Archive for category Central Asia

watch it spread

In March, Kyrgyz authorities were “spoken to” about their pressure on independent news channels.

In its letter, the OSCE has called on the Kyrgyz government to respect its international obligations to protect freedom of speech and to restore access to a number of online media sources and to Azattyk Radio (the Kyrgyz Service of RFE/RL). Similarly, “Press freedom violations seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity,” Reporters Without Borders and other groups have lamented. Since 10 March, agencies like ferghana.ru, centrasia.ru and paruskg.info (whose editor Gennady Pavlyuk was murdered last December) have been blocked.

Local sources report that independent media have been pressured not to report certain news or lose their licence. Consequently, many have refrained from publishing articles critical of the government. The opposition press has also been targeted. All 7,000 copies of the newspaper Forum were seized by the police in Bishkek on 15 March without any explanation, whilst its editor, Ryskeldi Mombekov, and five other journalists were detained. President Kurmanbek Bakiev appears eager to prevent news from reaching Kyrgyz that a businessman close to his inner circle was arrested in Italy on suspicion of mafia links. Mr Yevgeny Gurevich is a financial consultant to the Central Agency for Development, Investments and Innovation, which is run by the president’s son, Maksim Bakiev.

Not just “mafia links,” but links right to Berlusconi and other very highly placed people. Here’s the news that Bakiev wanted suppressed:

BISHKEK — A business associate of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev’s son says he will step down as head of his company after a warrant was issued for his arrest in Italy, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports. Yevgeny Gurevich, who is also known as Eugene Gourevitch, told journalists through a representative in Bishkek today that he is leaving all his posts to “fix misunderstandings [that have] occurred in Italy.” Italian media reported on March 9 that a judge in Rome had issued an arrest warrant for Gurevich, who is accused of embezzling some $2.7 billion from divisions of Telecom Italia and the Fastweb telecom company between 2003 and 2006.

So March 9th Italian media report the arrest warrant for Gurevich, and March 10th the websites are blocked. Because it’s not just Gurevich.

He is being charged with criminal conspiracy and money laundering as part of a bigger case involving dozens of others. Gurevich has reportedly held a U.S. passport since 1990. The MGN Group has been actively involved in the Kyrgyz investment market since 2008. It has numerous holdings, including banks, and is one of Kyrgyzstan’s most powerful conglomerates. MGN became a major partner of Kyrgyzstan’s Central Agency for Development and Investments, which is led by President Bakiev’s son, Maksim Bakiev. The acronym MGN is thought by many to stand for Maksim, Gurevich, and Nadel, the last name of businessman Mikhail Nadel. Both Gurevich and Maksim Bakiev have repeatedly denied having business ties with each other.

Kyrgyzstan’s state Development Fund, which reports directly to the president, announced today that it has annuled all agreements it has made with MGN.

As noted yesterday, MGN stands for Maksim, Gurevich, Nadel. In other words, the Kyrgyzstan president’s son, Gurevich the Kyrgyz Jewish banker, and Nadel the Russian Jewish oligarch.

MGN’s mission: “to realize the investment potential of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia.” MGN receives a license in November 2008, and by the end of 2009 manages assets of $250 million. Key sectors of the Kyrzyg economy came under MGN management.

The Kyrgyz leadership also plays a prominent role in NATO logistics for Afghanistan. In Bishkek, Gurevich is considered the most influential financial consultant and government agencies and state corporations use his services.

Kyrgystan’s population: approximately 5,000,000. The number of Jews in Kyrgystan: approximately 1,200.

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Connections to Italy:

In Italy, the allegations include laundering money through fictitious companies set up in the UK, Switzerland, Panama and Luxembourg. (Excellent article at Russian Mafia.)

One of the people named in the warrant is Gennaro Mokbel. Allegedly Mokbel used his contacts in the Calabrain mafia to elect his friend to the senate. Mokbel has alleged relations to right-wing extremists including terrorists. He collects photos and memorabilia of Mussolini and Hitler. Italian newspapers suspect the group has connections with intelligence operatives, police and political leaders. One suspect, Paul Anthony O’Connor was often accompanied by a former agent of MI6.

Being confident that none of his calls could have been intercepted, Mokbel openly chatted on the phone. In one of the angry calls to “his” Senator - Nicolas Dia Girolamo - he is believed to go outraged: “You may become the president of Italy, but for me you will always be a doorman, or to be more precise - my slave.” The newly elected senator, as suggested, meekly replied: “Please forgive me.”

From November 1-3, 2009, the richest Jews in the world gathered in the luxurious palace of Silvio Berlusconi, as his personal guests. (On December 13th, a man struck Berlusconi in the face with a replica of the Milan cathedral. Maybe some symbolism there…)

The event is held regularly in various capitals of the world, the Israeli national fund “Keren Ha-Yesod” - International Leadership Reunion (ILR). Only the elect are invited to attend. 180 people.

Members of this Congress offers luxurious balls, inspections of palaces and villas of Italian nobility, traveling on Jewish places of Rome and visit closed to normal tourist facilities Vatican.

Oooh, that’s so nice.

The fund attaches great importance to the “business elite of post-Soviet space” — the CIS countries.

International Leadership Reunion (ILR) - an exclusive club sponsors “Keren Kha-Yesod,” brings together hundreds of leading businessmen and philanthropists. Among the members of this elite club are the following: Sheldon Edelson (USA), representatives of the De Rothschild dynasty, members of the Safra family, Mendel and Robert Kaplan (South Africa), Charles and Edgar Bronfman (Canada), Frank Lowe (Australia), Richard Pratt (Australia, New Zealand), Pierre Besnaynu (France) and many other representatives of the financial elite of various countries, including Russia and other CIS republics.

They “raised” $40 million dollars in three days. Look at these statements:

On three days’ stay in Rome, the largest Jewish philanthropists portal IzRus told a representative of the Keren Ha-Yesod, “in Russia Ronny Vinnikov. He said that the commemorations have begun in a symbolic location - near the Arch of Titus, which depicts the victory of the Romans over the Jews and the imposition of the menorah from the Temple of Jerusalem (AD 70). Former Chief Rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau asked the guests: “Where are those Romans and where are we? the language of the Emperor Titus long been told of his empire was nothing left, and Jews have preserved their language, have created their own state, and revived their culture.”

Then, Jewish philanthropists, accompanied by a government escort motorcyclists have visited the palaces of the president and prime minister of Italy, met with Speaker of Italian Parliament, the Mayor of Rome and the chief rabbi of the country. In one of the palaces of Italy’s best opera singers sang “Hatikva”. At the Villa Madama, the official residence of the Prime Minister for receiving heads of state, the Jewish oligarchs met at a top level - with a solemn guard, saluting each guest as a leader of a foreign power. By the way, the ball to Jewish patrons of the palace came from Berlusconi and the Ambassador Russia to Italy Alexei Meshkov.

“The joy of Jewish organizations and beneficiaries, the ranks of the world of philanthropy is increasingly supplemented by people of the” Russian “origin - those who live in the CIS, Europe, USA, Canada and Israel. The arrival of these people to charity - this revolutionary moment,” - said Ronnie Vinnikov. He expressed the hope that the leaders of world Jewry “open the door to benefactors of the CIS could go with the right foot to the leading position in the Jewish world.” According to Vinnikov, vote-rich Russian Jews should be equally heard on all matters of collection and distribution of funds from donations.

