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US backed "regime change" in Georgia and Yugoslavia
When Edward Shevardnadze, the president of Georgia, was overthrown in a what CNN dubbed "the Roses Revolution" (on 22nd November 2003) I was in Croatia. And just before the "election" of his successor (on 4th January 2004) Mikheil Saakashvili, the American-educated lawyer who is his former Minister of Justice, I was in Serbia. The Balkans, as it turns out, are a perfect place from which to observe the developments in the Caucasus because the covert operations which are currently being deployed in Georgia have already been used with devastating effect across South-East Europe.
There can be no doubt that the change of regime in Tbilisi is the result of US secret service operations. The allegations that the elections on 2nd November were flawed was based exclusively on exit polls conducted by an American "polling agency"; the students activists from the "Kmara!" organisation are modelled on, and trained by, their US-backed opposite numbers in Serbia, Otpor. The two groups even have the same logo, presumably so as to give their sponsors some economies of scale when it comes to printing costs. <http://www.sandersresearch.com/Sanders/NewsManager/ShowNewsGen.aspx?NewsID= 522#_ftn1 > Everything down to the storming of the parliament (Tbilisi, 22nd November 2002; Belgrade 5th October 2000) and the visit of the Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, to ensure the hand-over of power, followed exactly the same carefully choreographed plan. Moreover, the identity of the choreographer is not difficult to establish: the last posting of Richard Miles, the current US ambassador in Tbilisi, was Belgrade.
While in Serbia, I came across unexpected confirmation of the extent of secret service involvement in the politics of that country. Tim Marshall, a reporter for Sky TV, has published a book in Serbia on the period 1998 - 2000, i.e. the Kosovo war and the overthrow of Miloševic. Marshall is evidently very proud of his connections with the secret services, especially the British ones, because his book, entitled Shadowplay, is a detailed account of their activities, which are presented as the key factors in the political events he describes. The value of his account is all the greater because Marshall, like all other TV reporters, supports the New World Order view that Slobodan Miloševic was evil and that Nato was right to attack Yugoslavia in 1999.
At every turn, Marshall seems to know who the main intelligence players are His account is thick with references to "an MI6 officer in Priština", "sources in Yugoslav military intelligence", "a CIA man who was helping to put together the coup", an "officer in US naval intelligence", and so on. He quotes secret surveillance reports from the Serbian secret police; he knows who the Ministry of Defence desk officer is in London who draws up the strategy for getting rid of Miloševic; he knows that the Foreign Secretary's telephone conversations are being listened to; he knows who are the Russian intelligence officers who accompany Yevgeni Primakov, the Russian prime minister, to Belgrade during the Nato bombing; he knows which rooms are bugged in the British embassy, and where the Yugoslav spies are who listen in to the diplomats' conversations; he knows that a staffer on the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee is, in fact, an officer in US naval intelligence; he seems to know that secret service decisions are often taken with the very minimal ministerial approval; he describes how the CIA physically escorted the KLA delegation from Kosovo to Paris for the pre-war talks at Rambouillet, where Nato issued Yugoslavia with an ultimatum it knew it could only reject; and he refers to "a British journalist" acting as a go-between between London and Belgrade for hugely important high-level secret negotiations, as people sought to betray one another as Miloševic's power collapsed.
Perhaps the unidentified journalist is himself. For one of the themes which inadvertently runs through his book is that there is a thin dividing line between journalists and spooks. We have observed this phenomenon in Georgia, as Western newspapers do the work of the secret services by gushing with undiluted propaganda about the "hopes" the Georgian people have in their "young" new American-installed president. <http://www.sandersresearch.com/Sanders/NewsManager/ShowNewsGen.aspx?NewsID= 522#_ftn2 > Early in the book, Marshall refers casually to "the inevitable connections between officers, journalists and politicians", saying that people in all three categories "work in the same area", and he then goes on jokingly to say that "a combination of 'spooks', 'journo's' and 'politicos', added to 'the people' " were what had caused the overthrow of Slobodan Miloševic. If Marshall pretends to cling to the myth that "the people" had any role at all, it is also he who shows beyond doubt that the Kosovo war and the subsequent overthrow of the Yugoslav president occurred only because of political strategies secretly conceived in London and Washington to get rid of him.
Above all, Marshall makes it clear that, in 1998, the US State Department and intelligence agencies decided to use the Kosovo Liberation Army to get rid of Slobodan Miloševic. He quotes one source saying, "The US agenda was clear. When the time was right they were going to use the KLA to provide the solution to the political problem" - the "problem" being, as Marshall explains earlier, Miloševic's continued political survival, as diagnosed by the spooks in Washington and London. This meant supporting the KLA's terrorist secessionism, and later fighting a war against Yugoslavia on its side. Marshall quotes Mark Kirk, a US naval intelligence officer, saying that, "Eventually we opened up a huge operation against Miloševic, both secret and open." The secret part of the operation involved not only things like staffing the various observer missions which were sent into Kosovo with officers from the British and American intelligence services, but also - crucially - giving military, technical, financial, logistical and political support to the KLA, which, as Marshall himself admits, "smuggled drugs, ran prostitution rackets and murdered civilians."
