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August Surprise: The GOP's Georgian Gambit


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http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200808..._election_ploy/

Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?

Posted on Aug 12, 2008

By Robert Scheer

Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser.

Previously, Scheunemann was best known as one of the neoconservatives who engineered the war in Iraq when he was a director of the Project for a New American Century. It was Scheunemann who, after working on the McCain 2000 presidential campaign, headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

There are telltale signs that he played a similar role in the recent Georgia flare-up. How else to explain the folly of his close friend and former employer, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, in ordering an invasion of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, an invasion that clearly was expected to produce a Russian counterreaction? It is inconceivable that Saakashvili would have triggered this dangerous escalation without some assurance from influential Americans he trusted, like Scheunemann, that the United States would have his back. Scheunemann long guided McCain in these matters, even before he was officially running foreign policy for McCain’s presidential campaign.

In 2005, while registered as a paid lobbyist for Georgia, Scheunemann worked with McCain to draft a congressional resolution pushing for Georgia’s membership in NATO. A year later, while still on the Georgian payroll, Scheunemann accompanied McCain on a trip to that country, where they met with Saakashvili and supported his bellicose views toward Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Scheunemann is at the center of the neoconservative cabal that has come to dominate the Republican candidate’s foreign policy stance in a replay of the run-up to the war against Iraq. These folks are always looking for a foreign enemy on which to base a new Cold War, and with the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, it was Putin’s Russia that came increasingly to fit the bill.

Yes, it sounds diabolical, but that may be the most accurate way to assess the designs of the McCain campaign in matters of war and peace. There is every indication that the candidate’s demonization of Russian leader Putin is an even grander plan than the previous use of Saddam to fuel American militarism with the fearsome enemy that it desperately needs.

McCain gets to look tough with a new Cold War to fight while Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, scrambling to make sense of a more measured foreign policy posture, will seem weak in comparison. Meanwhile, the dire consequences of the Bush legacy that McCain has inherited, from the disaster of Iraq to the economic meltdown, conveniently will be ignored. But the military-industrial complex, which has helped bankroll the neoconservatives, will be provided with an excuse for ramping up a military budget that is already bigger than that of the rest of the world combined.

What is at work here is a neoconservative, self-fulfilling prophecy in which Russia is turned into an enemy that expands its largely reduced military, and Putin is cast as the new Josef Stalin bogeyman, evoking images of the old Soviet Union. McCain has condemned a “revanchist Russia” that should once again be contained. Although Putin has been the enormously popular elected leader of post-Communist Russia, it is assumed that imperialism is always lurking, not only in his DNA but in that of the Russian people.

How convenient to forget that Stalin was a Georgian, and indeed if Russian troops had occupied the threatened Georgian town of Gori they would have found a museum still honoring the local boy, who made good by seizing control of the Russian revolution. Indeed five Russian bombs were allegedly dropped on Gori’s Stalin Square on Tuesday.

It should also be mentioned that the post-Communist Georgians have imperial designs on South Ossetia and Abkhazia. What a stark contradiction that the United States, which championed Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, now is ignoring Georgia’s invasion of its ethnically rebellious provinces.

For McCain to so fervently embrace Scheunemann’s neoconservative line of demonizing Russia in the interest of appearing tough during an election campaign is a reminder that a senator can be old and yet wildly irresponsible.

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121...2192729075.html

McCain Adviser Was Lobbyist for Georgia

By Mary Jacoby

August 11, 2008; Page A5

John McCain's top foreign-policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, is a leading expert on U.S.-allied Georgia -- and was a paid lobbyist for the former Soviet republic until March, in the run-up to what has become a major battle between Georgia and Russia.

Democratic rival Barack Obama's presidential campaign was quick to try to paint Mr. Scheunemann's dual roles as a conflict of interest after Sen. McCain swiftly took Georgia's side in the dispute, and cited it as evidence that Sen. McCain is "ensconced in a lobbyist culture," as Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan told reporters over the weekend.

But given the rapid escalation of the fighting, and the fact that Georgia is being viewed as a victim of its neighbor's aggression, Mr. Scheunemann's ties to the small nation and its pro-Western Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili may look less like a weakness and more like a strength in the first foreign-policy crisis of the general election campaign.

"In a major international crisis, what is their response?" Mr. Scheunemann said of the Obama campaign in an interview Sunday. "To take a cheap shot at me, as if helping a struggling democracy is somehow wrong." Mr. Scheunemann took a formal leave of absence from his two-person lobbying firm earlier this year amid controversy over Sen. McCain's ties to lobbyists.

Mr. Scheunemann's firm, Orion Strategies, continues to represent Georgia in Washington, and signed a new $200,000 contract with the country in April. Mr. Scheunemann remains an owner of the firm, though he is no longer registered to lobby for it. Mr. Scheunemann said he has made more than a dozen trips to Georgia since he began lobbying for the country in 2004.

The crisis puts a spotlight on Mr. Scheunemann, 48 years old, who has long been a leading neoconservative voice in the American foreign-policy debate. He played a prominent role advocating for toppling Saddam Hussein, serving in 2002 as executive director of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. At a key moment before the war, he helped to line up allies in "New Europe" -- notably former Soviet bloc states like Latvia -- to write a letter in support of the invasion. That came as "Old Europe" American allies like France and Germany resisted.

