At times, Putin has some good ideas

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Nicolas Sarkozy and Vladimir Putin

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(Dmitry Astahov/AFP/Getty Images)

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Vladimir Putin reportedly wanted to hang President Saakashvili “like the Americans hanged Saddam”


Putin wanted to hang Sackass ‘by the balls’

Nicolas Sarkozy saved the President of Georgia from being hanged “by the balls” — a threat made last summer by Vladimir Putin, according to an account that emerged yesterday from the Élysée Palace.

The Russian Prime Minister had revealed his plans for disposing of Mr Saakashvili when Mr Sarkozy was in Moscow in August to broker a ceasefire in Georgia.

Jean-David Levitte, Mr Sarkozy’s chief diplomatic adviser, reported the exchange in a news magazine before an EU-Russia summit today. The meeting will be chaired by the French leader and President Medvedev.

With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr Sarkozy told Mr Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia’s Government. According to Mr Levitte, the Russian seemed unconcerned by international reaction. “I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr Putin declared.

Read full story

Thanks to After Armageddon for the link.


Who Ordered The Slow News On Georgia

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Moon of Alabama

It took the New York Times three month, four reporters and lots of expenses to provide news that I provided here within hours after the war over South Ossetia started.

One wonders why the Times needed so long.

Who gave the orders to hold the truth back and who allowed it to be printed today?

The New York Times sells this news today, November 7 2008:

Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression.

Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia’s inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm.

Moon of Alabama provided this news for free on August 8 2008, 8:00am est:

Despite yesterday’s announced ceasefire, the government of Georgia today launched an all out military attack on the breakaway South Ossetia region in northern Georgia.

NYT on Nov 7:

Two senior Western military officers stationed in Georgia, speaking on condition of anonymity because they work with Georgia’s military, said that whatever Russia’s behavior in or intentions for the enclave, once Georgia’s artillery or rockets struck Russian positions, conflict with Russia was all but inevitable. This clear risk, they said, made Georgia’s attack dangerous and unwise.

MoA on Aug 8, 8:00am est (headlined: Saakashvili Wants War – He Will Get It)

For internal reasons as much as on foreign policy ground Russia will not allow Saakashvili to take over South Ossetia. It will either support the Ossetians with weapons which may lead to a prolonged guerrilla war, or it may even invade on its own.

NYT on Nov 7:

[A]ccording to observations of the [O.S.C.E] monitors, documented Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, Georgian artillery rounds and rockets were falling throughout the city at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between explosions, and within the first hour of the bombardment at least 48 rounds landed in a civilian area. The monitors have also said they were unable to verify that ethnic Georgian villages were under heavy bombardment that evening, calling to question one of Mr. Saakashvili’s main justifications for the attack.

MoA analysis on Aug 12:

On the evening of August 7 the Georgian President Saakashvili went on TV and announced a cease-fire. This came after some small tit for tat fire exchanges on the border between Georgia and South Ossetia. A few hours later Georgia launched a massive artillery barrage against the South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali. It used Grad multiple-launch rocket systems. Such weapons are effective against area targets, like large infantry clusters, not against pinpoint aims.

NYT on Nov 7:

Civilians repeatedly reported resting at home after the cease-fire broadcast by Mr. Saakashvili. Emeliya B. Dzhoyeva, 68, was home with her husband, Felix, 70, when the bombardment began. He lost his left arm below the elbow and suffered burns to his right arm and torso. “Saakashvili told us that nothing would happen,” she said. “So we all just went to bed.

MoA on Aug 12:

The attack hit people at sleep in their homes.

NYT on Nov 7:

At 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 8, Gen. Maj. Marat M. Kulakhmetov, commander of Russian peacekeepers in the enclave, reported to the monitors that his unit had casualties, indicating that Russian soldiers had come under fire.

Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that by morning on Aug. 8 two Russian soldiers had been killed and five wounded.

MoA on Aug 12:

The Russian peacekeepers in South Osssetia had less than a battalion of mechanized infantry between the border and Tskhinvali. This batallion was attacked by a multi battalion Georgian tank and armored infantry forces.

and so on …

Posted by b on November 7, 2008


Also See:
War in the Caucasus: Dispelling the lies

Bailing Out Georgia

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No, not our Georgia – the other one!

Oct. 24, 2008
by Justin Raimondo

The US government is sending $1 billion to “rebuild” Georgia – no, not the Georgia located in the southern United States, where home foreclosure rates are double the national average, but the one located in the Caucasus, along Russia’s southern frontier, where the President of the country launched a reckless invasion of a rebellious province, murdered thousands, and got his ass kicked by the rebels and their Russian protectors. Now we’re sending him a billion dollars – by way of a reward.

