So the outrage about Amnesty using the term Gulag?
Leaving aside the importance of calling attention to today's chain of prisons,
what if the Bush people are actually making money off the backs of the victims
of the original Gulag?
Sound far fetched? Read on.
1. One of the forced labor camps run by the NKVD under Stalin was a mining
operation called Norilsk.
2. As the Soviet Union rounded up dissidents and suspect ethnic groups, many
were sent to build and work at this remote location.
3. There have been many descriptions of the inhuman conditions. It is one of
the locations where the conditions of slave labor were compounded by the climate.
It is one of the northern camps.
4. The investment of lives paid off in one sense. The site did have valuable
ore, and it remained a good source of income into the current era.
5. The operation was privatized, and the private company is known as, well,
Norilsk. So there is now private ownership of an asset built by the NKVD with
6. The victims have never been compensated (nor their families), so today's
income stream was never really paid for, except by the people who were enslaved
7. Recently, that income stream found its way into the pockets of Bush associate
James Baker, of Baker Botts LLP, the Carlyle group, Florida election work, and
various other types of Bush support.
9. The Bush buddies were paid to help the former slave labor operations, know
privatized as the Norilsk company. They were paid by Norilsk to help with its
purchase of a US mining company. Norilsk, through a wholly-owned London trading
subsidiary, a Normet Limited, purchsed the majority of Stillwater Mining.
10. Cheney would have known about this also. Republican Senator Conrad Burns
of Montana also assisted this Bush family project, even traveling to Moscow
traveled to Moscow in the fall of 2002.
It sounds just like their inside deals with Saudi business people, the Taliban,
with dicatators in Central Asia, and on and on. The ordinary US people are given
some fake morality while the Bushies line their pockets at everyone else's expense.
Not surprisingly for the Bush family track record, this was not simply a matter
of pocketing some money from an income stream built on Gulag victims.
They also put US national interests and security behind their greed. It may
also have been illegal under US law.
11. Norilsk now owns the only US source of two rare ores, platinum and palladium.
Russia and South Africa are the other major sources.
12. Under the Defense Production Act, business dealings with foreign companies
must be reviewed if they may have national security implications.
"Have you heard? Story details mine sale to Russians," Billings Gazette,
April 4, 2004
"Building Norilsk." -- Simon Ertz
Built on the bones of thousands of Soviet slave labourers who died in prisoncamps
from the 1930s to the 1950s, Norilsk has emerged as one of the most prosperous
cities in the former Soviet Union.
It is the world's biggest producer of nickel, ahead of the Canadian giants
Inco and Falconbridge. It produces more than one-third of the world's palladium,
a quarter of the world's platinum and 20 per cent of the world's copper. It
accounts for 2.1 per cent of Russia's economy.