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the way, way back machine

Look at Kazakhstan. Involved in the Thai plane incident. Making big pipeline deals with the Chinese. New city Astana full of symbolic buildings. Strategic partner of Israel. Sparsely populated but with vast natural resources.

Kazakhstan is next door to much smaller Kyrgyzstan.

Look at these amazing pictures of Kyrgyzstan from March of this year.
Late last month, the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan voted - by an overwhelming margin - to terminate their lease to the United States of Manas Air Base, and required the Americans to vacate the base within six months. The vote followed closely on the heels of an earlier announcement that Russia would be providing over $2 billion in financial aid to Kyrgyzstan. Manas is a crucial air base for operations in and around Afghanistan, and U.S. officials remain hopeful that there may still be room for negotiation. The majority of Kyrgyzstan's population appears to have little concern about the closure, instead focusing on their own struggles to get by, as migrant work in Russia has recently evaporated, and jobs at home in Kyrgyzstan are hard to come by. News photos from Kyrgyzstan are few and far between - that said, here is a collection of recent scenes from festivals, rural life, and Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan.
These people look pretty tough. They don't watch teevee. Most of them don't own teevees.

Kyrgyzstan has a rich cultural tradition of music and storytelling, and a thousand year old epic called Manas with a half-million poetic lines, which a few masters of each generation learn and recite.

I don't think these people would be easy to mind-control.


Journalists have been killed and beaten there recently.
Gennadyi Pavlyuk, a well-known political journalist and media-expert, was pronounced dead December 22 in Almaty, Kazakstan. Pavlyuk's death is the latest in a string of suspicious incidents and violent attacks against freelance reporters in Kyrgyz Republic.

According to Radio Free Europe's Kyrgyz branch, "Azattyk," on December 16 in the city of Almaty (Kazakstan), Kazakh police responded to a report, arriving to a scene where unconscious Pavlyuk was found on the ground by a residential building, after falling off the sixth floor. (See more)

Kazakh police confirmed that Pavlyuk's death was violent. RFE/RL reported that his feet and hands were bound behind his back with duct tape.

Pavlyuk has been working as freelancer for various Russian news agencies in Kyrgyzstan. He is also a founder of a popular and independent news outlet in the country.

Omurbek Tekebaev, a leader of the opposition "Ata Meken" party, told RFE/RL that Pavlyuk had been working closely with members of the opposition on media project prior to his departure to Almaty. By Tekebaev's assumption, the outspoken reporter Pavlyuk's incident was directly connected to his professional duties.

There were two more separate attacks reported in the country in the past two weeks. On December 9, a pro-Kremlin Russian political analyst and critic of Kyrgyz President Bakiev's foreign policy, Aleksander Knyazev, was beaten by unknown attackers, RFE/RL reported. The assailants, as Knyazev recalls, made it specifically clear to him that his job is a primary reason for such action.

On December 15, in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, the independent local newspaper Osh Shamy received a letter containing a pistol bullet and printed warning of consequences caused by Osh Shamy's publications, RFE/RL Kyrgyz branch reported.

The newspaper chief-editor Aldakulov expressed his concern in an interview with RFE/RL on the current status of fellow journalist's safety in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Osh Shamy staff journalist Djoldoshev was in the spotlight last month when he was brutally assaulted by unknown attackers.

Yet another attack took place on December 16 in Bishkek city. Aleksandr Evgrafov, a correspondent for the Russian BaltInfo news agency was beaten by two individuals in Kyrgyz police uniform. The Russian journalist, Evgrafov, told RFE/RL that they forced him into a car without license plates. His refusal to be searched led to a beating after which men told him not to criticize Kyrgyzstan in his articles.

Kyrgyzstan recently has been harshly criticized by Western Human Rights Organizations due to the worsening political situation with freedoms and rights.

The Kyrgyz government routinely deports the foreign representatives of such human rights organizations, which was a special subject of OSCE statement on Kyrgyzstan.
What is the explanation? What are these journalists doing that merits death threats, beatings, and murder? The violence targets Russian journalists and news outlets in particular. The police do not seem to be overly interesting in solving the cases.
"Listen, we warn you. All of you . . . must leave our Kyrgyzstan and stop meddling in our lives."


