Ironic quote of the day, from Kazakhstan, via Wikileaks:

The Ambassador asked if the corruption and infighting are worse now than before in Kazakhstan. Idenov paused, thought, and then replied, “No, not really. It’s business as usual.

They’re confused by the corrupt excesses of capitalism. “If Goldman Sachs executives can make $50 million a year and then run America’s economy in Washington, what’s so different about what we do?’ they ask.

Too bad we don’t have a category labeled “Irony.”

Full release after the jump . . .

ID 10ASTANA72

SUBJECT KAZAKHSTAN: MONEY AND POWER

DATE 2010-01-25 08:08:00

CLASSIFICATION SECRET

ORIGIN Embassy Astana

TEXT Monday, 25 January 2010, 08:14
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000072
SIPDIS
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB
EO 12958 DECL: 01/25/2030
TAGS PGOV, PINR, EPET, EINV, KCOR, RS, CH, KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: MONEY AND POWER
REF: ASTANA 0061
Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland: 1.4 (b), (d)
¶1. (S) SUMMARY: During a private dinner, KazMunaiGaz First Vice President Maksat Idenov named, in his view, the four most powerful gate-keepers around President Nursultan Nazarbayev: Chief of Administration and General Services of the President’s Office Sarybai Kalmurzayev, the President’s Chief of Staff Aslan Musin, State Secretary-Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, and the tandem of Prime Minister Karim Masimov and Nazarbayev’s billionaire son-in-law Timur Kulibayev. According to Idenov, in Kazakhstan, market economy means capitalism, which means big money, XXXXXXXXXXXX. The following details are a single snapshot of one version of current reality. The significant point is that Nazarbayev is standing with Idenov, not Kulibayev, to maintain international standards to develop the massive Kashagan and Karachaganak hydrocarbon projects. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (S) On January 21, KazMunaiGaz First Vice President Maksat Idenov and the Ambassador had a one-on-one dinner in a nearly empty restaurant (times are still hard!) at the Radisson hotel in Astana. When the Ambassador arrived, Idenov was barking into his cell phone, “Mark, Mark, stop the excuses! Mark, listen to me! Mark, shut up right now and do as I say! Bring the letter to my office at 10:00 pm, and we will go together to take it to (Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, MEMR) Mynbayev at his house.” On ending the call, Idenov explained he was talking to British Gas (BG) Country Director for Kazakhstan Mark Rawlings who had missed the deadline to deliver a letter about arbitration on the Karachaganak super-giant oil-field project (reftel). Still clearly steamed, Idenov XXXXXXXXXXXX “I tell him, ‘Mark, stop being an idiot! Stop tempting fate! XXXXXXXXXXXX Idenov asked, “Do you know how much he (Rawlings) makes? $72,000 a month! A month!! Plus benefits! Plus bonuses! Lives in Switzerland but supposedly works in London. Comes here once a month to check in. Nice life, huh?”
¶3. (S) Idenov calmed down and said, “Let’s look at the menus.” Then he immediately started typing on his PDA and turned the screen toward the Ambassador, saying, “Let’s look at the ‘four courses.’” On the screen were four names: Kalmurzayev, Musin, Saudabayev, and Masimov-Kulibayev.” Idenov said, “The Big Four around Number One.” (NOTE: Sarybai Kalmurzayev, currently the head of Administration and General Services in the Presidential Administration, was, among other jobs, a former head of the Financial Police and, before that, in the 1990s, in charge of privatization. Aslan Musin is the current Chief of Staff for Nazarbayev. Kanat Saudabayev, a personal friend of Nazarbayev for nearly 40 years, is Minister of State and Foreign Minister. Karim Masimov is Prime Minister, and Timur Kulibayev is currently the favored presidential son-in-law, on the Forbes 500 list of billionaires (as is his wife separately), and the ultimate controller of 90% of the economy of Kazakhstan. END NOTE.) In response to a question, Idenov said that Masimov has a degree of freedom, but never acts without permission from “the hyphen” (Kulibayev). Then Idenov stood up abruptly and carried his PDA to a ledge about 20 feet from the table and asked the Ambassador to turn off his cell phone.
¶4. (S) Idenov said he wanted to explain why he has been less visible for at least the last half year. Starting last spring, all the “Big Four” (on the menu) began blocking him from seeing President Nazarbayev. In October, KMG President
ASTANA 00000072 002 OF 003