Mr. Schueneman has made a career in lobbying for countries, including Georgia, that aspire to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Russia's objections to expansion of the Western military alliance are a factor in the current assault in the Caucasus.

As a foreign-policy aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in 1997, Mr. Scheunemann accompanied Sen. McCain on a trip to the newly independent former Soviet republic. At a dinner, Sen. McCain first met Mr. Saakashvili, who had been a law student in Washington, and was then a young reform-minded Georgian parliamentarian, Mr. Scheunemann said.

In 2003, Sen. McCain returned to Georgia and gave a speech calling on then-President Eduard Shevardnadze to conduct fair presidential and parliamentary elections. The elections weren't perceived as fair, however, and democratic activists launched the protests known as the Rose Revolution that led to Mr. Saakashvili's gaining power.

In August 2006, Sen. McCain returned to Georgia on another congressional delegation, visiting Mr. Saakashvili at a presidential villa on the Black Sea. While Mr. Scheunemann watched from a dock, Sen. McCain and the Georgian leader rode jet skis together, Mr. Scheunemann said.

"He knows all the top players" in Georgia, Zeyno Baran, an analyst on energy and the Caucasus region at the Hudson Institute in Washington, said of Mr. Scheunemann.

Mr. Scheunemann is an architect of the U.S.-led expansion of NATO to include former Soviet satellite states, a bipartisan policy begun under the Clinton administration intended to contain Russia.

But in the 1990s and early 2000s Russia had little economic and diplomatic power to stop its former satellites and republics -- including Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Romania -- from joining the Western alliance.

Sen. McCain has said that NATO leaders' failure to advance Georgia's application for membership at a summit of the alliance in Romania earlier this year emboldened Russia to invade.

Mr. Scheunemann said he had foreseen the possibility of a Russian attack on Georgia. He had long counseled President Saakashvili to avoid overreacting to provocations from the Russian-backed breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia that are at the center of the current conflict, these people say.

"At all sort of critical moments, when there have been repeated Russian provocations, Randy was a calming influence" advising Georgians against responding to Russia with military action, Ms. Baran said.

Mr. Scheunemann's firm has earned more than $2 million since 2004 lobbying U.S. officials, including Sen. McCain and his staff, on behalf of various clients including Georgia, records show.

Write to Mary Jacoby at mary.jacoby@wsj.com

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http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200808..._election_ploy/

Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?

Posted on Aug 12, 2008

By Robert Scheer

Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser.

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9851

Bush pushes crisis to stun Obama

By Michael Carmichael

Global Research, August 15, 2008

From the perspective of John McCain, the Russian conflict with Georgia is an extremely convenient gift from the gods of war, but from another perspective – it is hardly coincidental. Far from it, for the confrontation between the US and Russia will dominate the MSM before, during and after the Democratic National Convention in Denver distracting the American people from the nomination of Barack Obama and his still obscure running mate.

For George Bush, casting a dark shadow over the Democratic National Convention is nothing new. Following the Boston Convention in 2004 John Kerry and John Edwards enjoyed a lead in the polls over Bush-Cheney. In the days immediately after Kerry’s acceptance speech, the White House ordered its minions at Homeland Security to issue an orange alert to shock the nation out of its troubling slumber. In early August 2004, crying, “Wolf!” served as a prelude to the terrible concert -- the carefully orchestrated August attack led by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that demolished Kerry’s momentum and set up the chess board for a huge post-convention ‘bounce’ in the polls by President Bush.

In the early days of August 2004 Homeland Security’s orange alert installed police on Wall Street who checked cars and even investigated the contents of lunch bags of employees at the Stock Exchange. That conveniently timed orange terror alert was seen by many as a deliberate ploy designed to inject a substantial jolt of fear into the American body politic lest we become too enamored of Kerry and Edwards and their riveting dream of replacing a deeply unpopular president and his irksome sidekick.

The same old tried and trusted formula – shock, distract and attack -- has been prescribed again by the Spin-Doctors operating at the behest of Karl Rove, John McCain and their elders in the Bush-Cheney war rooms located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This August, the Pentagon is cast in the role previously played by Homeland Security.

Robert Gates is now reading from a script he has been handed to help ratchet the thermometers of fear skyward. Skyrocketing fears of the Russian Bear will serve as a prelude to a withering assault on Obama’s credibility. On the 28th of August the brooding prelude will be timed to perfection to strike at precisely the nano-second of Obama’s triumphant ascent to the Olympian heights of the Denver Bronco’s Invesco Field at Mile High when enraptured throngs will cheer him in adoration, and red rockets will flare his glorious arrival at the summit of a tortuous ordeal.

With Obama basking in glory and beaming on the Imperial Dais where he will be poised to close the game and win in November thereafter to wait in the wings for his inaugural enthronement in the White House next January, the gremlins in Georgia will strike like Orcs falling on Hobbits at the very moment of his political triumph in Denver.

The plotline may be old and familiar, but its authors are relying on the tendency of America’s information-deprived and somnolent populations to react perfectly on Pavlovian cue. Alarm bells are already ringing in the Pentagon. Vladimir “The Impaler” Putin and Dmitri Medvedev will lead an all-star cast of villains that might even include a minor role for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Today, Bush decries Putin, the man he once embraced with the glowing statement ,

I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul. He's a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that's the beginning of a very constructive relationship.

With Bush, Cheney, Rove and the heir apparent, John McCain -- Americans must always remember one indelible fact: hypocrisy is their strongest suit followed by subterfuge and, of course, the omnipresence of a remarkably dense layer of ruthlessness.

