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Map showing the strategic [read: oil] importance of Georgia in Washington’s calculations. The US currently only controls the oleoducts that run across Georgia, since the others in the Caspian region are deep in Russian territory. Note also how close this area is to the Middle East’s hotspots, including Iraq and Iran. Georgian real estate might figure big in any Pentagon-Israeli plans to launch strikes against Iran. 

THE NEW CONFLICT ALONG THE RUSSIAN BORDER suggests direct US support and perhaps even planning. But who knows to what extent. What is significant is the narrative being imposed on this event by western corporate media.

Starting with the always loathsome Dick Cheney “Russian aggression must stop…”No mention is made of the actual facts, and certainly no mention is made anywhere that I can find of the Georgian war crimes that inititated this confrontation.  Georgia blew apart a small city and murdered civilians and destroyed, wantonly, property and shelters. Find me a mention of this in any Murdoch paper, or Time Warner outlet. If one only read the NY TImes and Washington Post, one would think Russia just invaded a peaceful democratic outpost run by a “pro-Western” president, who just happened to be a Columbia Law school grad.

Georgian warplanes and armor caused large scale destruction in Southern Ossetia’s major cities, leveling much of its capital and not sparing its university grounds.

Here is the best coverage Ive found so far:

But this is good, too,

and this:

What is so telling, in an era of The Dark Knight and *24* and *The Kingdom* and *Iron Man* is the comic book and jingoistic level of the media created narrative. The eastward sweep of NATO has been a prolonged provocation for Putin, and as Kosovo was granted, ah, em, *independence*, one could see the pattern emerging in bold relief. The Israeli connection warrants more analysis as well, but again, you will find not a single mention in the corporate western press.

The coverage of Haiti, of the FRY [FED. REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA], of Rwanda, have all set the pattern for this massive propaganda, but perhaps the coverage of Georgia/Russia is the most blatant and jaw-dropping in its disregard for facts.

Whatever his faults, Putin is not a man to be shoved around by the hypocrites who constantly shed crocodile tears for democracy in “the West”.

Predictably McCain has asked for Russia to *stand down*. Now it’s worth noting that a top McCain advisor was a leading lobbyist for Georgia, that McCain’s support of nuclear energy is tied directly to the weaponizing of space and the lucrative contracts attached to that enterprise. Obama is hardly better. The perception being created is pure cold war; it’s as if those dirty commies were still in power, still out to humilate *us* with Sputnik, and to take over the world. I keep hearing of *Russian expansionism* from western commentators. No mention is made of what country in the world now occupies two previously sovereign nations, and who is pushing for military bases in every corner of the world. The NY Times has been an obscenity on this, but almost all major news outlets have dutifully followed the state department scenario. The comic book bogeyman is Putin, and/or the mythic *Russian Bear*, and Georgia is just a plucky innocent and new little democracy being assaulted by this big bad bear.

Pipeline construction in the Caspian [Caucasus] region. No wonder “the West” —as the American press so coyly calls America’s naked projection of power across the globe—is interested in the area. 

Saakashvilli is among the more repressive world leaders now in office. But the master narrative we are constantly fed would have us think it’s actually Chavez who has shut down opposition news outlets. Or that it’s Mugabe who is the corrupt tyrant stealing resources from his people. Facts just don’t matter anymore. Not even a little.

Georgia spent 70% of its budget on US weapons and training. No wonder Cheney likes them so much. 

Questions of how directly the US instructed Georgian actions remains to be revealed, but clearly enough Saakashvilli didn’t do this without talking to his masters.

The US economy is bankrupt, the populace drugged and confused (although one does see signs of awakening in certain corners) and the war machine is all that keeps things spinning, and if Iraq and Afganistan can’t use up enough munitions, well maybe Georgia can expend a few additional rounds and fuck up a few Humvees. 

If ever there was a time to turn off CNN and the BBC and NBC, ABC and FOX, it’s now. The NY Times is a grotesque toady to this US administration, and one should have realized this with the hiring of Bill Kristol, but of course none of the rest of these lapdog Quisling rodents are any better.

CNN: World’s “news leader.” Yeah. Right. Fancy conduit for 24/7 propaganda would be more apt. If the consequences of this type of “journalism” were not so tragic, the claim would be worth a hearty laugh. 