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Connections to the US (surely just a start):

In 2005, the NYT reported that Pentagon’s Fuel Deal is Lesson in Risks of Graft-prone Region.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 - Soon after the American invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, the Pentagon opened an air base in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and made a deal to get jet fuel from the only two suppliers in the country. The companies just happened to be linked to relatives of the country’s president. Now the two businesses are under scrutiny by Kyrgyz prosecutors and F.B.I. agents who are looking into whether the president at the time, Askar Akayev, and his family pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars, partly from Pentagon fuel contracts, before he was ousted this year.

…Pentagon officials say the two businesses, Manas International Services Ltd. and Aalam Services Ltd., were used not because of their connections but because they were the only ones with facilities to transport and store fuel at the air base in Bishkek, the capital. Though the Akayevs may have benefited, the officials said, Pentagon rules do not bar contracts with companies that have ties to a foreign leader.

An internal F.B.I. report given to Kyrgyz prosecutors in September found that the two businesses might have been involved in money-laundering through accounts at Citibank in New York and the Dutch bank ABM Amro. The companies also had transactions with “a myriad of suspicious U.S. shell companies” associated with Mr. Akayev, his family and arms traffickers, the report said.

…Lacking its own facilities in Bishkek, Avcard, a Maryland aviation fuel company, proposed using Manas and Aalam as its only subcontractors there, said Warren E. Boin Jr., a company vice president. The Pentagon awarded the Maryland company the contract in early December 2001 without soliciting any other bidders, documents show. Kathryn Fantasia, a Defense Energy Support Center official, said in an interview that Avcard had been brought in because it had promised to meet the military’s needs, using Manas and Aalam or other suppliers.

Soon after the fuel deliveries began, Avcard’s president, Linda Kropp, said she had learned that Aydar Akayev, the president’s son, was a part owner of Manas. The general manager of Manas boasted about the Akayevs’ involvement, she said. She then asked about Aalam, where an executive told her that Adil Toiganbayev, the president’s son-in-law, was one of the owners, she said. The discovery led her to call Ms. Fantasia and Deborah L. Vankleef, the Defense Energy Support Center officials responsible for the fuel contract, to report that the president’s family members were benefiting from the deal. “They said they were aware of it from other sources and there really wasn’t anything they could do about it,” Ms. Kropp said. Ms. Hampton, the agency’s spokeswoman, said the two women did not recall that conversation.

Hmm. Wrong answer.
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According to this writer, the coup was about the base. I would just add: At the very least.

Russia considers the Central Asian Republics as its sphere of influence. ALl of them used to be part of the USSR. US encroachment into Central Asia is not welcome. Only those living in caves may not know the goings on in Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan’s deposed president, Kurman Baki (Russianized to Kurmanbek Bakiyev) took the Russians for a ride, and now he has paid for it. He tried to hoodwink the Russians by promising to shut down the US base. Mr. Kurmanbek did actually shut down the American base, he then took the Russian money ($2 billion) worth more than the total budget of the country and then double crossed Moscow by allowing the US to operate a base. Mr. Kurmanbek thus was trying to be very smart. The coup was all about the US base.

If Washington thought that Mr. Kurmanbek would get away with his double dealing then there are a few naive diplomats working in the State Department.

the fire of corruption flashes over

Peter Chamberlin has collected various interesting news articles about the upheaval in Kyrgystan.

Blood in the Streets of Bishkek
Kyrgyz protestor: “The Jews are Kaput”
Is the Kyrgystan upheaval bad for the US?
Maksom Bakiev appears online — from the US evidently
Trouble in the Stans: Which is the next country to blow up?

Let’s break this down.

Vanity:

The corruption that pissed people off in Kyrgystan — mainly the president using his position to enrich himself and his family — also happens in Uzbekistan, except that it’s worse. (Independent UK)

In Uzbekistan, a similar process has been under way. The president’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova, is a glamorous, Harvard-educated socialite based in Geneva, and, according to Mr Murray and others, controls the regime’s billions of dollars of assets through the Zeromax company. She has her own jewellery and fashion lines, and occasionally releases saccharine pop songs. She is also said to have provided the money for one of the regime’s biggest vanity projects – the Bunyodkor football club, based in the capital Tashkent. The side, which plays in the obscure Uzbek League, has paid millions to lure stars such as the Brazilian Rivaldo to play for them, and last year recruited former Brazil and Chelsea boss Luis Felipe Scolari to manage the team, giving him the highest salary of any football manager in the world.

Last month we learned that international organized crime rings cooperate and use legitimate businesses, including sports teams among other things, to launder money. This is from a Telegraph UK story.

In July last year, police arrested seven alleged mafia members suspected of attempting to buy into the Lazio soccer team [to launder money - ed.]. … After the offer was turned down, the Casalesi allegedly tried purchasing shares in the club through front companies based in Switzerland or Hungary. Police said the attempt to acquire a soccer club was “a new phenomenon”.

Vanity projects in Uzbekistan. Vanity projects in organized crime rings. Do vanity projects reliably indicate the presence of organized crime? We do not know.

Nepotism:

Speaking of presidential daughters, next door in Kazakhstan the president’s daughter Dinara has an important role in the business of the country, particularly in the oil and gas sector, through her marriage to Timur Kulibayev.

An intelligent and ambitious President and CEO of the KMG group since June 2006, Kulibayev is married to President Nazarbayev’s second daughter Dinara. Until his promotion, he used to be KMG’s first vice president of KMG. In his 30s, he began his career in the finance ministry’s division which was once in charge of the petroleum sector. In March 1997, as Nazarbayev made Balgimbayev president of KazakhOil, the latter made Kulibayev the financial boss and vice president of the company. The oil and gas firms then were transferred from the finance ministry to KazakhOil.

Timur Kulibayev, the president’s son-in-law, has reportedly fathered a “love child” with Goga Ashkenazi. Goga has also dated Prince Andrew. And, come to find out, they’re all good buds, helping each other with selling mansions and what-not! Turns out that moneyed people and British royals just love to hang out in Kazakhstan. Who knew?!?

Goga Ashkenazi and Prince Andrew, from News of the World
Does any of this matter? We do not know. It sure is interesting though.
Israel:
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan is actually “Israel’s Partner in Eurasia” according to Ariel Cohen, writing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (source) (source: http://tinyurl.com/yfw6d8h)
  • Israel and post-communist, resource-rich states have similar geopolitical priorities in opposing terrorism and radical Islam.
  • By developing closer ties with Kazakhstan - and with Eurasian countries in general - Israel can expand its ties to the secular Muslim Turkic states and its role in the new “great game” of Eurasia: economic development fueled by exports of the region’s massive natural resources.
  • Israel and the countries of Eurasia are economically complimentary: Central Asian countries are rich in natural resources, and can benefit from Israeli solar, irrigation/agricultural, medical and other know-how. Israel can offer high-tech, military, and advanced agricultural technology, cutting-edge medical sciences, and educational opportunities. As always in international relations, common interests define strong ties.
  • On occasion, President Nursultan Nazarbayev used his good services to appeal to Iran on behalf of missing Israeli servicemen or call on Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons, as Kazakhstan did in 1994. Unfortunately, these appeals usually fall on deaf ears.
  • With oil prices rising, Kazakhstan may have left the nadir of economic decline behind, although banking and construction sectors were hurt particularly hard.