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http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200808..._election_ploy/

Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?

Posted on Aug 12, 2008

By Robert Scheer

Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser.

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9851

Bush pushes crisis to stun Obama

By Michael Carmichael

Global Research, August 15, 2008

From the perspective of John McCain, the Russian conflict with Georgia is an extremely convenient gift from the gods of war, but from another perspective – it is hardly coincidental. Far from it, for the confrontation between the US and Russia will dominate the MSM before, during and after the Democratic National Convention in Denver distracting the American people from the nomination of Barack Obama and his still obscure running mate.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Mr-McCain...080813-828.html

August 16, 2008 at 08:51:18

Mr. McCain, I Am Not a Citizen of Georgia

by MsSwin

"I told him that I know I speak for every American when I said to him, 'Today, we are all Georgians,' "

John McCain has attempted to make me, along with all Americans, party to human rights abuse. His declaration of our Georgian citizenship involves us with a foreign government accused by human rights groups of abuse towards their citizens in recent years, one which has now involved our country in a most questionable war. No, thank you, Mr. McCain. I am an American citizen. I am the decider when it comes to which causes I embrace. In order to accept your claim of my Georgian citizenship, I require explanation as to your recent actions.

Even before Russia had crossed the border into Georgia, you immediately declared there would be consequences and they would be grave. Why did you attempt to inflame the situation before the President of the United States had even spoken with us? When did you receive the authority to decide the course of action by the United States against any country and who granted this authority? If not given, why did you assume said authority? Why have you remained the main spokesperson for the United States, a politician running for president, rather than our actual Commander in Chief? You, sir, are simply entitled to an opinion, nothing more.

Before you volunteer my loyalty, I want a full discussion with you and the American media regarding Georgia's massacre of possibly 2000 South Ossetia civilians resulting in a full scale military reaction by Russia. I want you both to help us understand these events so every American can decide for themselves if they even want to be citizens of Georgia. I want this information before you, or the adminstration you support, make any more far reaching decisions as to our country's course of action against one of the world's super powers.

I need you to explain why the people of Ossetia do not deserve independence yet we have American troops dying in Iraq and Afghanistan supposedly to support freedom there. I want to know if it is true you presented a bill to the Senate to deny them this freedom. I want you to tell me why oil is always the bottom line.

I would appreciate a full explanation as to what part, if any, your campaign's top foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann, played in any of these events. Why did Mr. Scheunemann accept a $200,000 from Georgia on April 17th for a grand total of $800,000 while in the employ of your campaign. What did you discuss with Saakashvili during the approximately 50 meetings that Scheunemann arranged for you?

In recent years, the Bush administration and Israel, with your support, has been arming, training and providing financing for the Georgian military knowing full well Saakashvili stated he would order a strike on both Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Since this would cause a direct confrontation with Russia, why did you encourage this young and inexperienced government in their disastrous military adventure? What efforts, if any, on Mr. Scheunemann's part contributed to this massive military build up which has been charged to the United States credit card to be paid by the American taxpayers?

You have fought for years to exclude Russia from the G-8 rather than build bridges of cooperation. You prefer threats rather than direct communication. The current policy of isolation towards Russia completely hindered our intelligence services to the point we had no idea Russia was even moving into Georgia full force shortly after the attack on Ossetia. Now, Mr. McCain, you desire an even more isolated Russia and the creation of a situation where our foreign policy decisions would be based on best guess and even less intelligence. Why?

There are many questions that need to be answered, John. Some by you and many more by the American media as to the events that led up to the invasion of Georgia, including full on the ground televised coverage in both Georgia and Ossetia to determine the facts in this situation before we Americans can accept your claim of our Georgian citizenship.

What wide scale military action on the part of Ossetia prompted or justified the killing of civilians in the middle of the night by Georgia? Were the U.S. military stationed in Georgia involved? Has Blackwater been part of these training programs or involved in any way?

Why did Saakashvili, the darling homegrown protege of the RNC and the George Bush administration, who helped to place him in power, feel so confident American would leap to their defense after the Ossetia attack. Why did he assume the world was ready or willing to take on Russia? Why did he even think the United States could help with our over stretched and depleted military? Who gave Saakashvili these assurances? Could it be that it was not only Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice but you and your campaign advisor, Randy Scheunemann, as well? We need answers.

One further question about you and your Georgian lobbyist: Why do you consider the American public foolish enough to believe that your long term, old style, cold war hatred and fear of Russia and Mr. Scheunemann's monetary ties to Georgia do not influence your foreign policy views in this matter?

Do you want us to believe President Saakashvili would kick the toe of King Kong without prior assurance of military support by a super power? Or do you prefer we acknowledge he is simply stupid and naive? Would

Georgia endanger their acceptance on the world stage by triggering a possible world war without the full backing by the United States?

It's all just a bit too pat, John, a bit too convenient, a bit too timely, a bit too odd and a tad too much.

This Ossetia massacre demands a complete look and full disclosure as to the role you and the Bush administration have played in these events. We need more than a plagiarized script from Wikipedia from you in order to believe you are on top of this situation. Before you unilaterally declare the citizens of the United States to be Georgians, you need to answer to us first.

