28 June 2013

Banco del Pacifico payment to 500 Smart Solutions for Ecuador's surveillance program

Two days ago I posted some documents about a surveillance programme set up by Ecuador's Intelligence Agency (Secretaría Nacional de Inteligencia or SENAIN). It was fitting to post such information given news about Edward Snowden's alleged decision to get political asylum in Ecuador. As things stand, Snowden is still in Putinland, Ecuador is still willing to relinquish millions of dollars worth of preferential trade with the USA, and Wikileaks still hasn't published leaked documents about pervasive surveillance programs set up by Rafael Correa's regime in Ecuador. But I got more intel on the whole scheme (see below), specifically details about Banco del Pacifico's $2,925,000 wire transfer to Bank Leumi's former address at Graybar Lexington Av. in New York, account no. 0547946601, whose beneficiary is 500 Smart Solutions LLC, one of a shell group of companies set up by Gabriel Guecelevich for the purpose of selling Israeli's latest surveillance and phone tapping technology to Ecuador.

In addition, Ecuadorian sources have informed me that the $200,000 wire transfer from 500 Smart Solutions LLC to Goldman Holdings Inc. in Panama (see below), is a kickback payment from Guecelevich to Pablo Romero Quezada, Chief of Ecuador's Intelligence Agency SENAIN. Ecuadorian sources added that Romero Quezada receives frequent bribes through that company, registered by Morgan & Morgan proxies, and Romero Quezada's lawyer, Roberto Gonzalez Torre, would be the man in charge behind the proxies.



En Revista Semana: Rafael Correa también espía a sus ciudadanos

Ayer la prestigiosa Revista Semana de Colombia publicó un articulo sobre cómo el regimen de Rafael Correa espía a los ecuatorianos, en base a información publicada en este blog.

Rafael Correa también espía a sus ciudadanos

POR: FANNY KERTZMAN Y ALEK BOYD

EXCLUSIVOMientras Ecuador defiende a Assange y Snowden, se descubre que en 2012 adquirió modernos equipos de espionaje.


Mientras el gobierno de Rafael Correa le ofrece asilo a Edward Snowden, acusado de espionaje por el gobierno estadounidense y pedido en extradición a Rusia, donde se encuentra actualmente, en agosto del año pasado el gobierno compró a una compañía israelí, pero registrada en Estados Unidos, equipos de interceptación y escucha de llamadas y comunicaciones por teléfono celular.

La inversión total fue mínima, 5,5 millones de dólares, si se compara con la capacidad de los equipos. Obtuvimos en exclusiva los documentos que soportan toda la operación.

Los equipos fueron vendidos por una compañía constituida para esta transacción, llamada 500 Smart Solutions LLC., registrada en el estado de Delaware (EE. UU.) y dirigida por Gabriel Guecelevich. El representante del gobierno ecuatoriano en la transacción fue Pablo Romero Quezada, secretario nacional de Inteligencia. El equipo es calificado como “Sistema semi activo interceptor GSM y Sistema pasivo de vigilancia”.

Las capacidades del sistema interceptor de llamadas de teléfonos móviles son descritas por Guecelevich con lujo de detalles: clonan los celulares en tiempo real sin el acceso físico a la tarjeta SIM y sin necesidad de la cooperacion del operador; identifica llamadas entrantes y salientes, cambia de ruta las llamadas salientes y las envía a otro destino e intercepta mensajes de texto (SMS) a la entrada y salida.

Así mismo, el operador del sistema es capaz de definir el remitente de SMS, puede desconectar las llamadas interceptadas, soporta USSD -cualquier tipo de servicio telefónico que requiere de la combinación de teclas * y #-, no requiere la inserción de la SIM en el sistema de monitoreo, es capaz de operar en redes 3G, intercepta hasta 4 llamadas simultáneamente y monitorea los teléfonos en diferentes redes al mismo tiempo es capaz de interceptar eficazmente todos los teléfonos disponibles en el mercado.

Por si fuera poco también bloquea comunicaciones de teléfonos previamente especificados, ningún SMS o llamada telefónica podrá ser recibidas ni discada por los aparatos bloqueados mientras todos los otros celulares en el área siguen con comunicación normal. El sistema es capaz de realizar continuamente un servicio de localizador de aparato (objetivo) en cualquier canal deseado e incluye un dispositivo portátil para teléfonos UMTS (3G) que permite determinar la localización de los teléfonos por medio de indicaciones visuales y de audio, además de permitir la operación encubierta.

Sorprendentemente el sistema sería capaz de activar el micrófono del teléfono con el fin de escuchar el audio en las proximidades del mismo, graba las llamadas, tiene dispositivo de rastreo que se puede ocultar en un bolso o mochila "portátil y pequeño, de aspecto inocente" y permite la detección del objetivo con la señal de llamada en silencio. Puede trabajar desde un automóvil a una distancia de 250 metros, tiene un receptor de identidad para llamadas entrantes, puede clonar un teléfono y descifra encripción A5.1 y A5.2 en tiempo real, entre otras muchas capacidades.

El pago

Guecelevich solicitó inicialmente un pago de 50.000 dólares por la conducción de programas pilotos para determinar la operatividad de los sistemas. Después en oficio del Secretaría Nacional de Inteligencia ecuatoriana (Senain), con el identificador D-S-0031-2013, Romero Quezada informó a Guecelevich la decisión de la Secretaría de adquirir “el referido equipamiento” por 526.500 dólares.

En otro oficio secreto, identificado como SENAIN-CINF-S-135-2012, Jose Miguel Delgado, quien funge como Coordinador General de Infocomunicaciones y Proyectos Especiales de Senain, pregunta a Guecelevich si su empresa esta en disposición de proveer “aeronaves UAV” (vehículos aéreos no tripulados). La partida asignada para la compra por el gobierno ecuatoriano fue de 5,5 millones de dólares.

Entre los documentos obtenidos se encuentran también reportes de monitoreo de redes sociales y comentarios de periodistas y ciudadanos del común críticos de Rafael Correa y Nicolás Maduro, realizados por la Secretaría Nacional de Inteligencia.

Mientras tanto, el gobierno ecuatoriano renunció unilateralmente y de manera irrevocable al Tratado de Preferencias Arancelarias con Estados Unidos (Atpdea). El miércoles, legisladores estadounidenses habían advertido que bloquearían la renovación de las preferencias si Correa concedía asilo político a Snowden. El programa caducaba el próximo 31 de julio.

El secretario de Comunicaciones, Fernando Alvarado, señaló que Ecuador ofrecía a los Estados Unidos los 23 millones de dólares anuales de los que se beneficiaba con el ATPDEA para "brindar capacitación en derechos humanos para ayudar a combatir tortura".

El 58 % de las exportaciones no tradicionales ecuatorianas tienen como destino Estados Unidos. Generan 400.000 empleos en un país de 14 millones de habitantes. Ecuador era el único país andino que continuaba con el sistema de preferencias, creado como apoyo en la lucha contra el narcotráfico, puesto que Colombia y Perú ya tienen acuerdos de libre comercio, y Bolivia fue excluida en 2008.

Con esta decisión se perjudican los productores de productos claves como las flores, atún y brocoli. El 97 % de la producción de brócoli, por ejemplo, se exporta a Estados Unidos. Los productores son monocultivadores de la región indígena de la Sierra central, que incluye las provincias de Cotopaxi, Pichincha, Imbabura, Carchi y Chimborazo.

Rafael Correa ha tomado una decisión que perjudica a todo el pueblo ecuatoriano por defender a los "adalides de la libertad de expresión", Julian Assange y Edward Snowden. Mientras tanto no solo pasó su ley "mordaza" a la prensa, sino que irónicamente es culpable del mismo pecado que denunció Snowden: el espionaje del gobierno a sus ciudadanos.

26 June 2013

Venezuela: appointment of Max Arvelaiz one for the annals of "you just can make this shit up"

Frenchman Maximilien Arvelaiz,
Maduro's Commissioner for Interna-
tional Relations.
So today I was reading about a new appointment by our illegitimate and half-illiterate President Nicolas Maduro: Venezuela's international relations will be in the hands of Maximilien Sanchez Arvelaiz, aka Max Arvelaiz. What's the news? Arvelaiz was not even born in Venezuela, he is, in fact, French. Beyond the considerations of putting the chavista diplomacy in the hands of a foreigner -however converted he/she may be- there are a few ironies about this affair.

Hugo Chavez, the late putschist, spent the best part of his life decrying attempts against "Venezuelan sovereignty". One has to guess that it's perfectly revolutionary to appoint a totally ill prepared Frenchman to conduct chavista diplomacy, though in chavista circles one with postgraduate studies in London must be like Einstein hanging out with cavemen.

Noticing that Arvelaiz's cedula starts with 23 million, I searched around and came about an article he co-published in Al Giordano's site -yeah, the clown from Narco News- with the following bit of news:
Paul Emile-Dupret is an advisor to the European Parliament from Belgium who, in his role as human rights observer, was shot 41 times last summer by rogue pro-coup police forces in Caracas. Thierry Deronne, also Belgian, is a journalist with TV Tambores, a Community Television station in Venezuela. Max Arvelaiz, a French native of Venezuelan descent, is a communications consultant to the Chavez government. Arvelaiz and Deronne are professors of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism. These three internationally respected European leaders are in Venezuela this week in their respective roles, and collaborated on this report to give readers this accurate account of current events in that country that are too often being distorted by the Commercial Media, including U.S. newspaper and wire correspondents.
Already in 2002, Arvelaiz was dizque "professor... communications consultant to the Chavez government". Right, more like good mates with Temir Porras while both were desperately trying to get on the chavista revolution milking-wagon... So there you have it, a Frenchman in charge of Nicolas Maduro's diplomacy. Chavistas seem to have a weak spot for foreign apologists: Greg Wilpert got Venezuelan citizenship after marrying to Maduro's current Consul in New York; Eva Golinger also got citizenship through illegal means after sucking it up to the robolución; Rodrigo Granda, the FARC commander involved in the assassination of Cecilia Cubas, also got Venezuelan citizenship; as did Arturo Cubillas, the wanted ETA terrorist married to Elias Jaua's PA... Maybe in the coming days we'll hear that Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky will be named as honorary Venezuelans!

And what to make of "Paul Emile-Dupret... shot 41 times last summer by rogue pro-coup police forces in Caracas?" Remember, this is Al Giordano, right? The one from the "school of authentic journalism"!! "Shot 41 times..." 41 fucking times!!! Perhaps someone should send Giordano's "school of authentic journalism" way a bit of an explanation about the difference between rubber bullets and regular ones...

25 June 2013

Re Edward #Snowden: read the info about Ecuador Assange's Wikileaks will not publish

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor on the run, is headed for Ecuador. A country with an exemplary attitude towards the press. He may, or may not, stop over in Cuba and Venezuela, two shining beacons of true freedom of expression. He's coming from Russia, another place where those who feel the urge of expressing themselves fully have the complete and most resolute backing from the State. Some have taken Julian Assange's claim that he is helping Snowden out -from his hole in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge- at face value. But what Snowden, and those who are, rightly, incensed by the alleged erosion of civil liberties by PRISM will not read in Wikileaks anytime soon is this: Rafael Correa's Ecuadorian regime spies on its citizens in a way strikingly similar to what Snowden accuses the U.S. of doing, and don't get me started on what Cuba, Venezuela and Russia do on its helpless citizens. Here's the proof from Ecuador's National Intelligence Service (set of leaked docs here).

Letter from SENAIN (Ecuador's Intelligence Agency) communicating to 500 Smart Solutions LLC, a Delaware-registered provider of Israeli surveillance equipment run by Gabriel Marcos Guecelevich, that an acquisition contract for additional equipment -$526,000 worth- has been approved. 
Letter from SENAIN (Ecuador's Intelligence Agency) asking Smart Solution (500 Smart Solutions LLC), a Delaware-registered provider of Israeli surveillance equipment run by Gabriel Marcos Guecelevich, whether it can provide Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).
Letter from SENAIN (Ecuador's Intelligence Service) to Smart Solution (500 Smart Solutions LLC), a Delaware-registered provider of Israeli surveillance equipment run by Gabriel Marcos Guecelevich, about dates and places where a pilot surveillance GSM test will be conducted.

There's a Gabriel Marcos Guecelevich cited in Argentina's official gazzette, DOB  7/5/1967, ID no. 18.340.715. Apparently Guecelevich was licensed -together with Kobi Reuven from Elkat Security Engineering LTD- by Israel's UVision Global Aero Systems to procure such technology to Ecuador. 


Then, there's the information about 500 Smart Solutions LLC, a Delaware-registered fly by night, presumably set up with the sole purpose of selling surveillance equipment to Rafael Correa's regime. Would this joint be FCPA compliant?



It's all very proper, isn't it in Ecuador? A country worthy of serious consideration by civil liberties' advocates seeking refuge from political persecution by the evil United States of America... In subsequent posts I shall be exposing wire transfers details and other relevant information about Ecuador's purchases of surveillance technology, and how it spies on its critics.

24 June 2013

Blog changes

Dear readers, I am in the process of revamping the whole blog. In its new version, it will continue focusing on Venezuela, but with a much broader investigative scope. Therefore, I would like to appeal to your generosity and ask for donations that will go towards costs involved in new design. Please click on the Paypal button and donate generously.

20 June 2013

Davos Financial Group bogus claims

Back in April, in the course of my research into the Boliburgeoisie, I came across a claim, a bold one, that left me gobsmacked: DAVOS Financial Group -owned by David Osio- was stating in its website that it had a "portfolio valued at over $1 trillion in assets under management of private and institutional clients." One trillion dollars. Wow. I made sure to take a screen shot and then tweeted: "David Osio claims his DAVOS bank has $1 trillion (?) under management. Is that where the bulk of Vzla's missing funds are? @davosobserver"

The reply was swift and also came through Twitter (as seen on left). DAVOS Financial Group said that their site "had been hacked by unscrupulous hands..." However archive.org paints a different picture, providing evidence that the hack lasted almost a year: that is to say, DAVOS did not realize that its website had been "compromised" since -at least- August 2012, as shown here. The $1 trillion claim was placed there by "unscrupulous hands" of hackers and no one at DAVOS had noticed, until I tweeted about it.

But DAVOS' oddities don't end there. In different literature to drum up new business, it claims that it has $2.8 billion under management. That's quite a discrepancy, no? From $1 trillion to $2.8 billion? In yet a different publication, DAVOS claims to "operate... under the supervision of international organizations, such as: ARIF (Switzerland), FINRA and FREC (United States), CNV (Panama)."

ARIF of Switzerland has no record of DAVOS Financial Group, but rather an entry for asset manager D. Société financière (Suisse) SA, which DAVOS claims is its "Swiss holding". Official Swiss records show that David Osio's control over D. Société has been revoked.

FINRA has also very interesting information on DAVOS. There are two individuals registered as investment advisors for DAVOS: Andres Coles and Adam Stramwasser. A search for DAVOS, as institution, returns two records, one for Florida and one for New York. But in the application for investment adviser registration there's question O, which reads: "Did you have $1 billion or more in assets on the last day of your most recent fiscal year?" In both cases  DAVOS answered in the negative. Therefore, DAVOS either misleads its potential customers in its prospectus, press releases and website or it misleads in its applications to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

When I asked DAVOS which financial authority regulated its activities, it replied through Carmen Monasterio:
In response to your question, please note that Davos  Financial Group operates as a financial advisory firm in regulated jurisdictions, and exclusively with front-line European and USA financial institutions. As a licensed and regulated company  our compliance polices are very strict, following the best practices, and under the permanent scrutiny of regulators of Switzerland, Europe and The United States. Our KYC procedures follow the highest standards, equal to those of our correspondent banks in Europe and the USA. Our executives are regularly instructed and certified in AML by FIBA and other prestigious institutions. 
I am sure DAVOS' AML compliance policies in Venezuela are "very strict", just like those of HSBC in Mexico. FIBA, which is a trade association and not an official financial watchdog, refused recently to provide information related to accreditations allegedly earned by DAVOS Financial Group staff, sending an unsigned reply to an information request I sent.

I understand DAVOS operates in different jurisdictions, so would the $1 trillion, or the $2.8 billion, refer to all assets in all jurisdictions? Further, why would DAVOS go to the trouble of registering in Florida and New York and have a couple of investment advisors registered in the U.S. to then place a warning in its website saying their services are not to be considered by U.S. residents?

David Osio is a U.S. resident as far as I understand, he has even donated to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Barack Obama campaigns. Is his company paying taxes on less than $1 billion, $2.8 billion, or $1 trillion?

12 June 2013

Is Kroll the newest members of Derwick Associates' reputation management offensive?

Gustavo Gomez Lopez's UK residency
scrutinized by The Times
Dear Kroll employees who have been poking around:

I know you have a long and rotten history of working for some of Venezuela's nastiest and most corrupt figures. They range from major bank fraud titan Jose Alvarez Stelling from Banco Consolidado, to the loathsome Gustavo Gomez Lopez at Banco Latino (the Madoff of Venezuela) who now pretends to be a lawyer in Venezuela, failing to mention any reference to Banco Latino and its vanished billions in his bio.

Criminals having fun:
Orlando Castro (left)
and Jose Alvarez Stelling
You filled your corporate coffers with the ill-gotten payments of these corrupt oligarchs of the pre-Chavez era, it was a real waterfall of "fees." And now it appears, from what a source tells me but that I cannot confirm, that you couldn't help yourself and are doing work for the corrupt moneymen of the Boligarchy. I noticed you were visiting the site recently. Specifically, looking for information about Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, and his Derwick Associates gig. Newest Venezuelan client, perhaps? Did Derwick dismissed FTI Consulting already, or are you collaborating in the production of "due dilligence" reports and "vetting" Betancourt-Lopez, and his partners Francisco Convit, Edgar Romero Lazo, Iker Candina and Pedro Trebbau-Lopez? 

If I recall correctly, it was your company, Kroll, that "vetted" and gave a thumbs-up to a businessman by the name of Allen J. Stanford. Right? How did that work out for you?

"Super DEA agent" Tom Cash,
former Kroll Executive Managing
Director, and agent of Allen Stanford
I guess if you are looking into the Derwick boys while holding a check from their overflowing accounts at JP Morgan, you are probably thinking these are fine, upstanding young men. Why else would a bank like JP Morgan Chase be in business with them, right? Didn't Derwick file a $300M defamation lawsuit when someone questioned their "sterling reputation", only to cower at the prospects of discovery in a US court and having to settle, while being dismissed with prejudice? I would have thought that after another Venezuelan blogger brought down Allen Stanford you would err in the side of caution, but when will you learn your lesson Kroll?

I have been told that for your previous Venezuela capers you had a former "super-agent" of the DEA, Thomas Cash,  always trading on his "special agent in charge of the largest DEA office in the world, the Florida and Caribbean Division" meme and charging the dirtiest businessmen in Venezuela ridiculous amounts for his "due diligence" work. Cash was also meant to be a "fraud and money laundering" expert, wasn't he? Where is Mr Cash now?  Oh, right, he's the one who OK'd Allen Stanford, and kept defending him even after he was no longer a Kroll client, and had to step down in utter disgrace as head of Kroll in Miami. I'm looking forward to watching you make fools of yourselves as you pursue Derwick's dollars. Thus far, you're proving to be as useless as FTI Consulting and your former man Frank Holder...

11 June 2013

Smartmatic doctors press release from New York's MTA to counter blogger's criticism

Smartmatic, the Venezuelan fly by night that in less than a decade went from nothing to become a (self described) "world-record setting elections company" managing to get contracts in excess of $500 million, doctored a press release from New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to counter criticism published in this blog.

In "Metropolitan Transportation Authorities Wants a Change for the Payment Systems", Smartmatic's PR people basically hacked a story -in Tarzan English- about New York's MTA's development of a new contact-less payment system, and invented two spokespeople along the way: Alek Halford and George Boyd (bold added). Go ahead and google Messrs Halford and Boyd in relation to the story, it's good fun. Relevant keywords ("telecommunication, technology, system integration and payment industries, Switzerland, Netherlands, Philippines and South America") were added for good measure.

The original notice can be read here, while the linked article in Smartmatic's post makes no mention to either Halford or Boyd, nor does it the article at banktech.com that, presumably, served as source of inspiration.

Readers of this site will remember previous attempts by Smartmatic of silencing me: by Luis Acuña here, and more recently by Paul Babic here. Today, by mere chance, I discovered Smartmatic's idiotic online reputation management strategy described above. Risking to sound like a broken record here, Smartmatic does have a huge PR problem. It maintains, to this day, an unblemished record of failures: every single electoral process in which it has participated outside of Venezuela -whether in Belgium or the Philippines, has been marred by accusations of either fraud, lack of functionality, corruption, lack of transparency -see the latest here, while crucially, in Venezuela, its lottery machines cum "the world's best electoral system"  according to Jimmy Carter were checked -not properly audited- just once, in 2005, when it was revealed that vote secrecy was compromised. In the words of the European experts both Smartmatic and chavismo like to quote so much:
While the source codes are owned by the CNE they are for commercial reasons not made available for public scrutiny and no independent third party audits have been conducted on any part of the electronic voting system.

7 June 2013

Open Letter to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen about David Osio

From right: David Rivera, David Osio and Congress-
woman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Dear Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen,

It's been a while since I was last in touch, so here's hope that this communication finds you well.

Not very long ago you participated, along with Congressman Connie Mack, Senator Marco Rubio (and now-disgraced former Congressman David Rivera) and others in an event in Capitol Hill, during which a group of my Venezuelan countrymen received recognition for their "distinguished contributions".

I do not know what sort of criteria was followed to decide which Venezuelan residing in the USA had made "distinguished contributions" to your country. What I do know is that many people were appalled and disgusted that David Osio was part of the group being honored. Others went even further, and suggested that the whole charade, arranged by David Rivera's Miami-based Venezuelan girlfriend, was paid for by Osio, to cleanse his sullied image, but it would be irresponsible of me, of course, to state that as fact rather than an appreciation based on the impressions of others.

In any case, I would like to ask you the following: did you, or any of your staff, do any due diligence on the members of that "distinguished" group? Can anyone specifically point out the "distinguished contributions" that David Osio has purportedly made to the United States? Are you aware that David Osio's financial group, DAVOS, alerts "US citizens, residents or any person located in the United States" through its website to refrain from considering its products and services? Ask yourself why Osio avoids U.S. regulation. Are you aware of the involvement of David Osio in the $500+ million ponzi scheme run by Francisco Illarramendi, through which workers of Venezuela's oil company lost a significant part of their pension funds? Were you aware that David Osio, through its DAVOS website, made the ridiculously misleading and totally false claim -immediately deleted after I called it- that his financial group had $1 trillion under management? Are you aware of the current professional relationships that entangle David Osio with utterly corrupt chavista officials from Venezuela? It is my belief he is one of the bankers of choice for the Venezuelan “boligarchy.”

David Osio eagerly employs the services of spin doctors and lawyers to silence his critics, and even takes matters into his own hands by sending baseless communications defending his "reputation" when it is challenged —sources have told me that he has even emailed you some of his preposterous defenses.

I would like to openly, and in good faith, warn you. The truth about David Osio and his enormous money laundering operation will one day make headlines. What will you say? That you didn't know? Or will you pretend that it never happened and retreat into silence, like Al Cardenas when confronted publicly about his dealings with corrupt chavista businessmen? Did Cardenas, by any chance, speak wonders to you about David Osio and did he tell you he had performed the proper “due diligence” about David Osio, that he is “clean”? Please be advised, Congresswoman, Al Cardenas has significant financial motivations to defend criminals like David Osio. Cardenas is in cahoots with a “due diligence” firm by the name of FTI Consulting, with its own criminal history. Al Cardenas is a fixer and rainmaker for his law firm, for FTI Consulting, and for his lobbying firm—and Venezuelans with ethical problems are his favorite targets.

Those of us from countries lacking rule of law are always grateful for the elected representatives of the U.S. Congress who stand tall against dictatorships and publicly denounce the crimes and abuses of authoritarian governments. You are one of the leaders in the congress who for years has championed the suffering of people from Havana to Hungary. We need you strong, and I consider it a duty to warn you when those with pecuniary interests, such as Cardenas, muddy the waters by trying to launder the reputations of unsavory businessmen like David Osio.

Sincerely,
Alek Boyd

6 June 2013

Kazakhstan's dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev gets Italy to engage in extraordinary rendition

Kazakhstan's dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev and former Italian Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi in 2010.
Europe seems to be going downhill very fast indeed. Vladimir Putin's having his critics killed in Central London is not a one of, isolated event. Now we see how Kazakhstan's dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev, gets Italy's Minister of the InteriorMinister of JusticeMinister of Foreign Affairs, and police's special forces chief and commandos violate every pertinent law and due process, by summarily kidnaping and deporting from Rome relatives of his critics. This event, in the capital city of a European country let's not forget, should be a scandal of monumental proportions, shouldn't it?

Let me provide some context. Despite indefensible whitewashing from Tony Blair et al, Nursultan Nazarbayev is a proper dictator, no two ways about it. Nazarbayev has imposed his rule in Kazakhstan since 1991 and controls the country as his personal fiefdom. Kazakhstan is yet to see its first free, fair and democratic election. Human, civil and political rights are simply nonexistent. But many Western nations, companies and former political leaders are doing phenomenal business deals with Nazarbayev, who is "absolutely justifiably loved by his nation”, according to Silvio "bunga-bunga" Berlusconi. Nazarbayev's connivance has allowed, in true Russian style, the emergence of an oligarchy: a handful of relatives, appointees, confidants and collaborators have become obscenely wealthy over the years. So there's Timur Kulibayev, Vladimir Kim, Alidzhan Ibragimov, Bolat Utemuratov, Rashid Sarsenov, Rakhat Aliyev... all of whom owe their ill gotten fortunes personally to the khan. And then, there's Mukhtar Ablyazov, a once trusted minister of Nazerbayev accused of embezzling billions from Kazakhstan's BTA bank. So far so Kazakh.

But Ablyazov, as other Kazakh "entrepreneurs", fell from Nazarbayev's grace for whatever reason, and fled to the UK, where he requested political asylum. In all frankness, I have no sympathy for "businessmen" that go from selling bits and bobs in market stalls to multibillionaires in a few years. Fortunes of the magnitude of some of these oligarchs can not possibly be made in the real world without complicity, or partnership, of utterly corrupt government officials that give them control of valuable State assets for peanuts, or worse, on credit. So whatever happens to Ablyazov, who, stupidly, fled the country that risked it for him, is neither here nor there.

However, what happened to his wife and 6 year-old daughter in Italy is an entirely different issue. The wife, Alma Shalabayeva, was living in Rome. Legally, on a Schengen permit obtained as citizen of Kazakhstan. Ditto the 6 year-old daughter, Alua Ablyazova. That did not stop 50 heavily armed operatives from DIGOS (Italy's special forces) to storm the house where she was staying at after midnight last Wednesday 29. She was arrested without a warrant. Her crime? Well, this is where things get interesting.

Shalabayeva's lawyer, Riccardo Olivo, claims that she committed no crime in Italy, she was not wanted in connection to any crime in Italy, nor was there an international warrant on her. Shalabayeva's was arrested for being in Italy with a fake Central African Republic passport. That was allegedly her "crime". But her lawyer claims that Central African Republic Embassy officials confirmed that the passport was legitimate. So the 50 operatives from Kazakhstan's Italy's special forces -note special forces; no immigration, customs or regular police- took Shalabayeva  away to Centro di Identificazione ed Espulsione -Identification and Deportation Centre- on the basis of a deportation order. From there she was to be immediately deported to Kazakhstan, where she has committed no crime either.

Such expedite and efficient process, this being Italy, is completely abnormal. There's an estimated 440,000 illegal immigrants in Italy. How many of those are the target of sting DIGOS operations? Why were Ablyazov's wife and daughter singled out? Further, how many of the "7,944 irregular immigrants detained in 2012" were arrested by DIGOS and had chartered private jets waiting at the ready in Ciampino airport? But this being Italy, those involved in sending Ablyazov's wife to Nazarbayev missed the daughter, and the law prohibits deportation of the mother without the daughter. So back they were sent, by their Kazakh handlers, to the villa from where Shalabayeva was snatched, to arrest her 6 year-old daughter, who once reunited with her mother onboard the jet was sent to modern day Genghis Khan two days later, on Friday.

«MACCHINA INFERNALE» otherwise known as extraordinary rendition


«Sono personalmente intervenuto - prosegue l'avvocato - sui vertici della Procura di Roma per informarli. Il Pm Eugenio Albamonte e il procuratore aggiunto Nello Rossi attraverso anche l’intervento del Procuratore capo Pignatone, sono riusciti a bloccare questa macchina infernale. Ma poi deve essere successo qualcosa, la pressione era troppa e la macchina infernale ha ripreso la sua corsa. Alle 18,30 mamma e figlia decollavano da Ciampino dirette nel loro Paese. Dal punto di vista formale è probabile che tutto sia stato fatto in regola. Da un punto di vista sostanziale hanno dato una donna nelle mani del boia di suo marito. Ed è una cosa raccapricciante, di straordinaria gravità».
Olivo claims to have reached out to relevant authorities from Rome's Attorney's Office (Prosecutor Eugenio Albamonte, deputy prosecutor Nello Rossi and Chief Prosecutor Pignatone), who were able to block the «MACCHINA INFERNALE» otherwise known as extraordinary rendition, but pressure from above (?) prevailed, and so mother and daughter were sent to Kazakhstan, in clear violation to current Italian immigration law that establish that no one can be deported to a country where they can be subjected to persecution, violation to human rights, etc.

Rendition aircraft used owned by Austria's Avcon Jet AG
Olivo makes important questions, such as: "who owned the plane? Who chartered and paid for it?" The plane (OE-HOO) used for this extraordinary rendition belongs to Avcon Jet, an Austrian company that has on its board former Austrian Minister of Finance Andreas Staribacher. The true owners of Avcon seem to have gone the extra mile in having the identities of its majority shareholders hidden behind proxies. Austrian press reports claim that "Borat agents" are behind this "cloak and dager" operation, which ended up with Ablyazov's wife and daughter being placed under house arrest in Kazakhstan. Indeed, this is no laughing matter, as Kazakhstan's KNB intelligence operatives not only are allowed to operate freely in Italy, and in Austria where their intelligence European central command seems to be based, but all Italian authorities involved are effectively acting as Nazarbayev's black ops. 

In light of all this, it is worth asking: who benefits where? ENI, the Italian energy conglomerate in which the Italian state has a 30% stake, has no small amount of business with Nazarbayev. In fact, ENI seems very comfortable dealing with Kazakh thugs, paying bribes to Nazarbayev's son in law to get concessions. It wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that shipping Ablyazov's family as a payback of sorts is out of the question, would it? But what to say of due process in Italy? What of its debased and corrupt ministers and special forces? How can thuggish communist dictators and its intelligence services operate so brazenly? How can Italian officials violate current laws, persecute and endanger innocent people, and children, with such impunity?