Originally published: 10/27/20
Last updated: 2/2/23
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 Khamitovich Rakishev (also known as Kenges Khamituly Rakyshev). 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 primarily 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/Chinese intelligence and transnational organized crime, as well as possible foreign targeting of politically-exposed persons (PEPs) 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, Chinese, and other hostile intelligence services.
In most of these cases, it appears that the individuals who became compromised by these various elite capture schemes (i.e., Hillary Clinton with her Clinton Global Initiative, Donald Trump with his real estate empire, and Joe Biden with his clearly voracious appetite for foreign cash) subsequently made extremely poor decisions on nuclear-related issues. Furthermore, it appears that the adversarial nations in question may have used that to their advantage… hence the title, “Nuclear Blackmail.”
This is an extremely serious national security issue.
The author's primary purpose in publishing this timeline is to reduce the amount of blackmail leverage that adversarial nations have built against the United States, against politically-exposed persons (PEPs) in both parties, and against our NATO allies.
The timeline itself is focused on how the individual events and people involved all connect to several larger stories. In particular…
to the world's largest uranium producer, Kazatomprom, the IAEA's low-enriched uranium (LEU) bank in Oskemen, Kazakhstan, and other aspects of global security;
to what appears to be the intentional (and potentially very 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 China's ruling regime is only making a feigned effort to comply with;
to China's attempts to capture/manipulate uranium markets in order to support Chinese geostrategic objectives, China's own domestic energy demands, and China's dual-use civilian energy/military nuclear weapons 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: Six months before Bill Clinton's stunning and unexpected election to the Presidency, the Washington Post runs a overlooked story with the headline, “IN TRADE DISPUTE WITH TWISTS, TARGET IS FORMER SOVIET UNION.”
❝ Normally it wouldn't be news if a struggling U.S. business hired a big-name Washington law firm to help it fight allegedly unfair foreign competition. But when the business is owned by the Energy Department and the accused competitors are in the former Soviet Union, nothing is normal.
The Energy Department has awarded a contract that could reach $3.34 million to Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (today, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, or simply “WilmerHale”) for help in its trade dispute with the former Soviet Union, which the Energy Department says is illegally flooding the U.S. market with cheap uranium. […]
The case involves two Cabinet departments, delicate issues of foreign policy, three prominent law firms, billions of dollars and the future — if any — of a dying U.S. industry that once dominated the world market. It also has put the Energy Department in the uncomfortable position of appearing to work against the Bush administration's policy of encouraging the newly independent republics to compete in world markets.
No wonder the Commerce Department declared in a notice in the Federal Register last week that the trade case was “extraordinarily complicated” — an understatement if ever there was one.
“Chief among the novel issues we face in this investigation is a situation where the country identified in the petition has dissolved,” department officials said, adding it would take them until May 18 — a month longer than expected — to sort it out.
Lawyers from the Washington firm of Hogan & Hartson (today, Hogan Lovells) who represent the Russian uranium exporting agency, including former Republican National Committee chairman (and co-founder of the Commission on Presidential Debates) Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., asked Commerce to dismiss the case on the grounds that it named a nonexistent defendant. But the mere fact that the old Soviet Union has been supplanted by independent republics does not mean the case should be dismissed, the Commerce Department ruled. […]
Most domestic mines have closed because raw uranium, known as “yellowcake,” can be produced more cheaply in Canada and other countries. The market share of the Energy Department's uranium enrichment operation, once 100 percent of the noncommunist world's market for the enriched uranium used as fuel for power plants, now is less than 50 percent. […]
The dumping case began in November when U.S. uranium producers and the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission. Their lawyer, Valerie A. Slater of Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld (today, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld) — the firm in which U.S. Ambassador to Russia Robert Strauss was formerly a partner — said the price of Soviet uranium would have to rise at least 132 percent to be fairly and competitively priced. […]
If all the imported uranium were in the form of yellowcake, the Energy Department might not care about it, said lawyers familiar with the case. The uranium that goes through its enrichment plants is owned by electric utilities, which pay a fee for the enrichment services, so the origin of the material doesn't matter.
But to the extent that the utilities are buying imported uranium that is already enriched, as they are doing more and more because it is cheaper, the Energy Department's Uranium Enrichment Enterprise attracts less and less revenue. ❞
Notable alumni of WilmerHale include FBI Director Robert Mueller, Special Counsel to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election; Ken Salazar, former Senator and Secretary of the Interior who is currently Ambassador to Mexico; C. Boyden Gray, George H. W. Bush White House Counsel and George W. Bush Ambassador to the European Union; Alejandro Mayorkas, current United States Secretary of Homeland Security; Seth Waxman, former Solicitor General of the United States; Preet Bharara, former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Robert M. Kimmitt, former Deputy Secretary of the US Department of the Treasury; and Jamie Gorelick, former United States Deputy Attorney General and close confidante — to this day — of current Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Notable attorneys and alumni include Hillary Clinton confidante Cheryl Mills, Counselor of the United States Department of State; former Acting United States Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman (more on him later); Robert S. Bennett, Attorney for President Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal; Sandy Berger, National Security Advisor to Bill Clinton (and classified documents thief); Loretta Lynch, 83rd U.S. Attorney General; Tanya S. Chutkan, (corrupt) Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (later a partner at Hunter Biden's old firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner); Frank Fahrenkopf, former Chair of the Republican National Committee and co-founder of the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Notable attorneys and alumni include Bill Clinton confidante Al From, founder of the Democratic Leadership Council; Vernon Jordan Jr., former adviser to President Bill Clinton; George P. Bush, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office; Ken Mehlman, former chair of the Republican National Committee; Michele A. Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association; Alan D. Cohn, former Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Planning, Analysis & Risk of the Department of Homeland Security; Joaquín Castro, U.S. Representative, Texas' 20th Congressional District; Julián Castro, former San Antonio mayor, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, candidate for 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Analyst's note: this background is good. You'll be glad that you read it as you read through the rest of the timeline. Occasionally, I, your humble analyst, will drop in with these orange, italicized analyst's notes to keep you on track… or, occasionally, to pull you slightly off track in order to point out something interesting along the way.
The article continues:
❝ If that enterprise were a separate corporation -- as it would be under legislation passed by the Senate and pending in the House -- it would rank near the middle of the Fortune 500 list of the biggest U.S. industrial corporations, with annual revenue of about $1.5 billion. But the technology of its factories in Ohio and Kentucky is obsolete, and it is rapidly losing market share to lower-cost operators in Europe and Russia.
Before the end of the Cold War, the Energy Department assumed that it would have to keep the enrichment plants running no matter what the cost and no matter how many commercial customers bailed out because of the need to produce highly enriched uranium for the Navy. But the Navy is no longer buying highly enriched uranium, of which it has a surplus.
As a result, the Energy Department finds itself the owner of what looks more and more like a white elephant that has no strategic mission and is losing ground to privately owned competitors. ❞
Analyst's note: this worryingly, is no longer true. The US Navy no longer has a surplus of HEU thanks to the events in this timeline (as you'll see).
Naval Reactors (NR), also known as the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, is an umbrella term for the U.S. government office that has comprehensive responsibility for the safe and reliable operation of the United States Navy's nuclear propulsion program. A single entity, it has authority and reporting responsibilities within both the United States Department of the Navy (OPNAV and NAVSEA) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
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.”