Kazakhstan is much larger than Kyrgystan, and the two countries share a long border. You can read more about the two countries and their possible connections to Israel here.

The “Stans” — click to enlarge (source)

So far we have established:

  1. a culture of corruption in Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan
  2. a culture of nepotism and the strong presence of moneyed people from the UK
  3. connections to Israel

But wait there’s more.

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Consequences:

So now that things have gone wrong, Kyrgystan presidential son-in-exile Maksim Bakiev may have fled to the US, according to State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley.

As for Maksim Bakiev, Crowley said, “We believe he is in Washington.” He had no further details.

Bakiev, or someone claiming to be him, then appeared online posting from New York, muttering something about the Rule of Law….

Livejournal, one of the Russian-language blogosphere’s leading platforms, showed that a user named “maksimbakiev” had created a profile today, and has posted two entries.
The first was a link to his father’s defiant interview with Ekho Moskvy.
The second, posted just minutes later, was a statement allegedly written by the deposed president himself.

In it, Bakiev Sr. writes, “I am ready to take responsibility for my guilt in the tragic events taking place if my guilt is proven by objective and impartial investigation.”

Whenever powerful people start invoking the Rule of Law, that’s a pretty reliable indicator that they’ve been bagged. I have noticed that they rarely show the slightest concern for the Rule of Law until they get in some trouble, and then they suddenly become legal experts.

Why did the Kyrgyz people expel Bakiev? Because they were sick of his corruption.

Why did Bakiev reportedly flee to the US? Because his corruption is safe with us.

Azimbek Beknazarov, the new government’s vice prime minister responsible for legal matters, said that U.S. officials were apparently indifferent to Bakiyev’s human rights violations, while providing the means for the Bakiyev family to become extraordinarily rich.

“The last two-three years, Kyrgyzstan’s democratic values have been destroyed,” Beknazarov said in an interview with GlobalPost amid the debris of the looted presidential administration building, which was the focus of Wednesday’s violence. “America closed its eyes to this,” he said. “That’s why the majority of people now think that America only needs its military base and nothing else interests it.”

Now the US military might lose access to Manas Air Force Base. The US and NATO use Manas as an important logistical hub for the Afghanistan operations.

Beknazarov said that the provisional government has not yet formally started to discuss whether to keep the base open, although many ordinary people are asking them take up the question. “My own personal opinion is that Kyrgyzstan doesn’t need such a base,” he said.

Meanwhile, operations at Manas air base have been curtailed sharply. A press spokesperson there said that troop transport flights have been temporarily suspended, although other “normal operations,” such as re-fueling, continue. He did not provide details why the troop flights were halted.

The truth is that Kyrgystan unrest poses a dilemma for US military.

Losing Manas would have been a major setback for U.S. operations. In 2005, Air Force Col. Randy Kee, then the commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing, said the Kyrgyz base had become the “primary logistics hub” for Operation Enduring Freedom. That same year, neighboring Uzbekistan cut off U.S. access to Karshi Khanabad (also known as “K2″), a former Soviet airbase that had been an important staging area for operations in Afghanistan, and many of K2’s operations shifted to Manas.

Since then, Kyrgyzstan’s importance to the U.S. effort in Afghanistan has only grown. Among the chief reasons: As rising violence in Pakistan threatens U.S. and coalition supply lines, the U.S. is keener than ever to ensure that northern supply routes to Afghanistan remain open. Underscoring Kyrgyzstan’s strategic role, Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, paid a visit last month to the country.

Continued unrest in Kyrgyzstan could pose a serious problem for U.S. military planners. After Wednesday’s events, Bakiyev fled the capital. His whereabouts are not confirmed, although news reports say he flew to southern Kyrgyzstan, where he maintains a regional power base.

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Networking:

The US government is very supportive of business opportunities in Kyrgystan.

On November 10, [2009] the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Embassy held a seminar “Doing Business with the USA” providing information to Kyrgyz companies on how to conduct business with U.S. partners and identifying future business opportunities. U.S. Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller and Maksim Bakiev, the newly appointed Head of the Central Agency for Development, Investment and Innovation, opened the Bishkek seminar with comments on the importance of expanding bilateral business ties (the Ambassador’s remarks appear below). The seminar attracted over 120 participants, and stimulated many companies to explore possible ways of increasing business ties with the U.S. This was the fifth “Doing Business with the USA” conference held in Kyrgyzstan.

…On November the 12th 2009, AmCham in the Kyrgyz Republic in partnership with U.S Department of Commerce held the Second Annual Conference “Trade and export in Kyrgyzstan: how to strengthen capacity?” in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Over 100 guests participated in this event….Glen Lockwood, Board Chair and President of TFI opened the Second Annual Conference and stressed the importance of the conference, strengthening the connection between governmental authorities and business. The keynote addresses were delivered by U.S. Ambassador in Kyrgyz Republic Tatiana Gfoeller (whose remarks appear below) and Aidar Mokenov, Deputy Minister of Economic Regulation in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Very cozy. Happy hours and Christmas celebrations, etc.

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Mystery:

The other day I came across a story from a newspaper on the Texas border, the Del Rio News Herald. Del Rio is next to Laughlin AFB. The story was reported on April 6, 2010. The Kyrgystan unrest took off the very next day.

A man was found dead in his hotel room. He apparently worked for a company called TolTest in the Indianapolis area.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Fred Brockwell identified the man found in the room as Alvin L. Lehman, 46, a resident of Indianapolis, Ind. Brockwell pronounced Lehman dead at 2:45 p.m. Monday and ordered an autopsy of the body to determine the cause and manner of Lehman’s death. Brockwell said Lehman was found sitting in the bathtub inside the motel room, but added there was no trauma to the body and no obvious signs of foul play.

So, probably nothing. But I looked up TolTest and it’s a very large defense contractor. (You would never know this from the news item.) For example, it was awarded part of a $4 billion contract to the USAF in 2004. TolTest has locations throughout the world including Guantanamo Bay, the Azores, Spain, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Afghanistan, South Korea, Japan and Guam. (http://www.toltest.com/?event=locations)

So not a rinky-dink operation. In fact TolTest comes in above Lockheed Martin on this list of top 100 contractors:

1 KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown and Root)
2 DynCorp International (Veritas Capital)

…..

12 Blackwater USA

….

17 Toltest
18 Lockheed Martin

So this guy, Alvin Lehman, just happens to die mysteriously while on business for TolTest, down in Texas right next to Laughlin AFB. And the next day the Kyrgystan people toss out their president and his son. Again, I’m sure it’s probably nothing. But it got me thinking about the accusations of corruption in Kyrgystan, and Manas, and the logistics of running NATO operations. Because one of TolTest’s core business is bulk fuel services. (http://www.toltest.com/?event=news.read&newsid=169)

Services include asbestos; lead abatement/demolition; bulk fuel services; construction; design/build; environmental consulting & remediation; general contracting; operations & maintenance (OM); site engineering; telecommunications installations; transportation and disposal; underground/above-ground storage tank management, removal & installation; and value engineering.

So anyway, for the third time, it’s all probably neither here nor there. It just flicked my whiskers. The point is that some people are making a lot of money in Central Asia. And those people probably know each other, because let’s face it, that’s how business is done. It’s all about who you know, and there aren’t all that many people mixing it up in Kyrgystan based on the reports of these US Department of Commerce conferences. So when we start talking about corruption, the problem can flash over very quickly and engulf others. Thus whenever we see people dying mysteriously or getting tossed off buildings or committing “suicide,” like all those bankers, then we must ask whether these deaths are really fire doors slamming shut to prevent the corruption exposures from spreading.

