“The Project” in Kazakhstan 89

A week ago Wikileaks released the transcript of a meeting between Julian Assange and Google CEO Eric Schmidt, together with a number of other liberal establishment figures from the USA. This transcript is an important read. Assange has been portrayed in the media as a crazed pantomime villain. The reflective and thoughtful person who emerges from these transcripts is not perhaps what people accept. I also find it encouraging that a major CEO like Schmidt himself comes over as a genuine thinker, with liberal instincts.

But I want to focus rather narrowly on one point. Assange talks at length of his disappointment at the presentation of the State Department cables by Wikileaks’ mainstream media partners. In relation to the Guardian, among other things he says this:

“The Guardian redacted two thirds of a cable about Bulgarian crime, removed all the names of the people who had infiltrated – the mafioso – who had infiltrated the Bulgarian government. Removed a description of the Kazakstan elite, which said that the Kazakstan elite in general were corrupt, not even a particular name, just in general! Removed a description that a an energy company out of Italy operating in Kazakhstan was corrupt, so they have redacted for naming of individual names of people who might be unfairly put at risk, just like we do–that is what we require of them. They have redacted the names of mafioso, individual mafioso because they are worried that they might get sued for libel in London by this mafioso. They have redacted the names… they have redacted the description of a class of Kazakhstan elite, a class has been corrupt, and they have redacted descriptions of individual companies being corrupt because they don’t want to expose themselves to any risk at all.”

This is true, but not the whole story. At that time, I was trying without success to persuade Wikileaks to let me in to the cables in my are of expertise pre-publication, to assist with editing those on Africa and Central Asia to remove any risk to individuals. I was not able to do this because of Wikileaks’ exclusive deal with the newspapers, whom I thought they trusted to a remarkable degree.

A very senior figure ar the Guardian once said to me that “It should not be underestimated how far Rusbridger saw himself as an intrinsic part of The Project ” – The Project being Tony Blair’s plan to move the old Labour Party to a neo-con position and continue the Thatcher revolution (not that they called it that, even to themselves. Modernisation, Third Way etc.) Rusbridger, Michael White, Polly Toynbee, Andrew Rawnsley remain to this day fully paid up Blairites, and the Guardian continually, to this day, give a platform to Blair and Alistair Campbell, and publish article after article about how great is his legacy and how much he still has to contribute. I can’t bring myself to the emetic task of looking any of the offending articles up – perhaps people can kindly link to some in comments!

For several years now, a major stream of the massive Blair income has come from advisory and PR work for the murderous dictatorship of Kazakhstan – a government which massacres striking miners, which might be of interest to Blair’s former constituents. When I met Alistair Campbell in November he had recently come back from Kazahstan.

Julian Assange was quite right to infer that protecting themselves from possible libel suits had caused The Guardian to redact accounts of corrupt individuals. But that can hardly have accounted for the Guardian redacting a US Embassy observation that the ruling elite of Kazakhstan are corrupt as a class. Now what concern for the image of Kazakhstan might have led Alan Rusbridger to do that?

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89 thoughts on ““The Project” in Kazakhstan

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  • Fedup

    Guardian redacting a US Embassy observation that the ruling elite of Kazakhstan are corrupt as a class

    This was not in fear of liable actions but a an attempt in self preservation. The corruption of the UK ruling elite as a class is far more prevalent and sophisticated than those godfathers in Kazakhstan back waters. Hence the redactions and omissions. The first step in fighting corruption is through exposure of; corruption, crony-ism, fraud, deception, lies, theft, …… the cover ups, omissions and exclusions only help to maintain the status quo, and ensure the longevity of corrupt practices.

  • Brendan

    The Defence of Blair went from loyal, to over-loyal, to strange, to odd, to very fucking odd indeed, and currently resides at about ‘collaborating with the enemy in war time’ level. A strange affair that perhaps Historian may shed some light on, long after we are all dust.

    But then, everything about Blair is and always was odd. He would strut on the opposition benches, newly elected leader of the opposition, and blast away about leadership. We should have clocked him them, because in his life, he had shown precisely none. A chancer, at best.

    As to why journalists at The Guardian – highly intelligent people – continue to defned Blair, I am baffled. Perhaps it more a defence of an idea than a person. Blair The Idea is the kind of moderate left-centre leader the Labour party needed, they might argue, even if Blair The Actual Person is a noted scoundrel. Or maybe they are just mugs.

    I am curious as to the redactions, though. This speaks of, ah, geopolitical considerations. Maybe this is why they ‘hate’ Assange so much?

