Sunday, December 5, 2010

John F. Teff, NewSpeak and Gullible, WikiLeaks

Some commentators have concluded from the content of the release of US diplomatic cables on WikiLeaks that American ambassadors around the world seem to be well-informed about the countries to which they are posted. A glaring exception to this was the US ambassador to Georgia at the time of the 5-day war in August 2008, John F. Tefft. Whilst Georgian observers have concluded that the WikiLeaks' data support the Georgian version of the events of 2008, others have pointed out that, since Tefft was gullibly reporting as fact to the State Department only the propagandistic assertions that he was being fed by President Mikhail Saakashvili or other Georgian spokesmen, this is hardly surprising. However, though 'going native' has seemed to be a curse of America's representatives in Georgia since the first ambassadorial appointee, Kent Brown, in 1992, not all Americans display such lack of discrimination in their reporting from that country.

On 19 May 2008, a report 'Georgian War Footing Takes Concrete Form — Literally' by Ian Carver and Joni Simonishvili appeared at php?a= main&pid=7164&lang=eng, the website of the NGO Human Rights in Georgia. The article, accompanied by Carver's photograph of a newly constructed concrete ramp beside the railway-track in Mingrelia, close to the Georgian border with Abkhazia, explained that the ramp had been built by foreign construction-workers and could have but one purpose, namely to facilitate the unloading of tanks for an assault on Abkhazia, something which the Abkhazian authorities feared in that spring.

'Joni Simonishvili' was/is the pen-name of Jeffrey K. Silverman, and this is not the only revelation to come from the pen of this investigative journalist, as can be seen in the link above, which has recently come into the possession of Abkhaz World. It begins with an explanation of how this particular observer was able to recognise at a glance the reason for the construction of the concrete ramp in Mingrelia.


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