Sunday, August 31, 2008

Russians kill critical website owner - more trouble ahead!

BBC World ( reports today that a owner of a internet site was shot dead in custody of the police in Ingushetia. Magomed Yevloyev, owner of the site, was a vocal critic of the region's administration (Russia).
Oh, and by the way, website owners is not the main worry at the moment: The opposition in Ingushetia also says they wants help from the international community to become independent from Russia, Echo Moskvy reports today on their front page..(
Well, Vladimir. Maybe you opened Padoras box...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Despair and growing Isolation

Following a pretty optimstic visit to the SCO - the organisation of Asian countries (as a counterwight of NATO) including omong others China, Khazakstan, Uzbekistan, Tadsjikistan (BBC World), Medvedev brought a rather preliminary victory to the media: "Heavy support for Russia", "something for the west to take notice of"! But when the resolution hit the road it instead stated a BIG worry for the situation, and no recognition for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. China also found it neccesary to further elaborate on their worries in a separate statement saying that conflict MUST be solved through discussions and negotiations (BBC World, Echo Moskvy). That means isolation for Russia. I might add that Australia also joined the west in condemning Russia (BBC World)
So what's the Russian scores then? Well Hamas and Belarus have supported Russia together with Cuba and Chaves in Venezuela. Quite a team. I guess Lukasjenko had no option, being already isolated with Russia as his most friendly naighbor. Naturally desperation increases as Kouchners hints about EU-sanctions against Russia. Putin therefor tried changed the story of genocide and the heroic liberation of the innocents, and went for the usual Big Conspiracy: US rigged the conflict as a favour to presidental candidate McCain. And finally Lavrov has managed to give "Russian Diplomacy" a face.
Besides that Finland today assured the world that it has the ability to defend it self, contrary to their NATO neighbors (Aftenposten).

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Russian Disgrace

As reporters from CNN and BBC World reports from Georgia, it gets more and more clear that the russian troops and Sout Ossetian separatists have burned, looted and destroyed a lot of Georgian villages. The savagery is total with the Russians use of cluster bombs. Further Georgia Online reports that the Russian plan according to military officials in Cremlin is to still occupy the important black sea port Poti and Senaki in addition to establish a "security zone" around South Ossetia. CNN also reports that SS21 missiles are present in South Ossetia. There is impossible for the UN securitycouncil to reach a decision on the conflict, because Russia threathens with a VETO. They will VETO it if they are forced to fulfil the cease-fire agreement which they signed. The key point of dispute now seems to be the West's insistence on Georgia's territorial integrity and Moscow's unwillingness to even recognize it, Victor Yasman writes in an article on Radio Free Europe.
He continues:
The main trophy for Moscow in the conflict is clearly Abkhazia, which in Soviet times was called the pearl of the Black Sea coast. The region lies just 30 kilometers from Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Russian government is expected to invest around $30 billion in that event, and Abkhazia is playing an important role in the process of "absorbing" that investment. The region has long been known as a zone for laundering criminal capital from across Russia and, particularly, from Moscow.
So it's of course a matter of money for one of the richest men in the world, Vladimir Putin and his corrupt "oligarchs". This war and occupation has been characterized by extreme brutality and severe destruction from the Russian side, and one can ask the question of how this nation became so uncivilized? Putin is undoubtably a man for whom human lives / costs bares no significance for decisions as long as he benefits from it. But it's not only about this former KGB man: During this conflict Russia has lost all credibility. In fact the war crimes they have committed is so serious, that any other leader would have faced criminal charges. In the end this is a matter which must be solved within the Russian nation. The Russian men and women have a responsibility to protest when the elections is rigged. They have a responsibility to say NO when savagery and destruction is conducted in their name.
The peoples feeling of responsibility started the Rose revolution in Georgia, and lead to the young democracy Russia now has destroyed and occupied. Putins notion of democracy is something he calls a souvereign democracy. That means: People can vote as long as they vote for him, people are free as long as they do what he says.
We call it dictatorship.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Russian defeat - media crushes Russias “truth”

What appeared to be a perfect timing for the attack, media being occupied with the Olympics in Beijing, ended up as a fatal mistake for the Russians. They had prepared the story about genocide and aggression well, but miscalculated some basic news criteria. The Norwegian professor Sigurd Allern mentions polarization, conflict, relevance, possibility to identify culturally with the matter, and how important and powerful the countries involved are. And as such this conflict fulfils all criteria’s for news coverage.

