Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Khurcha Incident, going for a pee or pissing on poor Georgia?

A bit of looking back into what many would rather forget!

The name of this village on the border with Abkazia has special meaning for Georgian watchers, aside from some Russian soldiers taking a stroll - going for a pee!!!

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=22701

Lots of history in this small stretch of border, AKA buffer zone, and need to check out who is David Smith and the Potomac Institute and what was the Khurcha Incident, as organized by the same, and a ploy to distract attention from widespread election fraud. All this was part of the PR run-up to the August 2008 Georgian-Russian war, as confirmed by the serious of events that took place in the border region with Abkhazia and Georgia proper that ended with with the blowing up of two buses on March 21, 2008, as as likely organized by Georgian and US special services.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Khurcha_incident

Human Rights in Georgia

Russia is a big, fluffy but misunderstood pussy-cat - how the August war started?

"Formulaic sentence buried in mid-story - embellishing the falsehood?"
Jeffrey K. Silverman

The debacle of the Georgian army and its national security policy has proved what the Georgian leadership has re-discovered in a standby old maxim: that a foreign policy without a credible military is no foreign policy. Much debate and learned commentary has been made as to how the war started, which may be a moot point in the final analysis of the situation that Georgia faces today. The much acclaimed US train and equip program has proved a dismal failure at best.  It was likely more designed to train Georgian troops for planned rotations in Iraq and Afghanistan rather than for protecting the legitimate territorial integrity of a sovereign state within the framework of a democratically-elected government.

There is no shortage of commentary from either side, and some of it smells more of cold war rhetoric than anything close to a semblance of truth and reflection. Georgia is good and Russia is bad – and Ivan the terrible planned and plotted an invasion of Georgia right under the noses of Georgia's friends, and even before August 7, 2008  – with the purpose of regime change and destabilizing the region … and that is the essence of the analysis of David J. Smith, Director of the Georgian Security Policy Analysis Center, Tbilisi and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Washington DC, during a panel discussion of events of the August Georgian-Russian war on October 9, 2008 in Tbilisi Georgia.

POTOMAC INSTITUTE is among with the most top secret military and governmental contractors for hire, as quoted in one of my favorite book now, SPIES FOR HIRE, The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, by investigative reporter Tim Shorrock. Potomac is right up there with the likes of Blackwater, Carlyle Group, CACI International, and InQtel....

The same line of thought as purported by Ambassador David J. Smith was backed up by Kakha Lomai, Secretary of the Georgian National Security Council, former Minister of Education, and Shota Utiashvili, Director of Department of Information, Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs and other seemingly credible sources.

The Russians and the Georgians are both quick to point the finger at who started first in the weeks prior to Aug. 7. Each side accuses the other of a premeditated attack. It was even noted back in January by the media that the Georgian Ministry of Defense released a "strategic defense review" that laid out its broad military planning for the breakaway regions. As described by Mr. Smith of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Washington D.C.  the document sets out goals for the Georgian armed forces and refers specifically to the threat of conflict in the separatist regions.
The language of a related media release published in a pro-government newspaper, "24 Hours" best sums up the tone and direction of the recent panel discussion that was more one sided than an actual discussion.
http://www.potomacinstitute.org/media/mediaclips/2008/Smith_24Saati_Gassiev_9_22_08.pdf

Please consider without added commentary and perhaps you the reader can start connecting the dots of what appears to be contradictions between the various accounts of the same events, which is par for the course with media snips from this and other newspapers, as first noted the case of the Khurcha Incident back in May – which an article "without actual facts" was also published by the same David J. Smith over events that took place in the border region with the blowing up of two buses on day of Parliamentary Elections, May 21, 2008.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Khurcha_incident

Smith writes that "in the predawn hours of August 7, Russia invaded Georgia. Gassiev, a border guard of the separatist regime in the Georgian territory of South Ossetia, was at the southern end of the Roki Tunnel that leads from Russia. At 03:52, he used his mobile telephone to tell his supervisor: "Armor and people…twenty minutes ago…tanks, armored personnel carriers and that." The intercepted telephone call, first reported in the September 16 New York Times, explodes the myth that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili precipitated Russia's assault on Georgia with an ill-conceived attack on Tskhinvali, capital of South Ossetia."

The article goes on to claim that anyone who believes otherwise is seriously mistaken, [that's me] … "Worse than false, this notion enables western leaders to wallow in analysis and sophistry [as happy as a pig in my wallowing] instead of looking Russian aggression squarely in the eye. Many journalists perpetuate the myth with a formulaic sentence buried in mid-story. A few, however, embellish the falsehood, endowing it with unwarranted policy implications…."

However, there are other voices calling out in the wilderness. Der Spiegel, a well respected German publication ran a rather strange article that cast a different sheen in comparison.

It is likely right that Russia is correct in its claims that Georgia gets treated too softly in the Western press but this following Spiegel piece seems over-the-top tendentious in the other direction. Its sneering, pro-Moscow tone is almost Pravda-like (before it casually mentions at the end that the Russians are total liars, too).

It would even appear that some of the sources, such as Wolfgang Richter, a colonel with Germany's General Staff and a senior military advisor to the German representation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's mission, OSCE; he may come across as one of those Germans who think that Russia is a big, fluffy but misunderstood pussy-cat.

However, this was not the impression after discussing the war with him, and especially its potential aftermath. He is career soldier who knows the details on-the-ground from a military perspective and one who does not beat around the bush as to the events that actually took place. 

Many would agree that the war was likely fought for the sake of getting sympathy and political gain and not in achieving a clear-sighted military objective, such as blocking the Russians at the Roki tunnel. Nonetheless, let the reader be the judge in making the comparison between the two schools of thought over the terrible and unnecessary events of August 2008 and sorting through the recriminations.

Georgia's Calculated Offensive

Spiegel writes, "One thing was already clear to the officers at NATO headquarters in Brussels: They thought that the Georgians had started the conflict and that their actions were more calculated than pure self-defense or a response to Russian provocation. In fact, the NATO officers believed that the Georgian attack was a calculated offensive against South Ossetian positions to create the facts on the ground, and they coolly treated the exchanges of fire in the preceding days as but minor events. Even more clearly, NATO officials believed, looking back, that by no means could these skirmishes be seen as justification for Georgian war preparations.

Russian soldiers in South Ossetia, August 10, 2008

The NATO experts did not question the Georgian claim that the Russians had provoked them by sending their troops through the Roki Tunnel. But their evaluation of the facts was dominated by skepticism that these were the true reasons for Saakashvili's actions.

The details that Western intelligence agencies extracted from their signal intelligence agree with NATO's assessments. According to this intelligence information, the Georgians amassed roughly 12,000 troops on the border with South Ossetia on the morning of Aug. 7. Seventy-five tanks and armored personnel carriers -- a third of the Georgian military's arsenal -- were assembled near Gori. Saakashvili's plan, apparently, was to advance to the Roki Tunnel in a 15-hour "blitzkrieg" and close the eye of the needle between the northern and southern Caucasus regions, effectively cutting off South Ossetia from Russia.

At 10:35 p.m. on Aug. 7, less than an hour before Russian tanks entered the Roki Tunnel, according to Saakashvili, Georgian forces began their artillery assault on Tskhinvali. The Georgians used 27 rocket launchers, including 152-millimeter guns, as well as cluster bombs. Three brigades began the nighttime assault. The intelligence agencies were monitoring the Russian calls for help on the airwaves. The 58th Army, part of which was stationed in North Ossetia, was apparently not ready for combat, at least not during that first night.

The Georgian army, on the other hand, consisted primarily of infantry groups, which were forced to travel along major roads. It soon became bogged down and was unable to move past Tskhinvali. Western intelligence learned that the Georgians were experiencing "handling problems" with their weapons. The implication was that the Georgians were not fighting well, and their US supplied weapons were not to standard. 

