Saturday, July 30, 2011

More Corruption Complaints, ACDI/VOCA, Azerbaijan

More Corruption Complaints, ACDI/VOCA, Azerbaijan

Dear Elmaddin,

Can you tell me what is now going on with ACDI/VOCA. Court proceedings, and what is reported in the local news. I am interested in specific instances of corruption - and what reaction resulted from letters like yours to the US Embassy, and others, including ACDI/VOCA, EBRD, IFC, World Bank, etc.


"I am Elmaddin in" 

Dear Sir,

I now well about the many problems with Credagri staff, and efforts made with the current management, Seth McDonald, Financial Services,, and have copies of the letters, sent with little result to Bill Polidoro, Chief Operating Office, ACDI.VOCA.

It does appears, that together with the US Embassy, Office of Inspector General, US State Department, that a massive cover up is going on in Azerbaijan and there has been high level corruption between ADCI/VOCA and local enforcers, governmental officials, law enforcement officials and even the legal system, not on with US government money but that of Norway as well. It also appears that the looting of these credit associations and writing off of loans was done on a massive scale, new loans used to pay off old loans and millions of dollars and EUROS simply disappeared and were stolen - it also appears that this was an inside job that involved top managment.

Much of this corruption violates Article 309.2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan which stipulated that "Exceeding official powers that takes the for of unlawful exception from a pledge resulting in great monetary damage to a bank."

I am very well aware of all the illegal activities that have transpired in the Zakataly region, espeically the corruption that Eldar Dzhafarove has been accused of by many people, and on a massive level.

Can you interview some of the people who were actually cheated, former employees and provide a summary in Russian of all their contacts. I am sharing in this matter with a friend of mine who works at the Washington Post, as he has written on the massive corruption that takes place in Azerbaijan, and on various levels.

Please send a copy of your documents and your letters to the following address:

Bill Polidoro/Seth McDonagh

Subject: Creditagro complaints

It is interesting that your concerns are from a different region and that these are not isolated instances of high level corruption but part of a larger pattern. You need to ask Bill Polidoro what they will do to "vigorously investigate, and it is necessary [to provide specific information] ... so they will not finding themselves on a "fishing trip" in chasing after what might prove a non-meritorious claim.

I understand that all complaints can be sent directly to Bill Polidori in a letter dated April 20, 2010 that was sent to Seth McDonagh, and he wrote,"They can certainly send any claim to me. We also have a hotline they can use, However, we need something to investigate - not just generalities."

This is signed

Bill Polidoro
Chief Operating Officer/President's Office
TEL: (202) 383-4989/bpolidoro@acdivoca/org
50 F Street NW, Washington DC, 20001

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Alfa insurance tied in with high level US government corruption scandalin Azerbaijan, CredAgro?

Latest, Norwegian and US Credit Scandals Larger than Expected in Azerbaijan, II

Need more details - I am sending this now to ACDI/VOCA and US government agencies, criminal investigations.  Now is the time to post and send to Washington, United States State Department and United States Agency for International Development.  All dirt on ACDI/VOCA and its connections, Credit Agri. We need to develop this from begining to end:

"The ex director of Barda branch Qasimov Elnur. The Ganja branch was bought during his ruling period. He was dismissed without any reason after objection to insurance premiums in the meeting of branch directors because the credit payments of dead clients have not been realized so as CredAgro has a big interest in Alfa insurance.

Jeffrey Silverman/Joni Simonishvili

Dear ACDI/VOCA, July 22, 2011

I think you have some serious problems, and the cover up is getting to be far worst than the crime (s) and I am obligated to cooperate with OIG, Office of Inspector General, US State Department on this matter, and it does appear the house of cards is coming down on this sloppy cover up, paid off evaluations (M&E), white wash; it really does appear that "material support" has been provided to Chechen freedom fighters." Technically, these days, terrorists.

If you think I don't know what I am taking about then just check with USAID Afghanistan and their "big program" that I shut down, with one article on a pro Chechen website. Yours would have already been shut down if it was not for so many players in the cover up, and the time required for this investigation. Moreover, timing is everything. It is interesting that some very big careers are on the chopping block, not to mention how that money is being used - and providing material support to terrorist is a serious crime these days.

I am putting the documents in order now for US District Court, it might even go a a pro se proceedings based on diversity of citizen-ships.

Now back to brass tacks, not only with ACDI/VOCA but with the Norwegian Credit Program that was also looted - now lots of stakeholders who want to get to the bottom of that big scandal - even to steal from the Norwegian Church, not very clever by your friends in ACDI/VOCA.