Kairgeldy Kabyldin told Idenov, “Kulibayev doesn’t want to work with you any more.” Idenov said he replied, “Fine,” immediately returned to his office, wrote his letter of resignation, and packed up his personal files and photos of his family.” He said Mynbayev immediately called and asked, “My dear friend, what are you doing?!” Idenov said he was fed up and was going to the Middle East to work — “I want out of here!” PM Masimov called and said, “Nazarbayev wants to know how you’re doing. He’d really like to see you when you have time.” Idenov, who said he’d been trying to see the President for months but had been blocked by the “Big Four,” went to see the President and told him, “Kabyldin says Kulibayev doesn’t want to work with me any more.” Idenov said the President told him to calm down: “It’s probably just evil gossip. I’ll have Karim (Masimov) talk to Timur (Kulibayev). Then Idenov went to Masimov and told him, “OK, I’ll stay, but how do I deal with this?” Masimov said he’d talk to both Kabyldin and Kulibayev.
¶5. (S) Soon, intermediaries arranged an Idenov-Kulibayev meeting. Idenov said they both pretended to ignore the core problem — Kulibayev’s, he alleged, avarice for large bribes. Idenov averred he told Kulibayev, “Please watch your image and reputation. You have a real opportunity to improve your own image and the image of the nation.” Idenov said Kulibayev was “like a Buddha with a Paris manicure,” and both understood life would continue. Idenov said he believes he has, so far, the president’s protection. “But the games continue,” he said. Idenov alleged that both XXXXXXXXXXXX– and Kulibayev is salivating to profit from them — but, so far, Idenov stands in the way. “So long as Nazarbayev says he wants Kashagan and Karachaganak developed according to international standards, that’s what I’ll do.”
¶6. (SBU) (NOTE: Fugitive former CEO of BTA bank, Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of embezzling over $1 billion, recently leaked “documentary evidence” to the international media that China’s state companies have bribed Kulibayev over $100 million in recent months for oil deals. END NOTE.)
¶7. (S) The Ambassador asked if the corruption and infighting are worse now than before. Idenov paused, thought, and then replied, “No, not really. It’s business as usual.” Idenov brushed off a question if the current maneuverings are part of a succession struggle. “Of course not. It’s too early for that. As it’s always been, it’s about big money. Capitalism — you call it market economy — means huge money. Listen, almost everyone at the top is confused. They’re confused by their Soviet mentality. They’re confused by the corrupt excesses of capitalism. ‘If GOLDMAN Sachs executives can make $50 million a year and then run America’s economy in Washington, what’s so different about what we do?’ they ask.”
OTHER TIDBITS
¶8. (S) MODEST WEALTH. Idenov alleged that MEMR’s Mynbayev is among the richest in Kazakhstan but “flies under the radar” because he is a relatively modest and very hard-working technocrat. His great wealth derives, in part, from his former ownership of KazKommerzBank — “But he never flaunts it.”
¶9. (S) VULTURES. Idenov alleged that GazProm and China National Petroleum Company “continue to circle like vultures,” hoping that the Kashagan and Karachaganak consortia will implode, and then they can pick up the pieces. “Won’t happen on my watch!” Idenov vowed.
¶10. (C) HOW TO ORDER LAMB. Idenov insisted the Ambassador order a bottle of wine for their dinner but then never touched his first glass. Instead, he gulped three cans of Coca-Cola while inhaling his food. When both he and the Ambassador ordered lamb chops, Idenov advised, “Well done,
ASTANA 00000072 003 OF 003
never rare — this is Astana, not London!”
¶11. (S) COMMENT: Idenov is effusive, even theatrical, by nature. When he trusts, he spills his heart. Of course, there’s no doubt he also spins his own narrative, as we all do. And so, this dinner is simply a snapshot — but, we would judge, a relatively accurate glimpse of one version of current reality. The significant point is that Nazarbayev is standing with Idenov, not Kulibayev, to maintain international standards to develop the massive Kashagan and Karachaganak hydrocarbon projects. END COMMENT. HOAGLAND

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XTAGS: XTAGPGOV, XTAGPINR, XTAGEPET, XTAGEINV, XTAGKCOR, XTAGRS, XTAGCH, XTAGKZ

Category: Humor, War/Defense

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

33 Responses to “Wikileak GS Quote of the Day”

  1. Mannwich says:

    That should be your site’s quote of the day, BR. LOL. I love how we poke at our countries for their so-called “corruption” while at the same time happily ignoring the incredible corruption right under our noses here in the U.S.

