Craig Murray On Russia/Georgia

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Cheney Aide In Georgia Just Before Conflict

The LA Times which reveals this is at pains to promote the official version as to why he was there-

What was a top national security aide to Vice President Dick Cheney doing in Georgia shortly before Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s troops engaged in what became a disastrous fight with South Ossetian rebels — and then Russian troops?

But, the vice president’s office says, he was there as part of a team setting up the vice president’s just-announced visit to Georgia. (It is common for the White House to send security, policy, communications and press aides to each site the president and vice president will visit ahead of the trip, to begin making arrangements and planning the agenda.)

But does Wood typically go in advance of Cheney visits? (Which are claimed to have been long planned but there is absolutely no way of verifying that. Unless you want to take Cheney’s Office word for it). Because he often goes in place of the busy Dick, last year-

Mr. Joseph R. Wood, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs pays an official visit to Georgia. Four-member delegation of the United States of America led by Joseph R. Wood accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador visited the Ministry of Defence of Georgia today. Delegation members were received by the Minister of Defence of Georgia David Kezerashvili and Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Col. Zaza Gogava.

At the meeting the sides discussed Georgia’s contributions to Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. support of Georgia’s NATO membership and Georgia’s ongoing democratic reforms.

And earlier this year-

Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs Joseph R. Wood will visit Lithuania January 17 – 18.  Mr. Wood is traveling to Vilnius to attend the Snow Summit and meet with Lithuanian government leaders to discuss bilateral issues.

So he’s been an emissary from Cheney, not simply an advance man for visits as the VPO claims to the LA Times. We do know the US knew of Saakashvili’s plans in advance as revealed by the US Ambassador to Moscow. Hmmm.

PS. Wood’s official biography- Read the rest of this entry »

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71 Dead

Not of military conflict but casualties of a constant economic war, but we should count them nonetheless-

As many as 71 illegal migrants drowned after their boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea, eight of their companions have told Maltese police. The survivors were rescued by a fishing vessel from a semi-submerged dinghy about 70km (40 miles) off Malta, then handed over to a Maltese military boat.

“Notwithstanding that they know about [previous] tragedies, these desperate people still try and make the journey to Europe,” Neil Falzon, a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Malta, told the AFP news agency. Mr Falzon said that if the number of fatalities was confirmed, it would serve to highlight “the need for assistance to these people”.

In June, the European Parliament passed a controversial set of EU rules for dealing with illegal migrants, which allow those caught to be detained for up to 18 months and face a five-year re-entry ban. Lawmakers backed the measures by a large majority despite opposition from many Socialist and Green parties, and condemnation from human rights groups.

I’ve crossed out ‘illegal‘ because in part, as I wrote in a note to the BBC, territorial waters extend 12 miles, they were found 40 miles out so had not done anything illegal and they are not alive to make their case to be ‘legal‘ human beings. An action can be illegal but not a person, the term illegal migrant is a twisted pejorative we don’t need. The headline for the story is right Migrants feared drowned off Malta and that’s what they were, not ‘illegal‘ anything, that is term for governments use to dehumanise people, we should not reinforce that by repeating it. Will the survivors be jailed for a year and a half then deported in exile from the EU, that is the law as it now stands. Don’t be shy of telling your elected representatives what you think about that (politely).

Free Gaza Boats To Carry Students Out Of The Blockade

(GAZA CITY, 27 August 2008) – It was standing-room-only in Gaza City studios today as the Free Gaza Movement held a press conference to announce the departure of the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty, and to reaffirm that 12-14 Palestinians who have previously been denied exit visas by Israel will be traveling to Cyprus on the two boats. Some of those leaving are students, with vaild visas or dual citizenship, who have been accepted to universities abroad. Additionally, one Palestinian professor will finally be able to go back to teaching in Europe, and one young, Palestinian woman will finally be reunited with her husband. Since the organizers of the Free Gaza Movement will not be entering Israeli territorial waters, and since they will request inspection from both the Gaza Port Authority before they depart as well as from Cypriot authorities when they arrive in Cyprus, they expect no interference on the part of the Israeli authorities when they leave Gaza. By Israel’s own admission, it has no authority to inspect the boats or the passengers when they leave Gaza. With the collapse of the Israeli blockade, the Free Gaza Movement will quickly return to Gaza with another delegation, and invites the United Nations, Arab League and international community to organize similar human rights and humanitarian efforts.

