred to prison in Colorado. Considering your family and lawyer are in New York, will this affect you a lot, this transfer?

VB: They are trying to put me in the most notorious underground jail in the mountains hidden underground so I could never see daylight again as a punishment. For them this is a chance to create more obstacles to a proper appeal.

RT: You said in court to the jury and DEA agents: “God knows the truth, you know the truth.” What is your message to the US officials today, maybe the US president?

VB: I have a message to the US president: “If you keep using those thugs named DEA agents who invent crimes, this would not help America to really solve the problem of drug wars. But instead of going to the real problem they would just create crimes because there is no danger for them to go to those who do not hide, provoke them, do their dirty tricks and frame people up instead of solving real problems with real drug traffickers.

RT: It has been reported you knew you were dealing with undercover agents, not FARC members, at the time of your arrest. Is this the case?

VB: I was not sure who they are. For me they were very strange people and by their posing I understood right away they have nothing to do with FARC at all.

RT: You were dubbed the ‘Merchant of Death’ – do you think this nickname affected your case more than it should have?

VB: Of course. This is what the entire story is about. First you create a myth, then you bring in people who already saw the movie… My company was doing transportation, but that was legitimate contracts with legitimate governments with all the formalities done properly.

RT: Why do you think they went after you?

VB: For them it does not matter whom they are going to pick up. The mass media is spoon-feeding the American population so they do not care whom they pick up.

RT: You’ve seen the movie about yourself with Nicolas Cage playing you. What do you think about his performance?

VB: I feel sorry for him because it is a very mediocre movie. I do not even think it is interesting to watch or that it is a fair representation of the problems of Africa.

RT: If you knew you’d be serving 25 years behind bars, would you act differently?

VB: I do not regret nothing in my life and I can face anything I did because I didn’t do anything wrong in my life.

RT: If you were a free man right now, do you know what you would be doing? Would you start something new?

VB: Of course. I’m already locked-up for four years behind bars by Uncle Sam. My life is ruined completely. I don’t have any money left at all. They have not only closed my company, but put executive orders claiming $3 billion from me.

I’m asking a challenging president of the US: show the proof that I ever owned those billions! At least I know where to get money for my defense team.

If you repeat something a thousand times – it becomes the truth. This is the recipe used by the US administration, just like they did with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

RT: Critics of your case have been saying it is anti-Russian. Is it the case?

VB: Of course it is anti-Russian. Look at what happened in Thailand during the extradition procedure. The criminal court of Bangkok denied the extradition. They applied tremendous pressure on the government of Thailand and actually bought me out, not extradited. We submitted an appeal to the Thai court and it is still not finished. The pressure was so huge they had to pass me to the American side. My case is still on the shelves in Thailand.

If there is a political will of the Thai government and they want to prove they have real, not mock, justice, and that they are not a colony of the US – they have to do a decision on my case.

RT: Will there be more ‘manufactured crimes’ when foreigners are brought unlawfully to American soil?

VB: The FBI and the DEA are manufacturing crimes regularly. I closely monitor such cases… This is how they fight their war on terror, because terror is not a state or a person.

RT: You said you’ll be able to return home earlier than your term is over. How is that?

VB: My case is purely political. Despite the American procedures the Russian public knows the truth.

My case shows the real condition of the American justice system of a police state close to dictatorship.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal Prosecutors: Smulian Testimony ‘Crucial’ In Viktor Bout Conviction

April 18, 2012

The Wall Street Journal on April 17, 2012 released the following:

“By Chad Bray

The testimony and assistance of a dual British-South African citizen was “crucial” in securing the conviction of notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, prosecutors said in a court filing late Monday.

Andrew Smulian, 71 years old, was arrested in Thailand, along with Bout, as part of an undercover sting operation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in March 2008 and he waived extradition. After arriving in the U.S., he began providing information to prosecutors and pleaded guilty to four conspiracy counts in July 2008.

In a sentencing memorandum filed late Monday, federal prosecutors in Manhattan sad that Smulian’s cooperation was a key: ranging from detailing meetings and conversations with Bout to refuting Bout’s defense that he only intended to sell airplanes, not weapons.

“Smulian was also able to describe coded email messages and intercepted phone conversations, as only an insider in a secretive conspiracy could,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan R. McGuire said in a court filing. “Although the recordings and emails themselves were powerful evidence of Bout’s guilt, the context and explanation that Smulian provided–and the credible manner in which he provided them–was critical to the government’s proof at trial.”

Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison earlier this month after he was convicted last year of four conspiracy counts, including conspiracies to sell surface-to-air missiles, to kill Americans and to provide material support to a Colombian rebel group.

Labeled the “Merchant of Death” at one point by American officials, Bout, 45 years old, has denied wrongdoing. His lawyer, Albert Y. Dayan, has said Bout was only trying to sell two cargo planes when he went to the meeting in Thailand and has said his prosecution was “the product of outrageous, inexcusable government conduct.”

Bout was extradited to the U.S. in 2010 after two years of legal wrangling and over the objections of the Russian government.

Smulian’s lawyer, Mary E. Mulligan, has asked that her client be sentenced to “time served,” citing his cooperation, his health and his acceptance of responsibility. In a court filing earlier this month, she noted that he has been in custody since his arrest more than four years ago and suffers from a “battery of chronic and serious medical conditions,” including hypertension and type II diabetes.

“The successful prosecution of Viktor Bout resulting from Mr. Smulian’s cooperation has sent a powerful message both domestically and internationally that terrorist activity against the United States will be investigated and prosecuted aggressively and successfully,” Mulligan said in court papers. “It was Mr. Smulian’s cooperation in the Bout prosecution that brought this to bear.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


What is Behind Africa’s Illegal Gun-Running?

April 13, 2012

Think Africa Press on April 11, 2012 released the following:

“How and why international arms dealers like Viktor Bout operate.

Arms dealer Viktor Bout was sentenced to 25 years by a US federal court last week.

Widely known as the ‘merchant of death’, the 45-year-old Russian has delivered weapons and arms to a wide range of presidents, insurgents and rebels in Africa and the Middle East including the likes of Charles Taylor in Liberia and Jonas Savimbi in Angola. He was caught in a US sting in which his services were solicited for the supply of weapons to Colombia’s FARC rebels.

His companies have also in the past also delivered weapons, fuel and artillery pieces to supply US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Practicality not politics
While there is a great deal of moral posturing about the activities of Viktor Bout there is very little discussion or understanding of why entrepreneurs like Bout are hired and thrive. And the answers do not lie in questions of politics and morality but derive primarily from practical concerns.

Military aircraft usually fly from military bases, and the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War and after had few military bases in Africa.

To deliver cargoes of weapons, ammunition, armour and supplies to African governments or insurgents therefore, they needed to use civil aviation.

It became necessary to contract with either their own barely-disguised proprietary airlines or set up proxies to distance themselves from the deliveries of weapons, especially to countries or movements subject to international sanctions such as UNITA in Angola. This required them to operate under different rules. To understand this business it is necessary to know how aviation works.

Aviation
The passage of airplanes across the world’s skies is highly regulated. Each aircraft has to be registered in a jurisdiction whose civil aviation inspection procedures are recognised and accepted, and each aircraft must follow a rigorous schedule of maintenance.

Before aircrafts can take off with cargo or passengers, there is a mountain of paperwork and preparation which must be completed. The airspaces of the world belong to the country below it. Before one can fly into an airspace, local aviation authorities must give permission and be paid for ‘overflight’ or ‘landing’ rights.

There are particularly strict rules governing the passage of military aircraft, both in wartime and in the peaceful transit of neutral states, and it is usually very difficult to get permission for the military overflight of non-combatant states.

This is a powerful impetus to use civil aircraft for the transport of military and humanitarian goods instead of military aircraft. However, the landing and take-off rights of civil aircraft are also bound numerous rigorous procedures and regulations.

That is why air companies like those used by Viktor Bout were registered in relatively obscure jurisdictions such as Liberia and the Central African Republic. There they could take advantage of the intra-African treaties which allowed the free passage of ‘African’ aircraft within the continent and a lax system of aircraft inspection.

Fuelling war
Many of Africa’s wars paralysing socio-economic development, producing huge numbers of refugees, and building the foundations for chronic poverty, would have been difficult to wage or sustain without the participation of international criminals and arms dealers.

According to investigations by Le Soir of Belgium and Le Corrierre de Serra of Italy in 2001, “The Russian mafia has opened lanes for arms trafficking between Eastern Europe and Charles Taylor’s Liberia. The mafia has also furnished arms to the Ivoirian regime of General Guei when he had doubts of a favourable outcome to the September elections.”