  • Dick the Prick

    And the lovely Jonny Powell has been recruited by the fragrant Kazach government to lecture them on how a professional civil service should operate when usurping all checks and balances in the fabrication of cassus beli for sociocide. It’s a specialism that should be exported. I think we all know how Powell got his job as Blair’s felcher in chief and it had bugger all to do with any talent or qualification. I suppose when Petey Goldsmith drops down in Astana we’ll have a full house. It’s so nice of Blair to give his mates jobs in this time of austerity and not in any way act as a cabal with something to hide, rather touching almost.

  • craig Post author


    Thanks, corrected. I knew that, so peculiar mind slip. What the Americans call a “senior moment”.

  • nevermind

    Does Rusbridger know his rag is being outed here as disingenuous? and do his arch journo’s you named care a damn?

    Robert Kissin, a UK investment banker is being named as the ‘middle man’ in corrupt practises, who knows why they named him, but not others.


    And then there is a hint that FT 100 companies are under the control of Khazak investors, with Sir Richard Evans, head of BAE, being named as being a director.


    Leave’s to wonder whether Mr. Ablyazovs passport is still being seized by British courts, on behalf of errr this dictatorship with powerful friends here.

  • John Goss

    “Tony Blair last visited Kazakhstan in May of this year to attend a conference. He is not personally making a profit directly or indirectly on this.” Telegraph link above.

    If anybody thinks Blair went over to Kazakhstan for altruistic reasons I would recommend they take a long break. Blair never did anything that was not in the interests of Blair. His charities are almost certainly charities in the mould of Atlantic Bridge.

  • Chris2

    This is from the MRzine website.

    Imprisoned Oil Workers’ Strike Leader Roza Tuletaeva Starts Hunger Strike
    by Campaign Kazakhstan
    On 22nd April, Roza Tuletaeva, one of the activists from the Zhanaozen oil workers’ strike, started a hunger strike. She has taken this extreme step because she has been refused essential medical aid at the women’s prison colony in Atyrau, where she is currently serving a lengthy jail sentence. She was arrested after the notorious massacre of Zhanaozen oil workers by government forces in December 2011 and sentenced to seven years in prison (later reduced to five, on appeal), on the charge of “organising mass disorder”.

    According to friends and relatives of Roza, she is suffering from chronic liver disease. The refusal to provide suitable treatment appears to be intentional revenge by the authorities. It is a form of torture against this political prisoner, who refused to accept that she was guilty as charged.

    During her court trial, Roza experienced torture and sexual harassment at the hands of the state security police (KNB), and the lives of her children were threatened. Nevertheless, she refused to give evidence against herself and her co-strikers, refused to give evidence against Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the Party Alga (who was later sentenced to a prison sentence), and exposed the methods of the investigators during her trial.

    Local human rights organisations have demanded the immediate provision of medical assistance to Roza Tuletaeva and have also demanded the right to visit her to make a proper assessment of her health. Clearly she is in danger, her health is already undermined and now her life is at risk. The hunger strike is eroding her health even further.

    Campaign Kazakhstan calls for protest messages against these further attempts at torture, which are organized by government forces with the aim of breaking the will of Roza and her comrades and of anyone else prepared to resist the authorities. By attempting to physically annihilate Roza Tuletaeva, they are trying to scare all oil workers, and those who live in the Mangystau region, from further protest actions.

    Hands off of Roza Tuletaeva!

    Freedom to the arrested oil-workers and political prisoners in Kazakhstan!

    Please send urgent protests to the Embassy of Kazakhstan in your country (a list can be found here http://www.embassypages.com/kazakhstan) and copies to [email protected] and [email protected]

  • April Showers

    Any mention of the arms salesman’s activities in Kazakhstan affairs?

    Now Blair and Andrew have a mutual interest
    By Andrew Pierce
    14 March 2011

    The Duke of York is not alone in his fondness for Kazakhstan, the country whose president’s son-in-law bought his hideous house, Sunninghill, for £3 million above the asking price.

    The gold-digger Tony Blair’s globetrotting also took him to the door of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the long-time ruler of Kazakhstan, back in 2008.

    At the time Blair, in a statement to the state-owned Kazakh TV, said: ‘I am very glad to visit Astana [the capital] and Kazakhstan. Your capital is a very unique city. It demonstrates the power and development level of Kazakhstan.’


    and this about Southfork. What an excrescence!


    What was the ginger trougher doing at the Thatcher funeral? Oh I see. She knelt at the fount of wisdom whilst having tea.

