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USrael’s masterminded “defeat blitz” in Caucasus

USrael’s masterminded “defeat blitz” in Caucasus  

(or Saka-Sarco-Rice “Condolence dance” at Stalin’s birthplace)  

Introduction  

During the summer of 2005 I visited Caucasus Mountains with a group of my former students. In order to get acclimatization to reach the summit of Elbrus (5661 m) we made several excursions in nearby valleys, just next to the Russia/Georgia border. In each of these valleys were outposts of Russian Federation (RF) army, guarding against terrorists and sabotagists, supposedly trying to sneak in from Georgia. Indeed, only a month after our departure, in September of 2005 in Naltchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkarska Republic (where we obtained military permits to visit regions in proximity of the border), there were street fights. which left 135 persons dead. with attacking “islamists”. During our stay in Caucasus I was informed by Russian alpinists that all this subversion radiates from the Georgian territory, where CIA has its training bases.  

How to organize a defeat in 3 fast steps  

This was my personal acquaintance with the “hot” regions of Caucasus. Than we had, the day 8.8.8 of opening of Olympic Games, a massive and brutal, killing up to 1,6 thousands civiliabs, attack of Georgian Army on tiny South Ossetian Republic. Such an attack was something to be expected, just observing how the military budget of Georgia soared in last years, reaching 40% of all Georgia state expenditures:  
2005 - about 205 millions $
2006 - 218 millions $
2007 - 517 millions $
2008 – more than 950 millions $
This is the military budget in a country of circa 4 millions inhabitants where people with revenues under 4$ per day form more than 2/3 of population!  
In large extend all these money have been wasted in less than one week, which followed the “happy” (for Chinese and the like) day 8.8.8. From Polish (it means German owned) "Dziennik" Of August 16th I learned, thanks to an article of Pawel Reszka, reporting from Tbilisi, the prosaic origin of the failure, of heavily assisted by American and Israel instructors, Saakashvili’s “Freedom to Caucasian nations” mission: 1. During the night/morning attack on 8.8.8, Georgia's artillery (and pilotless drones from Israel) failed to destroy the entrance of a strategic tunnel Roki joining, through Caucasus Mountains, South and North Ossetia. (This tunnel is situated only dozen kilometers from mountainous regions controlled by Tbilisi regime.) Due to this, truly essential, Georgian (it means in fact Americano-Israeli) hi-tech military failure,columns of RF tanks and armored vehicles managed to reach, the practically defenseless South Ossetia tiny republic, already during the day of 8.8.8. The evident lack of a serious plan of isolation of South Ossetia from RF was the first step in organizing the defeat of the Georgian, freshly trained and equipped by USA and Israel army. 2. According to Pawel Reszka personal observations, the "turning point" of war was the visit of Saakashvili in Gori, on Wensday 12 August at noon. During this "presidential visit" his team become scared by an overflight of a Russian jet (as we saw it at TV bodyguards covered Saakashvili with their bodies). Subsequently all Georgian military units left the Stalin’s birthplace in an incredible panic, leaving their helmets (and frequently also armor) behind them. 3. The same day French President Sarkozy has visited Russian President Miedviediev at Kremlin, and thy draw a 6-points plan of “return to status quo ante”, assuring the integrality of present borders of Georgia. Some observers considered this plan to be a “treason” and “surrender” of Putin’s equip at Kremlin, in front of demands of UE/NATO Super Power. Nevertheless announcement of this “peace plan” surely demoralized additionally the Georgian military: hearing that Georgia’s integrity was assured, both by president of RF and the president of France (leading at present EU), the Georgian army simply gave up all resistance, at present no one dares to shoot at soldiers of Russian Federation, which began move freely through Georgia monotonous countryside. The next day, as a preparation necessary for a safe withdrawal, RF army destroyed the military port of Poti at Black Sea, robbed several very well equipped, principally by American and Israeli manufactures, Georgian military depots and so on. Also Abhasian tribal fighters had their hands full of work, not only disarming Georgian bunkers in Khodori valley (on territory of Abhasia), but they crossed the local border and sized also a huge hydro-electro plant at Irgurt river inside “core” Georgia. (I heard at the radio that this plant will be in future guarded by RF “peace creators”, assuring the continuous flow of electricity both to Abhasian and Georgian users.) Of interest is the following information about the truly geopolitical outcome of 8.8.8. “happy (to humanity, taken as a whole) events”: “Two airfields in southern Georgia had been earmarked for the use of Israeli military aircraft, intended to launch an attack on identified targets relating to Iranian atomic energy projects. This attack was approved by President Bush in an undertaking with the government of Israel signed in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2006 it is now believed that the Russian special forces have captured, intact, a number of the Israeli drones and, far more important, their radio controlling equipment... , units of the Russian air force bombed the Israeli bases in central Georgia and in the area of the capital, Tbilisi. They also severely damaged the runways and service areas of the two Georgian airbases designed to launch Israeli sir force units in a sudden attack on Iran” (http://www.tbrnews.org/Archives/a2867.htm) If we take into consideration that the Georgian Minister of Defense Khazashvili is an Israeli citizen, in all evidence “delegated” to Georgia to organize its “freedom giving to small nations” activity, the described above outcome of “3 days war” (already on Sunday, August 11, Saakashvili asked for armistice) is indeed impressing. It permits us to hope that on 8.8.8 a sun began to shine once again over our, ever darker – thanks to efforts of USA, Israel and their sattelites, Poland included – planet. Below I collected few interesting texts related to “3 days war for South Ossetia’s freedom” in Caucasus:
(1) The Snatch
By Israel Shamir