We Americans are awaiting your reply, Mr. McCain.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/McCain-in...080813-433.html

August 15, 2008 at 15:57:53

McCain in hip-deep in Georgian lobbyists pocket

by Ed Tubbs

McCain’s top foreign policy advisor: a lobbyist for Georgia.

This morning, Washington Post reported that Senator John McCain’s top foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann of Orion Strategies (a two-man lobbying firm that included Scheunemann and Mike Mitchell) had signed a $200,000 contract to provide strategic advice and lobbying support to the Republic of Georgia.

The report noted how Scheunemann eased the path for an April 17 phone call between the presumptive Republican candidate and Mikheil Saakashvilli, president of Georgia, and whom McCain refers to as a “close friend.” .

According to Justice Department forms filed by the lobbyists, Scheunemann relied on his access to McCain, and that 71 phone conversations and meetings with the Arizona senator were made on behalf of Orion’s clients, including Georgia.

The calls centered on Georgia's endeavors to become a NATO member, and on Washington legislation, co-sponsored by the senior senator from the Grand Canyon State that endorsed Georgia’s stand on South Ossetia. The Washington Post also reported “Another measure lobbied by Orion and co-sponsored by McCain, the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2006, would have authorized a $10 million grant for Georgia” and that “Between Jan. 1, 2007, and May 15, 2008, the campaign paid Scheunemann nearly $70,000 to provide foreign policy advice. During the same period, the government of Georgia paid his firm $290,000 in lobbying fees.”

Once again, according to the Washington Post, Orion was paid $800,000 by Georgia.

Justice Department files disclose that since 2004, Orion has collected $800,000 from the government of Georgia.

The very critical question raised by such arrangements goes directly to the level of foreign policy independence a US president can (and must) be expected to exert, given a long-standing financial relationship between a high-level staff member and a foreign country. This is not some minor matter. Whether and to what extent might American military assistance, our blood, our treasure, be provided to that country? The American public has an absolute right to know, and to believe there exists nothing other than America's interests that are being weighed in such a decision.

— Ed Tubbs

Reno, NV

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http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200808..._election_ploy/

Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?

Posted on Aug 12, 2008

By Robert Scheer

Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser...

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9851

Bush pushes crisis to stun Obama

By Michael Carmichael

Global Research, August 15, 2008

From the perspective of John McCain, the Russian conflict with Georgia is an extremely convenient gift from the gods of war, but from another perspective – it is hardly coincidental. Far from it, for the confrontation between the US and Russia will dominate the MSM before, during and after the Democratic National Convention in Denver distracting the American people from the nomination of Barack Obama and his still obscure running mate...

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Mr-McCain...080813-828.html

August 16, 2008 at 08:51:18

Mr. McCain, I Am Not a Citizen of Georgia

by MsSwin

"I told him that I know I speak for every American when I said to him, 'Today, we are all Georgians,' "

John McCain has attempted to make me, along with all Americans, party to human rights abuse. His declaration of our Georgian citizenship involves us with a foreign government accused by human rights groups of abuse towards their citizens in recent years, one which has now involved our country in a most questionable war. No, thank you, Mr. McCain. I am an American citizen. I am the decider when it comes to which causes I embrace. In order to accept your claim of my Georgian citizenship, I require explanation as to your recent actions.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/McCain-in...080813-433.html

August 15, 2008 at 15:57:53

McCain in hip-deep in Georgian lobbyists pocket

by Ed Tubbs

McCain’s top foreign policy advisor: a lobbyist for Georgia.

This morning, Washington Post reported that Senator John McCain’s top foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann of Orion Strategies (a two-man lobbying firm that included Scheunemann and Mike Mitchell) had signed a $200,000 contract to provide strategic advice and lobbying support to the Republic of Georgia...

— Ed Tubbs

Reno, NV

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9859

Putin's Winning Hand: Once the Atlantic Alliance is shattered, America's lifeline to the world is kaput

by Mike Whitney

There are no military installations in the city of Tskhinvali. In fact, there are no military targets at all. It is an industrial center consisting of lumber mills, manufacturing plants and residential areas. It is also the home to 30,000 South Ossetians. When Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered the city to be bombed by warplanes and shelled by heavy artillery last Thursday, he knew that he would be killing hundreds of civilians in their homes and neighborhoods. But he ordered the bombing anyway.

There was no "Battle of Tskhinvali"; that's another fiction. A battle implies that there is an opposing force that is resisting or fighting back. That's not the case here. The Georgian army entered the city unopposed; after all, how can unarmed civilians stop armed units. Most of the townspeople had already fled across the border into Russia or hid in their basements while the tanks and armored vehicles rumbled bye firing at anything that moved.

What took place in South Ossetia last Thursday, was not an invasion or a siege; it was a massacre. The people had no way to defend themselves against a fully-equiped modern army. It was a war crime.

In less than 24 hours, the Russian army was deployed to the war zone where it chased the Georgian army away without a fight. Journalist Michael Binyon put it like this, "The attack was short, sharp and deadly---enough to send the Georgians fleeing in humiliating panic." Indeed, the Georgians left in such haste that many of their weapons were left behind. It was a complete rout; another black-eye for the US and Israeli advisers who trained the clatter of thugs they call the Georgian army. Soon vendors on the streets of Tskhinvali will be hawking weapons that were left behind with a mocking sign: "Georgia Army M-16; Never used, dropped once."