Meeting in Brussels, Western donors pledged “more than $1 billion more than the World Bank’s target.” The announcement, as reported by the New York Times, “came as a financial crisis rattled the economies of donor nations. The United States pledged the largest amount, $1 billion over three years. An additional $642.8 million will be allocated by the European Commission over the next two years. Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said the pledge should send ‘a strong signal to the world’ that its members stand with Georgia. ‘The international community believes in and upholds certain values and norms of conduct, and those include the peaceful resolution of disputes,’ Mr. Barroso said.”

Who is sending a signal to whom – and for what purpose?

On the surface, none of this makes any sense. To begin with, all the damage to civilians and infrastructure was done by the Georgians. They bombed the city of Tskhinvali, capital of the rebel province of South Ossetia, destroying the city center, killing thousands, and rendering many thousands more homeless. Rebuild Georgia? It’s the Ossetians who need the rebuilding – not that anything or anyone on this earth can rebuild their broken lives.

This is one humanitarian catastrophe that has gone completely unacknowledged in the West: indeed, justice is not only denied, but inverted: the Georgians, the villains in this instance, are being sent the aid. Sounds like an incentive to commit yet more aggression – not that Saakashvili needs any encouragement.

He refuses to include the Ossetians or the rebel Abkkazians in any negotiations, and his government has broken off meetings with the Russians over the terms of a peace accord. Faced with protests over his increasingly authoritarian rule, as well as a backlash against his hot-headed recklessness in starting the war to begin with, the region’s star “democrat” and staunch US ally is even now maneuvering to launch yet another provocation against Moscow. It would be a welcome diversion from his growing internal problem.

With the West and much of the world undergoing a financial paroxysm of unprecedented proportions, what in the name of all that’s holy are we doing sending a billion bucks to some godforsaken ex-Soviet republic on the edge of nowhere? The Europeans are sinking, too, and yet they’re chipping in. What’s the story?

The signal that is being sent here, both by the US and Europe, is that we will fight, if necessary, to extend Western influence into the Caucasus. The gauntlet is thrown – and Putin is sure to pick it up.

Some of the Europeans may be a little skeptical of admitting Georgia (and Ukraine) into NATO, but the US government and its European allies are giving the Georgian government unconditional support in its ongoing efforts to confront the Russians in their own “near abroad.” The Russians, for their part, are acting much as we did when the French – still suffering from the aftereffects of the French Revolution in its Napoleonic phase– set up Maximilian I as “Emperor” of Mexico and threatened to extend their sphere of influence north of the Rio Grande.

This signal of support for Tbilisi is for the benefit not only of the Russians, and the Georgian government, but is also meant to reassure big Western investors who have already poured billions into the lucrative Ceyhan-Tbilisi-Baku oil pipeline, which is competing with the Russians in transporting oil from the central Asian ‘stans to the European market. The Western oil giants, locked out of the Russian market by Putin, are desperate to outflank the Russkies and bypass Middle Eastern suppliers. Billions in profits hang in the balance.

The CTB pipeline is yet another investment that is threatening to go south, bigtime, as regional tensions threaten to disrupt the free flow of oil over the troubled lands it snakes through. Like AIG, Bear-Stearns, and the rest of the lords of Wall Street, this concern is “too big to fail,” and you can bet that the US government will take every possible action – including military action – to protect the banks who are underwriting the project.

As the response of Western governments to the financial meltdown makes all too clear, here in the West we have socialism for investment bankers and their partners-in-crime, and “free enterprise” for the rest of us, who work hard, pay taxes, and live by the rules.

Oh, but not to worry: they’re rebuilding Georgia – with your tax dollars.

The costs are socialized, and the profits are privatized – that’s what they call “democratic capitalism,” or, in Europe, “social democracy.” In both cases, foreign policy is merely an overseas projection of domestic political arrangements.

In detailing how the aid money is going to be spent, the Times‘ reporting on the donors’ powwow implicitly rationalizes the expenditure:

“After hostilities broke out on Aug. 7, transportation routes from Georgia’s main Black Sea port were cut off, and dozens of importers defaulted on contracts. The stock market plummeted, and Georgians made a run on banks, wiping out $165 million in deposits at the Bank of Georgia. The country’s scenic Black Sea resorts, once popular with Russians, sit largely empty.”

Hefty costs, but who ought to pay? Why, the perpetrator of the violence, namely Mikhel Saakashvili. Instead, he’s being sent a big fat check. Welcome to the Bizarro World of American foreign policy.

