Sunday, October 31, 2010

US war legacy becomes Turkey's Pandora's box


The U.S. withdrawal from Iraq could lead to a civil war in the country unless a stable government is formed, experts have warned, noting that the outcome would have negative impacts on Turkey.

"The biggest concern is a possible clash between Kurds and Arabs, Turkomen and Kurds or Shiites and Sunnis, which would directly have an impact on Turkey. The second concern is that instability might create a convenient environment for terrorists," Sedat Laçiner, the coordinator of the International Strategic Research Organization, or USAK, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Friday.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

US and Russia to carry out drug raids in Georgia?

Will raids be carried out next on the black sea coast of Georgia - where drugs for weapons swaps are so common?

Russia and US collaborate in Afghanistan drug raid

Map of Afghanistan

Russian and US agents have taken part in a joint operation to destroy drug laboratories in Afghanistan, the head of Russia's drug control agency says.

More than a tonne of heroin and opium was seized during the raids, which took place on Thursday close to the border with Pakistan, Viktor Ivanov announced.

Mr Ivanov said the haul had a street value of $250m (£157m) and was believed to have been destined for Central Asia.

Correspondents say it is the first time there has been such a joint operation.

Russian officials have in the past accused coalition forces in Afghanistan of doing "next to nothing" to tackle drug production, and thereby helping to sustain the estimated 2.5 million heroin addicts in Russia alone.

Much of the heroin enters the territory of the former Soviet Union through Afghanistan's northern borders with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

It then travels westwards across Kazakhstan, before entering the central and Ural regions of Russia, where there are large numbers of addicts. 



Nb it is interesting to note that no mention is made here of the transit route via Kyrgyzstan to Georgia and Azerbaijan via various mechanisms, and then to Turkey and other points, including Southern Russia.


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Monday, October 25, 2010

Pro-Kremlin Chechen Leader Accuses Tbilisi of Helping Militants

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 Oct.'10 / 23:43

Chechnya's Kremlin-backed President, Ramzan Kadyrov, said that Georgia remained "almost the only" external force helping militants in Chechnya.

"There are few remaining sources of serious support - moral and financial - to the militants. Previously they had been receiving financial assistance and weapons via the Georgian territory; whole groups of gangs were sent to Chechnya through Georgia. Even today it can be said, that almost the only source from where the militants are assisted, where the militants are trained, is Georgia," Kadyrov was quoted by the Russian news agencies as saying in Grozny on October 22.


Does Georgia supply global arms to Iran

Publication: Middle East
Author: Blanche, Ed
Date published: March 1, 2010

THE SEIZURE IN BANGKOK OF A Georgia-registered Ilyushin II-76 cargo aircraft carrying 35 tons of arms, which global arms monitors say was bound for Iran, last December, and the trials of two arms dealers seeking to smuggle components for fighter jets and missiles to Iran have exposed how Tehran has stepped up its clandestine procurement of arms.

This has coincided with growing confrontation between the West and the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear programme, its alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons and Tehran's preparations for possible war with Israel, the United States - or both.

The Ilyushin's deadly cargo included rocket-propelled grenades, two mobile multiple rocket launchers, capable of firing devastating broadsides of 240mm rockets, and components for surface-to-air missiles, all valued at around $i8m. Mikhail Petukhov, the Belarussian pilot who served in the Soviet air force for 20 years, said he understood that he was carrying heavy equipment for oil drilling operations - a familiar cover in the armssmuggling business. The II-76 is a workhorse aircraft, designed to carry heavy machinery and land on rugged airstrips in remote regions - making it perfect for gunrunning.

The seizure at Bangkok's Don Muang Airport uncovered a paper trail of documentation through a web of phony companies and fake addresses from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, to New Zealand and the UAE that the gunrunners used to mask their movements and make it difficult for investigators to trace their illegal cargoes.

Mystery still surrounds the flight of the Ilyushin, which began in North Korea and ended at a refuelling stop in the Thai capital. The Russian-language flight manifest lists Mehrabad Airport outside Tehran as the cargo's destination. The airport includes a military air base. A Thai government report to the United Nations Security Council in late January said the arms were destined for Iran, although it is not clear whether they were to be moved elsewhere later.

According to Hugh Griffiths, who monitors arms trafficking for the highly respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the aircraft was allegedly linked to two well-known gunrunners, Tomislav Dmanjanovic of Serbia and Viktor Bout of Russia.

As fate would have it, Bout, considered the most notorious of the current generation of gunrunners, was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 in an undercover US sting operation and is behind bars in the city's Klong Prem central prison - where the five Ilyushin crewmen are languishing - while he fights extradition to the United States.

Three days after the Ilyushin was seized in Thailand, Iranian arms dealer Amir Hossein Ardebili was convicted in a US federal court on 14 counts of violating US arms control regulations and sentenced to five years' imprisonment. He was arrested in October 2007 in a sting operation run by US agents posing as arms dealers.

On 23 November, veteran Belgian gunrunner Jacques Monsieur, a former intelligence agent known as "the Field Marshal", pleaded guilty in a US court to conspiracy to smuggle US-made J85-21 engines for F-5 fighter jets to the Islamic Republic. That underlined how one of the main sources of supply for Iran's clandestine procurement agents is "the Great Satan" itself. He remains behind bars in Alabama awaiting sentencing.

The swashbuckling Monsieur, who had escaped arrest before by claiming to work for the Central Intelligence Agency or France's DST, was arrested in New York on 27 August 2009, when he flew in from France en route to Bogota, Colombia.

Like Ardebili, he was the victim of a yet another US sting operation. He told the undercover agents he dealt with in Paris he planned to obtain an export licence, asserting the jet engines were destined for Colombia, when in fact they were to be secretly shipped to the UAE, and then on to Iran.

The Islamic Republic has had to conduct much of its arms procurement secretly, almost from the moment Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, armed to the teeth by the Americans, was toppled in January 1979. US-led international arms embargoes seriously curtailed the new republic's armsbuying ability.

It set up a global network to acquire arms and the means to make them, including the contentious nuclear programme that came later, using front companies often run out of Iranian embassies in Europe.

According to former US Justice Department official Pat Rowan, who tracked Iran's arms-buying operations, Tehran depends to a large extent on middlemen running "shady companies around the world. It's an extraordinary network they've developed to work around the web of sanctions that's intended to stop them."

This network was given great impetus by the 1980-88 war with Iraq, when ensuring a steady supply of weaponry became crucial for the infant republic's survival after Saddam Hussein invaded.

These days, the intelligence ministry and the Revolutionary Guards, which also control the defence industry, largely control the procurement network. They report to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

According to Claude Moniquet, president of the European Strategic Intelligence & Security Centre, a Brussels-based think-tank that monitors international terrorism, the network is still mainly run by the Iranian embassies in Berlin and Paris.

"The scientific counsellor of the embassy in Paris is a post which is allegedly occupied by an intelligence officer charged with industrial and scientific espionage," he said in a recent analysis. "He performs this function for the entire European Union with the exception of Great Britain."

In June 2005, the US Justice Department said that it had thwarted several plots that prevented arms worth $2.5bn, including 18 F-4 and 13 F-5 fighter jets, 20 helicopters and thousands of missiles of various types, reaching Iran. Among those indicted were a 50 -year-old US corporate lawyer based in London and a retired Israeli army general. It was the biggest arms bust US federai authorities had ever made.

Major operation

In April 2009, Canadian police, tipped off by US authorities, arrested Toronto resident Mahmoud Yadegari on charges of trying to ship nuclear technology to Tehran. In September, two Dutchmen, Robert Kraaipoel and his son Neils pleaded guilty in Washington to exporting 290 items of US-made aircraft parts to Iran in violation of US embargoes between 2005 and 2007.

Ardebili, an Iranian engineer who has been tracked by US authorities since 2004, was a major target for the Americans and a notable catch in their worldwide campaign to cripple Tehran's arms procurement network. Court documents described Ardebili as a "prolific" arms buyer for Tehran.

He was one of several people trapped in a series of sting operations mounted by US authorities to snare Iranian agents. In October 2007, undercover agents of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service posing as arms buyers lured him to Tbilisi, capital of Georgia.

That was part of a major operation by 7,000 special agents to shut down international arms dealers and prosecute them. To catch Ardebili they set up "storefront" operations using dummy companies in Philadelphia, Boston and Europe in 2004 to lure him into a trap.