By the time the army was driven out, the downtown area was in engulfed in flames and the bodies of those who had been killed by sniper-fire were strewn along the streets and sidewalks. Many of people who stayed behind were simply too old or infirm to leave. Instead, they huddled in their basements waiting for the shelling to stop. It was a bloodbath. The city's only hospital was deliberately targeted and destroyed; another war crime. By day's end, over 2,000 people were killed in an operation that was clearly engineered with the assistance of the Bush White House. Bush regards Saakashvilli as his main client in the region; they are friends. He is America's cat's paw in the Caucasus. Saakashvilli's assignment is to try to get Putin to overreact militarily and demonstrate to European allies that Russia still poses a threat to their national security. Fortunately, many Europeans see through the ruse and know that the trouble originates in Washington.

For the most part, Americans are still in the dark about what really happened last weekend. There's a great video circulating on the Internet by a Russian citizen that has been living in USA for the last 10 years. He sums up the role of the US media with great precision. He says, "The western media--especially CNN--is feeding you complete horsexxxx. Russia did not invade Georgia first." The youtube can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c26Q-qxDEA

The coverage of the western media has been abysmal. Nearly every article and TV news segment begins with accusations of Russian aggression concealing the fact that the Georgian Army bombarded and invaded the capital of South Ossetia one full day before the first Russian even tank crossed the border. By the time the Russians arrived, the city was already in a shambles and thousands were dead.

These facts are not in dispute by those who followed the developments as they took place. Now the media is revising the facts to manage public perceptions, just as they did with the fictional WMD in Iraq. Many people think that the media learned its lesson after they were exposed for using bogus information in the lead up to the war in Iraq. But that is not true. The corporate media--especially FOX News, CNN and PBS (the smug, liberal-sounding channel)---continue to operate like the propaganda arm of the Pentagon. Its disgraceful.

In a 2006 referendum, 99% of South Ossetians said they supported independence from Georgia. The voter turnout was 95% and the balloting was monitored by 34 international observers from the west. No one has challenged the results. The province has been under the protection of Russian and Georgian peacekeepers since 1992 and has been a de facto independent state ever since. If Putin applied the same standard as Bush did in Kosovo, he would unilaterally declare South Ossetia independent from Georgia and then thumb his nose at the UN. (Sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander) But Putin and newly-elected Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have taken a conciliatory attitude towards the international community and tried to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels. So far, they have conducted themselves with restraint and avoided any confrontation.

Still, Russia's operation in South Ossetia has ignited a firestorm in the US political establishment and Democrats and Republicans alike are demanding that Russia be "taught a lesson". Condoleeza Rice flew to Tbilisi on Friday and ordered Russian combat troops to withdraw from Georgia immediately. Saakashvili topped off Rice's comments by saying that the Russian troops were "cold-blooded killers" and "barbarians". So much for reconciliation.

Saakashvili's hyperbolic rhetoric was followed by a surprise announcement from Poland that they had approved Bush's plans for deploying the Missile Defense Shield in Eastern Europe. The system is supposed to defend Europe from the possibility of attacks from so-called "rogue states" like Iran, but the Kremlin knows that it is intended to neutralize their nuclear arsenal. Political analyst William Engdahl explains the importance of the proposed system in his recent article, "Missile Defense: Washington and Poland just moved the World closer to War":

"The signing now insures an escalation of tensions between Russia and NATO and a new Cold War arms race in full force. It is important for readers to understand...the ability of one of two opposing sides to put anti-missile missiles to within 90 miles of the territory of the other in even a primitive first-generation anti-missile missile array gives that side virtual victory in a nuclear balance of power and forces the other to consider unconditional surrender or to pre-emptively react by launching its nuclear strike before 2012."

The new "shield" will be integrated into the larger US nuclear weapons system placing the world's most lethal weapons just a few hundred miles from Russia's capital. It is a clear threat to Russia's national security and it must be opposed at all cost. It is no different than nuclear weapons in Cuba. The timing of the announcement is particularly troubling as it only adds to the tensions between the two superpowers.

President Medvedev made this statement after hearing of Poland's decision: "This decision clearly demonstrates everything we have said recently. The deployment of new anti-missile forces in Europe is aimed at the Russian Federation."

It was President Ronald Reagan, the darling of the neoconservatives, who decided to remove short-range nuclear weapons from the European theater. Now, ironically, it is his ideological heir, George W. Bush, who is on track to restart the Cold War by putting a high-tech nuclear system on Russia's perimeter. The younger Bush has already broken his father's commitment to Mikail Gorbachev to never expand NATO beyond Germany. Presently, Bush is pushing to gain NATO membership for two former-Soviet states; Ukraine and Georgia. If they are approved, then any future dispute with Russia will pit the United States and Europe against Moscow. It's no wonder Putin is trying to derail the process.

The Bush administration has been planning for a confrontation with Russia for more than a year. In fact, Raw Story reported on operations that were conducted by the military on July 14, 2008 which were probably a dress rehearsal for the current conflict. According to Raw Story:

"US troops on Monday (July 14) began military exercises near the Russian border in ex-Soviet Ukraine and were poised to launch them in Georgia, amid tense relations between Moscow and Washington. A ceremony inaugurating the Sea Breeze-2008 NATO exercise was held off Ukraine's Black Sea coast against anti-NATO protests and a hostile reaction from officials in Russia. Sea Breeze-2008...includes forces from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Macedonia and Turkey...'The US-Georgia joint exercises will be held at the Vaziani military base' less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Russian border with a total of 1,650 servicemen taking part."

