In March, Kyrgyz authorities were "spoken to" about their pressure on independent news channels.
In its letter, the OSCE has called on the Kyrgyz government to respect its international obligations to protect freedom of speech and to restore access to a number of online media sources and to Azattyk Radio (the Kyrgyz Service of RFE/RL). Similarly, “Press freedom violations seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity,” Reporters Without Borders and other groups have lamented. Since 10 March, agencies like ferghana.ru, centrasia.ru and paruskg.info (whose editor Gennady Pavlyuk was murdered last December) have been blocked.
Local sources report that independent media have been pressured not to report certain news or lose their licence. Consequently, many have refrained from publishing articles critical of the government. The opposition press has also been targeted. All 7,000 copies of the newspaper Forum were seized by the police in Bishkek on 15 March without any explanation, whilst its editor, Ryskeldi Mombekov, and five other journalists were detained. President Kurmanbek Bakiev appears eager to prevent news from reaching Kyrgyz that a businessman close to his inner circle was arrested in Italy on suspicion of mafia links. Mr Yevgeny Gurevich is a financial consultant to the Central Agency for Development, Investments and Innovation, which is run by the president’s son, Maksim Bakiev.
Not just "mafia links," but links right to Berlusconi and other very highly placed people. Here's the news that Bakiev wanted suppressed:
BISHKEK -- A business associate of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev's son says he will step down as head of his company after a warrant was issued for his arrest in Italy, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports. Yevgeny Gurevich, who is also known as Eugene Gourevitch, told journalists through a representative in Bishkek today that he is leaving all his posts to "fix misunderstandings [that have] occurred in Italy." Italian media reported on March 9 that a judge in Rome had issued an arrest warrant for Gurevich, who is accused of embezzling some $2.7 billion from divisions of Telecom Italia and the Fastweb telecom company between 2003 and 2006.So March 9th Italian media report the arrest warrant for Gurevich, and March 10th the websites are blocked. Because it's not just Gurevich.
As noted yesterday, MGN stands for Maksim, Gurevich, Nadel. In other words, the Kyrgyzstan president's son, Gurevich the Kyrgyz Jewish banker, and Nadel the Russian Jewish oligarch.
He is being charged with criminal conspiracy and money laundering as part of a bigger case involving dozens of others. Gurevich has reportedly held a U.S. passport since 1990. The MGN Group has been actively involved in the Kyrgyz investment market since 2008. It has numerous holdings, including banks, and is one of Kyrgyzstan's most powerful conglomerates. MGN became a major partner of Kyrgyzstan's Central Agency for Development and Investments, which is led by President Bakiev's son, Maksim Bakiev. The acronym MGN is thought by many to stand for Maksim, Gurevich, and Nadel, the last name of businessman Mikhail Nadel. Both Gurevich and Maksim Bakiev have repeatedly denied having business ties with each other.
Kyrgyzstan's state Development Fund, which reports directly to the president, announced today that it has annuled all agreements it has made with MGN.
MGN's mission: "to realize the investment potential of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia." MGN receives a license in November 2008, and by the end of 2009 manages assets of $250 million. Key sectors of the Kyrzyg economy came under MGN management.
The Kyrgyz leadership also plays a prominent role in NATO logistics for Afghanistan. In Bishkek, Gurevich is considered the most influential financial consultant and government agencies and state corporations use his services.
Kyrgystan's population: approximately 5,000,000. The number of Jews in Kyrgystan: approximately 1,200.
Connections to Italy:
In Italy, the allegations include laundering money through fictitious companies set up in the UK, Switzerland, Panama and Luxembourg. (Excellent article at Russian Mafia.)
One of the people named in the warrant is Gennaro Mokbel. Allegedly Mokbel used his contacts in the Calabrain mafia to elect his friend to the senate. Mokbel has alleged relations to right-wing extremists including terrorists. He collects photos and memorabilia of Mussolini and Hitler. Italian newspapers suspect the group has connections with intelligence operatives, police and political leaders. One suspect, Paul Anthony O'Connor was often accompanied by a former agent of MI6.
From November 1-3, 2009, the richest Jews in the world gathered in the luxurious palace of Silvio Berlusconi, as his personal guests. (On December 13th, a man struck Berlusconi in the face with a replica of the Milan cathedral. Maybe some symbolism there...)
Being confident that none of his calls could have been intercepted, Mokbel openly chatted on the phone. In one of the angry calls to "his" Senator - Nicolas Dia Girolamo - he is believed to go outraged: "You may become the president of Italy, but for me you will always be a doorman, or to be more precise - my slave." The newly elected senator, as suggested, meekly replied: "Please forgive me."
The event is held regularly in various capitals of the world, the Israeli national fund "Keren Ha-Yesod" - International Leadership Reunion (ILR). Only the elect are invited to attend. 180 people.
Members of this Congress offers luxurious balls, inspections of palaces and villas of Italian nobility, traveling on Jewish places of Rome and visit closed to normal tourist facilities Vatican.Oooh, that's so nice.
The fund attaches great importance to the "business elite of post-Soviet space" -- the CIS countries.
