Saturday, September 22, 2007

Craig Murray on Alisher Usmanov

Alisher Usmanov, potential Arsenal chairman, is a Vicious Thug, Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist

I thought I should make my views on Alisher Usmanov quite plain to you. You are unlikely to see much plain talking on Usmanov elsewhere in the media becuase he has already used his billions and his lawyers in a pre-emptive strike. They have written to all major UK newspapers, including the latter:

“Mr Usmanov was imprisoned for various offences under the old Soviet regime. We wish to make it clear our client did not commit any of the offences with which he was charged. He was fully pardoned after President Mikhail Gorbachev took office. All references to these matters have now been expunged from police records . . . Mr Usmanov does not have any criminal record.”

Let me make it quite clear that Alisher Usmanov is a criminal. He was in no sense a political prisoner, but a gangster and racketeer who rightly did six years in jail. The lawyers cunningly evoke “Gorbachev”, a name respected in the West, to make us think that justice prevailed. That is completely untrue.

Usmanov’s pardon was nothing to do with Gorbachev. It was achieved through the growing autonomy of another thug, President Karimov, at first President of the Uzbek Soviet Socilist Republic and from 1991 President of Uzbekistan. Karimov ordered the “Pardon” because of his alliance with Usmanov’s mentor, Uzbek mafia boss and major international heroin overlord Gafur Rakimov. Far from being on Gorbachev’s side, Karimov was one of the Politburo hardliners who had Gorbachev arrested in the attempted coup that was thwarted by Yeltsin standing on the tanks outside the White House.

Usmanov is just a criminal whose gangster connections with one of the World’s most corrupt regimes got him out of jail. He then plunged into the “privatisation” process at a time when gangster muscle was used to secure physical control of assets, and the alliance between the Russian Mafia and Russian security services was being formed.

Usmanov has two key alliances. He is very close indeed to President Karimov, and especially to his daughter Gulnara. It was Usmanov who engineered the 2005 diplomatic reversal in which the United States was kicked out of its airbase in Uzbekistan and Gazprom took over the country’s natural gas assets. Usmanov, as chairman of Gazprom Investholdings paid a bribe of $88 million to Gulnara Karimova to secure this. This is set out on page 366 of Murder in Samarkand.

Alisher Usmanov had risen to chair of Gazprom Investholdings because of his close personal friendship with Putin, He had accessed Putin through Putin’s long time secretary and now chef de cabinet, Piotr Jastrzebski. Usmanov and Jastrzebski were roommates at college. Gazprominvestholdings is the group that handles Gazproms interests outside Russia, Usmanov’s role is, in effect, to handle Gazprom’s bribery and sleaze on the international arena, and the use of gas supply cuts as a threat to uncooperative satellite states.

Gazprom has also been the tool which Putin has used to attack internal democracy and close down the independent media in Russia. Gazprom has bought out - with the owners having no choice - the only independent national TV station and numerous rgional TV stations, several radio stations and two formerly independent national newspapers. These have been changed into slavish adulation of Putin. Usmanov helped accomplish this through Gazprom. The major financial newspaper, Kommersant, he bought personally. He immediately replaced the editor-in-chief with a pro-Putin hack, and three months later the long-serving campaigning defence correspondent, Ivan Safronov, mysteriously fell to his death from a window.

All this, both on Gazprom and the journalist’s death, is set out in great detail here:

Usmanov is also dogged by the widespread belief in Uzbekistan that he was guilty of a particularly atrocious rape, which was covered up and the victim and others in the know disappeared. The sad thing is that this is not particularly remarkable. Rape by the powerful is an everyday hazard in Uzbekistan, again as outlined in Murder in Samarkand page 120. If anyone has more detail on the specific case involving Usmanov please add a comment.

I reported back in 2002 or 2003 in an Ambassadorial top secret telegram to the Foreign Office that Usmanov was the most likely favoured successor of President Karimov as totalitarian leader of Uzbekistan. I also outlined the Gazprom deal (before it happened) and the present by Usmanov to Putin (though in Jastrzebski’s name) of half of Mapobank, a Russian commercial bank owned by Usmanov. I will never forget the priceless reply from our Embassy in Moscow. They said that they had never even heard of Alisher Usmanov, and that Jastrzebski was a jolly nice friend of the Ambassador who would never do anything crooked.