So, it appears the Bush administration, working in conjunction with the Pentagon, did have contingency plans for dealing with a flare-up with Georgia. The real question is whether or not they planned to initiate those hostilities to advance their own regional agenda? No one knows for sure.

Now that Georgia's American-trained army has been humiliated in front of the world, Bush is trying desperately to save face by demanding that Russia allow the US Air force to deliver humanitarian aid via C-17 military aircraft to the tens of thousands of Georgians who were displaced in the fighting. It is worth noting that, as yet, Bush has never delivered as much as a bag of rice to the 2 million Iraqi refugees living in Jordan and Syria due to his war in Iraq. Bush's magnanimity is not only suspect, it also creates real problems for Putin who will have to decide whether the offer is sincere or just a ploy to open up the ports and airfields so that more weaponry and ordnance can be delivered. As Barry Grey suggests in his article "Bush Dispatches US Military forces to Georgia" the humanitarian operation could be a scam:

"This is a formula for an injection of US military and naval forces into Georgia of indeterminate scope and duration. It will certainly involve the presence of hundreds if not thousands of uniformed US military personnel on the ground, and a substantial number of warships in the region. The US is introducing this military force into a situation that remains highly unstable and combustible, raising the possibility of a direct military clash between the United States and Russia."

Grey is right, but what choice does Putin have? His task is to avoid a military confrontation with the United States while demonstrating to his Europeon partners that their future lies with Russia not America. That's the real goal. To achieve that, he needs to expose Bush as reckless, petulant, and incapable of being a responsible steward of the global system. Maybe Putin will have to back-down at some point and swallow his pride; it makes no difference. What matters, is the endgame; showing that Russia is strong and dependable and will provide its European allies with oil and natural gas in a businesslike manner. That's the winning hand. Meanwhile, the United States will be forced to take a long-overdue look in the mirror and revisit its strategy for perennial war. Unfortunately, once the Atlantic Alliance is shattered; America's lifeline to the world is kaput.

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If their intent was to boost McCain at Obama's expense it didn't work, it has had no noticeable effect on the poll numbers

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/20...-225.html#polls

Obama's slim lead is misleading state by state polls show him way out front in the electoral college

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/ma...bama_vs_mccain/

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If their intent was to boost McCain at Obama's expense it didn't work, it has had no noticeable effect on the poll numbers

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/20...-225.html#polls

Give 'em time, Len, give 'em time. Long way to go to polling day yet. Plenty of opportunity for a false flag atrocity or two!

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If their intent was to boost McCain at Obama's expense it didn't work, it has had no noticeable effect on the poll numbers

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/20...-225.html#polls

Give 'em time, Len, give 'em time. Long way to go to polling day yet. Plenty of opportunity for a false flag atrocity or two!

Does Obama care? We know the circle of establishment Democrat exterminatory imperialists - Holbrooke et al - welcome the prospect of a renewed conflict with the Russians. But what does the great mainstream liberal hope think? Will we ever find out? And does Obama's view matter?

What is almost as interesting is why The Nation, that home of establishment left-gatekeeping, is running a piece such as this:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Tom-Hayde...080823-382.html

August 23, 2008 at 00:26:07

Tom Hayden Warns Netroots to "Recognize the Georgia Conspiracy"

by Randy Abel

Progressive activist and former California Senator Tom Hayden’s recent article in The Nation, Warning to Obama on the New Cold War, argues that “the same Republican neocons who fabricated the reasons for going to war in Iraq are back, and now they have been paid to trigger a new cold war with Russia that benefits John McCain.” Pointing out the lamentable fact that we won’t hear such forthright warnings from Sen. Obama “or anyone in the Democratic hierarchy,” Hayden emphatically cautions that “[t]hese are dangerous, expensive unwinnable games being played with American lives to benefit Republican politicians and their oil company friends.”

Haden’s piece provides an excellent overview of the “short-term essentials of the situation,” along with detailed background information regarding McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, who “was a registered foreign agent for Saakashlivi's government from at least 2004, when Saakashvili came to power.” Scheunemann, having also represented BP America’s oil interests in the Caucasus region, has been at the center of “serious tensions within Republican circles,” according to Hayden, and has as recently as 2006 accused Condoleezza Rice (with her Chevron ties) of appeasing Russia over Georgia. “Now it appears that the Shuenemann-McCain faction has succeeded in pulling the United States into an unwinnable military situation,” Hayden contends, “which is overflowing with political dividends for McCain and the Republicans.”

In terms of progressive actions for combatting what Hayden characterizes as the “conspiracy fact” of the Neo(con)-cold war, he offers that the first step should be for “millions of people to re-educate themselves in the history and perils of the [old] cold war,” and advises persuasion-oriented unity on the activist front:

The initial goal of the principled rank-and-file peace movement should be to devise a persuasive message against the reckless adventurism of the resurgent McCain/neoconservative crusade and bombard the "realist" foreign policy school, from think tanks to editorial boards to senior members of Congress, with questions that widen the current climate of debate.

Hayden’s most imperative recommendation is that those supporting Obama “should step up their criticism of his hawkish mimicry of McCain, and consider lessening their support--though still voting for him--unless he distinguishes himself from McCain on the immediate crisis.”

