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In June 2004, the lawyers for James Giffen, the defendant in the “Kazakh-gate” bribery case being heard in the US relating to offences allegedly committed in Kazakhstan in the 1990s, made an application to the presiding Judge William Pauley III: they wanted classified government documents. Lots of them.
To Mr Giffen’s lawyers, it was a “public authority defence”. To others, it looked like something else.
“The practice is referred to as ‘greymail’,” says Scott Horton, an assistant professor of law at Columbia University.
The Kashagan offshore field in western Kazakhstan is the world’s biggest oil discovery since 1968. Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters
“This is an increasingly popular defence because you can put the intelligence community on the defensive and the intelligence community’s instinctive reaction is to say, ‘Let’s get rid of this’.”
or is this story basically a confirmation that American operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are part of an integrated campaign to dominate the region which Halford Mackinder came to name the heartland about a hundred years ago?