Please have Carl Leonard/or how many other replacement there have been, contact me directly in Tbilisi. Should you need a reference, give Rusty Shultz, and Dennis DeSanantis, and/or former US Ambassadors to Georgia and Azerbaijan; they all know me  well over my investigation of how USDA money from ACDI/VOCA ended up arming Chechen terrorists, rural credit union in Georgia - and the murder of one British journalist. And don't forget about Randal Spears and Afghanistan, weapons expert working with rural credit associations.

Any more plane loads of weapons crashing lately, flying out of Georgia and Azerbaijan, perhaps direct that question to KBR and John Bass, or even Dick Chaney?

NB. there are four main subcontractors who were doing the work as follows:

1) FINCA is getting a $10 million grant to do microfinance; 2) WOCCU gets about $15 million grant to make about 20 credit unions. The ex-Green Beret Special ops type Randall Spears heads up this operation, (and this should be the target for your corruption investigation)

3) ACDIVOCA is getting something like $12 million grant to set up its usual credit cooperatives, headed by Rusty Shultz in [cohorts with Gerry Anderson].

4) About $30 million goes to an apex organization called MISFA. $15 million is to make SME loans through banks, and ShoreBank manages that as advisors to MISFA. The other $15 is for micro finance loans.

5) The rest is for administration and bribes to warlords.

The prime contractor, overseeing all the subcontractors is AED, which has no institutional expertise in rural credit (that is a can of worms to be opened as well). My deep throat at the time had excellent relations to the project leadership, so he will let you know once things start happening.

But for [for a while], Rusty Shultz is getting OK marks, lying low, making friends, nothing unusual has happened. His close buddy Gerry Anderson, USAID, looks more and more taking oversight of the ARIES project (which by the way is pretty much the biggest project in town). It appears that Gerry has taken a big fall, because he is now only deputy department head, whereas in Georgia he was department head.

"Yeah, that Leon Waskins was the Mission Director.  Yeah, keeping digging on ARF, that is a very interesting story and you will better understand what went on in Pankisi and ACDI/VOCA.

Ok, take care,

Unleash the dawgs!

Sample to chew on a bit:

I am old worker KREDAQRO(AcdiVoka)

Dear Eldar:

I will edit what you sent and send right now to the Criminal Investigative Wing of the US State Department, OIG and directly to the US Ambassador, in Baku. Bryza is corrupt in my experience but he might be forced to do something to save his dirty reputation.

I will also post on the Internet. I have been investigating ACDI/VOCA for more than 10 years and this is US and Azerbaijan corruption together, not on in Azerbaijan but in Georgia and Afghanistan.

Many former employees have been in contact with me. My friend was killed because of money and corruption in ACDI/VOCA used to buy weapons for Chechen terrorists.

Can you make a rough English translation of all what is being written in the Azeri press. It is time for me to start a war on a very high level. The time is right. I will also share with the Washington Post.

I can also share information with Armenian organizations to try to get an investigation started from America, as to the wholesale waste of US tax money, and allowing Azeri intelligence services to loot credit unions, give out loans to dead people, and writing off good loans as bad to cover up the wholesale corruption.

I want you to correct their mistakes, please, and help bring the criminal elements to justice under US law. It would not surprise me if money from ACDI/VOCA and the fake passports provided by Georgian authorities provided helped in terrorist acts carried out in Europe in recent years.

Best regards,

Jeffrey K. Silverman

Quoting xayyam cavadzada <>:

To    President ACDI\VOCA and CEO:    Mr. Carl Leonard

Subject:           Situation in CredAgro Azerbaijan

From:             Former Credit Officer

I felt the urge to write to you. Because, in CredAgro Azerbaijan, there is something wrong going-on. I have worked in CredAgro Lenkoran branch as a credit officer for 27 days from 25`th of October 2006 until 22`nd of November 2006. I have given up the work because, the administration left me without any assistance and educational process. I want to tell you from the beginning of the events. In order to give an interview for the vacant work place the administration  of CredAgro in Baku called me to the head office. On October 17`th 2006 nearly at 16:00 the director of CredAgro Eldar Jafarov took an interview with me. Auditor Ramin Mizeyev was also there. During interview director Eldar Jafarov complained  of Lenkoran region and about their people. He was prejudiced about Lenkorani people and generalized that sentence; ‘There is inner defect in Lenkorani people’.

I did not liked this sentence but, also I did not reflect upon him. So, I thought, I must to get that work and to prove him that he was made a mistake. I decided doing my best work in Lenkoran branch. I was very willing.