The intelligence agencies conclude that the Russian army did not begin firing until 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 8, when it launched an SS-21 short-range ballistic missile on the city of Borjomi, southwest of Gori. The missile apparently hit military and government bunker positions. Russian warplanes began their first attacks on the Georgian army a short time later. Suddenly the airwaves came to life, as did the Russian army.

Russian troops from North Ossetia did not begin marching through the Roki Tunnel until roughly 11 a.m. This sequence of events is now seen as evidence that Moscow did not act offensively, but merely reacted. Additional SS-21s were later moved to the south. The Russians deployed 5,500 troops to Gori and 7,000 to the border between Georgia and its second separatist region, Abkhazia.

Calls in Europe for International Investigation

Wolfgang Richter, a colonel with Germany's General Staff and a senior military advisor to the German OSCE mission, is another expert on the situation. Richter, who was in Tbilisi at the time, confirms that the Georgians had already amassed troops on the border with South Ossetia in July. In a closed-door session in Berlin last Wednesday, he told German Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung and the leading members of the foreign and defense committees in the German parliament that the Georgians had, to some extent, "lied" about troop movements.

Richter said that he could find no evidence to support Saakashvili's claims that the Russians had marched into the Roki Tunnel before Tbilisi gave its orders to attack, but that he could not rule them out. For some members of parliament, his statements sounded like an endorsement of the Russian interpretation. "He left no room for interpretation," one of the committee members concluded. "It is clear that there was more responsibility on the Georgian than the Russian side," another committee member said.

  South Ossetia


But now it is high time for the EU to address the reasons for war. Moscow has been baffled by the Europeans' refusal to condemn Saakashvili's assault on Tskhinvali and the insistence on pointing the finger at Russia instead. The Europeans, a diplomat with the Russian Foreign Ministry complained, apparently lacking the "courage to stand up to Washington and its allies in Tbilisi."

At an informal meeting in the southern French city of Avignon that occurred several weekends [before publication], Europe's foreign ministers called for "an international investigation" into the conflict. The logic of that decision was that anyone who hopes to mediate should not be biased in evaluating what happened in the Caucasus. Apparently even the foreign ministers of Great Britain, Sweden, the Baltic States and other Eastern European countries agreed. Before the Avignon meeting, they had advocated a tough stance toward Moscow and more solidarity with Tbilisi -- irrespective of the facts.

The 27 foreign ministers planned to adopt a formal resolution calling for an investigation. But the question of who would be in charge of such a delicate mission remained completely unanswered: the United Nations, the OSCE, non-governmental organizations, academics -- or a combination of all of these groups? Only one thing is clear: The EU itself has no intention of taking on the issue. Europeans fear that this would only widen the gap between hardliners and those advocating cautious reconciliation with Moscow.

Saakashvili, the choleric ruler of Tbilisi, is following the shift in opinions in the West with growing unease. He reiterates his own version of the attack on Georgia in daily television appearances, Aspect, an international PR firm is constantly inundating the Western media with carefully selected material, and Tbilisi is already taking its case to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, where it accuses the Russians of "ethnic cleansing."
But Saakashvili is no longer as confident in his allies' support. Ahead of NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer's visit to Tbilisi, Saakashvili called upon the Western alliance to show its resolve, noting that a display of weakness toward Moscow would lead to "a never-ending story of Russian aggression."

Is Saakashvili Already Dead Politically?

The Georgian president is also coming under pressure in his own country, as the united front that developed during the Russian invasion crumbles. Those who have long criticized Saakashvili and his senior staff as an "authoritarian regime" are speaking out once again. Back in December 2007, Georgy Khaindrava, a former minister for conflict resolution who was dismissed in 2006, told SPIEGEL that Saakashvili and his circle are people "for whom power is everything." A few weeks earlier, Saakashvili had deployed special police forces in Tbilisi, where the opposition had staged large demonstrations, and declared a state of emergency. At the time, Khaindrava expressed concerns that Saakashvili could soon attempt to bolster his weakened image with a "small, victorious war" -- against South Ossetia.

In May 2006, former Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili had already cautioned against her former boss's actions. The "enormous arms buildup" he had engaged in made "no sense," Zurabishvili said, adding that it created the impression that he planned to resolve the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia militarily.

The heads of Georgia's two major political parties have [repeatedly] called for Saakashvili's resignation and the establishment of a "government that is neither pro-Russian nor pro-American, but pro-Georgian." In Moscow, former Georgian Deputy Interior Minister Temur Khachishzili, who spent years in prison for attempting to assassinate Saakashvili's predecessor, Eduard Shevardnadze, is drumming up support for a change of government back home among the more than one million Georgians living in the Russian Federation.

Is Saakashvili, who only over seven weeks ago had gained the West's sympathy as the victim of a Russian invasion, already dead politically? In recent weeks he received support from an unexpected source, the Red Star, a newspaper published by the Russian Defense Ministry. The paper published remarks by an officer of the 58th Army, which Moscow has since denied. Nevertheless, the officer, ironically enough, fueled doubts as to the conclusion, by Western intelligence agencies and NATO, how that Russian army units had not reached Tskhinvali until Aug. 9.

In the Red Star account, Captain Denis Sidristy, the commander of a company of the 135th Motorized Infantry Regiment, describes how he and his unit were already in the Roki Tunnel, on their way to Tskhinvali, in the night preceding Aug. 8. Did Moscow's invasion begin earlier than the Russians have admitted, after all?


Moscow investigators also conceded, for the first time, that the number of civilian casualties of the Georgian assault on Tskhinvali was not 2,000, as Russian officials have repeatedly claimed, but 134.

When asked about the account in the Red Star, a representative for the Russian Defense Ministry told SPIEGEL that it was the result of a technical error. Moreover, the spokesperson said, the official in question had been wounded and therefore "could no longer remember the situation clearly."

In conclusion, regardless of the pot calling the kettle black, "it is still difficult to separate truth and lies about the brief war in the Caucasus," as the German article sums up the events of the August war. It does appear, however, in the final analysis that the conflict between Russia and Georgia began on the night of August 7, when Georgian forces, including commando units, tanks and artillery, assaulted the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali in a direct assault.


--

Friday, September 24, 2010

Potential for false flag attacks, Iran

2012 is coming closer and closer!

http://rt.com/Politics/2010-09-24/us-iran-missiles-war.html

Russia Today
September 24, 2010

US may be seeking provocation to launch war against Iran
Nadezhda Kevorkova
... ]wo weeks before the last US elections in 2008, Vice President Joe Biden went on record as saying that there were several scenarios for a certain generated crisis, to wit, a war. The Americans will have to tighten their belts. At first they won't understand why all of that is needed. But they'll approve everything eventually. Among other places, Biden localized the scenario in the Middle East.
-I don't rule out that the scenario might have included such a thing as a false-flag attack, or, plainly speaking, a provocation..."False-flag attacks" as a war-starting method were time and again used in the 20th Century.
[...]Let me remind you that two weeks before the last US elections in 2008, Vice President Joe Biden went on record as saying that there were several scenarios for a certain generated crisis, to wit, a war. The Americans will have to tighten their belts. At first they won't understand why all of that is needed. But they'll approve everything eventually. Among other places, Biden localized the scenario in the Middle East. This caused a minor scandal which soon petered out. But it must not be forgotten that the generated crisis scenarios are there, the crisis may become a reality, and as envisaged by the scenario, President Obama should cope with it, that is, win.



--

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moscow is planning a military operation, but where?

Russia planning military operation? What do you think.

