Byt utrikespolitik och utrikesminister? – Georgien och lögnerna om kriget

Är det inte dags att byta svensk utrikesminister efter Carl Bildts ensidiga ställningstagande och vidarebefodrande av Georgisk propganda inklusive jämförelsen med nazityskland. En jämförelse som troligen har sitt ursprung i den pr firma, Aspect Consulting, anlitad av Georgien som hanterade media bilden av kriget för den Georgiska sidan. Carl Bildts ställningstagande är förstås Sveriges då Fredrik Reinfeldt i stort lämnat över utrikes och försvars politiken till Carl Bildt. 

Eller varför inte byta ut delar  av den svenska media där man fortfarande sprider myten om att Georgien anfölls av Ryssland. även om man kanske inte ska förvänta sig att ledarskribenter skriver neutrala inlägg borde de i alla fall besvära sig med att kolla vad internationell media skriver. Som det reportage NY-times har nedan om hur internationella obvservatörer från O.C.S.E inte såg något av attackerna mot Georgiska byar men däremot såg tydligt hur Georgien sköt med artilleri mot delar av Tskhinvali.

Vad det egentligen handlar om är ett georgiskt försök att med militärt våld ta tillbaka territorium de i praktiken förlorat. Utrustade och tränade av USA, Israel och NATO angrep Georgierna ryska trupper och civilbefolkning. Det var med andra ord ett så direkt angrep av NATO mot Ryssland man kan komma även om ’rådgivarna’ inte deltog i stridern. 

Men troligen hade ingen väntat sig ett direkt ryskt motangrepp även om man från Ryssland knappast var omedvetna om uppyggnaden som skede.

I ryssskräckens SVD och bland alla de med direkt intresse av en konflikt med Ryssland blir händelserna förstås det omvända med en rysk agression som måste stoppas.

..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.

https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/16/georgia.russia
Saakashvili might have lost the war against Russia, but, scant
consolation perhaps, he is widely seen to have won the propaganda
battle. Big bad Russia against plucky little Georgia. Accurate or
nonsense, thanks to ”Misha’s” Brussels-based PR men, it is the picture
that’s dominating the world media.

Last year Saakashvili paid a
reported €500,000 to engage Brussels’ Aspect Consulting to brand
Georgia as a western wannabe, a Nato and European Union aspirant,
emphasising everything from its fabulous food and drink to its
liberties and democratic politics.

The PR campaign went into
overdrive last week when Georgia found itself on the receiving end of
post-Soviet Russia’s first ever invasion of another country. Reporters
covering the conflict have been showered daily with emails providing
news, contact details, mobile phone numbers of officials, video
footage, background material, and tele-conference access to Georgians
from Saakashvili down. Highly efficient, highly effective, usually
punctual.

The Kremlin’s account is held by another Brussels
agency, GPlus, which has been working for the Russian presidency for
more than two years. It insists it is not in the business of peddling
propaganda, far less falsehoods, but merely facilitates international
media access to Russian policy-makers and advises the Russians on their
media strategies. ”We give them logistical support,” said Tim Price of
GPlus.

Even the Russians are complaining that their side is
losing in the publicity stakes. ”You can’t fail to notice that Russian
leaders are ignoring the opportunity to convey their point of view to
the world,” wrote the Moscow pundit, Aleksei Arbatov. ”Saakashvili is
really never off American TV screens. I suspect that if [Russian
president] Medvedev decided to talk to foreign journalists, they would,
of course, respond.”


https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/aug/18/pressandpublishing.georgia
Whenever, to coin a phrase, a
war breaks out in a faraway country of which we know little, I am
reminded of a news editor I once worked for. He would go to a wall map
showing the location of the paper’s correspondents, produce a ruler,
and measure the distance of each from the area in question. Regardless
of travel links or national boundaries, he decreed that the nearest
should go.

It was a bit like that, I imagine, in many media
offices when the conflict between Georgia and Russia broke out. Not
only was it August, when many reporters are on holiday, it was also the
Olympics, and the few still on duty were mostly in Beijing. The
Financial Times headline, ”Georgia says Russia at war”, may have seemed
strange, but it summed up the state of Fleet Street’s verifiable
knowledge as the armies moved into action. In the age of 24-hour news,
however, the press cannot hang about waiting for reporters to arrive.
Readers want bombs, tanks and death tolls. They need to be told who are
the goodies and baddies. News, remember, is part of the entertainment
industry.