I struggled for 25 days, but I had no assistance from directorship. I was only a worker at Lenkoran branch  with an office woman who worked there for years and complained of apathy to Lenkoran branch. Yes, I saw that apathy. When Bahruz Ibragimov form head office came to Lenkoran on 8`th of November, he reported to Auditor Ramin Mirzeyev that there is need for an accountant and more experienced credit officer for a short time. But, Ramin Mirzeyev and director did not do anything. Also, I demanded for a more experienced credit officer to train me in Lenkoran, but none react to me and they left me without any work training. So, I decided to give up my position and I made a petition for leaving my position at CredAgro. I stated that, in this organization I did not satisfied materially and morally with the process training of a new worker.
After all they called me to the head office which I did not agreed with. Because, from whom I am going to complain to whom. I decided to complain to you. Not because I am not satisfied, because the apathy to Lenkoran branch and the sentence was expressed by director is an insult for Lenkoran. Director ruling such an organization must love every piece of a country. Being behind in the competition in Lenkoran is a fault for CredAgro.

I want to state that, although other workers have gotten their monthly salary for November  CredAgro have not paid my salary yet. Also, other former workers worked before me at CredAgro Lenkoran branch xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  have not been paid their salaries for September by CredAgro.

If any docoments  share these directly with the following and the US Embassy in Baku. The American People wants to help Azerbaijan but not to feed corruption.

From: Bill Polidoro <>
Subject: Out of Office: ACDI/VOCA, feeding frenzy in Azerbaijan, weapons

Date: Friday, 22 July, 2011, 2:24

I will be out of the office until Monday, July 25.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Torture and Murder in Georgian Prisions, and Unpunished!

Dismal Georgian Prision Conditions and Practices, Torture and Murder
I was thinking, what the opposition "should do" is get a few thousand down to the next May 26th Independence Day Parade, get there early and stand right opposite where Saakashvili will give his speech, and throw a few "Zeig Heil's" in at appropriate moments whenever he's expecting applause. It'd be on the TV news around the world, "go viral" on YouTube, and many people would be asking just what is going on in that crazy little country now. He'd be scared to speak in public again.