As Mark Ames points out in The Nation, the evil-authoritarian-Russia-attacked-poor-little-democratic-Georgia narrative has been completely debunked – check out Der Spiegel‘s “Did Saakashvili Lie?” (short answer: yes). As reported as the crisis broke out, and subsequent reports confirm, the evidence is indisputable that the Georgians attacked the Russians first, killing over a dozen Russian peacekeepers legally stationed in South Ossetia in the course of a massive and deadly assault on the Ossetian capital. Not that the Western media, so easily manipulated by Georgia’s amen corner, is acknowledging their initial “error,” as Ames notes.

“Ever since I went down to South Ossetia to see the war for myself, I’d developed a kind of sick curiosity to see just how the Times and all the others were going to extricate themselves from the credibility-hole they’d dug. I had a feeling it was going to come, because Saakashvili was not only a blatant liar but an incredibly bad liar. I was in South Ossetia at the close of the war – I saw the destruction that the ‘freedom-loving’ Georgians wreaked, and the bloated, rotting corpses on the streets of the province’s capital city, Tskhinvali – so I was particularly interested in how long the sleazy tale of good vs. evil would last, and how the major media would squirm their way out of their biggest journalistic fiasco since the Iraqi-WMD blooper. Would the Times let their ombudsman out of the cage for another fake apology? ‘Oops! Who’da thunk our esteemed newspaper coulda screwed up this big twice in a row, dragging America into yet another war all on account of our inability to do our job as journalists?! Look, we just want to say we’re sorry and move on, m’kay? So, have you moved on yet? Because we have’.”

The lies spread by the mainstream media in the service of the War Party are bought and paid for by the corporate sponsors of the Russia encirclement project that has been the linchpin of our adversarial stance toward Moscow since Yeltsin’s demise and Putin’s rise. Having failed to pulverize the shattered Soviet colossus into the smallest possible splinters, the Western powers are now confronted with what they regard as a “resurgent” and inevitably revanchist Russia – which means that the Russians are no longer dirt poor and ruled by gangsters with American bank accounts. It also means they aren’t going to be pushed around in their own back yard – at least not without putting up a heckuva fight.

Whether South Ossetia is Georgian, Russian, or none of the above – why is this any of our business? Who among us is qualified to untangle the interwoven threads of claims and counter-claims, extending back over hundreds of years, and come up with a just solution to the question of what constitutes Georgian “sovereignty”? Certainly no one who works for the US government.

Before one penny of “aid” is sent to Georgia, we should be asking: who will get this money? The Times gives us a breakdown:

“The World Bank had estimated that Georgia would need $3.25 billion “to cover budget support, social sector support and infrastructure development.” Most of the aid, roughly $3.7 billion, will go to social and construction programs. An additional $850 million will be invested in the private sector, where donors hope it will offset the sharp drop in foreign direct investment.”

None of this money is going to South Ossetia: it is all being funneled through Saakashvili and his cronies, who would rather leave the shattered infrastructure of bombed-out Tskhinvali as it is today, a stark reminder of what may very well reoccur should the Ossetians persist in going their own way. If anyone rebuilds, it will have to be the Russians. The private sector aid will be used to buy up Georgian assets on behalf of Western corporate interests. The difference between the World Bank figure and the number announced in Brussels – nearly half a billion – will cover bribes, covert action operations carried out by Western intelligence agencies, and other incidentals.

When challenged, proponents of foreign aid programs invariably reply: yes, but look at the minuscule numbers! Why, foreign aid is less than one percent of the total overseas budget, including, one supposes, military expenditures – but so what? The point is that these programs do real harm, in most cases achieving the exact opposite of their intended purpose. And in this particular case, the entire package is premised on a lie, and a freshly debunked one at that. What’s really going on here is that the West is rewarding Saakashvili for his recklessness, and inciting him to commit fresh assaults. This course guarantees war.

~ Justin Raimondo

Wag the Dog

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Eric Walberg

“US military personnel were in South Ossetia during the attack…”

Was an independent Ossetia inevitable after Kosovo or is it an US election ruse gone wrong.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a gritty, straight-talking 30-minute interview with CNN this week in Russian. It was not translated or reported on widely in the US media, which is a shame. He charged that US military personnel were in South Ossetia during the attack, and lectured about such topics as Ossetia’s long membership in the Russian empire (since 1801) and Ossetians’ age-old resentment of Georgian chauvinism, especially following the 1917 Russian revolution and the 1990 declaration of Georgian independence. A South Ossetian legislator has already mooted the possibility that it will eventually become part of the Russian Federation.