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Control:

Getting back to this story about trouble in the Stans and which one is next to blow, we learn a little more about Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan:

…Ordinary Uzbeks live in crushing poverty, with no free press and in fear of the rapacious security services. The country’s border with Kyrgyzstan has been shut off since the unrest began last week, and the Uzbek authorities have ensured that local media do not cover the uprising. Nevertheless, the fear for the Uzbek regime will be that news of the collapse of the Kyrgyz regime may put thoughts of revolution into the heads of Uzbeks.
In May 2005, roughly two months after the Tulip Revolution that brought Mr Bakiyev to power in Kyrgyzstan, protests erupted in the Uzbek town of Andijan, not far from the border with Kyrgyzstan. Uzbek troops fired into the crowds, and it is estimated that several hundred people died. The government refused to hold an independent inquiry into the events at Andijan, and claimed that the uprising was organised by terrorists, but those who were there speak of unarmed civilians being sprayed with machine gun fire and later buried in mass graves.

That is pretty much exactly the method covered in yesterday’s post about state-sponsored violence in Guatemala: refusing to hold inquiries, blaming the violence on terrorists:

Social cleansing and state-sponsored violence does not get investigated.

What may arguably be the strongest indication of the state’s role in the current violence is an absolute void of effective homicide investigations. Null or non-existent forensic investigations are a textbook indication of social cleansing. They allow for complete impunity, a heightened culture of terror, and increased powerlessness of victims’ family members, and more widely, civil society.

As for the border between Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan, a company called TFI (Task Force Innovation Internation) reported in their December 2007 newsletter the completion of two projects in Kyrgystan. The president of TFI is Glen Lockwood, the guy who chaired the U.S Department of Commerce Second Annual Conference “Trade and export in Kyrgyzstan: how to strengthen capacity?” on November 12, 2009.

Lockwood’s company completed several Kyrgystan projects in 2007. One was a border crossing.

On the 1st of October 2007, the official opening ceremony of Bekabad Border Crossing Point (Kyrgyzstan –Uzbekistan border) was held and attended by Glen Lockwood, The President of TFI International; Marie Yovanovich, The US Ambassador in Kyrgyzstan; Zlatko Zigic, The Head of Mission of International Organization for Migration in Kyrgyz Republic; Zamir Moldoshev, The Head of Kyrgyzstan Border Services; Jusupjan Jeenbekov, The First Deputy Minister of Emergency Situation of Kyrgyzstan, and other border and customs control officials. Construction of Bekabad Crossing Point was funded by US Department of State within the bounds of EXBS program implemented by IOM in Kyrgyzstan, and successfully completed by TFI International.

The second project involved the construction of showers and latrines at Manas AFB.

Glen Lockwood got married in Kyrgystan on September 11, 2001.

After his marriage, Lockwood planned to work for John Dawkins, who attended the wedding and was part owner and General Director of a Moscow technology company called IPSOTEL. But without explanation Russian authorities denied Lockwood entrance and sent him back to Kyrgystan.

Those crazy Russians. Who would think such a thing?

Anyway, a fascinating story thus ensues involving money, military people, contractors, Turkey, Iraq, intelligence operatives, etc. People coming in and out, companies changing names, giant egos, bitter grudges ending in a death and a disappearance.

In 2004, eight months after the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann and six months after the death of Ryan Manelick, it appeared that the US Army had finally begun an aggressive investigation into what had happened to the two men. Initially the investigation was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the U.S. Army’s Fourth Infantry Division, based in Tikrit, Iraq. By May, the case had moved to the Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU) of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (HQCID) in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The general assumption is that the Army’s renewed interest was the result of Greg Manelick’s tireless efforts to uncover the truth of who killed his son. In August of 2005, Geoff Nordloh met with agents of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division for a second time. The investigation into the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann and the murder of Ryan Manelick was said to be close to “wrapping up.“

Pretty serious. And somehow Glen Lockwood managed to survive all that because he’s still the president of TFI and up until last week, he was presumably acquainted with Maksim Bakiev.

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Let’s recap. From this one incident in Kyrgystan we can detect the following:

  1. a culture of corruption in Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan
  2. a culture of nepotism and the strong presence of moneyed people from the UK
  3. connections to Israel
  4. Bakiev hiding in the US and Manas now at risk
  5. US government and business personnel exposed to the fallout of Bakiev’s corruption
  6. the possibility of other contractors deeply involved in corruption
  7. the possibility of state-sponsored violence and intelligence operatives at work
hot

blow-up envoy

Richard Holbrooke is a Zionist Jew with a long track record of supporting Jewish causes.

  • As US Ambassador to the United Nations, he worked to secure Israel’s membership in the UN’s Western European and Others regional group, which ended Israel’s historic exclusion from regional deliberations and permitted election to leadership positions in UN sub-bodies. The Israeli government officially thanked Holbrooke for this favor.
  • Holbrooke secured consultative status at the UN for the Zionist women’s organization, Hadassah. This allowed Hadassah to be recognized as a NGO and give expert advice to the UN.
  • Under the Carter administration, following through on genocidal Kissinger policies, Holbrooke authorized arms shipments to the Indonesian government during a supposed blockade, and Indonesian government forces used these weapons to brutally suppress the Timorese.
  • As vice chairman at Credit Suisse First Boston, affiliated with a Swiss bank facing a class-action lawsuit to settle Holocaust-era claims, Holbrooke urged Switzerland to return assets to Holocaust victims.
  • The Jewish community widely praised Holbrooke for his role in ending the Bosnian war. The ADL and  the World Jewish Congress gave him awards.

As Richard Holbrooke, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, accepted his latest assignment on January 22, 2009 from the hands of the foreign policy establishment that made him rich and famous, he boldly and graciously projected the same establishment’s crimes onto the designated scapegoat.

Mr. President [Obama], Madame Secretary [Clinton], Mr. Vice President [Biden], you’ve asked me to deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan, two very distinct countries with extraordinarily different histories, and yet intertwined by geography, ethnicity, and the current drama. This is a very difficult assignment, as we all know. Nobody can say the war in Afghanistan has gone well. And yet, as we speak here today, American men and women and their coalition partners are fighting a very difficult struggle against a ruthless and determined enemy without any scruples at all, an enemy that is willing to behead women who dare to teach in a school to young girls, an enemy that has done some of the most odious things on earth.

And across the border, lurks a greater enemy still: the people who committed the atrocities of September 11th, 2001.

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On February 20, 2010, Holbrooke said that al Qaeda planned to infiltrate Central Asia and train militants there to destabilize the region. This al Qaeda menace would allegedly spread from Afghanistan, where they miraculously outwit coalition forces for years on end. Mr. Holbrooke says al Qaeda “trains international terrorists.” I’m guessing they provide things like passports, weapons, lodging, logistical support.

Stability in the vast resource-rich region sprawling between China, Russia and Afghanistan is crucial to the West as it lies on a new supply route for NATO-led operations in Afghanistan.

The region’s main home-grown extremist group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), wants to topple Central Asia’s secular post-Soviet leaders and establish strict Islamic rule.