During the Cold War, Giffen had been instrumental in setting up the multi-company American Trade Consortium (which included large corporations such as RJR Nabisco, Chevron, Eastman Kodak, Johnson & Johnson and Archer Daniels Midland) to negotiate entry into the Soviet market with representatives of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Analyst's note: photo colorized.
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, in a scandal that will later be known as “Kazakhgate.”
In an interview published by Columbia University's Harriman Institute (as part of its Oral History Project) on 13 December 2022 — after his passing on 29 October 2022 — Giffen reminisces about this pivotal period in global energy development. The relevant portion of the interview is included below.
❝ In 1992, President Nazarbayev then also asked me, “What are you doing in the Caspian Sea?” I responded “What do you mean what am I doing in the Caspian? I’m not doing a goddamn thing in the Caspian Sea”. And he said, “Well, we should get started on it.” I said “We don’t know a thing about the Caspian Sea. Are you kidding me? That’s offshore.” All there was was some satellite imagery and some initial research (seismic work) that had been done by the Soviets that was very crude. We just did not know what was there if anything. President Nazarbayev then said, “Well, get busy.” And I responded, “ Nursultan, please, we’re so busy with these other two projects.” “Get busy” he said. What could I say except “Okay, I got it.”
So, that’s when it was decided in 1992 to put together a consortium so that they could share the risks and the costs. The whole idea was that in return for putting together a complete seismic study (the Exploration Research Study or ERS) each one of the companies in the consortium would be given the right to pick two five-hundred kilometer square blocks for their own use. The companies in the consortium subsequently decided to work together and to pool their interests.
They then began the ERS in 1994 which was completed in 1996. In the meantime, we were negotiating the contract for the offshore Caspian which, as I told you, turned out to be the most detailed, difficult contract ever written for any oilfield exploration and development project. And, of course, as it turned out, it’s one of the largest private sector industrial project in the world.
While all of that was going on in 1994-1996 with the offshore Caspian, the deal on Tengiz was closed with Chevron and Chevron started executing the project. At the same time, we were continuing the negotiations on Karachaganak. In 1997, we concluded the negotiations on both the offshore Caspian and Karachaganak projects and contracts were signed at the US State Department in Washington, DC on November 18, 1997. As a result, in addition to the Tengiz projects, we had two different consortia working on these two different projects.
At the same time, I was also working on the Caspian pipeline negotiations because there was no way to get the oil out of Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan is landlocked) except if you sold it to Russia. The Russians had control and, as a result, the Kazakhs were getting an abysmally small return on all their projects after they paid off the Russians and everybody else. But we finally got the pipeline agreed to and built because we included the Russians in the project by giving them a percentage of it (ever mind the payments I theoretically didn’t know about under the table). ❞
Analyst's note: thank you to the Harriman Institute for publishing this.
Jim Giffen with the Nazarbayevs.
Author's note: photo colorized.
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. ❞
Analyst'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.
Analyst'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 successful 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.
Analyst'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 (then a Democrat) said after the meeting.
Analyst's note: Lieutenant General Lebed also visited President Clinton's second inauguration while he was here, allegedly at the invitation of Republican Senator William Roth (the senior Senator from Wilmington Delaware from 1971 until 2001, whom Roth IRAs are named for). Senator Roth (who voted to impeach Clinton two years later) made the request at the behest of “an unknown businessman.”
5 September 1999: The Sword and the Shield, by Prof. Christopher Andrew and former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin, is published. Vasili Mitrokhin, who was secretly a dissident and who worked in the KGB's archives, smuggled out copies of its most highly classified files every day for twelve years. Having first tried to give his archive to the United States, in 1992, a U.S. ally — the United Kingdom — succeeded in exfiltrating the KGB officer and his entire archive out of Moscow. The archive covers the entire period from the Bolshevik Revolution to the 1980s and includes revelations concerning almost every country in the world.
The bombshell disclosures immediately prompted Parliament to act, with The Right Honorable Tom King CH MP writing to Prime Minister Tony Blair a week later requesting information on the archive, the rational for publishing it, and the publication process. The short answer was that SIS, quite rightly, decided that the information belonged in the public domain. There were many reasons for this, including public interest, but the publication also helped to neutralize large parts (but not all) of the KGB's network. This inquiry by King resulted in a report, prepared by the Intelligence and Security Committee, called the Mitrokhin Inquiry Report.
Analyst's note: as is the case with these things, one can imagine that there was a limited hangout aspect involved, with certain parts of the network (as laid out by the archives) shielded from disclosure so as to be subsumed into Allied intelligence/counterintelligence operations.
17 June 2001: Six months after his first post-election victory meeting with Bill Clinton — during a December meeting in which they were all smiles, thick as thieves — while speaking at a press conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, George W. Bush says the following about Vladimir Putin, whom he had just met for the first time.
❝ I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialog. I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialog. There was no kind of diplomatic chit chat, trying to throw each other off balance. There was a straightforward dialog. And that's the beginning of a very constructive relationship. I wouldn't have invited him to my ranch if I didn't trust him. [Laughter] Secondly, I appreciate the opportunity to be able to talk about a new relationship, and we will continue these dialogs. The basis for my discussion began with this simple premise, that Russia and the United States must establish a new relationship beyond that of the old cold war mentality. The cold war said loud and clear that we're opponents and that we bring the peace through the ability for each of us to destroy each other. Friends don't destroy each other. People who cooperate do not have a basis of peace on destruction. Our nations are confronted with new threats in the 21st century: Terror in the hands of what we call rogue nations is a threat. I expressed my concern, and so did the President, very openly, about nations on his border and nations that can't stand America's freedoms developing the capacity to hold each of us hostage. And he agreed. I brought up concerns about Iran. And I'm hesitant to put words in the President's mouth, but he said he's concerned, as well. I think that accurately categorizes your position and we'll work together to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And I believe as we go down the road that we'll be able to develop a constructive relationship as to how to use our technologies and research and willingness to keep the peace, in a way that makes the world more peaceful. I was so pleased that we were able to begin constructive, real dialog between our Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Mr. Andrei Ivanov. These will be fruitful discussions, and I believe what people will see is a strategy, a joint strategy. The President's a history major, and so am I. And we remember the old history. It's time to write new history in a positive and constructive way. ❞
Analyst's note: strikingly naÏve, at best (see 28 July 2008).
Later in the press conference, President Putin shares this (foreshadowing later events):
❝ Naturally, first and foremost, we have to take care of the issues of the energy problem in the world at large. American business is showing a great interest in this sphere. But we also know that President Bush has plans in the atomic energy field. Here, too, we think we've got a couple of things we could talk about. We have a very fruitful area of cooperation we could work in. We have a number of various structures that are working very appropriately now in reprocessing uranium. ❞
2 April 2003: U.S. v. Giffen, et al. (S.D.N.Y., Docket No: 03-CR-404-WHP) filed in Kazakhgate Case. (See 6 November 1995)
29 April 2002: Russian Lieutenant General Alexander Ivanovich Lebed dies in a helicopter crash… a likely assassination. Comparative analysis of news coverage surrounding the event is interesting. The Los Angeles Times inoculates readers against assassination theories. CNN allows a suggestion of “mafia” involvement to be printed. The Irish Times ledes with questions about possible sabotage.
Every coverup needs a Commission, and CNN notes that a commission to investigate the crash was set up, to be headed by then-Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu. Over twenty years later, he's the second most powerful man in Russian government (after Putin, the person who benefited the most from Lebed's death). The two pilots are eventually arrested and given relatively minor sentences for having eliminated Putin's chief rival.
