The crazies are really coming out of the woodwork concerning the Georgia - Russia situation. Some are now accusing Fox News of cutting off a 12 year girl because she said 'thank you' to the Russian troops (video here). The site is called Revolutionary Politics if that tells you anything. On to the serious issues:
A Georgian reporter was shot on live TV. The Sun UK has the video and story:
THIS is the dramatic moment a Georgian TV reporter is shot by a sniper on LIVE television.
News girl Tamara Urushadze suddenly disappears from view in this live report on public television in Georgia.
After scenes of panic and commotion, Urashadze reappears with her arm bleeding.
Unbelievably she tries to continue her report as colleagues bandage her up.
In the dramatic footage she says that her arm had been grazed by a sniper bullet.
The incident was close to Gori, a city on Georgia’s main east-west highway, the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting.
Randy Echo at Above Top Secret says America needs to grow a set:
... we are looking like complete wimps right now because we have the men, the tools, the reason, and world opinion on our side right now to do it, we pushed the Iraqis out of Kuwait and we could push the Russians out of Georgia, I think now is the time we grow some resolve and get the invaders out of our allied country, sure they need medicine and tents and towels, which we're supplying but what they really need is there big brother to do a little bully removal work, come on America , we need to fight for them as they have fought for us, side by side in Iraq.
Russian troops are still entrenched in Georgia in spite of tough talk from Europe and the US.
The United States and France said it appeared Russia was defying the truce already. Russian troops still controlled two Georgian cities and the key east-west highway between them Saturday, cities well outside the breakaway provinces where earlier fighting was focused.
In a slap in the face to Georgians, Russian troops and their armed allies forced Georgian men to clean the streets of South Ossetia's bombed-out capital Saturday.
Three teams of ethnic Georgian men in their 40s and 50s were seen hauling debris from the streets of Tskhinvali. When approached, one of them confirmed he was being forced to work.
"Labor even turns monkeys into humans," said a Russian officer, who along with armed Ossetians escorted one group of about two dozen Georgians through the streets of the capital.
Not only has Poland offered assistance but now the Ukraine is offering satellite defense cooperation with Europe and the United States. "Ukraine inflamed mounting East-West tensions yesterday by offering up a Soviet-built satellite facility as part of the European missile defence system."
The proposal, made amid growing outrage among Russia's neighbours over its military campaign in Georgia, could see Ukraine added to Moscow's nuclear hitlist. A Russian general declared Poland a target for its arsenal after Warsaw signed a deal with Washington to host interceptor missiles for America's anti-nuclear shield. [snip]
Ukraine said it was ready to give both Europe and America access to its missile warning systems after Russia earlier annulled a 1992 cooperation agreement involving two satellite tracking stations. Previously, the stations were part of Russia's early-warning system for missiles coming from Europe.
"The fact that Ukraine is no longer a party to the 1992 agreement allows it to launch active cooperation with European countries to integrate its information," a statement from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
Report from the Georgian Front
By Ilana Freedman at The Gerard Group
As we continue to follow the war in Georgia, and make no mistake, the war is still on; our exclusive sources on the ground have been filling in some of the gaps. A team went out on reconnaissance last night to assess the damage and came back with stories you won't see on the news. Their trip took them well into the next day, and they returned with much to tell about what they had seen.
The first thing our source told me was that in spite of all the stories of Russians continuing to move throughout Georgia, the team saw few signs of movement. The Russians seem to be staying in place for the moment. But the team met a group of Russian soldiers, with whom they stopped to talk. The soldiers were angry and bitter because they had clearly outrun their supply chain and were forced to forage for food and clothing.
"This is not right," one said, "The Georgians live like kings, while we are forced to live like beggars."
Another soldier was particularly angry. "I was told we were going on a training mission, but here I am in Georgia, fighting my brothers!" he told our source.
[Editor's comment: These soldiers were duped by their own leaders. They forgot, perhaps, (or maybe he never knew) that Georgia had been a thriving capitalist society for some time (until the Russian Bear descended in all its fury last week), and the fruits of democracy have been reflected in a higher standard of living than he has probably ever seen.
Considering that it was these very soldiers who overran this country with such massive and brutal force, a warm welcome should not have been expected. It seems that the Russian government has left its own soldiers to fend for themselves, most probably in order to create as much chaos and destruction as possible.]