A world of unreality, as Edward Said put it before his death. And so it is. But it’s increasingly dangerous to accept even a single word from the mouths of the corporate talking heads as fact. Not a single word.

Senior Editor John Steppling currently teaches film in Lodz, Poland. Before transferring to The Greanville Journal, Steppling and co-editor Guy Zimmerman helmed VOXPOP, our special blog devoted to theater, culture, arts and politics.

  1. Viva Stepling!! He sums up the entire brawl in the Caucasus in one succinct presentation, while mercilessly peeling away the multiple layers of lies, hypocrisy and omissions attending the coverage by the “Western” press. I wish Stepling ran for political office here, we need people like him, who can’t be fooled, to effect a renewal of our democratic institutions.

  2. John, of course we couldnt have expected anything more from our corporate media, although I think this time ’round things are slightly different. The degree of hypocrisy is just astonishing and I think this may well be sinking in to many consumers of the propaganda machine. Checkout the comments on the BBC Have Your Say, or their News Blog, alternatively the comments on the Independent website. Many of the comments seem to display a greater of understanding of the situation and the way in which it is being manipulated by the media. A small sample I grant you, but they cant all be readers of Medialens or the Tomb 🙂 Cheers, C.

  3. Email I sent to one of your group here…

    “In regards to your blog about Georgian affair -that was a great article. I am referencing it to my silly Brother. I had been holding back on making a final theory about what this whole Georgian mess was about until Monday, but then decided to wait until late that night to make up my mind. Finally when my Brother called me on Tuesday I told him I thought the whole act was a ‘heads’ the West wins and ‘tails’ the Russians lose. In that – if Russia over ran Georgia and cut the pipeline and, so forth, we would be in a new cold war. That would be just what the US military industrial complex needs, since the War on Terror is wearing thin and threadbare in the hearts and minds of the Western world. A new cold war MIGHT also place the US and the next president once more at the helm of Europe’s global political policies.

    But if ‘tails’ came up and Russia ended up pulling out due to Western pressure then there would be a good chance that Putin would have suffered his 2nd ‘Kursk Affair’ (and he almost did not survive the first one, when a US Mark 48 torpedo put an end to that sub and Putin had to eat the incident up). My brother got into a yelling match telling me that Russia would never pull out now, but within a few hours of that phone call Russia had signed on to withdraw – claiming it had attained all its goals, when in fact just the day before it had mentioned one of its goals was to replace the president of Georgia. Oops.

    If Russia does pull out – which apparently it will – Putin will have taken his second big haircut from the West – for while the West will no doubt pour money into Georgia and Georgia will repair and rebuild – I don’t see Mother Russia rebuilding the Ossetian towns any faster than they rebuild East Berlin after WWII. That will mean that the Russian citizens of Ossetia will drift away back to Russia, leaving that area little more than a burnt out shell guarded by Russian Spec Ops. In three years the Russian claim of protecting its fellow Russians in Ossetia will sound even sillier.


    To me it sees obvious that though Putin had been building up his forces for four months, he had no intention of launching his invasion until after the US was heavily committed in action toward Iran. On the same day the Georgians were led by apparently Israeli Spec Ops, and Blackwater leaders in the attack on the capital of Ossetia, using apparently drum fire and other tactics designed to have limited value, but certainly designed to INFURIATE the Russians – the US, French, and Brits sent a powerful force of naval battle groups toward Iran. Also large Western investment interests began withdrawing large amounts of money from Russian investments at about the same time. Only a knucklehead or my Brother would miss all this. (I think it was soon after this when Iraq announced it was to begin new oil explorations.) This was either a series of miraculous universal symmetries or it was a complex planned affair.

