Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Misha goes to Hollywood.

Moviedirector Renny Harlin is now shooting a movie about the 2008 war in Georgia starring Hollywood stars like Val Kilmer (plays journalist) and Andy Garcia (plays Misha). Georgiandaily.com today writes that ”Georgian media have raised questions about the film's impartiality, pointing out that co-producer Davitaia is a pro-Saakashvili member of parliament”.

Movies are NEVER impartial.
Now, who told Georgian media that film’s are supposed to be impartial? A Hollywood movie should evoke emotions, excitement, horror. It’s entertainment! Was Eisenstein ever impartial? Film is art, film is emotions. film is propaganda, film is aesthetics, film is about dreams…and money. But film is NEVER impartial. And frankly: Who cares about impartiality when top notch actors are protagonists in a pro-Georgian drama (hopefully)?

Russians make great crooks.
Let me remind you that Russians have been perfect antagonists in many films for centuries now. Who seriously want to change that? Remember from the Bond-movies the evil SMERSH Colonel Rosa Klebb?(From Russia With Love) The Russian commander of DDR forces, General Orlov (”Octopussy”), the corrupt General Georgi Koskov (”The Living Daylights”). And of course we remember Viktor Lavrentievich Zokas, better known by his alias of Renard, the Anarchist and KGB-trained assasin in ”The World Is Not Enough” (dismissed from KGB due to his mental instability??Who was ever dismissed from the KGB due to mental instability??). And NOT to forget: the Georgian female villain Xenia Onatop, ex-Soviet pilot and KGB assassin, in ”Golden Eye”. So what can possibly go wrong with a spin like “Russia as imperialist-nation-seeking-world- dominance lead by a mentally instable Renard-like character of Bonditudinal proportions attacking innocent democratic neighbours in cooperation with local mafia/terrorists/traitors” (Feel free to choose).

Come on. This is great publicity for Georgia, even, and hopefully, good propaganda too. Actually, when I come to think about it..Putin..Renard…..?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meanwhile...on the Dark Side

I fell for this one. Enjoy, my friends!

Analysis of the reasons of the beginnings of wars and armed conflicts:
By the example of the Georgian military aggression in South Ossetia the Defense Minister of the Republic of South Ossetia Lieutenant-General Jury Tanaev showed officers and students of the Military academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Abkhazia that the states which launch wars will be punished sooner or later. Officers and students of the Military academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Abkhazia listened to the lectures of the Defense Minister of South Ossetia with great interest”, the Abkhaz TV reports.

I bet they did. It must have been quite a revelation in all its profound philosophical and ironical depth.

(Lifted from the Official Site of Abkhazian President Bagapsh)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Russia's new military doctrine opens for first strike nuclear attacks in "local or regional wars"

The Russian newspaper Izvestia reports that Cremlin is working on a new military doctrine on first strike use of nuclear arms against “aggressors”. That must include Georgia according to President Medvedev’s statement after the war in Georgia in 2008: “The aggressor has been punished”.

Patrushev: “Nuclear weapons could be used in case of a nuclear attack, but also in 'regional or even local wars.”
According to Izvestia, “Russia will insist on the right to pre-emptive nuclear strikes against aggressor countries in its new military doctrine”, the head of the country's Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said.

A greater threat to Russia's neighboring countries

This new doctrine is contrary to US nuclear military policy, which do not allow for first strike attacks. This leads us once more to seriously wonder what’s going on in the Cremlin. Such an aggressive move means a further treat to Russia’s bordering countries and serves no civilized purpose. As we have seen the later period, US’ reset has had no impact on the hawks in Moscow when it comes to serious cooperation on for instance Iran. Judging from this doctrine, one could on the contrary be led to believe that Russia today poses a significant greater danger to civilization than Iran: The combination of Putins restoration of Stalin as "a great leader", Russia claiming a priveledged sphere of influence in the former Soviet space, and now the suggested doctrine of first strike use of nuclear arms against local/regional wars and "agressors" should really start to worry all governments in the modern world.

Who's the target?
Georgia certainly will have to seriously consider it self as a prime target for a nuclear attack from Russia. The latest Russian accusations of Georgia supporting and aiding Al Quaeda operations in Russia is a reminder of the fact that the war is not over. Russia uses all means available to portray Georgia as an aggressor, and thus threatens Georgia with first strike use of nuclear arms if neccessary. Judging by Russia’s willingness to use excessive force in the attack on Georgia in 2008, this represents a real threat to Georgia and also Ukraine, where the situation on the Crimean peninsula is gradually heating up. In fact the whole of North Caucasus might be targeted due to uprise and intensivated terrorist attacs in several regions.
Sources: DPI, AP, Izvestia.
Link to the doctrine (Curtesy of V.Konnander): http://www.scrf.gov.ru/documents/99.html

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The "Georgian Radio-Liberty swindle"

Last week Radio Free Europe /Radio Liberty sent an official letter to the Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia, in which the radio station proposed to open a representative office in the republic, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia, Sergey Shamba (picture) told Apsnypress. Shamba gave his consent, but set some serios conditions to be met for the free press:

“I stand for the expansion of the freedom of speech; the main thing is that it should have nothing to do with Georgia in any way”.
So the RFE/RL office was reluctantly ok’ed. But what about broadcasting? That's a whole other departement, and a very different head: Namely The head of The Department of Governmental Information and Mass Media of Abkhazia, Christian Bzhania. He is extremely worried about this unheard of proposal of free press broadcasting inside Abkhazia. He strongly objects to the very thought of it, and guarantees this won’t happen on HIS watch:
“An attempt to start Radio Liberty's broadcasting over the territory of Abkhazia will be illegal with all the respective consequences.[..]The worst time, the time of pirated radio-penetration into "enemy's territory" seems to linger behind the editorial office of the radio station.[..] Should it start broadcasting, we’ll take tough measures, including technical ones, up to radio signal suppression. [..] We have such means. Then, all this Georgian-Radio-Liberty swindle will go broke [..]”.

