Former US attorney cites effort to link him to gunrunning probes
Lawyer no longer represents parents of slain Agent Terry
Tim Steller Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011
Former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton will no longer represent the
parents of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry because of what
he called an effort by the Justice Department to link him to
disgraced gunrunning investigations.
Terry's parents hired Charlton to represent them in possible legal
action against the federal government over their son's death. Terry
was shot to death on Dec. 14 near Rio Rico, and the two weapons left
at the scene had been sold to suspected criminals as part of a
Phoenix-based investigation, Operation Fast and Furious.
In that operation, investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives encouraged Phoenix-area gun dealers to sell
high-powered weapons to people suspected of smuggling guns to cartels
in Mexico. In the end, about 2,000 weapons were sold as part of the
investigation, many of them making it across the border.
But in early October, allegations of allowing this so-called "gun
walking" crept closer to Charlton himself. The Associated Press
reported the existence of a previous ATF investigation in Arizona
that had also allowed guns into Mexico. This Tucson-based
investigation, Operation Wide Receiver, had begun in early 2006 while
Charlton was U.S. attorney.
Then late Monday, the Justice Department released a new batch of
documents responding to requests from the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee. One of them was a July 13, 2006, memo to
Charlton from two federal prosecutors in Tucson, Jennifer Maldonado
and David Petermann, asking Charlton's opinion of letting guns loose
in an investigation.
Citing an earlier conversation with ATF Resident Agent in Charge
Chuck Higman, they wrote: "The question was posed by RAC Higman as to
the U.S. Attorney's Office's position on the possibility of allowing
an indeterminate number of illegal weapons, both components of which
(upper and lower) were provided to the criminals with ATF's knowledge
and/or participation, to be released into the community, and possibly
into Mexico, without any further ability by the U.S. Government to
control their movement or future use."
It went on: "Higman indicated that ATF's legal counsel is opposed to
this proposed method of furthering the investigation, citing moral
On Wednesday, Charlton said he would not have approved such a
proposal. Maldonado, now a Tucson defense attorney, could not be
reached late Wednesday, but she told the Phoenix New Times, "My
belief is that it was denied."
Charlton said Wednesday: "There's a narrative that the Justice
Department wants, to include Operation Wide Receiver every time they
talk about Operation Fast and Furious."
Charlton's partner in the Gallagher & Kennedy law firm, Patrick
McGroder III, will take over representing the Terrys, Charlton said.
Contact reporter Tim Steller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 807-8427.
Note: Look for a cold war style "trade". Remembering that many
governments use grey or black market arms dealers as a policy tool.
3 November 2011 Last updated at 08:36 ET
Russia angry at Viktor Bout's US guilty verdict
Moscow has reacted angrily to the guilty verdict handed down to
Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, by a court in the United States.
Russia questioned its fairness and said it would try to bring Bout home.
On Wednesday, a New York court found Bout guilty of attempting to
sell heavy weapons to a Colombian rebel group.
Prosecutors said Viktor Bout, 44, who has been dubbed "the merchant
of death", stood to make millions from supplying weapons to the group.
The defence argued he had only wanted to sell two cargo planes.
The former Soviet military officer was arrested in Bangkok in 2008
after a sting operation in which US informants posed as Colombian
He remained in custody in Thailand for two years, before being
extradited to the US to face trial, where prosecutors alleged that he
had tried to sell weapons to Colombia's leftist rebel group, the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).
On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the United States
of breaking international standards during Bout's arrest and
It said the US special services had subjected him to "unjustifiably
harsh detention conditions" and "controversial methods of a physical
and psychological nature that contravene existing international
Viktor Bout was ready to sell a weapons arsenal that would be the
envy of some small countries"
Preet Bharara US Attorney
"All these factors have called into question the very facts on which
the prosecution was based, and accordingly, the fairness of the
verdict itself," the foreign ministry statement said.
It added that it would "take all measures to protect" Viktor Bout's
A ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said: "Our goal is to
ensure his return home."
Bout will be sentenced on 8 February 2012 and could face a maximum
term of life in prison.
The defence has already said that he will appeal against the verdict.
Bout was convicted of conspiracy to kill US citizens and officials,
deliver anti-aircraft missiles and provide aid to a terrorist
"Viktor Bout was ready to sell a weapons arsenal that would be the
envy of some small countries," US Attorney Preet Bharara said.
The conviction relates only to the alleged arms sale in Thailand, but
US authorities say Bout has sold weapons to dictators and guerrilla
forces in Africa, South America and the Middle East.
It is said that Bout began channelling weapons to war-torn parts of
Africa during the 1990s.
The UN has named him an associate of former Liberian President
Charles Taylor - who is now awaiting judgement for war crimes.
Media reports in the Middle East claim he was a gun-runner for the
Taliban and al-Qaeda - allegations he has flatly denied.
Law enforcement agencies pursued him throughout the last decade.
The Hollywood movie Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage, was loosely
based on Bout's life.
Note: from AZ gun shows?
Kenya to Down Aircraft Carrying Weapons to Somalia
Published November 03, 2011
NAIROBI, Kenya -- A military spokesman says Kenya will destroy
aircraft it suspects of transporting weapons to Al Qaeda linked
militants in Somalia.
Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir said Thursday that unexplained flights would
be challenged by radio, and asked to detail their flight path and cargo.
He said if the Kenyan military was not satisfied with the explanation
and the plane landed in areas held by the al-Shabab militia, the
plane risked being destroyed.
Chirchir says that the Kenyan military has informants who say three
flights carrying weapons for al-Shabab have landed in Baidoa, Somalia
in the past week.
He also says that the Kenyan Navy sunk a boat with 18 al-Shabab
fighters onboard south of the Somali port city of Kismayo late