In Central Asia, according to security experts, the al Qaeda terrorists will assist the home grown terrorists to take advantage of the failed state opening. Failed states justify terrorism, right? People understand that hopelessness leads to radicalization, which leads to terrorism.

People also understand that terrorism justifies military expansion. We can’t allow terrorists to go around beheading people. Military expansion makes for “stability,” and stability is crucial to The West. Why? Because it allows the NATO operations in Afghanistan to continue. And these operations have been very effective in stopping terrorists…. oh wait…. actually…

Right around here official logic falls apart, since Afghanistan is really about controlling the incredibly lucrative illegal drug market. But of course, that can never be admitted. That’s why Holbrooke can talk about the ruthless and determined enemies with no scruples who commit heinous crimes and behead people and murdered Americans on 911 etc. with a straight face (him not the enemies, to be clear), as he gets a promotion.

US Special Inflatable Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan
24″ tall

^^^^^^^

So Holbrooke did a quickie tour of Central Asia around February 21st. It all seemed rather terse and rushed.

A reticent Richard Holbrooke completed a lightning tour of Central Asia on February 21, a trip designed to bolster regional support for NATO efforts in Afghanistan…The envoy was scheduled to travel to all five Central Asian capitals, though a trip to Ashgabat was cancelled at the last minute due to “scheduling conflicts,” said an American Embassy representative there. After Astana, Holbrooke traveled to Georgia to meet with President Mikhail Saakashvili…It was difficult to discern the substance of Holbrooke’s various meetings, as his availability to journalists was limited. A press briefing originally scheduled to be given February 19 in tandem with President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of Kyrgyzstan was cancelled at the last minute….No press availability was even scheduled for Holbrooke during the Tashkent-leg of his trip….During a terse public appearance in Dushanbe, Holbrooke warned of the continuing threat of Islamic terrorists to the region’s security.

And then we heard about Iran capturing the terrorist Rigi, exposing his connections to the CIA, on February 22nd.

Moslehi said Rigi had been arrested on board a plane flying between Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia and the Gulf Arab emirate of Dubai. Television pictures showed him being taken off a plane in handcuffs, accompanied by four masked men.

“We have clear documents proving that Rigi was in cooperation with American, Israeli and British intelligence services,” Press TV quoted the intelligence minister as saying.
“Dubai has a smeared hand in this scandal that shows the Zionist regime wants to turn the region into a safe haven for terrorists with the help of America and Europe,” Moslehi declared, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Which all makes Mr. Holbrooke look like a….what’s the word….a LIAR.

But wait there’s more.

According to Wayne Madsen (via There Are No Sunglasses):

With the entire highly-vaunted U.S. intelligence community at his disposal, Holbrooke and his State Department and CIA team were forced to resort to dealing with Bishkek-Manas airport officials when their Iranian-Baluchi Jundallah guerrillas leader failed to show up in Bishkek on the Kyrgyzstan aircraft from Dubai.

…In an interview on Iranian TV, Rigi saus he was flying to Bishkek to meet an “important” American. The reason for the clandestine meeting in Manas was that the American would be easily spotted if he met Rigi anywhere else. At the time of the planned meeting between Rigi and the “important” American, AF-PAK Special Envoy Holbrooke was on a meandering journey in central Asia and Afghanistan “without a fixed schedule.” Holbrooke was in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on February 19.

Iran conducted the charade with the Kyrgyzstan airline in order to keep Holbrooke waiting nervously at Manas. Iran had already captured their prize of Rigi when the ISI, possibly after Rigi’s departure from Kuwaiteh or after he crossed into Afghanistan, took him under their protection and put him on the charter jet flight to Bandar Abbas. Possibly, ISI was at Spin Boldak and Rigi mistakenly believed the watch team was working for the CIA, when, in fact, they were working for the ISI, which had promised to turn Rigi over to the Iranians.

…Holbrooke and his party become concerned when Kyrgyzstan 454 is late. When the flight arrives, Holbrooke is told Rigi is not on board the flight and that two men were taken off the plane at Bandar Abbas. Holbrooke, clearly embarrassed and angry, departs Kyrgyzstan knowing the Iranians have nabbed one of the CIA’s top assets in the military operations being planned against Iran. Holbrooke, one of the most powerful American Jewish Zionists in the Obama administration, has egg all over his face, courtesy of a well-planned Iranian intelligence operation.

That is rather amusing.

news from Russia and the stans

1. Bagapsh inaugurated as president of Abkhazia

Sergei Bagapsh was sworn in on Friday for his second term as president of Abkhazia, thanking Russia in his inaugural address for helping the republic achieve independence from Georgia. …Bagapsh was re-elected as Abkhazia’s president on December 12, 2009, winning with over 60% of the vote in the republic’s first presidential election since Russia recognized its independence in August 2008 after a brief war with Georgia..

Bagapsh, 60, has been president of the former Georgian republic since January 2005.

The U.S. Department of State said the elections were illegitimate, while Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili condemned the vote as an illegal Kremlin-backed gesture in an “occupied territory.”

Russia is the guarantor of Abkhazia’s security with several thousand troops in the region under bilateral security and cooperation agreements signed since August 2008. Abkhazia’s independence has been recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.

SUKHUMI, February 12 (RIA Novosti)

2. runaway journalist gathered shocking videos about South Ossetia

Vakhtang Komakhidze, a well-known Georgian journalist, who requested political asylum in Switzerland, has shocking materials about South Ossetia, received in the course of his journey to the region in December 2009.

He managed to record “scandalous interviews, videos that can shake”, and the government of Georgia doesn’t want these to be published, said Nana Kakabadze, the human rights activist, in her interview to the Alia newspaper.

She added Komakhidze made his decision to request a political asylum in the airport of Tbilisi, when realized he was watched by Interior Ministry representatives - the VZGLYAD.

The human rights activist explained that in Switzerland he must have interviewed one of the judges of the Hague Tribunal. Now he plans to complete his film in that country. Komakhidze stated he made this decision as he couldn’t perform his professional duties in Georgia. He also mentioned threat to health and lives of himself and his family. Komakhidze explains his decision by menaces from the authorities.

source: georgia times

3. photographer on trial for showing real life in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT (Uzbekistan) - AN AWARD-WINNING Uzbek photographer went on trial for slander Tuesday after her work documenting the daily struggles of ordinary people in the Central Asian state landed her in hot water.

Umida Akhmedova, 54, stands accused of portraying people in the ex-Soviet nation as backward and impoverished in a collection of her photographs and a documentary film, both financed by the Swiss embassy in Tashkent….Akhmedova put the blame for the trial not on the government, but on an expert panel it had convened to analyze her work. The panel concluded in its report that the ‘photo album does not conform to aesthetic demands,’ a throwback to Soviet jargon, and that it would damage the country’s ’spiritual values’. The trial sets a chilling precedent for artists, said Surat Ikramov, head of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan. — AFP

source: straits times

see photos here and here

4. Russian court extends pretrial detention of oligarchs

A Moscow court ordered on Friday that Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev spend another three months in harsh pretrial detention rather than return to regular jail.

Khodorkovsky, 45, and Lebedev, 42, are already serving eight-year prison terms for tax evasion and fraud issued by a Moscow court in 2005 after a highly politicized trial seen by many in the West as part of a Kremlin drive to subdue politically ambitious business tycoons.

