Thursday, July 26, 2012

Leaked Documents about alledged weapons trafficking in CIS

The curious case of Timothy Byrnes, ASIO and the National Security Hotline

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Slovenian Arms Dealer Convicted as fall guy in larger network!

Slovenian Arms Dealer Convicted and Jailed but SHORT Sentence!!!

Overview: A joint investigation conducted by DCIS and Homeland Security Investigations disclosed that Ruslan Gilchenko and his Slovenia based company, MG-CZ Inc., sought to purchase and export M134 mounted sport utility vehicles to Turkmenistan. he M134 “Minigun,” made popular through television and ilm, is a six barreled electrically driven machine gun capable of iring the 7.62 NATO round at a rate of 3,000 rounds per minute. The M134 “Minigun” is employed on a number of vehicles and aircraft in the U.S. military’s arsenal and units cost over one million dollars each. 

Result: On February 4, 2011, Gilchenko was sentenced in the District of Arizona to serve 18 months of incarceration, followed by three years  of supervised release for violations of 18 USC 371, Conspiracy and 22 USC 2778, Arms Export  Control Act

History is long into the transit countries for weapons and paperwork, banking and containers. It is impossible for such operations to be carried out without the collaboration of state players, and for many enforcement agencies to turn a blind eye. Moreover, it begs the question of the freight forwarding companies involved and high level political players. Taking a step back, lets put some of this into perspective, to connect dots, so to speak!

He knew what he was talking about - and the connection to Georgia needs to be made.

"I sat down to lunch with a young bureaucrat, Vakhtang Maisaia, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and an American journalist named Jeffrey Silverman. It was a Sunday afternoon, and we were the only ones in the restaurant. In front of us was an enormous spread of barbecued pork and khinkali accompanied by Georgian wine and Borjomi mineral water. 
“Who’s going to eat all this?” I asked. 
“We are!” Vakhtang was thirty-one years old, but his air of avuncular warmth and his mouthful of gold teeth made him seem older. 
“Anyway,” he added, “it doesn’t look nice to have a small amount of food on the table.”
We began to eat. There was no elegant way to tackle the khinkali, and Vakhtang discouraged my efforts in this direction. 
“You have to eat it with your hands. That is the way. Don’t worry if the juice runs down your face. And try this mineral water. Borjomi is very famous. It contains many minerals and is very good for your health.”
Jeffrey laughed scornfully.
“Every place you go to has a different kind of Borjomi mineral water. They all claim to be the original. Just look into who owns them all and you’ll have a whole new perspective on it.”
Jeffrey was a tough southerner married to an Armenian from Georgia. Now in his fifties, he had previously worked for a long time for a tobacco company in the US and, as if in reaction to this experience, now lived in Tbilisi where he spent his time seeking out tales of corruption – especially the sort that involves American corporations. His articles on corporate cover-ups, large NGO funds slipping into personal pockets, arms deals and unexplained murders made him a well-known figure in the city, cursed and adored in equal measure. 
It was March 14th, 2004. Early that morning President Saakashvili had been barred from entering the province of Ajaria by the troops of its Russian-supported strongman Aslan Abashidze. A military build-up was beginning on both sides, and my lunch companions began to receive a barrage of mobile phone calls. While we talked about Georgia’s political situation they ducked out periodically for urgent exchanges of the latest news. 
“The day I got my job in the Ministry,” said Vakhtang, “my boss said to me, ‘We will pay you $20 per month. You must earn this money. You have to be at your desk every day and fulfil your duties. Beyond this, you may carry out your own business in any way you wish. I will not interfere.’ He was explaining the ground rules of corruption to me. Corruption is systematic and entirely necessary – for how can you support a family on $20 a month?” 
Vakhtang was a man of serious intent, exasperated with this reality, who wished the country could be brought to a state of “normality” and who had chosen a line of work in which he could do his bit to move things in this direction. He had a strong sense of mission and, in the wake of the revolution, renewed hope.
“This region is still very dangerous. The effects of the break-up of the Soviet Union are still being felt. There are more than forty conflicts over ethnicity or territory that are already violent or may become so; most of these groups are asserting their claims more and more strongly. Meanwhile, Russia still wields undue power in the country. It cuts off our gas supply when it wants to apply pressure. It has provided generous supplies of weapons to the country’s breakaway leaders in order to keep Georgia weak. It’s still not impossible that it could walk in and occupy us again. Now Saakashvili is in power it is at last time to put an end to our fragile situation. We have to quickly reunify the country and forge strong international alliances.”
Of such alliances, America, of course, is the most important. And, as it happens, America is exceedingly interested in Georgia right now. At a point when its continued access to Middle Eastern oil is so unpredictable, the extensive deposits in the Caspian Sea have assumed unprecedented importance, and the US is not leaving its supply lines in the region in any doubt. It has fought long and hard to create an oil corridor from the Caspian that will avoid Russian and Iranian territory and pass through countries that are smaller, easier to control, and friendlier. The most visible result, the soon-to-be-completed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, was one of the most common subjects of conversation and news reporting in Georgia while I was there, and helps to explain why this poor, provincial place is so full of foreign businesspeople, NGOs and diplomats. It gives Georgia significant geopolitical importance at this point in time, making it clear that its future will be determined at least in part by the struggles of the Great Powers, and holding out the possibility that on this single point of foreign interest might be hung a future of international connections, investment, and prosperity.

