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Thursday, September 4

Buddy, can you spare a billion dollars?

The Jerusalem Post reported on August 10th We cut arms sales to Georgia months ago
[...] "Several months ago, we carried out an evaluation of the situation in Georgia and realized that Georgia and Russia were on a collision course. We have good relations with both, and don't want to back either in this conflict," the official said. "We therefore made a decision to drastically minimize sales of weapons to Georgia.

Frantic requests from Georgia to Israel for military hardware leading up to the current conflict with Russia set off alarm bells at the Ministry of Defense.

"We saw that there was a surge in requests for weapons, and we therefore decided to, in effect, minimize the entire issue. After our decision, we sold only defensive weapons in small quantities to Georgia," he said.[...]
Say, if Israel -- a close U.S. ally -- noticed big trouble brewing, there was no way a gathering storm of that size escaped the notice of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of State, the White House, and Congress.

So what was the U.S. military doing in Georgia in July conducting war games right under the noses of the Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia? There were more U.S. troops -- 1,000 -- than Georgian ones in those war exercises, And there were 1,500 CIA operatives and God Knows how many American mercenaries bopping around the country.

Ah well, let us not stoop to ponder the workings of the parakeet brain. To return to slightly more fathomable matters, I suppose that upgrading jets doesn't actually mean selling them, so there might be no conflict between the Jerusalem Post report and this one:
One of the targets of Russian bombs near Tbilisi was, according to IsraelNN.com, “a Georgian military plant in which Israeli experts are upgrading jet fighters for the Georgian military . . . Russian fighter jets bombed runways inside the plant, located near Tbilisi, where Israeli security firm Elbit is in charge of upgrading Georgian SU-25 jets."
That tidbit from F. William Engdahl, who is a pretty good researcher although I find his conclusions somewhat ornate.

However, the information he provides about Miles and Soros and the NGOs is solid as far as it goes. And it is well documented that Saakashvili is a thug, although of course speculations about his connection to several murders and suspicious natural deaths in Georgia are just that.

And while Israel is very interested in using Georgia as a staging area for flights over Iran (which Engdahl does not mention) and a BTC pipeline branch from Georgia, I was unaware until this report that Saakashvili may have closer ties to Israel than was generally known.

Happily, from Engdahl's report and others I've come across, it seems that Olmert's advisors have suddenly realized that Putin is a much more important friend to Israel than Saakashvili. This is cause for celebration.

Now if there was only some way for the American taxpayers to demand that our government take back their promise to fork over a billion greenbacks to a sniveling thug.
The puppet masters behind Georgia President Saakashvili
By F. William Engdahl
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Aug 29, 2008

The controversy over the Georgian surprise military attacks on South Ossetia and Abkhazia on 8.8.08 makes a closer look at the controversial Georgian President and his puppet masters important. An examination shows 41-year-old Mikheil Saakashvili to be a ruthless and corrupt totalitarian who is tied to not only the US NATO establishment, but also to the Israeli military and intelligence establishment.

The famous ‘Rose Revolution of November 2003 that forced the ageing Edouard Shevardnadze from power and swept the then 36-year-old US university graduate into power was run and financed by the US State Department, the Soros Foundations, and agencies tied to the Pentagon and US intelligence community.

Mikheil Saakashvili was deliberately placed in power in one of the most sophisticated US regime change operations, using ostensibly private NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to create an atmosphere of popular protest against the existing regime of former Soviet Foreign Minister Edouard Shevardnadze, who was no longer useful to Washington when he began to make a deal with Moscow over energy pipelines and privatizations.

Saakashvili was brought to power in a US-engineered coup run on the ground by US-funded NGOs, in an application of a new method of US destabilization of regimes it considered hostile to its foreign policy agenda. The November 24, 2003, Wall Street Journal explicitly credited the toppling of Shevardnadze’s regime to the operations of “a raft of non-governmental organizations . . . supported by American and other Western foundations.” These NGOs, said the Journal, had “spawned a class of young, English-speaking intellectuals hungry for pro-Western reforms” who were instrumental laying the groundwork for a bloodless coup.

