Georgia using US media as a “propaganda instrument” - Russian diplomat

Moscow says Tbilisi is relying on US media for pushing its anti-Russian propaganda
Washington appears to have accepted Georgia’s account of a bombing incident last September at the US Embassy in Tbilisi, while one Russian diplomat says it is more political intrigue aimed at undermining Russia’s international reputation.

­According to The Washington Times, US intelligence agencies concluded in a classified report that “Russia’s military intelligence was responsible for a bomb blast that occurred at an exterior wall of the US Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September.”

The classified report about the Sept. 22 incident was described to The Washington Times by two US officials who were said to have read it. According to these unidentified individuals, the report echoes the findings of the Georgian Interior Ministry, which has pointed a finger of blame at a Russian military intelligence officer.

The Washington newspaper reported last week that Shota Utiashvili, director of information and analysis for the Georgian Interior Ministry, said the embassy blast was the work of a Russian military intelligence officer named Maj. Yevgeny Borisov.

Yevgeny Khorishko, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington, dismissed the Georgian charges last week. 

“All these rounds of allegations are absolutely false and baseless,” he said.

But this has not put a stop to the finger-pointing. Several US lawmakers have picked up the story and are running with it, hoping to score as many political points as possible. 

Senator John Kyl of Arizona, for example, the chamber’s Republican whip, said he sent a letter in June to the House and Senate intelligence committees asking them to investigate the incident.

“Congress should investigate through the intelligence committees what has occurred and make the findings known to Congress,” Kyl said, as quoted by the Times.

Moscow slams "propaganda wave"

"It looks like the aim of  the publication in The Washington Times is to trigger a second propaganda wave around issues that have already been  discussed with American and Georgian representatives at the beginning of this year," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Interfax.

"Considering the sensitivity of the matter and the hints suggesting that Russian special services could be involved in terrorist acts in Georgia, we  have conducted a professional investigation.  Both the American and Georgian sides have been informed of the results," he said.

Meanwhile, another Russian diplomat, who formerly worked at the Russian embassy in Tbilisi, called the accusations “outlandish, but not surprising.”

“Of course we should expect such outlandish claims from the (Georgian) government,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told RT in a telephone conversation. “But what I cannot understand is why the US government – and the media – supports these claims, which have no basis whatsoever in reality. They (US media) are simply being used as a propaganda instrument.”

The diplomat, who has since been relocated to a European embassy following the closure of the Russian embassy in Georgia in 2008, asked rhetorically who stood to gain from the detonation of an explosive device near the US Embassy.

“I can tell you for sure, Russia would gain nothing from such a (expletive) thing,” he said. “Now Georgian officials are barking about “Russian terrorism” on their territory,” the diplomat said, “which is the vilest and most unacceptable of accusations.”

On Thursday, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze accused Russia of “participating in international terrorism at the official level."

Meanwhile, observers are questioning the timing of the attack on the US embassy, which occurred just months before the US Senate was set to vote on a historic new strategic arms control treaty with Moscow, thus cementing the “reset” between the two countries. 

“What better way for Georgia to ruin relations between Moscow and Washington than to rig an explosive device to a wall at the US embassy and blame Russia,” the diplomat asked rhetorically.

The Russian diplomat said he would hope that US lawmakers – and the US media – reconsider the lack of objectivity and obvious conflict of interest when “airing Georgia’s dirty laundry in public,” he added.

In August 2008, Russian peacekeepers were caught unawares as Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against Tskhinvali, the capital city of South Ossetia. Hundreds of Ossetians were displaced by the attack, and over 100 killed. Ironically, the government of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, much like the present scandal, enjoyed 24-hour Western media exposure for the duration of the blotched military operation, while the Russian side of the story was rarely presented. 

Robert Bridge, RT