It’s the US, stupid!
To further contribute to rising mr. Bezhania's bloodpressure, one might add that the radio-station is financed partly through US Congress, and is what Hillary Clinton calls a great example of Smart Power. The obvious problem with free press is that it tends to interfere with the political agenda from time to time, and not to forget: also with the official Russian interpretation of the sole concept of free press and freedom of speech. I guess the radiowaves will experience some obstacles on their way to Abkhazian ears.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty in short: Their journalists provide uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate. RFE/RL broadcast to 20 countries in 28 languages, including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Russia. With over 400 full-time journalists, 750 freelancers, and 19 local bureaus. RFE/RL's mission is to promote democratic values and institutions by reporting the news in countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. Based on the conviction that the first requirement of democracy is a well informed citizenry, and building on over a half-century of surrogate broadcasting.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Remember the Munich Agreement?

I came to think that a reminder of some historical events could be on it's place in these all cuddly relation reset times:
(Pics and facts from Wikipedia).

Neville Chamberlain
, announcing the Munich Agreement:
“[T]he settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine[..]"My good friends, for the second time in our history a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time."
Winston Churchill, denouncing the Munich Agreement: "We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude...we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road...we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting". And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time".

The Lessons of Munich: In
international relations, the Lesson of Munich asserts that adversaries will interpret restraint as indicating a lack of capability or political will or both. The name refers to the appeasement ( the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding an armed conflict which would be expensive, bloody, and possibly dangerous) of Hitler's Nazi Germany in negotiations toward the eventual Munich Agreement. Many scholars argue that Neville Chamberlain's capitulation to German demands guaranteed eventual war as Hitler believed he could do as he pleased without the other Great Powers going to war to stop him. Steven Chan describes the moral as "appeasement discredits the defenders' willingness to fight, and encourages the aggressor to escalate his demands."

Thursday, October 01, 2009

France would like to help Russia assault their neighbours “more swiftly”.

According to Reuters, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said France might sell a French assault ship to Russia. The Mistral-class ships can be used in amphibious assaults and can carry tanks, helicopters, and other armoured vehicles and personnel. The purchase would be Russia's biggest arms purchase from abroad.
“If Russia had had this kind of ship in its fleet, it could have moved more swiftly in the Black Sea during last year's war with Georgia. Instead of taking 26 hours to perform certain unnamed tasks, it would have taken the Russian Black Sea fleet 40 minutes with such a warship”, naval commander Vladimir Vysotsky said.
"This political agreement should be reached, I think, but it's not up to me to decide ... concerning this wonderful warship," Kouchner told Moscow's Ekho Moskvy radio station on Thursday.
This puts Sarkozy’s negotiation of the size fire agreement between Georgia and Russia, which Russia has declined to fulfil, in a strange light. Georgia is also a key energy transit route for oil and gas from the Caspian sea to Europe. That makes this deal even more irrational. Looking at France as a NATO and EU member I honestly can’t understand what goes on in the French political heads. The monumental stupidity of such a transaction is only surpassed by the amount of money the french gets for this vessel. And yes, it's more than 30 silvercoins.

Causal Attribution. Where the Tagliavini report plays in the hands of Russia.

According to Entmann, framing essentially involves selection and salience. To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described.[..] Frames, then, define problems – determine what a causal agent is doing with what costs and benefits, usually measured in terms of common cultural values; diagnose causes – identify the forces creating the problem, make moral judgements – evaluate causal agents and their effects, and suggests remedies – offer and justify treatments for the problems and predict their likely effects.
Framing divert attention to certain aspects of the matter too. This brings us to the next level: Causal attribution. Simplified this can be illustrated by Iengard’s study Framing Responsibility for Political Issues:The Case of Poverty. He shows that attitudes for a large portion is created by media framing. The context in which political questions are presented has a significant impact on how people think about them, and how much guilt they attribute to the involved. To be held accountable for a result is largely the same as being the cause of the result.
So when media, in it’s limited formats shouts out with their five words headings that “Georgia started the war”, and leaves out the fact that Russia was creating the pretext of the conflict by numerous provocations, handing out passports to the rebel-republics population on Georgian territory, arming them, sending troops into the republics and so on; the public will attribute responsibility for the war to Georgia, which is, I think most will agree, to stretch the reality a bit far and absolutely wrong, if you read the report and it’s conclusions.
The report therefore should have focused on “what was the reason for the war”, rather than “who started it”. Then the picture would have become more complicated, but still more just. Georgia maybe fired first, and to protect Georgian citizens, but that was in reality a minor part of a largely complex picture. Sooner or later Georgia would be forced to defend itself, and what Russia was after was to replace Saakashvili and to secure an unacceptable sphere of influence in the old soviet territories against NATO expansion. For months they have prepared for this war, analytics like Ilarionov, and the report states clearly.
This is too complexed for the media, which need to simplify their stories and framing. The outfall is: Georgia started the war, Georgia is to blame. Which maybe was the aim for the report, because it is unthinkable that the report would have blamed Russia, as it rightfully should, given the pretext and the political consequences for EU.