The pressing need for sending such a signal to the presumptive candidate was made all the more urgent during the past week, when Sen. Joe Biden, “rumored to be very high on Sen. Barack Obama’s list of running mates,” met with the president and prime minister of Georgia. According to Politico, Biden made the trip in the interest of “further burnishing his foreign policy credentials ahead of Obama’s decision.”

Claiming to have seen no evidence supporting Russian assertions “that the Georgian military was engaged in a ‘genocide’ in the region of South Ossetia,” Biden promised $1 billion to "help the people of Georgia to rebuild their country and preserve its democratic institutions." He also used the occasion of his journey as an opportunity to engage in his own “hawkish mimicry” of McCain’s bellicose rhetoric toward the former Soviet Union.

“Russia’s actions in Georgia will have consequences,” Biden warned, as if to illustrate one of the most salient points of Tom Haden’s “Warning to Obama on the New Cold War”:

Because they are still mired in what Obama himself calls "old thinking," the Democratic hierarchy and the mainstream media will have to be challenged by the faithful and clear-headed rank-and-file and the blogosphere to recognize the Georgia Conspiracy.

Tom Hayden is spot-on with this article’s warnings and wise counsul, and I for one plan to take up his challenge. Like Joe Biden , I’m “convinced that Russia's invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant event [sic] to occur in Europe since the end of communism.” But the veep hopeful’s oversimplification of the issues and his tough-guy terminology leave me all the more inspired by Hayden’s recognition of the fact that “the peace movement and netroots will have to lead the battle against this attempt to reward the very people who brought us Iraq with another.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080901/hayden2

Warning to Obama on the New Cold War

By Tom Hayden

August 21, 2008

Barack Obama and the Democrats are heading towards trouble in November because of a new cold war with the Russians triggered largely by a top John McCain adviser and the same neoconservative clique who fabricated evidence to lobby for the Iraq war.

This is not a conspiracy theory but a conspiracy fact, stated as boldly as possible before it is too late.

Because they are still mired in what Obama himself calls "old thinking," the Democratic hierarchy and the mainstream media will have to be challenged by the faithful and clear-headed rank-and-file and the blogosphere to recognize the Georgia Conspiracy.

Here are the short-term essentials:

• After border skirmishes similar to the 1964 Tonkin Gulf affair, on August 8, Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili invaded the autonomous breakaway region of South Ossetia with his US-trained army. The Russians responded with massive force, quickly routing Saakashvili's forces.

• McCain has traveled to Georgia, nominated his close friend Saakashlivi for a Nobel Prize in 2005, and was the first American leader to blast Russia last April, when Vladimir Putin issued a sharp warning against NATO membership for Georgia and the Ukraine, supported by the United States.

• The Bush Administration was divided along familiar lines, with the foreign policy "realists" around Condoleezza Rice opposite the pro-Georgia hawks centered in Dick Cheney's office and allied with McCain--enthusiasts for spreading "democracy" from Iraq to the Russian border. The Cheney/neoconservative side prevailed, as they did with Chalabi in Iraq.

• Randy Scheunemann, McCain's foreign policy adviser, was a registered foreign agent for Saakashlivi's government from at least 2004, when Saakashvili came to power, until May 15, 2008, when he technically severed his ties to Orion Strategies, his lobbying firm. At that point, Orion had earned at least $800,000 in lobbying fees from Georgia.

• Saakashvili, with Scheuneman advising him, campaigned on a platform of taking back South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

•Schuenemann was Georgia's lobbyist when Saakashvili sent troops to retake two separatist enclaves, Ajaria in 2004 and the upper Kodori Gorge in Abhkazia in 2006, over strong Russian objections.

• Saakashvili tarnished his democratic credentials by sending club-wielding riot police against unarmed demonstrators protesting his abrupt purging of the police, civil servants and universities in 2007, a replay of Paul Bremer's decision to privatize Iraq in 2003.

Until now Scheunemann has been less visible but no less important than any of the top neoconservatives who drove America into Iraq and now are lobbying for a new cold war and a McCain presidency.

He was the full-time executive director of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. He helped draft the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which authorized $98 million for the "Iraq lobby" led by Ahmad Chalabi, which disseminated bogus intelligence in the lead-up to war. He also worked for Donald Rumsfeld as a consultant on Iraq. He joined the board of the Project for the New American Century.

Scheunemann traveled with McCain to Georgia in 2006. Seeking to repeat his 1998 Iraq jackpot, he lobbied for an unsuccessful measure co-sponsored by McCain that year, the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act, which would have sent $10 million to Georgia.

He claims to have invented the phrase "rogue state rollback" for a 1999 McCain speech, an echo of the right-wing cold war strategy of rolling back the Soviet Union. He has been a paid lobbyist or consultant for such presumed beneficiaries of "rollback" as Latvia, Macedonia and Romania, as well as Georgia. Not to miss another opportunity, his firm has represented the Caspian Alliance, a consortium of oil and gas producers in the region.

It is unclear at this writing what links Scheunemann, as Georgia's lobbyist, may had to the Western oil interests who in 2005 built the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline through Georgia, a project intentionally designed to bypass Russia and implement what a recent New York Times report described as an "American strategy to put a wedge between Russia and the Central American countries that had been Soviet republics." The BTC consortium includes BP, Chevron, Conoco and the state of Azerbejian. As conceived, according to Ha'aretz, the system also would attempt to link eventually with Israel's pipeline system as well. Using the justification of pipeline protection, US Special Forces in 2005 reportedly trained 2,000 Georgian troops in anti-terrorism techniques. Scheunemann has been a lobbyist for BP America; Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, of course, has longstanding ties with Chevron, which even named a super-tanker after her.

