The Way We Live Still 89


In a world in which our Queen and Prime Minister toady Arab despots, and Uzbek gangster and convicted blackmailer Alisher Usmanov is the UK’s richest man, where is the modern Thackeray or Trollope to chronicle the moral vacuum of high society?

It is no consolation to the three British men tortured in Dubai, that their treatment at least temporarily lifted the conspiracy of media silence on the evils of the Gulf regimes. Not to the extent of provoking in-depth reporting of the running atrocity that is Bahrain, or even a single mention in the mainstream of the torture imprisonment and secret trials of 94 entirely respectable pro-democracy activists in Qatar.

Where money talks, the politicians and the mainstream media do not.


89 thoughts on “The Way We Live Still

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  • karel (a conspiracy a day keeps idiocy away)

    Craig,

    is this all a great surprise to you? Have you not yet noticed where you live or have you just a recovered from a semicomatose slumber?? All that, you get excited about is just natural behaviour of people belonging to a particualr class. Why should the queen do otherwise as she does because she is in some way also an oligarch and oligarchs just want to be with other oligarchs as they have similar interests and the same topics to talk about. It is all in the quote “Let me have men about me that are fat.” Assuming of course that Julius Ceasar actually said it and the he was also already fat when he did. Although Shakespeare made it all up, which is not too bad as he was probably well acquinted with oligarchs of his day and knew what he wrote about.

    I must admit that I have not met an oligarch yet but does it matter? We can talk freely about the moon without actually having ever visited the place.

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)
    1 May, 2013 – 9:13 pm
    @ The Scourge :

    “Well, a simple explanation could be that Uzbek is an acquaintance of Mr Usmanov or otherwise knows him or of his activities?”

    Yes, that is what I implied by my question.

  • guano

    A Newsnight interview with Richard Ottaway about selling arms to Arab Sheikhs. ‘We are an island nation with nothing to sell except deadly weapons so we might as well get used to it.’
    His opponent: ‘Our criticism of their human rights is bought off by lucrative arms deals. UK tourists hearing about UK citizens being tortured might choose somewhere else.’.

    So what are all the businesses in Dubai selling? Why is it exclusively the countries who pretend to have the moral standards that can only survive by selling weapons, when all the other countries with bad human rights records make do with selling toilet seats and aluminium doorknobs?

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Dubai still exports some oil and gas , has a financial services sector (i’m guessing that equals is a tax haven and launders drug money etc much like e.g the Channel Islands and the City of London) and tourism. The majority of the Gulf monarchies export oil and gas to Europe and the US, and stay in power by buying military and political support from the US and European governments by returning most of the money those countries spend on oil imports by buying arms and policing or torture material from those countries.

    I’m not sure why, if the arms industry is meant to be such a great earner for the UK, we need to subsidise it so heavily via Arms Export Credit Guarantees so any time a dictator doesn’t pay up UK taxpayers cover the bill (e.g £1 billion worth to Saddam in the 80s and 90s which he never paid for due to the 1990-1991 Kuwait/Gulf war), or to keep on building aircraft carriers we can’t afford to put planes on to avoid BAE being out of pocket.

  • doug scorgie

    Karel (a conspiracy a day keeps idiocy away)
    1 May, 2013 – 9:36 pm

    “All that you get excited about is just natural behaviour of people belonging to a particular class.”

    Yes but this is an animal instinct that remains with modern Homo sapiens. Birds of a feather flock together as the saying goes.

    These animal instincts include; tribalism; racism; greed; male aggression.

    However, human minds have evolved moral and ethical facilities to counter these instincts and, although it is still difficult to supress them in times of stress, it is achievable with conscious effort.

    Those among us that have the greatest difficulty in resisting this animal compulsion are reactionaries like the Tories and the far right.

    While they can be very intelligent people their brains seem wired to bypass that part of the brain involved in ethical and moral considerations.

  • craig Post author

    I know quite a few Uzbeks who admire Usmanov. The rationale rather being that he is an Uzbek, and has excelled on the world stage; they are proud he is naszi. Uzbekistan I think got no gold medals in the Olympics (not sure if they got one as usual in Greco-Roman wrestling, which nobody else does and I believe is going to be dropped). But in general with such a deadhand government on them, the Uzbeks have very little in the present to be proud of. Usmanov may be a monster but he is “naszi” – “ours”. If you can’t have the world’s best anything else, you might as well celebrate the world’s best mobster.

  • doug scorgie

    Shock and awe to keep the Australian public on message.

    “STUNNED onlookers couldn’t believe their eyes as an army counter terrorism operation in Martin Place unfolded before them in the early hours of the morning.”

    “At 1am, with the Daily Telegraph present, a convoy of dark Toyota 4WDs, with their spotlights blazing, sped down Macquarie St and burst onto Martin Place to unload a team of highly specialised Australian Defence Force counter terrorism soldiers.”

