Бейбітшілік пен келісім сарайы - Astana

Astana Mean-Time?

Kazakhstan is an interesting place with a broad and diverse history. From Genghis Khan’s invasion to Stalin’s deportation of undesirables from the west of the country (which contributed to the region’s ethnic diversity) as inmates of the gulags to the unilateral dismantling of their nuclear program in the post-Soviet era, Kazakhstan has been down a long road to its present form of democracy/dictatorship.

The image above is of the The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, a.k.a. Pyramid of Peace and Accord. Among its many features are stained glass panels at the top showing three doves in the middle triangle, two doves on the right, and two doves on the left. This motif is echoed below by lozenges, again three in the middle, two on the right and two on the left.

The Pyramid was specially constructed to host the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. It contains accommodations for different religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism and other faiths. It also houses a 1,500-seat opera house, a national museum of culture, a new “university of civilization”, a library and a research center for Kazakhstan’s ethnic and geographical groups. This diversity is unified within the pure form of a pyramid, 62m (203ft) high with a 62x62m (203x203ft) base. The building is conceived as a global center for religious understanding, the renunciation of violence and the promotion of faith and human equality.”

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Kazakhstan has, of late, been on a building spree which would put pre-crisis Spain to shame. Financed by Kazakh supplies of oil, gold, and uranium (the world’s second largest producer and America’s largest supplier) as well as massive amounts of foreign investment (from the likes of Warren Buffet, no less,) universities, infrastructure projects, religious institutions, and sky-scrapers have all been popping up at a phenomenal rate. But there’s more. They have been building trade deals and international relationships, as well.

One of these deals was the foundation of the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Oskemen. “The IAEA LEU Bank, operated by Kazakhstan, will be a physical reserve of LEU available for eligible IAEA Member States. It will host a reserve of LEU, the basic ingredient of nuclear fuel, and act as a supplier of last resort for Member States in case they cannot obtain LEU on the global commercial market or otherwise.”

“The establishment and operation of the IAEA LEU Bank is fully funded through US $150 million of voluntary contributions from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the United States, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Norway and Kazakhstan.”

Strangely enough, there are some other ‘improvements’ of note, which may seem, at first glance, contrary to the Kazakh stance on WMD. The USA is funding a bio-weapons research lab with the goal of fighting global terror. The lab will also serve as a storage facility for some of the most harmful and virulent strains of disease known (such as bubonic plague, yellow fever, anthrax, cholera, smallpox et al..) The BSL-2/3 (the highest level is BSL-4) lab will not only protect the diseases studied within from being stolen, but also protect the bio-chemists and engineers (and the knowledge they possess) from being hired by shady groups. There has been much unemployment in this field since the collapse of the Soviet Union, after all.

There is also the possibility that the US is funding the lab with other intentions in mind…

Russia Questions Peaceful Nature of US Biological Research

*Update* The CDC reports unususally high rates of bubonic plague (black death) in the US.

“The United States must target all attributes of the biothreat, using all available tools–from the cognitive realms of transparency and partnerships which have the potential to shape and dissuade, to the firm reality of denial and punishment through vaccinations and kinetic responses as necessary.”

But more on this later. *Update – some evidence of this plan coming to light: America has attacked a power plant and a water treatment facility in Aleppo, Syria with no military value against ISIS. This could lead to an outbreak of cholera.

Russia currently pays Kazakhstan $115 million annually to use Baikonur Cosmodrome, plus $50 million every year for maintenance, under a deal signed in 2004. That agreement is slated to expire in 2050.” This is a pretty good deal considering the following, “NASA Administrator Charles Bolden sent a letter to Congress Wednesday saying the agency would need to pay $490 million to Russia for six seats on Soyuz rockets for U.S. astronauts to fly through 2017. That comes to nearly $82 million a seat, up from $71 million a seat. Since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian federal space agency Roscosmos to provide seats on its Soyuz spacecraft to send U.S. astronauts to the space station.” Further, “At the moment, Russia is the only nation capable of launching astronauts to the International Space Station. Russia’s crew-carrying Soyuz spacecraft all launch from Baikonur…” In addition, the US buys its rocket engines used for satellite launches from Russia and will need to do so for years to come. The American space program seems to be completely dependant on both Russia and Kazakhstan. What would happen if they decided to cut the Americans off?

See also: “US Badly Needs Russia’s Technology to Keep Its Space Program Afloat

With all the new investment opportunities (mostly from the USA) as well as the very close ties to Russia, it seems odd that Nursultan Nazarbayev (who also attended a NATO summit on Afghanistan in 2010) would say the things he said at the UN during a speech he gave on September 28th (which, oddly enough, is not on the UN’s video channel,) to wit:

  • That the world should move towards a global currency (thus stripping the USA of its reserve currency status.)
  • That the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be removed from USA control and folded into the UN.
  • That the headquarters of the UN should be moved from New York to somewhere in Asia (he did not say where.)

Granted, these recommendations were to take place over a rather long period of time, nevertheless, it demonstrates either a cunning international play against the hand feeding it, or a willingness to accede to a plan already long in the making. He did sign on to help in America’s ‘War on Terror’, after all.

Putin also said, during an interview with Charlie Rose, that there could be room for change at the UN, and the French and Mexican delegations pushed for a reform of the veto rules at the Security Council’s meetings, as well. It would seem that the winds of change are blowing squarely into American faces.

*Update

Now Putin is turning his nose up at the Saudis after a meeting in Russia. And what was Ingushetia’s Yunus-Bek Yevkurov doing there with the others’ Defense Ministers?

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While You Weren’t Listening

The first and current President of Kazakhstan is Nursultan Nazarbayev. In his speech to the UN today, he made several recommendations to the council. They were monumental in scope, especially considering the limited international status of his 25 year old country. Then again, based on what Putin said about the UN (or rather, didn’t say,) perhaps there are things in the works about which we don’t yet know.

“When the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, Kazakhstan inherited 1,410 nuclear warheads and the Semipalatinsk nuclear-weapon test site. By April 1995, Kazakhstan had returned the warheads to Russia and, by July 2000, had destroyed the nuclear testing infrastructure at Semipalatinsk.”

“On 2 December 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Republic of Kazakhstan designated 29 August as International Day against Nuclear Tests, anniversary of the date the Semipalatinsk test site closed in 1991.”

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in Asia and has the strongest economy in central Asia. They have enormous oil reserves and are a leading exporter of uranium (ironic as that is.) It is also a world leader in coal, iron, and gold production.

Their elections have been largely considered to be unfair and anything but free in the eyes of international observers.

Kazakhstan is vying for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2017. They enjoy good diplomatic relations with both Russia and the Ukraine.

He proposed five main points:

  1. That there be one global currency to replace the favoured status of a reserve currency and the unfair advantages it confers upon the country that controls it.
  2. That the IMF be folded into the UN’s mandate removing it from US control (since they won’t have the reserve currency, anyways.)
  3. That the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Oskemen, Kazakhstan (agreement signed this August,) which removes the need for individual countries to enrich their own uranium by centralizing the distribution thereof, be the only source for enriched uranium. A kind of central bank for fissile material. This bank would be overseen by, and indeed, folded into the UN and included in its mandate.
  4. That nuclear weapons be banned, outright.
  5. That the UN headquarters be moved out of the US and into Asia.

Given that France and Mexico et al. have proposed that the veto right of the permanent members of the UN Security Council be severely limited, It doesn’t look like the world is going to leave a lot of meat on the bone for the US to cushion its fall from grace. Could this be the impetus for WWIII which the UN was formed to avoid?

There is a short follow-up article here.