In 2005, Ardebili took the bait and contacted the Philadelphia front company. Contacts remained erratic, but in February 2007, via an undercover ICE front company in Europe, Ardebili sent an "urgent request" for hi-tech gyroscopes used in advanced aircraft and missiles, and "phase shifter" chips that electronically control guidance and target acquisition systems. He said he was acting on behalf of Iran's Defence Ministry.

Later he wanted computers for F-4 Phantom fighter jets the United States sold to the Shah of Iran in the 1970s before the Islamic Revolution toppled him.

These Vietnam-era aircraft have been largely grounded because international arms embargoes made it extremely difficult to find spare parts.

As ICE agents started to reel in Ardebili, he agreed to make them a down payment of $3,000, which he sent to a Delaware bank (which is why he was prosecuted in Wilmington, the state capital). Negotiations began to set up a face-to-face meeting. Ardebili wanted Dubai, through which much of Iran's clandestine business is conducted. He later agreed to Tbilisi.

Three years after the sting operation was launched, Ardebili was arrested.

He was secretly flown to the US in January 2008 and kept under wraps until the Americans announced his trial in Delaware last December.

In the nearly two years between his arrest and trial, Ardebili, whose laptop computer was seized with him, is said to have provided invaluable data on Iran's arms procurement used by US authorities to launch other investigations.

During his trial, prosecutors showed a secretly filmed videotape of his encounter with the agents posing as US and European businessmen in which he declared that Tehran was engaged in a high-stakes operation to acquire as much weaponry as it could "because they think the war is coming".

The arms seized aboard the Ilyushin at Bangkok and several cargo ships over the last year are not the type of weapons that Iran's military forces would need. Iran's defence industries turn out enough small arms and infantry weapons to keep these forces fully equipped.

So it is more likely the confiscated shipments were ultimately destined for Iran's militant proxies around the Middle East, particularly Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Indeed, there has been a marked increase in Iranian arms shipments to these organisations in recent years, in part to arm them to attack Israel if it launches threatened military strikes against Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

On 29 January 2009, a US warship in the Gulf of Aden intercepted a Russian cargo vessel, the Monchegorsk, registered in Cyprus and flying the Cypriot flag.

It had been chartered by Iran's stateowned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its cargo included containers full of artillery charges, high-explosive propellant for anti-tank weapons and items related to 125mm armour-piercing guns, that were destined for Syria, supposedly for delivery to Hizbullah.

Four months earlier, the US Treasury Department accused IRISL of illegal arms trafficking, alleging it "falsifies documents and uses deceptive schemes to shroud its involvement in illicit commerce". Britain banned private- sec tor companies from trading with IRISL in early October 2009.

As events unfolded, it became clear that IRISL plays a prominent role in Tehran's clandestine operation to supply arms to its allies across the Middle East.

The Monchegorsk was one of five ships caught in 2009 carrying large consignments of weapons that western intelligence believe were ultimately destined for Iran's allies, or for the Revolutionary Guard's Al Quds Force. That is an elite and secretive unit that deals with groups like Hizbullah and Hamas and handles clandestine operations abroad.

In July 2009, the French-owned, Bahamian-flagged freighter ANL Australia was seized in the UAE following a US tip-off. The vessel was bound for Iran with containers of North Korean small arms, rocket components, 2,030 detonators for 122mm rockets and enough explosive powder to arm thousands of short-range rockets; all were listed as oil drilling equipment.

In early October, the US Navy, tipped off by Israeli intelligence, intercepted the German-registered freighter Hansa India in the Gulf of Suez and found it was carrying seven containers filled with 7.62mm ammunition for Kalashnikov assault rifles. US officials said the weapons were from Iran and bound either for the Syrian military or for Hizbullah.

On 4 November, the Israeli navy intercepted the German-owned freighter Francop off Cyprus following a tip-off from US intelligence.

Naval commandos of the elite Flotilla 13 force found more than 300 tons of arms to Syria, presumably for delivery to Hizbullah. The cargo bore the imprimatur of IRISL. The arms had been shipped from the IRGC base at Bandar Abbas to the Egyptian Mediterranean port of Damiat aboard an Iranian vessel, then transferred to the Francop as oil drilling equipment.

The Francop was escorted to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where 36 containers were unloaded to reveal 3,000 Katyusha rockets, 3,000 shells for recoilless guns, 20,000 grenades, half a million rounds of assorted ammunition and 9,000 mortar shells - enough, the Israelis maintained, to sustain Hizbullah for a month of combat against the Jewish state.

Read more:


International arms dealings, the CIA and “suitcase atomic bombs”

Background to weapons and convert operations in Georgia

Since at least 1981, a worldwide network of independent  [i.e., no direct U.S. government ties] companies, including airlines, aviation and military spare parts suppliers, and trading companies, has been utilized by the CIA and the U.S. government to illegally ship arms and military spare parts to Iran and to the Contras. These companies were set up with the approval and knowledge of senior CIA officials and other senior U.S. government officials and staffed primarily by ex-CIA, ex-FBI and ex-military officers.

These CIA-controlled companies include Aero Systems, Inc., of Miami, Arrow Air, Aero Systems Pvt. Ltd of Singapore, Hierax of Hong Kong, Pan Aviation in Miami, Merex in Georgia, Sur International, St. Lucia Airways, Global International Airways, International Air Tours of Nigeria, Continental Shelf Explorations, Inc., Jupiter, Florida, Varicon, Inc., Dane Aviation Supply of Miami, Parvus, Safir, International Trading and Investment Guaranty Corp., Ltd.,  Air America, CAA, and Information Security International Inc.

During the Iran Contra affair, General Secord's arms shipments, arraigned through the CIA, transferred weapons destined for Central America to Merex Corporation,  (Merex International Arms)  of Savannah, Ga. The Merex address  was occupied by Combat Military Ordinances Ltd., controlled by retired  military officer James P. Atwood.  Atwood, a retired  Lieutenant Colonel of U.S. Military Intelligence, [and later a CIA contract worker], stationed in their Berlin office, was  involved in major arms trades with CIA-sponsored international buyers, specifically Middle Eastern Arab states. Monzer Al-Kassar utilized the Merex firm for some of his weapons transactions with the CIA-controlled international weapons cartel.

Merex systems was founded by Otto Skorzeny's associate Gerhard Mertins in Bonn after the war and was considered a CIA proprietary firm. Merex was close to and worked with the BND, the German intelligence service evolved from the CIA-controlled Gehlen organization. Atwood was involved with Interarmco, run by Samuel Cummings, an Englishman who ran the largest arms firm in the world. Cummings died in Monaco Carlo with a country place at Villars in the Swiss Alps. where he resettled in 1960 because he had looted his CIA employers and found European residence safer than Warrenton, Virginia.

 Interarms (formerly  Interarmco and officially the International Armaments Corporation) was the world's largest private arms dealer, and once had enough weapons in their warehouses to equip forty U.S. divisions. The sole owner was Sam Cummings, who got his start working with the CIA to procure weapons for the 1954 coup in Guatemala

A most interesting individual was James P. Atwood (April 16, 1930- July 20, 1997).

A top US Army Intelligence agent and important CIA contract worker and former FBI employee who ran guns, drugs, counterfeit rare German daggers, stolen archives and much more in and out of various countries from his headquarters in Savannah, Georgia.

During his career, Atwood worked with the CIA's Sam Cummings, Tom Nelson, Jim Critchfield and many others

Atwood's activities are linked to Robert Crowley (who knew him and disliked him) ,to Jim Critchfield and a number of other CIA luminaries.

Arrested by the Army's CIC in the early 60s, for misuse of government mail, tax fraud and other matters,  Atwood  got the CIA to force the charges against him dropped. All the paperwork was supposed to have been destroyed but a copy of the 62 count indictment plus the Chicago Federal judge's orders have survived.

Atwood operated in the Middle East, Germany and Central America. He sold US secrets to Marcus Wolfe of the Stasi and the BND photographed them together in East Berlin

He smuggled guns into Guatemala and Nicaragua and drugs into the US.

Atwood's role in supplying weapons and explosives to the Quebec Libré movement. The head of the Canada Desk at the Company was actively encouraging this group to split away from Canada. This is a chapter that the CIA does not want discussed. Atwood's connections with Skorzeny and the IRA/Provo wing make dramatic reading. One of Atwood's Irish connections is the man who ran the cell that blew up Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1979. There is also the shipping of weapons into the southern Mexican provinces by Atwood and his Guatemala based consortium. Oceanic Cargo.

Atwood had a number of ex-Gestapo and SD people on board, some of whom were wanted for war crimes.