The strategy began in late 1998 when "a huge CIA mission (got) underway in Kosovo". President Miloševic had allowed something called the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission to enter Kosovo to monitor the situation in the province. This ad hoc group was immediately stuffed with British and American intelligence agents and special forces - men from the CIA, US naval intelligence, the British SAS and something called "14th intelligence", a body within the British army which operates side by side with the SAS "to provide what is known as 'deep surveillance' ". The immediate purpose of this operation was "Intelligence Preparation of Battlefield" - a modern version of what the Duke of Wellington used to do, riding up and down the battlefield to get the lie of the land before engaging the enemy. So as Marshall puts it, "Officially, the KDOM was run by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe . unofficially, the CIA ran (it) . The organisation was just packed with them . It was a CIA front." Many of the officers in fact worked for another CIA front, DynCorp, the Virginia-based company which employs mainly "members of US military elite units, or the CIA", as Marshall says. They used the KDOM, which later became the Kosovo Verification Mission, for espionage. Instead of doing the monitoring tasks assigned to them, officers would go off and use their global positioning devices to locate and identify targets which would be later bombed by Nato. Quite how the Yugoslavs could allow 2,000 highly trained secret service agents to roam around their territory is difficult to understand, especially since, as Marshall shows, they knew perfectly well what was going on.
The head of the Kosovo Verification Mission was William Walker, a former ambassador to El Salvador, whose US-supported government ran death squads. Walker was also accused during the Iran-Contra hearings of running arms to the Contras in Nicaragua in the mid 1980s. It was Walker who discovered the "massacre" at Racak in January 1999, the event which was used as a pretext for starting the process which led to the bombing which began on 24th March. There is much evidence to suggest that Racak was staged, and that the bodies found were, in fact, those of KLA fighters, not civilians as was alleged. What is certain is that Walker's role was so key that the country road in Kosovo which leads to Racak has now been renamed after him. Marshall writes that the date for the war - spring 1999 - was not only set in late December 1998, but that the date was also communicated to the KLA at the time, which is further circumstantial evidence to suggest that Racak was staged. At any rate, when the KVM was withdrawn on the eve of the Nato bombing, Marshall says that the CIA officers in it gave all their satellite phones and GPS equipment to the KLA. "The KLA were being trained by the Americans, partially equipped by them, and virtually given territory," Marshall writes - even though he, like all other reporters, helped propagate the myth of systematic Serb atrocities committed against a totally passive Albanian civilian population.
The war went ahead, of course, and Yugoslavia was ferociously bombed. But Miloševic stayed in power. So London and Washington started what Marshall calls "political warfare" to remove him. This involved giving very large sums of money, as well as technical, logistical and strategic support, and including arms, to various "democratic opposition" groups and "non-governmental organisations" in Serbia. The Americans were by then operating principally through the International Republican Institute, yet another CIA front, which had opened offices in neighbouring Hungary for the purpose of getting rid of Slobodan Miloševic. "It was agreed" at one of their meetings, Marshall explains, "that the ideological arguments of pro democracy, civil rights and a humanitarian approach would be far more forceful if accompanied, if necessary, by large bags full of money." These, and much else besides, were duly shipped into Serbia through the diplomatic bags - in many cases of apparently neutral countries like Sweden who, by not participating formally in the NATO war, were able to maintain full embassies in Belgrade. As Marshall helpfully adds, "Bags of money had been brought in for years." Indeed they had. As he earlier explains, "independent" media outlets like the Radio Station B92 (who is Marshall's own publisher) were, in fact, very largely funded by the USA. Organisations controlled by George Soros also played a crucial role, as they were later to do, in 2003-4, in Georgia. The so-called "democrats" were, in reality, nothing but foreign agents - just as the Yugoslav government stolidly maintained at the time.