    “With rifles drawn, faces covered in balaclavas and gas masks, and night vision goggles perched on their helmets, about 50 camouflaged soldiers fanned out through Martin Place in near-perfect silence in search of mock terrorists that had overtaken the underground Martin Place train station.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/australian-defence-force-counter-terrorism-operation-halts-sydney-cbd/story-e6freuy9-1226633535675

  • Chris2

    “.. supporting fencing (swords, not keeping livestock in).”

    There is another activity known as fencing too. And there is no doubt that the son of the late Tashkent Prosecutor is deeply involved in it. And that it- together with being in the right place at the right time, luck, school chums and contacts in the mafia- is the source of his fortune.

  • doug scorgie

    “South Korean spies have been caught cultivating public servants in Canberra to obtain trade secrets, with one Australian official sacked for disclosing sensitive information.”

    “The revelation of economic espionage is embarrassing to Seoul and Canberra as Australia has strongly backed South Korea in its stand-off with North Korea. Last month Australian troops took part in joint military exercises with South Korea and the United States for the first time.”

    When will “leaders” of countries realise that the USA and its allies cannot be trusted on anything?

    Are they really that naive?

  • karel (a conspiracy a day keeps idiocy away)

    Doug Scorgie
    I admire your trust in the human race. I have no idea how wealthy you are but would you not agree that that the moral concept of an oligarch may considerably diverge from yours and mine? Their morality or immorality has evolved with each million or billion added to their wealth. I would call this an extended phenotype of the mind.

  • karel (a conspiracy a day keeps idiocy away)

    Uzbek,
    I have also heard of a man who “was in the right place, at the right time”. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald. Sadly this stroke of unexpected luck, one may say, brought him sudden death rather than wealth.

  • Uzbek

    Craig,

    I do not admire Alisher Usmanov or think he is the greatest asset to Uzbekistan! He may not flash his good deeds as Bill and Melinda gates or Warren Buffet which western culture and mentality LOVES. but he is no as bad as you and others here portrait him.

    Guy made his fortune on collapse of evil regime and not only maintained that but succeeded to become #1 richest guy in your country which i am sure makes you uncomfortable 🙂 I can understand human ego and hate towards other human being especially if you think life/fate was not just towards you. But hey, there are far more important things for you to worry! We uzbeks say “Nima eksang, shuni O’rasan!” I am sure Mrs.Murray can translate for you! I believe in fate and Usmanovs fate was set up like that by Creator.

    Wish him more success and hope he can spend even more to needy people! If he chooses not to do so than let it be! God has a plan for everybody!

    You have not answered my questions but i will bluntly assume that you have never met him in person thus you should have at least stay away from vague and baseless accusations in Usmanov’s address.

    Taking this opportunity I applaud the Great Britain for accepting and recognizing Usmanov as a richest person in UK thus encouraging him to keep his wealth and assets in GB.veryt smart move i’d say. 🙂

    I wish Uzbekistan did the same but unfortunately our rulers are not at the same level and their head is stuck deep down at their “you know what i mean” 🙂

    but it’s ok… Motherland will be fine one day!

    I will not comment here any more as i could not learn a single new thing about Usmanov and have not read anything smart except your 2 “careful” around the question responses!

    Wish you and your family well and I hope your son Cameron will grow up to be as passionate as you and Mrs Murray and will continue your steps to help the voiceless!

  • AK

    “The former has been plausibly ascribed to the need to keep Putin sweet – Putin likes art – and the latter is a sport at which he used to be surprisingly good. It might be argued that Arsenal is another object of his compassion”

    Doesn’t having a football team full of fit people make you look more like Jabba the Hut? I think that his appearance is a sure tell of the gluttonous, corrupt life that he’s led. He looks repulsive because he is trying to hide what a bastard he really is.

  • JonL

    “Where money talks, the politicians and the mainstream media do not.”

    – thank goodness for the non-mainstream media!

  • April Showers

    http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ4WLcqSuhh2WPBH2eGayBYzpftJpMD6PojDkpWKy0817fkCP5p

    Made me smile.

    ~~~

    Who will get Miliband D’s seat today? He had an 11,000 majority.

    Candidates (in alphabetical order):

    Karen Allen – Conservative
    Hugh Annand – Liberal Democrat
    Lady Dorothy MacBeth Brookes – British National Party
    Phil Brown – The Independent Socialist Party
    Thomas Faithful Darwood – Independent
    Richard Elvin – UK Independence Party
    Howling Laud Hope – The Official Monster Raving Loony Party
    Ahmed Khan – Independent
    Emma Lewell-Buck – Labour

    Wonder why this Labour favourite dropped out at the last moment?
    http://tyneandwear.sky.com/news/article/63042/shock-withdrawal-of-labour-party-favourite-to-replace-david

  • doug scorgie

    Interesting O/T

    “Guantanamo Attorney Found Dead in Apparent Suicide”

    “An attorney who represented prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay was found dead last week[LAST WEEK!] in what sources said was a suicide.”

    “Hart left behind a suicide note and a thumb drive, believed to contain his case files. It is unknown where Hart died, what the suicide note said or whether an autopsy was performed.”