Klaus Barbie was also connected with Atwood

Barbie, who was Gestapo chief in Lyon, France, during the war, worked for the CIC after the war and fled to South America when his American handlers tipped him off. Barbie took some of the hidden Nazi gold and invested it in several businesses and also continued to prosper by starting the Estrella Company which sold bark, coca paste, and assault weapons to a former SS officer, Frederich Schwend in Lima, Peru. Schwend had been trained by the OSS in the early 1940s after he had informed Allen Dulles that the German SS had hidden millions in gold, cash, and loot in the mountains of southern Germany and Austria as the European war was winding down.

Both Schwend and Barbie formed Transmaritania which was a shipping company that also generated millions of dollars in profits from the cocaine business. They purchased their weapons from another SS colleague, Colonel Otto Skorzeny who had been head of SS Commando units towards the end of the war, later worked for the CIA and had started the Merex weapons business in Bonn after the war. Another Atwood contact was one Walter Rauff, a senior SD officer, friend of Dulles and once head of the SD in Milan (after a tour in Tunisia as head of the SD there during Rommel's campaign in Africa.) The Rauff story is even more entertaining than the Barbie one and more disruptive when it becomes public. Rauff worked for the CIA, lived unmolested and well protected by the CIA, in South America .

While Atwood was involved in supplying weapons to Cuban insurgents for the Bay of Pigs incident, he stated to a number of his associates that he learned of highly classified information on the accidental release, in Florida, of deadly toxins that the CIA was planning to use in advance of the invasion to "soften up" Castro's militia.

The designated head of the CIA, Porter Goss, was a CIA agent in Florida at this time, was involved in the planning and expected execution of the Cuban invasion and suddenly became "very ill", as his specs on Google point out, and had to retire. Atwood told his friends that Goss, later a Florida political figure, was a participating party in this specific part of the CIA invasion plans.

In 1992, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was considerable concern expressed in US intelligence circles about the whereabouts, and also the security of, certain ex-Soviet military tactical atomic warheads. In the 1960s, the Soviet Union launched R&D to miniaturize and improve reliability of nuclear weapons. Development activities included strategic systems for the Navy; cruise missiles, aviation bombs and artillery projectiles [the smallest nuclear charge was developed for a 152mm artillery projectile].The model is based on unclassified data on the components in an atomic artillery shell, to see if such a system could be reassembled in a suitcase. Indeed, as it turns out, the physics package, neutron generators, batteries, arming mechanism and other essentials of a small atomic weapon can fit, just barely, in an attaché case. The result is a plutonium-fueled gun-type atomic weapon having a yield of one-to-ten kilotons, the same yield range attributed  in a 1998 US media interview by General Lebed to the Russian "nuclear suitcase" weapon."

The smallest possible bomb-like object would be a single critical mass of plutonium (or U-233) at maximum density under normal conditions. An unreflected spherical alpha-phase critical mass of Pu-239 weighs 10.5 kg and is 10.1 cm across.

A single critical mass cannot cause an explosion however since it does not cause fission multiplication,  somewhat more than a critical mass is required for that. But it does not take much more than a single critical mass to cause significant explosions. As little as 10% more (1.1 critical masses) can produce explosions of 10-20 tons. This low yield seems trivial compared to weapons with yields in the kilotons or megatons, but it is actually far more dangerous than conventional explosives of equivalent yield due to the intense radiation emitted. A 20 ton fission explosion, for example, produces a very dangerous 500 rem radiation exposure at 400 meters from burst point, and a 100% lethal 1350 rem exposure at 300 meters. In 1991 the US unilaterally withdrew its nuclear artillery shells from service, and Russia responded in kind in 1992. The US removed around 1,300 nuclear shells from Europe. The Russian Defense Ministry has stated officially through the offices of Lieutenant General Igor Valynkin, the head of the ministry's Twelfth Main Directorate, which is responsible for the storage and security of nuclear weapons, attempted to reassure journalists about the safety of the Russian nuclear arsenal that absolutely all nuclear weapons in the Russian armed forces are currently in the custody of his directorate, which ensures their "state acceptance at the factory, storage in arsenals, servicing, and their transport to the troops." Valynkin said that because of concerns about the "criminal situation" in Russia, at the beginning of the 1990s all Russian tactical nuclear weapons, including nuclear mines and artillery shells, were removed from the arsenals of individual military units and transferred to special storage sites under the control of the Twelfth Directorate. This step was taken in order to prevent terrorists from gaining access to the weapons, as the arsenals at individual units are much less secure than the central storage sites Referring directly to the issue of the "suitcase" bombs, Valynkin admitted that is technically possible to build a small low-yield nuclear warhead..

In 1992, James Atwood, the former Interarmco people and an Israeli Russian named  Yurenko (actually Schemiel  Gofshstein) formed a consortium in conjunction with James Critchfield, retired senior CIA specialist on oil matters in the Mideast  to obtain a number of these obsolete but still viable weapons. Both Critchfield and the Interarmco people had, at the behest of the CIA, supplied weapons to the rebels in Afghanistan during their protracted struggle with the Soviet Union. Critchfield worked with the Dalai Lama of Tibet in a guerrilla war against Communist China and headed a CIA task force during the Cuban missile crisis. He also ran regional agency operations when the two superpowers raced to secure satellites first in Eastern Europe, then in the Middle East. In the early 1960s, Critchfield recommended to the CIA that the United States support the Baath Party, which staged a 1963 coup against the Iraqi government that the CIA believed was falling under Soviet influence. Critchfield later boasted, during the Iran-Iraq war that he and the CIA "had created Saddam Hussein." With the growing political importance of Middle East oil, he became the CIA's national intelligence officer for energy in the late 1960s and early 1970s, then an energy policy planner at the White House. He also fronted a dummy CIA corporation in the Middle East known as Basic Resources, which was used to gather OPEC-related intelligence for the Nixon administration. .Critchfield was the chief of the CIA's Near East and South Asia division in the 1960s and a national intelligence officer for energy as the oil shortage crisis began in the early 1970s.  Officially retiring from the CIA in 1974, Critchfield became a consultant, corporate president of Tetra Tech International  a Honeywell Inc. subsidiary  and which managed oil, gas, and water projects in the strategic Masandam Peninsula. It sits on the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the West's oil is transported. At the same time, Critchfield was a primary adviser to the Sultan of Oman., focusing on Middle East energy resources, especially those in Oman.

Utilizing Atwood's STASI and ex-KGB contacts, they were able to obtain from bribed Russian military personnel, twenty of the atomic warheads. With Critchfield's Mideast and Afghanistan connections, these warheads were sold to a Pakistani group for an estimated US $20 million in early 1993. "Yurenko" brokered the transfer of money via two banks in Pakistan to a Swiss bank.(Specific account information is known) Some of the money, $US 50,000 was deposited into a so-called "white account" (i.e., one that the SBA could release information on to any outside probers) and the balance into three so-called "black accounts" (i.e., accounts that were truly secret.)

Atwood died suddenly in his home town of Savannah, GA in 1997 while under the surgeon's knife and left a legacy of double-dealing, amorality and fascinating but hitherto only guessed-at history behind him



Belarus web activist 'found hanged' over weapons trafficking

Belarus web activist 'found hanged'

Colleagues at opposition website Charter97 voice doubt that Oleg Bebenin could have taken his own life.

Bebenin leaves behind a wife and two children [AFP]

The founder of a leading Belarus opposition website has been found dead from an apparent suicide, as colleagues voiced doubt that he could have taken his own life.

The body of Oleg Bebenin, the editor of the Charter97 website, was found on Friday at his weekend home outside Minsk, the capital.

"Bebenin's body was found hanged with a rope," Alexander Danilchenko, a police spokesman, was quoted as saying by the Ria Novosti news agency. "A kicked-over stool was lying nearby."

Speaking on Saturday, a spokesman for the general prosecutors' office, said: "Suicide is the primary lead on the cause of death.

"But prosecutors will work on those other leads which are usually explored after a body is found in a noose." 

Bebenin's associates at Charter97, which has come under fierce state pressure in recent months, said they strongly doubted that he killed himself.

Natalya Radina, an employee at the website, said: "I have known Bebenin 14 years. He was full of plans. We had agreed to meet on Monday.

"He was in a great mood on the day of his death! I can't believe that he committed suicide."

Andrei Sannikov, for whom Bebenin had been acting as spokesman in his preparations to run for president in Belarus' elections next year, said he had shown no signs of depression and had left no suicide note.

"I was at the site of the tragedy and I don't believe Oleg Bebenin committed suicide," Sannikov said.