A fast guy had thought that a wallet was unattended, and tried to snatch it. But to his distress, he was stopped in his tracks by a burly wallet owner. This might be a fair description of Saddam Hussein’s effort to snatch Kuwait. It also fits the war over South Ossetia.  
Georgian President Saakashvili thought he can take South Ossetia while nobody was looking; while everybody was busy watching the Olympiad. In order to maximise the surprise factor, he declared barely three hours before the snatch that he would never send troops in.  
Here the similarity ends. While Saddam succeeded in taking Kuwait, Saakashvili failed to take over the SO. Saakashvili’s strategy also was different, and more reminiscent of the Israeli conquest of 1948: he wanted to have Ossetia without its native folk, the Ossetians. To this end he bombarded the SO capital, Tskhinvali, causing a mass exodus of the people – some thirty thousand of them, or almost half of population crossed the high mountains to the Russian side. The Russians rolled in and kicked Saakashvili’s troops out.  
So far, so good.  
(1) Saakashvili has had it coming for a long time. His flirtation, no, his heavy petting with the US and Israel, his fervent anti-Russian sentiments, his Kartveli nationalism had led him and his country to trouble. Like young Fidel, he wanted to turn his land into a match to set the global fire. He was the first to be burnt.  
(2) Russia fulfilled its residual imperial duty: as the successor of the Soviet Union, it is duty bound to guarantee some well-being of its erstwhile junior member-states. Russia could not allow Saakashvili to ethnically cleanse the Ossetians, for practical reasons, too: fifty thousand refugees from South Ossetia would destabilise the North Caucasus.  
(3) Russia demonstrated that beyond its bark, it has bite, too. Probably other adventurous neighbours, namely pro-American leaders of Estonia, Poland, and the Ukraine will entertain second thoughts before their next paroxysm of anti-Russian sentiment.  
(4) Russia proved that it can use force quickly, efficiently and with moderation. There was none of the old Soviet overkill; rather it was a moderate and modest, well-executed military operation. The best thing about it was its brevity, two or three days of actual fighting and the rest just a bit of mopping-up.  
(5) Russian leadership proved that they are not scared by Washington’s rhetoric. This is a very good thing after so many years of complicity and impotence.  
(6) Military defeat may be very good for the Georgian soul. Georgians are wonderful people, warm, handsome, pleasant and generous. However, they are ferocious nationalists of the tribal kind. Like some of their neighbours, they tend to see others mainly through an ethnic prism. The first thing the Georgians did when they became independent in the wake of 1917 Russian Revolution was to expel all Armenians and confiscate their property. Joseph Stalin also acted in the Georgian way when he expelled the Chechens from their mountains and the Germans from Prussia. Georgia is by no means homogeneous: it is populated by a few smaller ethnic groups, in addition to the Kartveli majority (or at least plurality). Since Georgia became independent a second time, in 1991, the Kartvelis have tried to deal with the minorities by harsh methods, undermining their culture and language and even expelling them on the first suspicion. This was the reason three autonomous areas of the country decided to split off from Georgia. SO is one of the three, but unless the Kartvel nationalism would be reined in, Adgars, Svans and other ethnic communities may rebel, too. Military defeat might just cause the Georgians to re-think their attitude towards their immediate neighbours.  
(7) Though Russia did not send in its troops in order to remove Saakashvili, this does not make such an outcome any less desirable. Saakashvili is dangerous for Georgia, Russia, Ossetia and the world. What a pity he did not lose the general elections a few months ago; what a shame that other candidates met with untimely deaths under suspicious circumstances or were jailed. One may hope the true patriots of Georgia will kick him out and choose a better president, opting for neutrality and for friendship with Georgia’s neighbours including Russia.  