There were several companies supplying the same weapons. Each had their own transport system. Many were in competition with each other. Viktor Bout was one of those who were able to get assistance in leasing aircraft to use in civil aviation in Africa. There were a number of white Zimbabweans who had flown for the Biafrans and UNITA in companies like Air Trans-Africa. There was even a Sierra Leonean entrepreneur flying from Britain or, most often, from the wide-open hub of Ostende in Belgium.

Most of these airplanes and their pilots and crew were employed by the air companies which owned the planes. They were not owned by people like Bout. They were chartered aircraft where an hourly rate was agreed. The actual owners were the Russian Air Force (through a web of subsidiaries) or the UCA (Ukrainian Cargo Airline) or analogous subsidiaries. There was a premium price paid for flying in war zones to allow for a higher insurance premium.

This was the way that the Russians and the Ukrainians found a way to supply their weapons and ammunition to Africa. They were already doing it in the Balkans and Afghanistan, often with the support of NATO. A key factor in this is that NATO countries, with the exception of the US and partially the UK and Canada, have virtually no cargo-carrying capacity of their own.

African wars and the need for Bouts
What no one is discussing in these international arms deals is just who is actually paying for the goods and the transport. In some areas, like in Angola, some of the costs could be defrayed by diamonds. In most cases the payment is arranged by political figures. For example, some of the weapons that poured into West African wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast were paid for by Jacques Chirac and Muammar Gaddafi and delivered thorough the local efforts of Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso. Mercenary soldiers were paid for the same way.

This type of crime goes unpunished. And this profession will not come to an end, because there is a ready market for the goods that are being sold. Africa is gradually becoming the last place where wars are fought with small arms. As other nations move towards heavy artillery, missiles, rockets and fighter aircraft, Africa is only gradually moving towards that level of sophistication. The basic truths of African warfare have not changed much.

Firstly, African warfare is ‘expeditionary’ warfare. This means there is no real use of mass troop formations since opposing forces are rarely of equal size to fight. Instead, troops pass through jungles, deserts, mangrove swamps and hostile terrain to get to the enemy, often under heavy fire from the bush. African insurgents are usually bands and groups of, often, irregular soldiers. Large-scale troop concentrations can sit in a city or town and maintain order, but they rarely can take the battle to the enemy.

Secondly, African armies have little equipment geared towards expeditionary warfare. This is a war of helicopters; an in and out movement of troops to jungle clearings or remote landing zones or the shooting up of ground formations by helicopter gunships when they can be located. But except for rented helicopters leased from the Ukraine and Russia, most of Africa is bereft of air mobile equipment. They are certainly bereft of African pilots (other than South Africans).

Thirdly, there are very few military aircraft in Africa capable of fighting or sustaining either air-to-air combat or performing logistics missions. There are very few airbases in the bush which allow cargo planes to land safely now that every rebel group has its share of RPGs and mortars. There are no fuel reserves at the airports outside most African capitals and there are no repair facilities. There is no air-to-air refuelling. Indeed, except for Denel in South Africa and an airbase in Ethiopia there are no places on the continent which perform aircraft maintenance. This lack of transport is critical to moving out the wounded. This takes its toll on the soldiers.

Fourthly, sustained African warfare (with some exceptions like Angola) is largely carried out on the ground with machetes, axes or some small arms. It does not always start off that way but the pressures of logistic resupply often means that ammunition runs out, mortar shells are expended and the only thing left is traditional weapons. Food has to be foraged or stolen as resupply is not always regular or sufficient. This makes for a chaotic type of combat with heavy civilian casualties. Fighting up close and personal with a machete on a village by village basis is much more dangerous to a civilian concentration.

Fifthly, this is mirrored in the lack of effective battlefield communications. In Africa the landline phone system doesn’t work in peacetime; why should it work during war? Sending orders and receiving information between the central staff and outlying units is a ‘sometimes’ process. It sometimes takes days to contact units operating far from command headquarters.

The realities of African warfare mean that the key to success or failure is the logistics chain. This is why the US is so keen to have a coherent and reliable transport policy even when the political niceties do not allow it to set up bases. It is also why men like Viktor Bout and his colleagues will always be there as they provide a service which is critically needed by combatants and their international supporters. They may be on the ‘wrong side’ much of the time but occasionally they are useful to all sides.”

The original article may be found here.

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.