Challenges in Political, Economic and Social Spheres
Since the Republic of Georgia obtained its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the country has faced numerous challenges in political, economic, and social spheres. Georgia, despite the high hopes and expectations that its leadership purportedly maintain for its future, has been plagued by territorial conflict, economic hardship, internally displaced persons, and a wide range of human rights violations. The purpose of this article is to explore the specific issue of human rights as they have developed since Georgian first obtained statehood. Further, it focuses more narrowly on the particular aspect of prisons and the struggles faced by a burgeoning population. Georgian prisons have been mostly documented as overcrowded, unsanitary, and centers where practice of torture continues unabated. Various NGOs active within the country and abroad have remained highly critical of prison conditions and practices, not only because they amount to violations of international agreements, most notably the Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Georgia has adopted both of these documents. Furthermore, Georgia’s prison systems are in violation of Georgia’s own National Law, Article 17 of the Constitution. Consequently a concerted effort by Georgian NGOs has been put forth, such as the Human Rights Centre, and other well-intentioned organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to document abuses and call for real change. Although such efforts have persisted for two decades now, this paper will argue that the success of NGOs have been limited at best, and little systematic change is realized made in the Georgian prison system. Closer examination of NGO reports and publications buttressed with various news releases and articles will reinforce this observation. By reviewing concerns expressed by NGOs in four periods of Georgia’s history: 1991-1995, 1995-1999, 1999-2003, and 2003-2011 it is obvious  that many of the same abuses and difficulties in the prison system have been resistant to change over time. The consistency of the process is reflective in the overall ineffectiveness of the NGO community to effect change. Nonetheless, some changes have been noted in the last 20 years, the prison population is greater than ever in the history of Georgia, conviction rates are higher than during the period of Stalin, 99 percent plus, and prisons in spite of claims that they are to international standards are still overcrowded, insanitary, and still characterized by systematic and illegal beatings, torture and murder. The term insanitary is used here, as generally unsanitary means that something is dirty; “insanitary” which means that it is so filthy that it’s apt to cause disease – which is more fitting to the conditions in Georgian Prisons.  
 It is crucial to note, before beginning an in-depth discussion, how the information used to justify the ineffectiveness of NGOs is purely anecdotal and difficult to verify based on an independent evaluation. In short, one must take the information and carefully evaluate it to make a casual inference as it does not confirm any valid measure of scientific accuracy. Hence while the data and information here will attempt to demonstrate a pattern, it fails to provide beyond any reasonable certainty many conclusions. Providing such an applied quantitative or qualitative proof within an acceptable range of measures is extremely difficult in social science research and obtaining the numbers and statistics that could accurately make definitive statements are most undoubtedly impractical at best.
Investigate Human Rights in Georigan Prisions
To begin an investigation of human rights practices in the Georgian Prison system, it is necessary to observe the early years of the country’s existence in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is important to take into consideration the severe economic and political troubles that the country faced at the time. Georgia had just obtained statehood and was amidst civil war from 1991 to 1992. It was because of the unrest and the growing pains of a fledgling democracy, the organizations were lenient in criticizing the newly evolved nation state.  Not because they wanted to pull Georgia away from Russia’s grasp (i.e., one could even argue that they could and should, and it was possible to have done more in the past to identity and help to eliminate the root cause of the problems now faced. Georgia failed then and is failing now – and yet all those responsible, some with blood on their hands, still have their jobs, and not only in the prison system but the Ministry of Culture as well.
However, Amnesty International reflects on these years in the introduction to a 1996 report entitled “Georgia: Torture and Ill-Treatment”.
“[Amnesty International] acknowledges that advances have been made against a background of severe economic and political dislocation and armed hostilities in parts of the country, especially in the early years of independence.” (Amnesty International, 1996, p.1)
Despite this recognition, it remains that abuses were reported in those early years. Most notable was the concern raised by Amnesty International regarding Georgian criminal case 7493810. This case detailed 19 men who had been detained on charges ranging from illegal possession of arms to murder and terrorism; this tendency now continues with allegations of various crimes committed by journalists to politicians, from spying for foreign intelligence services to plotting overthrows of the government.
“They had been arrested between May and October of 1992 in connection with six separate incidents, including a car-bombing in June 1992 which was apparently aimed at the notorious public figure Jaba Ioseliani which resulted in the death of five bystanders.” (Amnesty International, 1994, p.1)
The report entitled “Medical Concern: conditions in detention and health concern” detailed their ill-treatment after arrest.
All the defendants in Case 7493810 allege that they were beaten following their arrest and during interrogation. Testimony from a number of the defendants describes a recurring pattern. Typically, they were arrested by armed men in civilian clothing who did not produce arrest warrants. They were beaten on the spot, on the way to the station and on arrival. The beatings continued during interrogation (Amnesty International, 1994, p.1).
 The report also provides details of the specific acts of torture that the detainees endured.
“The forms of torture described by the defendants include being hung upside down, scalding with burning water, and systematic beatings resulting in fractured bones and teeth; threats to torture or murder family members were also used against the defendants” (Amnesty International, 1994, p.1).
 In addition to the appalling treatment of the detainees, the pre-trial detention center (SIZO), where they were held was said to have unsuitable conditions. The report asserts:
“On average, 45-50 people are held in each cell in the men’s facility in SIZO, which equates to less than two square meters per person. Food rations consist of little more than bread and water, heating in winter is irregular and the supply of electricity is irregular. The facility is said to be vermin-ridden with rats, lice and cockroaches.” (Amnesty International, 1994, p.3)
 In response to such a poor facility, the report details that
“a number of defendants are suffering serious ill health as a result of the conditions of their detention and in some cases hunger strikes have been undertaken to protest their treatment.” (Amnesty International, 1994, p.3)
 The report concludes by stating that even though the 19 defendants in case 7493810 are convicted of particularly violent crimes, it in no way justifies the poor treatment that they were subjected to. As a result the document details that,
“Amnesty International is calling on the Georgian authorities to take immediate steps to improve the conditions of detention for these defendants, to provide medical attention on the basis of clinical need, to investigate all reports of ill-treatment, and to ensure that the defendants receive a trial in accordance with international standards.” (Amnesty International, 1994, p.4)
The second period to be examined is the period from August 24, 1995 (the ratification of the new Georgian Constitution) to April 27, 1999 (Georgia joins the Council of Europe). This is a significant period because the Constitution includes amendments that prohibits, torture, inhuman, brutal or degrading treatment or extreme punishment. One could make the logical connection that this would mean a new direction for Georgia in terms of human rights within its prisons. However, such a conclusion would be incorrect. Despite the new Constitution that sought to supersede that of the Soviet Era, Amnesty International reports that their approaches have,
“Largely been without substantive response, and in recent months the authorities have admitted publicly that torture continues in detention and that those responsible frequently go unpunished.” (Amnesty International, 1996a, p.3)
Despite recommendations made by Amnesty two years earlier, a report entitled, “Georgia: Summary of Amnesty International’s concerns” describes that
“Torture and ill-treatment have continued in custody, on the admission of the Georgian authorities themselves, with those responsible frequently going unpunished.” (Amnesty International, 1996b, p.1).
Moreover, it does appear that Georgia has attempted to include legislation against torture in their Constitution, albeit without real enforcement or actual accountability. It is actually stated that,
 “Georgia has in place various legal procedures for the investigation of allegations of torture in custody and bringing to justice of those responsible. However, these procedures often are not implemented fully and rigorously.” (Amnesty International, 1996b, p.4)
The Amnesty report continues,
“The authorities and competent bodies of Georgia are seriously concerned about the fact that instances of torture continue in places of pre-trail detention and places where sentences are served.” (Amnesty International, 1996b, p.2).
It can be concluded that despite efforts to brush torture under the rug with legal maneuvers, no real  outcomes have resulted from the Constitutional changes or the intervention of groups such as Amnesty between pre and post Georgian Constitutional periods of development.
 In addition to the practices exercised in Georgian detention facilities, the conditions remained consistent even after the mentioned Constitutional changes. Amnesty International writes in October 1996,
“Conditions in penal institutions in Georgia are difficult, falling short of international standards and, if reports are accurate, amounting in themselves to ill-treatment. Conditions in pre-trial detention, where non-convicted prisoners are held, are among those said to be the most severe. Prisoners there are often held in grossly overcrowded conditions, meaning that they have to sleep in two or three shifts. Inadequate food, insanitary conditions and lack of medicines compound the problems, providing fertile ground for the spread of parasitic infections and disease: tuberculosis is said officially to have been one of the main causes of death among the 122 prisoners who died in custody in 1995.” (Amnesty International, 1996b, p.6)
 Taken as a whole, when comparing the results before and after the development of the Constitution, it would appear that little has changed. Amnesty International acknowledges,
“the problems that may exist within the prison system, for example such as those caused by lack of funding for professional staff, training and infrastructure, but these problems can never be used as an excuse for torture and deliberate ill-treatment.” (Amnesty International, 1996b, p.9)
 The third period of Georgia’s human rights development that should be examined is the time from Georgia’s admission to the Council of Europe to the Rose Revolution and the ousting of President Eduard Shevardnadze. This is a significant period because the Council of Europe represents a political organization dedicated to strengthening democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout its member states. As a result,
“Georgia undertook to fulfill a number of commitments with specific time limits. One of these was to ratify both the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, within one year of accession.” (Amnesty International, 2000, p.1)