(8) Georgian communists expressed their distaste with the Saakashvili’s attack; they would like to lead their country back into a close union with Russia. It should be considered: many Georgians, say the Communists in their letter from Tbilisi, would love to see the end of Saakashvili’s adventurism.  
(9) A neutral and neighbour-friendly Georgia would be able to re-integrate South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Kartvel and Mingrel refugees would be able to return into their villages. The Caucasus is so poly-ethnic that mutual expulsions and transfers are unacceptable.  
(10) This is the time to stop anti-Georgian propaganda in Russia and anti-Russian propaganda elsewhere. Russia has a long tradition of friendship with the Caucasian nations, with Georgians, Ossetians, Circassians; the tradition has been well established by Leo Tolstoy, Lermontov and Griboedov. Let it prevail. As Marshal Stalin would say, Saakashvili come and go, but the Georgian people endure forever.  
Europeans showed more understanding of the Russian action than some might have expected. There was no mass hysteria, and the Ossetians were allowed to express their viewpoint. Israel stopped its supplies of military hardware to Georgia. While American leaders responded to the victory of Russian arms with expected verbal severity, they wisely avoided any action likely to enhance the military standing of Saakashvili. They could have made an airlift of American armour to Tbilisi, they could have shown more muscle, but they did not.  
This was the true mystery of the campaign. Did the Americans encourage Saakashvili? Did he act at his own foolhardy will? There may be a few explanations of the enigma.  
(1) Every Georgian president has tried to regain the lost provinces, so Saakashvili could have decided to give it a try, perhaps being carried away by the magic of auspicious triple eight, as his offensive was begun on 8.8.8.  
(2) Saakashvili may have failed to understand the Americans. This happened to Saddam Hussein when he snatched Kuwait. He was convinced that the Ambassador Gillespie had given him the green light for the operation.  
(3) The Americans and Saakashvili may have failed in their prognostication. They interpreted Russian inaction in the past as a harbinger of their inaction in the future. On 8.8.8, a pro-American Russian newspaper Gazeta.ru predicted that the Russians would not move their forces and would swallow the defeat, as otherwise they would have acted earlier.  
(4) The Americans are planning some kind of operation in Iran, and they encouraged this Georgian diversion to keep the Russians busy. This could still be the case, as in its present position Russia has a weak hand in the UN to deal with the American demands or with direct aggression.  
(5) Iran expressed its support for the Russian operation and condemned the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia. The New York Times and similar papers editorialised that the US should not push Russia too hard, in order to get Russian approval for anti-Iranian sanctions or other measures.  
My preferred version of events is that the Americans (and the Israelis) encouraged the Georgian president as they were curious to see the Russian reaction and to observe the preparedness of the Russian Armed Forces. In military parlance, such a minor operation is called “contact reconnaissance”, or just a “feeler”. No one could be certain how the Russian army would operate. In 1996, having been sent to retake the rebellious Grozny, the Russian Army ran away in disarray leaving its burning tanks behind. Since then, the Russians had not fired a single shot in anger; they have been very much a mystery for the West. In such a situation, there is no substitute for a bout of actual fighting, and Saakashvili unwittingly presented this opportunity to the West.  



