Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Popigai diamonds

via Russia diamonds: Source under Siberian asteroid crater could supply world markets for the next 3,000 years | Mail Online.


‘We are speaking about trillions of carats’: Russia reveals vast diamond source under 62-MILE-WIDE asteroid crater which could supply world markets for next 3,000 years. Supply under 35million-year-old impact zone is ten times bigger than global reserves. Kremlin discovered the site in the 1970s but kept it a secret until now to exploit tightly controlled market. Diamonds at Popigai Astroblem in Siberia are ‘twice as hard’ as normal, making them ideal for high-precision scientific instruments and industry

The news comes amid slumping prices for both rough and polished diamonds, and a fair amount of turmoil in the diamond market. Both BHP Billiton (LSE:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO) have said they are restructuring their diamond businesses. In August luxury retailer Harry Winston was rumored to be interested in purchasing the Ekati diamond mine in northern Canada from BHP. Harry Winston owns a 40 percent stake in the Diavik mine operated by Rio Tinto in the same region as Ekati.


Daily Mail Reporter


12:21 EST, 17 September 2012


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maybe there’s hope yet…

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Sergei Magnitsky’s Torture and Murder

via Sergei Magnitsky’s Torture and Murder in Pre-Trial Detention « Stop the Untouchables. Justice for Sergei Magnitsky..

After a 37-year old lawyer Sergei Magnitsky testified against Russian Interior Ministry officers for their role in embezzling $230 million from the state, he was arrested and placed in pre-trial detention by those same officers he accused of crimes. In an attempt to force Magnitsky to withdraw his testimony, these officers intentionally tortured and ultimately murdered him.

Sergei Magnitsky

Sergei left his own detailed hand-written account of the pressure and suffering he experienced at the hands of his captors. His complaints about his treatment read like a modern-day Gulag Archipelago. The persecution of Sergei Magnitsky by state officials he accused by means of torture and murder is documented in independent findings by Russian and international human rights organizations, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the US Department of State, the US Government Helsinki Commission, and many others.


 It seems ironic to me, that these days in America, we are very concerned about appearing politically correct,and we are highly critical of any perceived misdeeds of the US government.   We will defend the rights of accused terrorists, and demand that they not be mistreated while they are locked up in Guantanamo. And we will rail against corporate wrongdoing and declare capitalism itself “evil”.

On the heels of a scandal like Enron, in which false accounting practices formed an inflated value and unsuspecting employees who’d invested their 401k plans in that company lost everything, we feel that the corruption inherent in our capitalist system has been proven. The self-enhancing accounting practices condoned by auditor Arthur Anderson were in effect determined to be fraudulent, and tantamount to theft, and after prosecution, that firm was dismantled.  And CEO Kenneth Lay, who said he knew nothing and bore no responsibility for the loss of the retirement funds, while his own lifestyle was luxurious, suffered a heart attack and died a year after prosecution concluded.

But we will not admit that there is some justice in our system of government, and that of the other options available in other countries, it is the overall fairness and reasonablity inherent in our legal system, which makes us the envy of countries like Mexico and the Balkans and their people are drawn to immigrate here.  Contrary to the politically correct notion that America is evil and imperialistic, it is because our system is relatively fair, legalistically structured, and less subject to corruption than other systems of government in practice, that people are drawn to our shores to experience our level of freedom.

To hear about the story of Sergei Magnitsky’s torture and murder, seems incredibly perverse to American ears. Our legal system has succeeded in impeaching presidents who have overstepped their bounds, as Nixon and Clinton did. We praised the reporters who discovered and reported Watergate.  And we praise the access to freedom of information which our country enjoys, and we defend to some extent the actions of radicals such as Julian Assange, who stretch the limits the concept of free speech and Wikileaks.

Sergei Magnitsky was merely a Russian attorney, working legitimately within their legal system, who merely because he blew the whistle on alleged wide-scale tax fraud sanctioned by public officials, suffered detention, torture, and ultimately death at the very hands of the people he was trained to serve. It would be similar, if Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr were imprisoned and tortured for his testimony and attempt to criticize the Clintons in the Whitewater Investigation. Or if Julian Assange were beaten and tortured while imprisoned for his revelations with Wikileaks. Or if Gerry Spence were imprisoned and tortured for bringing evidence that Kerr-McGee was responsible for exposing Karen Silkwood to dangerous levels of radiation at the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant in 1979…

We take our rights and our legal system for granted, so much so in America, that we don’t realize what goes on in other countries. We even deride our system for all its imperfections, and say it is evil and corrupt. But compared to what is allowed to happen and still happening today in countries like Russia, our system is a safe haven which should be protected. It may not be perfect, but it maintains a level of justice, that makes it by far, the best of the “evil” systems in the world…

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Who is Yury Shevchuk? I’ve never heard of him before. But then I’m in the U.S., and he’s back in the U.S.S.R….and we have nothing in common that I know of, except for a personal distrust of Putin’s politics. He is a rockstar, a Bono of sorts, who is using his fame to voice his opinion about the nasty aspects of the current administration.

Shevchuk said despite the fact that many musicians are co-opted by the regime, there is also a small revolution brewing below the decks. He compared the situation to the underground Soviet rock scene in the 1970s and 1980s: ‘I know there are thousands of wonderful musicians who sing songs about civil themes, who do not agree with what is happening in this country. There are a lot of wonderful young people who are playing in cellars. And all this is gaining some critical mass.’

And what of “pokazukha“? It’s a Russian word meaning “for show” or “counterfeit” or “simulated”. It’s something Shevchuk’s passion is not.

Will these nascent, scattered, and fractured roots of a social uprising reach critical mass and become a catalyst for real political change? Will they get crushed in a Kremlin crackdown? Or will it all fade away, leaving people discouraged and disgusted? Stay tuned.

–Based on an article by Brian Whitmore.

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