When asked by CNN if he would stop threatening neighbours now that the Ossetian crisis was over, he angrily dismissed the question as preposterous, saying it was up to the US and its new Eastern European clients to stop threatening Russia. It is the Polish and Czech missile bases and Ukrainian and Georgian pretenses to join in the nuclear-tipped encirclement of Russia that are the destabilising developments forcing Russia to batten the hatches. The Russians see the bases as a precursor to a much larger system that would undermine the already seriously eroded Russian nuclear deterrent. “For the first time in history — and I want to emphasise this — there will be elements of the US nuclear capability on the European continent. It simply changes the whole configuration of international security. Of course, we have to respond to that,” said Putin at a press conference last year which was also not reported in the mainstream US media.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underlined Putin’s words Monday, referring to “the reality of the post-America world” and warning that “in the absence of a reasonable multilateral dialogue we will be forced to react unilaterally.” Europe’s inability to produce a new collective security system, “open for everyone and taking into account everyone’s interests,” was to blame for the Georgia crisis. He added: “There is a feeling that NATO again needs frontline states to justify its existence.”

As if to make his point, the Russian military carried out a successful test of a Topol RS-12M nuclear capable stealth rocket from the Plesetsk space centre. Analysts are already speculating that Putin (OK, Medvedev) may well “take out” the Polish missile site. “He has no other option. The proposed system integrates the entire US nuclear arsenal into one operational-unit a mere 115 miles from the Russian border. It’s no different than Khrushchev’s plan to deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba in the 1960s,” writes Mike Whitney at Online Journal. At the very least he “will be forced to raise the stakes and send warplanes over the construction site. That is the logical first-step that any responsible leader would take before removing the site altogether.” So if Cold War II keeps accelerating and something like this happens later this year, what should we make of it? Is this Russia threatening and even invading its neighbour, or is it a justifiable warning to the US to back down from its attempts to instigate WWIII?

Is it possible that all this furfural is really just an early “October Surprise”, in the US electoral tradition that both Reagan and Bush II made such masterful use of? Recall that Ronald Reagan’s advisors orchestrated a delay in returning US hostages from Iran in 1980, tipping the balance in his favour in the elections that year. President George W Bush got a letter purportedly from Osama bin Laden weeks before the elections in 2004, conveniently reminding Americans that he is their defender against terrorists. This possibility was the inspiration for the 1998 movie “Wag the Dog”, where a few weeks before the elections, a presidential advisor hires a Hollywood producer to fabricate and market a war in an ex-socialist bloc country (Albania) and ensure the incumbent’s re-election.

In the current “reality show” version, discretion is thrown completely to the wind, with a certain Randy Scheunemann playing both doctor and advisor to Republican “incumbent” Senator John McCain. Scheunemann’s two-man Orion Strategies lobby firm has been advising Latvia since 2001 and more recently, Georgia. Georgia hopes to following Latvia’s success in joining NATO and — why not? — the European Union. It has already paid Orion Strategies $300,000 to this end.

Putin firmly declared in his CNN interview that the attack on Russian peacekeepers by Georgia was given the green light by US officials as part of an US election campaign ploy. He was most likely referring to McCain, a personal friend of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and Scheunemann, McCain’s chief foreign policy advisor. Or possibly Joseph Wood, Cheney’s deputy assistant for national security affairs, who was in Georgia shortly before the war began. Or both.

But Putin is caught between a rock and a hard place in this US election year. Even if he’s right about Scheunemann, McCain’s advisor has his counterpart in Senator Barack Obama’s chief foreign policy advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who while being no fan of Bush, is rubbing his hands in glee over the Russian move to protect Ossetia . So whoever wins in November will undoubtedly push CWII into high gear, come what may.

Will this “Wag the Dog” Part II bring in the votes for McCain? That is far from certain considering his admiration for the now-despised Bush, his endless gaffes and his patent lack of intelligence. However, the key to US elections — the Israeli lobby — is not happy with Brzezinski, and could scuttle Obama’s candidacy, despite Obama’s choice of self-proclaimed Zionist Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Recall that Brzezinski was foreign policy advisor to ex-president Jimmy Carter, whose Camp David accords forced Israel to give the Sinai back to Egypt.

Enter Scheunemann. He has no such skeletons in his closet. And he is a big fan of the current Middle East make-over designed to ensure Israeli supremacy. As director of Chalabi’s Committee for the Liberation of Iraq he pushed for the invasion in 2003. Mission accomplished, he found his new warrior prince in Tbilisi. Scheunemann is just one of dozens of US and Israeli advisors to the trigger-happy Georgian president. Israel has been actively supporting Saakashvili, eager to see the Georgian pipeline project bypassing Russia completed. Georgian Defence Minister Davit Kezerashvili and Minister of Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili are both Israeli citizens who returned to Georgia to enter politics.