NB: "It may have to do with Baku's plans for a war to start in Azerbaijan with Armenia, and for Russian use this event as cover to sort out some issues with its own domestic problems and put a bit of pressure on Georgia to stop making problems in the region. The war with Armenia is initially planned for September and October over NK, an ethnic Armenia enclave within the legal borders of Azerbaijan, and the Armenians and Russians are close, and this might sort out the "New Great Game" for the entire region. Europe or the United States will be powerless to interview, as they are bogged dog with illegal wars and police operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

http://www.apsny.ge/2010/mil/1285195503.php

Moscow is planning a military operation, but where?

22.09.2010   15:45

Residents of Makhachkala are observing with each passing day the movement of Russian heavy weaponry and equipment to Dagestan. The situation is similar in Derbent, where the Russian Defense Ministry has positioned military aircraft, reports the news agency EPN citing Dagestani journalists.

"For the last three days both Russian ground forces and aviation have been entering Dagestan. Thousands of people have witnessed this. We have information that the Russian army Is preparing for a large operation in the South Caucasus," these journalists report.

As North Caucasian colleagues tell EPN in unofficial conversations, the Russian Ministry of Defense has moved in an unusually large amount of artillery.

Positioning of transport helicopters has been observed in the towns of Kislyar and Khasavyurt.
According to sources, today people are speaking more and more about how Russia is preparing for a large operation in the South Caucasus, by which they are understood to mean Georgia.

In the opinion of Georgian experts, an operation is being prepared not in Georgia, but in the North Caucasus. The Kremlin is attempting to cleanse the North Caucasus of insurgency in preparation for the presidential election in Russia in 2012. In their opinion, a schism has taken place in the leadership of the Caucasus Emirate, which has sapped it of the strength to offer resistance to Russian regular military forces.

It should also be noted that the Kremlin has been concerned recently by the large number of young people going to the forests to reinforce the underground insurgency.  It would seem that Moscow has decided to put an end once and for all to the North Caucasian resistance.


--

Blast in Tbilisi

Original story at civil.ge

An explosive device went off at about 1am on Wednesday in suburb of Tbilisi, about 100 meters from the U.S. embassy building, police said.

No one was injured.

Police destroyed with water cannon another explosive device found in the same site, where formerly an open-air auto market was located. Now [the] empty area is next to a cemetery and [the] explosion damaged its wall and a grave.

A wall, dividing the U.S. embassy territory from the area, is located about 60-70 meters from the location where the explosive devices were set off, Shota Utiashvili, head of information and analytical department of the interior minister, told Civil.ge. He said the embassy wall was not damaged.

The U.S. embassy in Tbilisi confirmed that its property was not damaged.

Police said the investigation was ongoing and declined to reveal type of explosive devices or other details.


--

Victor Bout, Weapons Trafficking in Georgia

Georgia - "Green Light" for the "Merchant of Death" Victor Bout and his partner Temur Alasania

June 26, 2010

 Victor Anatolii Bout and Temur Alasania

In a previous edition of "Georgia and the World" the newspaper version of the "Special Report" prepared by TV Company "Maestro", they naturally evoked special interest in the larger public. Even for those who never doubted the anti-government actions of the present government and a ruining of the reputation of this country, the reality approved by the facts was unexpected, the actuality of which shall be felt very soon by influential persons from the government involved into weapons smuggling or the people close to them, or the people having less influence.
Unfortunately, these facts create an unattractive image to the Georgian state and equate a prospective of its development to less than zero, which, probably bothers very little the uncle of the Georgian President- Temur Alasania, for whom the position of President  to  his sister's son became a source of a good deal of income under the umbrella of his nephew.
In the newspaper version of "Special Report" you will clearly see what kinds of deals were concluded with the "Merchant of Death."

Victor Anatolii Bout was born on January 13, 1967, in Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan, in Dushanbe. The very first business he founded was for air and sea cargo transportation; the main direction of the business involved the near East and Africa. He was the contractor of the President of Liberia- Charles Taylor; he also provided service to the United Nations in Sudan, and also to the United States of America in its military operations in Iraq.

As far back as the beginning of the 1990s weapon deliveries were being made to Africa, for all the different sides in the on-going civil wars. Soon thereafter Bout was named the "weapon's baron" and he is now positioned as the most powerful weapon seller on the Earth. Shortly thereafter the British government blames him for opening a weapons corridor from East Europe, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine with deliveries for the benefit of Liberia and Angola.  

The "Merchant of Death Hollywood production comes out with a movie that was done which reflected the story of the Russian weapon seller, Victor Bout.

Even before shooting this movie, the relationship between Bout and the United States became tense, as Bout is openly charged with trafficking of weapons to the terrorists and the partisans, both "Al Qaeda" and "Taliban" are named as being amongst his clients.

Because of the impact to the hindrance of democracy in Congo, the United States opened a case against Bout.  In 2008, he was arrested in Bangkok Thailand, where he was checked into "Sofitel Seylamroad" hotel. Although the first case against him was dismissed he was discharged in 2009 by the Thailand Court but new charges were filed on February 17, 2010 where he faced new allegations as passed down by a US Federal Court.
Based on open sources, the crossroads of Victor Bout, the infamous Merchant of Death and Georgia, intersected one year ago, based on information provided by the Georgian Human Rights Center and an American investigative reporter.

Thailand. Bangkok. December 12, 2009. Airplane "Il-76" was seized with a cargo of 40 tons of military equipment, including mortars, antitank and portable zenith-rocket propelled systems were found. It was learned from sources in the mass media that the airplane was registered in Batumi Georgia and had flown to South Korea.

The special operation was jointly carried out by the special services of the United States of America and Thailand. One of the versions of the flight path had the plane transporting the weapons to Sri-Lanka but soon afterwards other details of the case were disclosed.

"New Your Times" edition from December 14, 2009:
"As the crew arrested in Bangkok tells, the airplane flew to Bangkok from where they were then to fly to the UAE and later return to Ukraine. But now the Ministry of Transport of that country announces that the Ukrainians didn't know anything about the seized plane and that it had been leased to a Ukrainian outfit.  But based on information from the arrested pilot- Abdullaev, was a Kazakh but  who had worked in Georgia. The flag and the emblem were Georgian and belonged to the Georgian airline "Air West", and registered in Georgia, Batumi.

Nodar Kakabadze, the Director of the Georgian based company also tells that the airplane was leased to Ukraine one month before this incident. It has now been announced by The Kazakhstan Ministry of Transport that the airplane was purchased by Georgia a short time prior from the Kazakhs, However, in the interview given to the "New York Times" - the Director of the Analytical Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia tells that the seized "Il-76" was inherited by independent Georgia from the former Soviet Georgia, and it wasn't suitable for passenger transport.  This is why the airplane was leased to the Ukrainian company, which, according to Kakabadze, is affiliated with the company SP Trading, and is located in Thailand. Here again we run across none other than our familiar Victor Bout.  Based on Internet sources, SP Trading is named as one of the airlines managed by Victor Bout.

In an announcement made for the "Wall Street Journal" Nodar Kakabadze tells that he knows nothing about SP Trading and the "Wall Street Journal" only managed to find out from the Government of New Zealand that the company was established in 2009 and a Georgian airplane full of 40 tons of weapons was seized several months earlier. Western experts think that the weapons were intended for Sudan and Pakistan.


Georgian experts can recall the liaison between Victor Bout and Georgia upon his arrest.

An American journalist is more precise, Jeffrey K. Silverman, who has investigated the topic of weapon sales in Georgia for more than 7 years, recalls Bout and his activities and makes the links with Temur Alasania, the uncle of the President of Georgia and the larger network, including Iran and third world countries.