    Italics“I was fortunate enough to get to know her from the time that she attended my wedding in 1986, and, subsequently, I shared numerous cups of tea with her, and loved to listen to her wisdom,” she said. “Margaret Thatcher will be greatly missed. She is part of all our history and was such a strong and consistent lady.”

    Sarah, Duchess of York is invited to join the Queen at Baroness Thatcher’s funeral
    The Duke of York’s former wife is to join the mourners at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, whom she describes as a ‘steadfast friend’.
    Torygraph 14.4.2013

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    It was interesting, Craig, that self-censorship is the bulk of that inverted pyramid the print media hold so sacred. I should think his trust of newspapers was borne of a lack of options, and so was not trust at all.

    His ability to take complex ideas and simplify and synthesize, then effectively communicate same to others is part of his massive genius. That was the same endearing quality shown by Einstein which made him such an asset as a superb mathematician.

    I was a little surprised he thought Bitcoin was a workable concept.

  • Shona Duncan

    I love leakers, The psyche that speaks up when they see an injustice, no matter the consequences, are wide targets for vengeful governments, modus operandi is to mock the leaker so that nobody will believe them. See through. They’ll even pay doctors to give a diagnosis worthy of the smeared reputation.

    Obama has been implicated in the nuclear attack against Japan, the one aimed at the nuclear plant. Unconfirmed reports from my anonymous spy friends that Hillary Clinto nis under house arrest. Good job. She’d look fetching in orange. Australian attorney generals (2) shock resignations on the same day as Hillary. I can’t stand the suspense.

    Keep pushing, don’t shut up. Stand up for the truth, not the lies they tell you to say. This is a classic good vrs evil battle. Patriots everywhere unite and save your country from the corporate politicians.

    United by one. Divided by zero.

  • technicolour

    “ginger trougher”??

    On Topic: This is fascinating, Craig, but how does it square with the Guardian’s unwavering support for the Lib Dems since before the election? Surely it can not be as cynical as them *knowing* that the Lib Dems would form a coalition with the Conservatives in advance? The Conservatives being of course, the party to continue Blair’s (Thatcher’s ‘greatest achievement’) true legacy?

  • nevermind

    had to tittle over this in the daily Wail article April Showers linked to. Thanks for that Sunday bonbon.

    Ms.Ashkenazi, some 20 years younger than prince Andrew…

    “I’m prepared to say that I love Andrew very much,” said Miss Ashkenazi, 30, in an interview with Hello! magazine this month, adding: “I have a lot of fun with him.

  • Gary

    Interesting post. You only have to take a serious look at Kazakhmys and ENRC, both FTSE 350 to get a feel for the extent of corruption that exists. Along with Bumi and the Rothchild debacle, such corruption is a real concern as corporate governance standards on the LSE are a complete joke.

  • guano

    Reminds me of Hazel Blears’ ‘Prevent’ative smears and Ed Miliband’s Wallace and Grommit ‘Project’ile vomit. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • wikispooks

    Apologies for being off-topic – slightly.

    Apropos the Boston bombings and the possible Putin/false-flag musings in an earlier thread. Craig should read this:

    I rate Sibel Edmonds highly in the Whistleblower stakes. Her book ‘Classified Woman’ is on a par with Craig’s ‘Murder in Samarkand’ IMHO – jaw-dropping in it’s revelations of Turkish and CA criminal connections inside the FBI. The sort of thing you simply could not make up. Anyway, she has some interesting things to say on CIA man Graham Fuller (Gladio-B Target, Handler-Sponsor of Turkey’s Imam Gulen). His daughter married the uncle of one of the alleged bombers – etc etc etc.


  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Also apologize for being OT, but I thought this was interesting….


    “Ruslan Tsarni married the daughter of former top CIA official Graham Fuller, who spent 20 years as operations officer in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong. In 1982 Fuller was appointed the National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia at the CIA, and in 1986, under Ronald Reagan, he became the Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, with overall responsibility for national level strategic forecasting.”

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    ‘Retired in 1987’ Hmm. Contemporaneous with Iran/Contra.

    Once CIA, always, always, always CIA.

  • Jon Pelfrey

    Hey Murray, 90% of your commenters are conspiracy nuts, believing in conspiracies that you quite often do not believe in, but it doesn’t help matters that you assert that the Boston bombings could have been one of the many FBI agent provocateur plots. Do you know what a mad hatter you sound like when you write such things? It completely wipes out anything wise you might have said in the past.