Both were moved in 2009 from prison in Siberia to Moscow’s notorious Matrosskaya Tishina jail to face new charges of embezzling 350 million tons of oil. Since then, their stay in the pretrial detention center has been repeatedly prolonged despite complaints from their lawyers.

Moscow’s Khamovniki District Court on Friday authorized keeping Khodorkovsky and Lebedev in pretrial detention until May 17.

“The court took into account the severity of the charges Khodorkovsky and Lebedev face when considering extending their detention,” presiding judge Viktor Danilkin said.

Russian officials have consistently denied any political motivation behind their convictions, but the fate of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev is still viewed by Russia-watchers abroad as an indicator of the state of Russia’s judicial system.

MOSCOW, February 12 (RIA Novosti)

5. Thailand drops arms case and releases Kazakhs — no decision on what to do with the seized weapons

BANGKOK - THAILAND said on Thursday it had decided to drop a case against the five member crew of a plane carrying sanctions-busting weapons from North Korea.

‘The trial here will not benefit Thailand so we have decided to drop the charges,’ said Thanapich Mulapruk, spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General, in a statement. ‘Their countries of origin want to try the men in their home countries,’ he said.

Another official from the attorney general’s office said the Belarussian pilot and four Kazakh crew would not be formally extradited. ‘(We) are sending an official to file a petition with the court to release all five men,’ Kayasit Pissawanprkan told reporters. ‘This is not an extradition but we consider them as having entered (Thailand) illegally.’

more @ straits times

back rooms of the NWO

In previously covered news:

Kazakhstan is a big place, far away, private, strategically located, full of natural resources, and not so full of people. If you’ve been following along, you will immediately see the attraction. Generally speaking, from the perspective of those who value power and natural resources over people, Kazakhstan is a turn-key operation.

This may explain why Kazakhstan is “Israel’s partner in Eurasia,” as well as why the capital city, Astana, has been built in New World Order Fantasy style.

^^^^^^^

Timur Kulibayev married President Nazarbayev’s daughter, Dinara.

An intelligent and ambitious President and CEO of the KMG group since June 2006, Kulibayev is married to President Nazarbayev’s second daughter Dinara. Until his promotion, he used to be KMG’s first vice president of KMG. In his 30s, he began his career in the finance ministry’s division which was once in charge of the petroleum sector. In March 1997, as Nazarbayev made Balgimbayev president of KazakhOil, the latter made Kulibayev the financial boss and vice president of the company. The oil and gas firms then were transferred from the finance ministry to KazakhOil.

In September 2009, for instance, Kulibayev entered into discussions with Azerbaijan about possible oil transport routes through Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Black Sea.

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are discussing the possibility of opening new routes to transport Kazakh oil. “Yesterday we held talks with Azerbaijan’s national oil and gas company, and agreed to carry out research on transporting Kazakh oil through Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Black Sea,” the chairman of the Kazenergy association, Timur Kulibayev, told a news conference held within the Kazakh energy week in Astana today. Kulibayev said that the matter concerned possible construction of a new pipeline within the existing Baku-Supsa corridor.

This week Kulibayev sued several Kazakh papers for libel after the published a letter from an exiled Kazakh banker accusing him of corruption.

In the letter, former banker Mukhtar Ablyazov accused Kulibayev of pocketing a portion of proceeds from the sale of a government stake in a Kazakh oil company to a state Chinese major. The government sold the stake for $150 million in 2003….Kulibayev, 43, is deputy chief executive of Kazakhstan’s powerful state welfare fund Samruk-Kazyna which controls key state companies such as energy firm KazMunaiGas [KMG.UL]. Kulibayev and his wife indirectly own a 41.8 percent stake in Kazakhstan’s second-largest bank, London-listed Halyk (HSBKq.L) HSBK.KZ.

The exiled politician who made the allegation, Mukhar Ablyazov, once Kazakhstan’s energy minister, used to run another Kazakh bank, BTA BTAS.KZ, until early 2009. The state accused Ablyazov of fraud last year, blaming him for part of BTA’s losses which exceeded $8 billion. Ablyazov, who has since left Kazakhstan, has denied any wrongdoing. BTA has since been nationalised.

Kazakh officials seized copies of the offending newspapers.

ALMATY — Kazakh officials have seized editions of at least five opposition and independent newspapers that contain an article alleging corruption by President Nursultan Nazarbaev’s son-in-law, Timur Kulibaev, who is suing the newspapers, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reports.

An Almaty district court ordered the seizure of the newspapers after Kulibaev filed a libel lawsuit against the publications “Respublika,” “Golos Respubliki” (Voice of the Republic), “Vzglyad” (Glance), “Kursiv,” and “Kursiv-News.”

The court also banned any reports “damaging the dignity and honor of Timur Kulibaev.” Kulibaev is an executive in many of Kazakhstan’s energy-sector businesses.

All of the impounded newspapers had printed a statement by former Kazakh businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov, who accused Kulibaev of corruption on several websites last week.

Ablyazov, who left Kazakhstan for London in 2009 after his BTA Bank was taken over by the government, stated that he had sent open letters to Chinese President Hu Jintao, China’s prosecutor-general, and the state security minister urging them to look into the companies involved in an allegedly corrupt deal with Kazakhstan.

Ablyazov claimed in the letter that when the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) agreed several years ago to buy shares of Kazakhstan’s AqtobeMunayGaz oil and gas company, Kulibaev made CNPC create an offshore company.

Ablyazov said that 49 percent of the off-shore company’s shares were sold to Darley Investment Services — which is controlled by Kulibaev — for $49. Ablyazov claims that CNPC and some of its branches then bought the shares back from Darley Investment Services for $165.9 million.

^^^^^^^

Could Kulibayev be corrupt?

According to News of the World in March 2008, Timur Kulibayev fathered a “love child” with a woman named Goga Ashkenazi (also known as Gaukhar Berkalieva). Ms. Ashkenazi has also dated Prince Andrew. (candid photos)

PRINCE Andrew had an intimate date with a society beauty just 72 HOURS after she gave birth to Timur Kulibayev’s lovechild, the News of the World can reveal. The Duke of York and sultry Goga Ashkenazi enjoyed a three-hour dinner at his favourite Chinese restaurant. It is not known if Andrew was aware that his Kazakhstan-born companion, the secret mistress of married Russian oil tycoon Timur Kulibayev, had just given birth.

And after the meal, 28-year-old Goga told pals: “I have every girl’s dream—a prince on one arm and a billionaire on the other.”

Kulibayev, 41, has a £1.2billion fortune and is married to the daughter of Kazakhstan’s President. Goga gave birth to his son, Adam Berkaliev, at London’s Great Portland Street hospital on December 27. Three days later, she arrived for dinner with Andrew in Ascot, Berks, in a chauffeur-driven £137,000 Bentley Continental Flying Spur.

…”We all knew that Andrew gave her unbeatable social status and was a valuable business contact too. “But in the romance stakes he is neither as powerful nor anywhere near as rich as Mr Kulibayev. I don’t think he comes close.” Andrew, 48—who gets a £250,000 a year allowance from the Queen— counts Goga as a “dear friend” and even introduced her to his mother at Ascot races last summer.

…The dusky brunette—whose real name is Gaukhar Berkalieva—was born in Kazakhstan in 1980 and educated in England from the age of 13. Her mother Saule Aralbayeva lives with her in Surrey. Goga has mixed with the wealthiest men in society since she was a teenager. Formula One supremo Flavio Briatore fell for her in 2002 and introduced her to the international playboy jet-set.