Coup by NGO

But there is more. The NGOs were coordinated by the US Ambassador to Georgia, Richard Miles, who had just arrived in Tbilisi fresh from success in orchestrating the CIA-backed toppling of Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade, using the same NGOs. Miles, who is believed to be an undercover intelligence specialist, supervised the Saakashvili coup.

It involved US billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Georgia Foundation. It involved the Washington-based Freedom House whose chairman was former CIA chief James Woolsey. It involved generous financing from the US Congress-financed National Endowment for Democracy, an agency created by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to “do privately what the CIA used to do,” namely coups against regimes the US government finds unfriendly.

George Soros’ foundations have been forced to leave numerous eastern European countries, including Russia, as well as China after the 1989 student Tiananmen Square uprising. Soros is also the financier together with the US State Department of Human Rights Watch, a US-based and run propaganda arm of the entire NGO apparatus of regime coups such as Georgia and Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution. Some analysts believe Soros is a high-level operative of the US State Department or intelligence services using his private foundations as cover.

The US State Department funded the Georgia Liberty Institute headed by Saakashvili, the US approved candidate to succeed the no-longer cooperative Shevardnadze. The Liberty Institute in turn created “Kmara!” which translates to “Enough!” According to a BBC report at the time, Kmara! was organized in the spring of 2003, when Saakashvili along with hand-picked Georgia student activists were paid by the Soros Foundation to go to Belgrade to learn from the US-financed Otpor activists that toppled Milosevic. They were trained in Gene Sharp’s “non-violence as a method of warfare” by the Belgrade Center for Nonviolent Resistance.

Saakashvili as mafioso president

Once he was in place in January 2004 as Georgia’s new president, Saakashvili proceeded to pack the regime with his cronies and kinsmen. The death of Zurab Zhvania, his prime minister, in February 2005 remains a mystery. The official version -- poisoning by a faulty gas heater -- was adopted by American FBI investigators within two weeks of the Zhvania’s death. That has never seemed credible to those familiar with Georgia’s gangland slayings, crime, and other manifestations of social decay. Zhvania’s death was followed closely by a functionary of the premier’s apparat, Georgi Khelashvili, who allegedly shot himself the day after his chief’s demise. The head of Zhvania’s research staff was later found dead as well.

Figures allied with Saakashvili reportedly had a hand in the premier’s death. Russian journalist Marina Perevozkina quoted Gia Khurashvili, a Georgian economist. Prior to the fatal incident, Mr. Khurashvili had published an article in Resonans newspaper opposing the privatization and sale of Georgia’s main gas pipeline. Ten days before the prime minister’s body was found, Khurashvili was attacked and his editor-in-chief -- citing pressure from ‘security service’ figures he refused to name -- issued him a warning.

The late premier’s position on the pipeline issue was believed the direct reason for the murder of Zhvania. Zhvania’s brother, Georgi, also told Perevozkina that not long before Zhvania’s death he received a warning that someone was preparing to kill his brother. Saakashvili was reportedly livid when the US State Department invited Zhvania to Washington to win a Freedom Medal from the US Government’s National Democratic Institute. Saakashvili tolerates no rivals for power it seems.

Saakashvili, who cleverly marketed himself as “anti-corruption,” appointed several of his family members to lucrative posts in government, giving one of his brothers a position as chief adviser on domestic issues to the Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline project, backed by British Petroleum and other oil multinationals.

Since coming to power in 2004 with US aid, Saakashvili has led a policy of large-scale arrests, imprisonment, torture and deepened corruption. Saakashvili has presided over the creation of a de facto one-party state, with a dummy opposition occupying a tiny portion of seats in the parliament, and this public servant is building a Ceaucescu-style palace for himself on the outskirts of Tbilisi. According to the magazine, Civil Georgia (Mar. 22, 2004), until 2005, the salaries of Saakashvili and many of his ministers were reportedly paid by the NGO network of New York-based currency speculator Soros -- along with the United Nations Development Program.