International Leadership Reunion (ILR) - an exclusive club sponsors "Keren Kha-Yesod," brings together hundreds of leading businessmen and philanthropists. Among the members of this elite club are the following: Sheldon Edelson (USA), representatives of the De Rothschild dynasty, members of the Safra family, Mendel and Robert Kaplan (South Africa), Charles and Edgar Bronfman (Canada), Frank Lowe (Australia), Richard Pratt (Australia, New Zealand), Pierre Besnaynu (France) and many other representatives of the financial elite of various countries, including Russia and other CIS republics.
They "raised" $40 million dollars in three days. Look at these statements:
On three days' stay in Rome, the largest Jewish philanthropists portal IzRus told a representative of the Keren Ha-Yesod, "in Russia Ronny Vinnikov. He said that the commemorations have begun in a symbolic location - near the Arch of Titus, which depicts the victory of the Romans over the Jews and the imposition of the menorah from the Temple of Jerusalem (AD 70). Former Chief Rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau asked the guests: "Where are those Romans and where are we? the language of the Emperor Titus long been told of his empire was nothing left, and Jews have preserved their language, have created their own state, and revived their culture."
Then, Jewish philanthropists, accompanied by a government escort motorcyclists have visited the palaces of the president and prime minister of Italy, met with Speaker of Italian Parliament, the Mayor of Rome and the chief rabbi of the country. In one of the palaces of Italy's best opera singers sang "Hatikva". At the Villa Madama, the official residence of the Prime Minister for receiving heads of state, the Jewish oligarchs met at a top level - with a solemn guard, saluting each guest as a leader of a foreign power. By the way, the ball to Jewish patrons of the palace came from Berlusconi and the Ambassador Russia to Italy Alexei Meshkov.
"The joy of Jewish organizations and beneficiaries, the ranks of the world of philanthropy is increasingly supplemented by people of the" Russian "origin - those who live in the CIS, Europe, USA, Canada and Israel. The arrival of these people to charity - this revolutionary moment," - said Ronnie Vinnikov. He expressed the hope that the leaders of world Jewry "open the door to benefactors of the CIS could go with the right foot to the leading position in the Jewish world." According to Vinnikov, vote-rich Russian Jews should be equally heard on all matters of collection and distribution of funds from donations.
Connections to the US (surely just a start):
In 2005, the NYT reported that Pentagon's Fuel Deal is Lesson in Risks of Graft-prone Region.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 - Soon after the American invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, the Pentagon opened an air base in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and made a deal to get jet fuel from the only two suppliers in the country. The companies just happened to be linked to relatives of the country's president. Now the two businesses are under scrutiny by Kyrgyz prosecutors and F.B.I. agents who are looking into whether the president at the time, Askar Akayev, and his family pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars, partly from Pentagon fuel contracts, before he was ousted this year.
...Pentagon officials say the two businesses, Manas International Services Ltd. and Aalam Services Ltd., were used not because of their connections but because they were the only ones with facilities to transport and store fuel at the air base in Bishkek, the capital. Though the Akayevs may have benefited, the officials said, Pentagon rules do not bar contracts with companies that have ties to a foreign leader.
...An internal F.B.I. report given to Kyrgyz prosecutors in September found that the two businesses might have been involved in money-laundering through accounts at Citibank in New York and the Dutch bank ABM Amro. The companies also had transactions with "a myriad of suspicious U.S. shell companies" associated with Mr. Akayev, his family and arms traffickers, the report said.
...Lacking its own facilities in Bishkek, Avcard, a Maryland aviation fuel company, proposed using Manas and Aalam as its only subcontractors there, said Warren E. Boin Jr., a company vice president. The Pentagon awarded the Maryland company the contract in early December 2001 without soliciting any other bidders, documents show. Kathryn Fantasia, a Defense Energy Support Center official, said in an interview that Avcard had been brought in because it had promised to meet the military's needs, using Manas and Aalam or other suppliers.
...Soon after the fuel deliveries began, Avcard's president, Linda Kropp, said she had learned that Aydar Akayev, the president's son, was a part owner of Manas. The general manager of Manas boasted about the Akayevs' involvement, she said. She then asked about Aalam, where an executive told her that Adil Toiganbayev, the president's son-in-law, was one of the owners, she said. The discovery led her to call Ms. Fantasia and Deborah L. Vankleef, the Defense Energy Support Center officials responsible for the fuel contract, to report that the president's family members were benefiting from the deal. "They said they were aware of it from other sources and there really wasn't anything they could do about it," Ms. Kropp said. Ms. Hampton, the agency's spokeswoman, said the two women did not recall that conversation.
Hmm. Wrong answer.
According to this writer, the coup was about the base. I would just add: At the very least.
Russia considers the Central Asian Republics as its sphere of influence. ALl of them used to be part of the USSR. US encroachment into Central Asia is not welcome. Only those living in caves may not know the goings on in Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan’s deposed president, Kurman Baki (Russianized to Kurmanbek Bakiyev) took the Russians for a ride, and now he has paid for it. He tried to hoodwink the Russians by promising to shut down the US base. Mr. Kurmanbek did actually shut down the American base, he then took the Russian money ($2 billion) worth more than the total budget of the country and then double crossed Moscow by allowing the US to operate a base. Mr. Kurmanbek thus was trying to be very smart. The coup was all about the US base.
...If Washington thought that Mr. Kurmanbek would get away with his double dealing then there are a few naive diplomats working in the State Department.