More food kept coming. Jeffrey was on the phone to some diplomat. 

“Yes I know exactly how they got those arms… 
“Of course we can meet… I can tell you when they got them and from whom…
“Tomorrow morning?”

For Vakhtang, the ascendancy of the US in the region was probably a good thing. 
“We are a small country on the doorstep of a giant. Our future will always be insecure if we do not have American protection.” 

The US is delivering its protection across the region, making it clear that it will not leave its investments exposed to the Caucasian elements. American military bases have recently appeared in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and are likely to do so in Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. Kazakhstan is setting up a Caspian naval base under US supervision, and US troops have been sent to Georgia to provide training and equipment to its armed forces. All this makes it much less likely that Russia would ever launch a hostile operation against Georgia. 

But this is only part of the attraction of the American presence. For Vakhtang – and for Mikhail Saakashvili’s government – the imagined “normality” to which Georgia must return is, at this time of neoliberal consensus, a thoroughly corporate one, and American interest is crucial for bringing it about. Georgia, of course, is one of those places where you see corporations at their most rapacious, and many Georgians may not like what they are doing there. The upheaval caused by the building of the pipeline through villages and agricultural land, for instance, will hardly be assuaged by the NGOs employed by BP to calm the social storms in their wake. But the twentieth century’s utopias have destroyed the country to the point where there is no room anymore for fine debate, new visions or private misgivings. All the choices for Georgia’s future amount to just one choice, which is the same one choice enjoyed by everyone else: to usher in the tumult of the global market. The indications are that Saakashvili’s government will do so with an almost unmatched level of fundamentalist passion.

Jeffrey finished his phone call and looked at me. 

“Stick around,” he said. “You may see a war.”

He was impatient with Vakhtang’s pro-American sentiments. He did not believe that American interests could ever be made to serve Georgian ones. 

“The US invokes ‘terrorism’ as an excuse for its military influence in this part of the world. This is exactly the same strategy that Russia has pursued. They both want to keep talking about Chechen fighters in Georgia, to treat the country as a ‘failed state,’ so they can exert their influence on its affairs. But their interest is not terrorists, but energy. The real reason the US troops came here was to train the Georgian army to guard their pipeline. Do you think the US could walk in to a successful democracy like Latvia or Estonia and tell the army what to do? No. It’s very convenient for them right now that the country is unstable and they can set things up the way they want them.” 

The table was awash with pink napkins drenched in khinkali juice wiped from greasy chins. Jeffrey appealed hotly,

“I seriously think it would be better if they put a wall around this country for fifty years and didn’t let anyone in or out. I really believe that would solve Georgia’s problems more quickly.” 

But the phone calls were becoming only more insistent and lunch was disbanded. Vakhtang had to return to the Ministry. Jeffrey went to check his facts ready for his exchange of intelligence the next morning.

After I left the country, the stand-off between Saakashvili and Abashidze ended – without a shot being fired. Abashidze fled to Moscow and Saakashvili entered Ajaria to a euphoric reception. The first obstacle to his reunification of the country had been honourably cleared, and his prestige was sky-high. Vakhtang was proud and excited – doubly so, since he had been appointed Counsellor to the Georgian Diplomatic Mission to NATO, and was going to Brussels for three years.

Jeffrey began to write me depressed emails wondering if the Saakashvili administration would not turn out to be more power-hungry and corrupt even than what had gone before. But then his propensity to hang out in the most dangerous Caucasian recesses got him into more trouble than just the usual beating. While trying to work out what was really happening where the official maps read “Here Be Terrorists” he found himself arrested in Azerbaijan under an old warrant he did not know about; his passport was confiscated and his attention became more focussed on gathering money from well-wishers to pay to the Azerbaijani police. 

Meanwhile, the nearly-complete Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, built by French, American and Indian contractors for the BP-led consortium, buried under concrete and watched at all times by guards, [Bechtel] and electronic sensors, is as secure as human beings know how to build."
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Georgian links between Georgia and Arms Export Control Act?

