From MEK to the Merchant of Death [Shorter Question Everything]

The US is able to turn a blind eye to so many things, whether it’s training terrorist groups – listed as terrorists by the State Department, no less – or whistling and foot shuffling as it sentences arms trafficker Viktor Bout. The disconnect should be alarming. We should be alarmed, shouldn’t we? And yet, it’s become so ordinary, so …American.

“Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout Sentenced to 25 Years; Trial Ignored His Ties to U.S., Dick Cheney: Notorious arms smuggler Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death,” has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiracy to commit terrorism. Our guest, former United Nations arms trafficking investigator Kathi Lynn Austin, says the case allowed American companies to avoid exposure of their collusion with with the U.S. government and private companies linked to Dick Cheney during the Iraq war, even after United Nations sanctions against him in 2004. Authorities say Viktor Bout was involved in trafficking arms to dictators and stoking conflicts in Africa, South America and the Middle East. He has also been accused of furnishing weapons to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and achieved particular notoriety for selling arms in Rwanda in 1998, just four years after the Rwandan genocide. [includes rush transcript] [democracynow/06 Apr 2012]

Armed Neo-Nazis descend into Sanford, FL to show ‘solidarity with the white community’ there: And the right wing said it wasn’t about race (on their side), didn’t they? Neo-Nazis have never been affiliated with the left; they’ve always been on the fringe anarchist/chaos/gov’t overthrow wing of the GOP, because there’s no way these white supremacists would vote Dem. After all, that party is polluted with black, brown…you know, the Mud People.
It’s nice to see the white power movement cater to the racial divisions brought up by the Trayvon Martin murder, surfacing as “good citizens” like this, reported by the Miami New Times’ Michael Miller [firedoglake/Pam Spaulding/06 Apr 2012]

Egypt: No evidence of Sinai rocket launch: EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) — Egyptian officials disputed on Thursday Israeli assessments showing that rockets which struck the city of Eilat were fired from Egypt’s Sinai desert.
An Egyptian security official in the southern Sinai, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Egyptian-Israeli border was “intensively secured”, and no one had detected a flash of light or sound on Wednesday. [maannews/05 Apr 2012]

Kathy Nickolaus, America’s Worst Elected Official, Demoted for Wisconsin Recall Elections: You may remember Waukesha County (Wisconsin) Clerk Kathy Nickolaus. Last year, she miraculously found thousands of votes in a state Supreme Court election two days after the balloting, which threw the race to incumbent David Prosser over JoAnn Kloppenburg. A subsequent investigation showed that Nickolaus violated state law on her reporting of election results. Also, reports detailed her ties to top Republican operatives in the state (Prosser was a former Republican elected official). Wisconsin held its Presidential primary last week and Nickolaus had more troubles. She was under order from the Government Accountability Board to deliver paper voting machine results so that the two-day omission never happened again. This became a disaster, as the electronic upload from the ballot machines to final databases didn’t work, and staff had to manually type all the data in by hand, with reporters physically checking the paper machine tapes to get a running count. It was another embarrassment for Nickolaus. And now, she’s been demoted. [firedoglake/David Dayen/06 Apr 2012]

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