"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Straws in the wind in the Soviet republics - US readies for action

Kazakhstan , hosted high level visitors including Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan who met Kazakh Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov for talks focused on expanding trade ties and cooperating in the fight against terrorism and organized crime. Ukrainian President Vladimir Yushchenko met with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who said that Kazakhstan might be willing to become a "shareholder" in a project to extend Ukraine's Odessa-Brody pipeline to Gdansk in order to gain access to the Baltics. Nazarbaev also attended the “opening” of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in Baku on 25 May. And while Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have yet to finalize an agreement on exports of Kazakh oil through the BTC, Prime Minister Akhmetov noted that Kazakhstan plans eventually to pump 30 million tons of oil each year through the newly inaugurated pipeline.

In Kyrgistan Acting President Kurmanbek Bakiev addressed a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, urging donor states to boost investment and grant-based support for Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. Back in Bishkek, the OSCE opened its election-observer mission in preparation for the 10 July presidential election in Kyrgyzstan. The plight of some 500 Uzbek asylum seekers in Kyrgyzstan continued to concern rights organizations, which urged the Kyrgyz government not to repatriate them.

Rumours over the possibility of a new military base in Osh, variously reported as Russian, Chinese, or affiliated with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Acting President Bakiev told a Russian newspaper that a base could appear within the framework of the CSTO or SCO, but other officials downplayed the idea.

The Kyrgyz government has hired international lawyers to track down foreign properties or businesses owned by Askar Akaev or those close to the ex-president, who was overthrown during an uprising in late March.

A state commission headed by acting Vice PM Daniyar Usenov has been probing the Akaev family finances in Kyrgyzstan since April 19.

So far, 114 criminal cases have been opened against companies connected with the Akaevs and their inner circle, though the ex-president has not been directly named. “If one calculates the damage done to the country from illegal privatisation, tax avoidance, non-payment of duties, illegal seizure of business from businessmen, in all areas, I would assess this at billions of soms,” said Usenov.

In Sunny Tajikistan, Ghaffor Mirzoev, former head of Tajikistan's Drug Control Agency and the presidential guard, faced 73 charges under 33 articles of the Criminal Code, including murder and terrorism, even as prosecutors extended the investigation period of his case for a sixth time (until 6 July). President Rakhmonov re-appointed General Rustam Nazarov to head the Drug Control Agency on 9 August who held the post before Mirzoev.

In November Tajikistan's Supreme Economic Court
lower court transferring ownership of a meat-processing plant, casino,
and store from Abdurasul Mirzoev, the brother Ghaffor Mirzoev, to the state..

Ghaffor Mirzoev is currently in jail awaiting trial on murder
and corruption charges.

Rumours have circulated in Dushanbe that a military coup is in the planning stages. Some troops in the capital have been placed on higher alert. Mirzoev is reported previously as saying he “will not take up arms, and I will not go against the people”.

A court sentenced seven members of the Bayat group to long jail terms for murder, assault, and robbery. The group had initially been presented as a religious extremist organization, but a prosecutor said that the investigation showed that it was instead an organized-crime group.

Over 83 percent of the country's 6.5 million inhabitants live below the national poverty line, according to the World Bank, while a full 17 percent are considered destitute.
"HIV/AIDS is on the rise in Tajikistan," Azamdjon Mirzoev, the director of the republican centre for AIDS prevention in, Dushanbe the Tajik capital.

As of February 2004, of the total 152 officially registered cases, 33 were recorded in January 2004 alone, Mirzoev said, warning that the real number could be 20 times the official figure.

With the first official case of HIV / AIDS was registered in 1991, 7 in 2000, 34 in 2001, 32 in 2002 and 42 in 2003.

But such a sharp increase in the number of cases registered was partly due to a lack of testing equipment. "Our laboratory hadn't worked from January 2002 until the middle of 2003 because we didn't have testing systems," Mirzoev explained. As for the root causes of the problem, Mirzoev cited illicit drug trafficking as one of the primary factors exacerbating the situation. "Before 1991 most of the drug addicts in Tajikistan were smoking hashish but after the borders became more open, heroin trafficking kicked off," he said, adding that based on some unconfirmed reports some seven to 14 mt of heroin was being kept on the Afghan border ready to be shipped via Tajikistan.