If in fact the US Israeli lobby has decided on McCain for president, and passed the word on to Sheunemann, this could well account for the green light that Saakashvili clearly thought he had to attack Russian peacekeeping troops and Ossetia civilians, killing hundreds if not the 1,500 claimed by Russia. And what better way to force both candidates to shore up Bush’s policy of war and death, just in case by some fluke the suspicious Obama overcomes the many hurdles to a candidate not enjoying the full confidence (i.e., control) of “the lobby”.

You can’t fault Obama for trying to please them, short of firing his patron Brzezinski. Already, he has dropped his willingness to talk to “the enemy”, which clearly means Russia these days, every bit as much as Iran. Under him, Iraq will keep its US bases and Afghanistan will absorb any troops who leave Iraq. Whether or not Washington succeeds in bringing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO is the only moot point in all this, and this really depends more on Russia than on who inhabits the White House for the next four years.

This is all very much like Brzezinski’s scheming as advisor to president Carter. He now boasts that by orchestrating US funding of Islamic extremists like bin Laden from 1979 on, he was responsible for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union. This did nothing to wag Carter’s dog back into power in 1980, but that is of little consequence to these shadowy advisors, who are never without work in the higher echelons of US politics, just as Scheunemann will not suffer in the least if his candidate is found to have Aldzheimer’s and forgets to show for his inauguration next January. And if Obama wins, he will merely cede his White House pass to Brzezinski and continue advising world leaders such as the hapless Georgian president.

It’s quite possible that this ratcheting up of tensions in the Caucasus is intentional. It clinched the Polish missile deal in a hurry and put Russia in a bad light, giving succour to those planning to make the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline the key link in a network bypassing Russia. But the Georgian pipeline was shut down by BP during the recent conflict, and it is far from clear that spin doctors and tweaking the Russian bear’s nose will bring the US any closer to cutting Russia down to size. What this episode and Putin’s steely evaluation did was to further expose the poison at the heart of American politics and confirm the world’s suspicions that Russia is not afraid to stand up for itself.


September 2, 2008 Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly. You can reach him at Al-Ahram Weekly

Post by way of: The Peoples Voice
Map from: Conspiracy Planet

South Ossetia: A Gaza of Their Own?

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Detain This

Image © Stratfor.comGeorgian president Mikheil Saakashvili is directly responsible for supreme war crimes of aggressive war and genocide, within a larger campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Russians and ethnic Ossetes of South Ossetia — a secessionist region of Georgia that has declared its independence, once by war and more recently, by landslide referendum.

Emboldened by U.S. and Israeli support, this Caucasian champion of human rights and democracy isn’t bothered by liberty-based phenomena like republican self-government and secession, freewill, free press, and the like. According to his puppet masters in D.C., Tel Aviv, the U.N., and the E.U., South Ossetia is Saakashvili’s own private Palestine.

Upon review of the recent Georgian-U.S.-Israeli aggression, it is arguably true. Even though, in terms of illegality and duration, there is no contemporary comparison to the oppression endured by the Palestinians, the conflict in the Caucasus — and the Georgian aggression that sparked it — do reveal many parallels and downplayed connections to Israeli aggression against the peoples it attempts to own.

In a surprise attack, late Thursday night, August 7, and into Friday, the Georgian army heavily bombarded several villages in the secessionist region, including the capitol, Tskhinvali. Unarmed people and civilian objects, such as hospitals, were targeted. Some of those attempting to flee the raining death were strafed. Thanks to Georgia’s decidedPR edge,” corporate news media told a tale of Russian aggression against Georgia.

These are all attributes of Israeli terror campaigns against the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories (IOPTs) and S. Lebanon. And they don’t end there.

U.S.- and Israeli-supplied military wherewithal was used; U.S. and Israeli war-planners had been coaching and cross-training Georgian military units and diplomats in their brinkmanship against Russia; and the initial invasion was done in a most thuggish of ways, reminiscent of Israeli Defense [sic] Force tactics.

Justin Raimondo relates the pertinent details from a ReliefWeb report:

“On August 7, after days of shooting incidents in the South Ossetian conflict zone, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili made a speech in which he said that he had given the Georgian villagers orders not to fire, that he wanted to offer South Ossetia ‘unlimited autonomy’ within the Georgian state, with Russia to be a guarantor of the arrangement.

“Both sides said they were discussing a meeting the next day to discuss how to defuse the clashes.