This is rather an optimistic view, as the following comparison will make clear. In the 1930s, the Japanese occupying Manchukuo faced the Russians. The Japanese did not know whether the Soviet Russians would fight well or run away, as they had easily defeated the Russian Imperial Army in 1903-5 war but had taken a beating from the Bolsheviks in 1918. This is why they carried out a contact reconnaissance raid at Khalkhyn Gol (Nomonhan) to take the measure of Russian resistance. After General Zhukov destroyed their attacking force, they decided to keep peace with Russia, and despite many pleas by Hitler, Japanese troops stayed put.  

If this reading is right, we may be optimistic. Weakness invites war; the Neocons attacked Iraq because it was the weakest link. Now, the Russian army demonstrated its fighting capability, the Russian diplomats have confirmed their abilities and the Russian society has shown itself remarkably united. Russia is not so weak as to invite pressure or war.  
Edited by Ken Freeland  
(2) Don't Forget Yugoslavia  
(A comment hoe “Americans” organise the PR of their World Conquest – the same type of propaganda “our media” are trying to practice in case of Georgia)  
Aug 16, 2008  
By John Pilger  
www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partid=500  
The secrets of the crushing of Yugoslavia are emerging, telling us more about how the modern world is policed. The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, this year published her memoir The Hunt: Me and War Criminals. Largely ignored in Britain, the book reveals unpalatable truths about the west's intervention in Kosovo, which has echoes in the Caucasus.  
The tribunal was set up and bankrolled principally by the United States. Del Ponte's role was to investigate the crimes committed as Yugoslavia was dismembered in the 1990s. She insisted that this include Nato's 78-day bombing of Serbia and Kosovo in 1999, which killed hundreds of people in hospitals, schools, churches, parks and television studios, and destroyed economic infrastructure. "If I am not willing to [prosecute Nato personnel]," said Del Ponte, "I must give up my mission." It was a sham. Under pressure from Washington and London, an investigation into Nato war crimes was scrapped.  

Readers will recall that the justification for the Nato bombing was that the Serbs were committing "genocide" in the secessionist province of Kosovo against ethnic Albanians. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, announced that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59" may have been murdered. Tony Blair invoked the Holocaust and "the spirit of the Second World War". The west's heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose murderous record was set aside. The British foreign secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.  

With the Nato bombing over, international teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume the "holocaust". The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing "a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines". A year later, Del Ponte's tribunal announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide in Kosovo. The "holocaust" was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.  

That was not all, says Del Ponte in her book: the KLA kidnapped hundreds of Serbs and transported them to Albania, where their kidneys and other body parts were removed; these were then sold for transplant in other countries. She also says there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the Kosovar Albanians for war crimes, but the investigation "was nipped in the bud" so that the tribunal's focus would be on "crimes committed by Serbia". She says the Hague judges were terrified of the Kosovar Albanians - the very people in whose name Nato had attacked Serbia.  

Indeed, even as Blair the war leader was on a triumphant tour of "liberated" Kosovo, the KLA was ethnically cleansing more than 200,000 Serbs and Roma from the province. Last February the "international community", led by the US, recognised Kosovo, which has no formal economy and is run, in effect, by criminal gangs that traffic in drugs, contraband and women. But it has one valuable asset: the US military base Camp Bondsteel, described by the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner as "a smaller version of Guantanamo". Del Ponte, a Swiss diplomat, has been told by her own government to stop promoting her book.  

Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent and multi-ethnic, if imperfect, federation that stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to dominate its "natural market" in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991, a secret deal had been struck; Germany recognised Croatia, and Yugoslavia was doomed. In Washington, the US ensured that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans and the defunct Nato was reinvented as an enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo "peace" conference in France, the Serbs were told to accept occupation by Nato forces and a market economy, or be bombed into submission. It was the perfect precursor to the bloodbaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.  

(3) WSJ said Saakashvili was put in power by NGOs & American foundations  
Manufactured revolutions?  
by Dragan Plavsic  
International Socialism  
A quarterly journal of revolutionary Socialism {a Trotskyist magazine}  
Issue: 107  
Posted: 27 June 05  
http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=122issue=107  
When is a revolution not a revolution? That is the question commentators have been asking following a wave of regime changes that has zigzagged its way progressively eastwards over the last five years. After Slobodan Milosevic’s overthrow in Serbia in 2000 came the downfall of Edward Shevardnadze in Georgia in 2003, then Viktor Yushchenko’s successful defeat of his presidential rival in Ukraine in 2004, and earlier this year the sudden fall from power of Kyrgyzstan’s Askar Akayev.  

For some commentators, analysis of these events is unproblematic. They argue that what we have been witnessing is a spontaneous resurgence of people power, necessitated by unfinished business from 1989. As Timothy Garton-Ash, the indefatigable doyen of velvet revolution, has put it, these events are ‘the latest in a long series of velvet revolutions which have helped spread democracy around the world over the last 30 years’.1  

Other commentators have seen matters quite differently. Instead of people power spontaneously reborn, they argue that thinly disguised pro-western coups have been taking place funded by a United States determined to manipulate elections to its imperial advantage. These are not popular revolutions at all but street scenes orchestrated by powerful external forces. One leading exponent of this view, John Laughland, has ridiculed what he describes as ‘the mythology of people power’ based on ‘the same fairy tale about how youthful demonstrators manage to bring down an authoritarian regime, simply by attending a rock concert in a central square’.2  

There are real problems, however, with both views. In Laughland’s case, it is his implicit portrayal of the US as a near-omnipotent puppet-master successfully pulling all the key strings behind the scenes. This view reduces people power to little more than the pliant tool of the US. By contrast, Garton-Ash’s argument remains locked within the mindset of 1989, steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the extent to which today’s velvet revolutions have fallen increasingly prey to manipulation by ruling class and imperialist interests.  

These events certainly involve a confusing mix of US imperial manipulation, internal opposition and popular revolt. In each case, the relative weight of these factors varies. An assessment of these events must therefore be concrete enough to cater for this. ...  

Georgia today plays a central role in US strategic thinking. One reason for this is the $3 billion oil pipeline under construction across Georgia from neighbouring Azerbaijan, thereby avoiding both Russia and Iran on its route to Turkey. But a pro-US Georgia is also in any event a valuable obstacle to Putin’s more assertive Russia. Edward Shevardnadze, once Gorbachev’s foreign minister, became Washington’s man in Georgia in 1992. A supporter of NATO membership who welcomed a symbolic contingent of US troops onto Georgian soil, Shevardnadze also sent troops to Kosovo and Iraq. Under him, Georgia became the largest per capita recipient of US foreign aid after Israel.  

Nevertheless, the Bush administration became increasingly disenchanted with Shevardnadze for two reasons. Firstly, his regime was visibly losing support amid a growing tide of popular anger at poverty, unemployment and crony privatisation. Secondly, as he sensed growing US disillusionment, Shevardnadze began to tilt his sails towards Moscow.  

