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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dismantling Russia Today's Propaganda on the Georgia Attack

Here is Russian state-sponsored propaganda campaign Russia Today's report on the missile attack on Georgia, with La Russophobe's running commentary:

Russia denies dropping bomb on Georgia

LR: RT's defense of Russia begins with the headline.

Russia's Defence Ministry is strongly denying accusations it bombed Georgia. Tbilisi claims two Russian fighter jets violated Georgia's airspace on Monday evening and dropped a guided air-to-surface missile on a village 65 kilometres north-west of the capital.

LR: It continues with the lead. Note that this story is anonymously reported, no RT journalist's name is attached to it. Hence, deniability is preserved.

The quiet Georgian village of Tsitelubani has become the epicentre of a new row between Russia and Georgia, after a 700-kilogramme missile ploughed its way five metres into a field there on Monday evening. The bomb did not explode. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has demanded an immediate investigation into the incident be carried out.

LR: It's only a "row" not even an incident. It doesn't really matter because the missile didn't explode (can you imagine the Kremlin reacting this way to a missile fired by the US on Russian territory!?). Russia is doing the right thing, demanding an investigation.

Accompanied by foreign diplomats, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili inspected the damage at the site and called on the international community to react. He also said Russia's "provocation" will not achieve its aim. "This act is aimed at destabilising the situation in Georgia, causing panic, splitting the society and making the government of Georgia change its political course. But we will answer these provocations with calm and unity," he stated.

LR: Note that RT doesn't allow Saakashvili to specifically blame (or even name) Russia in his own words, but does allow him to speak at the outset, giving the appearance of fairness. This is rather sophisticated propaganda.

Russian Ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko, who received a note of protest from the country's Foreign Ministry, has rejected any Russian involvement in the alleged bombing. “I don't have any information - ask those who organised the action. You are journalists, so it's your job to find out who did it. I rule out any involvement of the Russian side. I don't consider the photos from the spot an argument because such missiles and jets are spread across the world. The Georgian army also has SU-24 jets,” Mr Kovalenko commented.

LR: He's ruled out Russian involvement yet the investigation has not even begun. That's Russian "justice" for you, and notice that RT doesn't question his statement in the least, or note Russia's extreme hypocrisy in demanding that other nations not rush to judgment while Russia does exactly that.

Russian Air Force spokesman Aleksandr Drobyshevsky has called the Georgian accusations groundless. “Russian Air Force planes did not carry out any flights either on Monday evening or night, or on Tuesday morning. They did not violate the borders of the sovereign state of Georgia,” he stressed. According to Russian military sources, the 700-kilogramme bomb that the Georgian government earlier said was dropped on its territory does not exist in Russia's Air Force weapons arsenal.

LR: Is there any sentient being on the planet who thinks that if Russia had been caught red-handed it would admit being wrong and apologize? Has this ever happened in all of Russian history? If not, mentioning Russia's denial is utterly meaningless and an insult to any thinking person.

By the way, it was reported today (Forbes) that Georgian officials have studied the device and determined it to be "the Russian-made Raduga Kh-58 missile designed to hit radars. The missile, code-named by NATO as AS-11, carried a warhead of over 300 pounds of TNT," according to Georgian authorities. Again, RT reports the Russian nonsense utterly unquestioningly.


Meanwhile Georgia's ex-Foreign Minister, Salome Zurabishvili, does not rule out the possibility that the bomb was dropped by one of Georgia's own planes. She also said the attack might have been organised by Georgia's Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili.

LR: Ms. Zurabishvili is an opposition party leader seeking to drive President Saakashvili from power and take his job. Do you dare to imagine how Russians would react if the Western press relied on a source like Berezovsky to explain Russia's actions against Litvinenko? Do you notice that not one single RUSSIAN source who thinks Russia might have been guilty is quoted, especially not any RUSSIAN opposition figure? This is base neo-Soviet propaganda, pure and simple.

The area where the incident allegedly took place, borders on Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia - an unrecognised republic, which has been striving for independence since the beginning of the 1990s. Georgia's Interior Ministry says it has discovered a serial number and inscriptions in Russian on what it claims is a missile. Specialists are said to be studying the possible trajectory of the supposed missile's descent. Georgia's Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, says Russia committed "an act of aggression".

LR: Note well that RT first discredits Minister Merabishvili by printing an smear from an opposition politician. Only then does it report on what he says. Typical Stalinist tactics. It's totally false that this incident took place on the border of South Ossetia. Just look at the map. RT is trying to bring in South Ossetia because it's a pro-Russian area, but if anyone in the West reported on Chechnya as merely "unrecognised republic, which has been striving for independence since the beginning of the 1990s" Russians would be outraged. Note well, too, that RT's report doesn't mention that the attack was just as close the Georgian capital of Tbilisi as it was to South Ossetia. Can you imagine what Russians would say if an American attack was this close to Moscow and that fact wasn't mentioned?

“Georgia’s civil aviation radars registered that at 1420 GMT a SU-24 jet crossed the Georgian border. The jet dropped a guided air-to-surface missile at this exact place. At the moment specialists are defining the type and model of the missile. The radars also determined the speed and co-ordinates of the jet. It came from the Kazbegi region and went back in the direction of Russian territory. At the moment I assess this as an act of violation of the country's border committed by another state,” Vano Merabishvili stated.

LR: Look how deep this basic statement of the facts from the Georgian side is buried! Disgusting! Shameless! And the only source they will quote is the one they've already tried to smear.

The Commander of Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict region, Marat Kulakhmetov, says it's necessary to wait for the results of expert investigations before making any statements. “The radars of the peacekeeping posts in the area registered the flight of a jet at 1840 local time on Monday. But too many questions arise as far as the pilot's actions, the trajectory of the flight and the fact of bombing are concerned. Operations carried out by bombers are usually very efficient. The diameter of the missile found proves it belonged to a bomber, so it's strange the consequences weren't far more serious,” Marat Kulakhmetov stated.

LR: Here we go again. They are suggesting that because the action under study is irrational, Russia wouldn't have done it. Haven't they ever heard about Krushchev taking off his shoe at the UN, or Putin joking about rape in front of a diplomatic delegation? Did those events also not happen? In Russia, the irrational is common place, which explains why men don't live past 60 and people work for $3 per hour.

The missile was blown up later in the day in a controlled explosion. But the ramifications of this incident will be a lot less easy to predict. The region itself is extremely unstable. Clashes in South Ossetia have been getting more and more frequent over the latest months. The only thing that is obvious at the moment is that the incident will heighten already strained tensions in South Ossetia, and possibly it might lead to more violence. Russia-Georgia relations, which have also been strained for many months, now are likely to get worse.

LR: RT is saying that everything is so unstable that Russian intervention is clearly necessary. Indeed, Russia may well have planned this event specifically to justify such a conclusion and hence a military invasion of the area.

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