Analyst's note: wouldn't it be something if the mafia and Shoigu had made a deal to get rid of Lebed and secure Putin's political future, in exchange for help with the Americans and state protection of mafia-controlled metals enterprises? (“Рука руку моет,” as they say in Russian: one hand washes the other.)
Los Angeles Times
Russian Politician Lebed Killed in Crash
BY JOHN DANISZEWSKI
APRIL 29, 2002 12 AM PT
MOSCOW — Alexander I. Lebed, a rough-hewn, gravel-voiced general who once seemed bound for Russia’s highest office until he overreached and found himself instead in the political wilderness, died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Siberia. He was 52.
Known for helping to defend the Russian parliament building during a 1991 coup attempt by Communist hard-liners and for ending Russia’s first war in Chechnya in 1996, the blunt yet charismatic combat veteran had been serving since 1998 as governor of the vast and sparsely populated Krasnoyarsk territory.
At least six other people were killed and about a dozen seriously injured when Lebed’s chartered M-8 helicopter reportedly snagged a power line while approaching the party’s destination near Yermakovo. Lebed was in the area to attend a ceremony dedicating a new ski area in the Sayan Mountains.
According to colleagues, Lebed’s decision to set off Sunday morning despite poor visibility was typical of his restless spirit and lifelong disregard for his safety.
“He said many times that taking risks was in his blood--as a paratrooper he made 368 jumps, all of them successful,” recalled Lyudmila V. Selivanova, the former first deputy head of the Krasnoyarsk territorial administration, who had worked with Lebed since 1998. “He always treated fate and security concerns lightly.”
Analyst's note: interestingly, this woman — “Lyudmila V. Selivanova,” the “former first deputy head of the Krasnoyarsk territorial administration” — that The Los Angeles Times' Moscow Bureau found for this quote (which so conveniently inoculates readers against theories of sabotage) appears on an entry in Compromat.ru from 30 May 2001, calling her the Iron Lady of Krasnoyarsk and mentioning her corruption related to metals oligarchs, her connections to the media (several innocent journalists were involved in LTG Lebed's fatal crash), and her own targeting by mob violence with regard to several car accidents… which Compromat.ru pokes fun at.
But because Lebed had recently been involved in intense power struggles over control of his territory’s lucrative nickel and aluminum industries, questions were raised by some politicians that the fatal flight might have been sabotaged. Russian President Vladimir V. Putin promised a thorough investigation.
Lebed, a native of southern Russia whose ancestors included Cossacks of the Don River region, had a penchant for pithy utterances--delivered in his trademark basso growl--that stayed in the public mind. “He who shoots first laughs last,” he once observed. Another time, to show disdain of critics, he noted, “The dogs bark, but the caravan passes.”
A hero of Russia’s war in Afghanistan during the 1980s, he rocketed to political superstardom in Russia in 1995 after being relieved of his army command in the Trans-Dniester region. The dismissal followed years of bickering with then-Defense Minister Gen. Pavel S. Grachev over what Lebed viewed as misguided army reforms--and what Grachev considered to be Lebed’s habitual insubordination.
During three years as the head of Russia’s 14th Army in Trans-Dniester, Lebed imposed peace in the troubled breakaway section of the former Soviet republic of Moldova and gave the army’s protection to ethnic Russians there who said they were under threat.
Lebed’s tough-guy stances, unvarnished patriotism and apparent freedom from any hint of corruption won public approval. He entered the Duma, the lower house of parliament, after leaving the army. The following year, he was popular enough to challenge incumbent Boris N. Yeltsin for the presidency. A frank militarist, Lebed made no secret of his admiration for strong leaders such as France’s Charles de Gaulle or Chile’s Gen. Augusto Pinochet. He once argued that “preserving the army is the basis for preserving the government.”
Analyst's note: intentional or not, this is essentially a pacifier for inquiring, skeptical minds who might suspect that Lebed's accident was an assassination. It's intended to provoke such readers into saying “aha! Maybe it was an assassination, but maybe it was one done for strategic reasons.” (Assessment on Lebed's crash: it was an assassination and it was *not* done for strategic reasons. Of course, the Los Angeles Times' reporters can't be faulted for being taken in by Putin and Bush's new “the Cold War is over” rhetoric. As we'll discuss later, this was clearly part of the KGB's Perestroika Deception; the Cold War never ended and the Los Angeles Times' reporters should've be more shrewd and skeptical of former KGB officer Putin.)
In the end, however, Lebed came in third in the 1996 election, behind Yeltsin and the Communist standard-bearer, Gennady A. Zyuganov. To win Lebed’s crucial endorsement for the second round of voting, Yeltsin promised him a significant say in the next administration. After the election, Lebed was named the president’s national security advisor--charged with resolving the war against separatists in the Russian republic of Chechnya.
Handed a seemingly impossible task, Lebed went to Chechnya to negotiate with the rebels, engineered a cease-fire and agreed to withdraw Russian troops.
At the height of his popularity, with Yeltsin ailing and preparing for open-heart surgery, Lebed went too far. He hinted that it was time for the president to cede power to him.
After Yeltin’s operation, the revitalized president quickly fired the retired general.
Driven from government, Lebed could only chafe from a distance. He finally ran for governor of Krasnoyarsk in 1998--backed by wealthy business interests--presumably to establish a base from which to run for the presidency in 2000.
But Yeltsin trumped Lebed by unexpectedly resigning Dec. 31, 1999, and handing the presidency to Putin, who was then prime minister. The new president rapidly eclipsed his rivals in popularity, in part by pursuing a new war in Chechnya, and Lebed found himself more sidelined than ever.
For the last two years, Lebed had been much more a regional player than an important figure on the national stage. Yet the eulogies that poured in Sunday reflected the lingering fascination felt for him. For all his faults and blunders, he remained for many a figure of romance and daring.
“Alexander Ivanovich did not allow death to take him when he was either sick or old. Nor did he die in retirement. He died like a true combat general —unexpectedly, while still in his prime, right at work. He died like a true soldier —with his boots on,” said his erstwhile colleague, Selivanova.
“To a large extent Lebed has helped create the image of a new type of officer in Russia — a type for a democratic Russia,” noted Oleg Morozov, a Duma deputy. “He was valiant, disobedient, proud and independent, [a person] who was willing to relinquish all posts and start everything over from scratch” for what he believed.
Alexey Kuznetsov of The Times Moscow Bureau contributed to this report.
Russian politician killed in crash
April 29, 2002 Posted: 3:55 AM EDT (0755 GMT)
Lebed found fame when he refused coup leaders' orders to send his paratroopers to surround Yeltsin's headquarters.
MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Alexander Lebed, who played an important role in foiling the 1991 coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ran for president against Boris Yeltsin five years later, has died in a helicopter crash, officials said.
The 52-year-old governor of the vast Krasnoyarsk territory of Siberia died in hospital after the Mi-8 in which he was travelling came down on Sunday morning near the town of Abakan, about 3,400 km (2,100 miles) east of Moscow, Russian television reported.
There were 19 people, including a three-member crew, aboard the helicopter when it crashed after hitting a power line, The Associated Press reported the Emergency Situations Ministry in Moscow as saying seven, including Lebed, died, and 12 were in critical condition in hospital, a ministry official said.
CNN's Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty said the pugnacious, outspoken action man was hugely popular.
"Built like a bear and hands like a vice, he was gruff, outspoken and didn't kowtow to anyone," she said. "This came across on TV and really appealed to Russians."
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to the families of all those killed in the crash, the ITAR-Tass news agency said.
A military man for most of his life, Lebed first gained fame during the August 1991 coup against Gorbachev. The coup leaders ordered him to send in his paratroopers to surround the headquarters of Russian President Boris Yeltsin. He refused, a move that to a large degree led to the coup's collapse.
In 1995 after a dispute with the defence minister Lebed was forced to retire from the military. The father of three turned to politics and won a seat in parliament. A year later, he ran for president, coming in third. Yeltsin named him head of the Presidential Security Council where he brokered an end to the first war in the breakaway republic of Chechnya.
In 1998 Lebed was elected governor of Krasnoyarsk, an area four times the size of France, where he quickly ruffled feathers, falling foul of local business barons who helped him become governor but whom he later called "mafia." Lebed called in police investigators from Moscow to help stamp his authority.
Analyst's note: the same mistake Paul Tatum made. Never trust Moscow police investigators.
Alexei Arbatov, deputy head of parliamentary defence committee, said Lebed's passing was likely to upset a shaky political balance in the region which hinged to a vast degree on the charismatic governor's popularity.
"Passions will be boiling and big money will come into play," Arbatov told Ekho Moskvy radio. "In a region like Krasnoyarsk, the life and fate of large capitals, groupings and influential individuals depend on the governor.
Arbatov said Lebed had made many enemies in Krasnoyarsk and said the crash might have been orchestrated by one of them.
There were journalists on board, too, she said, the weather was bad and it appeared the helicopter had simply flown into the power lines in near-zero visibility.
A commission to investigate the crash, headed by Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, has been set up, Interfax reported.
-- CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.
Death of Lebed in crash may have been sabotage
Mon Apr 29 2002 - 01:00
RUSSIA: Alexander Lebed, a tough-talking general who played a key role in foiling the 1991 coup against Mr Mikhail Gorbachev and ran for president against Mr Boris Yeltsin five years later, died yesterday in a helicopter crash.
Gen Lebed's last job was governor of the huge Siberian Krasnoyarsk region, where the 52-year-old Afghan war veteran had ruffled many feathers - prompting suggestions his death might not have been an accident.
"There was some fog," Mr Alexander Lychkovsky, head of Gen Lebed's regional security council, said on television. "The helicopter hit a high-voltage line and crashed," an emergencies ministry officer said. He said there were 19 people on board. Seven, including Gen Lebed, died while the rest were in hospital.
The helicopter was carrying Krasnoyarsk administration officials and local journalists to the inauguration ceremony of a new ski area in the south of the territory. A spokesman said President Vladimir Putin had ordered senior officials to investigate the crash. Earlier, a senior parliamentary deputy, Mr Alexei Arbatov, said he would not dismiss sabotage as the cause, saying Gen Lebed had made powerful enemies during his stint as governor of the mineral-rich area.
A pugnacious paratroop commander with a gravel voice and blunt style, Gen Lebed shot to prominence in 1991 when his troops helped Mr Yeltsin, president of the Russian Republic, that was then part of the Soviet Union, foil a KGB-backed coup against Mr Gorbachev.
After the demise of the Soviet Union, Gen Lebed, a Cossack, grabbed the headlines as he led Russia's 14th army in ending a bloody conflict in Moldova.
Quitting the armed forces in 1995, he entered parliament and ran against Mr Yeltsin in the 1996 presidential election, promising to end corruption in the post-Soviet economy. He finished third, threw his support behind Mr Yeltsin to defeat the communist challenger, Mr Gennady Zyuganov, and took on a senior role in the Kremlin security council.
From his new Kremlin position Gen Lebed negotiated a peace deal with Chechen rebels, which led to Moscow's withdrawal from the separatist territory. Mr Putin, who sent troops back into Chechnya in 1999, later called the agreement a betrayal of Russia.
15 March 2004: Mercator Corp. Jim Giffen FIRST superseding indictment in Kazakhgate case implicating two Kazakh officials (“KO-1 and KO-2”). (See 6 November 1995)
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.
Analyst'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 seems 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. (See 6 November 1995)
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, UrAsia's Frank Giustra has signed a deal with Moukhtar Dzhakishev (shown in the top photo in a separate meeting with Clinton, which didn't include Guistra), the 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 (possibly falsely-accused) former convict Moukhtar Ablyazov.
For background on Moukhtar Ablyazov (shown here, bearing a slight resembalence to the aforementioned Moukhtar, Moukhtar Dzhakishev), 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. ❞
2006: Over 56 years after his death, LTC Douglas Mackiernan is finally, belatedly acknowledged as the CIA's first star.
After dishonoring him by keeping his name shrouded in obscurity and secrecy for half a century, the CIA today describes LTC Mackiernan like so:
❝ On April 29, 1950, the CIA lost its first officer in the line of duty: Douglas S. Mackiernan. He and two members of his traveling group were making their way from China into Tibet when they were stopped by a Tibetan border patrol and shot to death.
Mackiernan was born in Mexico City in 1913 but was raised in Stoughton, Massachusetts. He attended high school there and went on to study physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He demonstrated mastery of radio and meteorology, and was fluent in Spanish and proficient in French, German, and Russian.
In the spring of 1942, Mackiernan’s interest in meteorology led him to join the U.S. Army as a meteorologist. Beginning in 1944, Mackiernan served two and a half years with the 10th Weather Squadron in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang province in western China.
While Mackiernan was preparing to return to the United States after the war, he caught the attention of the Strategic Services Unit (SSU) of the War Department, which had inherited the U.S. intelligence mission from the wartime Office of Strategic Services — the forerunner of today’s CIA.
Mackiernan seemed ideal as an intelligence collector: he would be an astute observer on the ground with an expertise in radio equipment, photography, and knowledge of organic chemistry. In the summer of 1946, Mackiernan received training in operational tradecraft and took the SSU Oath of Office.
Mackiernan’s main task was to determine what the Soviets — who had five consulates and a military presence in the province — were up to. An important mission concerned Soviet efforts to create an atomic bomb. Mackiernan was to find out where the Soviets might find uranium in Xinjiang, if they were mining it, and whether any “atomic research” was being conducted on Chinese territory.
Mackiernan found a cover job as a State Department clerk in the U.S. Consulate in Urumqi. After cultivating local contacts, Mackiernan was able to provide information on Soviet and Communist Chinese activities.
When the CIA was created in the summer of 1947, Mackiernan was automatically made an Agency employee. With Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Hillenkoetter’s help, Mackiernan became Vice-Consul in Urumqi. During his time as Vice-Consul, Mackiernan established contacts with local provincial and ethnic leaders, and set up the Air Force’s barographic, seismographic, and radiological equipment aimed at detecting a Soviet atomic explosion.
When the situation in Xinjiang began to deteriorate in the summer of 1949, Mackiernan told Headquarters that he was willing to stay behind. However, he believed his mission would be in danger if the Communists captured Xinjiang. CIA replied that under no circumstances should Mackiernan remain in Urumqi with a Communist takeover looming.
When the Xinjiang provincial government in late September 1949 accepted the authority of the Communist government in Beijing, Mackiernan cabled CIA that he was escaping southward using a route the Communists wouldn’t expect.
Mackiernan and his party traveled across deserts, high plateaus, and mountain ranges when they finally approached Tibetan territory in March 1950. On March 29, the CIA requested the State Department get Tibet’s clearance for the safe passage of Mackiernan and his party. The Indian government was urged to get the clearances to Lhasa as soon as possible.
On the morning of April 29, 1950, Mackiernan and his party came upon a Tibetan nomad family. All of a sudden, a separate group of six armed Tibetans in uniform appeared on horseback. During the confrontation, one of the Tibetans panicked and fired. Mackiernan and two members of his party were killed. The others were taken prisoner. The Tibetans looted the belongings of the dead men and then set out for the town of Shentsa with their prisoners. During the journey, they met the government messenger from Lhasa on his way to inform the soldiers to welcome Mackiernan and his party. The messenger was five days too late. ❞
Commenting on what took them so long to recognize the first man who sacrificed his life in silent service to the agency, the incompetent CIA (in a now-deleted page) allowed this commentary (by Nicholas Dujmovic) to be published:
❝ This particularly adventuresome and resourceful CIA officer should have been remembered from his death in 1950 as a hero and inspiration to generations of CIA operations officers.
Instead, he was simply forgotten, even within Far East (later East Asia) division. His own division chief at the time of Mackiernan’s death, in writing up a classified history of relevant operations 20 years later, mentions him only in passing — and gets both his name and his date of death wrong. ❞
LTC Mackiernan left behind three children and a wife, Margaret Lyons (alias: Pegge Parker). He was buried where he fell, in Tibet. To this day, the US government has failed to retrieve Lieutenant Colonel Mackiernan's body from the Chinese regime, has failed to build him the proper memorial he deserves, and has failed — at least officially — to continue his mission.
Author's note: I've colorized the first, third, and fourth photos.
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.
Author's note: as you will see, these people have clearly failed miserably and should not be trusted.
February 2007: Iran's Natanz fuel enrichment plant (FEP) and gas centrifuge enrichment facility both 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.
Analyst's digression: this case was greatly concerning, but perhaps even more concerning was the bumbling manner in which the FBI attempted to go about “solving” it.
That's (presently) beyond the scope of this timeline (as it requires a timeline of its own), but the FBI (likely while being stage-managed by DNI/CIA) relied on one Oleg Deripaska (someone who would be characterized as a liaison providing exceptionally compartmentalized intelligence from the Kremlin itself) to serve as a cutout in an abortive ransom payment attempt — the same individual, it would seem, whom the CIA (particularly Jonathan Winer, who was previously part of the Agency's Illicit Finance Group, who was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement, and who was also Senate Counsel to John “the Xinjiang Ketchup King” Kerry) likely used as a cutout to fund the debunked and discredited Christopher Steele dossier — and whom I've long argued should simply be given a permanent residency visa, immunity, sanctions relief, etc., in exchange for his fulsome public Congressional testimony concerning “monsieur” Kerry, “adon” Winer, and all the other geniuses who have done such massive damage to American national security over the decades. Deripaska should never be trusted, but then again, neither should Kerry, Winer, et al.
As we'll see later with Hunter Biden, the way the CIA's National Resources Division goes about recruiting foreign businessmen as “assets” (those without existing intelligence ties, including those who sometimes want to be recruited) and as “liaisons” (interlocutors with other intelligence agencies, as was the case with Deripaska) — including through bribery and corrupt business deals (often with the full knowledge of their liason partners) — is deeply problematic and not at all representative of what the good, normal, hardworking, everyday Americans would consider actual spycraft.
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.
Analyst's note: On 10 August 2021, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that he was appointing Hochstein as Senior Advisor for Energy Security. Hochstein is one of the more competent people in the administration in the sense that he has a basic understanding of energy politics, economics, and geography.
Hydrocarbons aren't going anywhere. While we're talking about “energy transition” and importing solar panels made by Uyghurs in Bingtuan 新疆生产建设兵团 labor camps and factories — à la “arbeit macht frei” — China is speed running towards a century of energy dominance. Hochstein, this analyst believes, understands that fact slightly better than “Special Presidential Envoy for Climate” John Kerry. That being said, the “neutralization” of U.S. Enrichment Corp. was a massive gift to both Russia and China. That's a problem which would make Hochstein wholly unfit to serve in any other administration. This analyst believes Hochstein has failed to prioritize our relationship with our Gulf partners (probably, no doubt, wanting to leave diplomatic room open for Tony Blinken and Robert Malley to negotiate with the illegitimate Iranian regime). China has deftly stepped into the void that Hochstein has left open (see 8 December 2022).
Fast-forwarding a bit: later on, in 2017, Hochstein is eventually appointed to Ukrainian gas giant Naftogaz's supervisory board. He resigns in October 2020 after claiming that the company was returning to corrupted practices. His time on their supervisory board coincided with a massive and rather geopolitically-suspicious Chinese financing deal (see 2 April 2019).
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.”
Analyst's note: reading that the “Islamic Republic” of Iran and the U.S. have “no choice but to find a way to coexist” feels very peculiar when those words are written by someone who literally drone bombed Afghanistan and Pakistan into the arms of Communist China.
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.❞
21 March 2008: Secretary of State Condelezza Rice is caught off guard after reporters asked about several instances wherein government contractors, working for the Analysis Corporation, accessed the passport files of Barack Obama. After investigating the issue, the State Department reports that the passports of John McCain and Hillary Clinton had also been accessed.
The CEO of the Analysis Corporation at the time? John Owen Brennan, who also donated $2,300 to Barack Obama's campaign. NPR, which is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (and is therefore state-affiliated media), dutifully reports the following, simply taking the official explanation at face value:
❝ Last summer, when the State Department was scrambling to clear a backlog of passport applications, a trainee opened up Hillary Clinton's file instead of taking the advice of the teacher to look at a family member's passport application for training purposes. ❞
27 March 2008: Abrahm Lustgarten, writing for CNN, profiles Kazakhstan’s uranium czar, Moukhtar Dzhakishev, the head of Kazatomprom. He previously met with Frank Giustra and Bill Clinton, signing a massive deal to allow UrAsia to buy stakes in three Kazakh uranium projects (see 6 September 2005).
19 April 2008: A key witness into a federal probe involving passport information stolen from the State Department — in a case implicating John Brennan (see 21 March 2008) — is fatally shot in front of a Washington, D.C. church.
The Washington Times reports, “[Lieutenant] Quarles Harris Jr., 24, who had been cooperating with a federal investigators, was found late Thursday night slumped dead inside a car, in front of the Judah House Praise Baptist Church in Northeast, said Cmdr. Michael Anzallo, head of the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.”
Analyst's note: Lieutenant was his first name, not his rank. Four years later, his co-conspirator, Rodney Quarles, Jr. (no relation) pleads guilty.
28 July 2008: Jim Davis with BusinessUkraine files (in hindsight) an eyebrow-raising report concerning a Soviet biological weapons scientist, Dr. Kanatzhan “Kanat” Alibekov (or “Ken Alibek”), and two former Soviet states — Ukraine and Kazakhstan — which are deeply connected to the both the Clintons' and the Bidens' massive public corruption. Davis writes:
❝ The only US-owned pharmaceutical production facility in Ukraine is also is the largest single high-technology American investment in Ukraine to date.
The Max-Well Scientific Oncological and Cardiological Production Centre, a unique manufacturing complex producing immunobiological and chemico-pharmaceutical products, opened on March 26 in the Kyiv Oblast town of Boryspil. […]
This innovative Kyiv Oblast venture is a subsidiary company of MaxWell Biocorporation LLC (USA), where the substances for biopharmaceuticals are developed and produced and substance quality is controlled. […]
Dr. Kenneth Alibek, president of Max-Well company, is an internationally known scientist and professor of biological sciences and the author of numerous scientific papers and 10 books. Dr. Alibek, a native of Kazakhstan, was educated in the United States and became a U.S. citizen. "With my cultural and linguistic background, I could have chosen to develop this business in any of the former Soviet states. […]
“The fact that 64% of our people die of cardiovascular disease at a relatively young age is a situation that we are in a position to improve today and keep making greater improvements in the future. We are here for the long haul and dedicated to making a real impact on the former Soviet health and wellness picture,” he adds.