  2. Mike in Nola says:

    Great post.

    Cold enough for ya up there Manny? 60′s-70′s and sunny down here on the Gulf Coast.

  3. rip says:

    I used to tell people that the US was still “exceptional” because of the integrity and lack of corruption. As opposed to “old world countries”.

    Perhaps I was naive. Maybe it was always there.

    But there can no longer be any doubt.

    The book “Trust” spelled it out in great detail. And we are on the highway to hell.

  4. Stuart says:

    That was good. The Kazaks get it. Smarter than most here in the media. Little wonder there have been nary a prosecution of any kind. Simon Johnson: A Financial Coup….. bang on. This is not going to end well for these folks IMO.

  5. Mannwich says:

    @Mike: Yep. Snow coming today too. Ugh. Days are short and the nights are long too.

  6. bluebox says:

    “ ‘If Goldman Sachs executives can make $50 million a year and then run America’s economy in Washington, what’s so different about what we do?’ they ask.”

    Ok, I’m becoming convinced these documents are forgeries. This sure sounds a lot like something Matt Taibbi or “Tyler Durden” would write… :)

  7. I saw that a few days ago. Even leaders behind the scenes admit there is a problem. So what is the problem here? When do the crowbars come out to dismantle this twisted relationship that GS has with the USG?

  8. Arequipa01 says:

    An interesting post on BoingBoing about Amazon’s wikileaks position including PR blah blah from Amazon:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/12/02/amazon-wikileaks-has.html

    Amazon: “Happy to market self-publishing pedophiles, but rent server space to whistleblowers, not so much”

    Amazon has all your credit card information and they will do the bidding of the US Govt. Rest easy…

  9. jus7tme says:

    The most interesting aspects of the KAZAKHSTAN: MONEY AND POWER leak is how the US Foreign Service is being employed as errand boys for US oil companies and other economic interests.

    Perhaps this is not very surprising but it is nice to see the evidence in print.

  10. WFTA says:

    More on the subject of Wikileaks itself: I had misgivings about the initial batch of military communications that were dumped on the internet. And I still have misgivings if the only target for exposure is the good ol’ US of A. However, I’m starting to see the State Department revelations as probably useful in improving the world.

    I sense a certain nobility in throwing it out—unedited and uncensored—and allowing those who will to dig through it for what they find. Given the degree to which our “respectable” journalists survive, if not thrive, on the thoroughly tainted table scraps tossed down from cynical and ax grinding insiders, I’d say it may be downright preferable.

    Et vous?

  11. The beauty of Kazakhstan’s observations about GS is that they come just as the Fed releases data showing that Goldie, who claims it would have survived the financial crisis without government assistance, borrowed from the TALF 84 times for a total of roughly $600 billion.

  12. notakid says:

    If someone ever leaked anything really TOP Security, the wheels would fly off.

    You don’t get FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE by asking really really nice.

  13. ToNYC says:

    @ Common Man sees it

    “…When do the crowbars come out to dismantle this twisted relationship that GS has with the USG”

    The US’sG goes to work when the ATMs that GS controls do.

  14. notakid says:

    By the way has Interpol picked up Cheney yet?

    Just kidding …………………

  15. and one more, @ jus7tme:

    Not only diplomats, but US soldiers, sailors and marines are nothing more than errand boys for business. They’re like mafia grunts, doing the wet work for an international protection racket.

  16. [...] Priceless quotes from the latest wikileak: If the Vampire Squid can suck billions from the taxpayer and still control the government at the same time, how is that different from a corrupt oligarchy in a “developing” country? Moral hazard redux. [...]

  17. Arequipa01 says:

    Bears repeating:

    From Gen. Smedley Butler (from 1933):

    “War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

    I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

    I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

    There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism. ”

    http://www.fas.org/man/smedley.htm

  18. Mannwich says:

    I wonder how Borat feels about all of this? LOL.

  19. thanks, Arequipa01…I had been looking for that observation. My comment is partly based on Smedly’s insights and partly on personal experiences.