"It is odd that the interior ministry should speak of suicide before waiting for the autopsy results.

"Many aspects cast serious doubts: no suicide note was found and the last text messages he sent friends showed that he had plans to go to the cinema on Thursday night."

Anatoly Lebedko, leader of the opposition United Civic Party, said investigators needed "in the first place to verify whether the death of the journalist was linked to his professional activities".

Website raided

Bebenin leaves behind a wife and two children. His relatives refused to comment on his death.

Most independent newspapers in Belarus have closed down and there are no independent television or radio stations, making the  internet a key source of information under the country's authoritarian regime.

The website, which is critical of the government of Alexander Lukashenko, the president, has been a rallying point for Belarus' opposition and at the centre of recent government crackdowns on independent media outlets.

Police in March raided the website's offices, seizing computers and slapping Radina in the face during an investigation into the publication of material about the Belorussian security services, the former KGB.

Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet republic of 10 million people since 1994, was once dubbed Europe's last dictator by the United States but has now made attempts at greater openness.

In 2003, Veronika Cherkasova, an investigative journalist who had reported on arms sales by Belarus to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, was stabbed to death in her home.

An investigation into the attack failed to find a link with her work. In 2000, a former cameraman for Lukashenko disappeared while working for Russian channel ORT. His body was found in 2003.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Corruption in USAID Azerbaijan, ACDI/VOCA

Corruption in USAID Azerbaijan and ACDI/VOCA

On-going investigation of corruption in Azerbaijan and USAID

Name:" E. G. wrote by email today:  Content: "I read your article from 7th September 2010. I agree with you in all you wrote and want to give you some facts about corruption among Eldar Jaffarov, ACDI/VOCA and USAID in Azerbaijan.  Also materials about wheeler-dealer finance of Eldar Jafarov. Do you speak Russian? [...]" 23.10.10."

Here is the case file on this investigation and it has many side plots and connection with funding mechanisms in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.

Earlier Article from September 7, with all the sorted history.

Rats Everywhere, can you fill in the gaps?
Intercepted correspondence from USAID, OIG

RE: Everyone looks bad, so everyone looks the other way.'

"Can you please advise a telephone number and let me know of a few convenient times, which I may try to contact you in reference to the information about USAID programs and activities?"

Thank you,
KC Smith
Special Agent
USAID Europe & Eurasia
RIG Frankfurt, Germany
OFFICE: 49-69-7535-7845
FAX: 49-69-7535-7841

1) A source under contract to USAID, as employed business development expert, Mr. X, who may be the source on ADCI corruption with good access states the following: ACDI started a rural credit SME program funded by USAID about 2001 in Azerbaijan. It was the largest of the USAID funded credit projects. About $4 million was in loans. They made loans to rural enterprises, farmers, etc. They had offices in most areas of the country (Lenkoran, Imishli, Ganja, etc.) ACDI/VOCA, an international development organization dedicated to empowering people worldwide.4

2) However, regardless if this source will be forthcoming, he can give more information about the basis of Azerbaijan Business Assistance and Development Program (ABAD), and how things were flawed (how there was bid rigging, and how it was the contract was awarded to a group with weak organizational credentials in business development at best. You just need to look into how the project was solicited, and it may not have been a RFP, and the winner did not win in full and open competition, and thus USAID participated in corruption and did not acquire the services of the most capable technical assistance provider.

The ACDI system in Azerbaijan was established to provide local control and a local company was set up to run all the local offices. The company was called CreditAgro This system was unlike that in Georgia, where credit associations were formed. This was more centralized, with offices reporting to a central office in Baku. However, the same propensity to hand the operation over to corrupt locals was observed. In this case, ACDI/VOCA hired a man called Eldar Jafarov, initially as credit officer, but he eventually became head of CreditAgro. Soon problems developed between Eldar and the ACDI/VOCA Chief of Party and other expatriates, who considered that Eldar was taking too much power and hiring cronies for every position in CreditAgro. Despite numerous attempts by ACDI/VOCA expatriate staff to remove Eldar Jafarov these attempts were consistently blocked by ACDIVOCA Washington. An internal audit proved many allegations against Eldar. Still, ACDI/VOCA refused to fire Eldar or change human resource personnel practices.
In 2005, however, enough was enough and ACDI decided to fire Eldar. Then Eldar told all managers of Creditagro to go on strike in his support. As a result, ACDI/VOCA Washington completely caved in (ACDI's VP Dennis DeSantis), and gave the position back to Eldar. The fallout was immediate and the ACDI/VOCA Country Director resigned in disgust, [check out this source] and Eldar, now much more powerful, personally fired the other principal expatriate himself, cleaning up loose ends. The impression was that Creditagro was now a private enterprise of Eldar.

The United States Agency for International Development, USAID was well aware of this scandal but decided to turn a blind eye, and often sided with Eldar in subsequent criticism of ACDI/VOCA. However, they still made a grant of the USAID funds (about $4 million) to ACDI/VOCA/Credit Agro. ACDI continues to be the owner of CreditAgro, yet it forced into a curious position where they are telling all potential investors and lenders to stay clear of CreditAgro because of the above-mentioned shenanigans, and not to taint their reputation more than it is already.

It was obvious that ACDI/VOCA had really mishandled the project, setting up a private company serving one individual. Still, even though USAID was for a very long time aware of the problems, never penalized ACDI/VOCA, but instead, in 2005, rewarded ACDI/VOCA with a major rural enterprise development project in Azerbaijan, which is now employing the old second in command fired by Eldar.

Successful Track Record

This is not the first incidence of ACDI/VOCA incompetence in running credit projects. The Georgia ACDI rural credit project was a well-known complete disaster, as local credit associations created by ADCI and funded fully by USAID and USDA were taken over by the local managers selected by ACDI/VOCA and turned into a private money making racket with accountability to none. A later USAID project to assist these entities found out later that the managers had illegally fleeced the associations of most of their funds. Most of the funds disappeared as "dividends" to the local project managers, who normally had been selected due to their power within the local community (for example, some of them were heads of the local tax inspectorate and well known bandits, including members of state security, and not because of any credit or relevant knowledge.

Professional skills are not the decisive factor. The result is that senior local bureaucrats, politicians, and businessmen gain positions. This was part of the problem with the credit unions set up by ACDI/VOCA in 1993 and funded by the US government.

ACDI/VOCA hired these people ostensibly because their muscle could be used to guarantee repayment from poorer farmers. Even as far back as 1998 the then Agriculture Deputy Minister Nugzar Duchidze had remarked that ACDI/VOCA's setup was a "rich farmer's club designed to help these well connected individuals. The Georgia operation was obviously even worse than the Azerbaijan setup. Still, USAID encouraged the Azerbaijan operation was to be patterned after Georgia by the USAID program officers who controlled aid programs in both countries.

One International TV network producer wrote an email dealing with accountability in international organizations 'Ahh – there is the problem. Nobody is interested in corruption. Western agencies would be very embarrassed to be seen dealing with a bunch of second-rate crooks. After all, you must remember that it looks bad if your programme which is funded by the US or Europe has no correct oversight. Everyone looks bad, so everyone looks the other way.'

Nonetheless, it does appear that the US government and the Bush Administration were a bit concerned about the "total" lack of accountability NGOs (including a host of international organizations) have when receiving grants and cooperative agreements from USAID. These NGOs can do what they want, and are "assumed" to be doing well, because they are "fellow travelers" with USAID. They all claim to be helping in improving the livelihood of local farmers, small business, etc.

No noise was made of this incredible debacle of ACDI/VOCA in Georgia because none other than Rusty Schultz a very close friend of Gerry Anderson, high-ranking USAID official in Tbilisi, ran the ACDI/VOCA project in Georgia. Many sources (including a those close to a Chemonics run project of assistance to credit organizations) confirm that Anderson did everything in his power to protect Rusty and his corrupted minions. And finally because of their disastrous management, Jim Holderbaum, ACDI Country manager was lost as what to do. Many claim that those working in NGOs only to come to Georgia in order to get laid regularly, something Rusty was good at arranging. Then visiting experts had access to the Rusty castle where they could be entertained, and the rest is history.

Gerry Anderson, USAID Georgia, directly instructed even those visiting experts that were involved in proposal writing when he was in Georgia in mid-2001 that they needed to hook up with ACDI. Now that is interesting and what authority would Gerry have in making such recommendations? He was proposing to work with a specific group and the instructions were outlined in such a way in terms of value chains, and that the only clear choice was that ACDI as the company that they he needed to work with. A month or so later on other business, same instructions were provided to visiting experts to make sure that there was a connection with ACDI.