TB's hold on Central Asia strengthened after the break-up of the Soviet Union, and both incidence and mortality rates have increased alarmingly since the mid-1990s. A shortage of drugs and trained medical staff, and inadequate detection and diagnosis has contributed, along with poverty, poor living standards, poor nutrition and immune defences brought low by a general poor standard of health.

Beset by civil war for much of the 1990s, Tajikistan has suffered abominably. The World Health Organization put the incidence at 127 per 100,000 in 2001 and anticipated it would rise to 170 by 2004, one of the highest rates in the world.

Financial checks are now being carried out on the bulk of foreign NGOs organisations operating within the republic. And the Tajik interior ministry now requires foreign embassies and international organisations to inform it of the date and topic of any meetings with local NGOs, political parties and journalists, claiming that “their activity threatens the information security of the country and does not match the requirements of the development strategy for Tajik society".

The head of the United States National Democratic Institute, (AKA State dept. / CIA) which supports the development of political parties and debate, was refused an entry visa, and the organisation’s local office had difficulty in becoming registered. Internews is also said to be facing pressure from the authorities.

In Uzbekistan violence in Andijon continued to ripple through Uzbekistan. Human rights groups warned of a crackdown amid reports of arrests and harassment. (Pic - white gold of Uzbekistan - your next T shirt)

U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan John Purnell was present at a press conference in the Embassy cellars (Tashkent) on Friday, with delegation comprising Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Sununu.

Senator John McCain (Arizona) the senior Senator on the trip led the criticism. Calling the events in Andijon "shocking but not unexpected," McCain urged the Uzbek government to heed international calls for an independent investigation into the killings.

McCain recommended that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), of which Uzbekistan is a member, conduct that investigation and added that the U.S. government could not continue to enjoy good ties with Uzbekistan under the current circumstances.

"We believe there should be a complete investigation conducted by the OSCE and I believe that the United States must make the [Uzbek] government understand that a relationship is very difficult, if not impossible, if a government continues to repress its people," he said. "And history shows continued repression of human rights leads to tragedy such as the one that just took place."

Senator Sununu (New Hampshire) emphasized that the Uzbek government seemed to be backtracking on pledges of reform. Sununu said that compared to his first visit to Uzbekistan about three years ago, the situation in the country seemed worse now.

"At that time [three years ago] I think a lot of people were optimistic that there may be the beginnings of real reform or change in the country," Sununu said. "But today, I think the degree of economic and political repression we see is almost certainly greater."

"Of course, I am concerned about the impact of all these on the U.S.-Uzbek relations," he said. "There's no question about it. We will continue to urge Uzbek authorities to consider an international investigation. As the senator rightly points out, we think the OSCE is an excellent vehicle to participate in that kind of investigation."

The U.S. is in constant dialogue with the Uzbek authorities. However, Purnell said, the Andijon events "will undoubtedly have a real impact" on U.S.-Uzbek relations. He did not provide any other details.

The U.S. currently has hundreds of troops stationed at a military base at Dushanbe in Uzbekistan as part of the international coalition fighting terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan. So Washington has proven sympathetic to the Uzbek government's battle against what Tashkent calls religious extremists.

The news conference was attended by representatives of four Uzbek opposition groups whom the Government refuse to meet or negotiate with.

The three senators went on to Kyrgyzstan as they continued a regional (See previous post re departure of US and USraeli Embassy staff and families)

Meanwhile, President Karimov enjoyed a warm reception on a visit to China. Before leaving, he strongly rebuffed appeals for an independent investigation about Anijon killings. In China he signed a treaty on "friendly and cooperative partnership" and signed a deal for a $600-million oil joint venture.

The U.S. State Department designated the Islamic Jihad Group a terrorist organization, describing it as a splinter group of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and blaming it for a series of bombings and shootouts in Bukhara and Tashkent in March-April 2004 that claimed 47 lives. (see previous posts)

sniff...snifff... sumthin' in the wind. Watch this space

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(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish