Originally published: 10/27/20
Last updated: 8/29/22
A Curious Timeline of Events Surrounding Biden, Trump, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, & Iran
In April of 2013, the Iran Deal looked all-but-dead. Both sides seemed far apart, but by December of 2013, Devon Archer, Hunter Biden's business partner, was helping John Kerry’s daughter land a USD $1M bribe from a Kazakhstani oligarch.
By July of 2014, the Iran Deal was back on… with Kazakhstan being floated as a possible recipient of Iran’s uranium. By May of 2016, the Biden and Kerry families' loose end, Devon Archer, had been indicted by the Southern District of New York.
On October 23rd, 2020, an undated photo surfaced from Hunter Biden's infamous laptop showing him with Kenes Rakishev (frequently spelled Kenges). Rakishev is presently the chairman of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank. Pictured standing next to Joe Biden is none other that Karim Masimov (frequently spelled Massimov). No observers seemed to take note of the fact that Karim Masimov was, at the time, essentially the head of all of Kazakh intelligence by virtue of being head of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee (which among other things, exercises control over Kazakhstan's borders, its counterterrorism strategies, and its military counterintelligence). Masimov was educated at a Soviet university considered by many experts to be a recruitment ground for KGB/PGU assets. In other words, Joe Biden was standing next to Kazakhstan's Soviet-trained spy chief.
On October 27th, 2020, we found out from a Fox News interview with whistleblower Tony Bobulinski that Hunter Biden was indeed doing business with the Kazakhs.
What follows is a more fulsome timeline of select significant events stretching all the way back to the collapse of the Soviet Union. This timeline is intended for investigative journalists and researchers.
Taken together, the points in this timeline are potentially indicative of long-running uranium market manipulation by Russian/Central Asian transnational organized crime, as well as possible foreign targeting of politically-exposed persons and those around them — namely, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Secretary of State/current Special Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry, and possibly both former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden — by Russian and other hostile intelligence services.
In most of these cases, it appears that the individuals who became entangled in these various elite capture schemes subsequently made extremely poor decisions on nuclear-related issues… hence the title, “Nuclear Blackmail.”
This is an extremely serious national security issue.
This timeline is focused on how this all relates…
to the world's largest uranium producer, Kazatomprom, and the IAEA's low-enriched uranium (LEU) bank in Oskemen, Kazakhstan;
to what appears to be the intentional (and potentially-criminal) bankruptcy-via-adverse regulatory action of America's only uranium enrichment company, U.S. Enrichment Corporation, fostering a dangerous dependence on Russia for our enrichment needs;
to the Russiagate/Spygate saga, a timeline for which can be found here;
to the Paris Climate Accords, which it appears China is making only a feigned effort to comply with;
to China's attempts to capture/manipulate uranium markets to support its geostrategic objectives, its domestic energy demands, and its dual-use civilian/military nuclear program; and,
to China's massive, systematic human rights atrocities, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the largest mass internment of innocent civilians since the Holocaust… and the U.S. taxpayer-subsidized uranium supply chain that travels through Xinjiang/East Turkistan, the region where it's happening.
6 April 1992: The Washington Post reports “IN TRADE DISPUTE WITH TWISTS, TARGET IS FORMER SOVIET UNION.”
1 May 1992: The European reports that a Russian SVR report, sent to the CIA, details the disappearance of two nuclear warheads from the Semipalatinsk Test Site (“STS” or “Semipalatinsk-21”) in Kazakhstan. The report speculates that Reza Amrollahi, the chief of the Iranian Organization for Atomic Energy, may have purchased them from Kazakhstan's President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev incredulously attempts to cover his tracks by claiming that scientists from the Atomic Research Institute of Kazakhstan may have stolen them. A third warhead is mentioned as missing. Its destination is presumed to be “in the Middle East.”
December 1994: A Kazakh official retains Jim Giffen and his company, Mercator Corp, to “assist in, among other things, the sale of a portion of Kazakhstan's interest in the Tengiz oil field.”
5 December 1994: The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is signed. The memorandum comprises three identical political agreements signed at the OSCE conference in Budapest, Hungary, on 5 December 1994, in order to provide security assurances by its signatories relating to the accession of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear powers: the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States. China and France gave somewhat weaker individual assurances in separate documents.
6 November 1995: Jim Giffen, chairman of Mercator Corp., transfers the first tranche of millions of dollars from Mobil Oil for its Kazakhstan Tengiz “oil field deal” to Swiss bank accounts secretly controlled by Kazakh officials.
1st Week of November, 1996: Donald J. Trump travels to Russia and meets the mayor of Moscow, reportedly to develop a hotel. A video from the trip (or possibly a separate trip, in 1995) which aired on Russian television, later resurfaces. The New York Times later reports on the trip:
❝ “I’ve seen cities all over the world. Some I’ve liked, some I haven’t,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference in Moscow in 1996, according to The Moscow Times. But he added that he didn’t think he had ever been “as impressed with the potential of a city as I have been with Moscow.”
Mr. Trump had been eyeing the potential for nearly a decade, expressing interest to government officials ranging from the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev (they first met in Washington in 1987) to the military figure Alexander Lebed.❞
The New York Times article continues:
❝ The 1996 project never materialized, but by then Mr. Trump was already well known in Russia. Moscow was in the midst of a construction boom, which transformed the capital from a drab, post-Soviet expanse into a sparkly modern city.
Yuri M. Luzhkov, Moscow’s mayor at the time, said in an interview that he had met with Mr. Trump and showed him plans for a massive underground shopping mall just outside the Kremlin gates. Mr. Trump suggested connecting it to the Metro, “a very important observation,” Mr. Luzhkov said. Today, visitors to the Okhotny Ryad shopping center can go straight from the Metro to the Calvin Klein store without venturing into the cold. ❞
The Village Voice, in a contemporaneous piece, describes the trip in a bit more detail:
❝ The Donald’s mouth has often been bigger than his bank account. But if Russian news reports are on the money, Trump’s first foreign real estate ventures includes plans to renovate the Hotel Moskva, a landmark-turned-to-seed Stalinist structure off one of the most famous squares in the world. A Trump team was in Moscow months ago to assess the venture. A top Moscow city government official told Moscow News that the hotel deal was just about complete. […]
Moscow’s first vice premier, Vladimir Resin, told the Russian news agency Interfax that Trump and the Moscow city government had “practically reached agreement” on the deal. Moscow News described the hotel deal as complete. Trump will apparently renovate the hotel and turn the top floor into luxury apartments. Russians, the newspaper proudly reported, will be hired to carry out the reconstruction, “excluding the finishing touches.” […]
The Trump team sent to Moscow formally assessed the cost of fixing up the decrepit Hotel Moskva, an imposing gray and gloomy building. Trump has been negotiating with Brooke Group Ltd., a Miami-based holding company that owns Liggett Group Inc., of L&M, Lark, Eve, and Chesterfield cigarette fame. Nicotine is big business in Russia, and such brands are giving Philip Morris hefty competition. ❞
Author's note: that last photo (which I've colorized, but which was published in B&W) is from the Associated Press. It was taken by Igor Tabakov. The blurb: “Donald Trump visits a reception as he checks out sites in Moscow for luxury residential towers, November 5, 1996.”
3 November 1996 (two days before Donald Trump was photographed in Moscow, sampling the hors d'oeuvres): Paul Tatum, a native of Edmond, Oklahoma, is assassinated in a Moscow Metro station near his hotel in an attack that's later conveniently blamed on the Chechen mafia. Tatum, an Oklahoma State University alum, had been operating a successful four-star hotel in a joint venture with a Chechen businessman named Umar Dzhabrailov. That venture included Moscow's modern, tasteful Radisson-Slavyanskaya Hotel, an upscale hotel in Moscow which catered to foreign businessmen and high-end guests, including President Bill Clinton, who had been there earlier in the year for a G7 summit with President Yeltsin.
Author's aside: a fascinating record of Clinton's and Yeltsin's conversation in the Kremlin can be found in the Clinton Digital Archives. Yeltsin describes his former Communist comrades as “fanatics” and, in a dark foreshadowing of Vladimir Putin's intentions, says “they want to take back Crimea; they even make claims against Alaska.” In a bit of levity, describing the siloviki, he says “let us say, you have to imagine that there is something wrong with what they have to think with.”
Beloved by those who knew him, Paul Tatum had fallen hard for Moscow: the architecture, the art, the churches, the ballet, the women. A fundraiser for Oklahoma's Republican Party, the Daily Oklahoman paints a vivid picture of Paul Tatum as a swashbuckling but earnest Midwestern cowboy bravely fighting to make Russia a safe place for Western businesses, standing up not only to the Russian mob, but to hardline coup-plotters and the Mayor of Moscow himself.
Smelling the money from Paul's successful hotel venture, by 1994, menacing figures had started hanging around the Radisson's hallways and shops, no doubt looking to sell sex or drugs… most likely cocaine trafficked from Colombia by the notorious Russian-linked Cali cartel.
Tatum worried that these pimps, dealers, pickpockets, and other drifters would scare away his Western clientele. Turning to the police with his concerns, in June 1994, federal troops with machine guns raided the hotel lobby and arrested 10 of those suspected gangsters at the bar.
Crossing the mob made him a target, and he knew the danger. Those who resisted the demands of the Russian mafia's protection racketeers had their businesses burned down in the middle of the night… or worse. Stories about businessmen killed by the Russian mob appeared almost daily in Moscow's business papers. Police said they were solving no more than one slaying in 10. Of course, solving crimes would be bad for a Moscow detective's health in the 1990s, and as Paul would soon find out over the next two years, the mob and city weren't two different organizations; indeed, as he'd soon discover, Mayor Luzhkov was the mob. Now, instead of gangsters at a bar demanding protection money, it was city officials.
As organized crime and the Russian criminal parastate began to muscle their way into his hotel venture, Tatum began having numerous disputes with his Chechen business partner, Umar Dzhabrailov, eventually taking out a full page ad in a local Moscow newspaper in October 1996, pointedly addressed to Mayor Luzhkov, alleging that Dzhabrailov was blackmailing him and trying to force him out of their joint venture.
Dzhabrailov, a former Captain in the Soviet Army whose biography suggests that he might've been a KGB or SVR officer — or at least someone who might know some people in both the mafia and intelligence worlds — likely didn't appreciate this, and he probably wanted a business partner who would be more amenable to the Soviet way of doing business… in other words, someone who wouldn't be bothered by being blackmailed.
A few weeks after placing that full page ad, in the presence of his two bodyguards, just after 5PM, Paul Tatum was savagely gunned down in the pedestrian underpass (subway entrance) near the beautiful Kiyevskaya (Ки́евская) station, just a few hundred meters from the Hotel Radisson-Slavyanskaya where he was a co-developer… shot 11 times in the head and neck by a Kalashnikov while wearing a bulletproof vest.
A true hero, gunned down in cold blood. A crime never fully solved.
Hardly a foe of the Russian people, Tatum had become one of them. In August of 1991, during the hardliners' abortive coup attempt, Paul did what any salt of the earth Oklahoman would've done: he joined the pro-democracy protestors backing Boris Yeltsin at the Kremlin. Paul wanted to bring the American Dream to Russia — he felt, as Yeltsin did, that the Russian people deserved that, after enduring the poverty and degradation caused by Soviet Communism — and even in the midst of growing threats, “this,” he still insisted, “is entrepreneurs' heaven.”
And he meant it. Paul Tatum loved Moscow, and indeed, he loved the Russian people as if they were his fellow Okies. His success was their success. He raised money for the Bolshoi Theater. He donated to the Russian Orthodox Church. He even helped sponsor the Kremlin Cup tennis tournament. And as a founding member of Moscow's American Chamber of Commerce, Paul did his best to get other entrepreneurs from back home excited about a newly-free Russia.
It was only the Russian mafia that he opposed.
“He had built this dream, and it was also financially successful, which was very important to Paul,” said Matt Seward, an old Oklahoma City friend. “They were trying to steal his dream. So that's worth fighting for.”
Shortly after his death, Dzhabrailov and the Moscow City Property Committee — the City of Moscow, whose Mayor, Yury Luzhkov, had been in negotiations with Donald Trump — quickly took control of the Radisson-Slavyanskaya.
Umar Dzhabrailov isn't just any Chechen businessman… at least anymore. This is how Wikipedia describes him:
❝ Umar Aliyevich Dzhabrailov (Russian: Умар Алиевич Джабраилов; born 28 June 1958, Grozny, USSR) is a Russian politician and advisor to Sergei Prikhodko, the Assistant to the President of Russia. He also is the vice president of the Artists Union of Russia, a member of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and was the representative to the Federation Council of Russia from the executive body of the Chechen Republic (2004–2009). He is an ethnic Chechen.
From 1973 to 1977, Dzhabrailov studied in the Rospotrebsoyuz College in Moscow. From 1977 to 1979, served in the Soviet Army in the Strategic Missile Forces in Korosten in Ukraine, holding the rank of Captain. In 1985, Dzhabrailov graduated with honors from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1989, he became general director of LLP “Danako.” In the mid 1990s, he was involved in the killing of his American business partner, Paul Tatum; the killing was because of a series of disagreements over the Radisson Hotel.
In 2001, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of First Mutual Credit Society Bank. From 2001 to 2004, he was a President of the “Group Plaza.” From 2004 to 2009, he was a senator […] from the Chechen Republic. ❞
On the topic of Dzhabrailov's intelligence connections, the rumor from the Russian web is that he made it into MGIMO thanks to General Filipp Denisovich Bobkov, the Chief of the KGB's Fifth Main Directorate, which was responsible for supressing dissent and which likely saw Dzhabrailov, a Chechen, to be useful for such purposes… which would mean he brought those KGB connections with him to the Radisson-Slavyanska.
Author's note: the background is important, because it means Umar Dzhabrailov would've surely crossed paths with Sergei Kiriyenko (see 24 July 2015) at the Kremlin, it means he'd certainly be close with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (see 20 July 2020 & 3 May 2022), and it means that he'd very likely have ex-Moscow Mayor Luzhkov's ex-wife, [Y]Elena Baturina (see 23 September 2020) saved in his phone as well. Last, but not least, one could speculate that if Dzhabrailov knows Ramzan Kadyrov, then he might know Kenes Rakishev, too (see 3 May 2022).
January 1997: Two months after the assassination of Paul Tatum, Russian Lieutenant General Alexander Ivanovich Lebed (Алекса́ндр Ива́нович Ле́бедь; 20 April 1950 – 28 April 2002) — who had just finished third in Russia's 1996 Presidential race — visits the United States in an effort to win over American business interests as the best successor to Boris Yeltsin.
Lieutenant General Lebed's visit includes a meeting with Donald Trump at Trump Tower. He reportedly discusses potential construction projects in Moscow that Trump could be involved in. “He invited me to Russia and I accepted, I thought he was terrific,” Trump said after the meeting.
2 April 2003: U.S. v. Giffen, et al. (S.D.N.Y., Docket No: 03-CR-404-WHP) filed in Kazakhgate Case.
15 March 2004: Mercator Corp. Jim Giffen FIRST superseding indictment in Kazakhgate case implicating two Kazakh officials (“KO-1 and KO-2”).
28 May 2004: At the 14th Plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the People's Republic of China is approved as a participating government in the export control group.
Author's note: the Nuclear Suppliers Group is a voluntary association of nuclear supplier countries that supposedly, in theory, seeks to contribute to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. The NSG was founded in response to the Indian nuclear test in May 1974, which demonstrated that certain non-weapons specific nuclear technology could be readily used for weapons development. Nations already signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) suddenly wisely saw the need to further limit the export of nuclear equipment, materials and technology.
Today, the group ostensibly does this primarily through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear and dual-use exports, although the diversion of nuclear equipment and materials and the proliferation of nuclear technologies rarely seem to result in penalties for suspected offenders (particularly Russia, China, and Kazakhstan). The Nuclear Suppliers Group presently has 48 members.
4 August 2004: Mercator Corp. Jim Giffen SECOND Superseding Indictment in Kazakhgate case implicating three Kazakh officials (“KO-1, KO-2, and KO-3”).
5 June 2005: Bill Clinton allegedly meets Canadian Frank Giustra, CEO of UrAsia Energy, Ltd., in White Plains, NY.
25 August 2005: Bloomberg reports on the Jim Giffin Kazakhgate case with the headline “KAZAKHSTAN: Mobil, CIA secrets may come out.” The story implicates major oil companies and then-Kazakh Communist Party leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.
6 September 2005: Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra, CEO of UrAsia Energy, Ltd., and former-President Bill Clinton land in Almaty, Kazakhstan and are greeted by a midnight banquet with Communist leader-turned-President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Within three days, Frank Giustra has signed a deal with Moukhtar Dzhakishev, president of Kazatomprom (Kazakhstan’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation), to buy stakes in three Kazakh uranium projects, at least two of which were stakes acquired from a Kazakh investment group headed by businessman, ex-Energy Minister, and (pardoned and possibly falsely-accused) former convict Moukhtar Ablyazov.
For background on Ablyazov, per Wikipedia:
❝ Mukhtar Qabyluly Ablyazov (Kazakh: Мұхтар Қабылұлы Әблязов, Muhtar Qabyluly Ábliazov; born 16 May 1963) is a Kazakh businessman and political activist who served as chairman of Bank Turan Alem (BTA Bank), and is a co-founder and a leader of the unregistered political party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (QDT). He was also the former head of the state-owned Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company (KEGOC) as well as briefly holding the position of Minister for Energy, Industry, and Trade under Balgimbayev's cabinet before resigning from and joining the opposition against President Nursultan Nazarbayev. In November 2001, he, along with other former Kazakh government officials founded the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (QDT). As result, Ablyazov was imprisoned in March 2002 over accusations of financial fraud and political abuse until being pardoned by Nazarbayev in 2003. After being released from prison, he ceased his formal political activities with the opposition. ❞
19 June 2006: “KAZAKHSTAN: ADVOCACY: KAZMUNAIGAZ DELAYS ’N BLOCK’ DECISION” State Department Cable ((CONF//NOFORN)) details multiple bits of information regarding ConocoPhillips attempts to negotiate a deal with the Government of Kazakhstan, including intelligence indicating high-level involvement from both U.S. and Kazakhstani officials.
19 September 2006: The Nuclear Threat Initiative commits USD $50 million to create an IAEA low-enriched uranium (LEU) nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan.
February 2007: Iran's Natanz fuel enrichment plant (FEP) and gas centrifuge enrichment facility begin operation (photo from 8 July 2020).
9 March 2007: Former FBI agent Robert Levinson is detained by suspected Iranian security agents in the lobby of his hotel on Kish Island, Iran, a Persian Gulf resort area and free-trade zone for which no Iranian visa is required, and never seen again.
29 March 2007: An email's forwarded to Amos Hochstein, Joe Biden's future energy advisor, addressed to Uranium One whistleblower Douglas Campbell. The email references plans to “neutralize” U.S. Enrichment Corp. (USEC), which future Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman successfully does.
29 March 2007: Bracewell & Giuliani issues a press release — “Kazakhstani Government Sets Tax Incentives inside Special Economic Zone” — noting that the firm has 400 lawyers in “New York, Connecticut, Texas, Washington, D.C., Dubai, Kazakhstan and London.”
03 April 2007: “KAZAKHSTAN: EXXONMOBIL PURSUING ONSHORE PARTNERSHIP WITH KAZMUNAIGAZ SUBSIDIARY” State Department Cable ((CONF//NOFORN)) Recounting Conversation from Rick Vierbuchen, Vice President of ExxonMobil Exploration Company, to Ambassador John Ordway.
17 April 2007: Reuters reports that “Kazyna Capital Management (KCM), a subsidiary of Kazakhastan’s sovereign wealth fund, is in talks with CITIC Capital, an investment arm of China’s largest financial conglomerate, to set up a joint investment fund, a senior company executive said during the Boao Forum.” The Reuters piece continues:
❝ Fresh from signing a $10 billion oil-for-loan deal this week, the Kazakhastan government is turning its eyes to broader investment opportunities with China, Abay Alpamyssov, chairman of KCM, told Reuters on the sidelines of the forum. […]
China lent neighbour Kazakhstan $10 billion this week and bought into an oil company in the Central Asian country. […]
China’s Eximbank lent the state-owned Development Bank of Kazakhstan $5 billion. China’s state-run oil company CNPC also extended a $5 billion loan to its Kazakh peer KazMunaiGas [KMG.UL]. ❞
25 September 2007: The Wall Street Journal reports that “Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani's Fund Raising Reaches Into Kazakhstan.”
A Quinnipiac poll taken in New Jersey the next day gives the mayor a slight lead over Hillary Clinton in the traditionally blue state, 45% to 44%.
24 October 2007: Donald Trump applies for numerous trademarks in Kazakhstan, including for Trump Vodka. From the McClatchy investigation which uncovered the trademark document, we also learn this:
❝ McClatchy’s investigation reveals how Trump sought a foothold not just in Russia but across the former Soviet empire. Not known before, the Trump Organization in 2012 negotiated with then-Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov for an obelisk-shaped tower to be built near the presidential palace, designed by architect John Fotiadis, who also did the Batumi project and lists offices in New York and the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Trump Diamond lost out to a rival project in Astana for the tallest building in Central Asia, the 75-story Abu Dhabi Plaza. […]
The Trump organization also signed a letter of intent, which was not executed, to license the Trump name for the Trump Diamond tower near Akorda, the opulent presidential palace in Kazakhstan, ruled by autocrat Nursultan Nazarbayev since 1989. An architect’s rendition, obtained by McClatchy, shows an obelisk with Trump’s name at the apex, and it would have soared over everything else within miles. ❞
18 November 2007: John Brennan pens a document detailing recommendations to the next President (assuming office in Jan. 2009) on how to play the figures on the U.S.-Iranian Chessboard, saying that the U.S. and Iran have “no choice but to find a way to coexist.”
17 December 2007: Reuters reports that Russia delivered its first shipment of fuel to Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.
A short history of Bushehr, via Wikipedia:
❝ Construction of the plant was started in 1975 by German companies, but the work was stopped in 1979 after the Islamic revolution of Iran. The site was repeatedly bombed during the Iran–Iraq war. Later, a contract for finishing the plant was signed between Iran and the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy in 1995, with Russia's Atomstroyexport named as the main contractor. The work was delayed several years by technical and financial challenges as well as by political pressure from the West. After construction was again in danger of being stopped in 2007, a renewed agreement was reached in which the Iranians promised to compensate for rising costs and inflation after completion of the plant. Delivery of nuclear fuel started the same year. The plant started adding electricity to the national grid on 3 September 2011, and was officially opened in a ceremony on 12 September 2011, attended by Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and head of the Rosatom Sergey Kiriyenko.❞
27 March 2008: Abrahm Lustgarten, writing for CNN, profiles Kazakhstan’s uranium czar, Moukhtar Dzhakishev, the head of Kazatomprom.
13 January 2009: Justin Cooper, a longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton, registers the clintonemail.com domain, a little more than a week before Hillary Clinton takes office as Secretary of State.
15 January 2009: World Nuclear News reports that Kazakhstan's increased uranium production by 28% in 2008 (to 8521 tonnes, compared with 6637 tonnes in 2007), noting that production figures are some 1080 tonnes less than planned, but not why.
Author's note: A report published in 2013 by the Carnegie Endowment and the Federation of American Scientists said the scarcity and low quality of Iran’s uranium resources compelled it “to rely on external sources of natural and processed uranium.” Could it be possible that Iran’s Gachin, Saghand, and other mines were producing insufficient amounts of quality uranium to keep pace with Iran’s illicit needs, leading them to seek illicit, black market uranium from Kazatomprom?
21 January 2009: Hillary Clinton takes office as Secretary of State. She's shown here being sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on 2 February 2009. From the State Department's retrospective on her time as Secretary.
❝ In her confirmation testimony, Hillary Rodham Clinton said: “The best way to advance America's interests in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions. […] We must use what has been called "smart power," the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural — picking the right tool or combination of tools for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of our foreign policy.” ❞
Author's note: Secretary Clinton embodied the quintessential definition of Wilsonianism. While it's easy to hate on her, she shattered glass ceilings. In many ways, she was right on many things, especially when it came to issues of human rights. Her 33K (supposedly) deleted emails aside, her failure was in not understanding that U.S. adversaries don't believe in diplomacy in the same ways we do. When we use smart power, they use shrewd power. Regardless, it's fairly clear that the Chinese had compromised her in nineties. One shouldn't be surprised if it turns out that the Chinese, not the Russians, were the people whom Donald Trump should've been asking to find her emails, but perhaps we'll never know. It would certainly explain many things, however.
A short background, on the Clintons and China, from “Year of the Rat: How Bill Clinton and Al Gore Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash:”
❝ Indonesian bankers Mokthar and James Riady have billions of dollars in investments in China. In 1992, with the Clinton campaign broke and reeling from the Jennifer Flowers scandal, the Riady's persuaded the Arkansas-based Worthen Bank, of which their Lippo Bank was a part owner, to issue a $3.5 million letter of credit to the Clinton campaign. In addition, James Riady and his wife donated $450,000 that year, making them the largest private donors to the Clinton-Gore campaign.
Who are the Riady's? The authors cite a CIA report to the U.S. Senate , that states, in part: “James and Mochtar Riady have a long-term relationship with a Chinese intelligence agency. The relationship is based on mutual benefit... the Chinese intelligence agency seeks to locate and develop relationships with information collectors particularly those with close association to the U.S. government.” Within months of Clinton's election, a Riady executive and Democratic party fund-raiser, John Huang, had a Top Secret security clearance, with access to the most sensitive CIA information on China. Huang was issued the security clearance five months before working for Ron Brown at the Commerce Department. Incredibly, Huang maintained the clearance after he left the Administration to do full time fund-raising at the Democratic National Committee. ❞
21 May 2009: Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman (shown here speaking to President Obama) is granted a special waiver by the Department of Energy, exempting him from the requirement that he divest from his investments with Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells), where he was previously a partner. Before Hogan & Hartson, Poneman was with the firm of Covington & Burling.
Author's note: from 2001 to 2009, future-Attorney General Eric Holder was a partner at Covington & Burling, where he returned in 2015 after Loretta Lynch was confirmed as his successor. From 2002 to 2010, future-Attorney General Loretta Lynch was a partner at Hogan & Hartson.
25 May 2009: Kazakhstan arrests Moukhtar Dzhakishev, head of Kazatomprom, who had previously signed the agreement with Frank Giustra during Giustra’s and Clinton’s mysterious 2005 visit to Kazakhstan.
21 September 2009: Iran confirms the existence of the then-unfinished enrichment plant at Fordow to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but only after the site becomes known to Western intelligence services. U.S. President Barack Obama publicly confirms that Fordow has been under U.S. surveillance. and Western officials strongly condemn Iran for not disclosing the site earlier.
4 November 2009: Kazakhstan’s ex-uranium czar (ex-Kazatomprom President) Mukhtar Dzhakishev’s prison interviews regarding UrAsia, Kazatomprom, and Rosatom are uploaded to YouTube.
30 December 2009: “Iran Denies Secret Deal to Import 1,350 Tons of Kazakh Yellowcake.”
25 January 2010: “KAZAKHSTAN: MONEY AND POWER” State Department Cable ((S)) Recounts KazMunaiGaz Dinner Between U.S. Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland & Kazakhstan First Vice President Maksat Idenov, mentioning Karim Masimov (later the head of all Kazakh intelligence who is pictured standing next to Joe Biden with Hunter Biden and Kenes Rakishev).
13 April 2010: Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo meets with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu in Washington. According to the Chinese side, they exchanged views on bilateral relations and energy cooperation.
13 May 2010: The State Department releases a press release on the “U.S.-China Ten-Year Framework for Cooperation on Energy and Environment” (or what normal people might call “climate talks”).
❝ The Governments of the United States and China held the 6th Joint Working Group Meeting of the U.S.-China Ten-Year Framework (TYF) for Cooperation on Energy and Environment on May 11-12 in Washington, DC. Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero and Ambassador Jon Huntsman led the U.S. delegation, while Vice Chairman Zhang Xiaoqiang from the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission led the Chinese delegation. Department of State Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow co-chaired the meetings on behalf of the U.S. During the meetings, the two countries exchanged views on emerging issues including green growth.
Established in June 2008, the Framework facilitates the exchange of information and best practices to foster innovation and develop solutions to the pressing environment and energy challenges both countries face. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and State Counselor Dai Bingguo participated in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation on Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment in July 2009, which further elaborated the role of the Framework and established a new strategic dialogue on climate change. ❞
Author's note: by this point, it should be clear to Secretary Clinton that the Chinese, most likely with the help of the Russians, are manipulating both the Kazakhs and the Iranians as part of a larger, longer-term strategy to consolidate control of large portions of the global nuclear fuel cycle using climate negotiations as a cover. The Obama administration doesn't deserve all the blame, however; take notice of the fact that the Ten-Year Framework was established in June 2008, during the Bush administration.
21-26 May 2010: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to China, spending time in both Shanghai (May 21-23) and Beijing (May 23-26).
8 June 2010: Reuters reports that Russia's ARMZ (Atomredmetzoloto) plans to acquire control of Uranium One.
6 August 2010: NY Merchant Bank, Mercator Corp. Chairman Jim Giffen pleads guilty in Kazakhgate charges.
10 August 2010: “After Seven Years, 'Kazakhgate' Scandal Ends With Minor Indictment.”
18 August 2010: “CIA Launches New Counterproliferation Center.”
❝ Director Leon E. Panetta has announced the creation of CIA’s Counterproliferation Center (CPC). This new unit will combine operational and analytic specialists dedicated to combating the spread of dangerous weapons and technology, allowing for even greater collaboration and information sharing on a top intelligence priority.
Building on the success of proven models, such as CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, the new organization will incorporate the current Counterproliferation Division of the National Clandestine Service (NCS) and elements of the Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation & Arms Control Center (WINPAC), which is part of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI). ❞
❝ Director Panetta said that more DI analysts and NCS officers will work side-by-side in the center, providing “precise, comprehensive” analytical support to operations. “As our nation continues to confront the threat of weapons of mass destruction—nuclear, chemical, and biological,” Director Panetta noted, “we must constantly strive for new ways to work across directorates, combining a diversity of expertise with a range of powerful capabilities to keep our nation safe. Our greatest achievements as an agency are the product of close collaboration among operations officers, analysts, targeters, technical specialists, and support officers.”
The Counterproliferation Center will be led by an undercover NCS officer, with deputies for operations and analysis. Director Panetta explained that CPC would take shape over the next several weeks. “More important than the movement of people or desks, though, are the results we seek: the strongest, most effective counterproliferation operations and analysis in our Agency’s history,” Director Panetta said. ❞
30 November 2010: Secretary Clinton travels to Kazakhstan — a hotbed of foreign espionage — while using her unsecured private email account.
RFE/RL describes the trip this way.
❝ U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised the issue of imprisoned journalists in Kazakhstan as she arrived in the capital, Astana, ahead of an OSCE summit scheduled to start on December 1.
Clinton spoke at a university in Astana and told the audience it was important that "governments don't overreact" to information they do not want made public.❞
15 December 2010: “ARMZ Uranium Holding to Acquire 100% of Australian Public Company Mantra Resources for $1.197B USD; Uranium One Gets the Right to Acquire the Asset from ARMZ Uranium Holding.”
27 December 2010: From The Llama Files, “Rosatom, through its subsidiaries Uranium One Holding (previously known as Effective Energy N.V.) and Uranium Mining Company obtain a 51.4% controlling interest in Uranium One for [a mere] $610 million dollars.”
This was the general corporate structure of Uranium One, Inc. before the deal.
Author's note: notice the corporate entities in Delaware and Kazakhstan.
Again, quoting from The Llama Files: “On January 14, 2013, they announced they had inked another deal to acquire the other 48.6% which they did after the U.S. approved (again) the deal on March 7, 2013—all the while millions of dollars poured into the Clintons’ coffers. The deal was completed on October 18, 2013.”
This was the general corporate structure of Rosatom after the deal.
19 January 2011: The Department of Energy (DOE) announces the signing of a taxpayer-funded government-to-government agreement with the People's Republic of China to establish a Center of Excellence in China “to promote effective nuclear security and safeguards.”
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) Chairman Chen Qiufa sign the memorandum of understanding, which was announced during the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington.
❝ This agreement paves the way for DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Department of Defense to work with CAEA representatives in China [!] to develop a center that will provide a central site for training in all aspects of nuclear security. The Center will serve as a forum for exchanging technical information, sharing best practices, developing training courses, and promoting technical collaborations that will enhance nuclear security in China and throughout Asia. It will also help meet the training needs for China's expanding nuclear sector [!] and promote nuclear security best practices throughout the region. ❞
Author's note: what's the worst that could happen, right?!?
28 March 2011: Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R) join 14 other members of the Ohio congressional delegation in urging the Obama administration to approve a USD $2 billion loan guarantee to build a uranium-enrichment plant in southern Ohio, called the American Centrifuge Project, to fill the critical enrichment gap in America's nuclear fuel cycle.
U.S. Enrichment Corp. (USEC), the suburban Washington company attempting to build the plant, desperately needs the administration to approve the loan guarantee to complete the USD $4 billion plant that would produce fuel for nuclear power plants. Without the loan guarantee, the company's bankruptcy is almost certainly assured (and Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman seems to know this).
Author's note: today, one can go to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's website and see a sad reminder of what could have been.
March 2011: Trump Tower Batumi in Georgia is announced. The project represents a licensing deal between Trump and the Silk Road Group, a company at least partially funded by Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank, whose former chairman, Mukhtar Ablyazov — an ardent opponent of Communist leader-turned-President Nazarbayev — was under investigation for “allegedly siphoning” billions of dollars out of Kazakhstan.
22 September 2011: Daniel Poneman's role in Solyndra's restructuring (lowering the preference for taxpayer repayment) is revealed.
Author's note: the background on Solyndra is important. Half a billion dollars in U.S. taxypayer money evaporated. Having learned the lesson with the Solyndra scandal and domestic solar panel construction, a decade later— no doubt at the behest of “United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate” John Kerry (an invented position in the Executive Office of the President which places him outside of both the National Security Council and the State Department, to ensure that he isn't undermining the work of Jake Sullivan or Anthony Blinken, whether intentionally or not) — President Joe Biden waives tariffs on solar panels from four southeast Asian nations which source their components from China… most specifically polysilicon from China's genocide region of Xinjiang/East Turkistan (see 6 June 2022).
30 September 2011: Sen. Portman says the U.S. Energy Department is dragging its feet on the loan guarantee for U.S. Enrichment Corp.'s “American Centrifuge Project” in Piketon, OH.
3-4 May 2012: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to China for the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED).
Author's note: Secretary Clinton's remarks from 2012 read remarkably, unbelievably naÏve and even reckless in 2022.
31 May 2012: The NYTimes reports that “the bodies of 12 border guards and a local gamekeeper were found Wednesday near the post by Kazakh border troops, said the official, Turganbek Stambekov, a deputy to the director of the country’s border guard service, in a statement.”
26 June 2012: Rustem Tursunbayev, the former Vice President of Kazakhstan's national nuclear company, Kazatomprom, who was detained in Canada on charges of financial crimes in his homeland, is placed under house arrest, Canada's National Post reports. According to KazInform:
❝ In 2009 Tursunbayev bought a USD 3.6 million mansion with everything you need for a luxurious life: a wine cellar, a kitchen with a chef, a library and a huge balcony overlooking the pool and adjacent land holdings. Here he lived with his wife, 18-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. According to the Canadian authorities Tursunbayev also has a property in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, at the time of arrival in Canada, according to official documents, ex-vice president of Kazatomprom had USD 41,000 on his account and a salary of USD 3,500 as he pointed.
Later, according to the Canadian frontier service, someone transferred USD 48 million to Tursunbayev, his wife Natalia and two companies they owned in Canada. ❞
Author's note: interestingly, during the Trump administration, a Canadian court later orders the Canadian government to compensate Rustem Tursunbayev for abusing the legal process in order to have him extradited back to Kazakhstan (see 24 June 2019) in what surely must've been a harrowing 7 year ordeal.
26 June 2012: U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman, left, toasts with Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Rosatom, during the Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group Plenary in Moscow, Russia.
11 August 2012: Acting Director of Kazakhstan’s Border Guard Service, Col. Turganbek Stambekov, and U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Fairfax cut the ribbon commemorating the opening of the regional canine training center at the Border Guard Academy in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
4-5 September 2012: Secretary Clinton travels to Beijing to meet with senior Chinese leaders.
8-9 September 2012: Secretary Clinton’s travels to Vladivostok, where she leads the U.S. delegation to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
25 December 2012: An Antonov An-72 military transport aircraft operated by the Kazakh Armed Forces crashed about 20 kilometres (12 mi; 10.8 nmi) from the city of Shymkent, Kazakhstan, where the aircraft was preparing to land. All 27 people on board died in the crash. The flight was traveling from Astana to Shymkent and was carrying seven crew and twenty members of the Kazakh border patrol, including its leader, the acting Director of the Kazakhstan Border Guard Service, Colonel Turganbek Stambekov.
The regional emergencies service department’s head, Valikhan Derezhepov, said the plane went off radar screens at approximately 17:00 Moscow time (13:00 UTC). “There was no need in rescuers’ help, the plane was completely destroyed by fire. Only fragments are left,” Russian-state media Sputnik (almost gleefully) quoted Derezhepov as saying.
14 January 2013: The remaining 48.6% of shares of Uranium One are bought by Russia's ARMZ, also known as Atomredmetzoloto, a subsidiary of Rosatom (see 27 December 2010).
29 January 2013: A little more than a month after the An-72 crash that killed Colonel Stambekov, SCAT Airlines Flight 760 (Kokshetau, Kazakhstan to Almaty, Kazakhstan) crashes after the bombardier CRJ-200 Twinjet makes a sudden pitch-down maneuver in “thick fog” on final approach to Almaty International Airport, crashing 5 km (3.1 mi; 2.7 nmi) short of the runway near the village of Kyzyltu at 13:13 local time (07:13 UTC), 14 seconds after initiating a go-around. 16 ticketed passengers, 5 crew, and 1 un-ticketed child are killed. SCAT is a contraction of “Special Cargo Air Transport.” A Commission is formed to investigate the crash. The report (issued in Russian) states that “the Commission did not find evidence of failures of aviation equipment.”
1 February 2013: Hillary Clinton formally resigns as Secretary of State.
A March 2015 CBS News investigation subsequently unearths a startling series of donations to the Clinton Foundation, starting in 2013, following her resignation.
❝ A CBS News investigation has found that at least one foreign company with close ties to its government has been giving generously to the foundation run by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. […]
One donor — Rilin Enterprises — pledged $2 million in 2013 to the Clinton Foundation's endowment. The company is a privately-held Chinese construction and trade conglomerate and run by billionaire Wang Wenliang, who is also a delegate to the Chinese parliament. (He was actually a member of the 12th National People's Congress, as China doesn't have a Parliament, but was removed from it over allegations of vote fraud.) Public records show the firm has spent $1.4 million since 2012, lobbying Congress and the State Department. The firm owns a strategic port along the border with North Korea and was also one of the contractors that built the Chinese embassy in Washington. ❞
The CBS News report continues:
❝ That contract is a direct tie to the Chinese government, according to Jim Mann, who has written several books on China's relationship with the U.S.
With “embassy construction, one of the most important tasks is making sure that there are no bugs there,” he said. “So you want to have the closest security and intelligence connections with and approval of the person or company that's going to build your embassy.” ❞
In 2016, a year after the story breaks, TIME reports (with somewhat thin sourcing):
❝ Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe invited the Chinese businessman whose donations to him have been named as a focus of Justice Department investigators to a 2013 fundraiser at Hillary Clinton’s personal Washington, D.C., residence.
Wang Wenliang, a Chinese national with U.S. permanent residency, briefly shook Clinton’s hand at the Sept. 30 event, a representative for Wang told TIME. An American company controlled by Wang made a $60,000 contribution to McAuliffe’s campaign three weeks before the fundraiser. Less than a month later, a separate Wang company pledged $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation, the first of several donations that eventually totaled $2 million. ❞
Author's note: interestingly, the Clinton campaign never confirms what “a representative for Wang” says and instead issues a terse “no comment.” Nor does the FBI provide any details. Video of guests arriving at the fundraiser in question shows the two men arriving separately, not together. McAuliffe ends up telling to the media that he wouldn't know Wang “if he sat in the chair next to me,” despite Wang having given $120,000 to McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign, which McAuliffe's lawyer, Marc Elias, maintains was a “lawful” (note, he doesn't say “ethical”) contribution. Wang is subsequently accused of bribery and purged from the party in September of 2016, before anybody can get the real story out of him. He's most likely in prison, if not dead. Many questions remain though, including, no doubt, for the FBI.
Contrary to the Time report, did Wang actually know the Clintons before that 30 September 2013 fundraiser?
Was McAuliffe the one who actually introduced Wang to Clinton's circle, or did he (involuntarily) fall on an election year grenade for her?
Were Wang's contributions a bribe for the Clinton Foundation for some future consideration, or were they a payout for her time as Secretary of State?
If you know the answers to these questions, perhaps you should go here: https://tips.fbi.gov/
Or here: https://www.justice.gov/opr/submit-fbi-whistleblower-complaint
15 February 2013: The Chelyabinsk superbolide meteor enters Earth's atmosphere over the southern Ural region in Russia, just across the border from Kazakhstan, on 15 February 2013 at approximately 09:20:21 Yekaterinburg time (03:20:21 UTC), several minutes after sunrise in Chelyabinsk and minutes before sunrise in Yekaterinburg. The 20 m (66 ft) near-Earth asteroid enters the atmosphere at a shallow 18.3 ± 0.4 degree angle with a speed relative to Earth of 19.16 ± 0.15 kilometers per second (69,000 km/h or 42,690 mph)… almost 60 times the speed of sound. The light from the meteor briefly shines brighter than the Sun, visible up to 100 km (62 mi) away. The meteor is observed over a wide area of the region and in neighboring ex-Soviet republics.
The object violently explodes in a meteor air burst over Chelyabinsk Oblast, at a height of around 29.7 km (18.5 mi; 97,000 ft), with a hypocenter to the south of Chelyabinsk, in Yemanzhelinsk and Yuzhnouralsk. The explosion generates a bright flash, producing a hot cloud of dust and gas that penetrates to 26.2 km (16.3 mi), with many surviving small fragmentary meteorites allegedly later being found. Some eyewitnesses report feeling intense heat from the fireball. The bulk of the object's energy is absorbed by the atmosphere, creating thunderous large shock wave with a total kinetic energy before atmospheric impact estimated from infrasound and seismic measurements to be equivalent to the blast yield of 400–500 kilotons of TNT (about 1.4–1.8 PJ) range… 26 to 33 times more energy than the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima, and roughly equivalent in energy output to the former Soviet Union's mid-August 1953 initial attempt at a thermonuclear device. The air burst's blast wave, when it hits the ground, produces a tremulous seismic wave which registers on seismographs at a magnitude 2.7.
Russian authorities state that 1,491 people seek medical attention in Chelyabinsk Oblast within the first few days. Health officials eventually report that 112 people have been hospitalized, with two in serious condition. Most of the injuries are caused by the secondary blast effects of shattered, falling, or blown-in glass. The intense light from the meteor, momentarily brighter than the Sun, also produced injuries, leading to over 180 cases of eye pain, with 70 people subsequently reporting temporary flash blindness. Twenty people report ultraviolet burns similar to a sunburn, possibly intensified by the presence of snow on the ground. One man, Vladimir Petrov, reports that he sustained so much sunburn from the meteor that his skin flaked days later. A fourth-grade teacher in Chelyabinsk, Yulia Karbysheva, is hailed as a hero after saving 44 children from imploding window glass cuts. A 52-year-old woman with a broken spine is flown to Moscow for treatment.
23 February 2013: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman departs for Almaty, Kazakhstan on Saturday, 23 February 2013 to lead the United States’ delegation to P5+1 talks over Iran’s nuclear program with Iran beginning on 26 February.
26 February 2013: Iran and the P5+1 resume negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan over Iran's nuclear program. The P5+1 offers Iran an updated proposal based largely on the 2012 package.
1 March 2013: Kenes Rakishev and his wife Asel Tasmagambetova — the daughter of Kazakh politician Imangali Tasmagambetov (see 22 April 2014) — are invited, on behalf of former President Clinton, to participate in Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meetings by a CGI “dedicated Account Executive.” The email informs them when and where these meetings will take place.
5-6 April 2013: Iran and the P5+1 meet again in Almaty for a second round of talks. At the end of the meetings, negotiators announce that no further meetings are scheduled and the sides remain far apart.
7 May 2013: Hunter Biden is commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He's supposedly then assigned to Navy Public Affairs Support Element East in Norfolk, VA.
17 May 2013: Trend News Agency reports that Kazakhstan’s state-owned nuclear enterprise, Kazatomprom, has opened its first office in Washington, D.C.
24 June 2013: U.S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC) issues a press release noting that the “Megatons to Megawatts” program with Russia is 95% complete. This was, by nearly all measures, a successful program to reduce the risk of nuclear buildup, but unfortunately the program had the side effect of integrating the hostile, kleptocratic Russian Federation into our critical LEU supply chain. Worse, still, Department of Energy allowed our domestic enrichment capacities to atrophy during the program's lifespan.
Today, the intentionally-bankrupted U.S. Enrichment Corporation's successor, Centrus Energy, describes the program this way on their website:
❝ The Megatons to Megawatts™ Program was a unique, commercially financed government-industry partnership in which bomb-grade uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads was recycled into low enriched uranium used to produce fuel for American nuclear power plants. Centrus’ predecessor, the United States Enrichment Corporation, as executive agent for the U.S. government, and Joint Stock Company “TENEX” (TENEX), acting for the Russian government, implemented this 20-year, [USD] $8 billion program at no cost to taxpayers. […] USEC is scheduled to take delivery of the final material for the program in November 2013 when the equivalent of 20,000 nuclear warheads will have been downblended into commercial reactor fuel. To date, the low enriched uranium created by the downblending could generate electricity that would meet the demand for a city the size of Boston for approximately 730 years. In past years, up to 10 percent of the electricity generated in the United States came from nuclear power plants using this fuel. ❞
Author's note: a timeline of the Megatons to Megawatts™ program can be found here.
23 September 2013: China’s Xinhua reports that Iran has taken over control of Bushehr nuclear power plant, per an agreement with Russia’s Rosatom.
October 2013: Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, arranges a conference call between Kenes Rakishev and John Kerry’s eldest daughter, Alex Forbes Kerry, who is seeking “investment” for her “film company.”
13 December 2013: The New York Times reports on Bob Levinson's case with the headline “A Disappearing Spy, and a Scandal at the C.I.A.” mentioning the “Illicit Finance Group” and Anne Jablonski, wife of State Dept. official Robert Otto. Jablonski is described as a C.I.A. specialist in Russian organized crime. (As of 2022, the now-sanctioned) Oleg Deripaska is also mentioned. He's the Russian oligarch with ties to Russian intelligence and Russian organized crime who later funded the partially-discredited/partially-true Christopher Steele dossiers. Also mentioned are his two secret visits to the United States under a special FBI program. Mueller was then-head of the FBI and was later appointed to investigate Russiagate/Spygate claims concerning Donald Trump.
The Daily Mail also profiles Jablonski, telling readers that “Jablsonski has found work in the private sector and also blogs about making her own cat food and pet nutrition — as well as finding her inner peace from yoga.”
The Mail offers this succinct summary of their background:
❝ Levinson and Jablsonski met up in the 1990s after meeting at a Justice Department conference on organized crime. She was the CIA's top Russian organized crime expert, who colleagues said had an encyclopedic knowledge of the crime figures in the Russian underworld.
Levinson, at the time, was one of the few FBI agents in the country who was making headway in cracking the circle of Russian mobsters who were moving to South Florida after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
After the September 11 attacks, former colleagues say, she was assigned to brief Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller about terrorist threats every morning.
In 2005, Jablonski moved to the Office of Transnational Issues, the CIA team that tracks threats across borders. ❞
16 December 2013: ☢️ “USEC, Enricher of Uranium for U.S., Seeks Bankruptcy.” ☢️
January 2014: John Kerry’s daughter, Alex Forbes Kerry, and Kenes Rakishev finalize a deal by which Kenes “invests” USD $1M in Forbes Kerry’s start-up film production company, “Fictional Pictures.” Fictional Pictures' now-defunct website provides the following bios for its two founders:
❝ JAMES OAKLEY is a writer/filmmaker and the founder of Fictional. Oakley consults for fashion, design and film companies. He has directed short- and long-form video and film, most recently the feature The Devil You Know staring Lena Olin and Rosamund Pike. He has three films in development. He graduated from NYU Cinema Studies program and has an MFA from the American Film Institute. ❞
❝ ALEXANDRA KERRY is a writer/director/producer and the co-founder of Fictional. She is currently in development with The Problem with Other People for Madstone Media, Just a Pretty Face with Full Picture, and The Highline. Her work in television includes directing and helping to brand the visual style of the pilot and the first two seasons of The Hills as well as The Cycler. She is a co-producer of the award-winning HBO/ BBC documentary Be Like Others and of the upcoming documentary The Jena 6. She received an MFA from the American Film Institute, and her award-winning short The Last Full Measure premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. She is represented by UTA. ❞
16 March 2014: Kenes Rakishev and his wife Asel Tasmagambetova — the daughter of Kazakh politician Imangali Tasmagambetov (see 22 April 2014) — are again invited to a Clinton Global Initiative meeting by a dedicated “Account Executive.”
February 2014: Secretary of State John Kerry's daughter and Vice President Joe Biden's son — Joe Alex Forbes Kerry and Hunter Biden — both meet with Kazakhstani intelligence agent Kenes Rakishev for dinner in Washington, D.C.
February 2014: Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, is discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserve after failing a drug test for (crack) cocaine.
4 April 2014: Hunter Biden is pictured meeting President Obama in the Oval Office.
Author's note: a month prior, Hunter Biden's business parter, Devon Archer, began his municipal bond fraud scheme, a scheme for which he and six others are later charged (see 11 May 2016).
22 April 2014: From the Grassley/Johnson report (see 23 September 2020):
❝ On April 22, 2014, Vice President Joe Biden appeared with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arsemy Yasenyuk and addressed Ukrainian legislators in Kyiv regarding Russia’s actions in Crimea. The same day, Novatus Holding PTE. LTD. (Novatus Holding), a private holding company in Singapore, uses a Latvian bank to wire $142,300 to Devon Archer’s company, Rosemont Seneca Bohai. The currency transaction report states, “For Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC, … For a Car.” ❞
❝ According to a Securities and Exchange Commission report, Kenges Rakishev is the sole shareholder of Novatus Holding and has a business address associated with a company in Kazakhstan called SAT & Company. Rakishev is the son-in-law of now-retired Kazakhstan politician, Imangali Tasmagambetov. At the time that Rakishev sent the money to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, Tasmagambetov was serving as the mayor of Astana (now called Nur-Sultan), the capital city of Kazakhstan. Tasmagambetov is reportedly a longtime confidant of then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Tasmagambetov has since served as prime minister of Kazakhstan as well as Kazakh ambassador to Russia.
At the time of Vice President Biden’s visit to Kyiv, there were divided opinions in Kazakhstan over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the international situation had produced tension in the region generally. Nazarbayev’s government reportedly shifted positions over time, and Nazarbayev reportedly made some statements supportive of Russia’s actions. Given Rakishev’s close connection to political leadership in Kazakhstan, the tense political situation, Hunter Biden’s longstanding relationship with Archer and involvement in transactions with Rosemont Seneca Bohai, and the fact that the payment was timed perfectly with Vice President Biden’s visit to Kyiv to discuss U.S. sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Crimea, the April 22, 2014 payment from Rakishev to Rosemont Seneca Bohai raises serious questions. It is unclear why a foreign company, Novatus Holding, would purchase a $142,300 car for Rosemont Seneca Bohai when the company does not deal in vehicles. ❞
14 May 2014: Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, joins the Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
Devon Archer, a former senior advisor to then-current Secretary of State John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign and a college roommate of John Kerry's stepson, HJ Heinz, joined the board the month prior.
2-19 July 2014: Iran and the P5+1 continue talks in Vienna on a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Early on June 19, the parties announce that they will extend the talks through November 24 and keep the measures agreed to in the interim agreement in place. The parties also announce additional actions that Iran will take, namely converting 25 kg of uranium powder enriched to 20% into fuel plates and downblending about 3 tons of uranium enriched to less than 2%. The P5+1 agrees to repatriate USD $2.8 billion in funds. The parties agree to resume talks in August.
14 July 2014: Mashable reports that Iranian Diplomat Seyed Abbas Araghchi snapped a photo of Secretary of State John Kerry during one of the nuclear negotiations and uploaded it to Instagram. An official photo and eagle-eyed cyber sleuth catch Araghchi in the act.
25 July 2014: Charges are filed against TENEM executive Vadim Mikerin under seal.
31 October 2014: Then-United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein announces that Vadim Mikerin, Director General of TENAM, Boris Rubizhevsky, President of NEXGEN Security, and others are being charged in a kickback scheme. (Then-ADIC Andy McCabe of the FBI-WFO makes an appearance.)
Author's note: Rod Rosenstein is photographed here during his time working for the Office of the Independent Counsel under Ken Starr on the Whitewater investigation into President Bill Clinton. Brett Kavanaugh, Alex Azar, and Ken Starr are also present.
30 September 2014: WaPo reports “Centrus Energy, Formerly Known as USEC, Emerges from Chapter 11.”
17 December 2014: Some six months after Hunter Biden joins the board of Burisma, Burisma holdings expands into Kazakhstan w/ KazMunaiGaz Deal.
21 January 2015: In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 21 January, then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says: “We assess that we still have a credible chance of reaching a deal that is in the best interest of America's security, as well as the security of our allies.”
Author's note: then-Deputy Secretary Blinken wasn't wrong. Things looked hopeful. It seems the U.S. foreign policy establishment didn't understand the very aggressive moves that Russia and China were making behind the scenes, especially as it relates to Kazakhstan. (See below.)
27 March 2015: Nurlan Kapparov, Kazatomprom’s wealthy CEO, dies suddenly at the age of 44 of a “heart attack” in China. He had previously been President of KazTransOil, Kazakhstan’s national pipeline operator, which a subsidiary of KazMunaiGaz… a company which months earlier had entered into agreement with Burisma/Burisma Kazakhstan.
World Nuclear News describes Kapparov's background as follows:
❝ Kapparov, one of the Central Asian country's richest people — Forbes estimates his net worth at $110 million — started his career as founder and president of Accept Corp, a holding company in Kazakhstan. By 1997, it owned or managed more than 40 enterprises in a number of sectors, according to the website of Almaty-based Lancaster Group, of which he was a founding shareholder. ❞
The article continues:
❝ In 1997, he became president of KazTransOil and head of Kazakhoil the following year. The same year, he became deputy minister of energy, industry and trade. Between 2003 and 2007, he was chairman of Kazinvestbank, which he owned with economy minister Erbolat Dosayev, and Citigroup Venture Capital International Growth Partnership. ❞
The obituary published by Kazatomprom includes some other relevant biographical information, and expresses his coworkers' clearly heartfelt bereavement at his sudden death in China.
❝ Nurlan Kapparov was born on March 30, 1970 in Almaty. He is a graduate of Republican Specialized Physics and Mathematics Secondary Boarding School named after O. Zhautykov. After completing Almaty Technological Institute in 1997, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge. […]
We express our deep condolences to Nurlan D. Kapparov’s family, relatives and children, to whom he was loving husband, attentive farther and a son.
This is a grievous loss for the whole Kazakhstan!
Eternal and cherished memory of Nurlan Dzhambulovich Kapparov will live in our hearts forever! ❞
28 March 2015: With Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov in China in advance of the Boao Forum — not allowing the sudden “heart attack” death of Kazatomprom CEO Nurlan Kapparov to slow things down or even dampen spirits — Masimov and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang oversee the signing of 33 massive deals worth a whopping USD $23.6 billion. Most of those deals involve Belt and Road Initiative projects or joint ventures, many of them with Samruk-Kazyna, Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund, and cover cooperation on “steel, non-ferrous metals, sheet glass, oil refining, hydropower and automobile[s].”
According to the press release from China's State Council:
❝ In Li’s visit to the central Asian country in December 2014, the two prime ministers reached preliminary consensus on a capacity cooperation framework agreement worth $18 billion.
China’s equipment and technology are cost-effective, which are suitable for countries promoting industrialization, Li noted. […]
He also called for more cooperation in areas such as railway, nuclear energy, energy, agriculture and cultural exchanges.
Masimov spoke highly of the “good start” to the capacity cooperation, saying it proves that this new mode of cooperation has broad prospects and will be an example for the region.
He said Kazakhstan is ready to further deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership with China and strengthen exchanges and cooperation in all areas. ❞
21 April 2015: Project on Government oversight publishes report entitled, “The Revolving Door Goes Nuclear,” focused on former Deputy Secretary of Energy (and COO of the Department) Daniel Poneman.
22 April 2015: Freedom House publishes an article, “The Uyghurs’ Plight: Lessons about China,” which clearly describes China's growing repression of Uyghurs and other Turkic people in Xinjiang (East Turkistan), sounding an urgent human rights alarm that the Barack Obama administration chooses to completely ignore.
❝ One of the government propaganda murals recently painted on walls next to a mosque in the Chinese Silk Road district of Kashgar portrays knife-wielding Uyghurs clad in black being crushed by a steamroller sporting the Chinese flag.
This is more than artistic license, and the repression of the Uyghur people by Chinese authorities is more than a niche issue. Since the crackdown by security services on peaceful demonstrators in July 2009 in Urumqi, the capital of the Uyghur “autonomous region” in China’s far west, the repression has been acute and rising. It includes a pervasive security presence, community informants, and periodic internet blackouts. It also reveals three larger truths.
First, it is of a piece with the overall human rights record of China, which is abysmal. Freedom House’s annual survey of political and civil liberties, Freedom in the World, ranks China among the 16 least free nations, affecting one-fifth of the world’s population. Granted, the Chinese government has loosened economic controls, facilitating greater prosperity and some personal choice for citizens. Yet the Chinese Communist Party brooks no dissent or communication that might conceivably contradict its monopoly on political power. Moreover, such restrictions increasingly reach beyond the political, encroaching on public health, private gatherings, and entertainment programming. Under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, various previously tolerated activities have been harshly suppressed.
There is more to it than a white-knuckled grip on political power. “Human dignity” is the cross-cultural premise underpinning human rights. It depends on all people being accorded equal value and access to justice. The Chinese government’s heavy security deployments in the Xinjiang region (also known as East Turkestan), its concerted campaign to move Han Chinese in with privileged access to economic opportunity, and its complete disregard for the rule of law when detaining, sentencing, and executing Uyghurs ignore that principle.
Second, Chinese government repression has recently accelerated in the area of religious persecution. Beyond squelching their dissent and devaluing their cultural identity, Chinese authorities have taken aim at the heart of Uyghurs’ freedom of worship. In Xinjiang, they are forcing Uyghurs to abandon Muslim practices related to religious attire, beards, and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Boys under the age of 18 are barred from entering mosques for prayers.
Third, Beijing is using the common authoritarian tactic of branding nonviolent, independent voices as terrorists. There indeed have been several violent, bloody incidents in Xinjiang. But the vast majority of Uyghurs reject the purposeful targeting of innocent civilians. The Chinese authorities have used deadly attacks by extremists, like those in Kunming in March 2014 and in Urumqi in May 2014, as an excuse for subjugating all Uyghurs. The government’s actions are radicalizing some Uyghurs, while undercutting those who promote harmony — such as the economist Ilham Tohti, whose promotion of policy solutions and interethnic understanding would help mitigate unrest in Xinjiang, but who was sentenced to life in prison in September on spurious charges of “inciting separatism.”
Each of these truths has policy implications for the United States. […] ❞
27 April 2015: Kazakhstan and the IAEA ink a draft agreement on their proposed low-enriched uranium nuclear fuel bank (LEU Bank).
From the press release:
❝ The IAEA LEU Bank is a reserve of low enriched uranium hexafluoride owned and controlled by the IAEA, and a mechanism of last resort for Member States in case the supply of LEU to a nuclear power plant is disrupted due to exceptional circumstances that disable securing the fuel from the commercial market or any other supply arrangement. […] ❞
The press release continues:
❝ The IAEA LEU Bank is a physical stock of 90 metric tons of low enriched uranium hexafluoride suitable to make fuel for a typical light water reactor, the most widely used type of nuclear power reactor worldwide. The LEU contained within the Bank can be used to produce enough nuclear fuel to power a large city for three years.
The Bank provides Member States with additional confidence in their ability to obtain nuclear fuel in an assured and predictable manner in the event there is disruption in existing fuel supply arrangements due to exceptional circumstances and when LEU can be obtained by no other means. ❞
Author's note: for those who haven't been working on these types of issues for many years, you may be confused by nomenclature being used here. To clarify, the “IAEA LEU bank” should really be called the “IAEA LEU fuel bank,” or even the “IAEA LEU fuel reserve bank.” The IAEA is acting more like a “reserve” of LEU from two suppliers than any kind of “bank” in the American sense of the word, i.e. with many uranium depositors, lending uranium with the expectation that they'll get uranium (plus interest back), etc. Moreover, as of August 2022, Kazatomprom's LEU is still available directly from Kazatomprom, and Orano's LEU is still available directly from Orano (see 18 October 2019 for background on LEU supply agreements)… so the bank only really makes sense in the context of the JCPOA or in terms of spoon feeding European LEU to China's nuclear dragon (see 12 April 2017) — a futile effort, given bilateral Sino-Russian cooperation (see 7 April 2016) and China's fairly-independent nuclear fuel cycle (see note from 19 July 2022) — and doesn't make much sense in counterproliferation terms in 2022 (although in 2015, perhaps it did).
22 May 2015: President Obama signs the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 into law; this legislation passed the Senate by a 98–1 vote and the House by a 400–25 vote. Under the Act, once a nuclear agreement was negotiated with Iran, Congress had 60 days in which to pass a resolution of approval, a resolution of disapproval, or do nothing. The Act also included additional time beyond the 60 days for the president to veto a resolution and for Congress to vote on whether to override or sustain the veto. Congress could defeat the deal only if it mustered the two-thirds of both houses needed to override an expected veto by Obama of any resolution of disapproval.
26 May 2015: President Obama officially ends the Megatons to Megawatts™ program with Russia.
14 July 2015: President Obama gives speech standing next to Joe Biden announcing that a deal has been reached with Iran. The New York Times reports the news with the headline “Deal Reached on Iran Nuclear Program; Limits on Fuel Would Lessen With Time.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls the deal “a historic mistake for the world.”
24 July 2015: Kazatomprom's new CEO, Askar Zhumagaliyev, visits Russia and meets with General Director of Rosatom Sergei Kiriyenko. They discuss Kazakhstan's supply of uranium to Russia and joint ventures Karatau LLP, JV Akbastau JSC and JV Zarechnoye JSC. They also meet with heads of TVEL JSC and Techsnabexport JSC, both Rosatom subsidiaries.
Author's note: Sergei Vladilenovich Kiriyenko (né Izraitel; Russian: Серге́й Владиле́нович Кирие́нко; born 26 July 1962) has been First Deputy Chief of Staff of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin's Presidential Administration since 5 October 2016. Previously, he had served as the 30th Prime Minister of Russia from 23 March 1998 to 23 August 1998 under Russian President Boris Yeltsin, making him Russia's youngest Prime Minister. It was during the 2005 to 2016 period that he was the head of Rosatom, Russia's state nuclear energy corporation.
Interestingly, Sergey Kiriyenko's grandfather, Yakov Izraitel, is said to have participated in the Bolshevik Revolution and fought in the Russian Civil War, during which he served in the Cheka… the secret political police, led by Felix Dzerzhinsky. Sergey Kiriyenko's father, Vladilen Izraitel, earned his Ph.D. from Moscow State University before moving to Gorky, USSR, likely to work on Soviet naval systems (one would presume submarines). In his youth, Sergey involved himself in the Komsomol, the Communist Youth League, before joining the shipbuilding department at Gorky's Institute of Water Transport Engineers, where his father worked, later serving in the Soviet Force. The background here is interesting because it suggests that not only was Sergey's grandfather Cheka (and possibly later OGPU/GPU, predecessors to the KGB), but that his father was perhaps acquainted with the GRU (Russian military intelligence), and that Sergey's post in life is more due to his upbringing than any meritocracy inherent in Soviet or Russian society.
Nevertheless, the thing that stands out in his biography is that he was a former comrade of murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov… a strange choice to be Vladimir Putin's First Deputy Chief of Staff, unless, of course, he was somehow involved in his murder. If so, perhaps he should've been sanctioned a bit earlier than 2021/2022. Sergei son, Vladimir Sergeevich Kiriyenko (Vladimir Kiriyenko), by the way, previously worked as a vice president at the Russian state-controlled company, Rostelecom, and is presently the CEO of VK Group, the parent company of Russia’s top social media platform, VKontakte.
Compare then-Rosatom Director General Kiriyenko's background with then-Kazatomprom CEO Askar Zhumagaliyev's CV, and one can see how Kazatomprom and Rosatom essentially form “a nuclear family.”
❝ Zhumagaliyev was born in 1972 in the Orenburg region of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. He attended and graduated from the Sverdlovsk Suvorov Military School before majoring in Radio Communication, Broadcasting and Television at Satbayev Kazakh National Technical University. Subsequently, he received a second degree, in law, from the Kazakh Humanitarian Law University before graduating with a master's degree in electronic management from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. ❞
It isn't clear what they teach about China's massive, illegal construction of concentration camps for detaining ethnic Kazakhs at Satbayev Kazakh National Technical University or Kazakh Humanitarian Law University, nor what they teach about the illegal mass surveillance of civilian populations. One can be certain that both things are frowned upon at École Polytechnique. Regardless, Zhumagaliyev's career suggests that he has a great deal in common with both Sergei Kiriyenko and his Rostelecom son, Vladimir (for context, see 14 October 2020). It would appear, at least to this author, that Kazakhstan's state surveillance apparatus and its nuclear enterprise are closely intertwined.
President of JSC Kazakhtelecom, Oct 2006 – Mar 2010
Minister of Communications and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mar 2010 – Jan 2012
Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Jan 2012 – Mar 2014
Chairman of the Agency Republic of Kazakhstan for Communications and Information, Mar 2014 – Aug 2014
CEO NAC Kazatomprom JSC, May 2015 – 2017
Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Aug 2017 – Feb 2019
Minister of Digital Development, Defence and Aerospace Industries (MDDAI), Feb 2019 - Sep 2020
Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Kingdom of Netherlands, Sep 2020 - Present
24 August 2015: Foreshadowing the cries of “Russian disinformation!” in response to revelations from his laptop, Hunter Biden claims that his “Ashley Madison” sex site profile was created by “America’s enemies” in June 2014 (a month after he joined Burisma).
27 August 2015: Following up on their draft agreement from 27 April 2015, Kazakhstan and the IAEA ink a low-enriched uranium (LEU) nuclear fuel bank deal, ostensibly to assist in non-proliferation efforts.
27 August 2015: Russia also signs onto the plan for a Kazakhstan, IAEA LEU Bank.
31 August 2015: The Department of Justice announces that Russian nuclear energy official Vadim Mikerin, Director General of TENEM (Techsnabexport, АО “Техснабэкспорт”) pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering on 25 August 2015 in connection with his role in arranging over $2 million in corrupt payments to influence the awarding of contracts with the Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation.
Author's note: interestingly, the agreement itself references a Sealed Supplement. Andrew Weissmann, as many may recall, was one of the prosecutors on the Mueller investigation, while Mr. Rosenstein curiously seemed to run interference against Mueller… specifically curtailing Mueller's counterintelligence investigation into Trump. Without making a judgement as to whether that was the wrong or right decision or taking sides, vis-à-vis Mueller, between Weissmann and Rosenstein (who both had a hand in the Mikerin deal), it can at least be pointed out that whatever sealed deal these gentlemen made with Russian agent Vadim Mikerin on 25 August 2015 — perhaps in a bit of nuclear arm-twisting in order to secure the Russian Federation's support for the JCPOA and the geostrategically-poorly-placed Kazakhstani IAEA LUE bank — was essentially a naÏve deal with a corrupt, kleptocratic Russian regime, and a leader, Vladimir Putin, who should never be trusted… a point which this author is nearly certain both men, in hindsight, will concede.
31 August 2015: China's Foreign Ministry publishes a “Joint Declaration on New Stage of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Kazakhstan.” The Joint Declaration says both China and Kazakhstan will “deepen cooperation in nuclear energy, and promote cooperative projects in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including natural uranium processing and nuclear fuel production and supply.”
Specifically linking China's assimilationist, genocidal policies of ethnic repression against Turkic minorities to the fate of “joint economic projects and energy facilities,” a subsequent paragraph states the following:
❝ The Two Sides pointed out that terrorism, splittism, extremism, transnational organized crimes (illegally trafficking and selling guns, ammunition, narcotics, psychotropic drugs and precursor chemicals; illegal immigration and economic crimes) have posed serious threats to the security and stability of the two countries. The Two Sides will continue carrying out close cooperation within bilateral and multilateral frameworks, strengthening cooperation in information exchange and other aspects between the defense departments and law enforcement departments, safeguarding the security of important activities, joint economic projects and energy facilities, combating the "three evil forces" and cross-border, economic and criminal crimes. The Two Sides will strengthen control over China-Kazakhstan border, preventing and combating terrorists entering or going out of the border areas and cross-border smuggling of arms and ammunition, and will sign the ‘Safeguard Agreement Between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Safety and Legal Order within Khorgos International Center for Boundary Cooperation’ within this year. ❞
2 September 2015: Kazatomprom issues a curious press release — “Kazatomprom will transport uranium to North America through China” — in the midst of JCPOA negotiations.
From the press release:
❝ As part of the state visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Askar Zhumagaliyev, Chief Executive Officer of “NAC “Kazatomprom” JSC and Mr. Liu Chunsheng, President of CNEIC (China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation) signed an Agreement on procurement of temporary storage services of natural uranium concentrates in China and transportation to North America.❞
The press release continues:
❝ The Agreement provides for temporary storage of goods and its transit through China to the western ports of the USA and Canada. Kazakhstan-Chinese cooperation will enable to diversify supply routes of Kazatomprom’s uranium products on the world market.
During the visit to the PRC, the head of the national company of Kazakhstan Askar Zhumagaliyev met with Mr. Qian Zhimin, General Manager of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). The parties have discussed a number of issues of further development of mutually beneficial cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear power.
“NAC “Kazatomprom” JSC and CNNC have a long story of cooperation. China National Nuclear Corporation is one of the largest companies with full nuclear fuel cycle. CNNC Group includes 110 subsidiaries, with 100 thousand employees. Corporation operates 6 NPP with 12 power units, with a total capacity of 9800 MW.
CNEIC is a subsidiary of CNNC, exporting and importing NFC products. ❞
Author's note: “Kazatomprom will transport uranium to North America through China.” Presumably that means through Xinjiang, right? If so, might that have been at least part of the explanation for the Obama administration's shameful silence on growing warnings of severe human rights abuses in the region? (See 12 April 2017.)
20 October 2015: Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issues a statement endorsing the JCPOA nuclear deal and a bill passed by the Iranian parliament.
21 October 2015: Kazatomprom and Centrus Energy (formerly USEC) sign a MOU on nuclear fuel supply.
Author's note: to recap… Obama ends Megatons to Megawatts™ (24 June 2013), which was providing down-blended uranium sourced from decommissioned Russian warheads to fuel American power plants (26 May 2015), Kazatomprom and China National Nuclear Corp. sign a deal to transport Kazakh uranium through China to transport it to America (2 September 2015), and now Kazatomprom and the bankrupted-and-reorganized USEC, now known as Centrus, are signing an MOU on nuclear fuel supply. All-in-all, this sounds like a stupid plan that should probably be pretty illegal!
2 November 2015: Voice of America reports that “John Kerry Praises Kazakhstan on Security.” According to VOA, “Kerry told Nazarbayev that President Barack Obama ‘is very appreciative of your leadership on the (nuclear) non-proliferation issue, for countering violent extremism’ and cooperation in the fight against extremists in Afghanistan and Islamic State militants.”
Author's note: the article doesn't mention that Kazakhstan and China only three months earlier (see 31 August 2015) issued the aforementioned Joint Declaration, vowing to collaborate in addressing supposed issues of “terrorism, splittism, extremism [amongst Turkic minorities].”
This raises serious concerns about what Secretary Kerry knew about China's accelerating crackdown on Kazakhs, Uyghurs, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, and Tatars in Xinjiang… and when, precisely, he knew it.
This is a critical point. Republicans, in November of 2015, could be expected to swallow China's terrorism narrative hook-line-and-sinker. Democrats, however, are (quite rightly) considered the party of human rights, and should've viewed China's claims with skepticism. Secretary Kerry's wife's family, Theresa Heinz Kerry, obviously has a vested interest in these matters, as Heinz has confessed to sourcing some 5% of its tomatoes from Xinjiang, the region adjacent to Kazakhstan where China is holding untold numbers of innocent Kazakhs and other Turkic people hostage.
Did the Obama administration ignore growing warning signs and red flags (see 22 April 2015) in order to get China's buy-in for the JCPOA? If so, why is former Secretary of State John Kerry — whom this author respects — serving as a Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Change? His turning a blind eye to China's human rights abuses (never mind abuses by Kazakhstan's dictator, Nazarbayev) would provide both the Chinese and the Kazakhs immense blackmail leverage, not to mention their Iranian and Russian partners… and that doesn't even scratch the surface of the arrangements with his daughter and Chechen warlord associate Kenes Rakishev.
More importantly, why does he report directly to President Biden instead of to Secretary of State Blinken or National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan?
12 November 2015: E&E News reports that “DOE Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman ‘Negotiated’ for Several Outside Jobs,” filing 9 different notifications with the Department during his (possibly fake) “job search” before conveniently landing at the now-reorganized company he helped bankrupt, Centrus Energy, the successor to U.S. Enrichment Corp. (USEC). Some might speculate that that DOE Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman bankrupted U.S. Enrichment Corp. and then shook them down for a job to fix the problem he conveniently helped to create, filing 9 different notifications with the DOE about his “job search” only for the purposes of making it appear that there was no impropriety involved.
30 November 2015 (Roughly): NYMEX OTC uranium prices (USD/lbs) begin year of decline.
8 December 2015: Iran is reported as considering Kazakhstan as its “trusted destination” for enriched uranium.
14 December 2015: Chinese state nuclear power company CGN (China General Nuclear Power Corp., also abbreviated CGNPC) announces the signing of an agreement with Kazatomprom to build a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan. The agreement, signed during the official visit to China by then-Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov, includes the joint exploitation of uranium deposits in Kazakhstan with subsidiaries CGN Mining Co. and CGNPC Uranium Resources.
Kazatomprom releases a press release, which read, in part:
❝ Within the framework of the official visit of Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov to China, the chairman of the national atomic company “Kazatomprom” Askar Zhumagaliyev and CEO of CGNPC (China General Nuclear Power Corporation) Zhang Shanming signed a commercial terms agreement for design and construction of fuel assemblies plant in Kazakhstan and for joint development of uranium mines in Kazakhstan.
The agreement establishes fuel assemblies production for Chinese nuclear power plants on the basis of "Ulba Metallurgical Plant" with an outcome capacity of 200 tons per year.
There was also a trilateral agreement of intent signed by Kazatomprom Chairman Askar Zhumagaliyev, President of «China National Nuclear Corporation» Qian Zhimin, Vice-Chairman and President of «CITIC Group Corporation» Wang Jiong to promote cooperation between these companies. ❞
Author's note: CITIC is the de facto banking arm of the People's Liberation Army. In other words, this is a clue that Kazakhstan's state-owned nuclear enterprise, Kazatomprom, has clearly been helping China with their rapidly-expanding nuclear weapons program. Moreover, if the PLA is proliferating nuclear weapons-related materials or technologies or engaged in other illicit activity, that would make Kazatomprom, the world's largest uranium producer, a potential secondary violator of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
15 December 2015: China's CEFC agrees to take control of KMG International (KMGI), a fully-owned unit of Kazakh state oil and gas firm KazMunaiGaz. Among KMGI’s key assets are a 100,000 barrels/day refinery and a 400,000 tonnes/year fertilizer plant in Romania, along with nearly 1,000 petrol stations in Romania and other countries, such as Spain and France. CEFC later figures prominently into Hunter Biden's business dealings.
22 December 2015: Centrus and Russia’s TENEX (a Rosatom subsidiary) ink a 10-year agreement for 17M SWU.
28 December 2015: Iran announces that it shipped 8.5 tonnes of low-enriched uranium, including the 20 percent enriched material in scrap and waste, to Russia. In return, Iran receives 140 tonnes of uranium yellowcake.
30 December 2015: Statement by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the JCPOA/Iran Deal.
16 January 2016: The White House announces that “the International Atomic Energy Agency verified that Iran has completed the necessary steps under the Iran deal that will ensure Iran's nuclear program is and remains exclusively peaceful” in what it dubs “Implementation Day.”
❝ Before this agreement, Iran's breakout time -- or the time it would have taken for Iran to gather enough fissile material to build a weapon -- was only two to three months. Today, because of the Iran deal, it would take Iran 12 months or more. And with the unprecedented monitoring and access this deal puts in place, if Iran tries, we will know and sanctions will snap back into place.
This deal removes the key elements needed to create a bomb and prolongs Iran’s breakout time from 2-3 months to 1 year or more if Iran broke its commitments. Importantly, Iran won’t garner any new sanctions relief until the IAEA confirms that Iran has followed through with its end of the deal. And should Iran violate any aspect of this deal, the U.N., U.S., and E.U. can snap the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy back into place. ❞
Author's note: this was an extremely hopeful moment for people who believe in the power of diplomacy to prevent war. Your humble scribe actually supported the JCPOA and cheered on Obama's efforts (and even voted for Obama, once), not understanding the nuclear fuel cycle at a more macro level. In hindsight, as much as it pains this author to admit, Benjamin Netanyahu was actually correct; this deal was a historic mistake for the world, in many ways.
Snapback sanctions weren't strong enough.
It was never ratified as a Treaty, but was instead passed as a weird kind of executive-level agreement. That's all that the Obama administration was able to accomplish — and perhaps that's for the best, because we wouldn't want to be locked into a Treaty with a regime that doesn't honor them — but such unratified agreements aren't how our government was designed to work (see the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2). Treaties are supposed to be ratified, and because the JCPOA wasn't, it made it very easy for the next administration to walk away from, which they did.
The JCPOA should've required Iran's regime to meet its human rights commitments and enter into follow-on negotiations with regional players regarding missiles and drones in order to avoid a regional arms race. We have failed spectacularly on that front.
U.S. national security interests regarding uranium and plutonium energy independence should've been given better consideration. American diplomats should approach nuclear issues with the same shrewd mindset that their Chinese counterparts do.
The deal should've been considered in terms of America's need for nuclear force modernization. China clearly seems to have considered it in that way, and the supply chains created to facilitate the Iran deal have no doubt benefited China's hostile, aggressive, menacing People's Liberation Army and its Rocket Force (PLARF) in their efforts to employ nuclear coercion against their peaceful neighbors and against Allied interests.
The price for securing China's “win-win cooperation” on the Iranian nuclear negotiations — routing Kazatomprom's and the IAEA's LEU supply chains (it would appear) right through Xinjiang, past the concentration camps, to ports on China's Eastern coast, for subsequent delivery to America's Western coast — was far, far too high in moral terms.
Ultimately, the desired end state of JCPOA negotiations should have been the cessation of Iranian threats to “wipe Israel off the map” and Israel's own accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty after a period (for instance, ten years) of full Iranian compliance with the deal.
Sadly, Iran's regime and JCPOA negotiations were clearly being used as part of a larger geopolitical game in an effort by U.S. adversaries to commercially consolidate and capture geopolitical control of large swaths of the global nuclear fuel cycle… regardless of the costs to global stability or universal human rights. The IAEA, for its part — despite what your author is sure were good intentions by nearly all of the “smart scientists” involved — was manipulated in much the same way that it seems China manipulated the World Health Organization.
Aside: Obama's infographic game was very strong.
7 April 2016: Rosatom announces that they've opened their first representative office in China.
❝ ROSATOM’s Regional Office in China was opened on 7 April in Beijing (China) within the framework of International exhibition Nuclear Industry China 2016. ROSATOM has similar regional representative offices in Latin America, Western Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, countries of the Middle East and North Africa. The objective of the China’s regional office is to strengthen ROSATOM’s current standing on the national market, search for and develop new opportunities for international business of Rosatom’s divisions based on the win-win partnership with China companies in the energy and other sectors. ❞
11 May 2016: Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, and six others are charged in a March 2014 to April 2016 Oglala Sioux municipal bond fraud scheme. Among those charged are John “Yanni” Galanis, a convicted racketeer whom Rudy Giuliani had sent to prison for 27 years in 1988, but who was allowed to “walk away” from his work release program in 2001, some allege to work with the U.S. government on issues related to the Gambino crime family and the European narcotics trade, which his sons were caught up in. The charges from the 1987/1988 case stemmed from Galanis selling real-estate tax shelters involving the Nashua Trust Company, which was said to be acquiring and developing non-casino hotels in Atlantic City. It isn't clear if he ever crossed paths with Donald Trump, developer of Atlantic City's now-defunct Trump Taj Mahal. The precise destination of the pilfered Oglala Sioux profits isn’t clear, although Archer joined Burisma in April 2014 and Biden in May 2015 (see 4 April 2014).
Interestingly, John Galanis' son, Derek Meyer Galanis, published a post-election piece on 8 February 2021 in which which he teased the following:
❝ We will not know for sure what is in the Durham report until it is released, but the Galanis crime family, my family, is linked to drug trafficking, organized crime, sex trafficking and fraud. Coincidentally — or not — Sen. Ron Johnson’s Senate report independently linked Hunter to organized crime and sex trafficking. ❞
Perhaps there's still more left to learn by talking to the Galanis family.
26 January 2016: Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, says that Iran and China had signed a basic agreement to formalize China’s assistance in redesigning the Arak reactor during Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping’s visit to Iran the previous week.
15 March 2016: The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) — a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong's trade — publishes a short report, “China-Kazakhstan Border Co-operation in Xinjiang,” on its website describing developments in Khorgas border, in Xinjiang (East Turkistan).
Author's note: a substantial number of Kazakhs and other Turkic peoples (including those who don't hold Chinese nationality) have disappeared and even died in Khorgas. Many have desperately tried to sneak through the Khorgas border region to escape torture and arbitrary detention in China's vast, sprawling system of concentration camps, prisons, and labor camps. The story below describes two, Peyzulla Utuq and Sayragul Sauytbay.
16 March 2016: U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, accompanied by senior officials from the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), the Department of Defense, and a host of international VIPs, participates with the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) in a commissioning ceremony for China’s new nuclear security Center of Excellence (COE).
The DOE press release doesn't explain the broader why it's in America's national security interests to facilitate the nuclear portion of China's military-civil fusion (MCF) strategy (presumably they believe the Chinese are operating without a strategy and pursing cooperation on a “win-win” basis), but it does explain why Department of Defense officials are there:
❝ The NNSA Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN) supports this strategy by working with international partners to improve their capacity to secure nuclear material. This is achieved through support for: regulations and oversight; enhanced nuclear security culture; best practices training, training centers and technical exchanges; and select upgrades to facility security and accounting systems. ❞
Author's note: the 2016 opening of this Center of Excellence for Nuclear Security in Beijing — no doubt funded by U.S. taxpayers — is important, as its a pre-requisite for establishing the IAEA's LEU bank and then building uranium supply chains from Kazakhstan through China and to America (see 2 September 2015 and 12 April 2017).
During the trip, Secretary Moniz meets with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. The Chinese Atomic Energy Agency describes the visit between the two this way:
❝ Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli met with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in Beijing on March 17, 2016, calling for closer energy cooperation between the two nations.
During the meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Zhang hailed fruitful China-U.S. cooperation on energy and addressing climate change.
He said he hoped for closer practical cooperation in nuclear energy, power grids, clean energy and low-carbon city to help global efforts to achieve sustainable development and address climate change.
“China-U.S. relations are generally stable,” Zhang said, suggesting the two sides continue to implement the consensus reached between their heads of state to build a new model of major-country relationship.
Moniz praised U.S.-China cooperation in climate change, energy and nuclear security in recent years, saying it is of great significance for the two nations and the world at large. ❞
Author's note: Presumably Secretary Moniz and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli don't discuss China's plans for genocide in Xinjiang (East Turkistan) or for the largest peacetime nuclear weapons buildup in human history.
31 August 2016: Ukraine and Kazakhstan agree on a uranium mining joint venture.
4 October 2016: NAC Kazatomprom JSC and Uranium One Inc. (now a part of Russia's Rosatom) sign an MOU on their Karatau Joint Venture (enrichment per an NAC Kazatomprom contract w/ Uranium Enrichment Centre JSC).
5 October 2016: Uranium One issues a press release on the aforementioned deal.
31 October 2016 (Roughly): NYMEX OTC uranium prices (USD/lbs) hit decade low.
4 November 2016: The historic Paris Climate Agreement enters into force.
1 December 2016: President-elect Donald Trump says the nation of Kazakhstan has accomplished a “miracle” under the leadership of the pro-Russian, pro-Chinese, corrupt authoritarian kleptocrat Nursultan Nazarbayev, according to a Kazakh readout of a phone call between the two men. The Trump transition team readout omits the word “miracle.”
13 December 2016: President Rouhani announces that Iran will respond to Washington’s extension of the Iran Sanctions Act by researching and developing nuclear propulsion for marine vessels.
15 December 2016: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responds to Rouhani's threat by reissuing sanctions waivers early, on the same day that the Iran Sanctions Act's renewal is set to come into effect, demonstrating the American commitment to JCPOA negotiations (or perhaps poor negotiating skills).
EOY 2016: Kazatomprom hits the high-water mark for declared uranium reportedly produced from its various mining ventures.
9 January 2017: China's CEFC agrees with Kazakh state oil unit on stake transfer (agreed to a year earlier). Under the terms of the deal, CEFC agrees to pay USD $680 million for 51% of KMG International, a fully-owned unit of Kazakh state oil and gas firm KazMunaiGaz that owns a key refinery in Romania on the Black Sea Port of Constanta, a fertilizer plant, and nearly 1,000 petrol stations in Europe. The deal was delayed after the Romanian government seized the refinery and other assets belonging to Rompetrol and parent company KazMunayGaz in a probe of the Romanian company’s privatization in 2000.
12 January 2017: Reuters reports that “China’s CEFC has big ambitions, but little known about ownership, funding.”
The article goes on to note that CEFC “has a rare contract to store part of the nation’s strategic oil reserve, gained financing from the state-owned China Development Bank (CDB) and has hired a number of former top officials from state-owned energy companies.”
Furthermore, the article notes, “its influence goes well beyond Beijing. Czech President Milos Zeman has appointed CEFC’s founder and Chairman Ye Jianming as an advisor on economic policies, and the company has become one of China’s biggest investors in central Europe.”
In this July, 2015, photo, Patrick Ho, former Hong Kong Home Secretary, then-deputy chairman of the “China Energy Fund Committee” — which describes itself as a “non-profit think tank” (read: Chinese Communist Party front group) funded by CEFC China Energy — poses during an interview in Hong Kong.
25 February 2017: “Iran Plans to Buy Kazakh Uranium Yellowcake, Seek Russia’s Help in Making Nuclear Fuel.”
13 May 2017: One of Hunter Biden’s business partners, James Gilliar, outlines the proposed percentage distribution of equity in a joint venture with CEFC China Energy Co.
12 April 2017: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and China sign a transit agreement for the IAEA LEU Bank, which was subsidized with U.S. taxpayer money. From the Kazatomprom press release (which fails to mention Xinjiang or the millions of people there who are being held in Chinese concentration camps):
❝ IAEA Director General and Wang Yiren, Acting Chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), signed a transit agreement last week for the transport of low enriched uranium (LEU) in support of the IAEA LEU Bank. LEU is the basic ingredient used to fabricate the fuel that runs most nuclear power reactors in the world. […]
Under the agreement, China will ensure the safe and secure transit of LEU and equipment through Chinese territory (see also 2 September 2015) to and from the IAEA LEU Bank, which is being established in neighbouring Kazakhstan. The IAEA LEU Bank will host a physical reserve of LEU, acting as a supplier of last resort for Member States in case they cannot acquire LEU from the commercial market or by any other means.
“The agreement with China is a milestone that will help bring the IAEA LEU Bank into operation,” Mr. Amano said following the signature of the agreement on 5 April in Beijing.
Mr. Amano also visited China’s Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Security, opened last year, which he described as “advanced and comprehensive.” The Centre is already training Chinese nationals, as well as professionals from other countries, in a broad range of nuclear security activities — including physical protection measures, nuclear forensics, and frontline training for police and security guards. Mr Amano noted the important role the Centre was playing in strengthening nuclear security in the region and beyond, and looked forward to further collaboration between the Centre and the IAEA in this area in the future. ❞
Author's note: “Chinese nationals” is an interesting phrase. One would presume that might mean Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, and Tatars who had survived and gradated from China's “re-education camps,” although in practice, the persons who would get these jobs would almost certainly skew towards Han Chinese persons.
Gebrüder Weiss Magazine's ATLAS describes the countervailing route that Chinese goods might take after a hypothetical Kazakhstan-to-China uranium shipment from the U.S.-taxpayer subsidized IAEA LEU bank in Oskeman in to either Khorgas (see 15 March 2016) or Alashankou (see 9 June 2021) in Xinjiang, China (East Turkistan):
❝ Khorgas is one of two border posts between Kazakhstan and China. Goods are transshipped here that originate in Lianyungang or Chengdu; they are headed for the Caspian Sea and ultimately the German port of Hamburg. Some 200 kilometers to the northeast, at the Dostyk/Alashankou border crossing, goods stemming from Zhengzou, Shenzhen and Chengdu are processed which will then be transported through Kazakhstan, Russia and Poland on the northern route to Germany and Europe.
Trains coming from Khorgas travel the Turkestan-Siberia Railway, called Turksib. Since its completion in 1931, it has connected Russia to the Central Asian republics. Stretching some 2,350 kilometers, Turksib runs from the Russian Novosibirsk to Arys near Shymkent in southern Kazakhstan. It links the still important mining centers of Semei (formerly Semipalatinsk) and Oskemen (formerly Ust-Kamenogorsk) in the northeastern corner with the rest of Kazakhstan. ❞
The IAEA LEU Bank is located at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen, a city of close to 300,000 inhabitants, in north-eastern Kazakhstan. It's the capital of the East-Kazakhstan region and has a large mining and metals industry.
Author's note: interestingly, Alashankou, Xinjiang (East Turkistan) is the exit terminus of the Kazakhstan–China oil pipeline (the other being on Kazakhstan's Caspian shore). It was China's first direct oil import pipeline allowing oil to be imported from Central Asia. That pipeline is owned by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and by Kazakh oil company KazMunaiGas/KazMunayGas.
Hunter Biden's business partners at Burisma entered into partnership with KazMunaiGaz/KazMunayGas (see 17 December 2014) during the Iran negotiations. His other business partners, at China's CEFC — 10% for “the big guy” — later agree to take control of KMG International (KMGI), a fully-owned unit of KazMunaiGaz/KazMunayGas in 2015 (see 15 December 2015 and 28 July 2017)… after the Iran deal is signed (see 22 May 2015).
It's unclear what portion of the pipeline, if any, Burisma or KMGI own, but the more salient point is that is that it appears Megatons-to-Megawatts™ was ended, a transitional agreement with Rosatom was put into place, U.S. Enrichment Corp. was deprived of a loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge Project (which would've been a great thing for U.S. national security) and then intentionally bankrupted… and all of this was done to replace downblended uranium from Russian warheads with enriched uranium from Kazatomprom and Kazakhstan's IAEA LEU bank… accomplishing nearly nothing in counterproliferation terms or arms race-prevention terms, but possibly simply enriching the some of the players involved.
In retrospect, making the best out of a bad situation, U.S. uranium supply chains should've traveled Westward from Kazakhstan (after the end of Megatons to Megawatts™) and from there across the Caspian. Securing a Georgian corridor would've come at a much lower human rights and financial cost than transshipment through China (or Russia), but what was truly needed was for America to build out our domestic enrichment capacity. America, Canada, and Australia have abundant, high-quality uranium, and good human rights and governance records when it comes to mineral resource development compared to Russia, China, and Kazakhstan… not to mention Iran.
If the combined assessments, writ large, in these author's notes are even directionally true — if the Iran Deal (JCPOA), climate change negotiations, and transnational organized crime have been strategically weaponized by U.S. adversaries to corrupt/capture Western elites, to hijack critical portions of the global nuclear fuel cycle, and to reroute those uranium supply chains through a region where China is committing genocide — then who, specifically, has paid the greatest price for this series of leadership failures, aside from U.S. taxpayers?
The answer: the poor people trapped in China's concentration camps.
April 2017: Uyghur, Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, and Tatar male detainees at a concentration camp in Lop County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang, China (East Turkistan) are photographed, presumably during an indoctrination session. That photograph is later shared on the Xinjiang Bureau of Justice's WeChat Account and is subsequently obtained by Human Rights Watch.
7 July 2017: At the G20 in Hamburg, Germany, U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling for improved relations. An undisclosed second meeting occurs later in the day.
Notes from the meeting subsequently become the subject of a Federal records lawsuit.
28 July 2017: “Kazakh KazMunaiGaz to Transfer Shares to CEFC China Energy.”
29 August 2017: The IAEA launches its Low-Enriched-Uranium Bank (LEU Bank) in Eastern Kazakhstan w/ investments from Warren Buffet, US, Norway, UAE, the EU, Kazakhstan, and Kuwait.
30 August 2017: Less than two months after the Trump/Putin meetings at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, former Chechen Senator Umar Dzhabrailov is detained after allegedly firing a handgun in his Moscow Four Seasons hotel room, supposedly while under the influence, joking that it was due to his inexperience handling weapons (which the Moscow Times reported matter-of-factly).
Author's note: the Four Seasons Moscow is located in the historic Moskva Hotel building, which Donald Trump was in negotiations with Mayor Luzhkov to remodel and reopen as a Trump-branded hotel.
What're the odds?
After the shooting, Dhabrailov purchases “Patriot Shooting Gallery” (парк Патриот), signaling that the incident was likely theatrical. In an interview with Crime Russia, he says that “he was given tea and fed with buns” by the police.
Author's note: Patriot Shooting Gallery (unless there's more than one shooting gallery with that name) is actually an impressive park-sized complex that's autonomous from, but affiliated with, the Russian Ministry of Defense. Customers can book a machine gun online, and probably more powerful weapons offline… or, perhaps, a Kalashnikov of the type used to assassinate Paul Tatum.
Also, a story from the time of the shooting lists something interesting: “among Dzhabrailov's key assets [are] the Plaza holding group, which he created in 1997. It included the [French clothing boutique] Danako companies [one of the earliest of which was housed at the Radisson-Slavyanskaya], the Tikhaya Gavan advertising firm, the Smolensky Passage and Okhotny Ryad trade enterprises.”
The Okhotny Ryad is the shopping complex connected to the Moscow Metro which mayor Luzhkov had mentioned (see “1st Week of November, 1996”).
16 October 2017: Kazakh sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna looks to Hong Kong for investor interest.
11 September 2017: NGO Warns that the life of jailed Kazakhstani uranium czar Mukhtar Dzhakishev is in danger.
2 November 2017: Kazakhstan's former uranium czar, Mukhtar Dzakishev claims, rather plausibly, that he was imprisoned for opposing the sale of the Canadian company “Uranium One” to Russian interests.
22 November 2017: Former Chechen Senator Umar Dzhabrailov is fined 500K rubles for his previous alleged hooliganism.
15 January 2018: Freedom House takes note of President Trump's planned meeting the next day with Kazakhstan's dictator, President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
❝ U.S. president Donald Trump will welcome President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan to the White House on January 16. Although the reported agenda for the meeting includes discussion of topics ranging from regional security and economic cooperation to nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, one crucial topic seems to be missing: human rights. ❞
The piece continues:
❝ Kazakhstani authorities regularly restrict the most important tools of democracy by banning independent media and bringing criminal charges against peaceful protesters, bloggers, social media users, and civic activists. Torture is reportedly widespread in the country. In 2017, authorities liquidated the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions and secured criminal convictions against union leaders. As a result of these practices, there is little space for political pluralism, dissent, or public participation in Kazakhstan. ❞
16 January 2018: Major media also reports on the human rights situation in Kazakhstan and Donald Trump's business ties, with Hunter Walker, Yahoo News’ White House Correspondent, filing a story appropriately headlined “Trump's meeting with Kazakhstan president raises questions about human rights and business ties.”
29 January 2018: Kazakh President Nazarbayev advocates for the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA).
19 April 2018: Radio Free Asia reports that “authorities in Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture, in northwest [East Turkistan, also known as] China’s Xinjiang region, are setting up ‘burial management centers’ as part of what the Uyghur exile community say is a bid to control all aspects of life for members of their ethnic group — even the act of dying.”
26 June 2018: Radio Free Asia reports that China's neocolonialist authorities in Xinjiang are “rapidly building crematoria” to extinguish Uyghur funeral traditions:
❝ Between March 2017 and February 2018, the XUAR government listed 5-10 million yuan (U.S. $760,000 to $1.52 million) tenders for contractors to build nine “burial management centers” that include crematoria in mostly Uyghur-populated areas throughout the region, according to a report listed on the official website of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC). ❞
16 July 2018: President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki, Finland. During the press conference, President Trump insists that Russia didn't interfere in the 2016 election. Even the BBC runs with the headline, “Trump sides with Russia against FBI at Helsinki summit.”
Author's note: President Trump's body language at Helsinki indicates that something was very off.
25 July 2018: Less than ten days after Presidents Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki, former Chechen Senator Umar Dzhabrailov is expelled from the political party United Russia — a party whose de facto leader is Vladimir Putin — over his previous act of alleged hooliganism (see 30 August 2017).
23 August 2018: Hunter Biden business associate Kenes Rakishev attempts to link former BTA Bank head Mukhtar Ablyazov to Trump in Newsweek via son-in-law/ex-Almaty Mayor Khrapunov’s purchase of units in Trump SoHo via Felix Sater; the Khraphunov case in London hinges on testimony of Ukrainian lawyer Olena Tyschenko, who claims she was detained by Russia in 2013 for laundering money, allegedly on behalf of Rakishev foe Ablyazov.
Author's note: some might speculate that Rakishev has essentially stolen Ablyazov’s company with the backing, perhaps, of certain Russian, Kazakh, UK, US, and/or Ukrainian authorities and legitimized said theft via claims of fraud, embezzlement, corruption against his own predecessor. Like many things related to former Soviet bloc countries, the situation in Kazakhstan is extremely murky. Ablyazov was conveniently the only viable political opponent of Kazakhstan’s regime and was allegedly one of the masterminds behind a recent spate of anti-“Chinese Expansion” protests which had swept Kazakhstan, highlighting serious and legitimate human rights concerns with the Chinese regime's neo-colonialist and social-imperialist treatment of Central Asians (in their own countries) which most of the world has completely ignored, but his background is also chequered, to say the least; ergo, some might speculate that Rakishev is the good guy and Ablyazov is the con artist. Neither or both might be true. Again, like all things related to Kazakhstan, things are extremely murky.
5 December 2018: Hong Kong's former home secretary-turned-CEFC head, Patrick Ho, is convicted in the Southern District of New York of attempting to bribe Chadian and Ugandan authorities.
❝ Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced that CHI PING PATRICK HO, a/k/a “Patrick C.P. Ho,” a/k/a “He Zhiping,” was found guilty today after a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska of participating in a multi-year, multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe top officials of Chad and Uganda in exchange for business advantages for CEFC China Energy Company Limited (“CEFC China”). HO was convicted of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), international money laundering, and conspiracy to commit both. […] ❞
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Patrick Ho now stands convicted of scheming to pay millions in bribes to foreign leaders in Chad and Uganda, all as part of his efforts to corruptly secure unfair business advantages for a multibillion-dollar Chinese energy company. As the jury’s verdict makes clear, Ho’s repeated attempts to corrupt foreign leaders were not business as usual, but criminal efforts to undermine the fairness of international markets and erode the public’s faith in its leaders.” […]
HO was involved in two bribery schemes to pay top officials of Chad and Uganda in exchange for business advantages for CEFC China, a Shanghai-based multibillion-dollar conglomerate that operates internationally in multiple sectors, including oil, gas, and banking. At the center of both schemes was HO, the head of a non-governmental organization based in Hong Kong and Arlington, Virginia, the China Energy Fund Committee (the “CEFC NGO”), which held “Special Consultative Status” with the United Nations (“UN”) Economic and Social Council. CEFC NGO was funded by CEFC China.
In the first scheme (the “Chad Scheme”), HO, on behalf of CEFC China, offered a $2 million cash bribe, hidden within gift boxes, to Idriss Déby, the President of Chad, in an effort to obtain valuable oil rights from the Chadian government. In the second scheme (the “Uganda Scheme”), HO caused a $500,000 bribe to be paid, via wires transmitted through New York, New York, to an account designated by Sam Kutesa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, who had recently completed his term as the President of the UN General Assembly. HO also schemed to pay a $500,000 cash bribe to Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda, and offered to provide both Kutesa and Museveni with additional corrupt benefits by “partnering” with them in future joint ventures in Uganda.❞
12 December 2018: Two days after Patrick Ho's conviction, Joe Biden calls Hunter Biden saying that he wants to talk to him after reading a New York Times story about Hunter's dealings with Chinese oil giant CEFC. The 2018 New York Times story in question concerned CEFC's chairman Ye Jianming, who had been arrested in China, and his top lieutenant, Patrick Ho, the former Hong Kong Home Secretary who had been convicted in the U.S. for bribing African officials in order to help Iran evade oil sanctions.
1 January 2019: A new law enters effect requiring that all devices using local Kazakh mobile SIM cards be registered with the state (with a few exceptions, like M2M devices and foreign devices roaming in Kazakhstan). The IMEI number of a phone must be tied to either BIN (Business Identification Number) or an ИИН (IIN, Individual Identification Number, which is similar to an American Social Security Number). If a device isn't registered, then mobile operators are instructed by law to stop providing cell service to it.
27 January 2019: The South China Morning Post reports that “China is planning to apply the same technology used to detonate a nuclear bomb over Hiroshima during the second world war to access its massive shale gas reserves in Sichuan province.” While this “exploding wire” doesn't employ a nuclear blast, it does demonstrate that Chinese scientists are, at the very least, going right up to the edge of what would be considered “nuclear fracking,” and talking about it quite openly.
Author's note: a regime that's building concentration camps is not a regime that should be allowed to do “nuclear” anything, much less nuclear fracking.
31 January 2019: Reuters reports that Erik Prince plans to build a training center in Xinjiang, the region bordering Kazakhstan where China's built concentration camps. Reuters reports:
❝ Hong Kong-listed Frontier Services Group (FSG), co-founded by former U.S. military services contractor Erik Prince, has signed a deal to build a training base in China’s far western region of Xinjiang, the company said in a statement.
FSG, a security, logistics and insurance provider, signed a deal with the Kashgar Caohu industrial park in southern Xinjiang to build a training centre, FSG said in a Chinese-language statement on its website.