It should also be noted that ACDI/VOCA has a policy of putting on its payrolls mainly old USAID hands. That is why ACDI/VOCA is a favorite in all parts of USAID's world. Others need not apply. Financially ACDI/VOCA is a disaster, but it is doubtful that any of the board members have the brass to go against the entrenched senior employees, for whatever reason. – and AgVantage is doing well as can be expected. SAVE, the original project in Georgia, which was renamed AgAdvantage and this project was doomed from the start because of the problems with ACDI. First their money problems: Then there was a lack of any clear direction or focus, other than to pander to Gerry Anderson and USAID.

It is clear that what happened is Azerbaijan and Georgia is par for the course; Gerry Anderson had gone to great pains to cover up USAID scandals and to protect his friends. What is less clear is the motivation. He has made sure that many project evaluations are stacked with the people that will come back with results that conform that all went well and program objectives were achieved. In one instance, he had bumped off a person from an evaluation that may not have brought back the desired results. Allegations of his morals are well documented, and there is a large age difference between him and his Asian mail order bride, and there are still allegations of sexual harassment of staff of USAID floating around Tbilisi (he demanding that some USAID staff works share in housekeeping responsibilities, such washing his plates).

Eventually it is known, as part of damage control Rusty Schultz, the program coordinator in Georgia, was sent to head up a high profile ACDI/VOCA operation in Iraq. It was clear that criminal activity had proliferated unchecked in the Georgia project and the cover up was complete. And still, with similar noise filtering out of the Azerbaijan project, and still USAID does nothing other than praise a bankrupt project and continue to dole the pork to an incompetent but rich organization.

Moreover, there are serious allegations of money being used to support the trafficking of weapons. One source shares the following: "If there was money going to arms I rather suspect it would have been more likely to have been connected to Rusty's sidekick, the New Zealander mercenary who had been all over Africa and Asia soldiering in places they would pay. I heard lots of stories about how he and Rusty got hooked up, but I suspect all of them were at least partial fabrications just to make both of them look good."

There are many stories in Tbilisi about how he and Rusty got hooked up, but in all likelihood most of them were at least partial fabrications just to make both of them look good. The bottom line, Rusty needed the soldier of fortune (he may have officially been his deputy but it is difficult to say if he had that title) because he made the parties and the stories so much more fun for Rusty to use to encourage people like Gerry that he wanted to co-opt the parties. Gerry is all about spin and control and the soldier wanted everyone to know that though he was in the background it was he who was still the one carrying the entire buzz.

The most notorious corruption in Georgia involved Micro and SME Credit activities in the South Caucasus countries of Georgia and Azerbaijan. It is hardly accidental that program have been so unsuccessful that there is even doubt if they were even intended to be effective from the very start.

How long can USAID continue to support an organization with such a record of negligence and criminal malfeasance as ACDI/VOCA and others? ACDI/VOCA continues to win all the contracts it wants and nobody brings their record to the public light. ACDI/VOCA works in approximately 40 countries and claims to foster vibrant communities, organizations and enterprises that can manage and finance themselves.

See for more information. All this is a matter of record with USAID, OIG, Office of Inspector General.

This connects  many dot, and what is going on today, and what has gone on - where did the money come from and where did it go - and while the wool was being pulled over the eyes of the American People as they try to help Georgia and Azerbaijan develop.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baku center stage to weapons to drug swaps

But the tip of the iceberg - on-going investigation

Dear Joni,

I found a Pashtun at the port in Baku today. He was dressed up like a full blown Pashtun, with shawa kamez, sandels and Kandahari hat, etc. Definitely something strange is going on, as you told me two months ago. I don't know, however, if this is attached to any planned attacked over NK and starting the war with Armenia over the ethnic enclave within Azerbaijan.

There were about eight trucks, with Afghan and Pakistani flags attached to the hoods.  I'm not sure if the police were actually  checking their cargo, but they were forcing traffic to divert, and then they escorted the trucks out of the city. Not sure where they were going, but the Pashtun said he came from Quetta and traveled through Iran. Maybe he was linking up with some other trucks that just came off a boat from Turkmenistan.

Please send me more info on Silk Road Group and transit of fuel and other materials from Georgian and other points. Also,  I found out from some Americans that I befriended last night that US military planes are only allowed to touch down in Azerbaijan, but that no supplies are allowed onto the ground. If this is true, then the supplies are being flown directly into Afghanistan, rather than shipped overland. But that which is being transported the other way, coming back from Afghanistan, which  seems to be more far more interesting, and that needs to be closely investigated.


Friday, October 15, 2010

CIA illegal operations in Tbilisi Georgia

Now the connection needs to be made to the murder of a prime minister, Zurab Zhvania

Whistleblower reveals CIA ties to illegal wiretapping in Georgia

Full Story -  We are Change Ireland
Patrick: Downey, a US citizen denied political asylum in Ireland, this week released the identity of a senior CIA operative involved in illegal eavesdropping activities on the Georgian opposition party in Tbilisi 2007 – 2008.

In 2009, Downey, a US citizen, disabled veteran, former US Foreign Service employee and past victim of serious crimes committed against him while abroad (in Russia and in Georgia), brought a civil rights lawsuit against the United States ("Patrick C. Downey Jr. -v- The United States" 8:09-CV-1315-T-26EAJ"), arguing that his rights to due process and equal protection, as guaranteed in the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution were being denied to him, given the enforcement of the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) in federal courts, and that he was thus being discriminated against on the basis of his nationality — having no similar form of redress as that given to foreign citizens.

Several days after filing the case, Downey was ruled against for reasons which were completely bogus in nature, and his request for a jury trial was also denied. The case is currently being appealed.

Moreover, Downey's former employer in the Republic of Georgia, a Yeltsin-era Russian oligarch and multi-billionaire by the name of Boris Ivanishvili (who was named in the lawsuit), benefited personally from tens of millions of Euros in "war reconstruction loans", courtesy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); a large portion of which happens to be owned by the US government. These loans occurred in the wake of the 2008 War in South Ossetia, which it has been suggested was started by then-US Vice President/Vietnam War draft-dodger Dick Cheney. Downey himself chose to be evacuated during the War in South Ossetia (for the cost of $35.00), which the US Department of State later billed him for.

Later in 2009, Downey was threatened by a representative of Mr. Ivanishvili's in Tbilisi, and later fled from the US in order to claim political asylum in Ireland, given the threats made against him and the United State's government's refusal to respond to Mr. Downey's repeated concerns regarding the threats, which he attributed to political reasons.

While in seeking asylum in Ireland under "Direct Provision", in addition to being assaulted, Downey's human rights were repeatedly violated for a period of several months, which has caused Downey a considerable degree of pain and suffering.

During this time, Mr. Downey became aware of illegal and clandestine activities which had occurred in Georgia, including illegal wiretapping and electronic surveillance of Georgian citizens opposed to the policies of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, whom the US installed as president of Georgia in an illegal regime-change operation carried out by former US Ambassador to Georgia, Richard Miles (as well as others), which was in part funded by groups linked to billionaire financier George Soros' "Soros Foundation". It has in fact been suggested that other billionaires took part in this fiasco.

Downey (whom an employee of the Irish government implied was a racist), was denied political asylum in Ireland and issued a deportation notice. Downey (who is currently in hiding), fears for his life, yet he has chosen to fight all the injustice which he has been forced to endure, for private, as well as patriotic reasons.

We are Change Ireland

View Patrick's video statement below.

Namebase reference for Frietze hereNicaragua 1969-1972 Colombia 1972-1976 Peru 1976-1981 Mexico 1981

Short URL:


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mafia "Tourism in Adjara" - CNN and Kazaks, etc.

Can of Worms: Weapons and Human Rights in Georgia

Joni Simonshvili

Please find my notes about weapons drugs and politics; about corruption in Batumi and connections with Moscow, Intelligence Services, etc. The so called Kazaks are really Russians - a front (to buy up things cheap), wash money (money laundering), control Georgia, and that Russia and intelligence services  is from where much of the shinning investment for Georgia comes, even what is pumped into economic free zones and fancy hotels. One would think otherwise, however, to watch CNN and its for hire over-the-top-one-sided-reports on the tourism and the business sector.

