07ASTANA2935, KAZAKHSTAN: OPPOSITION WEBSITES BLOCKED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ASTANA2935 2007-10-28 07:30 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO1242
RR RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHPW RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #2935 3010730
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280730Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1020
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0287
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1839
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY

UNCLAS ASTANA 002935 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/CEN (M. O'MARA) 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM PREL KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: OPPOSITION WEBSITES BLOCKED 
 
1. (U) On October 24, Tamara Kaleyeva of the media watchdog group 
Adil Soz and web publishers Yuriy Mizinov and Sergey Duvanov held a 
press conference in Almaty to criticize the blockage within 
Kazakhstan of four independent/opposition-oriented websites. 
According to the press conference organizers, the websites 
www.zonakz.net (published by Mizinov), www.kub.kz, and www.geo.kz 
have been inaccessible since October 18, and that the website 
www.inkar.info (published by Duvanov) has been inaccessible since 
October 22.  The press conference organizers alleged that blockage 
of www.zonakz.net originated in Russia, through intervention 
purportedly initiated by the official Kazakhstani telecommunications 
provider Kazakhtelecom; the rest were blocked by Kazakhtelecom in 
Kazakhstan.  (Note: Zonakz.net and inkar.info are accessible, but 
not through Kazakhstani internet service providers.  End note.) 
 
2. (SBU) Kaleyeva, Mizinov, and Duvanov alleged that the websites 
were blocked because they recently published MP3 audio recordings 
and transcripts of telephone conversations between high-level 
government officials, and that the government was trying to block 
all information relating to this compromising information.  (Note: 
The websites published transcripts of three telephone conversations 
between Minister of Internal Affairs Baurzhan Mukhamedzhanov and 
Vladimir Ni, the former head of the Presidential Administration. 
The telephone conversations in general concerned President 
Nazarbayev's negative reaction to a purported investigation of 
oligarch Vladimir Kim.  Some journalists speculated that Rakhat 
Aliyev released the audio transcripts, though Aliyev refused to 
comment on his connection to the transcripts in an interview with 
Respublika newspaper. End note.) The press conference organizers 
criticized the absence of any judicial process before the websites 
were blocked. 
 
3. (U) According to press reports, Minister of Culture and 
Information Yermukhamet Yertysbayev denied any knowledge or 
responsibility for the blockage of the websites, and speculated that 
there may be technical reasons for the problem.  He said that his 
ministry has not closed any newspapers or journals or websites. 
 
4. (SBU) Comment: There is strong reason to suspect that Aliyev is 
the source of the audio recordings.  The most likely scenario, we 
believe, is that after their release, senior government officials 
intervened to block the websites and limit distribution of the 
information to the Kazakhstani public.  Ultimately, blocking the 
websites will prove futile, as there are methods to circumvent the 
blockages and journalists will continue to share the recordings and 
transcripts.  Instead, the website blockages will only serve to 
raise further questions about the Government of Kazakhstan's 
commitment to freedom of speech.  End comment. 
 
 
 
ORDWAY

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