Israeli and US military train Georgian military

The current military assault on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in violation of Saakashvili’s pledge to seek a diplomatic not military solution to the territorial disputes, is backed by US and Israeli military “advisers.” Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that on August 10 Georgian Minister of Reintegration Temur Yakobshvili “praised the Israel Defense Forces for its role in training Georgian troops and said Israel should be proud of its military might, in an interview with Army Radio. ‘Israel should be proud of its military which trained Georgian soldiers,’ Yakobashvili told Army Radio in Hebrew, referring to a private Israeli group Georgia had hired.’”

One of the targets of Russian bombs near Tbilisi was, according to IsraelNN.com, “a Georgian military plant in which Israeli experts are upgrading jet fighters for the Georgian military . . . Russian fighter jets bombed runways inside the plant, located near Tbilisi, where Israeli security firm Elbit is in charge of upgrading Georgian SU-25 jets."

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, also a candidate to succeed ousted Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, proclaimed on August 10 that “Israel recognizes Georgia’s territorial integrity,” code for saying it backs Georgia’s attempt to take South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The reported 1,000 Israeli military advisers in Georgia were not alone. On July 15, Reuters news wire carried the following report: “VAZIANI, Georgia -- One thousand U.S. troops began a military training exercise called ‘Immediate Response 2008,’ in Georgia on Tuesday against a backdrop of growing friction between Georgia and neighboring Russia. The two-week exercise was taking place at the Vaziani military base near the capital, Tbilisi, which was a Russian air force base until Russian forces withdrew at the start of this decade under a European arms reduction agreement . . . Georgia has a 2,000-strong contingent supporting the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, and Washington provides training and equipment to the Georgian military. The United States is an ally of Georgia and has irritated Russia by backing Tbilisi’s bid to join the NATO military alliance . . . ‘The main purpose of these exercises is to increase the cooperation and partnership between U.S. and Georgian forces,’ Brig. Gen. William B. Garrett, commander of the U.S. military’s Southern European Task Force, told reporters.”

With Russia openly backing and training the indigenous military in South Ossetia and Abkhazia to maintain Russian presence in the region, especially since the US-backed pro-NATO Saakashvili regime took power in 2004, the Caucasus is rapidly coming to resemble Spain in the Civil War from 1936-1939, where the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and others poured money and weapons and volunteers into Spain in a devastating war that was a precursor to the Second World War.

In a curious footnote to the actual launch of military fighting on the opening day of the Olympics when Putin, George W. Bush and many world leaders were far away in Beijing, is a report in IsraelNN.com by Gl Ronen, stating that “The Georgian move against South Ossetia was motivated by political considerations having to do with Israel and Iran, according to Nfc. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili decided to assert control over the breakaway region in order to force Israel to reconsider its decision to cut back its support for Georgia’s military.”

Ronen added, “Russian and Georgian media reported several days ago that Israel decided to stop its support for Georgia after Moscow made it clear to Jerusalem and Washington that Russia would respond to continued aid for Georgia by selling advanced anti-aircraft systems to Syria and Iran.” Israel plans to get oil and gas from the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from the Caspian.

Although as of this writing Russian President Medvedev has announced Russia is halting its military response against Georgian targets, the situation is anything but stable. The insistence of Washington in bringing Georgia into its geopolitical sphere and backing an unstable regime around Mikheil Saakashvili may well have been the straw which broke the Russian camel’s patience if not his back.

Whether oil pipeline disputes or Russian challenges to Israel are the proximate trigger for Saakashvili’s dangerous game, it is clear that the volatile Georgian and his puppet masters may have entered a game where no one will be able to control the outcome.

F. William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order (Pluto Press), and Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation (www.globalresearch.ca). This essay is adapted from a book he has just completed, titled Full Spectrum Dominance: The Geopolitical Agenda Behind Washington’s Global Military Buildup (release date estimated Autumn 2008). He may be contacted through his website, www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net.

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