According to Dr. Alibek, Max-Well is actually the most intensive international investor into integral methods of control of oncological, cardiological and critical infectious diseases. The company's total investment in this project already exceeds USD 90 million. Company plans call for increasing the investment over time to USD 130 million and ever more over the years.
The development of funding for the pharmaceutical enterprise construction project in Ukraine was headed by Mr. Mukhtar Ablyazov, Chairman of the Board of Directors at JSC BTA Bank, a well-known businessman in CIS countries, Europe and the United States. […]
Dr. Alibek is emphatic in his praise for the support the company has received for its Ukrainian venture from the US embassy in Kyiv. Also, on June 4, Carlos M. Gutierrez, US Secretary of Commerce paid a visit to the Max-Well facilities along with Oleksandr Fedorovych Vosianov, President of Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine. ❞
Analyst's note: this doesn't seem good, now does it? Anatoliy Mikhaylovich Golitsyn CBE (shown on right) was a Soviet KGB defector and author of two books about the long-term deception strategy of the KGB leadership. One of those books is called The Perestroika Deception. From the foreword:
❝ Illuminating the cooperation-blackmail 'convergence' strategy [between Russia and China] with his first-hand experience of the origination of the strategy and his knowledge of how Moscow applies the dialectical political method of Marx, Hegel and Lenin in practice, Golitsyn challenges the fashionable, and increasingly laughable, Western assumptions that the West 'won the Cold War', that the enemy 'disappeared', that 'Communism is dead', that the Soviet Union 'collapsed' and that Russia has embarked upon 'progress towards democracy' (never actually reaching it) - patiently showing that because the West fell for the 'perestroika' deception, it has failed to connect its present malaise to the impact of Soviet-Chinese strategy, and is unable to see the threat arising from the hostile Sino-Russian axis to which countries like North Korea, Iran and Iraq adhere.❞
None of the former Communists (like the Nazarbayevs, Dzhakishev, et al.) who have floated into the orbit of the Clintons and Bidens (or into the orbit of those in their orbit, like Soviet bioweapons designer like Dr. Kanatzhan Alibekov) should be trusted as being actual “former Communists.”
To properly execute “the Perestroika Deception” — to deceive the West into thinking that we'd won the Cold War — the Soviets (or, rather, the newly free “democrats” of the Russian Federation) would need to bribe and corrupt every Western leader possible, they'd need to compromise the highest ranks of the CIA (from the inside), they'd need to weaken the fabric of American society itself in every way possible, and they'd need to work hand-in-hand with Communist China (which they've done, adeptly, since the 1960s).
Bill Clinton associate Mukhtar Dzhakishev and Mukhtar Ablyazov, the former Chairman of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank (a title now held by Clinton Global Initiative associate Kenes Khamitovich Rakishev). BTA Bank funded Max-Well's Ukrainian biolabs, which employed Soviet bioweapons scientist Kenneth Alibek.
The grand opening of pharmaceutical production plant was launched by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, chairman of the board of directors of BTA Bank Muhtar Ablyazov, and president of Max-Well Dr. Ken Alibek (shown on the right).
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.
As ABC News notes, 2009 “was also a year when another rule went into place regarding the use of private email. According to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations in 2009, if an agency allows its employees to use a personal email account, it must ensure that the emails are ‘preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.’”
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.
Analyst'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
Or could it be that Kazakhstan was simply lying about the amount of uranium it produced in order to divert the alleged 1080 tonne shortage, i.e., to Iran?
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.” ❞
Analyst'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. Perhaps we'll never know. (Or perhaps we will.) It'd 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 (also known as Lie Mon Tie 李文正 and Lie Zen 李白, respectively ) 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. ❞
Analyst's note: per Wikipedia, “on April 3, 1996, when Brown was on an official trade mission, a U.S. Air Force CT-43 (a modified Boeing 737) carrying Brown and 34 other people, including New York Times Frankfurt Bureau chief Nathaniel C. Nash, crashed into a mountainside on approach to Croatia's Dubrovnik Airport. The Air Force attributed the crash to pilot error and a poorly designed landing approach. Speculation about the crash included many government cover-up and conspiracy theories, largely based on Brown having been under investigation by independent counsel for corruption. Of specific concern was a trip Brown had made to Vietnam on behalf of the Clinton Administration. Brown carried an offer for normalizing relations between the United States and the former communist enemy.”
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.
Analyst'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 (see 6 September 2005).
The Kazakh Initiative on Asset Recover later reports this about his arrest and the motivations behind it.
❝ In a little-known series of 2009 videos that were smuggled out of prison, Dzhakishev suggested the purchase of Uranium One by Russia’s Rosatom had profound consequences for him personally.
His arrest is widely believed to have been a politically motivated act by the strong-arm Nursultan Nazarbayev government. Dzhakishev ties it to the Canadian firm’s sale and a Russian drive to control uranium production in his country, developments he says he opposed while heading Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium company. ❞
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. President Barack Obama 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.
In the interviews, Dzakishev says he “uspects he was jailed because of his opposition to the Russian takeover of a Toronto-based uranium company with connections to Bill Clinton.
From the Kazakh Initiative for Asset Recover (KIAR):
❝ The Russians “destroyed the company — Kazatomprom — my father once built from nothing, destroyed our lives … and are taking what belongs to the Kazakh people,” his daughter, Aigerim Dzhakishev, told the National Post. “Unfortunately our (Kazakhstan) president is in on it with Putin, so there is nothing anyone can do about it.” ❞
30 December 2009: “Iran Denies Secret Deal to Import 1,350 Tons of Kazakh Yellowcake.” From the Reuters story:
❝ The report by the Associated Press news agency cited an intelligence report by an unnamed member nation of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
It said Iran was willing to pay $450 million for the uranium and that the clandestine deal, to be sealed with Kazakh state employees acting without the approval of the Kazakh government (lol), could be completed within weeks. ❞
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. According to the Chinese side, they exchanged views on bilateral relations and energy cooperation.
Analyst's note: A graduate of Sichuan University who majored in Russian language, Dai was instrumental in the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and the Soviet Union (see notes on 28 July 2008).
Steven Chu (朱棣文) — who, like Bill Gates a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) — is a vocal advocate for more research into renewable energy and nuclear power (of course he is), arguing that a shift away from fossil fuels (for developed, Western nations) is essential to combating climate change. He has conceived of a global “glucose economy,” a form of a low-carbon economy, in which glucose from tropical plants is shipped around like oil is today. Presumably that would require massive global famine. Fortunately for Steven Chu, Communists are quite good at making that happen. His father, Ju-Chin Chu, earned a doctorate in chemical engineering from MIT and taught at Washington University in St. Louis and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and his mother studied economics at MIT. His maternal grandfather, Shu-tian Li, a hydraulic engineer who earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University and a professor and president of Tianjin University. His mother's uncle, Li Shu-hua, a biophysicist, attended University of Paris before returning to China.