Jeffrey Silverman, investigative journalist:

"Victor Bout is a well-known international known criminal who has successfully worked with such clients as Russian intelligence, FSB, and American Special Services. Such an opportunity has given him a free hand on the part of the government to do as he pleases. Georgia provides the green light for all sorts of illegal activities, and these involve power players on the National level.  Georgia is for them him the traffic light on permanent green for "anything goes". From the Georgian side, Victor has collaborated with Temur Alasania, Jemal Inaishvili, former head of a Georgian port, and others when asked about Davit Kezerashvili, former Minister of Defense, 'this boy is but your run-of-the-mill drug addict.'  There is no doubt that he is a player in this business, but to put in simple terms, he is only a small fish – a lower ranking player.  A working investigative commission needs to be set up to stop this process. However, that is na├»ve – and to tell it like it is – everybody is interested in covering up these bloody tracks in the snow."


--Ucha Ninuashvili, Director of NGO "Center for Human Rights" GEORGIA:

"The United States still uses Georgia exactly for this kind of transport corridor just as the previous government of the US freely did. Not only based on this end user document, as supplied by Mr. Silverman, this document provides solid basis for such an announcement. However, we have other information as well that supports such claims, and we are working now in this direction. The other information which we have that Georgia has shows that Georgia been used for the transportation of the weapons to the third countries, and these are likely African and Asian contacts".

Kakha Katsitadze, military and NATO expert:

"If there was any reasonable explanation, the government would come and tell us. I would allow myself to tell as no one can provide a reasonable explanation and in fact no reasonable explanation has ever been provided".

In connection with the weapons sales, other than the Thailand episode, Georgia appeared several more times, though the ends of all these threads got thrown into the informational vacuum.

Africa. Congo. September 7, 2007. In the air crash of "An-12" – killed  8 persons, including two Georgian citizens, including the pilot, Zurab Mosia, 55 years old and also a mechanical worker, and Artur Bagdasarov. No specific information ever about the cargo on board and only it has been mentioned that the airplane registered in the name of "Transaviaservice" – there was no license for the flights, and no safety inspection, since 2007.

Philippines. August 17, 2009. A ship flying the Panama flag was seized with 13 Georgian sailors. All suspected of weapon smuggling but only an American captain accepts responsibility.

Azerbaijan. Baku. March 17, 2010. Information agencies of Azerbaijan notify us that the officers of the National Safety Ministry arrested 8 members of a radical religious group, among them- the locals of Dagestan and Chechnya, which were planning these terrorist acts. A large amount of the weapons have been transported to Azerbaijan from Georgia.

United States of America. Washington. May 5, 2010. According to American information sources, this case, on corruption including facts of weapons smuggling, where the main suspect is Daniel Alvares, he is also charged with corruption related to weapons sales for Georgian government members.

United States of America. Washington, DC. May 6, 2010. The General Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the USA Robert Muller is in Tbilisi.  Muller had a meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs – Vano Merabishvili and Minister of Justice- Zurab Adeishvili. Both meetings were held behind closed doors. The visit of the General Director of FBI to Georgia lasted for several hours.


Jeffrey Silverman:

"The Russian side knows what the Americans are doing and the other way around too! Meanwhile everyone is making money off Georgia. This country is a free market for them, and they try to hide their bloody tracks. Let no one forget about August 8, 2008 when a large quantity of American supplied weapons were abandoned behind Russian lines. These ended up in the hands of the Russians. However, what is not told is that this equipment was not intended for use by the Georgians but had been pre-positioned for use against Iran.  This military equipment was not delivered for the Georgians. Georgia imports weapons not only from Israel but also from Jordan and Serbia. The Georgians are also purchasing weapons from the Russians".

Silverman documents the strange actions by the Ministry of Defense by end user certificates issued by the Ministry of Defense of Georgia.

Article one: The user and the address of the user – Ministry of Defense of Georgia. 20, General Kvinitadze Street, Tbilisi, Georgia, 0112.

Article two: Exporter and the address of the goods – KAADB, PO 927932. Oman, Jordan.

Article three: The mediator and the address: "Melvel Corporation Olayage" Trade center, Francis Rakel Street, city Victoria. Mahe, Seychelles Islands.

Article four: Importer of the goods and the address: Ministry of Defense of Georgia. 20,General Kvinitadze Street, Tbilisi, Georgia, 0112.

In the rest final documentation, the most part of the articles describe the purchase terms of Russian designed weapons. The document was signed by the Deputy Minister of Defense of Georgia, Mamuka Mujiri, who, by the way, was in the list of the escaped high ranked persons during the Russian-Georgian war from the 7th to the 14th of August, 2008. There was nothing strange in the document, except maybe these details:

First: the Georgian Ministry of Defense led the negotiations with the company founded in Jordan in the Russian language. This document concluded in Russian that Jordan had been counted as an official partner of the United States of America. According to the negotiation language, as a registered company in Jordan, a military partner country of America, which also has Russian management? Ironically, according to the list of the Directors on the KDDB official webpage we couldn't find the Russian surname.

"Melvel Corporation"- named as the mediating company in the document we have for the weapons importation, whose main activity is the sale of scrap metal. Though it is not a secret for anyone, especially for the media, that "Melvel" is busy in the weapons business, its' Director, Slobodan Teshic,  according to information spread by the media and internet means, the "Seychelles"  company "Melvel" is also in Belgrad. Teshic, according to the source, is in both legal and illegal sales of weapons. For example, the weapon transfers to Iraq are under his name. The company is very busy with sales of scrap metal, named by the Ministry of Defense of Georgia as the mediator, and he is charged in terrorist, anti-human activity in the process of weapons purchases by foreign sources.

Despite this announcement from respondents, that Russia and the United States of America use the territory of Georgia successfully for smuggling of weapons, the question has arisen – why didn't the tracks of the Georgian governmental personnel appear in the famous Alvires case?

A Chief Justice writes in his Judgment of the guilty:

"The Israel sales agent of Alvires contacted him on February 2008 and offered to sell him weapons "Em855" for 14 millions Dollars. It was known to Alvires, that the Israel agents, in order to fulfill this Contract, bribed the Georgian government. The weapons were received by agents from an anonymous company in the amount of 3 million 900 thousands Dollars, to Georgia, and it was sold for 4 million seven hundred thousand Dollars, and the end seller commission was 112,000 USD– paid to Alvires.

In July 2008 the same agent sold the weapons for 7 million USD to Georgia, from Israel. This time Alvires received a commission of 57,000 USD.  It is mentioned here, that during the military conflict of Georgia-Russia, 2008, the companies of Israel provided Georgia with the military equipment and also implemented military trainings, but it is interesting, that already after the war ended, in October 2008, Alvires was contacted not by Israel but by Miami agents who tried to reassure them to sell the ready to eat kits to Georgian government officials.

Alvires got 15 millions Dollars as the commission from this contract. It is interesting; the food for how many millions was purchased by the Georgian side at that time?

Giorgi Tavdgiridze, expert:

"Of course we buy the weapons from Israel and it is not a secret. But, even in this case the sphere of defense in Georgia is not transparent and a higher probability of corruption deals does exist, as a result. Therefore our supposed partners may be dubious. Even the "open" firms make attempts to gain certain advantages for some gift, but this has always been within permissible limits"

As it becomes clear, the US special services were aware of an existence of the illegal weapons business in Georgia several years ago, as confirmed by Vasil Gigolashvili – former officer of special services in the Special State Security Services, who have undergone several years long training course in the US special service schools.  

Gigolashvii declares that in 2005 his American friend from Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], visited Georgia. As he says a reason of such a visit was to conduct an investigation related to illegal weapons business in the country.

Vasil Gigolashvili:

"As I remember, it was in 2005, when the American man told me in one of the meetings that a scandal may happen, because this fact has already "blown up" in America

Why the American parties, both Democrat and Republican, kept silent during this period, as they knew about the facts of illegal weapons business in Georgia, what is going on here?  A matter of political expediency arises - the news is to be "blown up" in their designated time and place  

Giorgi Tavgiridze:

"If anyone is involved in this business, it is because of private interests. I mean certain combination may exist for preserving the money flow or the stream of power.  Such activities are not "advertised" and, their organizers may work in the Administration, of course, of both USA and Georgia. Such a probability exists in any case and, it cannot be rejected, whether this or that president is involved or participating in it, is immaterial".  

