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BBC HARDtalk less than hard talking in interview with Saakashvili

New Cold War | July 16, 2015

BBC’s HARDtalk program interviewed the former president of Georgia and fugitive from Georgian justice, Mikheil Saakashvili, on July 15. Saakashvili was appointed last month to the post of “governor” of the region of Odessa by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko. While some important questions were asked of him–the criminal charges he faces in Georgia, his appointment as a foreigner to govern one of Ukraine’s most important cities and industrial regions–questions on other subjects were avoided. These included questions about the Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014, the subsequent failure of authorities to properly investigate, the vigilante justice currently prevailing in the streets of Odessa and the plans of the Kyiv government to privatize the remaining state-owned industries and services of Ukraine, many of which are located in Odessa.

BBC also avoided questioning Saakashvili over his role as then-president of Georgia in provoking a war in South Ossetia in 2008, including his decision to intensely shell the capital city of the territory. (The BBC host voiced the Western interpretation that Saakashvili’s unfortunate adventure in 2008 led to “Russian occupation” of former regions of the country, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia.)

July 17, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

US to pay salaries of Governor Saakashvili’s team in Odessa, Ukraine

RT | July 6, 2015

The US government will pay the salaries to the staff of Georgia’s former President Mikhail Saakashvili, who is now serving as a new governor of Odessa Region, Ukraine, Saakashvili said, adding that California police will also train Odessa’s officers.

“Within the framework of Odessa’s anti-corruption pressure, the US government agreed to provide funds for the salaries of the new team of [Mikhail] Saakashvili,” Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page after the meeting with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US Ambassador to Ukraine.

He added that American police officers from California “will train new Odessa police.”

Pyatt has repeatedly voiced his support for Saakashvili. Earlier in July he said that Washington “fully supports Mikheil Saakashvili and his team, and we will do everything so that they can succeed.”

US authorities have recently been sending other instructors to train local forces in Ukraine. In April, paratroopers of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, arrived in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov to provide training for Ukrainian government troops. Pyatt then posted on Twitter several pictures of the US paratroopers marching through the airport in the city.

Saakashvili became governor of Odessa Region back in May. He was personally appointed by President Petro Poroshenko.

He was also given Ukrainian citizenship under Poroshenko’s personal decree, published on his website, as the Ukrainian constitution says that only a citizen can become an official at governor level.

Saakashvili left Georgia in autumn 2013, days before his presidential term expired. He has been living abroad ever since.

In spring 2014, Georgia’s new ruling coalition accused Saakashvili of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state budget. Georgia’s prosecutors have started an investigation into the case. However, Saakashvili denies the charges against him, saying the funds went towards attracting foreign investors to the country.

Apart from embezzlement, Saakashvili has several other cases ongoing against him. He is accused of abuse of power during the crackdown on anti-government protests in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on November 7, 2007. He was also allegedly involved in the attack on the opposition TV station Imedi, which was seized by Georgian special forces on the same day, and the appropriation of the founder’s assets.

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | , , , | 1 Comment

Fugitive Georgian Ex-President Appointed Governor of Odessa Region

RT | May 30, 2015

Georgia’s former President Mikhail Saakashvili, wanted by his country’s prosecutors for embezzlement, abuse of power and politically-motivated attacks, has been appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region.

President Petro Poroshenko personally appointed Saakashvili to the post, saying the former Georgian leader is “a friend of Ukraine.” In a statement at Saakashvili’s nomination in Odessa, Poroshenko said the two had known each other for 25 years, since university days.

According to Poroshenko, Saakashvili “has proven with deeds, not words that he can not only give birth to creative ideas, but also put them into practice.” He added Georgia’s ex-president had changed his country “in the direction of transparency, effectiveness, anti-corruption, appeal for foreign investors, fair justice, protection of citizen’s rights, democracy,” something Poroshenko “would like to see very much” in Odessa.

Earlier on Saturday, Saakashvili was given Ukrainian citizenship under Petro Poroshenko’s personal decree, published on his website. According to the Ukrainian constitution, only a citizen can become an official at governor level.

Mikhail Saakashvili left Georgia in autumn 2013, days before his presidential term expired. He has been living abroad ever since.

In spring 2014, Georgia’s new ruling coalition accused Saakashvili of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state budget. According to Georgian officials’ accounts, he spent the money on parties and expensive presents for his nearest and dearest. Saakshvili denies the charges, saying the funds went to attracting foreign investors to the country. Georgia’s prosecutors have started an investigation into the case.

There are several other criminal cases ongoing against Mikhail Saakashvili. He is being accused of abuse of power during the crackdown on anti-government protests in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on November 7, 2007. He was also allegedly involved in the attack on the opposition TV station Imedi, which was seized by Georgian special forces on the same day, and the appropriation of the founder’s assets.

During his term, Saakashvili personally controlled the country’s special forces. After his opponents came to power, the force was removed from the head of state’s direct command, and its documents declassified.

In February 2015, Georgia issued an extradition request for Saakashvili, but Ukraine declined it.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights representative Konstantiv Dolgov has made a sarcastic comment about Saakashvili’s new post. “Saakashvili, accused of multiple crimes against the people of Georgia, has been appointed the governor of Odessa, where neo-nazis had burned people alive and got no punishment,” Dolgov said on Twitter, referring to the May 2014 fire in which dozens opponents of the Maidan movement perished.

“This is deeply symbolic of ‘Kiev-style democracy’, which the West is still watching with shameful approval!” the Russian official added.

Saakashvili has been a long-time supporter of the current Kiev administration, ever since its heads were leaders of the Maidan movement which toppled the former Ukrainian president in the February 2014 coup. He came to Kiev to support the protesters during the rioting. Before the latest appointment, Saakashvili was Poroshenko’s advisor on reform.

In his new post, Saakashvili says he plans to turn the port city of Odessa into “the capital of the Black Sea.” In an address following his nomination, he said: “It is very important for me to start, because this is going to be a very long process,” adding, “it needs serious change… to bring many more tourists and investors to Odessa and turn it into a real world wonder.”

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | , , | Leave a comment