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Georgia's Saakashvili

by Stephen Lendman Saturday, Nov. 02, 2013 at 6:21 PM

police state

Georgia's Saakashvili

by Stephen Lendman

Wall Street Journal editors call him "Georgia's Washington." Turning truth on its head is official editorial policy. More on how they reinvented a first class thug below.

On October 27, Georgians elected Giorgi Margvelashvili president. He won decisively. He'll replace Mikheil Saakashvili.

He'll have less power. Constitutional amendments shifted it more to the prime minister and parliament.

Sunday's vote marked the end of an era. It didn't come a moment too soon. Georgians deplored Saakashvili's ruthlessness. Despotism defined his rule.

He backed David Bakradze. He finished second with less than 22% of the vote. Former parliament speaker Nino Burdzhanadze got slightly over 10%. Margvelashvili got over 62%.

In a televised speech, Saakashvili called his election a "serious deviation" from how he governed. Ordinary Georgians surely hope so.

He was a US-installed stooge. He gained power the old fashioned way. Ruthlessness defined his administration.

He maintained close ties to NATO and Israel. He spurned international laws and norms. He did so consistently. He did it with impunity.

In 2003, he led Georgia's bloodless "Rose Revolution." He replaced Eduard Shevardnadze. Without evidence, he called November elections unfair. He claimed he won.

He called for protests and civil disobedience. They began days later in Tbilisi. They spread nationwide. On November 22, they peaked. It was parliament's opening day.

His supporters placed roses in the barrels of soldiers' rifles. They seized the parliament building. They interrupted Shevardnadze's speech. He left for his safety.

Saakashvili declared a state of emergency. He mobilized troops and police. He convinced Shevadnadze to resign. A temporary head of state was installed.

Georgia's Supreme Court annulled the elections. On January 5, 2004, Saakashvili was elected president. On January 25, he was inaugurated.

On March 28, new parliamentary elections were held. Saakashvili supporters used heavy-handed tactics to win. US-backed scripting assured it.

So did generous funding from the National Endowment of Democracy, George Soros, Freedom House, and other US-allied organizations.

Posing as independent NGOs, they support Washington's imperial agenda. They deplore democratic values. They do business the old fashioned way.

They use familiar tactics. They include election rigging, organized street protests, major media agitprop, and whatever else it takes to prevail.

Neoliberal harshness followed Saakashvili's election. State enterprises were privatized. Georgia's civil service was gutted. Business-friendly tax cuts were enacted. Widespread corruption gamed the system for personal advantage.

Georgia became a ruthless police state. Rule of law principles were spurned. Heavy-handed repression targeted nonbelievers. Legitimate opposition was crushed.

Saakashvili's tenure included suspicious deaths, disappearances, mass arrests, detentions, torture, loss of civil liberties, mass media control, and allying with Washington's imperial agenda.

He partnered in Bush's Afghan and Iraq wars. In August 2008, he waged US proxy war on South Ossetia. It's Georgia's breakaway province.

He picked the wrong fight against the wrong adversary. South Ossetia has lots of Russian citizens. Moscow intervened to protect them. It did so for other strategic reasons.

It justifiably called Saakashvili's invasion flagrant aggression. It responded forcefully. Saakashvili's insurgency was crushed. CIA operatives orchestrated it covertly.

In January 2008, election rigging gave Saakashvili a second term. In May, angry Georgians demanded change. They had to wait five more years. What follows his departure remains to be seen. For now, it'll too early to tell.

Wall Street Journal editors regret Saakashvili's departure. He "made many mistakes but got the big things right," they said.

He "led the peaceful and democratic Rose Revolution in 2003. He brought energy and ideas to a small war-ravaged nation struggling to survive under Russia's heavy paw."

It's hard imagining analysis more convoluted. It's typical WSJ editorial style. Its editors had lots more to say. They claimed Saakashvili "rooted out a culture of petty corruption."

He replaced it with greater amounts writ large. He, his cronies, and corporate friends profited at the expense of millions of ordinary Georgians.

"He made it easier to start a business and make an honest buck than in any place within several time zones," said Journal editors.

Their type honesty is grand theft. They support the worst of Wall Street practices. They do abroad in countries like Georgia.

They called Saakashvili "a charismatic leader." Whatever charisma he had vanished soon after taking office.

"After a decade in power, he wore out his welcome." It was gone long before Journal editors admitted it.

He'll "leave office as Georgia's George Washington," they said. America's father would roll over in his grave hearing it.

He "nurtured a transition to democracy in a region where elected leaders too often turn into dictators," said Journal editors.

He matched some of the world's worst. Georgians wanted him gone long ago. Whether constructive change follows his departure remains to be seen.

Washington's dirty hands will try every dirty trick possible to prevent it. Journal editors will be on the sidelines cheering them.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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