  • April Showers

    Some of the enablers and functionaries in the tie up between Kazakhstan and the EU.

    http://www.eurobak.kz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50&Itemid=2 Note some of the connections – Deloitte Caspian, Siemens, Coca Cola and the like.

    The lady at the bottom was reportedly engaged in a lengthy conversation with P Andrew at a promotional event.

    ‘Not all British business leaders out there were quite so delighted with one appearance on his most recent trip.

    One source suggested that at “very short notice” a message went out to the British business community that Prince Andrew was flying in from Turkmenistan and there was a “frantic rush” to put together a greeting party at a reception at the Intercontinental Almaty, the city’s top hotel, opposite the Presidential Palace on Republic Square.

    One executive there said: “There was a reception for him, but he was only there for about 45 minutes. We all found it rather disappointing.

    “He had a line-up, he chatted to about seven or eight people, but he was chatting to secretaries and things for about half and hour.”

    Another business leader even complained that the Duke spent too much time talking to Julie Kussidi, the 30-year-old head of the European Business Association in the city. Ms Kussidi declined to comment on the discussion.

    She said: “I really don’t find myself in a position to speak about things like that. He was as the protocol should be. Yes, it was a business conversation, that’s for sure. It was an official event.”‘


  • Summerhead

    It is easy to poke fun at countries such as Kazakhstan and their blatant and obvious corruption. The UK on the other hand has a much subtler, more nuanced corruption that probably dwarfs that of recently formed or emerged nations. The corruption in the UK is so deep seated that most people can’t see it. We have a monarch who dresses up in elaborate and silly costumes who is a billionaire and heads a family of corrupt arms dealers and land monopolists. The government is formed of privileged nincompoops from an elite stretching back in some cases to the middle ages who work solely in the interests of a few large multinational tax dodgers in return for money and secrecy in the case of the many paedophiles infecting the establishment. People who are considered a threat to the status quo are murdered, framed or discredited and the media is totally in hock to the ruling elite. Countries that don’t comply with the UK/US way of doing things are bombed back to the stone age. How are Kazakhstan, Bulgaria or any other country more corrupt than the cesspit of deceit that is the UK? A case of not seeing the wood for the trees.

  • craig Post author

    John Pelfrey,

    What do they teach you at school nowadays?
    If I tell you that 7 x 32 is 224, and tomorrow I tell you 8 – 5 = 2, that does not mean 7 x 32 is not 224.

    The FBI has, by their own account, “run” a very large number of domestic islamists in recent years. It is quite probable that one of these will one day go horribly wrong. The FBI were in contact with the Tsarnaevs. You would have to be deficient in logic to think it is not possible the Tsarnaevs were an agent provocateur operation gone wrong.

  • Vronsky

    Too much sentience being attributed to Blair. He was and remains a useful idiot. To whom or what is his idiocy useful (rhetorical ?).

  • Fedup

    Hey Jon Pelfrey, what the fuck are you doing reading this blog when you ought to be spending your time reading the bullshit corporate media is pumping out, and watching the nice man on the telly?

    What is happening? the message of “tayyrrrreeeeerrists are under your bed” is not getting through, so you are here to reinforce it?

    The only nut around is here you mate.

  • Jon Pelfrey

    Yes, they’ve investigated certain groups, as is prudent, but they’ve certainly overstepped – continuing to investigate people who have proven themselves guiltless. But to say this means that they’ve created agents provocateurs multiple times is highly laughable.

    You continue to employ the silly logic of your conspiracy theory commenters. You think that since you know a guy who got stopped in St. Petersburg for something in his past, it must mean that everyone gets interdicted and the Russians must have intentionally let him in. Typical conspiracy theory nuttery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor

  • Greenmachine

    Jon Palfrey

    Craig’s comment is worth digesting. You appear to be a disciple of the ubiquitous ‘Occam’s Razor’ crowd judging by your link. There is merit in looking for the ‘cock-up’ and the obvious as well as the conspiracy; but sure as hell there is conspiracy out there! Keep an open mind and look for the evidence. The FBI, as Craig intimated, has been implicated directly in many ‘set ups’ over many years designed to flush out individuals / groups who may or may not have acted similarly without their input! Is this legitimate security service work? I’m personally sceptical. The 2 most notorious cases – Colleen Rowley’s Memo before 9/11 and E Salem’s role in the 93 WTC bombing deserve more investigation on your part before you make such sweeping statements. I certainly don’t regard those who take time to research and suggest alternative narratives as ‘conspiracy nuts’. You must spend too much time listening to Daily Mail, Telegraph, NT Times, Washington Post, Fox News, BBC whichever ‘informs’ your world!

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