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/16119-guantanamo-attorney-found-dead-in-apparent-suicide

  • jjb

    Uzbek:

    “Guy made his fortune on collapse of evil regime”

    Guy made his fortune at the expense of people that were iliterate in the works of capitalism. Now is giving back a pittance to cleanse his conscience, I guess

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    In a post yesterday about South Korean spies in Australia, Doug Scoergie concludes :

    “When will “leaders” of countries realise that the USA and its allies cannot be trusted on anything?”

    Since the spies were from South Korea, I was just wondering why Doug’s conclusion mentions the USA? Is this perhaps guilt by association? Or just the usual anti-Americanism?

  • karel

    Komodo,
    this Brooks look more a human wretch a victim of less than succesful facial surgery. Most surgeons nowadays turn you into a monster. All this at a great cost, which makes their patients think that it was worth it. But in my opinion, her face needs some improvements to give her any chance of winning the election.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Uzbek,

    Come on. How could you say that Usmanov made his fortune on collapse of evil system. The system was evil no doubt, but the system that replaced it now in both Uzbekistan and Russia is much worse. The evil system that was before 1991 provided everyone with a job, housing, free education including higher education, free medical services and many more. Yes, the system was corrupt and economically inefficient and that is way it had collapsed.

    Usmanov made his fortune not by punishing the system but by benefiting from all of us – less fortunate as you put it, those who were not at right place at right time. He was and most likely is involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. You may not like sources I provided, but truth is that Usmanov with his connections and power has resources to shut any criticism and the only criticism of his dirty business past and present appear in sources other than Times, Guardian or Wall Street Journal.

    I understand your admire of Usmanov as well as I understand admire of Mussolini by many Italians but I do not share it. As Mr Murray put it, there is not much that Uzbeks can be proud of at present and admiration of thugs like Usmanov or Gafur or Salim could just be that. Have we Uzbeks fallen so deep down that admiring thugs and rapist is worth of our proud history and traditions?

  • Komodo

    Usmanov’s lobbyist in the Duma and partner in UDM Holdings (BVI – consolidates the Usmanov portfolio and avoids any embarrassment re. tax)…is Andrey Skoch. Skoch is the real thing, ex-KGB, and, intriguingly, is an Israeli citizen. His earlier life is an example to us all:

    http://rumafia.com/person.php?id=156

    He denies being the fattest cat in the Duma…

    “In 2010 in a rating of Russian billionaires magazine Forbes named six deputies of the State Duma including also Andrey Skoch. According to Forbes, Skoch is the richest Russian deputy with the fortune of 1.4 billion dollars. At the same time, according to his declaration, Skoch is one of the poorest deputies: in 2009 he submitted data to tax department that he earned 1.7 million roubles, that in his property he has only one apartment with the area of 65,31 sq. m and no any car.”

    This will be because his assets are being held by his nice old Dad, Vladimir, other sources confirm. I can find little on his magnificent charitable work, which I hesitate to say might be because he doesn’t do any.

  • Indigo

    Not being antisemitic, but Usmanov’s wife is jewish. Many people in ex-soviet apparatus thought marrying jewish women will make it easy to go up in their career. President Karimov’s wife is also jewish apparently, and wives of many Uzbek state apparatus personnel give birth in Israeli hospitals.
    Habbabuk, calm down I am stating the facts, and I am not being racial.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Idigo,

    Yes, you stated some facts, but why did you bring them up? Jews lived in Bukhara long before Uzbeks consolidated as a nation. Jews lived in Russia, Ukraine and other parts of former USSR long before these nations consolidated either.

    Soviet system although was in fact antisemitic, officially was not concerned with either religious or ethnic belongings of citizens as their aim was to nurture pure universal soviet citizen that has neither religion nor belongs to any particular ethnicity. As many other antithesis in soviet system, antithesis to this one was that in every soviet passport there was a line where ethnical belonging of every citizen was recorded.

    If you think that soviets gave special treatment to Jews, you need to try hard finding Jewish Autonomus region. You will then understand what I mean.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    @ Uzbek in the UK :

    I draw your attention to the following in Indigo’s post :

    “….many people in EX SOVIET APPARATUS thought marrying Jewish women….etc”

    No contradiction at first sight, therefore, with your (correct) statement that the SOVIET system was anti-semitic.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    The Way We Still Die

    The H7N9 strain of bird flu will become fully adapted to human hosts and may result in a serious worldwide pandemic claiming millions of lives.

    Three key genes in the H7N9 avian flu strain have been genetically manipulated and the virus could become transmissible between humans when final sequence or key ‘switch’ activation is rubber stamped.

    Li Lanjuan, a virologist from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that there are four key “steps” in the gene sequence of the H7N9 strain of avian flu, which has so far killed 23 people and infected a total of 120 across China, plus one case in Taiwan. Three of the steps make it easier for the virus to attach to human respiratory cells. The virus will be able to effectively transmit from human to human if the fourth step ‘mutates’ as well, Li said.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/396275/Deadly-H7N9-bird-flu-strain-could-mutate-into-very-serious-global-threat-warns-expert

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