But as evidence of the serious tensions within Republican circles, Schuenemann attacked Rice for appeasement of Russia over Georgia as recently as 2006. Now it appears that the Shuenemann-McCain faction has succeeded in pulling the United States into an unwinnable military situation, which is overflowing with political dividends for McCain and the Republicans.

In a nutshell, here is what should be said: the same Republican neocons who fabricated the reasons for going to war in Iraq are back, and now they have been paid to trigger a new cold war with Russia that benefits John McCain. These are dangerous, expensive unwinnable games being played with American lives to benefit Republican politicians and their oil company friends.

These are not words you are going to hear from Barack Obama or anyone in the Democratic hierarchy. Looking back, they agree that the Iraq invasion was a colossal misjudgment. Privately, most of them feel that Georgia's adventurism provoked the current conflict. But politically, they are pledged to be positioned as tough against terrorism and communism, tougher than the Republicans.

This should be a red line for peace movement supporters of Barack Obama. We can live to fight another time on his proposals on Afghanistan and Pakistan. We can learn to set aside his espousals of sending more troops into those quagmires down the road. After all, we cannot play into McCain's game plan, not with the Supreme Court at stake and a stronger-than-Obama Democratic majority poised to take over Congress. But this new cold war is now heating up by the day, and Obama is likely to be its first political victim. It is even possible that McCain, alerted to the danger, will propose a "diplomatic solution"--after he has squeezed as much benefit out of the cold war revival that he can, to be resumed after he becomes President and tries to incorporate the Ukraine into NATO.

Until a leading Democrat summons the courage and vision, the peace movement and netroots will have to lead the battle against this attempt to reward the very people who brought us Iraq with another lease on power.

First, it will be necessary for millions of people to re-educate themselves in the history and perils of the cold war. Fortunately, we don't have to repeat the communism/anti-communism debates that divided America and defeated Democrats for decades. The question is as old as 1917 or 1945: can and should the US attempt to strangle Russia through reckless pro-Western privatization schemes, combined with installing military bases--now including Patriot missiles--on its western and southern borders? And the question is as old as 1967: why was John McCain bombing Vietnam in the belief that it was a pawn of the Soviet Union? Why did our government and a majority of Americans fall for the same misleading pretext for that war?

The Republicans and neoconservatives should be asked this puzzling question: whatever happened to your triumphal claim that Ronald Reagan won the cold war by destroying the "evil empire"? Evidently they were seeking nothing more than Russia's natural resources and complete subjugation by NATO. There was no limit to what their superpower mentality thought possible.

Among those who caused this current debacle were also the Democratic Party's humanitarian hawks, who promoted the NATO military intervention in the Balkans with the dream of creating an independent Kosovo in Russia's historic sphere of influence. That war would have been a disaster if the United States (under Clinton) had sent ground troops. But Russia pulled back its support of Belgrade after three months of US bombing. That was perceived as a sign of Russia's weakness and the birth of a new unipolar world. Then came the giddy enlistment of former Soviet-bloc countries in NATO--the "new Europe," as Rumsfeld hailed them. The Russians were clear in warning that they could recognize places like South Ossetia if the West could carve out Kosovo, but the superpower was deafened by the delirium of success. It was to be the new American century, a resumption of the march to the free-market millennium first announced on the Time cover at the beginning of the cold war.

The initial goal of the principled rank-and-file peace movement should be to devise a persuasive message against the reckless adventurism of the resurgent McCain/neoconservative crusade and bombard the "realist" foreign policy school, from think tanks to editorial boards to senior members of Congress, with questions that widen the current climate of debate.

If Obama had a paid lobbyist for a foreign country on his Senate staff, what would the Republican outcry be?

If John McCain is above the special interest lobbies, why is he harboring Scheunemann? Is it enough to go off the Georgia payroll and over to the McCain campaign payroll during a regional war you helped set off?

Is Scheunemann as reckless as Saakashvili and McCain, in his own way? Besides his work for the Iraq lobby and the Georgia government, Scheunemann was the lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and the Sporting Arms and Ammunitions Manufacturers, and just nutty enough to be arrested for possession of an unregistered shotgun in the US Capitol--after a duck-hunting trip, of course.

Obama supporters should step up their criticism of his hawkish mimicry of McCain, and consider lessening their support--though still voting for him--unless he distinguishes himself from McCain on the immediate crisis.

At the very least, Obama can stop going out of his way to celebrate McCain as a great American war hero, which only reinforces McCain's strongest rationale for victory. And Obama's surrogates might delicately suggest that McCain shoots before he thinks. McCain was the pointman pushing the neoconservative war against "Islamo-fascism," centered in Baghdad, months before the Bush Administration revealed its intentions. While Obama urged caution about a "dumb war," McCain was supporting Ahmad Chalabi's misleading assertions about weapons of mass destruction and Iraq-Al Qaeda ties that didn't exist.

The broad peace movement has to awaken a burning memory from below. Everyone recalls George Bush declaring "Mission Accomplished," but does anyone recall John McCain standing on another aircraft carrier on January 2, 2002, yelling to young Navy pilots like himself during Vietnam, "Next up, Baghdad!"

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