Jeffrey Silverman:

"The FBI refused my request for receiving my documents by reason that it was not their business. Of course, here we cannot escape without providing due attention to the Russian factor. They all act together. This is not a little group of criminals. This is a real Mafia, hardcore organized crime. Presumably, they need somebody to be punished immediately for the media. Many people are involved in this. It is a very dangerous period now for the West and for everyone, in general.  Participants of this business may even remove president Saakashvili, without any problems, so not to lose their money".

The FBI Director - Robert Muller spent several hours in Georgia. He arrived here from Israel. "Georgians, just recently involved in the weapon business, proved to be dilettantes and, now it is high time to direct the case in a real way" – the respondents declare.

Giorgi Tavdgiridze:

"Georgia stands now at a very dangerous edge. Rather unfavorable processes may start in the country. Respectively, stability in Georgia is very important for the USA"

Kakha Katsitadze:

Are you sure the Georgian government conducts a unified policy? I mean the government is not controlled now. No need to talk about anything, yes?"

The US Embassy refused to make any comments and proposed to us to concentrate on an official statement made by the FBI Director:

"Cooperation between the Georgian and American law enforcement organs plays an essential role in our joint struggle against international criminal and terrorism. Muller indicated that a strong partnership and a history of successful cooperation between the FBI and the Georgian Law Enforcement structures is critical, and expressed his hope that a close cooperation between the FBI and the Ministries of Justice and Internal Affairs of Georgia will remain successful in future, too"

For the larger public, an opinion of the heads of the most transparent two administrations of Georgia seems to be interesting, but, both these administrations are "closed"

Kakha Katsitadze:

"As a rule, such countries, state powers, persons, finish badly with their activities, while the "bad" finish takes various forms . . ."

According to one of the respondents interviewed within "Maestro's" TV program, on August 11, 2008, in the Restaurant "Tsiskvili" where the president's uncle Temur Alasania had the memorable meeting 40 days after the death of Saakashvili's grandfather, Alasania was trying to assure Saakashvili by telephone that continuation of the war with Russia was senseless and that the American military forces were preparing for dislocation within Turkey. We have to use here the record of one of the participants to make the larger public sure that it is not a lie as in case of the doctored news.   Their voice has changed since then, of course

Unfamiliar

"It was a 40-day memorial meeting of grandfathers. About 100-150 persons gathered in the restaurant. Then came Alasania's mobile call. Suddenly he stood up quickly. He could not believe what he had just heard and announced: "Now Turkey is vacating airports for receiving the American bombers aircrafts, to help us. Their shipments are on the way, already. All of us gave a standing ovation. "

Giorgi Karkarashvili:       

"On August 11, when attempting to bring the General Staff's special operations troops into the town a second time, the special minister arrived on site. They were so "brave" during the war and, now also offered these boy troops to occupy the town on the 12th August, to demonstrate a resistance and a partisan movement, but 50 fighters of the Special Forces refused this offer. All of them were immediately dismissed"

President Saakashvili:  

"If it will become necessary, half a million people must take to their machineguns. We can't find such quantity of weapons so fast, and, we have much than enough military ammunition".

Nobody can say where Alasania controls president Saakashvili. When required, he appears himself, when he wishes so.

Irakli Okruashvili, former Minister of Defense, now exiled in France

That was a period when the US initiated this case scenario, when David Kezerashvili and Saakashvili's uncle and cousin failed to divide among them the "commission fees" from the weapons business. Let them regulate the case themselves; it is their problem, not mine"

Georgia has proved time and again to be deeply involved in the illegal weapon business. During the year 2007 and also in 2008 up to the war, as documented by Georgian top officials and their mediators from the weapons purchasing," they were directed either to cover the debts accumulated during Parliamentary and Presidential elections fraud or even to earn personal profits by them. It is not a strange thing for them here in the Caucasus."

NB this is a re translation of a documentary from June 2010 on Georgian TV


--

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Arming Georgia to the teeth, Countdown to 2012

Randy Scheuneman at Orion mentioned in dispatches on civil.ge - lobbying for the Georgians to get the US to arm them to the teeth. Forgive us God on this day, especially a country as the United States, for hating, arrogance, insolence and stirring up trouble in foreign lands.

Saakashvili can’t help sounding like an old bitch… He (and Georgia) have a serious complex - they always sound so insecure and in need of reassurance and are seemingly oblivious to the fact that they constantly resort to one-upmanship.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Arming Georgia to the teeth, Countdown to 2012

Randy Scheuneman at Orion mentioned in dispatches on civil.ge - lobbying for the Georgians to get the US to arm them to the teeth. \Forgive us God on this day, especially a country as the United States,for hating, arrogance, insolence and stirring up trouble in foreign lands.http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=22674Saakashvili can't help sounding like an old bitch...http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=22678He (and Georgia) have a serious complex - they always sound so insecure and in need of reassurance and are seemingly oblivious to the fact that they constantly resort to one-upmanship.


--

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Georgia Business Climate or Money Laundering 101

Watch out poor Georgia, the handwriting was on the wall!!!

Joni Simonshvili

The British Virgin Islands has come from nowhere to be the 3rd highest investor in Georgia. Sounds a bit strange - could be legit, but it could be money laundering or a shell game in pumping in borrowed money from the West to support a regime that appears to be crashing and burning. It takes no mental giant or the Man from Uncle to understand where cometh the money flows. Just beg the question as what are the main exports of Georgia – guns, drugs and human resources. It has become a real brain drain; it is getting-worst-by-the-day – where foreign experts from Asia and Africa will have to come in to fill in the void.

Wonder where that money is from, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, percentage on the drug and undocumented oil transit, and where doe the money go? This is the stuff that dreams on the Batumi shoreline are made of, and whilst the media, such as the New York Times and CNN talk about foreign direct investment, how great is the tourist beat, and how Georgia becoming like Dubai, (not a very good role model), one only need to dig a bit deeper.

Just look and see how money is now being exported from Dubai to safer havens, in expectation of the pending financial regional meltdown, and that will affect the cash cow that has been keeping Georgia afloat in recent years.

Gee whiz – nobody saw it coming, just like subprime loses. Watch out poor Georgia, the handwriting was on the wall!!!

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=22667

Inflow of foreign direct investment grew 11% year-to-year in second quarter of 2010 to USD 196.9 million, according to preliminary figures released by the statistics office, Geostat, on September 14.

FDI for first half of 2010 totaled USD 272.6 mln, down 6.38% year-to-year, according to preliminary figures.

The Netherlands was the largest investor in the second quarter, 2010 with USD 77 million, followed by the United States with USD 42 million; the British Virgin Islands, an offshore financial center, with USD 32 million and Japan – USD 18 million.

It is not good business to subside a country with ill-gotten funding – actually it encourages criminality and corrupt government, and already the Georgian government is in hock up to its eye balls – and only by outside support and a transfusion of political cash is the country still listed as country.

I am just thinking out loud, and I am not the first, the claim of economic boom has been voiced before, however, for Georgia, as reported in an Article in 2009, "this has been more a well-crafted PR than actual reality. As Irakli Rukhadze wrote, and even considering the source, Salford Georgia, Georgians have been mislead, cheated and abused by their leaders ... and trust has been lost - and with [trust goes investment climate] ....

PR alone, no matter how well-crafted, doesn't get the job done.


--

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pot... Kettle... Black... Georgia buying the support of tiny island nations too?