Now we are getting closer to the source of some of what was found in August 2008,Georgian-Russian war - and this is but the tip of the iceberg, very BIG BLOODY TRACKS in Georgia for transit of weapons.

Arms Dealer Convicted and Jailed for Violation of the Arms Export Contral Act 

A joint investigation conducted by DCIS and Homeland Security Investigations disclosed that Ruslan Gilchenko and his Slovenia based company, MG-CZ Inc., sought to purchase and illegally export M134 mounted sport utility vehicles to Turkmenistan in violation of the Arms Export Control Act. The M134 "Minigun," which costs more than $1 million, is used on a variety of vehicles and aircraft in the U.S. military arsenal. Gilchenko was sentenced to 18 months of incarceration, followed by three years of supervised release.

  what is the role of dillion aero and allen.  

  Tactical SUVs Armed with M134 Mini-guns to Turkmenistan - On Feb. 4, 2011, Ruslan Gilchenko, who represents a company in Slovenia, was sentenced in the District of Arizona to 18 months in prison and three years supervised release for conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. A February 24, 2010, indictment charged Gilchenko and Victor Dobrogaiev with conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act, money laundering and fraud charges. Gilchenko and Dobrogaiev attempted to obtain three sport utility vehicles outfitted with M134 mini-guns, fully automatic defense suppression weapons that fire at a rate of 3,000 rounds per minute, for illegal export to Turkmenistan. As part of the conspiracy, the defendants agreed to pay $1.2 million to purchase three armed vehicles and forwarded $340,000 to sellers in the United States as a down payment. On Sept. 29, 2010, Gilchenko pleaded guilty to the conspiracy count. 

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Friday, July 6, 2012

EU foreign policy chief, MEPs slam Saakashvili - "POLITICAL WAR" is underway in Georgia

During a heated debate in the European Parliament statements made by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton were read out which slammed Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's administration for the incorrect and non transparent application of the law to hinder the participation of Opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream movement in the upcoming October Parliamentary elections.

“We have noted with concern the perception that the government is trying to hinder participation of opposition leader Ivanishvili, resources are deployed against him and laws on party finance are being applied in one-sided way. We must insist that laws are correctly and transparently applied to leave no possible doubt that due process has been followed,” the statement reads.

“The EU stresses that politically-motivated persecution, direct or indirect, by law enforcement agencies or use of selective justice against political contenders are not compatible with democratic values.”

UK Labour MEP Richard Howitt from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group said it was a right decision that the European Parliament was discussing reports of arrests, impounding of assets and restricted access to media ahead of elections in Georgia. He also said that excluding “opposition-leaning television channels” from some of the cable operators was indefensible and added that these questions were put in the spirit of friendship with Georgia. He also said that the European People's Party (EPP) was about to hold an event in Georgia’s Black Sea resort of Batumi, “which could be interpreted as seeking to help Mr. Saakashvili’s party.”

Austrian MEP from the group of Greens, Ulrike Lunacek, said such a debate was needed, because in recent days there had been visits to the European Parliament by representatives from both the opposition and the government conveying opposing views about developments in Georgia.

“I think it is not for us to side with any of the party… What I am concerned about and what our debate should be about is to warn Georgians – both the opposition and the government – that war of words and non-transparent conditions is harming image of Georgia,” she said.

Bulgarian MEP Kristian Vigenin from group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats said that such a debate should not be perceived as mistrust towards any country.

“No one can deny that Georgia has been making a good progress… I ask my colleagues not to exaggerate, but also not to downplay recent developments in Georgia. My impression is that a political war is underway [in Georgia] and the both sides use at full the weapons they possess,” MEP Vigenin said, adding that while government was using administrative and legal resources, the opposition was using Ivanishvili’s financial resources.

“If you listen to explanations of the both sides about situation in Georgia you would think that it’s completely two different countries and this is already a single [of a] problem,” MEP Vigenin said.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Saakashvili has violated Georgian Constitution ... IMPEACH HIM!

-Saakashvili has violated the Constitution... IMPEACH HIM!

One of Georgias most experienced constitutional experts, Vakhtang Khmaladze, says Saakashvili violated the constitution in several ways when he announced on TV Saturday evening that he had already appointed Ivane (Vano) Merabishvili as prime minister, and former prime minister Nika Gilauri as chair of a government investment fund.

The procedure for how to appoint a new prime minister, defined by the constitution, is that when a prime minister is no longer able to fulfill his duties, the president should hold consultations with factions in parliament and on grounds of these consultations he should present a new candidate for prime minister to parliament.

"The problem is that consultations werent held and this violated constitutions direct requirement. If the president issued an act to appoint Merabishvili as Prime Minister, this will be the second violation of the constitution, Khmaladze explains, adding that a decision made by violating the constitution cannot be considered legal since one the most important principles of law is not followed under these procedures. In this case, constitutional procedures were violated."