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. ❞
Analyst's note: by this point in 2010, it should've been clear to Secretary Clinton — and, if they were competent, to the CIA and to the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, INR — that the Chinese, almost certainly with the help of the Russians, were 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 waning days of the Bush administration (when it was fairly clear that the global financial system was headed towards a reckoning).
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). During the trip, Secretaries Clinton and Geitner take part in an interview with Phoenix TV.
Analyst's note: the CEO and founder of Phoenix TV, Liu Changle (劉長樂), was an officer and political instructor in the People's Liberation Army in its 40th Group Army. He later became a journalist for the Chinese Communist Party-controlled China National Radio after the Cultural Revolution and remains well-connected to the Party's leadership. Liu is a standing member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Although it's ostensibly a Hong Kong-based outlet, most (correct and competent) experts agree that it's actually a Chinese state intelligence cutout (but when Trump pointed that out, it was evidently bad).
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.
Analyst'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. ❞
Analyst'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).
Analyst'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.
Analyst'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).
Analyst'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. ❞
Analyst'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 (while using an unsecured email server) to meet with senior Chinese leaders.
According to the State Department:
❝ Discussions covered a wide range of issues of importance in the U.S.-China relationship as part of our efforts to build a cooperative partnership, including preparations for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and other upcoming multilateral meetings and numerous bilateral, regional, and global issues. ❞
8-9 September 2012: Secretary Clinton’s travels to Vladivostok (while using an unsecured email server), where she leads the U.S. delegation to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
According to the State Department:
❝ The Secretary discussed trade liberalization, food security, and green growth including initiatives to fight wildlife trafficking, with heads of state and other regional leaders, including business representatives. She engaged on many areas of bilateral cooperation with Russia including with Foreign Minister Lavrov. ❞
18 November 2012: While visiting Hoboken to tour the damage from Hurricane Sandy, Vice President Joe Biden stops at Hudson Tavern, which is owned by Tom Brennan, the brother of Obama’s national security adviser John Brennan, according to a Star-Ledger report cited by Charles Hack of The Jersey Journal. The report also says that he didn’t eat or drink there.
Analyst's note: an interesting vignette, as it demonstrates that Joe Biden knows John Brennan's family members.
Might John Brennan *also* know Joe Biden's family members (i.e., Hunter Biden)? Joe Biden's and John Brennan's closeness may prove relevant later on in the timeline.
Aside, it seems like a nice restaurant and Tom Brennan, judging from the Tavern's Facebook page, sounds like a nice and decent guy.
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 perished 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 (see 11 August 2012).
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. John Kerry is sworn in.
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. [[Analyst: Wang Wenliang 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. ❞
Analyst'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 emails and prior 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 a large, thunderous 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.
8 March 2013: Vice President Joe Biden administers the swearing in of the new D/CIA, John O. Brennan, a fellow Irish-American.
Analyst's note: Unlike Vice President Biden, John Brennan no longer calls himself a Catholic. One presumes he renounced his faith sometime before approving the CIA's illegal extrajudicial drone assassination program… a spectacular public relations failure which has embarrassed our nation and made our adversaries look sane by comparison, pushing many of our partners in Central Asia, the Middle East, and South Asia into their arms. Indeed, America's adversaries couldn't have wished for a better D/CIA.
Instead of being sworn in on a Holy Bible — thereby defiling it while potentially burning his hand (all while standing under the clearly-disapproving gaze of Teddy Roosevelt) — Brennan, now an agnostic, refuses a Bible and chooses instead to be sworn in on an archival sleeve (essentially, a manilla folder) containing an early copy of the Constitution, from 1787… one bearing George Washington's handwriting and annotations, but conspicuously lacking the Bill of Rights.
This is an exceptionally odd choice for a D/CIA. After all, Allen Dulles, the fifth and longest-serving Director of Central Intelligence, took a personal interest in the construction of the CIA's Original Headquarters Building (OHB). At the dedication ceremony for OHB, Dulles included a verse from the Gospel of John in his speech: “And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free” (John 8:32). Dulles, rightly, insisted that quotation be fixed in stone in the OHB's Lobby.
As a former alter boy who can — he confesses in his memoir — still recite the Confiteor in Latin, presumably John Brennan's namesake was either John the Baptist or John the Apostle. Indeed, if he was Confirmed, he may have taken either “John” as his Confirmation Saint. To any normal “John,” it would've meant something truly profound to be sworn in as D/CIA on a Bible containing that verse… but clearly not to John Brennan.
“Wild Bill” Donovan, the founder of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner to both the CIA and USSOCOM, was born into a poor Irish-American Catholic family. Brennan's two predecessors, Leon Panetta and Michael Hayden, are also Catholic. Former DCIs (before the title was changed to D/CIA) Walter Bedell Smith, John McCone, William Colby and William Casey weren't just Catholics… they were devout Mass-goers. Presumably *they* were sworn in on Bibles, rather than an archival sleeve holding an old copy of a Constitution, conspicuously lacking the Bill of Rights.
I gently urge Christian readers, and especially Catholic ones, to please pray for John Brennan, that he experiences a metanoia. Clearly, he lost his way somewhere in life and can't find the path back. Forsaking his upbringing, his namesake, and the guiding principle of the Agency that he claimed to serve by refusing to be sworn in upon a Bible containing the unofficial motto of that same Agency — an Agency which he allowed China to so thoroughly compromise — at some point he stopped valuing both the truth and the Constitutional rights that Americans hold dear. Judging by his rejection of the Bible, at some point he stopped valuing God altogether, embracing… something, or perhaps nothing, else. Indeed, it makes a sad kind of sense that someone so used to playing god — someone who lied about raining hellfire missiles down on innocent civilians (and so many other things) — might reject God. These sad photos from his swearing in ceremony, administered by Joe Biden, are evidence of that… but it's not too late for him. Pray for him, that he experiences a conversion, and returns back to the side of truth. Nobody is beyond redemption.
All that being said, to understand why things have gone so wrong in the world, it's crucial that we understand when and where John Brennan might've lost his way.
We'll explore this a bit more later…
Illustration by Luis Grañena for The Wire China.
15 March 2013: With Francophone John Kerry now sworn in as Secretary of State, and with the Arabic-fluent John Brennan now sworn in as D/CIA, three days after what he later claims was a “breaking point” of “seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress” [fake whistleblower] Edward Snowden quits his job at Dell. Per Wikipedia:
❝ The exact size of Snowden's disclosure is unknown, but Australian officials have estimated 15,000 or more Australian intelligence files and British officials estimate at least 58,000 British intelligence files were included.NSA Director Keith Alexander initially estimated that Snowden had copied anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 NSA documents. Later estimates provided by U.S. officials were in the order of 1.7 million, a number that originally came from Department of Defense talking points. In July 2014, The Washington Post reported on a cache previously provided by Snowden from domestic NSA operations consisting of "roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts." A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report declassified in June 2015 said that Snowden took 900,000 Department of Defense files, more than he downloaded from the NSA. ❞
After attending a 2006 job-fair focused on intelligence agencies, Snowden accepted an offer for a position at the CIA. In March 2007, the CIA stationed Snowden with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer-network security. Assigned to the U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations, a diplomatic mission representing U.S. interests before the UN and other international organizations, Snowden received a diplomatic passport and a four-bedroom apartment near Lake Geneva. Snowden described his CIA experience in Geneva as formative, stating that the CIA deliberately got a Swiss banker drunk and encouraged him to drive home. Snowden said that when the latter was arrested for drunk driving, a CIA operative offered to help in exchange for the banker becoming an informant.