Georgia criticized Russia for "buying" the support of Nauru. It looks like they've just gone and done exactly the same thing with Tuvalu.

Georgia Provides Financial Aid to Tiny Pacific Nation

Georgia will allocate unspecified amount of financial aid to the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, according to the government’s decision.

Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country covering just 26 square kilometers with a population of about 12,000 people.

Tuvalu was among those 50 countries, which voted in favor of Georgia-sponsored UN General Assembly resolution reiterating right of internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their homes in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

One of Tuvalu's nearest neighbors is the world's smallest island nation of Nauru, which was the fourth UN-member state after Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia in December, 2009.

Related news

Tbilisi Lobbying Nations to Secure UN Backing for its IDP Resolution

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 25 Aug.'10 / 16:09

Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, Temur Yakobashvili, is in New York holding series of meeting in the UN headquarters to secure support of Tbilisi-sponsored UN General Assembly draft resolution reiterating right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.


--

Saakashvili Wants U.S. to Help with Defensive Arms

Friday, September 10, 2010

High-ranking Georgian Defense Ministry official arrested in Pankisi Gorge

Somebody had to be the fall-guy!

A high-ranking official of the Georgian Ministry of Defense has been arrested in the Pankisi Valley as a result of a special operation several days ago. Soso Guzarauli, is suspected of arms trafficking.

He was arrested by the military police, not the regular police, so this sounds like it could be a control measure in anticipation of what the Russians are going to do over the supply weapons to various groups in other regions of Russian by these established networks.

As one source wrote today.

"Information is sparse. The chief prosecutor apparently is in the dark about it. It's an internal military case and investigation. In other words, they're investigating themselves. Now why would they want to do that?"

One Georgian military analyst, Giorgi Tavdgiridze, says it's a PR exercise, and that the Ministry of Defense has things to hide regarding weapons trade, and are using Mr Ghuzarauli and one other suspect who is still on the loose to deflect attention away from those larger issues.

The fact that the Georgians traffic in weapons is the worst kept secret is  couple that with the allegations made by Russian intelligence that they're in cahoots with the Chechens and [perhaps Americans] to stir up trouble on Russia's southern border, and the recent and growing spate of bombings and killings of innocent men, women, and children throughout the North Caucasus and, well there you have it. Could this be State sponsored terrorism on the part of the Georgians? The Russians are fully aware of this possibility and the Georgians are trying to keep a lid on it by "arresting" one of their own, albeit a small fish. There has also been some contact hits in recent months of those close to the top leadership, most recently a top intelligence officer in Moscow that goes by the nickname of Rambo, who was once close to the former leadership of Adjara and the weapons trade and the Moscow City Government. Later, in 2003, he switched loyalties to Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and the so-called reform government.

I think that we will be hearing more in the nearest future about Georgians involvement in international terrorism and the important role it plays as a transit country for drugs and weapons.


More can be found on whatreallyhappened,com


--

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Many dead in North Ossetia blast

At least 14 people dead and scores wounded as car explodes at marketplace in major city in Russia's North Caucasus.

Full story at AlJazeera.net

At least 14 people have been killed and 80 others wounded after a car exploded in a market in Vladikavkaz, a major city in Russia's North Caucasus region.

A regional official said it appeared the blast was carried out by a suicide bomber and Russia said it was launching an investigation into what it described as an "act of terror".

"According to the information I have ... the blast in Vladikavkaz has been organised by a suicide bomber who drove up to the entrance of the market in a Volga 3102 car," Taimuraz Mamsurov, the head of the region, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Vladikavkaz is the capital of the Russian republic of North Ossetia, which lies in the North Caucasus region.


--

Leaked CIA memo cites U.S. Jews among exporters of terrorism

Wikileaks releases a CIA memo titled 'What if Foreigners See the United States as an Exporter of Terrorism?' in which American Jews in Israel was one of four groups mentioned.

The Wikileaks website released a CIA document on Wednesday that examines the trend of Americans committing terrorist acts overseas, including American Jews in Israel.

American Jews in Israel were one of four groups mentioned in the classified report, titled "What if Foreigners See the United States as an Exporter of Terrorism?"

http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/leaked-cia-memo-cites-u-s-jews-amon...

Das ist schade, nur vor den Gorim [but in front] of "der Welt"



--

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Taming down your rhetoric and getting to the nub, FBI and Israel

Letter to editor:  re:  your thread below... arms and terrorism

  I can see that you are taming down your rhetoric and getting to the nub [below].  I think that is far more effective journalism, but one thing, most "read" heroic lone wolf journalists are not really alone, they have AT LEAST one freelance contract with a big newspaper, and the newspaper makes potential enemies of your own research and independent pieces think two or three times before going after you personally.

  I hope you knew that, and that you are fully aware of what enemies you might enlist -- with your ass to the wind without the lawyers and senior editors guiding you through mine fields of investigative journalism, and its dangers.  Okay??  at least. I warned you once.  Editors don't only assign stories and copy editors, they are juries, judges and executors.

I would really like to know who is backing you. I am proud of you that you are not anti-semitic but you are an apprehensive Georgian Jew worried of what Israel has been getting away with, and are targeting them also.  They play really rough.  Ask anyone in the US Congress who does not toe the AIPAC line. And that is just baby stuff.

  Good luck, and watch your back.  And don't pull me into any of your stories without my permission. 


Devoted Reader


Subject: Embassy of Israel and Money for Arms – listserve of select readers, response

You may want to consider contacting the Israel Embassy in Tbilisi for an official statement of what the FBI Director was actually doing in Israel, and how involved is their Embassy here with the corruption scandal that has unfolded with Israeli and American citizens being involved in paying bribes to officials of the Georgian government - and amongst those that hold dual citizenship.

Under the law of the return any son, daughter - or grandchild of a Jew can have citizenship. Are any Israel citizens under investigation by Israeli law enforcement bodies, and if so, what is the status, and if the US would issue a warrant for their arrest, would it be honored?

BTW, an Israeli citizen cannot be extradited to a third country, there might be some exceptions.


Did they know the criminal history of the former Minister of Defense before he immigrated to Israel?

BTW, I can technically have Israeli citizenship, and as my father is Jewish and I practice the religion the best that I can.

Also, ask about large Israeli investments into Georgia real estate, why so much was paid, and is it possible that paying such a high price was done as a mechanism to provide money to the Georgian government for the support of its military and arms procurement programs, and I am talking about the Lisa Lake Project, and fake direct foreign investments.


Also, ask them about the spy drone operating out of Kobuleti and that agents of the Israeli government were servicing them during the 2008 war. I have pictures of the agents/technicians.

Ask about M-85 Cluster Bombs and was any investigation made as why they did not work properly and the launch systems failed, and this resulted in the deaths of Georgian soldiers and villagers? These landed on Georgian villages is confirmed by Human Rights Watch. Anyway, there much involved here, and you are only getting started, and it is interesting that the FBI director was in both Israel and Georgia in such a short period of time - and all the high level connections between Georgia and Israel in the supply of weapons and ready-to-eat-meals.


FBI Director, Robert Mueller, in Israel For Talks on Cooperation

Friday May 07, 2010 09:23 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Israeli sources reported Thursday that the US FBI director, Robert Mueller, arrived in Israel and held a meeting with Israel's Police Chief, David Cohen, on cooperation against what was described as international crime, and the joint U.S-Israeli efforts to counter "terrorism".

Several senior Israeli police officials attended the meeting that took place in Jerusalem. The meeting was held upon request from the United States, Israeli paper, Maariv, reported. No details were published.

The paper linked between the meeting and the attempted car bombing in New York several days ago.

Cohen said that the talks were positive and that cooperation between security agencies in Israel and the United States has proven to be fruitful in recent years.

Cohen briefed Muller on what he called "counter terrorism and crime fighting" challenges the police face.