Sadly, I expect the football authorities will be as purblind. Football now is about nothing but money, and even Arsenal supporters - as tight-knit and homespun a football community as any - can be heard saying they don’t care where the money comes from as long as they can compete with Chelsea.

I fear that is very wrong. Letting as diseased a figure as Alisher Usmanov into your club can only do harm in the long term.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Kidnapping Scandal Continues.

More news on disgraceful abduction and interrogation of Pakistani immigrants by Greek and British Secret Services.

This is from the English weekly "Athens News" online edition.

"Pakistanis Call the Press"

THE SCANDAL surrounding the alleged abduction and interrogation last summer of at least 28 Pakistani immigrants in Greece was put back on the front burner when 12 of the Pakistanis, their lawyer and members of a local human rights group called a press conference, breaking more than two months of public silence.

"We are here today to demand truth and justice," Petros Konstantinou, a member of the local Stop the War Coalition, told reporters on April 4. "We have people [Pakistanis] who say they have been threatened with their life and offered thousands of euros in bribes to take back their testimony. And we have three other Pakistanis who fled to Pakistan last year, but who have now returned to testify about their abduction... There are also two [Pakistanis] who say they can recognise a British secret agent involved in the illegal interrogations."

Three more Pakistanis testified before an Athens public prosecutor that they too were kidnapped, detained at an unknown location and questioned about the July 2005 bombings in London and their connection with radical Islam and the terrorist group Al Qa'ida.

Prominent Greek criminal lawyer, Frangiskos Ragoussis, who is representing the Pakistanis, announced that a formal complaint has been lodged as regards attempts to bribe five of his clients to take back their depositions. Several Pakistanis explained to reporters how they were approached and offered money and permanent residence permits by three compatriots. Several of them said they accepted payments of up to 5,000 euros, but are willing to return the money.

"Yes, several of us took the money, but you have to understand the pressure that we were under," said Nazir Ahmat, responding to a reporter's questions about why they took the money in the first place. Ahmat added: "We did not want to retract our testimony, but we were under constant pressure, day and night. We were made to believe that if we didn't, we would be in danger and our family back home would be in danger. They scared us."

"My main concern is not that several of my clients were forced into accepting bribes, but that there was a deliberate attempt to cover up the matter," said Ragoussis.

According to Ragoussis, it was not easy to gain his clients' trust and to convince them that they should not be afraid to fight for justice. "It's especially difficult considering the fact that we are going up against the Greek government, the British government and the Pakistani government," he said.

The embassy and the government of Pakistan, as well as the Greek government, have denied any involvement.

Kathy Tzilivakis

ATHENS NEWS , 07/04/2006, page: A04 Article code: C13177A043

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

4th European Social Forum- Athens, 4th-7th May

People not Profit
Peace not War.

4th European Social Forum
Athens May 4th - 7th.

The movements against war and capitalist globalisation are organising to take part in the 4th European Social Forum to be held from 4th - 7th May in Athens, Greece.
The French students' revolt has been an inspiration to all those fighting against a system that provacatively gives the multinationals and industrialists everything they want, while for us it is poverty, war and racism.

The anti-war movement will be in Athens, stronger and more determined not only in opposition to Bush/Blair's occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and in support of the Palestinians, but also against any "intervention" in Iran, and attacks on civil liberties ie The recent abduction of 28 Pakistani immigrants by the Greek, British and Pakistani secret services.

The workers movement will be there too.
Bank workers, port workers, workers at the Coca-Cola factory, workers from the fertiliser factory in Thessaloniki, teachers, students - all fighting against wage-freezes, redundancies, factory closures and privatisation.

There will be speakers from all over the world including Walden Bello "Focus on the Global South", Susan George "Attac France", Vitorio Anioletto "Euro MP and the 'spirit' ofthe Genoa Social Forum 2001", Samir Amin "Author", Jose Bove "Farmer activist", and many speakers from all over the world from the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements, labour activists and anti-racist organisations.

Saturday May 6th 15.00
Constitution Square, Athens
Pan-European Demonstration against War, Poverty, Racism and New-Liberalism.

Friday, April 07, 2006

U.S. army deserter tells of Iraq atrocities

From: http://lfpress....506-sun.html
U.S. army deserter tells of Iraq atrocities
By Andrew Davidson

Toronto -- A "trigger-happy" U.S. army squad leader shot the foot off an unarmed Iraqi man and soldiers kicked a severed head around like a soccer ball, a U.S. war deserter told an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing yesterday.

Joshua Key, the first U.S. deserter with combat experience in Iraq to apply for refugee status in Canada, told the board he witnessed numerous atrocities committed by U.S. forces while serving eight months as a combat engineer.

Key, 27, said there was never any discussion about the Geneva Convention during his training and he was told in Iraq by superior officers that the international law guiding humanitarian standards was just a "guideline."

"It's 'shoot first, ask questions later,' " Key said of his squad's guiding principles. "Everything's justified."

Key is one of five members of the U.S. armed forces asking for asylum in Canada.

But the Oklahoma native is unique in that he is the only applicant who has combat experience in Iraq, said his lawyer, Jeffry House. The others are seeking asylum in Canada to avoid being sent there, he said.

Key shouldn't have to return to the U.S. because the consequences of his decision to desert the war would likely amount to persecution, given the things he witnessed in Iraq, House said.

"He has boots-on-the-ground experience about what the actual conduct of the war in Iraq is," House said outside the hearing.

"If you have to participate in atrocities and you're going to be punished for refusing to participate in atrocities, then that punishment is illegitimate and it becomes persecution."

Key told the hearing he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and frequently has nightmares over what he witnessed in Iraq.

He recalled participating in almost nightly raids on homes of suspected insurgents in Ramadi and Fallujah as a member of the 43rd Combat Engineer Company.

He said that while the raids seldom turned up anything of interest, he often saw soldiers ransack the homes and steal jewelry or money, while superior officers looked the other way.

He also said several Iraqis were killed because of soldiers "shooting out of fear and inventing reasons afterward."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Thousands join anti-war demo in Athens

March 18, day of action against the continued war/occupation of Iraq, against the threat of war with Iran and Syria and solidarity with the Palestinians.
The demonstration was called by the Greek Stop the War Coalition, both trade union confederations, Muslim groups in Greece, and the Greek social forum.
Firstly a rally in Syntagma Square with music and speeches from anti-war activists and members of the Muslim community in Greece followed by a demonstration to the American Embassy.

At the same time there was a demonstration at the US naval base of Souda near Chania on the island of Crete demanding its closure. Most of the people that took part were locals and the march was backed by the workers centre of Chania, the teachers union of Chania, students union of the University of Crete, and local anti-racist groups and political organisations of the left.

Phone-tapping scandal won't go away

However much the Greek government tries to hide the issue or claim it is as much a victim of the scandal whereby activists of the anti-war, anti-capitalist and labour movement had their (mobile) phones tapped, the majority of Greeks in a recent tv survey blamed the Greek government for the phone-tapping scandal.
The phone-tapping began during the demonstrations against the EU summit held in Thessaloniki in the summer of 2003,

it continued with the anti-war demonstrations and later against those demonstrating against the Olympic Games that were held in Athens in the summer of 2004.

On the 9th February, over a 1000 demonstrated in Athens and several hundred in Thessaloniki against the "big brother" -the demo being backed by the workers centre of Thessaloniki, the public sector union confederation of Thessaloniki, the Greek Stop the War Coalition and other left groups. The police attacked the demonstration in Thessaloniki firing tear-gas into the crowd trying to disperse the participants, but failed and the demonstration continued as planned past the American Embassy, the British Consulate and finally the Ministry of Northern Greece.
Finally in a government re-shuffle the minister of public order was replaced.
Another victory for the movement.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

More Who Says?