    The second point I made to my brother was that, while there is evidence that both Israel and America were behind the timing and the objectives of the attack, it was obvious in the actual conduct of the attack that the neither the US or Israel intended for the attack to succeed on the ground. Why? Because in order for the Russians to reach the capital of Ossetia they had to pass through a single narrow tunnel and then pass over a long winding narrow road full of mountain switchbacks. Basic military planning 101 would have dictated that the Georgians should have sealed off this route before attacking the small platoon of Russian peacekeepers stationed in the capital of Ossetia. Certainly the Americans could have supplied the Georgians – who had 7 war planes – with a guided bomb that could have taken out the tunnel entrance on the Georgian side of the boarder. Or perhaps more practically – the first Georgian spearhead could have bypassed the Ossetian capital and raced into the mountains to either blow the tunnel or blow up the road, turning many of its stacks of switchbacks into landslides. I mean this would have been just basic military tactics. I was shocked to see Russian divisions snaking along this road a day later, because even now a single US B2 bomber could plant one missile into the tunnel entrance and cut off the Russian army from its supplies of fuel and food. One bomb and an army would be cut off. You don’t see many weak-points of that magnitude in the long ages of military history.

    So it was obvious to me by Sunday that the West wanted the Russian divisions to move into Ossetia.

    Essentially the Russian four month build up was a kind of pustule swelling up on the flank of the West as it was moving toward dealing with Iran. Likely Putin had hoped to unleash this pustule at about the time the US became bogged down in the Persian Gulf with Iran. This would have prevented the West from any real chance of dealing with the Georgian problem.

    But the American/Israeli interests popped this pustule with a ‘heads America wins’ and a ‘tails Russia loses’ type scenario – as mentioned earlier. I got this sense when I saw that it had been Putin that had run down to Bush, rather than Bush going over to Putin at the Olympic stadium to begin a loud argument after the Georgian attack on Ossetia. Soon after this Putin left China so quickly that one could almost see the Hollywood movie styled proverbial vortex behind Putin’s exit, as bits of paper-litter and leaves swirled in the winds of this vortex. It seemed plain that it had been Putin and not Bush who was surprised by the Georgian attack. While it is likely the Russians knew about the build up, it is unlikely they thought that H-hour was on 8-8-08. No doubt Putin would loved to have watched the Olympics and gotten photo ops with himself and the Russian athletes – as he himself is something of a sports hound. But alas, poor Putin (we knew him well) such was not to be for him. Being a known control freak, Putin of course had to get back, not to Moscow where media camera awaited, but to where he could smell the freshly greased tank wheels, and the aroma of tank diesel engines. Thus, he went directly to the Russian boarder with Ossetia.

    No, being such a control freak, Putin would never have gone to China had he thought the war was to begin on the 8th of August. It is likely the Russian army was sent into Georgia quite too early for the purposes Putin had desired. For Russia was breaking one of the foremost rules of Sun-Tzu: never allow your enemy to set the time, date and place for your army to fight. Very certainly Russia did allow the proxy army (Georgians) of the US and Israel to set both the time and date and location of the battle. In other words – Russia jumped into a trap. Not so much a military trap as a POLITICAL TRAP. After all, what would be worth more? One oil pipeline, or instead, a new Cold War (to replace the failing War on Terror) and to put the USA back in command over Europe, and to give the Military Industrial Complex new breathing space? Certainly such a conflict would make McCain look better and make Obama look worse, as most Americans trust McCain more as regards military defense.

    So it appears the Russian invasion-pustule was popped about a month or so too early. Thus, the Georgian affair was much like the British-Balkan pustule on Hitler’s flank that needed to be dealt with before Operation Barbarossa could be unleashed. Georgia being our Bulkans and Iran being our upcoming Barbarossa.

    That America has been slapping Russia and Putin around there is no doubt – as for example desiring to place the anti-missile shield in old Warsaw Pact countries. Obviously Iran has nothing that could reach that far and neither would such an anti-missile system stop Russian ICBMs. It all goes together with Georgia (as well as ‘NATOs march to the sea’: the Pacific Ocean) as a play to incite Russia to its normal behavior and thus unleash a new cold war.

    Personally I think if Russia does follow the French peace plan that Putin’s political days will be numbered, no matter how many times Pravda sings about all their objectives having been met. It will go down as ‘Kursk II’.

    As I watched Bush hugging up on the bikini clad US ball players. I realized another kind of cosmic symmetry was appearing – I recalled how Bush had spent a long time in a Florida classroom reading to kids from a children’s book, as planes were slamming into the Twin Towers on 9-11. That event gave birth to the War on Terror. Now in the China Olympics I saw Bush happily sitting once more with flag in hand, more or less unconcerned about the Georgia affair, as perhaps a new Cold War was being born.