The old rhetoric from the cold war was revitalized, and it was very easy for the readers / viewers to get a hold of the story and identify with the old conflict lines. It was after some time evident that there was good-guys and the traditional Russian bad-guys. The US president spoke clearly about all traditional western values, and was supported by European leaders. There was drama! BBC and CNN was our eyes on the ground and told the story about David being crushed by Goliath, and the US marshal on his way to rescue. Beijing Olympics were completely abandoned in this context. It just could not compete, so the media ran Georgia vs Russia as top story for now 10 days with analysis, background, live coverage, victim reports and interviews. All parties, the Georgian president with his emotional messages tailor-made for media on English, Pres Bush’s threats, Merkels visit to Medvedev in Sochi, and Sarkozy’s negotiations with the Russians all contributed to create the biggest LIVE drama in Media possibly on line with the Invasion in Iraq. (Or maybe even bigger). We had constant and very fast development through the entire conflict. Words like "cyber war" increased the tension and the feeling of something entirely ”new” in warfare. It also helped that Russian soldiers uploaded videos from their cell-phones to Youtube showing them looting baracks and shops in Gori.

The Russian propaganda machine had no chance withstanding this massive coverage where action on ground contradicted all the Russians was saying. The ”humanitarian” rescue operation was contradicted by the excessive damage the Russians inflicted on Georgia ”LIVE”. ”The Genocide” was effectively revealed as a lie by Human Rights Watch after 6 days, when they entered South Ossetia. That being the only thing giving legitimacy for the Russian attack, the whole charade fell apart. The last message from Churkin was that he accused media of being wrong. Something usually regarded as a major mistake. Another important point is that Russian media does not reach outside Russia to the western world, and is known to be limited in trustworthiness due to governmental control. An example of the Russian media coverage is the internet newspaper Echo Moskvy, which today reports from their defence sources that...

“Georgians, Ukrainian nationalists and Chechen bandits have set up an armed group outside of Gori. This group plans to enter Gori in Russian uniforms to shoot and humiliate the local population. This is going to be videotaped and distributed to the world to show the world what kind of barbarians Russians are”.
(Echo Moskvy

Now why would they write something hillarious like that? Simple. The videos showing Russian soldiers looting Gori has already been showed to the western world..the soldiers have uploaded them to You tube and tapes from surveillance cameras have been showed on TV ( TV2 among others), so when the videos finally show up in Russia, the explanation is already clear: This is Georgians and Ukrainian nationalist trying to make the Russians look bad.
At this moment it seems like the big looser in the conflict, despite the obvious military victory, is Russia. Through it’s savage attack and persistant destruction of Georgian infrastructure even after the ceasefire deal was signed they probably scared Poland to make a quick decision to host the US missile shield, contributed to unite the ex-soviet republics even more (which the manifestation I Tbilisi by the Baltics, Ukraine and Polands presidents showed). It also has pushed Ukrain to seek cooperation with US on their missile defence, worry the whole of Europe, and deteriorated relations with EU. They face possible eviction from G8, and there is serious questions about the SOCHI 2014 Olympics. Another leverage from US is economical sanctions, which can be catastrophal for Russia according to commentators on CNN. This leads up to isolation and of course no WTO deal. The Russians got an international attention around Abkhazia and S-Ossetia, with EU and US clearly stating that Georgian integrity is not up for debate.
The Georgians has lost many troops and civilians, but managed to get a long sought attention around Abkhazia and S-Ossetia. Get international support for their territorial integrity. They have a destroyed infrastructure which EU and US have committed to rebuild very fast. Georgia also today got a rather sensational reassurances from Angela Merkel ( CNN / BBC) that Georgia WILL be a NATO member. Sensational because Angela Merkel was the one that brought Russias protests to the NATO countries (NRK)

The Russians have been revealed by the media as the real aggressor, and has lost the legitimacy they though they had given the operation - much thanks to the media coverage from particulary CNN and BBC World. One can argue that this are western media, but the Russian actions on the ground verified by independent organizations has contradicted their statements, and as such contributed to further undermine their credibility. In this conflict media has played a very active and important role reporting from a very tough, unpredictable and dangerous situation on the ground. Many have been killed, and we have seen journalists being shot at in cars (Turkish TV reporters), targeted actively by Russian fighter planes ( BBC Worlds reporters), and shot during reporting ( Georgian reporter). All documented on video, and shown in news reports. And as we all know: The politicians listens to what the media says – they create the opinion. As victim the Georgian President Saakashvili has played an important role. In spite of emotional and erratic behaviour, ha has in a strange way managed to communicate the essence of the conflict in a clear and understandable manner. It’s easy to be sympathetic to this man fighting for freedom, democracy and his small country against the destructive aggressor. He manage to hold the wolrd leaders responsible for his own mistakes; a too direct interpretations of diffuse political intentions and support. And he has been a master in this game. Saakashvili might be finished as president after this, but one should admire his efforts and success in communicating and maneuvering in this extreme situation.