In Serbia, US strategy had been simple: to remove Milosevic. In Georgia, the strategy was twin-tracked: to maintain official support for Shevardnadze, but also to cultivate those pro-US Georgian oppositionists skilled enough to voice popular anger without jeopardising US hegemony. Three leading figures were cultivated: Mikhail Saakashvili, a 35 year old lawyer and graduate of Columbia University Law School in New York, who had been Shevardnadze’s minister of justice, Nino Burdzhanadze, the speaker of the parliament, and Zurab Zhvania, a former speaker. All were one-time Shevardnadze supporters. As the Wall Street Journal put it,  

The[se] three politicians are backed by a raft of non-governmental organisations that have sprung up since the fall of the Soviet Union. Many of the NGOs have been supported by American and other Western foundations, spawning a class of young, English-speaking intellectuals hungry for pro-Western reforms.7  

The original purpose of this strategy was to oversee an orderly transition from Shevardnadze, due to leave office in 2005 having served two full terms as president, to the Saakashvili generation. But the US was also prepared to contemplate a Serbian-style solution if Shevardnadze outstayed his welcome or sought Russian help. It was not for nothing that Saakashvili visited Serbia, and veteran Otpor! activists, by now pale, degenerate shadows of their former selves, were hired to train members of Kmara, Otpor!’s Georgian counterpart.  

Washington’s initial reaction, therefore, when OSCE election monitors issued a statement pointing to ‘serious irregularities’ with Georgia’s parliamentary elections in November 2003, was to call allegations of fraud an ‘overstatement’. As the Financial Times reported, ‘Observers believe the US had hoped to keep Mr Shevardnadze, its old favourite, in office until the scheduled 2005 presidential election.’ Three weeks later, on 21 November, the US changed tack, declaring that it was ‘deeply disappointed’ with the way the elections had been run.8  

By then, Washington was faced with mounting popular revolt. The opposition, led by Saakashvili, had embarked upon a campaign of demonstrations against electoral fraud that was soon being driven by popular anger at poverty and unemployment. After three weeks, Shevardnadze’s authority had all but evaporated and a reported compromise the US tried to broker was abandoned in favour of unqualified support for Saakashvili. This Georgian scenario has recently been very well summarised by Russian socialist, Boris Kagarlitsky:  

As soon as Washington realises that popular dissent is rising in a country and that regime change is imminent, it immediately begins to seek out new partners among the opposition… The money invested in the opposition by various [non-governmental organisations] is a sort of insurance policy, ensuring that regime change will not result in a change of course, and that if change is inevitable, it will not be radical.9 ...  

NOTES  

1: ‘First Know Your Donkey’, The Guardian, 27 January 2005. 2: ‘The Revolution Televised’ and ‘The Mythology of People Power’, The Guardian, 27 November 2004 and 1 April 2005. 3: See for this information R Cohen, ‘Who Really Brought Down Milosevic?’, The New York Time Magazine, 20 November 2004 and Michael Dobbs, ‘US Advice Guided Milosevic Opposition’, Washington Post, 11 December 2000. 4: P Watson, ‘US Aid to Milosevic’s Foes Is Criticized as ÒKiss of DeathÓ’, Los Angeles Times, 28 August 2000. 5: D Bujosevic and I Radovanovic, The Fall of Milosevic: The October 5th Revolution (Palgrave, 2003), p4. 6: Jonathan Steele’s phrase in his ‘Ukraine’s Untold Story’, The Nation, 20 December 2004. 7: H Pope, ‘Pro-West Leaders in Georgia Push Shevardnadze Out’, Wall Street Journal, 24 November 2003. 8: G Dinmore, ‘The Americas & Europe: Flaws Exposed in Strategy of ‘Realpolitik’’’, Financial Times, 27 November 2003. 9: Quoted in P Escobar, ‘What Kind of Revolution is This?’, Asia Times Online, 2 April 2005. ...  
(4) Georgia war is about “Who will gain control over the Caspian Basin”  
As ceasefire takes hold Imperialist hypocrisy over war in Georgia By Patrick Martin 13 August 2008  
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/aug2008/ruge-a13.shtml  
Fighting has largely subsided between Russian and Georgian troops, following the declaration of a halt in hostilities by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. He made the announcement in Moscow after ceasefire talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who represented the European Union.  
Sarkozy then flew to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, where Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili agreed to the same ceasefire terms, including a pull-back of Russian troops to South Ossetia and Abkhazia and an end to Georgian military operations against both territories, nominally part of Georgia but autonomous and under Russian protection since the breakup of the Soviet Union.  