Central Asia's natural resources make it critical to the strategic goals of the US, China, Russia and of course our good friends Israel.
World's second largest oil and gas reserves are present in Central Asia, and keeping Peak oil in mind, the race is on for oil reserves. In words of one of my friend, Mid East and Central Asia are the two weights on a power dumbbell, while Pakistan and Afghanistan are the rod joining the weights. Whoever holds this dumbbell holds it through Pakistan and Afghanistan. Whoever holds this dumbbell is the most powerful in the world.
So far China and Russia seem to be coming out ahead, way ahead, in aligning with the Central Asian countries. The president of Kazakhstan knows the value of his country, and he is not just giving it away. According to this article, the West is freaking out now because China has eaten our lunch. And it's basically too late to do a damn thing about it, except maybe try to start some civil unrest.
Nursultan Nazarbayev has a way of drawing lines in the sand. The president of Kazakhstan recently told global oil and metal majors that new laws would allow only those foreign investors that cooperate with his industrialization program to tap his nation's mineral resources.

"We will work only with those who propose projects helping diversification of the economy," he said at a December 4 investment conference in Astana, the Kazakh capital, which was attended by ArcelorMittal, Chevron, Total, ENRC and other investors. To any unwilling to collaborate, he said: "We will look for new partners, offer them favorable conditions and resources to fulfill projects."

For good measure, he added that Beijing has asked Kazakhstan - a country the size of Europe but with just 16 million people - to allow Chinese farmers to use one million hectares of Kazakh land to cultivate crops such as soya and rape seed.

Pro-Western elements in Kazakh politics have since taken to the streets. On December 17, addressing a rally in Almaty, Bolat Abilov, co-chairman of the opposition party Azat [United Social Democratic Party] drew an apocalyptic scenario: "If we tomorrow give, or distribute, one million hectares of land, it would mean 15 people working per hectare. That means 15 million people would be brought from China. If one of those 15 people were to give birth each year, that would be the end. In 50 years, there would be 50 million Chinese [in Kazakhstan]."
The new pipeline has been commissioned, connecting gas fields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan (and possibly Russia) to China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Some experts predict that security for this pipeline will be an issue (WINK WINK WINK).
The implication was obvious: that China's Central Asian pipeline could become a sitting duck for terrorists. As Robert Ebel, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, put it, security could be impossible if the pipelines become targets as they pass through vast stretches of sparsely populated areas in Central Asia and Xinjiang. "There is no way you can protect a pipeline along its entire length. It just can't be done", Ebel, a security expert, maintained. Unrest in Xinjiang, particularly, threatens the Central Asian pipeline, he added. "I'm sure it's causing grey hairs on the people in Beijing," he said.

The American experts have drawn a doomsday scenario for the Chinese pipeline.
(It's always important to telegraph and predict terrible things before you secretly arrange them. That way you look really smart after the fact.)
Growing nervousness in Washington about the Chinese pipeline was quite palpable...."China is having increasing and heavy influence in Central Asia,'' Morningstar said. ``It is hard for us [the US] to compete with China in some of these countries. It's easy for Turkmenistan to make a deal with China when China comes in and says, 'Hey, we're going to write a check for X amount of money, we're going to build a pipeline'. That's not a hard deal to accept, and we [US] can't compete in that way."
The Chinese have totally outmaneuvered The West. They started early, they worked it long, they have the money. What does The West bring to the table anymore?? Nothing. Our leaders have squandered everything we had, even, and especially, any kind of moral standing that might have tipped the strategic scales in our favor in years past. It is all gone buh-bye.
Western experts often speak in a dismissive tone that the Central Asians prefer the Chinese because they never raise difficult issues such as democracy and human rights. But this is far too simplistic a reading. Central Asian countries see Western discourse on democracy and human rights as doublespeak from countries that pander to authoritarian regimes without scruples when it suits their business interests.


Do outsiders want to "own" Central Asian culture? Why would they? Because lineage matters to some people. History matters. Being the oldest matters.

I think some people might have their eyes on more than natural resources.

It's just a suspicion.

Knowing how people are.

But I could be wrong.

If you wanted to control how the Kyrgyz people think, aside from the terrorism method, you'd have to insinuate yourself somehow into their Manas epic, into their ancient history.

It would take time, decades perhaps, of scholarly work. Of cultural appreciation. Of sharing and helping, until the "discovery" of long lost brotherhood, before. Before.

Who would do such a sick thing? Stolen identities? Nothing new under the sun.


Anonymous said…
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Greg Bacon said…
China comes in and says, 'Hey, we're going to write a check for X amount of money, we're going to build a pipeline'. That's not a hard deal to accept, and we [US] can't compete in that way."

Gosh, imagine that! Instead of threats, beatings, color coded CIA based revolutions, assassinations and bombs, offer a friendly word and money to the country you wish to drill for oil.
A. Peasant said…
haha, hey Dubs how you been? long time no audio-visual. merry christmas to you and yours!
A. Peasant said…
greg, you know it, but we gots no moneys left!

hey merry christmas!