EDITORIAL: On the Trail of Lira Tskhovrebova

EDITORIAL

On the Trail of Lira Tskhovrebova

Jabba the KGB Mole

Jabba the KGB Mole

On October 8th of this year an op-ed column appeared in the Christian Science Monitor with the byline Lira Tskhovrebova. The write was identified as  “the founder of the Association of South Ossetian Women for Democracy and Human Rights and has worked for more than a decade to improve relations between people of Georgian and Ossetian descent in the Caucasus.”  The column began: “I survived the Georgian war. Here’s what I saw. I blame Georgia’s leaders.”

But on Monday, the Associated Press reported that Ms Tskhovrebova’s credentials were somewhat different from what CSM represented:

A woman who traveled to the U.S. as an independent activist is at the center of a high-stakes campaign between Russia and its neighbor, Georgia. Georgia says she’s a spy. The woman (Lira Tskhovrebova) says she is the victim of a smear campaign. But U.S. officials have become wary of her – questioning who paid for her Washington tour. She challenges U.S. support for Georgia. Georgia and Russia are eager to blame the other for the August war over the disputed region of South Ossestia, and to influence the incoming administration’s policy. Georgian intelligence provided The Associated Press with secret tapes of the woman with a man the Georgians say helps lead the South-Ossetian security agency still known as the KGB. The woman says she didn’t know she was under surveillance. The KGB man appeared interested in her frequent contact with the West.

See her now.

Once again, crudely ham-handed Russian propaganda is unmasked.  So much for the idea that the facts of the Georgia campaign were on Russia’s side!  The CSM owes its readers a massive apology.

It says a lot about the state of neo-Soviet propaganda that one of the first members of Congress sought out by Tskhovrebova was one of the very craziest, the demonically insipid Ron Paul of Texas, a man with more crazy and scary skeletons in his closet than perhaps even Vladimir Putin may have.  Paul is now refusing to comment on his meeting with Tskhovrebova, according to the AP story.

And truth, no regular reader of this blog can be the least bit surprised by these revelations.  In fact, most of us are probably disturbed that it took this long to “out” the first KGB mole, wondering how many more Liras and Ivans are lurking out there, as yet undiscovered.

But that doesn’t make these revelations one bit less outrageous.  Only days ago, the Kremlin was trying to spin leaks from the OSCE investigation of the war with Georgia into some kind of “victory” for the Kremlin’s version of events.  As LR publisher Kim Zigfeld showed on Pajamas Media, that was a total sham, and now the worm has turned once again.  Russia is totally unable to defend its barbaric behavior in Georgia by normal means, so it has dispatched an army of KGB spies to sow the seeds of disinformation, exactly the same thing that the USSR tried to do.

It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.  Russia’s actions merely hold up the people of the nation to scorn and riducule from civilized countries, and prove better than any other type of evidence how utterly indefensible the Kremlin’s position really is.

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9 responses to “EDITORIAL: On the Trail of Lira Tskhovrebova

  1. Thank you for your interest in Lira Tskhovrebova’s story. Balanced and detailed coverage of this issue has appeared in the Georgian Daily and at Eurasianet. (As you will see, these are neutral articles, not arguments for our side — if you believe that we are in fact on a “side.”)

    In addition, a group of Georgian NGOs have issued an open letter supporting Tskhovrebova, and denouncing the Georgian government’s well documented practice of using spying charges to suppress dissent domestically and discredit it internationally. You can find an English version of that letter at our site truthforossetia.org.

    In the interest of accuracy and an open-minded discussion, we hope that you will take a look at all of these before making a judgment. Thanks again.

  2. World-famous Estonian composer Arvo Pärt dedicated his new, 4th symphony to Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The score can be seen freely on internet.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/tomserviceblog/2008/dec/17/arvo-part-score-online

    http://russianartnews.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c022653ef010536851b17970c-400wi

  3. Faking “impartiality”, eh? That’s for half-wits.

    I thought Ron Paul was a mere “useful idiot”.

  4. Ron Paul is a damn good Congressman. He did not leave the Republican Party, the Republicans left him when they got addicted to Big Government at home and abroad.