“That evening, however, Saakashvili went for the military option. The Georgian military launched a massive artillery attack on Tskhinvali, followed the next day by a ground assault involving tanks.

“This was a city with no pure military targets, full of civilians who had been given no warning and were expecting peace talks at any moment.”

He adds:

[I]t was a particularly vicious sneak attack, undertaken while “peace talks” were supposedly taking place. As Reliefweb put it:

“The attack looked designed to take everybody by surprise — perhaps because much of the Russian leadership was in Beijing for the opening of the Olympic Games. It also unilaterally destroyed the negotiating and peacekeeping arrangements, under the aegis of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, that have been in place for 16 years. Russian peacekeeping troops based in South Ossetia were among those killed in the Georgian assault.”

Readers may recall how the state of Israel has — as a matter of policy, under the shadow of peace talks — accelerated its campaign of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians via house demolitions, apartheid wall construction, kidnappings, assassinations, unearthing of groves and orchards, intermittent massacres, and so on, using U.S.-supplied weaponry and demolition equipment.

This “conflict in the Caucasus” has Israeli and U.S. colonial fingerprints all over it.


As a benefit of the “special arrangement” Israel enjoys with its host, the USA, Israel is virtually untouchable: if another state invades, U.S. lapdogs come to the rescue. (See: The 1973 airlift, just for starters.) Israel knew it would get away with violating Syrian airspace and bombing a Syrian construction site on September 7. It has gotten away with its multiple invasions of Lebanon since 1958, and its belligerent, 41-year occupation of Palestine, thanks the U.S. veto in the U.N. and, once again, that “special relationship.”

The invasion of S. Ossetia was done with the expectation that, if worse came to worst, the USA and its “NATO allies” would clean up by at least taking Georgia’s side in the U.N. and elsewhere — spinning the conflict nearly 180° to make it look as though Russia planned to aggressively invade Georgia, occupy the capitol, and oust Saakashvili. Sure enough, war criminal and profiteer, Zalmay Khalilzad (a.k.a., the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.), was Johnny on the spot with the schoolyard trash-talk, while fellow führerettes Cheney, Rice, and Bush made their fealty clear with veiled threats.

That false sense of righteousness and invincibility from behind a superpower is key to both Georgia’s and Israel’s genocidal success; but the most vital parallel in all this is the “dirty little secret.”

Every war criminal must hide his atrocities and cover his tracks from the viewing world (or at least the eyes of the American people); otherwise, you can count out that blind support by the neocon-Likudnik empire.

Enter the lapdog U.S. news media.

It’s an irrefutable fact, that Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians and Lebanese have long been greatly concealed by the Propaganda Ministry; as has the illegal and immoral status of U.S. aid to the terrorist state. Saakashvili’s assault on the Ossetes and Russians of S. Ossetia has been treated similarly — at times, even worse. CNN, Fox, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, as if instructed by neocons in the Pentagon and the Bush Administration, led their own massacre on the truth with made-ready yellow gems like these and these.

As phony images of a Georgian good guy fill the U.S. airwaves, echoes of Israeli “men of peace” — Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, et al., whose murderous rampages are peddled as reluctant defense of country — surely fill the memories of familiar observers.

Of course, for the Georgian invasion of S. Ossetia, U.S. corporate news media — already well-versed in going along with the state terror against Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and of course the IOPTs — didn’t have to be told what their role was. U.S. “allies” and puppet regimes are to be “covered,” while the chosen enemies of the state are to be “exposed” (i.e., hyped as criminal threats via lies and omissions).

What’s more, these corporate lie machines are superbly adept at “adjusting” on the fly.

Soon after the July 12, 2006, Israeli invasion of S. Lebanon began, news media started changing their tune on the Hezbullah capturing and killing of IDF militants. Initial reports said the operation took place on the Lebanese side of the border. Some reports eventually went with the irresponsibly neutral “on the border,” while most outlets settled on “cross-border raid” and the like. The time-line of suppression was skewed as well: originally, it was reported that the Israeli army fired into Lebanese population centers first. Some news media (mostly, corporate news services and flaming neocon rags) settled on an Israeli response to Katyusha rockets fired by Hezbullah.

Either way, it was a win-win for the Israeli aggressors and their shameless apologists. Bully states like Israel and the Unites States need only cloud the picture in order to win the PR battle. Sewing confusion buys time and doesn’t incriminate. It’s the unfiltered truth that dissolves the clay buttresses under their houses of glass.

What we need is contemporary context, facts on legality, and whether the U.S. government and military should be involved in the first place; what we get is he said/she said cop-outs to the duty of speaking to power. We confuse; they (you) lose.