Into the vacuum stepped the Georgian government. Its
president, Mikheil Saakashvili, speaks English, wants to join Nato,
sent troops to Iraq, got himself educated at Harvard, cultivates a
media-friendly style, and sends Georgian university exam papers to be
marked in Britain, though whether he expects to get them back is
another matter. He took power in the Rose revolution of 2003-04 and
professes to be a democrat. He’s clearly an all-round good egg. And he
has a PR firm, Aspect Consulting, based in Brussels, London and Paris,
which also acts for Exxon Mobil, Kellogg’s and Procter and Gamble.

Almost hourly over the five-day war, press releases landed on foreign
news desks. ”Russia continues to attack civilian population.” The
capital Tblisi was ”intensively” bombed. A downed Russian plane turned
out to be ”nuclear”. European ”energy supplies” were threatened as
Russia dropped bombs near oil pipelines. A ”humanitarian wheat
shipment” was blocked. Later, ”invading Russian forces” began ”the
occupation of Georgia”. Saakashvili’s government filed allegations of
ethnic cleansing to The Hague. Note the use of terms that trigger
western media interest: civilian victims, nuclear, humanitarian,
occupation, ethnic cleansing.

Georgia Claims on Russia War Called Into Question – NYTimes.com

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia has characterized the attack as a precise and defensive act. But according to observations of the 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.

Senior Georgian officials contest these accounts, and have urged Western governments to discount them. “That information, I don’t know what it is and how it is confirmed,” said Giga Bokeria, Georgia’s deputy foreign minister. “There is such an amount of evidence of continuous attacks on Georgian-controlled villages and so much evidence of Russian military buildup, it doesn’t change in any case the general picture of events.”

He added: “Who was counting those explosions? It sounds a bit peculiar.”

The Kremlin has embraced the monitors’ observations, which, according to a written statement from Grigory Karasin, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, reflect “the actual course of events prior to Georgia’s aggression.” He added that the accounts “refute” allegations by Tbilisi of bombardments that he called mythical.

The monitors were members of an international team working under the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E. A multilateral organization with 56 member states, the group has monitored the conflict since a previous cease-fire agreement in the 1990s.

The observations by the monitors, including a Finnish major, a Belarussian airborne captain and a Polish civilian, have been the subject of two confidential briefings to diplomats in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, one in August and the other in October. Summaries were shared with The New York Times by people in attendance at both.

Details were then confirmed by three Western diplomats and a Russian, and were not disputed by the O.S.C.E.’s mission in Tbilisi, which was provided with a written summary of the observations.

Mr. Saakashvili, who has compared Russia’s incursion into Georgia to the Nazi annexations in Europe in 1938 and the Soviet suppression of Prague in 1968, faces domestic unease with his leadership and skepticism about his judgment from Western governments.

The brief war was a disaster for Georgia. The attack backfired. Georgia’s army was humiliated as Russian forces overwhelmed its brigades, seized and looted their bases, captured their equipment and roamed the country’s roads at will. Villages that Georgia vowed to save were ransacked and cleared of their populations by irregular Ossetian, Chechen and Cossack forces, and several were burned to the ground.

Massing of Weapons

According to the monitors, an O.S.C.E. patrol at 3 p.m. on Aug. 7 saw large numbers of Georgian artillery and grad rocket launchers massing on roads north of Gori, just south of the enclave.

At 6:10 p.m., the monitors were told by Russian peacekeepers of suspected Georgian artillery fire on Khetagurovo, an Ossetian village; this report was not independently confirmed, and Georgia declared a unilateral cease-fire shortly thereafter, about 7 p.m.

During a news broadcast that began at 11 p.m., Georgia announced that Georgian villages were being shelled, and declared an operation “to restore constitutional order” in South Ossetia. The bombardment of Tskhinvali started soon after the broadcast.

According to the monitors, however, no shelling of Georgian villages could be heard in the hours before the Georgian bombardment. At least two of the four villages that Georgia has since said were under fire were near the observers’ office in Tskhinvali, and the monitors there likely would have heard artillery fire nearby.