    Best Regards
    Jim Eagle Feather “

  4. If I may add proof that Russia was caught off guard…

    We can further see proof that Russia was not prepared for a war on 8-8-08 by the fact that the main units of the Russian Black Sea fleet did not reach their stations off the Georgian coast until the 10th of August – two days after their forces had invaded Ossetia (Quote from Novosti : A group of ships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet including the flagship Moskva guided missile cruiser arrived on Sunday in the eastern part of the sea near the Georgian border, a high-ranking navy official said.) Even the first sea elements that attacked the Georgian shipping on Saturday, August 9th, was only on station 24 hours after the war started. The Russian forces in Abkhazia did not begin their major push into Georgia until August 11th, three days after the war started. Any military historian in the future will describe these actions by Russia as a military ‘bringing in its assets in a piecemeal fashion’.

    Generally speaking when a military force is attacked and has to spend three days to bring in military units piecemeal it indicates that the attacked force was taken by surprise. Had Russia been planning for a major upstaging of the West in Georgia on 8-8-08 it is likely all its forces would have been in position and counterattacking by Saturday at the very latest. The fact that Russia had to ramp up its response into a three day span – even though it had been building up its forces for 4 months – shows that it was unprepared for such an early contest.

    Like examples of piecemeal behavior are seen in history when for example the Germans caught the Western Allies by surprise in the Battle of the Bulge. In that event the US and British took over a week to move assets toward the Germans to block their drive toward Antwerp. More recently when Saddam invaded Kuwait it took the US forces weeks to bring in forces to block any possible move he might have made into Saudi Arabia. Such piecemeal movements are a hallmark of an unprepared defender. As for a four month old planned invasion, imagine what the recent US invasion of Iraq would have looked like had the US naval assets not reached their attack stations in the Persian Gulf until 3 days after the US army had invaded Iraq. Such would be called very sloppy and would be a sign that the attack had been launched prematurely.

    Everything about the Russian piecemeal response to the Georgians, added to Putin’s anger in the Olympic stadium with Bush, indicates that American and Israeli planners caught the Russians by surprise. This would also explain the nature of the Georgian attack being designed to be so ferocious and bloodthirsty. Had the Georgians just went in with a few companies of men to capture Tskhinvali and the small platoon of Russian peacekeepers, Putin might have ordered his forces to show restraint and only send in a few battalions to restore order. The Russians might have looked before they leaped. But by slapping the Russians savagely across the face, Putin and the Russians were driven to start their prepared drive into Georgia a month too soon, and it all turned into a messy piecemeal operation that looked ill planned and sloppy.

    The savage nature of the US proxy attack and the lack of preparations to defend the mountain roads proves that the American/Israeli planners wished for Russia to fall into a political trap.

  5. remarkable analysis by eagle feather. high stakes poker game to topple putin (brzezinski ?). but former satelites may turn eastward now they see the cynical sacrifice of georgia by the west.

  6. (Note: in studying wars and world events I always divorce my emotions from the events and act as if I lived 1,000 years in the future and that I was reading about today’s events in some old dusty history book. You are either objective or you are blinded by tears. )

    Everything I have read about Mikheil Saakashvili is that he was a CIA trained plant, brought to the USA by Soros for training, before being sent to Georgia for the peaceful revolution. But all these anti-war tears for Ossetia just won’t get you anywhere, as Russia and its goons in Ossetia are not a bunch angels either. Russia has been causing fighting in Georgia now for a long time and calling the Georgians a bunch of Moslems or other racial attacks won’t work either. In fact no group in Georgia is without dirt on their record.

    Here is the update now: Russia made a huge mistake agreeing to the ceasefire and then deciding to dig in. I have read reports that the US military industrial complex is very happy with events now and expects to see more money coming from Congress for large cold war items (victory one for Bush). Poland was tipped over the edge and signed the anti-missile deal with the USA (victory two for Bush). Likely Sarkozy will use the new tension with Russia to attempt to ram through the Lisbon Treaty past Ireland (that would explain why he was so ready to go to Moscow with the cease-fire-trap).