That’s why, in the Russia-Georgia row, you’ll notice news media are not only omitting the initial criminality of the first aggression by Georgia, and the illicit role of the USA and Israel, but that they’re also making sure you hang your hat on such shortcuts-to-journalism as “there are so many conflicting reports,” and “both sides are saying some pretty sensational things.” Instead of getting down to the legal and moral arguments for and against each action, we’re forced to focus on the words coming from both sides that are “exaggerated” and “not backed up with evidence.”

Truth be told, Saakashvili and his masochistic neocon salesmen in think tanks and media are he said/she said bullshitters par excellence.

I’m no fan of the excessive Russian military response, if that is in fact what occurred (it appears that way); but with the way U.S. media are kid-gloving the Georgian tyrant and war criminal, after the atrocious aggression he and his neocon handlers have committed, you must surmise that the truth is at least slightly more favorable to the Russians.

“Let he who is innocent cast the first stone”; well, the Georgian government and its neocon masters have cast the first and most, and appear determined to cast the last. And then there are those troublesome points — like the legitimacy of the Ossetian secessionist movement and the utterly un-democratic nature of the Georgian regime — which are omitted because they only confirm the hypothesis.

There’s also the Military-Industrial Complex angle. Israel is said to have been a strategic asset for the U.S. cold-warriors of the ’50s–’80s. It has since been pitched as the West’s first front in the so-called war on terror. This is how the hundreds of billions in illicit U.S. financial aid to the military-state has been “justified” since its coming into existence.

In the latest episode in a long line of violating Russo-U.S. agreements, Saakashvili’s neocon king-makers have been emboldening him to retake South Ossetia in order to have control of a contiguous strip of land between Russia and the oil pipeline that runs through the Georgian capitol, Tbilisi. (A “buffer zone” to some — a military staging ground to others. Perhaps both, in reality.) But the idea is that, once achieved, and once it could be shown that Georgia was no longer at war, the NATO gig would be in the bag, and the mutually-lucrative, economic, political, and military benefits would be made official for all (except the 99% everyday people in Russia, S. Ossetia, Georgia, Abkhazia, and the USA).

This anti-Russia warfare belies the notion that the Cold War ever ended. (NATO wasn’t exactly created to cozy up with the Big Bear.) Add to that the threatening missile shields the neocons are dying to install in Poland and the Czech Republic, and you have a total shakedown of Russia underway, with unimaginable blowback potential. But the insane neocons, with their rich history of using NATO as a tool for building an indomitable U.S. empire, show no signs of slowing their encirclement of Russia with U.S. clients and NATO members. Georgia, like Israel in the ’60s, is their brinkmanship tool against the perceived threat to neocon hegemony in the region. And of course Israel has its contrived Syrian and Iranian nuclear threats.

And then there are those less-obvious, historical political and ethnic connections between Israel and the Caucasus.


The neocon-Likudnik war demons of Tel Aviv and D.C. put their cancerous touch on their tool in Tbilisi, and like Abe Lincoln on crack (a redundancy?) Saakashvili went to work. In probably the most aggressive chapter of resistance-crushing in this post-Soviet conflict, Georgia treated South Ossetia on August 7–8 as the state of Israel treated the West Bank town of Samua on November 13, 1966, the Syrian Golan on June 5–6, 1967, and S. Lebanon on July 12, 2006.

Those Israeli aggressions were veiled and backwardly-spun as defensive moves, but were merely ethnic-cleansing and land-grab operations for political and financial purposes. Similarly fraudulent, Saakashvili’s power play is disguised as a defensive attempt to secure Georgian sovereignty, when in fact, like the decades-long Israeli ethnic-cleansing charade against the Palestinians, it’s really all about resources and political power.

The means are the same; the ends are only superficially different.

— Saakashvili needs the “territorial integrity” and “peace”; without it, there is no guarantee of NATO membership and the benefits thereof. And a constant struggle, to be seen as truly democratic while suppressing the growing political opposition, looms. Without the phony image of an ever-aggressive existential threat — Russia — there’s no justification, right or wrong, for further U.S. support. To “secure” that defensive posture in the media, and thereby all the spoils, he must perform for his U.S. and Israeli masters.

— Israel must continue its ethnic cleansing of Palestine, retain its occupation of the Syrian Golan, and one day invade S. Lebanon again; otherwise, the Jewish [sic] state will have to start earning its water and oil, and the entire Zionist enterprise would be a total failure, only reaching the Jordan River to the East and not even the Litani in the North. Furthermore, without the contrived existential threats — Hamas, Hezbullah, Iran — U.S. support lacks justification. But, whereas Georgia had to earn its status as media darling, the U.S. media and think-tank establishment have long been Israeli-occupied territories, and U.S. officials must therefore perform for them. (Not that Georgia doesn’t have a D.C. lobby of its own.)