Marshall explains that it was also the Americans who conceived the strategy of pushing forward one candidate, Vojislav Kostunica, to unite the opposition. Koštunica had the main advantage of being largely unknown by the general public. Marshall then describes how the strategy also involved a carefully planned coup d'état, which duly took place after the first round of the presidential elections. He shows in minute detail how the principal actors in what was presented on Western TV screens as a spontaneous uprising of "the people" were, in fact, a bunch of extremely violent and very heavily armed thugs under the command of the Mayor of the town of Cacak, Velimir Ilic. It was Ilic's 22 kilometre-long convoy carrying "weapons, paratroopers and a team of kickboxers" to the federal parliament building in Belgrade. As Marshall admits, the events of 5th October 2000 "looked more like a coup d'état" than the people's revolution of which the world's media so naively gushed at the time.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of his account is that Marshall often uses Serb nationalist arguments to attack Miloševic. The former Yugoslav president is habitually accused in the Western media of pursuing a racist policy of creating an ethnically pure Greater Serbia. Marshall does nothing to dispel this nonsense and claims that, under Miloševic, the state TV company was stuffed with "rabid dogs of nationalism". Such myths persist even in spite of the failure of the West ever to produce a single racist quote attributable to Miloševic. But on several occasions, Marshall accuses Miloševic of callously ignoring the fate of Serbs outside Serbia, such as the 200,000 or so Serbs who were ethnically cleansed from the Krajina region of Croatia in the US-backed "Operation Storm" in 1995, or the 100,000 or so Serbs who were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo by the KLA at the end of the Nato bombing. It is indeed true that there are many nationalists in Serbia who attack Miloševic for this very reason, and for not fighting enough to keep Yugoslavia together. Such extreme nationalists have been easily co-opted into the pro-Western anti-Miloševic cause. Marshall reminds us that the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Šešelj, the extreme right winger whose party won the parliamentary elections on 28th December, played a key role in getting rid of Miloševic in October 2000: as deputy prime minister, Šešelj stated publicly that he thought the presidential election had been rigged and that the West's man, Vojislav Koštunica, was the legitimate federal president of Yugoslavia. It may be because of a deep complicity with the West that Šešelj inexplicably handed himself voluntarily over to the International Criminal Trubunal in The Hague in February 2003 - an institution which, as Marshall once again makes clear, is straightforwardly controlled by the Americans.
It is in keeping with this strange alliance that, as Marshall once again reminds us, the Bosnian Serbs sided with Nato in the attack on Yugoslavia and in the overthrow of Miloševic. The Bosnian Serbs, it will be recalled, are the ones whom the West formally accuses of having carried out atrocities on a huge scale in the Bosnian war. Marshall explains that Miloševic called on the Bosnian Serbs to attack a US barracks in Bosnia during the NATO bombing, but that they refused because they thought Miloševic had betrayed them at Dayton in 1995. Later, he explains how MI6 used their major base near Banja Luka (in the Serbian part of Bosnia) to organise key parts of the coup which overthrew Miloševic on 5th October 2000. Again, such complicity could explain why the two Bosnian Serb leaders, Radovan Karadžic and General Ratko Mladic, both of whom are accused of genocide, have managed to escape capture despite seven years of military occupation by the West of Bosnia-Herzegovina. If the US needed only eight months to capture Saddam Hussein in a huge country like Iraq, how could they fail to find these two men in a small place like Bosnia, especially when the population of that country must be even easier to bribe for information than the Iraqis?
Perhaps one day, in due course, the same revelations will reach us about the recent events in Georgia. Although some of the key covert operations have already been discussed in the mainstream media, <http://www.sandersresearch.com/Sanders/NewsManager/ShowNewsGen.aspx?NewsID= 522#_ftn3 > for the most part Western newspapers and TV prefer to stick to the received version of events - a fairytale which has been punctured neither by the fact that the new Georgian president won the heroic Soviet score of 96% in the election on 4th January, nor that he started his revolution against Shevardnadze with a rally at Stalin's statue in Gori. But, after Marshall's exposé of the reality behind the almost identical events in Serbia, there can be no doubt that the US takeover of Georgia is a textbook case of covert operations at work.
 <http://www.sandersresearch.com/Sanders/NewsManager/ShowNewsGen.aspx?NewsID= 522#_ftnref1 >
"Serbian activists trained "Kmara"", by Rusudan Kbilashvili, Daily Georgian Times January 8, 2004, http://www.geotimes.ge/fullview1.php?id=4347&cat1=6 <http://www.geotimes.ge/fullview1.php?id=4347&cat1=6 >
 <http://www.sandersresearch.com/Sanders/NewsManager/ShowNewsGen.aspx?NewsID= 522#_ftnref2 >
See for instance, "Georgians pick new leader," by Julius Strauss, Daily Telegraph, 5th January 2004. Or see this in Le Monde: "The queue outside Polling Station Number 7 in Tbilisi testified to the passion for these elections and the huge hopes born in the 'revolution'. In this symbolic location . which was, in Soviet times, the Palace of Pioneers, a woman voter sighed, 'We are putting ourselves in Saakashvili's hands. He is young and honest. The people hopes so much from him!'" [Le Monde, 5th January 2004].
 <http://www.sandersresearch.com/Sanders/NewsManager/ShowNewsGen.aspx?NewsID= 522#_ftnref3 >
See, for instance, "Georgia revolt carried mark of Soros" by Mark MacKinnon, Globe and Mail (Canada) 26th November 2003
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