How this conflict will evolve from here is difficult to predict. The Russians have accomplished little else but damaging their reputation and another country severely. And the damage increases for every day Russian forces stay in Georgia with news coverage showing looting and destruction of infrastructure. It doesn't seem to be perceived that way by the Russian leaders, and I would be surpriced if they pull out their forces tomorrow, as promised by Medvedev.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A new Chechenya?

Russian troops are digging in and heads towards Tbilisi. They have occupied six more cities after the ceasefire agreement has been signed. Lies, lies and more lies. To me it seems that the purpose of the whole operation is to create a new Chechenya. Vladimir Putin, being the particular nasty piece of work he is, have used cluster bombs, vaacum bombs and SS21 missiles on the Georgian population: Veapons of mass destruction. That's nothing new. His total destruction of Chechenya is a good example. Interestingly he is using mercenaries and regular troops from..yes Chechenya, where the less than human Kadyrov is his puppet.

A Scent of the Seventies

An amazing collection of personalities I thought disappeared during the seventies have emerged on the media scene the last week, stuttering away on english to reach the masses. The effect of the Russian communication hasn't been quite like expected. Obviously the Russian story about who started the war, who really is the agressor, and their peacekeeping humanitarian mission has been completely dismembered. Vitaly Churkin, the Russian UN ambassador accused the media of being totally wrong about everything. I guess he is used to the media he can control. This has upset many Russian officials used to construct and interpret their own distorted reality freely. Most of all I have been impressed by the persistance theese Russian officials have tried to communicate this VERY thin story with, even though their actions on the ground have told the contrary. But after this, at least I have become convinced that the black and white men from the seventies driving around in Ladas loaded with skopalamin and taperecorders still exists.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Alledged Massacres in S-Ossetia

Russian Human Rights Watch has been inside South Ossetia and says that the allegations of genocide and massmurders are false. Doctors and personell inside South Ossetia estimate the number of casualties after Georgian shelling to be tens, Tatiana Lokshina says. Not houndreds or, as Russians claims , thousands.

For those of you reading Russian, the whole report can be found here:
Another article from the same representant says that Georgian villages were burned inside South Ossetia:
Novaya Gazeta is the newspaper Anna Politkovskaya worked

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Russia, a case for the psychiatry

Medvedev was allowed to say that "The agressor has been punished". Looking at all the "prominent" leaders in Russia who has been present in the media the last days, you might wonder how they manage to be so consistent in their distorted view of realities and portrayal of them selves and their nation. The grandiose self emerges in their "punishment" of the bad naighbor, failing to consider that most of the world remember FSB's blowing up huge apartemets buildings in Moscow in 2000 to legitimize the extermination of Chechenya by blaming "Chechen terrorists" for the deed. The massacres in Chechenya have been documentet throug many documentaries and pictures, not to mention through reportages from now killed journalist like Politkovskaya. And not to mention the ethnic cleansing Russian military forces did in Abkhazia in the early 90ties, where nearly 400 000 Georgians were forced from their homes by Russian SPETZNAS forces in cooperation with terrorist Shamil Basajevs forces, and into Georgia, where most still live in extreme powerty without any belongings. The Georgian army had ealier, with considerable brutality, tried to fight the separatisk groups, and thereby lit the fire.
I wrote on this blog 11. july that I feared for a war. That was because of all the provocations Russia did to the Georgians. I watched the events leading up to the armed intervention in South Ossetia by the Georgians. It started early in july with separatists attacking official Georgian vehicles with bombs, and a threat to asassinate the South Ossetian leader which is loyal to the Georgian. (There are two different groups in S-Ossetia, one of them ethnic Georgians. The South Ossetian separatists have been armed and financed by the Russian, like the separatists in Abkhazia). And the night of 7. august separatist started to shoot at them, placing Saakashvili in the impossible dilemma of protecting Georgian citizens or run. Georgian forces entered the region, and protected their citizens. Then out of nothing 150 tanks came rolling out of from Russian side. Saakashvili ordered a unilateral ceasefire, but failed to get contact with the separatists. This was widely covered by several TV channels. ( And I have a degree in media analysis, so I am not easily fooled by propaganda). The parliament speaker Bakradze later stated that they had fired at this massive force of Russian tanks to stop them entering Georgian territory. This was the Russian trap. A carefully planned trap, where Georgia was forced to protect their citizens, and thus gave the Russians legitimacy to attach, seize South Ossetia, and ALSO Abkhazia which has been on their wishlist for several years. They deployed 3000 new troops in there in may-june. It also need to be said that Saakashvili for several years have tried to get sufficient monitoring of the breakaway regions without much luck. This is also something that Transparency international has pointed out as a crucial point fuelling the conflict.
Another aim was also to exercice power towards the west, remove Saakashvili, and destroy Georgias possibilities for a NATO membership.
Who was the agressor, and has he been punished? I think Russia is a case for the psychyatry and Haag rather than the Securitycouncil.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My sister in law

