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With violence and government crackdowns making headlines from so many familiar parts of the world, there’s hardly been a peep in the media about the biggest and ugliest massacre of all: Last Friday in Kazakhstan, riot police slaughtered up 70 striking oil workers, wounding somewhere between 500 and 800, and arresting scores. Almost as soon as the massacre went down in the western regional city of Zhanaozen, the Kazakh authorities cut off access to twitter and cell phone coverage–effectively cutting the region off from the rest of the world, relegating the massacre into the small news wire print.But not before someone was able to get a video out to YouTube last Friday, showing the moment when the striking oil workers rushed the barricades. They’ve had to have put up with inhuman, medieval abuse for months now, culminating with the murders a few months back of a striking oil worker and the 18-year-old-daughter of another union organizer, as well as the jailing of a labor lawyer working with the striking oil workers.Keep in mind, the oil company whose workers are striking for better pay and union recognition, KazMunaiGaz, is “owned” by the billionaire son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s Western-backed president-for-life. Among Kazakhstan’s leading American partners are Chevron, whose website boasts, “Chevron is Kazakhstan’s largest private oil producer”–adding this bit of unintentional black humor:Quote “In Kazakhstan, as in any country where Chevron does business, we are a strong supporter of programs that help the community.”Indeed.
“In Kazakhstan, as in any country where Chevron does business, we are a strong supporter of programs that help the community.”
Last week, some troll named Joshua Foust attacked my article about the massacre in Kazakhstan on December 16. I really had no idea who Foust was until I started getting emails from readers telling me “some guy with a goatee is having a meltdown on Twitter.” What upset Foust so much about my article was that I dared to report a death toll number, “up to 70,” that differed from the official figure of 15 that the regime in Kazakhstan wanted the outside world to believe. Why did Foust take on the role of massacre-denier for Kazakhstan’s notoriously brutal, corrupt regime?Foust, it turns out, has spent much of the past decade getting paid by defense contractors to front for them as one of their paid PR monkeys. One example: Last year, Foust published a hit piece in the Columbia Journalism Review attacking an award-winning Washington Post investigative series about the vast hidden defense contractor industry, without disclosing the fact that Foust was an employee of Northrop Grumman–one of the largest defense contractors in America.Foust’s job is the opposite of journalism—he gets paid by war-profiteers to lie to the public, to cover for them while they soak the public for government contracts. That’s what Joshua Foust does for a living; and besides carrying the water for defense contractors as a “strategic communications” flak, Foust has spent the past few years talking up Kazakhstan’s despot-for-life, Nursultan Nazarbayev—and talking down the appalling human rights records both in Kazakhstan and in Uzbekistan.Of all the brutal despots in that region, none has stolen Foust’s heart like Kazakhstan’s dictator-for-life, Nursultan Nazarbayev, or “Nazzy” as Foust affectionately calls the man responsible for murdering scores of striking oil workers. “Nazzy” has poured huge sums of his ill-begotten wealth back into Washington DC and London to pay off politicians, academics, think-tanks, and media hacks to lie about what a wonderful reformer he is and what a great place Kazakhstan is turning out to be—they also get paid to attack and undermine human rights advocates who report unpleasant truths about what goes on there, something Foust does all the time for his favorite despot, although we’ll probably never know if he gets money for that too. (One hilarious example: A PR firm founded by Haley Barbour proposed waging an “online social media campaign” attacking Sting after he canceled a concert in Kazakhstan over labor rights abuses; not surprisingly, Joshua Foust attacked Sting’s boycott and belittled the striking oil workers’ struggle as “more than a bit silly”–just a couple of months before they were massacred.)So this same Joshua Foust attacked my article last week on the grounds that the death toll I reported, “up to 70″ killed, was “completely invented”. Here’s an example:Quote “Mark Ames relies on a completely invented body count to polemicize the #zhanaozen riots. Classy!”Yes, that really happened: a PR flak for war-profiteers really did shake with righteous indignation to protect a Kazakh despot’s lowball massacre death toll number from a journalist who dared to contradict it. (You’d have to spend some time in DC to understand how that makes any fucking sense.) Foust then went on his blog and attacked my article with more of the same nonsense.
“Mark Ames relies on a completely invented body count to polemicize the #zhanaozen riots. Classy!”
Glittersnatch would be a rather unfortunate condition, if a halfway decent troll name.
AORTAL SEX MADES MY DICK HARD AS FUCK!
So what Im getting from this is, its not a human rights violation when its done by a western backed power or an oil company.
AAAAAAAAAGHAlso this shit happens in Africa ALL THE TIME and nobody cares.
The rest of Ames' reply to Foust is a must-read: it's a near Platonic example of how Ames does a justified hit piece on someone.