Analysis of how it unraveled, what the situtation in Georgia is today, and what's next for 'Misha'
Originally appeared at New Eastern Outlook
Jeffrey Silverman, the Georgia Bureau Chief for Veterans Today, has recently accused the US Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, of being directly involved in the plot to overthrow the democratically-elected Georgian government. He says that this plot had been in the works for a long time, and only by a twist of good fortune were the secret tapes disclosing it released just before the plot could be fully implemented.
Much credit for foiling the plot, and maintaining Georgia’s independence, must go to the intelligence services of several countries, including Georgia, Ukraine and Turkey. They were prepared to share the compromising information they had with journalists, including those of Veterans Today, and key players in the “New Great Game”, especially those embedded in the clandestine services.
Several articles about Georgia have been published in recent weeks. When this author and others working with various partner journals suggested a coup was being plotted this information was largely disregarded by the mainstream media. Events have now made it obvious who the mainstream media is designed to serve, and why journals such as this NEO are the primary sources for what is really happening in hotspots, especially countries in the former Soviet Union and the near abroad.
In a new interview Silverman reflects on current developments and who has really been involved in the sort of behaviour no one in the democratic world theoretically supports.
Now the recordings of the conversations between Saakashvili and Niks Gvaramia, Gigi Bokeria and Sopho Nizharadze have been published does Saakashvili have any chance of a comeback? Will he be able to conduct his intended coup now?
Yes, unfortunately, but only if the US agrees to it. Nothing can happen before the US elections, so for now the revolution is on hold. But the question is whether Saakashvili will be killed—or at least become the victim of some kind of organised accidental death. He knows too much and talks too much, from the US point of view.
What we are now experiencing is not a struggle between the Georgian government and its people and not a conflict between Georgia and Russia. This is a battle between right and wrong – between a democratically-elected government and one which has been overthrown as a result of its deeds, even though it had US support, and is now desperately trying to pretend that it really represents the will of the people. This is the battle we should be focusing on, as the Georgian government is defending everyone who believes in truth and justice. That should include you.
What are your thoughts about those telephone recordings?
In recent weeks the previous owners of Georgia’s main TV Station, Rustavi 2, have been trying to regain ownership in the courts, claiming that the channel was forced from their hands by dark forces during Saakashvili’s presidency. On the surface this is a straightforward civil dispute, but it has been heavily politicised due to the fact that Saakashvili himself is rumoured to be the true owner of the station. A number shady overseas companies and local henchmen are listed as the owners, but they were probably persuaded to sign their names on the dotted line to present themselves as the owners.
Saakashvili is a fool if he does not think the things he does are being recorded. Various foreign intelligence services know when he goes to the toilet. He should be careful, as bombs are sometimes placed in toilets, as they were some years ago in the Pankisi Gorge. It would really be shitty way to go.
It’s quite possible that Saakashvili’s enemies in Ukraine released these recordings. The Georgian government undoubtedly benefits from them, but this doesn’t automatically tar it with guilt, as the calls seem to involve a citizen and senior official of another country.
Does Ukraine need Saakashvili, as its Prime Minister Arseniy Petrovych Yatsenyuk has recently said, “If Saakasvhili was good enough, Georgia would ask him to come back”?
He is a walking liability who does more harm than good. Saakashvili is pushing it back in the direction of Russia and away from Europe by being there. Only now is the full extent of his criminal activities being made public, and we will be hearing more in the future. Saakashvili will soon be a man without a country. Nobody needs him or wants him, unless it is to lock him up and throw away the key.
Perhaps he will eventually find safe haven in The Netherlands, where his wife is from, or some remote island nation where he can set up his fairytale little world – perhaps he can establish some banana republic, or set up a prison colony which he can be the warden of.
Should we dread the day when Saakashvili’s forces return to Georgia?
He will soon be forgotten, as no-one really cares about his plight outside the realm of Georgia’s so-called “friends”. I’ll bet most of the Westerners here have no idea that there is any problem in Georgia and how it extends to Ukraine. Yatsenuk was an ally of Saakashvili before, but now they know each other. Saakashvili and his entourage will not be returning anytime soon – unless Bidzina Ivanishvili is killed. If that happens, anything is possible!
Saakashvili has said that he plans to come back in Georgia in his old age, in English, his exact words would be: “Georgia is my pensionable future”. So what do you think his current plans are?
He can be buried in Georgia. Georgia’s economy only flourishes when there is stability and inward investment, and Saakashvili’s United National Movement has left no stone unturned in its attempts to collapse the economy and thus bring down the government, so it can come marching in, bull-whips in hand. It already controls the English language media here. That media is trying to portray Georgia as a bad place to invest and turn the people against the current government. As long as money and support is being supplied for itself, it will continue doing this.
