28.02.2014 Author: Henry Kamens

Meet John McCain a Notorious Gun Runner


Source: Flickr

What name can we give to this spring’s uprising in Ukraine?

We can always expect a diversion when the US is in a hole domestically, and Ukraine and the compliant media have provided that. That has been pretty much the story of US foreign policy under the Obama administration, regardless of the long term consequences. Using one part of the country to destroy the other and create two separate zones of influence is not what any protestor is campaigning for, but that hardly matters when a grand scheme is required to show that you, and not its democratically-elected government, are still in charge of someone else’s country.

What is more revealing are the links between the so-called democracy movements and the agendas of international arms dealers. The protestors are objecting to Yanukovych’s methods, the US to his foreign policy orientation, the EU to the fact he put Ukraine’s interests before its own imperatives and the media to the violence perpetrated by both sides. All these stakeholders want to achieve different things at the end of the day, whether or not they have articulated these, and whatever the outcome is most of them will end up dissatisfied.

Arms dealers, on the other hand, are delighted to have found a new market and gained heavyweight political backing for their trade. Paid in drugs and pallets of cash, they are the major winners in the battle for Ukraine.

Arms markets don’t disappear when conflicts end, trusted suppliers are prevailed upon even more to ensure the survival of new regimes and cleanse their deeds by turning street fighters into legitimate armed forces. Of all the players in Ukraine the arms dealers will end up achieving the greatest percentage of their goals. The protestors are “Maidan Puppets” indeed.

We know quite a lot about how the protestors in Ukraine are being armed, not because the arms trade has become more transparent but because the protestors have so many ‘friends’ in high places whose connections can be traced. We can almost follow an individual weapon as it departs from Arizona and takes a “fast and furious” pass through Mexico, England, Germany, Georgia, Turkmenistan and then on to Syria or Maidan Square.

We can do this because a large number of these weapons are connected with one man – the former Republican presidential candidate SENATOR JOHN McCAIN. The man who betrayed his comrades in North Vietnam and called it patriotism still can’t help himself, it seems.

McCain and his friends

 The US State of Arizona can be politely described as ‘unreconstructed’. To put it more bluntly, it is still run by the Mob, as it has been since Prohibition days, with all politicians beholden unto it. At least two of its sitting governors have faced federal criminal charges, later strangely dropped, ranging from extortion to misuse of public funds whilst in office. This is the state Senator John McCain represents.

McCain makes much of his service record in Vietnam and elsewhere. What he doesn’t talk about much is the fact he dumped his Navy wife to marry into a mob-owned Budweiser distributorship, a $200 million-a-year business, which bankrolled his political career. Voters did not seem to be bothered by that, as they expect these sorts of connections in Arizona. Brewing, Prohibition, the Mob, https://www.wnd.com/2008/02/57354/ – just keep it out of our faces, make the odd sacrificial prosecution, and you can do what you like.

Amy Silverman and John Doherty, writing in the Phoenix New Times for a multi-news agency team called Investigative Reporters and Editors Incorporated, have reported that the father of McCain’s wife, James Hensley, was convicted by a federal jury in the U.S. District Court of Arizona in March 1948 on seven counts of filing false liquor records. Hensley was also charged with conspiracy to hide from the federal authorities the names of persons involved in liquor industry racketeering undertaken by two companies he managed.

McCain’s wife has a sordid financial record of her own, littered with offshore accounts and side deals which consistently go unaudited and do not appear among McCain’s registered interests. The Russians have made it known that they have a bulky file of information concerning his co-operation with the North Vietnamese and various other matters, which they might one day release. Over in the UK most people were unaware that Prince Charles has a huge bald patch until a few years ago because an agreement had been made to only film him from certain angles. What sort of deal has John McCain made to prevent the release of this information?

Of course McCain and his wife know that, as well as a scandal-free record, you also need plenty of money to run a political campaign in the US. Just look up the contributions made to McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008 and count the number of Arizona-based arms manufacturers on the list.

McCain ran for the presidency in 2008, the same year as the Georgia-Russia War. He made no secret of the fact that part of his campaign strategy was to present himself as an experienced global figure able to handle a crisis. That one came along at just the right time. Several members of the Georgian government openly campaigned for McCain in that election, even though none of them could vote in the US and neither could more than a handful of their citizens.

One of the Arizona arms manufacturers which contributed to McCain’s campaign is Dillon Aero, based in Scottsdale, which supplies miniguns to one of the US Army’s airborne special operations units. A government contract, of course. The Dillon M134D Gatling Gun is the finest small calibre defence suppression weapon available. It is a six barrelled, electrically driven machine gun which fires at a fixed rate of a maximum of 3,000 shots per minute.

Another is Century International Arms, Inc., listed as an importer of historic firearms into the United States. Both these companies are represented by a legal firm called MarkBarnes & Associates, based in Washington DC, which also admits to doubling as a lobbying organisation. While lawyers take an oath to serve justice, lobbyists are employed to get the best deal for their client regardless of the justice of their case – even if it involves circumventing a law, the lobbyist has done his job if he gets what the client wants. Despite the multiple conflicts of interest this contradiction creates this firm happily fulfils both roles.

Mark Barnes is registered by the US Senate as an arms lobbyist, his ID Number being 5426-24, and his House of Representative arms lobbyist ID is 311050001. He does not list who his clients are, whether they be individuals, government bodies or commercial concerns. Thus any weapons his clients deal in are being imported and re-exported without knowing for whom, and under what legal authority, as can be gleaned from records obtained from the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate Office of Public Records.