 Despite these seemingly positive developments for Georgia and human rights, it remains that in Amnesty International’s February 2000 report entitled, “Georgia: Continuing Allegations of Torture and Ill-Treatment” the problems faced before the millennium had carried over. Amnesty International reports,
“We remain greatly concerned about the continuing and persistent reports of torture and ill-treatment in Georgia, including a recent case in which a man is said to have died after a severe beating by police officers.” (Amnesty International, 2000, p.1)
The NGO continues,
“It is important for Georgia to put into practice its existing obligations, domestic and international, to end both torture and impunity for its perpetrators.” (Amnesty International, 2000, p.1)
One further statement most clearly identifies how any effort from Amnesty International or others has failed in recent years.
“Although some progress has been made, past admissions of problem areas by the government itself – its serious concern about torture in custody, its recognition of weaknesses in ensuring efficient and impartial investigation of complaints about torture, and the fact that those responsible frequently went unpunished – are as relevant today as when they were made in 1996, in a report to the United Nations Committee against Torture.” (Amnesty International, 2000, p.2)
 Specific criticism included in the 2000 report concluded that,
“Reports of how prosecutors have been reluctant to open a criminal case at all, or have closed the case for alleged lack of evidence after what appears to be a perfunctory investigation, further undermine confidence in official commitment to tackle the issue of torture. Many alleged victims also simply do not believe that their complaints will result in a rigorous, comprehensive and impartial investigation. Others are deterred from lodging complaints by a fear of reprisals, believing that any attempt on their part to bring those responsible to account – or simply to stop the ill-treatment – will only result in greater abuses against them or their relatives.” (Amnesty International, 2000, p.3)
 Even the recommendations in 2000 concede that torture and human rights violations have become common place. Amnesty International writes,
“There are obviously many factors involved in the issues of why torture has been such a persistent problem in Georgia, and what can be done about it. It takes time to overcome a Soviet-era mentality of policing and penal issues, and Georgia’s economy is still not sufficiently strong to provide levels of pay which would make the temptations of corruption less effective.” (Amnesty International, 2000, p.10)
 Given that Georgia’s violations and challenges are considered persistent, it is clear that efforts by NGOs such as Amnesty International have been ineffective in briing about change. However, given the challenges that Georgia faced, would more time growing apart from Soviet-era mentality and more democratization make a substantial alteration to Georgia’s penal system? Unfortunately, as the next period of Georgia’s history is examined, the answer would appear to be no.
Post Rose Revolution
 The last period for Georgia is from the Rose Revolution to the present, characterized by the installment of President Saakashvili. Saakashvili represented an opportunity for change in the Georgian government for most citizens and has undertaken numerous political and economic reforms. However, criticism remains as Saakashvili has been regarded as too authoritarian and he has openly stated that he will sacrifice nothing for the sake of development. At the opening of the new Radisson Hotel, Saakashvili is quoted as stating,
“There not exists development in Georgia without order. No compromise will be from our side in this issue.” (Saakashvili, 2009)
However, what does this mean for human rights and more specifically, the prison system?
 It means that despite reform in nearly every aspect of life for Georgians, it has not improved in regards to the penal system. In April 2005, Human Rights watch published an article entitled “Georgia: Torture Still Goes Unpunished” which stated
“Since the Rose Revolution that brought a new government to power in 2003, the Georgian authorities have failed to end widespread torture of detainees in the criminal justice system.” (Human Rights Watch, 2005, p. 1)
Additionally, the article provided an example of the level of failure in accountability. It stated,
“According to the government’s own statistics, only 39 cases ‘involving elements of inhuman and degrading treatment’ were investigated in 2004, out of which 20 were suspended or terminated, and only 12 were sent on to court. Out of the five cases that had been ruled on by a court by the time the statistics were gathered, only one police officer had been sentenced to an active prison term. In this case, the police officer was accused of beating another police officer and not a detainee, making it a dubious case of torture.” (Human Rights Watch, 2005, p.2)
 But what about prison conditions, what about the nature of the abuse itself? It remains sad that these elements have also survived to live in the Saakashvili era. Human Rights watch writes in a 2006 report entitled “Georgia: Prison Abuses Rife Despite Promises of Reform” that,
“Thousands of prisoners in Georgia live in inhuman and degrading conditions and many are subject to severe beatings and other ill-treatment.” (Human Rights Watch, 2006, p.1)
“Prisoners, even those held in the newly renovated prisons, receive inadequate food and substandard, if any, medical care. Many prisoners also lack access to exercise and often cannot leave their cells for weeks or months at a time.” (Human Rights Watch, 2006, p.1)
 For a long time, Georgia faced difficulties with funding for positive reforms and literally couldn’t afford to change their conditions or practices. In response,
“The European Union and other donors have provided the Georgian government with substantial financing to build new prisons. But simply giving money and building new prisons isn’t going to end abuses against prisoners.” (Human Rights Watch, 2006, p.2)
Since receiving aid in 2006, abuses have only persisted at a consistent rate. Even as recent as March 2011, according to the newspaper “Georgia and World”,
Two prisoners died from torture. 31 year old Temur Petriashvili and 31 year old Malkhaz Muzashvili were declared dead. Doctors had concluded the cause of death to be illness combined with severe trauma. Irma Inashvili, a political activist, spoke publically about the incident and stated, “We have video camera recordings of the corpse of Malkhaz Muzashvili. He has very serious injuries of the body: the leg is broken; the nose is damaged, the wrist, the veins of the neck. He has obvious signs of torture.” (Gelashvili, 2011, p.1)
The article also speculated on the cause of such torture and abuse. In many cases,
“the reason for beating and torture may be the reason that the prisoner does not kiss the photo of Mikheil Saakashvili, or salute to the jailer, etc…” (Gelashvili, 2011, p.1)
 Such instances have even spurred recent small scale protests which have resulted in several arrests.
“On April 4, 2011, police briefly scuffled with protesters outside the Supreme Court…” (Civil Georgia, 2011, p.1)
“The rally was organized by various opposition groups, which are campaigning for inmates' rights.” (Civil Georgia, 2011, p.1)