It is understandable that no one from the government wants to comment on this issue.

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No Middle Class to Live in Potekim Dream City: Larika, Misha's Folly

No Middle Class in Georgia to live in Potemkin Dream City

Misha's folly: the new Black Coast city of Lazika?

How is the city of Lazika being financed and who will pick up the tab if the houses don't sell? Which development bank?

Perhaps we should read more into what incoming PM Vano Merabishvili said:

"There is no middle class in Georgia, just the very poor and the very rich, and so there is no-one to buy these sorts of houses."

President Saakashvili claims he is going to build a new city which will be the second largest city in Georgia after the capital, Tbilisi.  He is calling on Georgians, especially IDPs from Abkhazia, to live there and prosper. However, in spite of these claims, the President has done nothing to actually make the city he is dreaming about a reality.
Nevertheless, despite first impressions and the project's many detractors, this dream is being shared with the residents of   West Georgian, especially those living in the Zugdidi region. The plan Saakashvili wakes up thinking about is to create a modern day Brasilia, a promised land without people for a people without land, in the purest Zionist spirit. He is endeavoring to make this dream come true. 

Naturally such an ambitious plan has its detractors; those who claim that it is merely a pipedream and nobody in their right mind would go and live there, leaving the place to the mosquitoes that fear hard core Megrelians. At least that is what members of various opposition parties think, in so many words.
Take for instance Giorgi Gugava, Political Secretary of the Labor Party, who considers  the initiative  foolish and states that when journalists speak about it seriously they are merely playing along with   the government’s PR campaign, which  makes this  scheme   look no more foolish than the  other Potekim Villages around Georgia.  Gugava also thinks that it is a lame attempt at diverting opposition attention from the real issues which should be part of any presidential or parliamentary campaign.
Nonetheless, the project looks attractive. Construction of this grandiose Georgian city will start in spring of next year, and will bear the name of a region which faded into history many centuries ago, but remains in the minds of many. The new city will be near Abkhazia, a breakaway region which Georgia lost 20 years ago in a bloody and needless civil war. Lazika will be built between Anaklia and Kulevi.

In Angola the government has recently announced a portion of the apartments at Kilamba will be designated social housing, which people on low incomes can rent long-term at low prices. No-one is quite sure how that scheme will work or who will be eligible, and cynics have dismissed it as a vote-winning stunt ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on 31 August.

There is also the issue of what will happen to all the full-cost apartments if they do not sell. Kilamba was financed by a Chinese credit line - which Angola is repaying with oil - so it has technically been paid for.

But if the houses go unsold, then the Angolan government will be left with stock on their hands and a potentially wasted investment.

According to Merabishvili the united databases will be created, the unemployed and job seekers status will be introduced and distribution of resources will be derived from these data.

How very socialist?! Do they intend to march the people there, or build a railroad?

One student, a 17-year-old called Sebastiao Antonio - who spends nearly three hours a day in traffic getting to and from classes from his home 15km away - told me how much he liked the city.

Saakashvili has a dream, and perhaps the World Bank or some other institution with deep pockets will make it a reality, provided the numbers add up.  It is expected that the population of Lazika will reach a minimum of half a million during the next 10 years, provided mass immigration to other countries ceases.  Saakashvili has declared that it will not only be the second largest city in Georgia but the main trade and economic center in Western Georgia and the main Georgian Black Sea resort. Watch out Batumi, now you might have to take a back seat to such a grand scheme.  The President has also said that construction will start next year. A new harbor will be built across from Anaklia for the elite class who will stay for a while in their cruisers. The best engineers will be called in to undertake the construction; it will be like walking in new snow for open minded architects.
Georgian opposition members consider that grand construction projects cannot be an alternative to returning Georgians to Abkhazia. They consider that the Georgian state should not give up the struggle to regain Abkhazia, as is implied by creating a lame substitute of it.  Experts say that the Lazika project has been stolen from an American company, and its designers are going to bring a case Strasbourg, or somewhere, so that they can regain control of a project rightfully theirs. It is well known that the project was sent to Saakashvili with the expectation that the Georgian government   would ask the World Bank for financing, as this is the standard procedure for big projects which need international development money to get going. 
However, it appears that this proposal is being held in abeyance. More than 1 year has passed since the project was sent to Saakashvili, but the World Bank has not received a proposal   or even any information about this grand concept. Basically, aside from the hype, there is no real plan, or project for developing any plan, for building this grand seaside city.
Maybe this company could build Misha's folly (the new Black Coast city of Lazika)? All he needs are half a million rich people who can afford to go and live there... without jobs.  But how will they create local jobs for all these people?

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