Dillon Aero arms have been tracked entering Georgia via an intermediary company, alongside otherwise legal imports. UKRS, the Ukrainian State Arms Exporter, has also sent arms to Georgia which its military have never seen. A dossier on these deals is now in the hands of the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office. This details how Dillon Aero was caught red handed by an agency of the United States Government (Customs Enforcement), while it was in the process of catching another department of the same government blatantly circumventing arms export controls.

Also in the dossier provided the Government of Georgia is the transcript of a tape one of these deals, made by two undercover US Customs agents, [their names withheld for security reasons] which has since been broadcast on Youtube and elsewhere, under the title Illegal Arms Trafficking Caught on Tape. A snippet of the transcript of the two and a half hour recording reads:


“We’re going to make a contract on the basis of this not being illegal. We are going to – what we’re going to do is, Dillon will not do this deal unless I have paperwork for them that checks out. That being said, Dillon’s gonna look at it; not care that it’s – not even pay attention to who it’s goin’, he is selling me this deal that I’ve put together. So, there’s a few ways we can do it and I’ll let you decide. It’s easiest if I could get an export license – can’t happen. Number two, next easiest, is you guys, do you guys have the ability to get me – I-I have your end-user. It’s worth nothing to me, because I can’t get that part there. This is where the vehicle you want is, so there is … the way that we have to do it is, can you come up with an end-user from a different country? Is that something you can do? Or do you need me to falsify documents to get it to where I need to go?”

McCain and other places

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

So we can link Senator McCain with arms dealers from his home state, at least one of whom is operating illegally, and other arms dealers and agencies in Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey and Jordan. If McCain does not know about the illegal activities of his campaign contributors he should, as he has a legal responsibility not to accept donations which are the proceeds of crime. But it is highly likely that he does know, as his connection with them is not limited to campaign cheques.

A dispute arose between McCain and Obama during the 2008 presidential debates when McCain wholeheartedly supported the US taking action against Iran and objected to Obama being willing to talk to the Iranian leadership without precondition. Compare this with this account of American journalist Jeffrey Silverman, who was behind Russian lines during the Georgia-Russia War:

“The Georgian media and the Human Rights Centre confirm that I found Russian (knocked-off and designed) and German made weapons there, and some of these had been imported from Mexico, others had been imported from Serbia via Jordan – RPGs, mortars, etc.

Based on an end user certificate that had previously been provided by a representative of Interpol, these had been part of the same shipment brought in from Jordan via an intermediate company, Melville, alongside otherwise legal imports. The representative adamantly contends that the weapons were never intended for the Georgian army, as stated, but had been positioned for possible use against Iran.” 

Who wants to use weapons against Iran? Who has no authority to do so, but has connections with arms dealers caught evading the rules? Who has the connections with the country these arms were allegedly destined for?

 The plain fact is that if you are connected to illegal arms dealing via Georgia you are connected to where such arms end up. We know where – they have been traced to Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Congo – everywhere there is, or has recently been, a high profile civil conflict. Most of these conflicts McCain has personally intervened in by openly siding with one side or another and tacitly or explicitly supporting their armed struggle. Funny how the arms always seem to get there around the same time as McCain, when those with genuine perceived grievances who are prepared to resort to violence have been crying out for them for years.

Thanks to the McCain paper trail we know the names of some of the dealers who supply weapons to these groups. Two of them are Ruslan Gilchenko and Victor Dobregaiev, who are now in a US Federal Prison thanks to an undercover investigation involving attempted weapons transfers via Georgia, the route taken by Dillon Aero.

 A United States District Judge, Frederick J, Martone, attempted to stop this investigation by issuing a protective order dated July 18, 2012. However, he failed to follow Federal Rules regarding Service of Process and Jurisdiction, which he might be presumed to have known, so his efforts to kill the investigation were unsuccessful, although various bits of incriminating evidence were still pulled off the internet, and a journalist, Tim Brynes, lost his job with a government agency in Australia for knowing something about the investigation as he was deemed a national security risk. (Ruslan Gilchenko, and Victor Dobrogaiev), Defendents Case 2:10-cr-00233-FJM Document 141 Filed 07/19/12. More. 

Frederick Martone, though born in Massachusetts, is a judge in the District of Arizona.

No causes, just guns

With rapid increases in attempts to violently overthrow governments one must consider the larger pattern and venue. Consider how the Syrian opposition held covert meetings with western and local arms traffickers in late 2010, as has since been reported, even before the current crisis erupted.

Nor is there any ideological consistency about who is armed, which might justify this action as a well-intentioned foreign policy intervention. The only thing consistent is the profits of the arms dealers linked to McCain. As Gordon Duff of Veterans Today, a partner online journal to NEO. has written: “picture yourself an American. One day you awaken and find Senator John McCain not only meeting with Al-Qaeda leaders but openly backing arming them, not just with guns but missiles capable of downing airliners anywhere in the world.”

Many successful politicians initially entered that profession because they cannot function outside the world of politics, however dirty and compromised that world is. John McCain is a product of the Cold War, and seemingly unable to function outside that world either. There always has to be an enemy, and he always has to be in the thick of the fight. How he does that, and what he gets out of it, will always be secondary considerations. Unless the day comes when one of his friends’ guns is pointed at him.

Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.