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November 17, 2010 / joninews

Georgia in crossfire of arms trafficking

Georgia in crossfire of arms trafficking

Joni Simonshvili

It is becoming clear that Georgia continues to be on the cutting-edge of the international arms business, and not just what is being done by some rouge independents, such as Viktor Bout – AKA “Merchant of Death” but close allies of the United States and potential NATO countries. How is it possible that those in such a position of trust can be so tied up in the international trade in weapons?

For instance, based on recent reports by Main Justice, mainjustice.com

Bribery Probe of Arms Supply Industry Points to Georgia

By Christopher M. Matthews | November 1st, 2010

The U.S. Justice Department’s FCPA investigation of corruption in the international defense supply industry is shining a light on the role Israeli brokers played in preparing the Caucasian republic of Georgia go to war against Russia in 2008. Georgian Ministry of Defense officials allegedly accepted bribes to purchase 21 million rounds of ammunition from a U.S. source. Three defendants in the FBI’s massive FCPA sting case are implicated.

Saakashvili Protégé Helped Lead Georgia to War with Russia

By Steve LeVine | November 1st, 2010

Former Georgian Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili spent his teenage years in Israel. “I like weapons a lot. In my case, it is bladed weapons that I like. I have a favorite sword which I carry with me from one office to another,” Kezerashvili told an interviewer in 2006, when President Mikhail Saakashvili elevated him to the defense post at age 28.

On the local beat these connections have been investigated by the remnant of any semblance of a free media, Maseto TV, and in an investigative serious earlier this year the following statements were noted:

“Victor Bout is a well-known international criminal who has successfully worked with such clients as Russian intelligence, FSB, and American Special Services. Such an opportunity has given him a free hand on the part of the government to do as he pleases. Georgia provides the green light for all sorts of illegal activities, and these involve power players on the National level.  Georgia is for them him the traffic light on permanent green for “anything goes”. From the Georgian side, Victor has collaborated with Temur Alasania, Jemal Inaishvili, former head of a Georgian port, and others when asked about Davit Kezerashvili, former Minister of Defense, ‘this boy is but your run-of-the-mill drug addict.’  There is no doubt that he is a player in this business, but to put in simple terms, he is only a small fish – a lower ranking player.  A working investigative commission needs to be set up to bring a halt to such activities. However, that is naïve – and to tell it like it is – everybody is interested in covering up these bloody tracks in the snow.”

 

–Ucha Ninuashvili, Director of NGO “Center for Human Rights” GEORGIA:

“The United States still uses Georgia exactly for this kind of transport corridor just as the previous government of the US freely did. Not only based on this end user document, as supplied by Mr. Silverman, this document provides solid basis for such an announcement. However, we have other information as well that supports such claims, and we are working now in this direction. The other information which we have that Georgia has shows that Georgia been used for the transportation of the weapons to third countries, and these are likely African and Asian contacts”.

Kakha Katsitadze, military and NATO expert:

“If there was any reasonable explanation, the government would come and tell us. I would allow myself to tell as no one can provide a reasonable explanation and in fact no reasonable explanation has ever been provided”.

In connection with the weapons sales, other than the Thailand episode, Georgia appeared several more times, though the ends of all these threads got thrown into the informational vacuum.

Africa. Congo. September 7, 2007. In the air crash of “An-12” – killed  8 persons, including two Georgian citizens, including the pilot, Zurab Mosia, 55 years old and also a mechanical worker, and Artur Bagdasarov. No specific information ever about the cargo on board and only it has been mentioned that the airplane registered in the name of “Transaviaservice” – there was no license for the flights, and no safety inspection, since 2007.

Philippines. August 17, 2009. A ship flying the Panama flag was seized with 13 Georgian sailors. All suspected of weapon smuggling but only an American captain accepts responsibility.

Azerbaijan. Baku. March 17, 2010. Information agencies of Azerbaijan notify us that the officers of the National Safety Ministry arrested 8 members of a radical religious group, among them- the locals of Dagestan and Chechnya, which were planning these terrorist acts. A large amount of the weapons have been transported to Azerbaijan from Georgia.

United States of America. Washington. May 5, 2010. According to American information sources, this case, on corruption including facts of weapons smuggling, where the main suspect is Daniel Alvares, he is also charged with corruption related to weapons sales for Georgian government members.

United States of America. Washington, DC. May 6, 2010. The General Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the USA Robert Muller is in Tbilisi.  Muller had a meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs – Vano Merabishvili and Minister of Justice- Zurab Adeishvili. Both meetings were held behind closed doors. The visit of the General Director of FBI to Georgia lasted for several hours.

Jeffrey Silverman, Georgian human rights activist

“The Russian side knows what the Americans are doing and the other way around too! Meanwhile everyone is making money off Georgia. This country is a free market for them, and they try to hide their bloody tracks. Let no one forget about August 8, 2008 when a large quantity of American supplied weapons were abandoned behind Russian lines. These ended up in the hands of the Russians. However, what is not told is that this equipment was not intended for use by the Georgians but had been prepositioned for use against Iran.  This military equipment was not delivered for the Georgians. Georgia imports weapons not only from Israel but also from Jordan and Serbia. The Georgians are also purchasing weapons from the Russians”.

Silverman documents the strange actions by the Ministry of Defense by end user certificates issued by the Ministry of Defense of Georgia.

Article one: The user and the address of the user – Ministry of Defense of Georgia. 20, General Kvinitadze Street, Tbilisi, Georgia, 011

Article two: Exporter and the address of the goods – KAADB, PO 927932. Oman, Jordan.

Article three: The mediator and the address: “Melvel Corporation Olayage” Trade center, Francis Rakel Street, city Victoria. Mahe, Seychelles Islands.

Article four: Importer of the goods and the address: Ministry of Defense of Georgia. 20,General Kvinitadze Street, Tbilisi, Georgia, 0112.

In the final documentation, the most part of the points in the end-user certificated describe the terms and condition of Russian designed weapons. The document was signed by the Deputy Minister of Defense of Georgia, Mamuka Mujiri, who, by the way, was in the list of the escaped high ranked persons during the Russian-Georgian war from the 7th to the 14th of August, 2008. There was nothing strange in the document, except maybe these details:

First: the Georgian Ministry of Defense led the negotiations with the company founded in Jordan in the Russian language. This document concluded in Russian that Jordan had been counted as an official partner of the United States of America. According to the negotiation language, as a registered company in Jordan, a military partner country of America, which also has Russian management? Ironically, according to the list of the Directors on the KADDB official webpage we couldn’t find any Russian surname.

“Melvel Corporation”- named as the mediating company in the document we have for the weapons importation, whose main activity is the sale of scrap metal. Though it is not a secret for anyone, especially for the media, that “Melvel” is busy in the weapons business, its’ Director, Slobodan Teshic,  according to information spread by the media and internet means, the “Seychelles”  company “Melvel” is also in Belgrad. Teshic, according to the source, is in both legal and illegal sales of weapons. For example, the weapon transfers to Iraq are under his name. The company is very busy with sales of scrap metal, named by the Ministry of Defense of Georgia as the mediator, and he is charged in terrorism, anti-human activity in the process of weapons purchases by foreign sources.

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