I think this is a brilliant step and a very practical extension of the mission. Previously the activists went fishing off the Gaza coast, doing a sort of floating international solidarity mission to provide witness and protection to Gaza’s fishing boats.

Twenty of us arrived at the port about 4:30, sleepy and stumbling about amid the dozens of security men standing there guarding us. We were told we’d have to wait, because the fishermen were afraid to go out to sea with us, uncertain whether they would be shot at or worse. Finally, four hours later, six boats showed up, and we boarded, two or three to a boat. The port is small but perfectly adequate for these boats plus our own two that were on the dock front to back. The media climbed into one of them, escorting us out.

All the Palestinians said they wanted to go our past the six mile limit. They were as eager as we were to test the noose hanging around their necks. At 8 miles, three Israeli patrol boats showed up, buzzing up and down in front of us, a man on a machine gun at the back of each one. The boat I was accompanying was owned by six cousins, the youngest 15, and they were, at first, nervous when the patrol boats showed up. I’m sure the Israelis were having a coronary wondering what to do with us, but they left us alone.

Loads more at

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The Best Little Whore House in Santa Cruz

Wherein a US Iraq War veteran armed and drunk is arrested in Santa Cruz’s finest brothel only hours after the US ambassador Philip Goldberg secretly meets with Prefect Ruben Costas -leader of the ‘breakaway’ movement and racist (his macaco moment) who is being used to destabilise Evo Morale’s administration (which only recently got a resounding approval in the polls). Drunky McArmed-Vet is then whisked out of custody under US diplomatic immunity and a (cover) story of the Ambassador meeting Costas to talk about the Special Olympics is released, no really.

News of the Restless:- The prefect of Santa Cruz, Ruben Costas, secretly met on Monday with the US ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg. The meeting comes nine days after Costas’s radical speech, in which he insulted President Evo Morales and announced a series of measures that skirt the edges of the constitution. Although there was no official mention of what the two discussed, the meeting occurred amid the beginning of the measures with which Costas and his colleagues of the so-called “Media Luna” region sought to put pressure on the Morales government, which was ratified with two-thirds of the popular vote at the polls (67.4%).

According to a report by the Gigavision network, the encounter took place in the Prefectural Palace, a location where the press was barred from entering.

The TV report informed that the Costas-Goldberg meeting went on for at least an hour and 30 minutes, and proved the encounter had taken place with images taken before and after.

Having been caught on camera Goldberg sez-

“I went to Santa Cruz for various reasons; to deliver aid packages, I was at the inauguration of the special Olympics with the Prefect (Ruben Costas), and I also showed via tele-info the aid in this sector and the aid given in computing. I also took advantage of this visit to meet, in public, with the prefect Costas, only because this is part of my diplomatic duties.”

Inca Kola News though-

…that thing about “public meeting” is total bull, as according to all sources they had a one-on-one private, closed door meeting that went on for an hour and a half and nobody but nobody was even let into the corridor that leads to the door they were behind. Are the Special Olympics such an interesting subject of conversation?


In the wee small hours of that same Monday/Tuesday, at 3:30am to be precise, a drunken man was arrested for causing a disturbance at a Santa Cruz nightclub. He barged his way in to the late night establishment (that’s Otto’s nice way of saying ‘whorehouse’, ok?) known as ‘Curris Internacional’ and started threatening both public and staff. When the police were called in and arrested him they found that;

  • His name is Gregory Gordon Michel
  • He is a US citizen
  • He is a member of the US military
  • He was carrying a loaded .45mm handgun with three spare clips
  • He was also carrying a folding police officer’s nightstick

He was taken to the local police station when just 30 minutes later a posse of his fellow citizens arrived, claimed Gregory Michel was protected by Diplomatic Immunity and spirited him away.

[ABI report here]

So..the US destabilising a Latin American country and using a separatist right wing (proto-facist) leader to do it while also having armed military in country under diplomatic protection…the War on Democracy continues apace. Pictures and more at Inca Kola News, News of the Restless, Abiding in Bolivia & BoRev.