So what do I tell my sister in law? She called now at approx. 20.20 and asked what to do, as russian fighters now are crossing over her appartement in Tbilisi where she's alone. After some thinking I adviced her to go from the fifth floor and down to the ground, a bit away from the building in case it taks a direct hit, like so many buildings in Gori.
I hope this is the correct advice.

The Russian cancer

As Russian troops now enters West Georgian cities Zugdidi and Senagi it seems clear that the plan is to annex Georgia. South Ossetia was the trap that gave the russians "legitimacy" to invade Georgia. This is of course by no means a surprice, given the fact that Putin deployed thousands of peacekeepers into Abkhazia in may-june. The Russians are indeed not interested in any ceasefire.
It is a sad day for democracy and human rights. With half my family in Georgia, I cannot find strong enough words to describe my feelings towards the murderers and psychopaths residing in Moscow. The Russian cancer has spread over the mountains.
The Georgians doesnt deserve to be annexed by the degenerates in Russia for the 3rd time. Now there is time for deploying NATO peacekeepers into Georgia. If not, Georgia will be lost as a democracy.

Putins Blitzkrieg

Swedens FM Carl Bildt also uses the image of Hitler and his ruthless blitzkrieg when he describes Putins devastating destruction of Georgia. "We remember Hitlers doctrines", he says to Aftenposten today. The obvious question then ofcourse surfaces: Where is our Churchill?
What I think is particulary useful to do is to ask "what or who is NOT in the media" when I analyse newscoverage. In this particular case the answer is: Gordon Brown, Nikolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. Even Norways FM Jonas Gahr Støre has condemned the Russian aggression together with Bush and Carl Bildt.
Why is that, do you think?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stop this psychopath!

The Russians extreme violence in Georgia is surely a proof of what I have been saying for almost two years now: Putin couldn't care less about international law and nations. Also listening to the Russian UN ambassador Victor Churkin speaking in the security council made me sure that diplomacy is a wasted exercise on that kind of intellectual level he represents. Russia has become a serious headache that must be dealt with. We need active measures to prevent this gang of thugs to infest more countries with their precence.
Speaking with my family in Tbilisi, it is obvious that all internetconnections are dead, no mobile networks are up, but SKYPE works. So for those who wish to contact friends and relatives, getting a SKYPE account is a solution.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Putin - our times Hitler

Now this Russian operation seems to have been planned long ahead of the events. Obviously they want to use the Olympics in Bejing as a diversion from their annexation of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. So while the world leaders attend banquets and smile in Beijing, Russia does it's dirty work so they once more can show up in 2014 in Sochi to smile, shake hands and surely celebrate Putins new triumphs. Maybe he by then has managed to put another moron in charge of Georgia, like the degenerate in Chechenya.

We get the leaders we deserve, but surely nobody has deserved Putin. Not even his mother.

Russian attack on Georgia

Yesterday I returned from 5 weeks in Georgia, and as most of you already know, the Russian war-machine has started it's destructive work in Georgia. I feel the need to remind you that they up to now has killed 500 000 in Checheny, the neighbouring country of Georgia. Now the Russians claim to protect "their citizens" in South Ossetia. That is som few thousand people which the Russian has handed out passports to. The region is infected with separatists and criminals running illegal trafick of black market goods and drugs to Georgia, and as such serves as a channel of money for a huge number of russian officials. Yes it's the local Sopranos. The clash in South Ossetia escalated due to constant provocations during the recent month, where Ossetian separatists targeted Georgian officials with Russian made radiocontroled car-bombs at several occations. Of course this is Russian citizens which must be protected. So now the Russians bombs Poti, a prestige project wich consists of new harbours and a special freezone for economic development at the Black sea, far away from Ossetia.
Georgia can expect no help from the impotent Europe, which up to now also has been content with just urging the Russians to stop the genocide in Checheny. I am utterly ashamed of being an European, allowing the Russian criminals to act like they please without doing something to prevent it.