    Incidentally, in my previous comment, I said Goldman borrowed $600 billion from the various Fed facilities. I don’t know where that came from… the total is about $35 billion, according to Bloomberg:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-01/goldman-sachs-emergency-fed-loans-topped-24-billion-in-crisis.html

  20. LookoutRanch says:

    What’s interesting about that cable is the ambassador’s focus on oil.

    What you see here is our government conducting “diplomacy” on behalf of multinational oil companies, which amounts to a huge taxpayer subsidy of the oil industry.

    Rather than the oil companies having to pay hundreds of millions in bribes to obtain oil concessions, our government provides protection, weapons and other strategic trade benefits to the target country.

  21. jus7tme says:

    @LookoutRanch, @Curmudgeon:

    Agree on what you said about the use of diplomats as well as armed forces.

  22. FrancoisT says:

    No wonder the powers that be are doing their best to neutralize WikiLeaks; nothing more horrible for the powerful than being exposed as phonies. makes them lose this aura…

  23. Jojo says:

    How about this one? Seems everyone’s got their fingers in the pie…
    ============
    Guardian.co.uk
    WikiLeaks: Afghan vice-president ‘landed in Dubai with $52m in cash’

    Ambassador in Kabul reports pervasive ‘wealth extraction’ by establishment and apparent powerlessness of US to stop it

    Palm Jumeirah in Dubai Palm Jumeirah in Dubai where the Kabul Bank chairman, Sher Khan Farnood, owns 39 properties, according to WikiLeaks cables. Photograph: PA

    Rampant government corruption in Afghanistan – and the apparent powerlessness of the US do to anything about it – is laid bare by several classified diplomatic cables implicating members of the country’s elite.

    In one astonishing incident in October 2009 the then vice-president, Ahmad Zia Massoud, was stopped and questioned in Dubai when he flew into the emirate with $52m in cash, according to one diplomatic report. Massoud, the younger brother of the legendary anti-Soviet resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, was detained by officials from the US and the United Arab Emirates trying to stop money laundering, it says.

    However, the vice-president was allowed to go on his way without explaining where the money came from.

    The cable, sent by the ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, detailed the colossal scale of capital flight from Afghanistan – often with the cash simply carried out on flights from Kabul to the UAE.

    “Vast amounts of cash come and go from the country on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. Before the 20 August [presidential] election $600m in banking system withdrawals were reported; however in recent months some $200m.”

    Couriers are said to usually carry the money on Pamir Airlines, which is jointly owned by Kabul Bank and influential Afghans such as Mahmood Karzai, one of the president’s brothers, and Mohammad Fahim, a Tajik warlord who was Hamid Karzai’s vice-presidential running mate in the August 2009 election.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/02/wikileaks-elite-afghans-millions-cash/

  24. mbelardes says:

    I’ve been in some furious debates over WikiLeaks.

    I think any perceived “security threat” from this is well worth the enlightenment for planet earth.

    If anything, it shows there is no such thing as “capitalism” or “free market economy.” The ENTIRE game has been rigged in one way or another and primarily in the name of democratic freedom. This post shows clearly that opening up to a free market economy in many of these countries just meant that officials at the top were able to skim billions WITH the ability to claim democratically elected consent of their people at some level. Hopefully the people in these countries see that their elected officials are ripping them off to the tune of billions. We Americans should take note that these schemers cite America’s corporations and government as their example.

    “Capitalism is not synonymous with democracy.” – Immortal Technique

  25. Arequipa01 says:

    You all may get a chuckle from this doodle:

    http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/wanted_20101201/

  26. Bob A says:

    it would be funny if it wasn’t so true

  27. @LookoutRanch,

    Don’t you know the three branches of the USG are

    The oil industry
    the financial industry
    and the pharmaceutical industry?

  28. some_guy_in_a_cube says:

    Excuse me, but exactly where’s the irony here?

    The only difference between the corruption of our Establishment and the criminal class around the rest of the globe is that ours learned its trade in the Ivy League and bathes daily.

  29. jad714 says:

    Someone above mentioned they thought we were different because of a lack of corruption? Sir, this country as well as every other out there has seen its share of corruption since the Revolutionary War.

  30. jad714 says:

    Now, aside from that, I must say I don’t think we’re helping our cause by posting the whole WikiLeaks article here.

    http://www.philstockworld.com

  31. [...] a WikiLeaks wire comes this great quote from Kazakhstan’s First Vice President Maksat Idenov: “As it’s [...]