Here is to get you started, as I share with some earlier groups "stakeholders in the sphere of human rights, and 'you can write this up as an interview, and perhaps ring me up and ask me a few questions as to my sources, and how I know all of this (but I am not going to give out the names of important sources)," as it might get them blacklisted or dead. At the end, write that this is solely the opinion of the source, who the US Embassy in Tbilisi 'says is not to be trusted', and this information must be only framed the perspective of an "un trustworthy source" - American journalist, Jeffrey K. Silverman, who has lived for 18 years in Georgia and the former Soviet Union, and who has worked with the International Crisis Group, ICG, US government, OIG, and other organizations in collecting much of this muckraking information, much of it dates from 2003, and even earlier as background material.

And then come the energy connections, illegal exports of undocumented oil, and to one strategic US friend who cannot afford to live in the neighborhood, as the neighbors can cut off the tap, which is really interesting and much more serious then even what one might expect. However, that is another can of worms to open but that will be coming  soon. I will send more lately, and for a bit of background, keep in mind the activities of Zurab Zhvania, the former Georgian Prime Minister, and his untimely and most convenient death. There has always been speculation behind the scenes that there was a Batumi connection with the murder of Zurab Zhvania, and his efforts to build a government-within-a-government and being 'too friendly' with those in the separatist regions and Moscow, or being too "pragmatic" and too "greedy."

His sorted history is also part of the network of those involved with the Georgian Shipping Company, Barvill, and his alleged percentage, on each ton of scrape metal exported from Georgia over the years (one dollar per ton). In simple terms, this is history and speculation but he killed himself by knowing too many things and wanting to control everything, and this was not in the best interest of US foreign policy and "bigger plans' for Georgia and the region.

There are also many Kazak connections to Georgia, especially with the unrecorded exports of oil from Batumi and Poti, and this is also connected with the Batumi Oil Terminal and key players in political and business circles. The port of Batumi; especially the political network of friends and stakeholders with the Batumi oil terminal was the gateway for the little empire belonging to Aslan Abshadze, and his 'erstwhile' supporters. It is no secret that the real owners of terminal are also the same ones that were involved in the flurry of recent privatization and investment in the "official" post Aslan Abshadze period.

I learned in passing from a Georgian woman who worked for several years with the Georgian shipping company that the relationship between Zaza Gelashvili and Davitadze, [forget first name] the former head of the local intelligence services in the post Rose Revolution period, was very close. The connection of my source here is that a friend of hers was dating his son or is a schoolmate of Davitadze's son. She knows most of the inner circle of Aslan Abshadze, including Tengiz Arshba, Soso Gogitidze (KGB under Aslan); another Gogitidze, Jemal was police chief under Aslan. The deceased wife of Aslan was the brother to the Gogitize's brother, and who now lives in Moscow. However, many of the frontline troops are still in Georgia and have found employment in the new Saakashvili government, and these are the same people tha were beating Saakashvili supporters in 2003 and now working in Georgian security agencies.  How is that possible?

Zaza Gelashvil is also alleged by several sources to be working for Russian intelligence Services, and personally for the Mayor of Moscow, Uri Luzkov. His father is on his personal staff (inner circle). The sacking of him from the top position of mayor may be connected with bigger plans in the political sphere and may even be hooked up to what is going to be happening in Georgia.

I am told that all information on operations in Georgia by the Americans and Turks is being provided directly to Russian FSB and GRU (Military intelligence). Zaza was personally assigned to watch over Levan Varshalomidze (presidential special envoy and the first man in Adjaria) and to make sure that he does not make too many stupid mistakes, to many side deals, did not get too greedy,  and  not to let outsiders, e.g., (non-connected), know too much of what is going on with him and his family's financial interests.

Naturally such things could compromise Russian and well-placed Georgian interests, at the highest level, especially in light of the formation of new political parties, that can too hire the media spin MDs on the level of the US government and the National Party. Much is involved here,  especially financial interests of various Kremlin insiders, including the former first family of Adjara. It seems that most of what is happening in Adjara is being done to support Russian and Turkisk foreign policy in Georgia, and not for the interest of the Georgian people or economic development.

Returning to Zaza Gelashvili, the source says that all information on the Central government and what is going on in Adjara is being provided directly to Moscow. I have used Irakli X, before, and he was the former head of X region Ministry of State Securirty, former KGB, and on the side of Saakashvili in the days prior to the downfall and exit of Aslan.

We knew then, as it is better understood now, so called overthrow was nothing but a carefully staged performance, a media show,  and in the shadows a "deal had been cut' for Aslan to depart but it would be hands'off of his financial investments in Georgia. Naturally there is a direct nexus to the Batumi oil terminal. Then came the privatization process and locals need not apply. Adjara had not privatized property quickly and in mass as was the case with other regions was the case with other regions of Georgia, especially under Kakha Bendukudze. That is why so much was available at one time Adjara was overripe for the picking, and quickly sold off to Turks and Russians, and in many instances these were only go-between and the old clan was footing the bill.

There is a long and established connected with Central Asia with Adjara with drug dealing and oil shipments by rail. That is common knowledge and these connections may deeper than the Batumi port. The connections between Aslan Abshadze, Central Asia and drug for weapons swaps are well-established and the network continues to fully operational. With the increase poppy crop in Afghanistan, there will likely be a greater flow of drugs hitting the international market out via Georgian ports, including processing in Batumi, and the many of the main players are still in place, as were in place during the time of Aslan.

Kazakhstan This background information comes from Central Asia and will provide you insight as to how scared people are of the investment climate and how  it highly possible that Kazaks are being used as fronts for Russian special interests. What is harder is to find someone in Kazakhstan with info and insights. This is a bit of feedback that was received on September 7, 2006, "I just met a guy here, Leo, and I thought could help you. He was writing articles for Almaty Herald not long ago. He told me a few minutes ago that he doesn't work there anymore. He was not clear but I inferred that it is for political reasons. When I asked him if he could help you with info on Kazakh investors in Georgia, he said, "Excuse me, I have a class at 10 and I have to go…" Classical reaction from Eurasians… He was afraid of talking about connections and this subject."

Family Connections and kinks: the father of the new KGB chief works directly for Yuri Luzhkov, Mayor of Mocow, and together with Iosif Ortzonikidze, who is the owner of Medea hotel and the sports stadium, and one of the deputies of the major of Mocow business in Adjara continues as usual. Source explains

"Iosif is something, and that he has at least two hotels and was and continues to be key adviser to Yuri Luzkkov (lives and works in Moscow). Some of his hotels were  where refugees (IDPs) lived and were evacuated in the months following when the properties were privatized. The residents, per room was given 7,000 USD and tossed from the hotels (and that is not enough to buy anything in the Georgian market).

Who owns what?

Only the inner circle knows the real owners of these properties and that is what I have been able to tap this information source to a limited degree.  It is interesting, and I have networked with persons working in local government, city planner, city architect  - he tells that according to acting Georgian legislation, all must be transparent and under  the terms of tenders that a project and the proposed design for properties have to be made up. These plans are even to be posted, which was done in the case of the hotel Intourist and other flogged off property (especially those sold to the Ukrainians), and procedures were followed with most properties with the notable exception of the so-called Kazak purchases. It is clearfrom the various sources that things are being done in two directions:

Russian and personal financial interests

                                                            Real Estate Market

Intourist – Turks run the place under a 10 year contact but this is owned by Aslan and his brother-in-law. I was told that the paperwork is under the name of Murat Turmadidze, a local. Murat is very close with Aslan.

Hotel "Medea" and "Meskheti" is privatized by Mr. Iosef Orjonikidze, vice mayor of Moscow city

Puskkin Street Trade Center – large trade Center, also belongs to Aslan (don't know what is on the paperwork). Aslan has a sense of humor and changed the name to "Moscow Trade Centre"

Tea House – former ministry for State Security or Police, near port, Tengiz Arshba, member of the Russian Duma and owner of a Russian sports team; he controls with arms smuggling and intelligence, has rank of general in Russian FSB.

Interclub "this is the old name" and next to property above, also belongs to Arshba/old police headquarters. This is owned by Tengiz Arshba, close to new government in Adjara; regularly plays tennis with Levan Varshalomidze at the Marina Hotel and Spots complex. They have been seen playing several evenings and this is confirmed by several sources, including a 15-year-old boy who practices with Tengiz.

Aslan's Kindergarten, said by same sources to be owned by Tengiz Arshba – Arshba is main player in Batumi and his brother/relative is tied in with the break away region of Abkhazia. However, this property is also said to belong to the Kazaks.

