No Remorse: RT caught in Tbilisi brutal dispersal of Georgia protesters

http://www.farosradio.gr/el/faros-news/item/1495-gerogia.html Could Georgia be the next phase of the  ”Arab Revolution”?
Georgia, under President Saakashvili, is one of the most pro-Washington
countries, in the hot area of Caucasus. With the first view it would seem
immune from the wave of revolutions that swept Egypt, Libya and other
countries in the past months. After all … it is not an Arab state!

There are, however, remarkable events and similarities which started to be
pointed out around the time of the military attack against Libya. The public
protests against Saakashvili in May 2011 in Georgia (called Silver Revolution
due to the large number of old people with grey hair and just a few weeks
after a questionable EU Report, positive for Georgia in terms of democratic
progress), increased the level of similarities. The brutal police response
shocked even those who prepared the report. They make an outside observer
wonder whether we will witness a repetition of the Arab revolutions in a more
northern state.

The West was not really informed about violent clashes between Georgian
protestors against President Saakashvili and riot police forces in late May
2011. According to statements, to the English-speaking channel “Russia Today”
(http://rt.com/news/georgia-government-blame-russia/), from investigative
journalist Wayne Madsen: “Like Mubarak, we certainly know that one of the
criticisms by the opposition is the corruption rampant in this government. It
is very nepotistic administration he runs. So we are seeing a lot of people
saying enough is enough, leaving his government, joining the opposition.
Saakashvili, on the other hand, is claiming that somehow Russia is behind this
rebellion. He is doing the same things that Gaddafi did in Libya by blaming
Al-Qaeda. Mubarak, of course, blamed everybody for his problems”. Both Mubarak
and Gaddafi had established close relations with the US, Britain and other
western countries.

Political analyst Mikhail Aleksandrov, added “I think [Saakashvili’s] regime
is a bit worried about what’s happening in the Middle East, and the situation
in Georgia is very similar to what happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Unfortunately, we do not see an adequate reaction from the international
community, as it was in the case of the Middle East”.

In May 26, Georgian police dispersed protestors who were on the streets for
five days, in order not to be around the military parade for the country’s
independence anniversary. Thousands of protesters wanted to block the military
parade, demanding the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. They
accused him of power abuse as well as “state-sanctioned corruption”.

Even the Russian delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe (PACE), Konstantin Kosachev noted that Saakashvili does to Georgians
exactly what Gaddafi does to Libyans and Russia responds in the same way as
the international community responds to the Libya situation. PACE used to be a
field of collisions especially when Russia was accusing western countries of
double standards: closing the eyes in Saakashvili’s tough rule in Georgia,
while protesting for Libya, Egypt, etc.

The Council of Europe human rights commissioner Thomas Hammarberg,
paradoxically, published a report in April 2011 (a month before the violent
clashes in Georgia) in which he says that Georgia successfully cultivates

The above clearly show that we already have Saakashvili attributed the
characteristics of Gaddafi and Mubarak, therefore, psychologically preparing
for a possible “Arab rebellion in Caucasus? Even Gaddafi, was now proved to
have a very close cooperation with the intelligence and security Services from
Britain and the United States, while all other deposed Arab leaders were
considered to be close to Washington. Just like President Saakashvili is.

However, Libya and Georgia had more close relations. Georgia possibly supplied
refined gasoline to Gaddafi, during the western strikes, from the Georgian
strategic reserves, as was revealed in the first week of May 2011 According to
the Turkish newspaper Zaman, the Libyan oil tanker Cartagena arrived at the
Georgian port of Poti in April 2011 and then at the Turkish port of Mersin,
before returning to Libya. Both Georgian and Turkish authorities claimed they
know nothing about any transactions.

The Georgians are not the only ones protesting against Saakashvili. Greek
minorities in the Caucasus area were fiercely opposing him and the policy of
the Georgian authorities against Greeks, with persecutions, Georgian settlers,
etc, which led many of the Greeks (Pontians and others) seek refuge in Greece.

During August 2008 the Greek (Pontian) association ARGO published a statement
(http://pontiakathemata.blogspot.com/2008/08/blog-post_12.html – in Greek)
revealing that during the 2007 Saakashvili visit to Athens, this issue was
raised to the Greek authorities, although the Greek authorities did not do
anything substantial. The heavy influence of the United States on Greek
governments seems to be the main reason.

The following Wikileaks document from the US Embassy in Athens shows that
Washington was influencing even journalists to be in line with its policy in
Georgia. This message telegraphed by US Ambassador Speckhard, reveals that top
Greek journalists even reported to US officers about what parts of Russian
officers’ comments were edited when presenting the official line they had from
Moscow. The US Ambassador praised SKY TV “With its well-chosen presentation of
key U.S. positions, the station achieved very high journalistic standards in
this broadcast”.

October 2, 2008
ATHENS 001396
E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary and Introduction: Greece’s elite, progressive SKAI TV devoted
the September 29 season premiere of its popular “60 Minutes”-style
investigative show “Neoi Fakkeloi” (The New Files, or Folders) to the
Georgia-Russia crisis, featuring an interview conducted on location in Tbilisi
with EUR DAS Matt Bryza. With its well-chosen presentation of key U.S.
positions, the station achieved very high journalistic standards in this
broadcast, also available in streaming video and in transcript form on its
website (REF), as well as on YouTube. Next Monday night, October 6, the series
continues with “Gazprom’s Global Project.” End Summary and Introduction.

2. (U) After a straightforward presentation of the events of “Three Days in
August,” Bryza appears in the second of the show’s four segments. This part
focuses on U.S., Georgian, and Russian diplomacy and is entitled “The ‘Secret’
War.” It explores “how close we came to a new Cold War,” says Alexis
Papahelas, probably the best-known journalist in Greece, in his introduction.
Bryza is credited as “the one who spoke to the Georgians that night,” and is
shown making three key points: that the U.S. discouraged any Georgian military
response; that Russian provocations preceded it; and that Russia failed to
achieve anything.

3. (U) Speaking for their governments along by now established lines,
Georgia’s Minister for Reintegration Temuri Yakobashvili and Russian
Federation Council Deputy Vasili Likhatchev (Vice President of the
International Relations Committee) also appear in this segment. In addition,
Moscow-based journalist Peter Lavelle, “an American who is also the main
anchor for Russia Today,” at one point exclaims that “it’s absolute lunacy!”
to believe that Russia is to blame. An interview with “Saakashvili on the New
Files” follows, and the show concludes with “The Last Greeks of the Caucasus,”
which focuses on the plight of the ethnic Greek diaspora in Georgia.

4. (SBU) Comment: One of the show’s three co-anchors told us that the Russian
government was slow to respond to the station’s invitation, and that the
Federation Council deputy was uncomfortable, beginning most of his answers
with “The official line is…” This preface apparently hit the cutting room
floor during the editing process, while the Russia Today journalist’s wild
gesticulations were kept in because they make for “good television (imagery),”
we were told. Still, overall, the show was balanced and made an important
contribution to getting the U.S. message out in Greece. Post wishes to thank
Embassy Tbilisi for its assistance with this project. SPECKHARD

Time will show if there will be any change in Georgia before the Presidential
elections, however, the climate that was cultivated after May 2011, obviously
attributed Mubarak and Gaddafi characteristics to President Saakashvili.

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