…Briatore, 57, is reported to have dumped Goga her discovering she was not, as he thought, the daughter of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. After that Goga fell for Kulibayev, who controls access to Kazakhstan’s vast untapped reserves of crude oil. It was hoped her friendship with Prince Andrew would please the tycoon and help generate investment in his oilfields. The prince travelled to Kazakhstan in October last year looking to promote links with the UK’s North Sea oil industry.

…In contrast to her flirty style with Prince Andrew, Goga is said to be very respectful of Kulibayev. He was widely tipped, until recently, to be the hand-picked successor of President Nazarbayev. Despite his high profile and politically significant marriage to the president’s daughter, he and Goga registered the birth of their son together in London last month. They went to Westminster Council’s register office on February 5, taking Goga’s maiden name as their boy’s surname. The father is named on the birth certificate as Timur Askarovich Kulibayev and his profession is listed as “entrepreneur”.

Goga has one failed marriage behind her. She wed Aidar Akayev, son of the President of Kyrgyzstan, in 1998. He later fled the country accused of money laundering and the relationshipe broke down.

…Kulibayev’s marriage to President Nazarbayev’s middle daughter Dinara cemented his position at the heart of the country’s powerbase and he was put in control of the country’s oil and his family’s finances. The tycoon is said to have kept Goga on a luxury yacht off the coast of Turkey during a holiday with Dinara in 2007.  His daily visits to his mistress, almost within sight of his wife, were an open secret among his staff. Goga’s loyalty to Kulibayev has been lavishly rewarded. She is currently Chief Executive Officer of MunaiGaz Engineering, a Kazakh oil firm with offices in London’s Grosvenor Cresent, that is building a pipeline across Kazakhstan.

A few months later, Prince Andrew’s marital home was sold to an offshore company for £15m.

In May The Sunday Times revealed that the foreign buyer had paid £3m more than the guide price on the property, even though there were no other bidders and it had been languishing unsold on the market for five years. Now it has emerged that the Kazakh who negotiated to buy Sunninghill Park may not be the real owner of the property, which in less than a year has become neglected and semi-derelict with doors left unlocked. Close family members of the man who negotiated the sale were also under investigation for suspected money laundering at the time of the sale, which took place last year.

…What is not in doubt is that the true buyer of Sunninghill Park is personally known to Andrew, who has a number of links to Kazakhstan, both professional and personal. He has visited the country many times on official business in his capacity as a roving amabassador for British trade and also on discreet private trips.
On one of his most recent visits, in May, he is understood to have spent a weekend on a goose-shooting excursion with Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan.

A spokesmen for the prince said that the sale of Sunninghill Park was a private matter, as no public money had been involved. But the Duke of York’s public role, for which he last year received £436,000 to cover his expenses, makes it essential that all his dealings are seen to be above board.

The Sunday Times has established that Kenes Rakishev, a wealthy 29-year-old Kazakh businessman, negotiated the purchase. He was said by a source close to the deal to have orchestrated it with the help of Imangali Tasmagambetov, his father-in-law, who is the mayor of Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

Andrew, who knows both Rakishev and Tasmagambetov, has refused to comment on the identity of the owner of his former home, which was a gift from the Queen at the time of his marriage to Ferguson.

Gaukhar “Goga” Ashkenazi, a 28-year-old Kazakh business-woman who is often seen with Andrew, is said to have told friends that she is the owner of Sunninghill Park and intends to knock it down and build something new. No planning applications have been lodged, and this weekend a spokeswoman for Ashkenazi, who last year bought a house in Holland Park, west London, for £27.5m, denied that she is connected to Sunninghill Park.

The other person who is thought to be the owner of Sunninghill Park is one of the most powerful men in Kazakhstan. Outstanding water bills for the property have been sent to a woman who works for him.

Timur Kulibayev, 41, is a billionaire oil and gas tycoon who is known to Andrew, not least through their attendance at hunting parties thrown by Nazarbayev. Sometimes, according to sources, the president has been known to shoot bears.

…Kulibayev’s connection to Sunninghill Park is well hidden. But the Crown Estate, which runs Windsor Great Park in which Sunninghill Park is sited, has been attempting to send invoices for outstanding water bills at the property to a woman called Olga Aristova, who works for Kulibayev in Kazakhstan. Rakishev said that Aristova worked for the billionaire as a manager. She refused to comment when contacted. At the same time, a debt collection agency working for the power company E.ON has been pursuing Rakishev for electricity bills of more than £4,000 for Sunninghill Park.

…One Kazakh politician described Rakishev as Kulibayev’s “bell boy”.

…Kulibayev, who is a former vice-president of KazMunaiGas (KMG), the state oil and gas company, and now chairman of KazEnergy, the industry’s umbrella organisation, repeatedly failed to respond to questions put to him. Although on paper Kulibayev is no longer connected to KMG, his tentacles in the oil industry are still far-reaching. They will undoubtedly have brought him into contact with the prince whose official task for the government is to help to broker deals between British firms and foreign interests.

According to one politician in Kazakhstan, the prince met representatives of KMG in May at the time of one of his most recent private trips. Witnesses also report seeing the prince in the country on a private visit in November, shortly after an official visit. On that occasion Andrew was seen at a bar called Soho in the city of Almaty. Again, he was said to be in the company of senior executives from KMG while also enjoying the attentions of a brunette.

Kulibayev has also been busy inviting VIPs, reportedly including the prince, to regular hunting meets hosted by the Kazakh president. The events involve hospitality of every conceivable kind.


That’s a worrying statement right there. One might pause to extrapolate here.

You know, I think it’s possible they might be corrupt.

Nazarbayev’s financial dealings are being exposed to unfavourable scrutiny. He is facing embarrassment in the United States over a pending court case involving James Giffen, an American businessman who is accused of paying Nazarbayev $78m in bribes from oil companies in return for contracts.

Nazarbayev and other Kazakhs who are linked to people involved in the purchase of Sunninghill Park were, at the same time, being investigated by prosecutors in Liechtenstein over suspicions of money laundering via a company called the Walisa Foundation.

Among the 10 people involved in the “preliminary investigation” were Tasmagambetov, who has denied any connection to the prince’s house sale, his daughter Asel, who is married to Rakishev, and Dinara Kulibayeva.

According to Interpol transmissions between Liechtenstein and the United States, Tasmagambetov, Nazarbayev and Dinara were being investigated over a suspicion of money laundering, while Asel was described as also “involved in this case”. Rakishev was not involved.

And as for Prince Andrew, it all worked out swell. He’s on a small allowance and it’s not easy, you know.

…The extra money from the sale will have come in handy. After leaving Sunninghill Park, Andrew, whose only known personal income is a £249,000 annuity from his mother, moved into Royal Lodge, the Queen Mother’s former Windsor residence. He borrowed money from the Queen to fund a £7m refur-bishment on the understanding that he would pay her back from the sale of Sunninghill. Thanks to the Kazakhs he can easily afford to pay his debts.

^^^^^^^

Moneyed people and royals in Britian have become enamored with all things Kazakhstan.

Britain is the third largest foreign investor nation in Kazakhstan. More than 100 UK-based companies are operating there, primarily in the field of energy, although the St Helens-based Pilkington glass company is currently developing a plant near Kyzylorda, which was said at its inception in 2007 to be the largest industrial project in the country.