Analyst's note: it was likely in Geneva when Snowden first began liaising in an extracurricular way with a non-FVEY partner: DGSI/DGSE. (Yes, the French do run spies against America.)
In February 2009, Snowden (supposedly) resigned from the CIA and began working as a contractee for Dell, which manages computer systems for multiple government agencies, including the NSA. Assigned to an NSA facility at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, Snowden instructed top officials and military officers on how to defend their networks from Chinese hackers. In 2010, Snowden travelled to New Delhi, India where he supposedly enrolled himself in a local IT institute to learn core Java programming and advanced ethical hacking.
Analyst's note: why India? It's difficult to say, but this quick jaunt to go learn Java in India is obviously a cover story. India has more Muslims than Pakistan and would be a natural place for CIA counter-terrorism-focused cyber operations (indeed, Snowden's 2011 work would suggest that his time in India was still CIA related). That said, Pakistan's ISI is still very active in India. French-Pakistani intelligence cooperation goes back almost to Pakistan's founding. Whatever drew Snowden to New Delhi, it probably wasn't the Java and advanced ethical hacking classes. One would guess that Snowden's “permanent record” went from being a highly classified and compartmentalized CIA personnel record to being an even more highly-classified/compartmentalized joint FBI/CIA counterintelligence/counterespionage record sometime around this point. From there it may have been scooped up and then compartmentalized further. If the CIA itself is compromised from inside and from above — for instance, if the White House's Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, John Brennan, who was engaged intimately with the Pakistanis during this period, is compromised — and if the FBI itself is also compromised, then all of this classification and compartmentalization is moot. The threat was coming from inside the house… indeed, every indication is that it still is.
In 2010, French-Iranian-American eBay founder Pierre Omidyar (bottom photo) — who committed $250M towards founding The Intercept with Glenn Greenwald in the wake of the Snowden disclosures (only to publish a fraction them, in true limited hangout fashion) — launched an online investigative reporting news service called the Honolulu Civil Beat, covering civic affairs in Hawaii. The site was named Best News Website in Hawaii for 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Analyst's aside: Snowden used the codename “Cincinnatus” when corresponding with Greenwald. The Society of the Cincinnati is an organization in the United States and France founded in 1783, ostensibly to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the Revolutionary War officers who fought for American independence.
In February of 2012, Frank Montoya, Jr., formerly the Supervisory Special Agent in charge of the FBI's Honolulu Branch, was promoted to be America's NCIX, the National Counterintelligence Executive. (Analyst: a title now presumably held by your humble unpaid analyst, unfortunately.) That next month, in March of 2012, Dell reassigned Edward Snowden from Maryland to Hawaii to be lead technologist for the NSA's information-sharing office.
Odd personnel changes, no? Montoya from Omidyar's home turf at the Honoloulu Field Office to DC to be NCIX. Snowden from DC to Hawaii. Then, a year later, after “Cincinnatus” had successfully burrowed into NSA and gotten the goods, Francophile Kerry becomes Secretary of State and Arabist Brennan becomes D/CIA.
A former CIA employee before he joined the NSA (and later, Booz Allen Hamilton), Edward Snowden's disclosures served several critical purposes for America's adversaries (and for the newly minted D/CIA, John Brennan). Snowden told Wired that while working at Dell in 2011, “I would sit down with the CIO of the CIA, the CTO of the CIA, the chiefs of all the technical branches. They would tell me their hardest technology problems, and it was my job to come up with a way to fix them.” After the Snowden disclosures, suddenly the CIA had a budget to do just that.
By blinding the NSA's in-transit data collection (its fiberoptic collection via PRISM), huge swaths of intelligence went dark. This included codeword-only ECI (exceptionally compartmentalized information) SIGINT that was being collected on foreign heads of state, as well as a great deal of strategic intelligence which would've kept the ship of state on track and largely obviated the need for this timeline to be created in the first place.
The assertion that he didn't provide America's most classified secrets to Ministry of State Security after he absconded with them to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of Communist China doesn't pass the sniff test. Even in the extraordinarily unlikely scenario that Snowden (and Greenwald, and then Omidyar, and then whatever foreign powers he's actually beholden to) didn't hand the material over to the Chinese in Hong Kong, the documents they provided to the New York Times exposing the NSA's ‘Shotgiant’ program targeting Huawei were perhaps the most damaging public disclosures ever made regarding NSA operations against the People's Republic of China. (But, as we'll see, that probably didn't bother John Brennan too much.)
Snowden's disclosures shifted friendly, neutral, and adversarial behavior and thus shifted the intelligence community's SIGINT collection paradigm from a “collect-in-transit” to a “collect-at-rest” model. To collect-at-rest, it meant you have to “attack the device” (the cellphone, the computer, the server, etc.) rather than use bulk collection. To do that — to attack the device — it requires spyware (the kind Snowden now disingenously warns against). Post-Snowden, with John Brennan in the driver's seat, the CIA suddenly found that it had a huge budget for such spyware contracts. Meanwhile, NSA's budget for Tailored Access Operations started to wither.
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: Two months after John O. Brennan is sworn in as D/CIA by Vice President Joe Biden, 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. He doesn't last long. (See February 2014.)
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. ❞
Analyst'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 Picturesʼ 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 — Alex Forbes Kerry and Hunter Biden — both meet with likely 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.
Analyst's note: given the last item in the timeline, its worth asking whether Kenes Rakishev was aware that Hunter Biden had a drug problem. Was Alex Forbes Kerry? Does Alex Forbes Kerry also use cocaine recreationally? She fancies herself a filmmaker, after all. The author is sincerely happy that Hunter Biden is now sober. Every recovery should be celebrated. That being said, if the son of the Vice President were meeting with a possible foreign spy while under the influence of cocaine (regardless of whether it were crack or powder cocaine), that would be very problematic, especially given how close Kazakhstan is with both Russia and China.
4 April 2014: Hunter Biden is pictured meeting President Obama in the Oval Office.
Analyst'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. (Tasmagambetov is shown in the top photo with his friend, Vladimir Putin.) 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. (In other words, if you were Russian intelligence, and you wanted to bribe Vice President Joe Biden into perhaps seeing things your way with regard to your illegal annexation of Crimea, you might have the son-in-law of the former Kazakh ambassador to Russia, Imangali Tasmagambetov, pay Hunter Biden instead.)
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.
Analyst's note: the people who really should've gone to prison were the Americans (and in some cases, agents of other foreign powers besides Russia) who were systematically destroying and selling away our ability to produce and enrich uranium, for both civilian and military purposes. In a way, Mikerin's big mistake was working for a country, Russia, that was (understandably) taking advantage of our own stupidity and corruption.
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.)
Analyst'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.”
Analyst's note: then-Deputy Secretary Blinken wasn't necessarily wrong. Things looked hopeful in terms of reaching a deal (hopeful, if one ignores what some might describe as the foolishness of the errand itself). 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” while 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: The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) publishes a 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. ❞
Analyst'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.
Analyst'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 would assume 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.
Analyst'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. ❞
Analyst'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. (CNNC) sign a deal to transport Kazakh uranium through China 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 it was a very poorly conceived plan!
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.” To those who understand, it's clear that John Kerry was kowtowing to China's line (repeating it verbatim, in fact) by referring to Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other ethnically-Turkic people as extremists.
Analyst'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 extremely 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 (and worse).
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 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 Kerry 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 (standing on the left, looking towards, 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. ❞
Analyst'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. ❞
Analyst'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.