Moreover, the observers made a record of the rounds exploding after Georgia’s bombardment began at 11:35 p.m. At 11:45 p.m., rounds were exploding at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between impacts, they noted.

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.

By 12:35 a.m. the observers had recorded at least 100 heavy rounds exploding across Tskhinvali, including 48 close to the observers’ office, which is in a civilian area and was damaged.

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. 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.

Senior Georgia officials, a group with scant military experience and personal loyalties to Mr. Saakashvili, have said that much of the damage to Tskhinvali was caused in combat between its soldiers and separatists, or by Russian airstrikes and bombardments in its counterattack the next day. As for its broader shelling of the city, Georgia has told Western diplomats that Ossetians hid weapons in civilian buildings, making them legitimate targets.

“The Georgians have been quite clear that they were shelling targets — the mayor’s office, police headquarters — that had been used for military purposes,” said Matthew J. Bryza, a deputy assistant secretary of state and one of Mr. Saakashvili’s vocal supporters in Washington.

Those claims have not been independently verified, and Georgia’s account was disputed by Ryan Grist, a former British Army captain who was the senior O.S.C.E. representative in Georgia when the war broke out. Mr. Grist said that he was in constant contact that night with all sides, with the office in Tskhinvali and with Wing Commander Stephen Young, the retired British military officer who leads the monitoring team.

“It was clear to me that the attack was completely indiscriminate and disproportionate to any, if indeed there had been any, provocation,” Mr. Grist said. “The attack was clearly, in my mind, an indiscriminate attack on the town, as a town.”

Mr. Grist has served as a military officer or diplomat in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kosovo and Yugoslavia. In August, after the Georgian foreign minister, Eka Tkeshelashvili, who has no military experience, assured diplomats in Tbilisi that the attack was measured and discriminate, Mr. Grist gave a briefing to diplomats from the European Union that drew from the monitors’ observations and included his assessments. He then soon resigned under unclear circumstances.

A second briefing was led by Commander Young in October for military attachés visiting Georgia. At the meeting, according to a person in attendance, Commander Young stood by the monitors’ assessment that Georgian villages had not been extensively shelled on the evening or night of Aug. 7. “If there had been heavy shelling in areas that Georgia claimed were shelled, then our people would have heard it, and they didn’t,” Commander Young said, according to the person who attended. “They heard only occasional small-arms fire.”

The O.S.C.E turned down a request by The Times to interview Commander Young and the monitors, saying they worked in sensitive jobs and would not be publicly engaged in this disagreement.

Peter Wilby on the press: Georgia has won the PR war | Media | The Guardian

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On the press
Georgia has won the PR war
Comments (1)

* Peter Wilby
* guardian.co.uk, Monday August 18 2008 00.01 BST
* The Guardian, Monday August 18 2008
* Article history

Whenever, to coin a phrase, a war breaks out in a faraway country of which we know little, I am reminded of a news editor I once worked for. He would go to a wall map showing the location of the paper’s correspondents, produce a ruler, and measure the distance of each from the area in question. Regardless of travel links or national boundaries, he decreed that the nearest should go.

It was a bit like that, I imagine, in many media offices when the conflict between Georgia and Russia broke out. Not only was it August, when many reporters are on holiday, it was also the Olympics, and the few still on duty were mostly in Beijing. The Financial Times headline, ”Georgia says Russia at war”, may have seemed strange, but it summed up the state of Fleet Street’s verifiable knowledge as the armies moved into action. In the age of 24-hour news, however, the press cannot hang about waiting for reporters to arrive. Readers want bombs, tanks and death tolls. They need to be told who are the goodies and baddies. News, remember, is part of the entertainment industry.

Into the vacuum stepped the Georgian government. Its president, Mikheil Saakashvili, speaks English, wants to join Nato, sent troops to Iraq, got himself educated at Harvard, cultivates a media-friendly style, and sends Georgian university exam papers to be marked in Britain, though whether he expects to get them back is another matter. He took power in the Rose revolution of 2003-04 and professes to be a democrat. He’s clearly an all-round good egg. And he has a PR firm, Aspect Consulting, based in Brussels, London and Paris, which also acts for Exxon Mobil, Kellogg’s and Procter and Gamble.

Om Claes

A blogger and general internet nerd from Sweden. I write about politics, internet, technology, the world around me and whatever else interest me. I write mostly in swedish but some english.
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