He added that there are no borders for "the fight against organized and computer crimes, as well as the fight against terrorism".

Editor's Note:

The Israeli occupation government describes the Palestinian resistance to its brutal occupation of Palestinian territories as "terrorism."


--

Monday, September 6, 2010

Barak signs military deal with Russia

Appears to be double standard in dealing with Georgia and Russia, it is all about money!!!

10:37 07/09/2010

By YAAKOV KATZ

Israel and Russia made history on Monday, signing for the first time a military agreement that will increase cooperation on combating terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but also could lead to the sale of Israeli weaponry to the Russian military.

Russia is particularly interested in acquiring Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In 2009, Russia bought 12 drones from Israel Aerospace Industries, following its war with Georgia, during which Georgian military forces used Israeli Elbit Systems Hermes 450 UAVs.

Read more on http://www.jpost.com/


--

Report: CIS Countries Are "World's Most Dangerous Places for Journalists"

Attacks may be but tip of iceberg for an attitude, dying to tell the truth!!!

See snip of new report:

http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav062507.shtml

The evolution of a "reconsolidated authoritarian model" is enabling states in the Commonwealth of Independent States to re-impose control over mass media, according to a recent report prepared by Freedom House.

The report -- titled Muzzling the Media: The Return of Censorship in the CIS -- makes the assertion that most former Soviet states, including those in Central Asia and the Caucasus, are the most hazardous on earth, outside of active war zones, for journalists to work in. Entrenched authority in these states are increasingly unwilling to tolerate the "watchdog" role that media strives to play in open societies, according to the report.

"Reporters willing to investigate issues such as political and corporate corruption are confronted by powerful, vested interests striving to muzzle news professionals," the report states.

NB - this is also true for non-local journalists in both Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Norwegian Journalist attacked in Tbilisi
http://www.media.ge/en/node/35504

Questions Raised by Attack on Journalist

http://www.geotimes.ge/index.php?m=home&newsid=17323


--

Russian Official: Militants Trained in Georgia

Georgia hosts “special camps” where militants are trained and then sent to join insurgents in North Caucasus, a senior Russian Interior Ministry official in charge of North Caucasus region has alleged.

“Georgia has become visibly active recently,” Nikolai Simakov, deputy head of Interior Ministry’s unit in North Caucasus federal district, said in an interview with Russian newspaper, Vremya Novostei, when asked about foreign aid to militants operating in the North Caucasus.

“We have information that special camps are set on the territory of this country [Georgia] for training of fighters. Persons from the Caucasus republics, usually criminals and as well as those who are at large in European states are gathered there, trained and sent to us via neighboring countries,” he said in the newspaper interview, published on September 6.

“A clash took place recently when a group tried to cross into Russia from Azerbaijan; an Azerbaijani border guard died, one fighter was killed and two others detained. It was revealed during the interrogation, that they were recruited by extremist organizations and sent to Georgia for training with a goal to then operate on the Russian territory,” Simakov said.

Read original article at civil.ge


--

Friday, September 3, 2010

In Central Asia, a new headache for U.S. policy

By Andrew Higgins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 1, 2010; A6

BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN - Beset by mounting casualties on the battlefield and deepening
disquiet at home over the United States' longest war, President Obama's Afghan
policy now faces another big headache: the unraveling of central authority in
Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian nation that hosts a U.S. air base critical to the battle
against the Taliban.

Just a month after agreeing to extend for a year a $60 million lease on a U.S. air
base here, Kyrgyzstan's generally pro-Western but increasingly impotent president,
Roza Otunbayeva, has retreated from U.S.-backed security programs that Washington
hoped would help fortify a fragile Kyrgyz government. These include a
counterterrorism and anti-narcotics training center and an international police
mission.

Read original article

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Georgian-Russian Border Crossing Requires Closer Scrutiny

Russian-Georgian-political-economic relations, especially eye-opening!!!


By Joni Simonshvili, Tbilisi Georgia

In late July I took time off to check out allegations of weapons from the Russian Federation crossing into Georgian territory for use in Armenia, and even perhaps for resale to Iran. Even though I live in Georgia, getting to see unforgettable scenery in the region and gaining a bit of insight into the "bigger picture" of Russian-Georgian-political-economic relations is especially eye-opening, for an old man.  

The timing for this article may be important as it comes on the day when Azerbaijan says three Armenian and two Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed in fighting on the flashpoint border of Azerbaijan's pro-Armenian breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, as provided by various media sources.  As always, the other side is guilty and nobody even starts a war.  It is said that the account providing by each of the conflicting sides has not been independently verified.

Kazbegi checkpoint (Georgia) - Upper Lars-Kazbegi (Russia) is the only official land checkpoint on the Georgian-Russian border, 38 km to the south from Vladikavkaz by the Georgian Military Highway. It was but a short tourist trip to the region of Kazbegi, at least initially.  The fact-finding trip started out with an impressive ride from Tbilisi, passing a water reservoir that supplies Tbilisi, the capital city, passing old churches, a ski resort, a side of hill encrusted with limestone, and finally to a town of Kazbegi, a border trading town situated on the road to Vladikavkaz, the gateway to Russia.

I don't know if many people are keeping up, and even if they have notice, but there has but there's been an uptick in the tempo of the tit-for-tat comments between Georgia and Russia recently. The new Russian general in charge of Russian security in Abkhazia & S. Ossetia taunting the Georgians saying they've given up on re-integration and are now focused solely on defending the rest of Georgia, and the Russian Deputy F.M. reinforcing what I was saying about the 6-point plan by going  on about people re-arming Georgia, and how there will never be an end to this situation while the Georgians are still a threat, and Medvedev  basically saying the same as we've been saying that he doesn't really have a beef with the Georgian people - just the current regime and, this weekend, he also made a surprise visit to Sokhumi. And Saakashvili - indoctrinator of children - calls Russians barbarians and Russia "the enemy" four times in a single article and also in just about every other chance he gets.

More in terms of logistics, and let now focus of how this weapons transports route has been much upgraded in recent years in terms of asphalt and new custom facilities – and much thanks must be given to the American people.  However, from what I understand from many disgruntled residents, the upgrade the road has not brought much relief for the locals. They were overly depended on the cross border trade with the Russian Federation for their employment. This also a crossing point for many quality food products.  Since 2006, however, this crossing has been closed; it was only reopened in March of 2010 under a cloud of political recriminations and questionable motivations.

Something more sinister

Many official reasons are noted – as aside from needed road and bridge repairs, and not all the justification is convincing.  Something more sinister is going on here. The real reason for opening it up may be more deeply rooted in power politics and economic expediency.  Moreover, he fate of this checkpoint is not isolated, and other cross border points with neighboring republics, and breakaway regions (South Ossetia and Abkhazia), have been closed too.

An Armenian tourism told me after returning to Tbilisi, "I think Kazbegi is definitely important for Armenia, although I do not know exactly what percentage of goods coming to Armenia goes through Poti (a blacksea port) and what actually transits through the Kazbegi crossing.  I believe Georgia also gets a benefit from opening the checkpoint, as it was reopened amid conversations on possible opening of Armenian-Turkish border – and  was viewed partially as a transit competitiveness measure - the Georgian authorities as far as I remember being quoted on Armenian TV as saying  that Georgia will not lower transit prices if border with Turkey opens. Armenian government has said on many occasions that Georgia's tariffs (fees) for transit of Armenian goods are much greater than the price found anywhere in the world."

As in the case of the Kazbegi region, locals were supplied with natural gas in better times, and this is reflected by the many greenhouses, most now are dilapidated and rusted out shells. It is intriguing to see that Georgians cannot produce a tomato or cucumber in the winter, and this is but a first impression, and it is a statement in itself. Being physically and economically close to Russia is also useful for area locals, and commerce is one of the best ways to bridge differences.  At that what you would think from a larger perspective.

