How Abramoff outsmarted the Russians and protected the Israelis from Russian organized crime.
Written by Dagny D'Anconia    Friday, 24 March 2006

Jack Abramoff is currently running a small business in the Washington DC area. He has said it has nothing to do with government or lobbying, instead focusing on real estate, energy and movie business. He named it "Middle Gate Ventures".

The choice of a name is very interesting. Abramoff is a very devout Jew and a lawyer. He knows the Torah well. Jewish law is spelled out in the Torah in three parts.

The "First Gate" deals with law concerning criminal and violent actions.

The "Middle Gate" deals with honest disagreements between people of good will.

The "Last Gate" deals with laws that help prevent disagreements between people.

The three gates of the Torah deal concretely with these three kinds of law, but they also deal with three ways of dealings between people. They reflect spiritual growth from the first to the last gate.

Even though he is now in "Middle Gate Ventures," he once started a company called "First Gate". He did it for a group of Russians in the oil industry who indicated that they wanted to drill for oil in Israel. However, the executives of this oil company (Naftasib) were not your average businessmen. They were former KGB spooks.

The enterprise "First Gate" (also known as First Gate Resources) was with Naftasib which was and is run by Marina Nevskaya (its deputy general manager). She was, according company documents, an "instructor at a school for Russian military intelligence officers".  Naftasib is associated with the Russian Emergencies Ministry and former Prime Miniser Viktor Chernomyrdin, and is a Russian Ministry of Defense and Ministry of the Interior supplier.

Marina Nevskaya taught at the Military Diplomatic Academy and lectured at Moscow State University until 1991. Her partner, Alexander Koulakovski, was arrested in Japan for "illegal storage" of a gun and 150 rounds of ammo in 1994. He hosted a grand dinner for Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff in Russia back in 1997.

These two principals of NaftaSib were chummy with Viktor Chernomyrdin. Chernomyrdin was the former head of Gazprom, where he looted Russia of billions of dollars. He has been Putin's Ambassador to Ukraine since 2001, and thus is implicated in the suspected Russian poisioning of Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko.

Chernomyrdin was also in a close relationship with Al Gore and the Clinton Administration. Al Gore went to great lengths to quash CIA investigations into Russian mafia and corruption associated with Chernomrydin.

Chernomyrdin was also helpful to Gore during his Presidential election: Chernomyrdin threatened to sue President Bush in Oct 2000 after George Bush said he had embezzled IMF funds. To put it mildly - Friends of NaftaSib were no friends of the Bush Administration.

These spooks wanted Abramoff to lobby the Israeli government to give permission for drilling. At least that was their cover story. However, the venture did not go forward. By naming the venture "First Gate," Abramoff gave a warning that the Israelis would understand.

First Gate refers to "criminal, even violent, attacks on a fellow's property and person, addressing the most crass form of disharmony against men." It was a way of saying "Watch out, this is a criminal enterprise". While the Russians would not recognize the Torah citations, the Israelis would. In fact, the Israeli officials never gave them the required permits.

The fact that Jack Abramoff used this trick to sabotage the deal suggests that he did not want to make it succeed. He was doing it unwillingly. He knew by then that these Russians were bad news - even if he did not know that years before that.

These Russians were people who Abramoff had dealt with back in 1997 when he took Tom DeLay to see them during a tour of Russia. Back then he had only a short stint of limited lobbying for them - presumably encouraging the development of the oil industry in Russia.

Then there was a gap in time with little or no contact between Abramoff and the Russian oil spooks. They reappeared right after Jack Abramoff had been effectively captured by the mafia. They reappeared less than a month after Abramoff learned of his mafia predicament.

It was curious timing. It was as if the Russians knew he was "available". They probably grasped the merits of having a lobbyist well connected to the highest levels in Washington. Perhaps their contacts in the criminal underworld made that possible. At least in this instance, Jack Abramoff was able to use cunning, and his knowledge of the Torah to escape from a criminal scheme.  Something to consider when he's sentenced next week. References:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/03/01/abramoff_pushed_plan_to_drill_for_oil_in_israel/ http://www.mosnews.com/money/2004/08/20/yukosoffer.shtml http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28319-2005Apr5.html http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article.asp?AID=2795 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35430-2004Jul7.htm l