    I formerly to thought that Putin was a Russian genius. Back in the 90s most bloggers acted like Russia was a dead fading piece of junk that would soon vanish. They laughed at me when I pointed out that Putin would reverse Russia’s decline and make Russia a major power once more. I believed this because as a KGB thug, Col. Putin was the man who designed Russia’s ‘Play Dead” plan, where Russia would pretend to fall apart and die in order to disarm its enemies around the world. Then to suddenly rise up out of the ashes to attack the West. I read about this plan but never got a chance to actually see its details. Even though the Soviet Union did fall into the dust, Putin’s plan was not part of that. But when Putin came to power I thought: “he will now try to raise Russia back up seeing that he had designed a plan for that.

    But Putin’s moves (and he still runs things in Russia) recently made me realize that his old plan is infecting his thinking and making him do foolish things as if this were still 1988. Russia’s military is still very weak – troop numbers aside. Its navy is little more than a glorified coastal defense. This recent invasion of Georgia with old T-72s underscores the point. At this point in history Russia should have continued playing up to the West. But what has come out of Moscow sounds like the old thug ideas of the KGB – and like a lot of black leather coated Mafia and FSB driving around in shiny black sedans. Like a bad Hollywood movie. When will Russia GROW UP. It will have to in order to face the West. Putin running around with his silly shirt off carrying a sniper rifle may make for good posters that would appeal to a Moscow leather jacketed thug, but it does not make Russia into a modern nation.

    Bush is now scoring points. Every day Russia’s invasion force hangs around with its army robbing banks only weakens what atrocity was done to Ossetia. But the army seems frozen…because I think Putin now realizes that the West gave him a political haircut. He now wants to hold on to the empty towns and fields his army captured in the hopes that once more he can somehow get his shirt off and run around for a photo op carrying a sniper rifle.

    Putin has failed. He was a great KGB officer, and a great symbol for a decayed Russia to rally around. But he is no Bismarck, nor even a Lenin. He knows now that aside from all the macho talk back in Russia that he as a leader is toast. He failed politics 101.

    On a secondary note: this Georgian affair has lit up who all of Russias useful idiots are on the web, in journalism, and around the world. One has to sift through those who are merely motivated by a dislike of Bush/Cheney. But what comes up is that people who just want to focus on how right Moscow was (that its poop did not stink) and only focus on the little trick of the West, as the great Satan, show perhaps who has a few rubles in a Swiss account.

  7. dont understand your last paragraph, but the west always manipulated russia from churchill and roosevelt on yalta with stalin, and khruchev on to gorbachev and yeltsin, nothing new there and each time russia falls for it while small nations are being sacrificed. much what was done with poland by england to get hitler
    entangled in war and thus defeatable. while now the cunning chinese smile on, supporting the west’s decline, weighing their chances, jiggery pokerey.

  8. provoking one’s adversaries is a proven tactic in the chess game of international high politics. one can argue that the roosevelt administration provoked the japanese attack on pearl harbor
    so it could unite the country and enter the war arena. and the equally smart bush regime to provoke but not participate in 9/11, enabling it to destroy iraq and to create an existential hole in the center of the islamic world, thus laming it.

  9. gui rockat, you are one savvy guy. great points.

    I suppose to this topic one should take a look at it from Iran’s point of view:

    “Russia’s action against Georgia violates the UN charter and causes collateral damage on the integrity and security of the sovereign rights of Russia’s other neighbors, including Iran, which a mere half a century ago was threatened by partition when the Soviet red army refused to leave northern Iran at the end of World War II.”

  10. This update: Russia is sending its OLD cold war aircraft carrier (the Admiral Kuznetsov) to Syria. Considering how that old bucket of bolts was always breaking down with engine trouble for YEARS, I hope it does not end up adrift at sea and require NATO rescue at sea. Russia is making a perfect fool out of itself – signing a deal and now refusing to follow it, knocking out a bridge (really hard for the USA to replace later – wow) and taking old US humvees. Such booty! Meanwhile Poland and the Ukraine have gone over whole hog to NATO. Russia should stop while it it has a tiny shred of honor left.

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