The five-day war has revealed the extremely tense state of international relations, posing the danger of a direct conflict between major powers for the first time since the end of the Cold War. It has also underscored the complete hypocrisy of the Bush administration and the American media, which have vilified Russia for military actions that are dwarfed by the ongoing wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

There is nothing progressive about Russia’s military intervention in Georgia. The Russian ruling elite is pursuing its own predatory aims in the Caucasus, a region that was ruled for two centuries by Moscow before the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, the main force behind the eruption of the crisis in the Caucasus is US imperialism, which has carried out a provocative policy aimed at supplanting Russia in that country’s former spheres of influence in order to establish American hegemony over the Eurasian land mass. A central instrument in this policy has been the pro-American Saakashvili regime, which came to power in 2004 in the US-engineered “Rose Revolution.”  

Georgia initiated the current conflict with its sudden assault last week on South Ossetia, which included a devastating artillery attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of the region, in which as many as 2,000 people may have been killed. The overwhelming Russian response, including hundreds of tanks and fighter jets, quickly routed the Georgian military forces.  

The two governments traded charges of genocide and ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia. Tens of thousands of Ossetians—a population distinct from Georgians in language and culture—fled into the Russian territory of North Ossetia, just across the international border, seeking to escape the violence.  

Refugees told journalists that there were hundreds, if not thousands, killed in the initial Georgian attack on their homeland, and that Georgian troops had killed civilians indiscriminately. An aid worker told the Associated Press that the road from Tskhinvali “was full of bodies, whole families died there, children, the elderly.” Another described a Georgian plane bombing a column of fleeing refugees. A Reuters reporter found at least 200 people being treated for bullet wounds in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia.  

The Georgian government filed charges with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, claiming that Ossetian fighters were carrying out atrocities against Georgian villages and portraying these attacks as part of a pattern of “ethnic cleansing” backed by Russia. The Georgian health minister put the death toll in his country at 175—suggesting that media reports of a Russian “blitz” were exaggerated—while UN officials estimated that 100,000 people have been forced from their homes on both sides.  

Saakashvili declared a unilateral ceasefire Sunday, as soon as the scale of the military debacle became clear. But Russian forces ignored this declaration, pushing ahead to destroy Georgian military facilities just outside the disputed territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in the towns of Gori and Senaki.  

Russian President Medvedev said Russian troops had inflicted “very significant losses” and left the Georgian military “disorganized.” Press accounts confirmed that there was little to differentiate retreating Georgian soldiers and civilians fleeing the Russian advance. Georgian troops abandoned armored vehicles, supplies and even their helmets and weapons in their panic, suggesting that there would have been little sustained resistance to a Russian push into the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.  

However, Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and high-ranking military officers have repeatedly declared since Sunday that they had no intention of carrying out such an action.  

There have undoubtedly been back-channel assurances to the European Union, NATO and the United States that the Russian military incursion had aims limited only to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This did not stem the apocalyptic rhetoric from the Bush administration, the US media, or Saakashvili. The Georgian president went on state television to accuse Russia of the “preplanned, cold-blooded... murder of a small country.”  

With the shooting halted, at least for the time being, it is worth reflecting on the hysterical tenor of the Western media, particularly in the United States, which have repeatedly compared the Russian military operation to Hitler’s assault on Czechoslovakia in 1938, the Soviet invasion of the same country in 1968, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.  

The general thrust of these commentaries is that the United States must resume something like the Cold War against an expansionist Russia. The New York Times, in an editorial Tuesday, declared, “Moscow claims it is merely defending the rights of ethnic minorities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which have been trying to break from Georgia since the early 1990s. But its ambitions go far beyond that. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin... appears determined to reimpose by force and intimidation as much of the old Soviet sphere of influence as he can get away with.”  

The newspaper demands, “The United States and its European allies must tell Mr. Putin in the clearest possible terms that such aggression will not be tolerated. And that there will be no redivision of Europe.”  