Our source said that along on their way, his group also met a Georgian grandmother, weeping over the deaths of her two grandchildren, 12 and 14 years old. She told them that the children had gone out to fetch water, but were stopped by Russian soldiers who shot and killed them both.
Our source also reported that on Saturday, the Russians set fire to one of Georgia's national forests at the Borjomi Gorge, a scenic canyon located in central Georgia's Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. According to other corroborating reports, the Russians started the fires by dropping incendiary devices from military helicopters. The park is one of Europe's largest, and the springs that produce Georgia's popular mineral water are located there.
Russian military helicopters were reported to have bombed the nearby city of Borjomi and settlement of Tsemi, using the same method. The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked Turkey for assistance to combat the fires, but reported that Russian air patrols refused to allow the firefighters access to the park. The only reason for such actions would be to ensure that as much damage is inflicted on Georgia as possible.
The Russian helicopters were also reported to have destroyed a key railway bridge, a major link between Tbilisi and Georgian port of Poti, which the Russians have also largely destroyed. The destruction of the bridge essentially broke the railway links between the eastern and western parts of the country, and also severed one of the escape routes being used by Georgian refugees fleeing from the Russian-occupied territories to safer places.
Georgia's Interior Ministry has also accused the Russian-backed militia members of seizing thirteen Georgian villages and a power plant. Our source told us that these irregulars are not local, but came through the Roki Tunnel from Russia with the Russian troops. The tunnel runs under the Caucasus Mountains, between Russia and Georgia, and provided the open access that Russia needed to send her forces into Georgia so efficiently.
These irregulars have been accused of ferocious acts of looting and of committing atrocities on the local population wherever they have gone. Their job, it seems, is to run amok in the wake of the Russian troops, do their worst, but give deniability to the official Russian military. All these activities are in violation of a new cease-fire agreement that Russia and Georgia signed on Friday.
While the agreement called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops, the Russians refused to set a date and withdrawal seems unlikely in the foreseeable future. When US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was asked about these reports on Saturday, she responded limply, "The Russians perhaps are already not honoring their word."
While Russia's Vladimir Putin claims that 'only' dozens have been killed in the fighting, some reports from Georgia put the death toll as high as 2,000. Considering the magnitude and ferociousness of the Russian onslaught, the higher number seems far more likely. To put it in perspective for a Western reader, that death toll in a week's time is equivalent to half the American death toll in Iraq over a five year period.
Putin has called Georgia's aggression in South Ossetia as "complete genocide". Putin, a graduate of the KGB, and now de facto ruler of 21st century Russia, is wrong. The damage from Georgia's attack on South Ossetia pales in comparison to the utter devastation of the entire country of Georgia by Putin's army.
[Editor's comment: Why is Russia inflicting so much destruction on Georgia? All that was needed to stop Georgia's attack on South Ossetia was a small response. Yet Russia put the full might of its military into this war and moved its forces from one end of Georgia to the other, on the ground, in the air, and from the sea.
I have been told that Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who served for over fifteen years in the KGB, never forgets a slight. It has also been reported in the international press that Georgia's president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is known for his flamboyant and often impulsive rhetoric, once called the Russian "Lilli-Putin", an insult that Putin has placed on file for retribution.
Is this devastating destruction of Saakashvili's country payback for the insult? (I am told that this is altogether possible. In Moscow, Putin has called Saakashvili a lunatic and a pariah, and Putin is known as a dangerous opponent.) Is it part of a larger plan for a greater Russia? Is it a bold statement to the Western world that Russia is now prepared to be a major force in the global arena and will use whatever force is necessary to make its point?
Quite possibly it is all of these and more. No simple answers will suffice in this very public show of force. But force against democratic society requires a forceful response, one which we have not given. Just as Georgians stood beside America in Iraq, we must now stand beside them in this grave hour of their imminent demise. Weak statements of support no longer suffice. They will make us all vulnerable in the face of power-hungry opponents, which Putin has now declared Russia to be.]
All local images are the property of Gerard Group International exclusive sources and are protected by copywrite laws.
© Gerard Group International, Inc. 2008All rights reserved.