“There is no doubt about the democratic correctness of Alessandra Mussolini.”
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, on allowing Alessandra Mussolini’s fascist party to join his electoral coalition

“There is little sign of willingness by any significant insurgent element to... negotiate with the US… The insurgency is increasingly optimistic about victory.”
The US and EU government funded International Crisis Group (ICG), reporting on the Iraqi resistance

“The US fights an enemy it hardly knows. Its descriptions have relied on gross approximations and crude categories…that bear only passing resemblance to reality.”
ICG Report

“They want both of their hands free and both of our hands tied behind our back.”
Defence secretary John Reid, on “apologists” for al-Qaeda who criticised British troops

“I’m not going to tell the Americans how to deal with the response to international terrorism that lost them several thousand people.”
John Reid, when asked if the Guantanamo Bay detention camp should be shut down

“Gordon would relish the chance to be able to demonstrate he is no left winger.”
An “insider” with Gordon Brown’s team

© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Justice for the 28 Pakistanis kidnapped by Greek Agents

In the wake of the July bombings in London, 28 Pakistani immigrants were abducted, beaten and tortured by the Greek intelligence agency in co-operation with MI6. One senior MI6 agent Nicholas Langman, employed at the British Embassy in Athens, was present at the interrogation.
Both the Greek and British governments have attempted to cover up the story, firstly by denying that the event happened and then trying to impose a gagging order on the press.
This disgraceful scandal has led to the recent resignation of Christos Markogiannakis, the Greek deputy minister for public order and anti-war activists are calling for the resignation of the man resposible, the minister for public order, George Voulgarakis, who has admitted to organising the arrest of 5400 immigrants since the July bombings as "terrorist suspects".
A demonstration has been called for the 21st January in solidarity with the Pakistani immigrants demanding justice and demanding the resignation of Voulgarakis.

No Justice, No Peace.


Linux beats M$

For the past year I have been using linux as my operating system. Like many people I was fed up with virus threats, adware, crashes and expensive software to "solve" the previously mentioned problems. So I decided to try a new OI first tried a livecd by the name Slax ( This great little linux distro got me interested in linux and then I tried Mepis. ( Mepis is just a great linux distro for those wanting to move from windoze as quickly and as smoothly as possible. Mepis is also a livecd, which means you can try it out without installing to the hard drive. This has the advantage of seeing what Mepis has to offer and testing whether your hardware is compatible, ie works. (It is slow as a livecd, but ok when installed). Most people, most of the time have no problems and install to the hard drive. Installation is a doddle and quick. If you do have any problems, questions then visit the friendly people at Mepislovers (see link)

So what does Mepis have for the'typical" home user?
Instead of M$ Office there is Open Office.
For web browsing it comes with the highly acclaimed Firefox.
Email client is Mozilla thunderbird.
GAIM instant messaging.
GIMP for image manipulation.
Ipod support

Acrobat reader
Xmms audio media player
Xine dvd/video player
.........and a lot more throughthe Debian apt package system (16000 apps)

If you have never tried a linux distro, give Mepis a try.

Another linux distro I'm using is called Kanotix (see link). This is more suitable for more experienced users of linux and is more 'bleeding-edge' and faster than Mepis (not that Mepis is slow). It is also based on Debian, it has a great choice of apps and a friendly forum.

Since the change, no more virus threats, no adware/spyware. I'm in control of my computer OS rather that it controlling me.....and I'm having a lot of fun.

Here is my present desktop running Mepis 3.4.3 RC3

Workers Liberty

"Juridically they are both equal [the worker and capitalist]; but economically the worker is the serf of the capitalist . . . thereby the worker sells his person and his liberty for a given time. The worker is in the position of a serf because this terrible threat of starvation which daily hangs over his head and over his family, will force him to accept any conditions imposed by the gainful calculations of the capitalist, the industrialist, the employer. . .The worker always has the right to leave his employer, but has he the means to do so? No, he does it in order to sell himself to another employer. He is driven to it by the same hunger which forces him to sell himself to the first employer. Thus the worker's liberty . . . is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means for its possible realisation, and consequently it is only a fictitious liberty, an utter falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession. of terms of serfdom -- voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory from an economic sense -- broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery.",

Thanks to IntnsRed of debianHELP