Saturday, August 9, 2008

Media Whiteout: Who's the Real Bully in the Russia-Georgia War?

Looks like business as usual: The U.S. installs a corrupt, pseudo-democratic puppet regime in an oil-strategic country, then arms and trains its military to the teeth, so that they can (and, rest assured, they always do) stage a U.S. war-by-proxy, so that the US can wrest control of yet more oil-strategic territory. Only, this time, Bush-Cheney are playing a game of Russian Roulette, their guns aimed straight into the mouth of World War III.

For years, Washington has been supporting and/or installing Georgian politicians who are favorable to the U.S. oil agenda -- most recently the corrput autocrat, Mikhail Saakashvili -- while pouring military aid into the Georgia, and arming and training their troops for... for.... For what? For war. This has been utterly clear to Russia over the past several years, and especially over the past several months, as they've watched U.S. and Georgia forces amass on the Russian border, as part of the euphemistically named "NATO Partnership for Peace program."

Russia has been warning, for several years now, against Georgia invading South Ossetia. Russia has also, through its Foreign Ministry, urged treaties to forge peaceful resolutions to the escalating tension between Georgia and South Ossetia. And as these efforts have failed, the warnings have only grown stronger: Do not attack South Ossetia. Or else. These efforts have all fallen on deaf ears -- the treaties left unsigned by U.S./Georgia leaders -- with the reporting of this history virtually whited-out by the U.S. media and its allies, with very few exceptions. By the same token, the Bush Administration's repeated promises to put "heavy pressure" on Mikhail Saakashvili to not attack South Ossetia have fallen on deaf ears in Russia. Perhaps this is due to the billions of dollars the U.S. government has spent arming and training Georgian soldiers to fight the war on terror, while waging chronic aggression against South Ossetia and performing those joint "peace exercises" at the Russian border.

Courtesy of the U.S. media (and the media of all allies of the U.S., who depend on our ill-gotten oil) the truth about this war is in white-out mode, replaced by the sort of propaganda and lies necessary to bolstering support for waging an illegal, immoral war that has been called, by one reporter in South Ossetia, "a massacre" of its citizens. Much like the war in Iraq. This dearth of media truth and balance in the U.S. media nicely dovetails into the Bush Administration's claims that Russia "does not want peace," and that Russia is the savage, the war monger in this scenario. The media accounts of this war make increasingly rare mention to the fact that it was U.S.-backed Georgia (not Russia!) that instigated this war -- invading South Ossetia and destroying their towns, their homes, and brutally killing their citizens. Either the media are stupid or complicitous: 90% of South Ossetia's citizens are Russian; and South Ossetia has been harmoniously allied with the Russian government for years now. These are not opinions or conspiracy theories. They are facts.

"... Now you're starting to see the American media shift its coverage from calling it 'Georgia invading Ossetian territory,' to the new spin, that it's 'Russian imperial aggression against tiny little Georgia.'"

Our media have ignored the build-up to this war, the same as they are now whitewashing the real bully in this war. The media, instead, perpetuate the myth that South Ossetia is somehow being "saved" by the U.S. and Georgia, despite that they do not want to be "saved" from a willing alliance with Russia. Make no mistake: This is a war of choice. This is a war for oil. This is a war started by the Bush Administration, using Georgia's Mikhail Saakashvili as its pawn, and Russia as the ruse. Perhaps our administration didn't really believe all those Russia warnings of retaliation. Perhaps Bush-Cheney thought their Georgia pawns and mercenary armies could overwhelm the pro-Russian province of South Ossetia (and likely their neighbor, Abkhazia, too) as brutally as America's Ethopian pawns have overwhelmed Somalia. Or, perhaps Bush-Cheney couldn't care less what anyone things or says about the atrocities they commit in the name of spreading freedom and democracy.

As recent history has shown, the war crimes of the Bush Administration are so layered in lies that -- by the time the rest of the world figures out the real truth -- the death and destruction are little more than a footnote in the history of one more nation, swallowed up by the Bush-Cheney war machine. Soon forgotten in George Bush's crafty war rhetoric will be the 1500 South Ossentian citizens -- that's 1500 innocent men, women, children and vulnerable elderly citizens -- who were brutally slaughtered in the first day alone of this war. The rest of South Ossentia citizens -- those 'lucky' ones, who have scrambled for safety, toward the Russian border, and whose lives have been forever altered as their homes and their villages have been decimated -- will likely not even be allowed the trivial dignity of a footnote.

And this aspect deserves bold-face type: these citizens are fleeing -- not into Georgia, but into Russia. Whose media version does this part of the story fit? The American media version -- in which Russia is waging an unprovoked and 'disproportianate' war on Georgia? The American version, in which the U.S. and Georgia merely sought to save the poor little, independent province of South Ossentia from the evil empire? Or the version told by both Russia and South Ossetia -- versions that paint Georgia and the U.S. as war criminals, slaughtering innocent citizens in their illegal invasion of South Ossetia?

Do you suppose the South Ossentians are lying? Do you suppose that Sarmat Laliyev, a 28-year old South Ossentian, fleeing toward Russia, was lying, when she said, "We lost our city ... The Georgians are like Nazis, they are killing civilians, women and children with heavy artillery and rockets"?

Russia sends Teams of Buses to Evacuate 15,000 South Ossetia Citizens Forced to Flee Their Homes

With the war in full swing, the U.S. propaganda machine is running at full-pitch. The U.S. pretends that Georgia is being victimized, as their pleas for a cease-fire go unheard by Russia. The U.S. accuses Russia of 'disproportionate' force against Georgia, while ignoring the fact that a ceasefire is hardly possible, until Georgia withdraws from South Ossetia, which they've so far failed to do, despite repeated demands by Russia. Cheney says that, "Russia's military action against Georgia must not go unanswered." Bush is urging "peace." He is urging Russia to stop the violence. His lies about who started what are delivered "in a serious and somber tone," as he claims the United States is "deeply concerned" about the fighting, and calls this a "dangerous escalation" that is “endangering regional peace.” Duh.

No doubt, the majority of US citizens, in their perennial ignorance of world politics, in general (and of any issue, in particular, that doesn't involve Paris, Brittney, J-Lo, Angelina or Madonna) will start waving American flags and railing against the godless evil empire: Bush is the good guy, here. After all, he's calling for peace, right? And peace is good. Even George Bush's brand of peace, is good, right? I mean, sometimes peace means you gotta go to war, but that's okay, too, so long as it's not on American soil....

... so long as the war happens to someone else, not us.

One important difference between Georgia and, say, Kosovo-Yugoslavia is that, this time around, the US is staging its proxy war right on Russia's border. And Russia has made clear that they are not going to be so indifferent this time around. Bush-Cheney knew this, of course, before they equipped Georgia to attack South Ossetia, which begs the question: What are they thinking?

The answer here, as in all modern U.S. conflicts -- from Kosovo, to Iraq, to Colombia, to Afghanistan, to Somalia and the entire continent of Africa -- can be summed up in one word: oil.

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