Holding accountable those that fuel war and conflict

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

By Kathi Lynn Austin – SPECIAL TO CNN

Beyond a reasonable doubt:  That Viktor Bout was one of the most prolific arms traffickers in the post-Cold War area…Read full CNN blog

VIKTOR BOUT: GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS

At courthouse as jury returns verdict on “Merchant of Death” arms trafficker Viktor Bout: GUILTY ON ALL CHARGES. End of era for one of the world’s most prolific traffickers, a billion-dollar profiteer on human misery. All 4 counts guilty.
Trial documents and updates

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Viktor Bout & arms-smuggling planes

By Kathi Lynn Austin – Special to CNN
There were three chilling moments for me during the final week of Viktor Bout’s trial — and they all had something to do with airplanes…
READ FULL BLOG ON CNN.COM

Viktor Bout’s Formula for War

By Kathi Lynn Austin

Amid the clanking of teacups, sitting on a blue couch in the Mezzanine area of the swank Hotel Sofitel in Bangkok, Viktor Bout shares a recipe.

The concoction appeals to Carlos Sagastume, seated next to Bout on the couch. As a DEA confidential source, he continuously prompts Bout to reveal all the secret ingredients.

If Carlos can get Bout to describe the preparation in full, he stands to earn over $7 million dollars. This is the amount Carlos, a former Guatemala military officer involved in cocaine trafficking, earned for his role in a previous DEA sting operation in which he acted as a confidential informant.

Within several hours, Carlos gets what he is after. It is Bout’s special recipe for disaster—a formula that packs a lot of punch for enabling and fueling war… READ MORE

Cold War Redux: The trial of the alleged “Merchant of Death”

By Kathi Lynn Austin – SPECIAL TO CNN

A former KGB official residing in Moscow who says he has “friends” in high places in Russia?
Who is the real Viktor Bout?
The ultimate capitalist, who once had the world’s largest arms transport fleet and was contracted by the U.S. Pentagon during the Iraq War?
Or a puppet on the international stage in a show trial reenacting the Cold War?
There is no denying the tug of war between the Russia and the U.S. during the extradition battle in the Thai courts. The process was prolonged as both countries flexed their muscle and weighed in heavily. Hence, Bout was not extradited to the U.S. until November 2010, despite his arrest in a Thai hotel in March 2008.
But the back story is far more complicated… Click here to read more

‘Merchant of death’ trial opens in New York

http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/11/justice/new-york-arms-dealing-trial/?hpt=ju_c2

Arms and The Investigator

By Kathi Lynn Austin

The long awaited trial for the world’s most notorious weapons smuggler, Viktor Bout, will begin this morning at 10:00 am in the Federal Courthouse for the U.S. Southern District of New York. I’ll arrive early, before the TV journalists set up their cameras and the court reporters bound up the courthouse stairs to take their seats in the gallery. Today is a milestone in the battle against war profiteers, and I want to be there from the start to catch every moment unfolding before me.

Two decades ago, I chose to become an investigator in the public interest. Working for human rights groups and the United Nations as an arms trafficking expert, I’ve documented Viktor Bout’s smuggling activities for fifteen years, beginning with his activities in Rwanda, the Congo (then Zaire) and Angola…

Read the complete blog at http://trackingbout.posterous.com

VIKTOR BOUT TRIAL BEGINS

On the opening day of the Viktor Bout trial in New York, Executive Director Kathi Lynn Austin appears on CNN talking about unregulated arms traffickers.

MEDIA CONFERENCE

Executive Director Kathi Lynn Austin joined a group of experts in an Oxfam-hosted Teleconference calling for stronger global regulations on arms brokers ahead of the Viktor Bout trial in New York.

INVESTIGATORS ROUNDTABLE IN BRUSSELS

Executive Director Kathi Lynn Austin in Brussels for a roundtable sponsored by the Open Society Fund on What Hurts: Does Investigative Reporting Really Deter Corruption.

HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE

Executive Director Kathi Lynn Austin participates in keynote talk on Philanthropy, New Media and Human Rights at the International Human Rights Funders Group Semi-Annual Conference in San Francisco.

CORPORATE WAR CRIMES/PILLAGE CONFERENCE

Executive Director Kathi Lynn Austin and Director of Communications and Strategic Development Greg Hittelman participate in Conference on Corporate War Crimes: Prosecuting Pillage of Natural Resources in The Hague, Netherlands. http://www.pillageconference.org