Conditions remain deplorale
The conditions of detainees and prisoners remain deplorable today and these protests are the clear evidence for this claim. It would continue to appear that nothing has changed since Saakashvili took power, or for the entirety of Georgia’s independence.  It stands as a bright beacon that protests exist to detest the prison conditions and lack of accountability within the penal system of Georgia. Small scale Georgian NGOs such as the Human Rights Centre have taken lead roles in this capacity but have yet to make a significant impact. The challenges faced in the early nineties reflect almost identically today. Prisons are still overcrowded, still dirty, and detainees are beaten and tortured while expectations of justice remain almost non-existent. Despite a new Constitution, new ratifications of anti-torture documents, and a called elected President driven by development and Western/European values, it seems that the penal system persists as one of the oldest problems of Georgia and looks to persist for many years to come, it has become a instrument that is often used by authorities as a political instrument to threaten the populace.

Works Cited
Amnesty International, Initials. (1994, October). Medical concern: conditions in detention and
            health concern.
Amnesty International, (1996, October, a). Georgia: summary of amnesty international's
Amnesty International, (1996, October, b). Comments on the initial report submitted to the
            united nations committee against torture.
Amnesty International, (2000, February). Georgia: continuing allegations of torture and ill-
Human Rights Watch, (2005, April 12). Georgia: torture still goes unpunished.
Human Rights Watch, (2006, September 13). Georgia: prison abuses rife despite promises of
Saakashvili, Mikheil. (2009, September 2). Statement of the president Saakashvili at the opening
            ceremony of the Radisson hotel. Retrieved from
Gelashvili, Sopho. (2011, March 26). The prisoners are forced to kiss the photo of Saakashvili in
            the prison. Georgia and World,
Protestors arrested outside Supreme Court. (2011, April 05). Civil Georgia,
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Georgian Photojournalists Spy Scandal and Lastest Bombshell, Vera Kobalia

Georgian Photojournalist Spy Scandal, Bombshell Minister – Vera Kobalia, Oh G-D

As to the recent photojournalist spy scandal:  Misha to Ekho Moscow - "this is not paranoia" - and the interview with some of the accused Russian spies, about 10 arrested earlier this year, and now with Georgian photojournalist, it seems that one may have sold some pictures to the Russian media of events of May 26 2011.