It did not provide details of the project but said a signing ceremony in Beijing on Jan. 11 was attended by officials from Xinjiang’s Tumxuk city and from CITIC Guoan Construction, owned by state-run conglomerate CITIC Group.
FSG will invest 40 million yuan ($6 million) in the centre, which will have the capacity to train 8,000 people a year, state media said in a report.
Prince, deputy chairman of FSG, is a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer and the brother of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. ❞
The deal never materializes, and the next day, to his (very small) credit, Reuters reports:
❝ Former U.S. military contractor Erik Prince had “no knowledge or involvement” in a preliminary memorandum signed by a Hong Kong-listed company to build a training base in China’s far western region of Xinjiang, his spokesman said on Friday. ❞
10 March 2019: Authorities in Almaty, Kazakhstan arrest human rights defender Serikzhan Bilash at around 2:30AM, falsely accusing him inciting ethnic hatred. Mr. Bilash had previously struggled to raise the plight of ethnic Kazakhs whom China has disappeared into its vast complex of concentration camps, prisons, and labor camps.
25 March 2019: In the Southern District of New York, a USD $440M complaint: “CITY OF ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN and BTA BANK JSC, vs FELIX SATER, DANIEL RIDLOFF, BAYROCK GROUP INC., GLOBAL HABITAT SOLUTIONS, INC., RRMI-DR LLC, FERRARI HOLDINGS LLC, and MEM ENERGY PARTNERS LLC.”
While Bayrock is more commonly associated with Felix Sater, Wikepedia describes its founder, Tevfik Arif, thusly (in somewhat broken English which seems as if it may have been written by him or his associates):
❝ Tevfik Arif (Russian: Тофик Арифов; born May 1953), also known as Tofik Arifov, is a Russian/Turkish real estate developer and investor. He is the founder of the Bayrock Group, an international real estate development and investment company based in New York.
Tevfik Arif was born Tofik Arifov in an ethnic Turkish family in Dshambul [today called Jambyl or Zhambyl], [in the] Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. ❞
Donald Trump, Tevfik Arif and Felix Sater at the Trump SoHo launch party in September 2007 © Mark Holden/WireImage
❝ His family came to Kazakh[s]tan from Meskhetia, Georgia after the ethnic Turkish Meskhetian community were deported by Joseph Stalin in 1944. Arif received an international relations degree from [Moscow State University]. Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Arif worked for the USSR's Ministry of Commerce and Trade for 17 years. He served as the deputy director of its Department of Hotel Management. Arif resigned from the ministry in 1991 and founded Speciality Chemicals Trading Company, an export-import business trading in rare metals, chrome, and raw materials. He then worked as an "agent on the ground" in Kazakhstan for Trans World Group, a natural resources company run by David and Simon Reuben.
In 2001, Arif founded the Bayrock Group, an international real estate and development company. He began developing property in Brooklyn, first redeveloping Loehmann's Seaport Plaza, a waterfront shopping center in Sheepshead Bay. Arif was originally the sole employee of Bayrock, later hiring Felix Sater as managing director.
After moving the Bayrock Group to Trump Tower, Arif developed a relationship with businessman Donald Trump. Trump provided a licensing deal for the Trump SoHo hotel in a joint venture between the Bayrock Group and the Sapir Organisation. In 2007, Bayrock traded future profits from Trump SoHo and other projects in exchange for $50 million in financing from Icelandic company FL Group.
Trump and Bayrock later developed the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale. The group were also involved in projects in Europe.
Although the working relationship with Trump ended in 2008, following the housing market collapse, Bayrock came under close scrutiny in the United States due to its dealings with Trump between 2002 and 2011. Nothing out of the ordinary was uncovered, and no official action has been taken against the company. ❞
8 May 2019: U.S. President Donald Trump orders new sanctions on Iran, this time targeting its industrial metals sector, hours after Tehran says it will no longer fully comply with a landmark nuclear deal already ditched by Washington.
❝ “The announcement was made on the anniversary of the Trump administration's unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 agreement between Tehran and world powers, under which the Islamic Republic agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for easing some sanctions. It came just hours after Tehran said it would no longer fully comply with the accord if its remaining signatories — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — did not make good on promises to shield its oil and banking sectors from [U.S.] sanctions.” ❞
16 May 2019: China formally arrests two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on national security grounds, having taking them into custody on 10 December 2018, falsely accusing them of gathering and stealing “sensitive information and other intelligence” since 2017.
Author's note: China's formal arrest of the two Canadians (16 May 2019), is 8 days after Trump's new sanctions on Iran (8 May 2019), while their intial informal detention, 10 December 2018, was five days after Patrick Ho was convicted (see 5 December 2018) and two days before Joe Biden called Hunter Biden about the Patrick Ho/CEFC story in the NY Times (see 12 December 2018).
3 June 2019: The "Nuclear Society of Kazakhstan" trade association issues a press release stating that Kazatomprom and China National Nuclear Corporation Discuss Cooperation. From the press release:
❝ JSC National Atomic Company “Kazatomprom” (“Kazatomprom” or “the Company”) announces today that Chief Executive Officer Galymzhan Pirmatov met with the Chairman of the Board of Directors of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Yu Jianfeng. The meeting was held during the Chinese delegation’s working visit to Kazakhstan, with a wide range of topics discussed in relation to activites involving the peaceful use of atomic energy. ❞
9 June 2019: Following the resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev, acting President Kassym-Jomart Kemeluly Tokayev wins Kazakhstan’s June 9 presidential election, receiving 70.96% of the vote (6,539,715 votes), according to Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission (CEC) member Lyazzat Suleimen at a June 10 CEC briefing on the election's results. Three days later, on 12 June, he's sworn in.
Originally scheduled for April 2020, when President Nursultan Nazarbayev's fifth term was set to expire, the snap elections were announced on 9 April 2019 as taking place on 9 June 2019, shortly after president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev assumed office as Acting President, following Nazarbayev's resignation amidst anti-government protests.
Wikipedia describes Tokayev's relevant background as follows:
❝ From 1970, Tokayev attended the Moscow State Institute of International Relations where he studied Mandarin. In his fifth year, Tokayev was sent to training courses at the Soviet embassy in China for six months.
Upon graduation from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1975, Tokayev joined the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he was posted to the Soviet Embassy in Singapore.
In 1979, Tokayev returned to the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1983, he went to China for training courses at the Beijing Language Institute. In 1984–1985, he served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was then posted to the Soviet embassy in Beijing where he served until 1991 as Second Secretary, First Secretary, and Counsellor. In 1991, he enrolled at the Soviet Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow for a training course towards senior diplomats. ❞
Author's note: it's safe to assume that President Tokayev is someone intimately familiar with both Russian and Chinese intelligence. Or rather, someone with whom both countries' intelligence services are intimately familiar.
14 June 2019: Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The Chinese readout mentions the following:
❝ Xi Jinping stressed that China and Iran should strengthen strategic communication and support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests. We need to strengthen coordination and integration and carry out practical cooperation in a steady manner. […] Hassan Rouhani said that Iran-china relations are of long-term strategic importance. The Iranian side attaches great importance and is committed to developing relations with China in an all-round way, and is willing to actively participate in jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative and tap into the potential of bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas. The Iranian side firmly opposes the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, speaks highly of China's positive role in international affairs and is ready to strengthen communication and coordination with the Chinese side. ❞
24 June 2019: Authorities in Kazakhstan are forced to evacuate tens of thousands of people from a town next to a military ammunition depot. Satellite imagery of the town of Arys, in the southern Turkestan region, shows smoke from the blast spreading across a vast area, spanning 90 kilometers by 45 kilometers.
“One civilian and one serviceman” were killed and 165 patients sought treatment, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin later announces.
24 June 2019: After 7 years, Canadian media again reports on the case of exiled/fugitive former Kazatomprom VP Rustem Tursunbayev. From the article:
❝ A Kazakh multimillionaire wanted for embezzlement in his homeland has been awarded $203,000 in costs after the Federal Court found Canadian officials guilty of abusing the legal process in fighting the man’s request to stop the deportation proceeding against him.
The compensation to Rustem Tursunbayev is believed to be the largest monetary award for costs ordered in an [sic] single immigration case by the court, said Lorne Waldman, one of the man’s three lawyers.
Tursunbayev was apprehended in the Greater Toronto Area in 2012 after Interpol sought his arrest based on accusations of fraud, counterfeiting and organized crime by Kazakh authorities. He was released from Toronto West Detention Centre and placed under strict house arrest for years. He is no longer under house arrest and does not have guards watching him. ❞
Author's note: a reassuring detail, since the previous piece on his apprehension made very clear that he had guards watching him around the clock (see 26 June 2012).
28 June 2019: According to former National Security Advisor John Bolton, at the 2019 G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, President Donald Trump reportedly expresses approval of concentration camps for Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, China (East Turkistan) during a private meeting with Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping.
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes the meeting this way:
❝ Donald Trump said that it was a great pleasure to meet with President Xi Jinping again. My visit to China in 2017, which was the most enjoyable one I ever had, still remains fresh in my memory. I saw with my own eyes the very remarkable Chinese civilization and the very great achievements China had made. I harbor no hostility towards China and hope bilateral relations will be even better. I value the good relations with President Xi Jinping and would like to strengthen cooperation with China. Donald Trump said that the US side and the Chinese side will work hard in accordance with the principles and direction set by the two heads of state to jointly promote the US-China relations based on coordination, cooperation and stability, and believed the meeting between the two heads of state will give a strong boost to the development of US-China relations. […]
On issues concerning China's sovereignty (read: “East Turkistan, Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan” or, if you're a Communist, “Xinjiang, Xizang, Xianggang, and Zhongguo Taipei”) and dignity, China must safeguard its core interests. As the world's two largest economies, China and the US will eventually have to find a mutually acceptable solution to their differences through dialogue and consultation. ❞
Author's note: with such a positive view of the CCP's definition of “Chinese civilization,” should anybody wonder why Donald Trump signed a trade agreement with the Chinese Communist Party-state, or why he never mentioned the Uyghurs in any meaningful way (hewing closely to respecting China's “red lines”), or why he waited until the very last moment of his Presidency to allow Secretary Pompeo's State Department to label China's actions as constituting genocide? There's a real misconception that Donald Trump was tough on China. Many people in his administration were very tough on China, but he was not.
Forbes reports that “the Chinese government granted a total of 41 trademarks to companies linked to Ivanka Trump by April of 2019 — and the trademarks she applied for after her father became president got approved about 40% faster than those she requested before Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, according to a new book by Forbes’ senior editor Dan Alexander.” Should anyone be surprised that Ivanka tagged along to Osaka a few months later?
7 August 2019: Kazakhstan temporarily halts the implementation of an internet surveillance system criticized by lawyers and human rights defenders as illegal, with the government describing its initial rollout as “a test.” (Key word: “temporarily.”)
21 August 2019: Mozilla and Google issue a joint announcement saying that “the companies deployed technical solutions within Firefox and Chrome to block the Kazakhstan government's ability to intercept Internet traffic within the country.” Each company says they're deploying “a technical solution unique to its browser.” Apple tells Ars Technica that they, too, are blocking the Kazakh government's ability to incept traffic using an automatically-installed malicious root certificate.
Author's note: the interception technology being used is unlikely to have been developed by the Kazakh government or even by a Kazakh company. Fearing the ramifications for human rights if that data fell into the hands of Russia or China (the two nations most likely to have supplied this tech to the Kazakhs), this author has endeavored to determine which company was the supplier.
23 August 2019: “Unsealed Filings Detail Felix Sater’s Work as an Intelligence Asset, with Significant Gaps.”
18 September 2019: “Court Suspends NY Lawyer Who Filed Sealed Info on Felix Sater.”
September 2019: Leaked video shows the forced transfer of hundreds of blindfolded detainees, with heads shaved (just as was done in Nazi extermination camps) onto “Holocaust trains” in Xinjiang, China (East Turkistan) — the region bordering Kazakhstan — many of whom are likely ethnic Kazakhs. President Donald Trump and candidate Joe Biden say nothing in response.
18 October 2019: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) takes delivery of the first shipment of low-enriched uranium (LEU) at a purpose-built storage facility at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in eastern Kazakhstan. The delivery marks the official start of operation of the IAEA LEU Bank, aimed at providing assurance to countries about the availability of nuclear fuel. World Nuclear News reports:
❝ Last November the IAEA announced that, following an open tender, it had signed contracts to purchase LEU from Kazakhstan's NAC Kazatomprom and France's Orano Cycle. The IAEA noted the procurement was its largest since the Agency was founded in 1957. ❞
World Nuclear News continues:
❝ The first LEU shipment, from France's Orano Cycle, was transported by truck to a French port, then shipped to Russia and subsequently transported to Kazakhstan by train. The entire journey took four weeks to complete. The shipment comprised 32 cylinders of LEU — sufficient for one reload of fuel for a typical light water reactor.
“With the arrival of the first shipment, the IAEA LEU Bank is now established and operational," declared IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta. "It is the first time the Agency has undertaken a project of this legal, operational and logistical complexity.” […]
Other assurance of supply mechanisms established with IAEA approval include a guaranteed physical reserve of LEU maintained by Russia at the International Uranium Enrichment Centre in Angarsk, Russia, and an assurance of supply guarantee for supplies of LEU enrichment services in the UK. The USA also operates its own LEU reserve. ❞
Author's note: although this first shipment is from France's Orano, there's some slight-of-hand here, as the IAEA is “taking delivery” for much of this LEU from Kazatomprom, which is basically… well, right next door. Kazatomprom hosts the bank and also supplies it, after all. In other words, France could've sent it to Kazatomprom (after sending it on a boat to Russia, which, again, is a very ill-conceived supply chain, with the benefit of hindsight) — but they wisely wouldn't do that, as that would commingle French LEU with Kazakh LEU — which for all we know, might itself be commingled with Iranian LEU… LEU destined, perhaps, for China (and from there, who knows?). It's all a rather strange arrangement, with Orano LEU, Kazatomprom LEU, and the IAEA all under one roof — une ménage à trois nucléaire — but the allure, if one ignores the placement of the bank, does perhaps make sense in fuzzy diplomatic terms, although not in geostrategic energy security terms.
24 October 2019: “Hunter Biden’s 2016 legal work in Romania raises new questions about his overseas dealings” (see KazMunaiGaz/CEFC).
5 December 2019: Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Laura Drager hits Felix Sater with USD $14K/mo in alimony payments to his ex-wife, Viktoria Sater.
5 January 2020: Two days after the assassination of Iranian General Qasim Soleimani, Iran's Mehr News Agency reports that "the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the fifth step in reducing its commitments, discards the last key component of its operational limitations in the JCPOA, which is the ‘limit on the number of centrifuges.’ […] As such, the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program no longer faces any operational restrictions, including enrichment capacity, percentage of enrichment, amount of enriched material, and research and development. From here on, Iran's nuclear program will be developed solely based on its technical needs.”
15 January 2020: The BBC World Service's Heart and Soul program profiles Kazakhs who spent time in Chinese concentration camps.