It should be noted that Rustavi 2 is more than just a very popular TV station – it is the chief propaganda weapon of the previous regime. Its well-orchestrated attack on the government has turned into an attack on the State. The Georgian people would have liked to see justice restored as soon as the current government came to power. They did try, but the international machinery soon clicked into gear and tried to return Saakashvili and his friends to power.
As soon as the present government took over, these Western “friends of Georgia” started talking about “cohabitation”. These lovers of democracy told the people that their new government must cohabit with the people Georgian voters had said they wanted to see behind bars for their many crimes, the present government having campaigned on the platform of putting them there.
These foreign Saakashvili supporters are not people who may have been misled by the mainstream media. They are people hell bent on regaining control of the country by any means, regardless of the consequences. There’s no benefit in this for ordinary Georgians, most of whom are poor and just want to live in peace with a secure roof over their heads and food on the table. Since Georgia’s independence they have had a perpetual struggle to achieve this, but have been prevented by the greed of a few foreigners who promote eternal armed conflict and want Georgia to be nothing more than a supply station and an immovable thorn in Russia’s foot.
It is these people who tell the world how they the current government are the bad guys and the people they are trying to imprison are victims of “political persecution”. The people of Georgia want justice for all the suffering which has been carefully screened from Western eyes and minds.
Fortunately a few of the people in the new government of Georgia, especially those in the shadows, are relatively smart people. I can name a few of them publicly – people like Irina Imerlishvili, Kakhi Kakhishvili and Tina Khidasheli. They know precisely what is behind the accusations flying in their direction, the attempts to crash the economy and why every statement from the mouths of their “friends” seems to use strangely similar words.
What kind of relations do Western governments have with the Georgian government?
The people who make statements about Georgia are all on the same team. They include US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly, EU Ambassador to Georgia Janos Herman, U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby and lesser lights such as Carl Bildt and others affiliated with the European People’s Party.
Kelly has worked in the Foreign Service for about 30 years. He served as a State Department spokesman in 2009-2010 and was U.S. ambassador to the OSCE in 2010-2013. He was also a co-chair of the Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution from December 2012 to September, 2013. He is a dirty player who obeys orders from elsewhere and no friend of Georgia.
But give it a few more weeks. When people get bored with this latest attempt at destabilisation, Saakashvili will be dropped like a hot potato and all those “friends” will come out with some fancy new way to further their interests, which achieves the same end but doesn’t involve him.
Kelly has also been Director of Russian affairs at the State Department. In this role he coordinated the activities of about a dozen federal agencies involved in “democracy programmes” in former Soviet countries. As we know from the track record of programmes, this means that his job was to foster regime change. The Georgian government should be very watchful of this person, and all the people, especially from NGOs, he comes into contact with. Kelly is here to undermine the reputation of this government and do his best to remove it.
I would say to him, as a person who has earned a Georgian passport: “All of those who stand against this government and its fledgling democracy stand for the victory of wrong over right. The US Ambassador and State Department are not only misguided but totally confused. They don’t want to know what is going on in Georgia.”
Georgians must remember that the US does not care about the rule of law or the democratic process if they run contrary to their own perceived interests. It always conveniently forgets that is right of a country to determine its own fate.
Silverman also told me, “Gharibashvili has been drawing a parallel between what happened on Nov 7, 2007 and the battle taking place right now over Rustavi 2 because the court case is related to the recent coup attempt.
For instance, “Gharibashvili and the government know that all the pressure being placed on them comes from one side, the US side … the people who support Saakashvili over the forces of democracy and justice, the same Saakashvili whose people stormed into Imedi TV in 2008 and took it off the air, and used sticks, tear gas and rubber bullets on their own people. That was just for starters. Torture, organised rape, wars of aggression, summarily executions … you name it, they did it.
“Gharibashvili has marked November 7 on his Facebook page. If you read his short statement read again, you see that he’s talking about the struggle for justice and freedom of expression and how this decision will have “profound” political consequences, and what they are trying to prevent.
Apparently some people, “Don’t want Georgians to live in a world of freedom and justice – they want to keep them enslaved – the problems with the economy, exchange rates, are all part and parcel of the same pressure, which is being applied by the same people with the same interests.
“But as I’ve said in some of my recent interviews with the Georgian Press, it doesn’t sound to me as if the government is buckling. It is a government that is finding out who its friends are, and keeping its friends close and its enemies closer.”
Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.