Marina Hotel and Sports Complex – Arshba, 40 percent; some unknown MP but think it is Jemal Inalishvali, vice speaker of Georgian Parliament and head of Georgian Chamber of Commerce, former head of Porti Port, 30 percent and Levan Varshalomidze. The Georgian Minister of privatization may also have a share or at least financially benefited in all these deals says the source; this history and connections of these players is like a barrel of fishhooks. This facility was basically paid for with drug money.

Universalmag (Universal Trade Centre) – also said to be owned by Kazaks and is being torn down right now, this is also close to the port and located on prime real estate.

Red Fisherman Market and Shipping Company, two properties in very close proximity – Kazaks are claimed to have purchased these lots.

"Mtsvane Kontskhi" (Green cape) is privatized by Mr. Iosef Orjonikidze, vice mayor of Moscow 10 properties in Green Cape Nature Area stayed in one for these properties for two nights (Kazaks). I am currently waiting to get list of these properties from source and some paperwork. However, one staff member told me that they were losing their jobs and this would be the last year since the Kazaks would be coming for the next season and would hire all their own staff fresh.

 I was told by one of the staff member that the purchase price of these 10 hotels was 1 million dollars and this paid for whole nine yards (lock, stock and barrel). It is clear that these properties could have been sold individually for higher prices and some of them were operating and not in the red.

Tsikhisdziri" - is privatized by Tina Kandelaki, TV anchor on Russian television and radio.  She is half Armenia and used to work for the 2nd Georgian TV channels. Don't know if this is her investment In order to show that the Kazaks are not buying up everything some properties have been sold to Ukrainians and some to Turks and with these properties, everything is said to have been transparent and that the plans and proposals for development were submitted with the tenders.  However, this is not the same ocean side real estate. Included in this partial list of properties include:

Properties near the Makhinjauri Railway Station, the partially completed new train station that will not be completed (Ukraine);

HOPA Bazar, not far from the Turkish Border (Ukraine).

Analysis and Commentary

Not even those who are supposed to be in the know as who owns what and the things that are going on in Batumi are sure of anything. The so-called Kazak  investors are becoming to be known as what belongs to the old team that  was  "run-out-of-town" and that the Russians are really the Kazaks and  this also means that the "old team" and the "old money" from the family business in the fiefdom of Adjara. Kazak is a description used for public consumption. It is likely that only those very close to Levan Varshalomidze and the Georgian Minister of Privatization in Tbilisi really understand the full story. It is possible that those in the know involve Saakashvili as well. As previously noted Levan Varshalomidze and president-elect Saakashvili were college mates and studied together in Kiev. Family and friendship connections are strong in Georgia, and even stronger when money is involved. Guarm Varshalomidze, father to Levan, was the prime minister under Aslan; they are alleged to have taken part in stealing money together over the years, like foxes in the hen house.

Levan was also connected but stole some money from Aslan and this act officially put him on the "outs" with Aslan Abshadze but not thrown completely away. However, this standoff for getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar was enough to present him as being close enough to be in bed with the National Party and Saakashvili for political consumption. Aslan Abshadze and those in fact own the properties that that the Kazaks own. Those closest to him, and this includes his Russian and mafia networks of patronage, are also owners and stakeholders in these properties.  It is difficult to comprehend how all this can go on without the Central government knowing and unless this was part of the deal that was cut over Adjara in the first place.

What do you think?

What about the Adjarian regime, who's who in Adjara, clan connections, kinship and family links, possible links with organised crime, drug trafficking and drug weapon swaps. What were the perspectives for political change in the region: and what has been the actual alternatives to Aslan Abashidze, its former leader, all about the Adjarian economy?

 Who owns what? Who pays what? Ties with Russia, and whether or not there was any direct and permanent support for the former regime from the Russian and Georgian government side? How the fall of the regime would impact Russian networks of influence (in politics, business, security forces and special services)?


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

U.S. wars of aggression and civilian contractors
This British female, Linda Norgrove, worked for U.S. Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI) which is far from being a true aid organization.

U.S.A. has been privatizing U.S. wars of aggression with so-called civilian contractors, mercenaries and providers of logistics, arms, spying and information support by employing Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), Louis Berger Group, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and others under the guise of "civilian aid" when in reality they serve U.S. forces, their wars and interests. Wherever you find chaos, carnage and plunder instigated by U.S.A., you will find these groups working for U.S. interests in those countries. Dressing up workers in civilian clothes, while serving U.S. interests and wars of aggression, does not make them true "aid" workers helping those suffering under the boots of U.S.A.. They are aid workers for U.S. military and wars.

It is well known that DAI, USAID and NED are CIA fronts, pretending to be helping locals while all along are involved in destabilization, subversion and revolutions in various countries to suit U.S. needs. Former CIA case officer Philip Agee affirmed that DAI, USAID and NED "are instruments of the U.S. Embassy and behind these three organizations is the CIA." They use tactics of espionage, infiltration and subversion to promote U.S. interests. The field representative maintains close collaboration with other embassy offices in identifying opportunities, selecting partners, i.e recruiting agents, and ensuring the program remains "consistent with U.S. foreign policy", promoting Washington's interests, despite the targeted country's sovereignty. The same is true of U.S. NGOs that have been responsible for various "color revolutions" in former U.S.S.R, such as Georgia. Vladimir Putin threw them out after the various "color revolutions" when he realized that the same was planned for Russia. They tried to overthrow president Chavez of Venezuela. In December 2009, Cuba captured an employee of CIA front organization working in Venezuela. They also tried in Gaza against the democratically elected Hamas government and Palestinians - many of us know the Palestinian situation.

In mid 2007, after Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad tried to overthrow the democratically elected Hamas government with U.S. training and support but Hamas stopped them, when Israel blocked all shipments to and from Gaza, including much of the water, food and fuel, NGOs in Palestine were ordered by USAID to quickly devise projects that will help the West Bank and not one dollar was to be given to Gaza. They wanted to show Palestinians that Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad with the help of U.S. funding, were good for Palestinians and the only way to live, hoping to turn Palestinians against Hamas and to embrace Israel and U.S.A.. NGOs were also directed by USAID to let the Palestinians in West Bank know that U.S.A. and its funds were responsible for their well being. This is USAID, NED, DAI and many such U.S. organizations.

In his book titled, "Inside the Company: CIA Diary", former CIA case officer Philip Agee wrote, "No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine". Another former CIA officer, Miles Copeland, confirmed the accuracy of Agee's book. Upon resigning from CIA, Agee became an active opponent of CIA practices.

If there are any true civilian aid workers in the war zones of Afghanistan or anywhere else, they have been compromised by the presence of U.S. "civilian" workers pushing Washington's agenda of carnage and plunder.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Chemonics announces key leadership changes, about time!{7FC25DCA-AA9F-45CC-9F1C-923D7FA70A4A} 

Chemonics announces key leadership changes, about time!

In recent weeks, several members of Chemonics' leadership team have assumed new roles and undertaken new professional challenges.

Doug Tinsler, senior vice president for Strategic Programs, is transferring from the company's Washington, D.C., headquarters to take the helm of a recently awarded, USAID-funded project in Egypt designed to increase the country's business competitiveness. In this role, Tinsler returns to familiar territory: He previously served as the chief of USAID/Egypt's Office of Local Administration and Development, where he led the design and implementation of an $800 million rural development and decentralization program. Most recently, he has been leading the firm's indefinite quantity contract portfolio. Tinsler joined Chemonics in 1995 and also has served as the chief of party for a large project in Peru.

While Tinsler is heading to the field, President and CEO Richard Dreiman announced that Senior Vice President Chris Scott would be returning from the field at the end of the year to lead the Middle East division. Scott, who has been a senior vice president since 2007, has been serving as chief of party of a successful government capacity-building project in West Bank/Gaza since 2009. A lawyer, Scott joined Chemonics in 2006 as a director in the company's Middle East division.

"Both Doug and Chris are fine examples of the flexibility and commitment to our work that all of our leaders embody," Dreiman said. "Chris has done an exceptional job leading his team in West Bank, and we know Doug will do great things in Egypt."

Scott fills the vacancy created with the announcement that Eric Reading

has been named senior vice president of the Afghanistan and Pakistan division. Reading joins the group after leading the Middle East division for the past four years. Reading assumes leadership of the region from Tim Beans, who announced in September he was leaving the firm. Reading has been working with the Afghanistan and Pakistan team since June, when he joined the group to provide strategic guidance to the growing stabilization and governance portfolio.