Undoubtedly the British kingpin in this economic love-in is Sir Richard Evans, the former chairman of BAE Systems and the man who brokered the largest arms deal in British history during the 1980s in Saudi Arabia. Sir Dick is a world-renowned tough cookie. Since 2006 he has been in charge of Samruk, the Kazakh oil-to-railwaysto-airline state holding company, now Samruk-Kazyna, which controls one third of the nation’s developing economy and in effect employs some 250,000 of the 16 million population. Not bad for a lad from Lancashire.

Furthermore, two years ago Lord Rothschild established an investment fund, Tau Capital, to ‘give investors the opportunity to participate in the wealth of investment opportunities in Kazakhstan,’ says its website. Interestingly, this is a return to the region for the Rothschilds who, at the start of the 1900s, were the second most important family in the Caspian Sea area.

But what has attracted headlines beyond the business pages is the number of members of our own Royal Family who have taken an interest in all matters Kazakh. Earlier this month Prince Michael of Kent confided that he was heading to Almaty on a ‘private visit’ business trip later this year. ‘There are a number of ventures I am looking into,’ he said. These are belttightening times for the Prince, who has announced that from next year he will be paying an annual rent of [pounds sterling]120,000 to remain at the apartment in Kensington Palace that he has long shared with his wife for a nominal amount. One can only imagine that Prince Michael has taken advice from Prince Andrew who has had serious property problems of his own, only to have them solved by doing business with the man who has run Kazakhstan with an iron grip for almost two decades.

Tight. One big happy family.

UPDATE: Goga Ashkenazi turns 30, has a big party with her friends.

Who said we live in austerity Britain? Last night saw the 30th birthday party of glamorous socialite Goga Ashkenazi, who has shot from being a complete unknown to boasting that she has “a prince on one arm and a billionaire on the other”. That refers to her close friendships with Prince Andrew and the son-in-law of the Kazakh premier, Nursultan Nazarbayev, oil magnate Timur Kulibayev, with whom she is believed to have had a child.
The guest list for the Tyringham Hall, Buckinghamshire, soirée included the Duke of York, Colonel Gaddafi’s socialite sons, Moutassim and Saif, Sir Philip Green, Lord Mandelson and Lakshmi Mittal. Meanwhile, the dress code stated “black tie and truly fabulous” as tycoons were told that they could drop off their private jets at, er, Luton Airport. Camparis all round!

And:

And partygoers — who included Russian model Natalia Vodianova, Indian-born steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, glamourpuss Nancy Dell’Olio, and Lord Mandelson — were asked to adhere to a ‘black tie and truly fabulous’ dress code. But not even the spectacle of Kazakhstan beauty Goga’s image being beamed on to the walls of the 18th-century mansion could match the highlight of the evening — special guest Prince Andrew (whose house Goga sold) being  entertained by a live performance from louche American rapper Akon, famous for his hit song Smack That.

judge for yourself who rises and who falls

1. Ahmadinejad to inaugurate 2nd Iran-Turkmenistan pipeline Wednesday

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is on a visit to Ashgabat is due to inaugurate the second gas pipeline between the two countries to transfer Turkmenistan’s gas supplies to Iran….The pipeline which passes through Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran will facilitate the hike in Turkmenistan’s gas exports to Iran up to 20 bln c/m annually, the statement added….Iran and Turkmenistan also plan to expand their gas cooperation to other areas of activity, including energy swap and transit. The Iranian and Turkmen oil ministers in October discussed ways to use Iran’s transit route for Turkmen gas deliveries to Europe.

read more @ fars

2. Qatar’s national bank to invest in Iranian oilfield

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) announced that Qatar’s National Bank (QNB) is due to invest 400 mln euros in Iran’s Esfandiar oilfield in the Persian Gulf….Esfandiar and Forouzan oilfields are shared by both Iran and Saudi Arabia and have so far been mainly exploited by the Saudis.

read more @ fars


3. ex spy chief says Iran govt about to collapse — parrots Israeli talking points how about that?

A former high-ranking intelligence official in Iran has called for his country to form better relations with the United States and Israel and says the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on the verge of collapse. In an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post Sunday, Mohammad Reza Madhi, a former officer in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence service, described Mr Ahmadinejad as ”crazy” and unfit to lead his country.

”He has already destroyed international relationships with many countries and made them enemies of Iran,” said Mr Madhi, who was forced to flee Iran in 2008 after being jailed for 73 years on what he described as ”trivial” charges. ”This has cost the Iranian people so much. His ideas are dangerous.”…”Israel’s internal problems are its own affairs, not ours. We shouldn’t get involved. It shouldn’t concern us. My view is that Israel has the right to exist. We should recognise it.”

read more @ bangkok post


4. Ahmadinejad: collapse of imperialism imminent

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned the world powers against military adventurism in the Middle-East and reiterated that imperialism will disappear soon….Reminding that foreign military presence in a number of regional countries has fueled insecurity in the region, the Iranian president expressed the hope that plots to destabilize the region would soon end.

read more @ fars

5. after Livni, Israeli army delegation cancels trip to UK for fear of arrest

Israel has canceled the departure of a military delegation to Britain last week after British authorities could not vouch that Israeli occupation army’s officers would not be arrested. The delegation was slated to include four to five officers invited to the UK by the British army.
…The incident is viewed with great severity by Israeli government officials.

Meanwhile, British Attorney General Baroness Patricia Janet Scotland is currently visiting the Zionist entity and is expected to meet with Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman and elements from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The Israeli side is slated to stress that it expects a change in British legislation that would prevent any arrests. The issue of changing UK law to prevent the arrest of Israeli officials and officers was expected to loom large in Lady Scotland’s meetings with fore ign ministry officials.

Israeli elements are also expected to assert that British-Israeli relations are in danger of being cynically exploited by Palestinian elements. The Israelis also noted incidents that could jeopardize relations, for example the academic and commercial boycott of Israel.

read more @ al manar tv


6. Israeli digging triggers landslide in Occupied Jerusalem

In an earlier statement the foundation cautioned that the network of tunnels, being dug by the Israeli occupation around and under Al-Aqsa Mosque under the pretext of archeological excavations, could topple the holy Mosque and the nearby homes.

…The foundation appealed to the Arab and Muslim nations to step in immediately to save the endangered Mosque.
Residence of Wade IL Hilo, in Silwan reported that they were surprised Saturday evening when a large collapse occurred in the main street to a depth of four meters and a length of three meters. According to residents loud noise was heard at six in the evening yesterday, an explosion rocked nearby homes, and were surprised that the cause of the explosion was due to the collapse of the main street in Wade Il Hilo near the Muslim child kindergarten, and also close to a mosque named Ein Silwan which is only twenty meters away from Al-Aqsa Mosque in a tunnel four meters deep and a length of three meters.

read more @ al manar tv


7. tensions rise over water

Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz today warned that unless the hike in the water tariffs was implemented, a NIS 1 billion across-the-board budget cut would be necessary. He told the Knesset State Control Committee that without a water tariff hike, he would be forced to choose between two alternatives:

1. An across-the-board budget cut, or
2. Delaying water projects, including construction of desalination plants.

Steinitz said that the second alternative was liable to cause Israel’s water situation to deteriorate to the conditions on Cyprus. “Raising the price of water isn’t easy, but it’s essential for fixing the water economy so we don’t end up like Cyprus, where taps are dry.”

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