The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said on July 9, that one of the arrested photographers had links with the Russian military intelligence and two others were providing him with confidential information, including, among others, photos of technical drawings of the presidential palace and travel routes of President Saakashvili.

The real spying may be that someone gave Misha's travel schedule/routes - so now that we can understand the president needs privacy for Vera Kobalia and his sordid record of chasing after Batumi waitresses, a not agreeing husband who was beaten up by body guards and in hospital, five days and nearly killed! Some are claiming that they these dirty Russian spies may have shared nasty photos with the Russian media of Misah and his nice looking minister, or of something sinister, as that the allegations are but a red herring for something more sinister – a smoke for covering up the events of May 26 and the inner working of high level corruption and the inner workings of the governmental sanctioned shadow economy. Regardless, there are many juicy layers to the latest subterfuge and spy mania in Georgia.

Bit of shady background gossip

July 7, Interpressnews brought the news that the minister for economic development, Vera Kobalia, who didn't dance on a bar table in Florida, was hospitalized. The agency issued a photo that they said proves that Vera was admitted to the private clinic MediClubGeorgia, on Tashkent Street 22, Tbilisi.

In the same article, Vera's spokeswoman at the Ministry of Economic Development Tea Bolkvadze denied that she was ever hospitalized, deny all claims otherwise.

In addition to these two photos, Interpressnews also had Vera's presence at the clinic confirmed by the staff there, who also said that the young minister was rushed to the clinic in an ambulance, though they did not specify her diagnosis, condition or how long she had been in their care.

The next day, media reported that the clinic ClubMedGeorgia absolutely denied Vera's presence at the clinic, and the claim that she has been brought there by ambulance.

Analysis and 2 cents worth

I think Misha has gone more paranoid than the young son of Catherine the Great ... young Paul was so paranoid of his mom's networks after she died, he had his quarters built on the same spot where he was born to Catherine, and he said "I will also die on this spot".  He was murdered three weeks later by conspirators. Save all that for the Georgian Paparazzi!

Meanwhile, Georgian leaders and parliament have been selling off almost all the forests and resources of Georgia to China and India and Korea, (under the rubric of economic development), so they can deforest, denude and devour as much as they can consume before there is social chaos again in Georgia, perhaps the Georgian Church locking horns with the so called elected government.  “Cases of fighting against the Church and humiliating the Church are very frequent,” Ilia II said in a recent sermon.“Those who have ever humiliated the Church are punished and they will definitely be punished … The Church will protect you and give you the strength.”

“Historically the Church has always been protecting Georgia and our faith; the Church has always been a huge force and it still is a huge force. This force is not directed against anyone… This force is for making people happy. So we should take care of the Church,” the Georgian Orthodox Church leader said.

“Today we want to pray for our nation, church and pray for the peace for the authorities and our nation,” Ilia II added. Few hours after the Patriarch’s sermon, few thousand people, led by the clerics from the Georgian Church, marched towards the Parliament.

Meanwhile the Georgian government is cooperating with opportunist investors in seeing this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to get rich quick, so to speak “make hay whilst the sun shines.” Also, the new dominating force on Georgian cable TV, there are ten new movie channels on Ayeti TV, and the owner of service provided, (name omitted) based on reliable rumors, is a friend of Misha. He used to be the ambassador to china. Naturally such allegations require closer media investigation, before repeating them, and blasting the results to a larger audience.

Now keeping up with the most popular hobby in Georgia

Bashing Russians as Scapegoats

“McCarthyism is alive and well in Georgia.”
They have had years to root out real Russian spies. Instead, they let them take over and rob Georgia with impunity: water, energy sector, banking, etc.  This has nothing to do with Russia or supporting Russia, it has to do with mafia structures that are stronger than political or civil society, and least, let not - forgetting the rule of law and statehood.

Have we not been here before? Isn't this yet another example of something first democratically elected Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia was pilloried for, rightly or wrongly, but others do without anyone saying a word?

If a government does something wrong you pass laws which make sure that no future government can do the same - hence the laws against Catholic monarchs in the UK, the electoral systems in Italy and Germany, etcetera. In Georgia everyone in charge does exactly what was used as an excuse for destroying the legal President, exactly why legality will one day be restored, as we are all made in the image and likeness of God and revert to that under the greatest stress.