The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial headlined “Vladimir Bonaparte,” demanded a series of actions that would lead to a direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia, the countries with the world’s two biggest nuclear arsenals, including enrolling Georgia and Ukraine in NATO and beginning an airlift of military aid to Tbilisi.  

An op-ed column in the Journal, written by Josef Joffe, editor of the conservative German daily Die Zeit, underscored the strategic and economic interests underlying the conflict. According to Joffe, Abkhazia and Ossetia, however obscure, “are the flash points of the 21st century’s Great Game, and the issue is: Who will gain control over the Caspian Basin, the richest depository of strategic resources next to the Middle East.”  

One of the most strident anti-Russian voices was that of former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. In comments to the British Guardian and the German Die Welt, he compared Putin to Hitler and Stalin, and the Russian intervention in Georgia to the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939. “Georgia is to an extent the Finland of today, both morally and strategically,” he claimed.  

Like Joffe, Brzezinski pointed to the central role of oil, particularly the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline built over the last decade with US support to bring oil from the region to the world market, bypassing Russian territory. “If Georgia no longer has its sovereignty, it means... that the West is cut off from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia,” he said.  

The strategists of US imperialism have broader interests than oil, however. Brzezinski himself has long sought the breakup, not only of the old Soviet Union, but of the Russian republic which comprises the bulk of the land mass of the former USSR. As the Guardian observed Monday, “The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is only a minor element in a much larger strategic equation: an attempt, sponsored largely by the United States but eagerly subscribed to by several of its new ex-Soviet allies, to reduce every aspect of Russian influence throughout the region, whether it be economic, political, diplomatic or military.”  

The rhetorical onslaught over the Russo-Georgian crisis is particularly cynical given the record of the Bush administration. “Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state,” Bush declared Monday. “Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century.”  

Actually, the record of the 21st century consists of little else, particularly for the government of the United States. Since it took office in January 2001, the Bush administration has invaded and occupied two sovereign states, Afghanistan and Iraq, while supporting similar attacks by its client states: the invasion of Lebanon by Israel in 2006, the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in 2007, and the invasion of Ecuador by Colombia earlier this year.  

The contrast between US howls about “Russian aggression” in Georgia and its support for Israeli aggression in Lebanon is particularly instructive.  

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice notably dragged her feet on a ceasefire in the Lebanon conflict, visiting Beirut while Israeli tanks and warplanes were ravaging south Lebanon and rejecting the pleas of the US-backed Lebanese government to intervene. Israel had the right to secure its interests before being compelled to pull back, she argued. But in Georgia, Rice declared that a ceasefire was urgently needed and had to precede any other action.  

The purpose of these bad faith arguments is as much domestic as international. The Bush administration seeks to stoke up an atmosphere reminiscent of the Cold War. This is widely viewed in right-wing circles as the only way to engineer a victory by Republican presidential candidate John McCain, under conditions where the Bush administration and the Republican Party are widely hated. (A poll published Tuesday found that 41 percent of Americans regarded Bush as the worst president in US history, while 68 percent wanted all US troops out of Iraq within a year).  

The Bush administration wants the November election to be held in an environment of international crisis, so as to intimidate and divert popular opposition to the war in Iraq, Bush’s reactionary social policies and the deepening economic crisis. The idea is to have yet another “national security” election which will favor McCain, whose campaign is largely based on his military background and his supposed foreign policy experience.  
The Democrats, including their presidential candidate Barack Obama, are scrambling to match the provocative and confrontational rhetoric of the Bush administration and McCain, denouncing Russia in similar terms and echoing the Bush administration’s demand that Georgia be admitted to NATO—something Russia considers an intolerable threat to its security.  

Slanted television news reports and articles in liberal (the New York Times) as well as conservative (the Wall Street Journal) newspapers that seek to whip up anti-Russian sentiment are designed to condition public opinion for a major escalation of Washington’s drive to establish US hegemony over the Caucasus and the oil-rich regions on its borders.  
21 sierpień 2008

Marek Głogoczowski 

  

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