However, I saw only Armenian and Ukrainian trucks crossing the border during my short visit, as relations are still soured between Georgia and the Russian Federation, at least on an official level.  One Armenian truck coming from Russia, after being custom cleared, was under escort of the Georgian police. How friendly?  I now have greater degree of insight as to the possible reason why the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs refused a US contactor, University of Chicago, permission to conduct road and cross border transit research at this border crossing, as it might prove too revealing.  However, the same permission was granted for all other international road border crossings.  No official explanation was given, only a blank refusal.

Let's speculate.

It would be curious to know what was inside this and other trucks, especially as this is an important crossing point for Armenia, and Armenian borders Iran.  I could only speculate the worst and from an Armenian website I learned about Gagik Aghajanyan, Executive Director of National Cargo Services Company Apaven, dismissing any allegations of illicit goods passing the border during a press conference held earlier this year.

Quoting, "earlier Georgian experts said that the opening of the Upper Lars Kazbegi checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border is beneficial neither for Georgia nor for Armenia but rather for Russia to supply weaponry to its military base in Armenia's second-largest town of Gyumri." 

The only official viewpoint has been represented by Georgia's ambassador to Armenia, as quoted in the Armenian press. Naturally there might be some real concerns as to the utility of the Upper Lars Kazbeki checkpoint, and is the transit more beneficial for Georgia or Armenia. The title of one article in Armenian was that "We-should-politicize-the-operation-of-the-Upper-Lars-Checkpoint." It is highly possible that it could be closed down should it serve a third purpose. http://www.armenians.net/news/view/article/10216/We-Should-Better-Not-Politicize-the-Operation-of-Upper-Lars-Checkpoint/11

His comments are worrying, and because Georgia has long been recognized as a transit point for illegal trade and relations between its neighbors are tensed.  I would think that it would be in the direct interest of Western law enforcement and intelligence services to understand such possible conduits.  Aside from possible 'other purposes', the dire state of cross border trade with Georgia can be easily seen by an empty trade terminal in Kabegi that had once been overflowing with petty traders.  

I would not be surprised if Russia does indeed transfer arms through it. It is not illegal, of course as the Russians and Armenians have an official deal when it comes to Russian military bases in Armenia.  The road, which connects Armenia with Russia via transiting Georgia, is of strategic interest. It is even called the Georgian military highway dating back hundreds of years. It was the land conduit for the Russian army to the region.  However, in a blink of the eye, and during periods of inclement weather, border crossing can be shut tight.

This road the most viable land route for transporting goods to Russia from Armenia, and serves as an alternative to the combined transport: Armenia ––Georgian Port (Poti/Batumi) ––Russia or Ukraine-Russia link. The checkpoint is supposedly supplied with super-contemporary technology, which scans the whole cargo and the Georgian side will not permit transportation of weapons for Gyumri military base through this border. It is interesting to note that the Georgian opposition takes exception, questions why the border is open for Armenian but not for Georgian goods. Some go as far to say that questions "it's only Russia that needs the opening of Kazbeki-Upper Lars checkpoint.

But what is Georgia's concern: that, en route, those possible weapons might suddenly be used in Tbilisi? Or, even an invasion might take place, and with a Southern front this time. I suspect that either of those would be possibilities from a Georgian perspective, especially giving what is going-on in Javakhk (Samtskhe-Javakheti), an region of Georgia inhabited by many ethnic Armenians.

The Georgian Parliamentary minority Christian-Democratic Movement has been especially vocal. There is no shortage of recriminations on their part, the opening of the crossing has described as being "against Georgia's state interests," claims MP Nika Laliashvili of the CDM.  He is often quoted in the Georgian mass media. He is good spokesperson, having worked in State Security Agencies in a position of public relations, and was actively involved with PR related to the Pankisi gorge some years ago in a PR position.

Nika has said on several occasions that the Kazbeki region might now share the same fate as Akhalgori, part of what was South Ossetian under Georgian control before the war of August 2008, and how the Akhalgori region is now illegally incorporated into the breakaway region of South Ossetia. This breakaway region of Georgia is recognized by a handful of countries.  The spokesperson for the Christian Democrats points to opportunities for Russian and its agents to stir local ethnic tensions among Ossetians living in the Kazbeki region.  Let's just take such comments at face value for now and continue with a look at the larger picture of things.

The next best border link, for the sake of discussion, would be for Georgia and Russia to negotiate for the reopening of a Abkhazian railway and road link, and for any such 'deal' to be somehow connected to the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia within the confirms of legally unified  Georgian State. However, that may be difficult in today's popular rhetoric and would not be opportune for many in the US State Department.  The post 2008 Georgian-Russian war over South Ossetia has left many open wounds and hard scars.  It has also provided the grounds to continue business as usual with a weak Georgian state and a government that is totally depended on Washington for its economic and political survival, especially for members of the government.

In short, it is going difficult to rectify open borders with the current level of recriminations between both Georgia and the Russian Federation, and especially considering that Georgian is playing a double game with its friendly relations with Iran.  It's also difficult to ignore the unbridled antagonism which the government of Georgia seems to persist in showing towards their northern neighbor, and how this border does not appear to benefit Georgia, at least officially.

All war and poor relations with your closely neighbor and largest potential trading partner is a bad thing - and dwelling on the past is certainly no way to build for the future. Russia is far from perfect - no country is, but there is no point in arguing and shouting all the time when closer ties with Russia could lead to an improved business climate and economic development.  It is clear that Georgia may not become either a Dubai or Singapore anytime soon. But it should keep hoping and try to get its act together.

 I remember listening to a BBC special on the economic problems of Dubai, and how "Dubai does not need investors but investors need Dubai", and to make a comparison, and who needs the Kazbeki checkpoint?

 As for now, it is difficult to understand the official benefit to Georgia. However, if relations would improve, there could also be a flood of tourists and businessmen heading south with pockets full of money.  In the meantime, however, we may not understand who really benefits from the Kazbeki checkpoint.

The rest of the story

And finally when all is said and done, to be honest - I've read much of what I written twice now - I'm not sure what the article is trying to say. For the native it is a bit disjointed, even for me, and confusing trying to figure out what the point of it is. I think recent events, and a shooting war getting ready to start between Azerbaijan and Armenian, which many have heard about – especially with the influx of Afghan, former Taliban fighters into Azerbaijan to backstop Azeri forces.

 I think it would be better if my speculations were framed in the context of how Upper Lars would come into the spotlight if Iran got attacked, and if the Russians decided to supply Iran - this would be their major land route, although we don't know what they may already have in Armenia which they could move to Iran, or whether they have some munitions or equipment in Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) which they would just roll down through Armenia because, in the event of an attack on Iran, all hell would break loose and the Russians  could care less about Georgia.

 It would merely be "in the way" but Georgia would have a job removing the Russians if a real shooting war broke out. However, the trim and lean reorganized Red army would secure their supply route the same way they rolled Georgian police cars out of the way in Gori back in 2008 - and you know how long these conflicts can be made to drag on for - if it suits someone, especially since other wars are winding down and new conflicts are needed to keep the Merchants of Death in business and their erstwhile sponsors, who are now trying to distance themselves from what has been a flourishing trade. 

Does this article suggesting that weapons ARE coming through the checkpoint? Yes, as it would make sense for the Russians to have a stockpile of weapons in Armenia, and I'm sure the Armenians would allow it if they cut a deal with Russia over the situation with Azerbaijan, being ready, just in case,  and being ready to react when the Azeri side reacts or makes the first move. Much firepower is already on  hand for both defensive and offensive  purposes, and thanks to the cooperation of the power ministers of in Georgia, and who says that there has been any downturn in the business climate, especially in terms of the trade in weapons.


--