Put another, simpler way: Georgia and Israel are cash cows for the MIC, with a few major situational differences. Israel, as mentioned above, is more like “the tail that wags the U.S. dog,” whereas Saakashvili and his otherwise insignificant, nuke-less nation must dance the the tune of their sponsors to earn his gig; South Ossetia was, at one time, an uncontested part of Georgia, whereas none of the IOPTs have ever been legally recognized as parts of Israel; and the Palestinians have no Russia of their own, so Israel hasn’t had to endure a dominating response from the targets of its aggression, or the victims’ allies.*


* – It wasn’t Hezbullah’s firepower, necessarily, that dominated the Israeli invaders in 2000 and 2006.



Posted on

Aug. 16,2008
Damian Lataan

Events have moved along quickly with regard to the Georgia crisis. I get the distinct impression that the neoconservatives are now back-peddling somewhat from their aggressive stance against the Russians as they realise that it could jeopardise their primary commitment to Israel and their push for regime change in Iran. The neocons have quickly realised that the Russians aren’t going to be the pushover they first thought they were going to be. There has been posture and counter posture from both sides but there is only so much posturing the two sides can do without actual confrontation and, since the Russians have the advantage of home turf, the US are now all postured out and the Russians still haven’t budged.

Frederick Kagan writing in the neocon comic, The Weekly Standard, says: “The Cold War isn’t back. The Russian attacks on Georgia don’t mean American soldiers will soon be staring at Red Army soldiers in the middle of Germany or that U.S. defense spending must triple to match a global Russian military juggernaut.” Kagan even concedes, without actually saying it, that Russia has got the better of the situation; he writes: “American rhetoric about Russia’s actions has been strong but has not deterred Putin from pushing even harder.” The reality is that while American rhetoric maybe aggressive, there is nothing they can do if Russia, as it has, digs its heels in and effectively tells the US to get knotted. Had the Russians backed off as the US demanded, the neocons and the Bush administration would have felt more confident in resuming their stance against Iran but since the Russians haven’t backed off the neocons and the administration have now found that it is they that need to back off from confrontation with Russia. Failure to do so could otherwise completely alienate the Russians and push them into the Iranian camp whereby the Iranian nuclear issue becomes part of the rhetoric in the standoff between the US and Russia – something the neocons and the Bush administration would be keen to avoid at all costs.

As the window of opportunity continues to close the countdown to a Final Confrontation with Iran is still ticking though the US and Israel are going to find it very difficult to get the regime change they need in Iran with the Russians breathing down their necks in anger.

posted by Damian Lataan



The rushed signing yesterday of a deal between the US and Poland for the US to base ten Interceptor missiles at a base in Poland renders totally transparent the US administrations assertion that the missile defence system is to protect Europe from attack by a nuclear armed Iran.

Over the past year or so the US, together with help from neocon front organisations, has insisted that the missile defence system they want to install in Eastern Europe is to protect the region from the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. Russia has always seen the transparency in this assertion and has objected to the US having their missile defence systems on their doorsteps saying that they are a threat to their own security.

The recent events in Georgia and the resulting stand-off between Russia and the US, culminating in yesterday’s expedited signing of a deal with Poland allowing the missiles to be positioned there, has reinforced Russia’s claims that the placement of the systems in East Europe has nothing to do with threats from Iran and everything to do with the further projection of US hegemony right up to Russia’s doorstep. The talks between Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk were centred against a background of discussion about US pledges to back Warsaw against any Russian aggression with Iran only being mentioned in passing as the Polish government and the US attempted to maintain the façade of the missiles only being for defence against Iran. If that’s the case then why the rush to sign off on the deal?

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the neocons have been behind the push to confrontation with Russia as they realise their War on Terrorism is falling apart in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of being a ‘War on Terrorism’ in these places its becoming clear to the world that, far from being ‘terrorists’, those that are fighting the Americans and their allies are simply wanting their respective nations back. A renewed Cold War with the Russians is just what the US and their allies need at the moment to distract a watching world from the neocons failures everywhere else.

The difference this round, however, is that Russia is not Iraq or Afghanistan. The US, contrary to what they think about themselves, is not the world’s only superpower; Russia can be more than a match for them.

The US should be reminded that they do have weapons of mass destruction and, if their tenacious ability to defend their mother country as displayed during the Second World War is anything to go by, they would be more than willing to use them.

posted by Damian Lataan