"Eric has proven that he is adept at guiding teams to achieve on-the-ground impact in sometimes challenging environments," Dreiman said. "Together with his significant experience in economic growth, infrastructure, democratic governance, and institutional strengthening, he is the ideal choice to lead the division in our critical efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Reading joined Chemonics in 1994 in the Europe and Eurasia division, where he managed local governance activities in Bulgaria and Romania. He also managed business climate reform programs in Georgia and Bosnia. As chief of party in post-war Kosovo and deputy chief of party in Egypt, he led programs to improve public utility management, and conducted numerous short-term assignments in finance, infrastructure, and local governance worldwide.

To support the unique challenges of the Afghanistan and Pakistan portfolio, Tracy Shanks has been named senior vice president within the group with specific responsibilities for the projects in economic growth. Shanks returns to the firm's headquarters after completing her masters in business administration at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Shanks joined Chemonics in 1999 in the Global division, focused on the diversification of Chemonics portfolio. In her first long-term overseas posting in 2003, she simultaneously managed a municipal finance and a business development project in Paraguay. She then led a business development project in Azerbaijan and went on to serve as chief of party on an MCC threshold program focused on business climate reform and anti-corruption efforts in Paraguay. Earlier this year, Shanks worked with a Chemonics project Afghanistan to develop an entrepreneurial business development initiative in Kandahar. 

--- On Thu, 15/7/10, Tbilisi, TDY4 (Martha Dye) <> wrote:

From: Tbilisi, TDY4 (Martha Dye) <>
Subject: RE: Rustry Shutz back working with USAID, how is that possible?
Cc: "Young, Peter" <>
Date: Thursday, 15 July, 2010,


You can find information about how to submit a FOIA request here: Please file your request according to the FOIA instructions, as we are not able to respond to any further inquiries from this address.




Regional Legal Office

Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 10:36 AM
To: Young, Peter; Tbilisi, TDY4 (Martha Dye)
Cc: OIG Hotline (State); Andrew Higgons; Jim Clancy; Hansen Lars Ragnar Aalerud; Kentucky ACLU; Steve Auvenshine; Bryza, Matthew J; due diligence; Human Righs DocCenter; Ufuk Doganay; Jeremy Druker; Kentucky Attorney General; Young Lawyers; Ghia Nodia; Hans Richter
Subject: Rustry Shutz back working with USAID, how is that possible

Need all what USAID can provide, current TOR and status two USAID tenders/proposals, and anything of public information on

1) Georgian New Economic Opportunities

2) Georgian Economic Prosperity Initiative

This request is related to corruption in USAID programs, Rustry Shultz (fired in Afghanistan for giving a 3 million dollar loan to one drug dealer, war lord, and who had earlier worked in Georgia with USG funded rural credit program, USDA that was used to fund Chechen fighters and pay for weapons.  It is interesting to note how US governmental funds have been used by ACDI/VOCA in both Georgia and Azerbaijan for things that are illegal under American and local law.

This organization was basically run out of both Georgia and Azerbaijan based on earlier track record and may soon be back to working here - with the same kind of wasting of US tax money operations, used and mechanisms as implemented for other purposes.



Sunday, October 10, 2010

Frontline Georgia, NED and Open Society Media: Strange Bedfellows

A front line journalist club in Georgia?

Maybe it's a means of keeping track of who is here.? A watering hole for freelance journos, and one journalist shared with me, I saw a real suspicious guy on a minibus, a European, ... might be a journalist, and this media program stinks to high heaven.  It appears to be controlled by NED, which is  US intelligence, National Endowment for Democracy, and now that opens a can of worms.

"Frontline Georgia is being supported by the Open Society Media Program, the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs."...


Friday, October 8, 2010

Dirty Culprits and Radioactive Sludge, Tim Blaublatt on BP

Letter to Editor,

Sir,  where better for "muckraking" than your venue, and this does not merit MAJOR blogs or search engines, not baby ones like Eurasia Network, etc.

Please help me sniff out the culprits in the devastation of Hungarian rivers with red bauxite slightly radioactive sludge, entering the Danube River, going through lots of Europe and Ukraine; are talking about PLANET EARTH.

Joni, if we can't expose environmental criminals, with public access info, we can't do diddly squat against the big guys, in any other realm.

Tim Blaublatt, AKA, Tim Blowfalt

"The BP oil spill started out with very little identification of who is responsible for the spill. The media was remiss in this; most media empires are in with the other monopolies, often on the same Board of Directors, say a board member of New York Times on the board of Raytheon or a huge pharmaceutical giant also., so goes the game ....

THE SAME THING IS GOING ON WITH THE HORRIBLE BAUXITE and Aluminum sludge spillover in Hungary. The Hungarian "firm" .... are they responsible, or the main office in Dusseldorff Germany? The foreign minister of Hungary was on BBC saying they will research how much responsibility the true owners of MAL Rt. are obliged to fess up to.


Hungary's MAL Rt. is 15-year-old aluminum company, please consider

By ALISON MUTLER (AP) – 13 hours ago
BUCHAREST, Romania — MAL Rt., the Hungarian Aluminum Production and Trade Company, is a privately held company founded in 1995 as Hungary began to sell off state assets after the 1989 fall of communism.
It has three alumina facilities in Hungary that were acquired from the state, including the Ajkai Timfoldgyar plant in the western town of Ajka where a waste reservoir burst Monday, spewing toxic red sludge across three villages. Four people were killed, 150 injured and three are still missing in the disaster.
The company mostly does business in Europe, with some 75 percent of its products exported to Western Europe. MAL Rt. owns or has shares in alumina companies in other Balkan countries including Bosnia, Slovenia, and Romania. It also has an office in Duesseldorf, Germany that promotes its products, according to its website.
The company insists on its website that red sludge is not considered toxic waste according to European Union safety standards and there was nothing it could have done differently to prevent the reservoir from failing. The firm called the disaster "a natural catastrophe."
Red sludge is a waste product that results when bauxite is refined into alumina, the basic material for manufacturing aluminum. Treated sludge is often stored in ponds where the water eventually evaporates, leaving behind a dried red clay-like soil.
Heading its website is a message offering condolences to the victims and apologizing for "those who suffered damages or injury in any way."
Martin Ruemmelein is the company's CEO and the company is 100 percent Hungarian-owned, the website says. Its headquarters are in Ajka.
Police say they have confiscated some company documents after the spill.
Alumina plants are scattered around the world, with the 12 largest concentrated in Australia, Brazil and China. The plant in Hungary ranks 53rd in the world in production, according to industry statistics.
On the Web:


Vast Protection Racket thanks to the American People

Typical MO of how to lose the war against terrorism and make money in the process

ArmorGroup, based in McLean, Va., lost a separate contract this year protecting the U.S. Embassy in Kabul after allegations surfaced that guards engaged in lewd behavior and sexual misconduct at their living quarters.
Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, ArmorGroup's parent company, said the company only engaged workers from local villages upon the "recommendation and encouragement" of U.S. special operations troops.
Pitcher said that ArmorGroup stayed in "close contact" with the military personnel "to ensure that the company was constantly acting in harmony with, and in support of, U.S. military interests and desires."
The allegation that contractors rely on warlords for local hiring is not new. Last June, a Democratic House investigation led by Massachusetts Rep. John Tierney concluded that trucking companies had "little choice" but to pay local warlords "in what amounts to a vast protection racket."


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Extradiction or Damage Control, Viktor Bout

He may walk free and both the US and Russia will be both happy!

Too much in common in using this arms dealer as a go-between, and especially now where he will be needed to assist in gearing things up for shipments of weapons via Georgia for use in Afghanistan and other hotpots around the world.

Thailand: Arms-Smuggling Suspect Is a Step Closer to U.S. Extradition
October 5, 2010

A Thai court on Tuesday dismissed a second set of charges, money laundering and wire fraud, against Viktor Bout, the Russian businessman accused of running arms-trafficking networks across the world, removing another obstacle to his extradition to the United States. Washington had expected Mr. Bout's rapid extradition, but the case has spurred a tug of war with Moscow, which does not want him to go on trial in the United States, most likely because he is thought to know much about Russia's restructured intelligence system.

Thai court's decision to drop money laundering and fraud charges against Mr Bout on grounds of insufficient evidence and that the Russian will be free within three days.
The court on Tuesday however dropped the second charges against Mr Bout due to a lack of evidence and the defendant must be released within 72 hours unless the prosecutors wanted to appeal-- which could be done within 30 days.
The next step, the Thai premier said, he has to wait and see whether or not the United States will appeal the ruling and whether the procedure will last longer than November 20, the deadline for Mr Bout's extradition to the US under the court ruling on the first case of arms trading