What is happening now in Georgia .. Ossetian gangsters attack celebrated journalist Margarita Akhvlediani
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has issued a continuous stream of statements about the position in Georgia these can be read here.
Alternatively they have been provided as a single document here up to 14th August here.
The notes of the Press Conference on August 14th with Dr Rice the part time piano player and friend of Dubya whose holidays have been interrupted are well worth reading. They bring back memories of Ms Golspie having a chat with that nice Mr Saddam Hussein so many years ago - Lord Patel has a feeling in his gut that this quote will last for a long time as a reflection of the way the US dministration were caught on the hop.
"This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten its neighbors, occupy a capital, overthrow a government, and get away with it. Things have changed."QUESTION: You just said that this is not 1968, where Russia can do this and get away with it, and you’ve talked of consequences, but we have yet to really see any. When – at what point – how far – how much further can Russia continue to go before we actually see the United States do something?
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you say that – again, that this is not 1968, but you’ve been – for several months, have been noticing Russia’s actions towards Georgia. Officials in the building (State department)have been very concerned not just about South Ossetia, but also about intentions towards – towards Georgia. And in – and since these attacks, officials have said that it seems to be premeditated, pre-planned, and that the swiftness with which Russian forces moved into Georgia show that it wasn’t necessarily only about South Ossetia, but something larger.
How did the U.S. miss the signals that this was some kind of large-scale invasion of Georgia? And are you concerned that the Russians feel that it is 1968 and they’re trying to invade other – are you concerned that they might invade other countries, such as Ukraine or other areas, where they have so-called citizens that they’re concerned –
QUESTION: Yes. You’ve mentioned several times that Russia could have done what it said it wanted to do and stopped and that they’ve overreached. As, among other things, an analyst of Russians and, before that, the Soviets, what do you think this is about? In that case, since they’ve still continued, what do you think it’s about? And how long do you think it will take for them to reach what they’re trying to reach?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, they told the French President that their military operations had ended.
There are 4 statements issued by the MFA up to date for August 15th ;
15-08-2008 22:30 - Timeline by 15th of August 22:00
15-08-2008 19:00 - Timeline by 15th of August 19:00
15-08-2008 16:30 - Timeline by 15th of August 16:30
15-08-2008 10:00 - Timeline by 15th of August by 10:00
Timeline by 15th of August 22:00 - an example
21:50 Russian troops continued movement from Khashuri and are in Surami close to Khashuri on central highway.
21:00 Russian troops entered Khashuri about 100kms west from Tbilisi and opened checkpoint. About 10 Tanks are in the city. Eyewitnesses report that they behave very cynically and terrorize civilians pointing guns to them or Tank guns to their cars and houses.
20:00 Russian troops began preparing tranches for armored vehicles and soldiers near the entrance of Senaki.
18:30 9 armored vehicles of Russian Army accompanied by 3 Mi-24 helicopters moved towards Tbilisi. They stopped and opened check point near village Igoeti 20 kms from Tbilisi, Kaspi district
10:30 Near village Sagolasheni, Gori district, vehicle of freelance journalist Margarita Akhvlediani *** was stopped by South Ossetian separatists. Vehicle was shot. Journalist was robbed of her car, camera and other belongings. (Read her Despatch from Georgia in the The Nation - timeline 11th August here.) see also Times report today.
Human Rights Watch researchers have uncovered evidence that Russian aircraft dropped cluster bombs (banned by 107 nations) in populated areas in Georgia during the air attacks from 6th of August, killing at least 11 civilians and injuring dozens, Human Rights Watch said today.
Russian Navy continues controlling Georgian Territorial Waters.
***Margarita Akhvlediani was born in Bishkek, Kyrgystan, but has lived most of her life in the Republic of Georgia and earned her bachelor's degree in journalism at the State University of Georgia. She worked as a reporter, editor and producer at Georgian newspapers, radio and TV stations throughout the civil war and social breakdown of the country in the early 1990s. She helped found the pioneering news agency Black Sea Press and was Georgian correspondent for the legendary Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy. She joined the London based Institute for War and Peace Reporting in 2002, editing the Caucasus Reporting Service and training journalists throughout the Caucasus. In 2006, she won a Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalism and spent a year at Stanford University. In summer 2007, she won a Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship in Journalism and Trauma.
She manages 150 journalists from the Caucasus regions, editing articles for the world weekly bulletin of IWPR Caucasus Reporting Service (http://www.iwpr.net/). She also conducts trainings for local journalists in the post-Soviet Republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and the North Caucasian regions of Russia including Chechnya to teach them international standards of journalism.
The latest report on iwpr is this ;
Gori: Russian Allies Triumphant as City Burns
An IWPR journalist, allowed into Gori on a Russian tank, witnesses exultant pro-Moscow fighters rampaging through the blazing city.
By Idrak Abbasov in Gori (CRS No. 454, 14-Aug-08)“The Georgians have to understand that we’re not afraid of [United States President] Bush….threatening us with his marines and paratroopers,” insisted the Russian soldier who called himself a commander, tank captain and a member of what he says are Russia’s peacekeeping troops. His tank was standing outside the Georgian town of Gori.