If you want to stop the Russian threat, behave differently from the Russians. The British and Americans were not Nazis and congenitally incapable of being so, that is how they won the war. Behave like Russians and you will never be free from them. Behave differently and there is no need for such laws - ask Estonia, for example.

"Now, the government believes everybody is a Russian spy in this country."

McCarthyism is alive and well in Georgia.
Lana (an ethnic Russian) is very concerned about the way this country is going. She said it was unnerving enough to be a Russian in Tbilisi when the war was on - but now she feels like she and her ilk are getting ethnically cleansed. It's clear, she's quite correct in that assumption.
How long will it be before Russians start getting beaten up by young Georgian thugs here? There's no difference between agenda-driven Islamophobia in the West and Russophobia here. It is quite sickening to see emails coming in everyday - chain emails which people think are funny - about the number of immigrants in Britain. I know much the same is true in the Koran-Burning Belt.

You know how to put out an oil well fire? Blow it up - fight fire with wire. The only way people will see the sort of hole they are digging themselves into, by sniggering along with the crowd at such emails - without actually thinking about it - like sheep, is to let them have it with both barrels.

I don't doubt there has been some underhanded pressure on restaurants to cut down (or stop completely) playing Russian music - I don't think they could ever make that stick in such a popular Russian restaurant as Matrioshka - but smaller places I guess could be frightened into complying.

It might be worth you getting a Russian to conduct a little survey to see if this is fact or fiction, and few interviews with other ethnic minorities (Russian and Armenian especially) to get a sense of how they feel, living in a country where there is such a wave of nationalism being driven by the government - as you know, this is one of the hallmarks of fascism....

Really, the opposition here wants to get a clue and go en-masse to wherever Saakashvili is speaking - with Georgian flag armbands on and give him the old "Misha! Misha!" chant at the end, with their arms held up in a Nazi salute. He'd have to either ban the media from covering his own speeches, or get the riot police in to beat these people up for "supporting" their president.

"Don't suspect a Russian - REPORT HIM OR HER!"

-- - Does exactly what it says on the tin

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Four Arrested Georgian Photojournalists as Alledged Russian Spies

State Department "Spin" on Arrested Georgian Photojounalists as Russian spies

QUESTION: Okay. And the second one is Georgia has arrested four photojournalists on charges of being spies, essentially, and some media critics are saying that they fear that this marks a new lurch toward cracking down on media freedoms in this U.S.- allied country. I’m
wondering if you’re aware of that case and do you have any comment on their arrest and what it might say about media freedoms?

MS. NULAND: We’ve seen the reports of this arrest. I think we would say here what we say to the Georgian Government and to governments around the world privately, that we expect a free, fair, accountable, transparent judicial proceeding in this case and in others.

NB. No answer was given about the nexus to the US nor about media freedoms!!!
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Four Journalists arrested as spies in Tbilisi Georgia - but tip of iceberg

More Alleged Journalist Spies arrested in Tbilisi Georgia

Misha Saakashvili gets set up by own Ministry of Internal Affairs, or something even worst ... is he the real Boris?

Of course the US Embassy knows, and may even be somehow involved; the most prominent of those arrested are Misha's personal photographer, Irakli Gedenidze, and his wife Natia. The president's spokesperson refuses to comment, according to Interpressnews. Maestro TV, a Georgian pro-democracy station, said at noon today "that they are accused of being spies."

Today the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs says it has issued a statement according to which these journalists have been taken into custody:

In addition to the president's personal photographer, Irakli Gedenidze, and his wife Natia, who is also a photographer, three journalists were reported as having been arrested. They are:

Giorgi Abdaladze, photographer for Georgia's foreign ministry Zurab Kurtsikidze, works for various European agencies Shah Aivazov, Associated Press,

AP Shah Aivazov was later reported as not having been arrested, but brought in as a witness, then released. He was brought in as a witness, but has already left the Moduli building.

This is but the tip of the iceberg as a constant effort to crackdown on all press and individual freedoms in Georgia and such a crackdown may drive the country back into the sphere of Russian influence - and this questions as if there is method in the madness, especially n the aftermath of a brutal crackdown on apparently pro-democracy protesters on May 26, resulting in killed, injuries and disappeared.

Other journalist have been beaten and tortures, including foreign, and police have refused to investigate, and in one instance, on the instruction of the US Embassy in Tbilisi. It appears that the US government is more concern for keeping Georgia as an outpost for logistical support than as a fledgling democracy - and applies a double standard for its friends in this part of the world, especially Georgia and Azerbaijan, and is willing to turn a blind eye and hold its nose to an array of human rights violations and organized crime, as long as the oil and weapons flow in the appropriate directions.

Georgia has also become a preferred venue for money laundering and drugs for weapons swaps.

Here is one of the early stories written about the most recent wage of arrests.

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