    And instead of dealing in the slightest way with the substance of this lady’s accusations, you smear her as a “KGB agent” even though the KGB no longer exists.

    If Russia’s position is so indefensible, why are Germany, France and Italy basically giving the U.S. the cold shoulder on attempts to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO? Why do you pretend that the OSCE report was the only piece of evidence out there undermining Saakashvili’s version of events?

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Uh-oh the Ron Paul psychopaths are crawling out of the woodwork, it was only a matter of time. Batton down the hatches, here they come boys! Anybody got a nice can of Raid?

    By the way, please stop lying. This post doesn’t call her a “KGB agent” as you claim, learn to read you illiterate hillbilly. The US government has now formally distanced itself from her, and her background has been exposed as fundamentally dishonest. Ron Paul refuses to answer questions about her, because he’s in the wrong and is a coward and a corrupt lunatic. Your attempt to change the subject to NATO is nakedly dishonest and totally lame. NATO has expressed strong support for both Georgia and Ukraine and NOBODY within it has recognized Ossetia as Russia would wish.

    With “friends” like you Russia needs no enemies.

  5. Listen Zigfeld, can you cut out the Knee-jerk crap already and sit down to have a reasoned conversation? Can you honestly defend the way you responded to Steve Nelson, calling him a hillbilly? Neither you nor I know him, seriously.

    Also, neither of us personally knows Ms. Tskhovrebova. Very few have actually taken seriously the idea that she may be a spy. But the georgian release of her recorded conversations has fulfilled its purpose in creating a stigma, one that I think is wholly undeserved. The only potential risk I see is that she might bring back information from a behind-closed-doors meeting. Ok then, don’t say anything secret behind closed doors. Problem solved. But the main thing is this: aside from personal testimonies from friends, there is nothing she has described about the assault on August 7 that hasn’t been independently confirmed.

    However, you are correct in that you don’t call her a KGB , you call her a KGB !

    Trying to reasonably argue about anything to do with Russia on this blog is like trying to argue that Theism isn’t a mental disorder on PZ Myers’ blog. That’s not a compliment.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Listen moron, do you really think that anyone would see “knee jerk crap” as an invitation to “reasoned conversation”? Your hypocrisy is truly neo-Soviet in character. You’re an unthinking ape.

    Moreover, dolt, Kim Zigeld doesn’t respond to comments on this blog, which is published by a large group of people. She’s the publisher, and has far better things to do than attempt to communicate with monkeys like you. And, frankly, so do I.

    Your unsourced childish gibberish about “few have taken seriously” is unworthy of response. The US government has formally distanced itself from her, and you have not cited a single scrap of evidence exonerating her.

    Your puny intellect explains why you just scribble meaningless comments on other people’s blogs (and your jealousy probably has something to do with it too).

    Get lost creep. Don’t like our blog? Don’t read it! Nobody invited you to the party.

  6. Sorry, the words “agent” and “mole” didn’t show up. But is true, you called her a mole, not an agent. What a world of difference.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Apparently you don’t think our critics have any obligation to quote us accurately. We disagree, and we make the rules. Pity for you, but there it is.

    Moreover, even now you don’t quote us with full accuracy. The word “mole” does not appear in the text, only in a caption to a photograph.

  7. I am still interested in a serious conversation, but I will not respond in greater detail until morning because I am tired, and I find name calling by someone I have never met (and have not called any names myself) to be highly infuriating and unnecessary.

    So, this will be about 2 things: 1. Tskhovrebova, and 2. the way you guys here respond to commenters who disagree with you. There is only one rule, which I have tried my best to follow thus far: Nobody write’s anything that he or she wouldn’t say in person.

    Who am I (as if anyone wants to know)? A college student with way too much time on his hands.

  8. Jim,
    There are countries in the world where people that are mouthpieces of the government cannot have the title of “human rights activist”. North Korea, Zimbabwe, and South Ossetia are examples of such countries. Lira Tskhovrebova leads an organization called “Association of women for democracy and human rights” that just happens to be 100 per cent in agreement with the thugs that rule that region.

    I am sure you are familiar with the term “astroturfing“. Soviet Union has a long history of astroturfing. The jokes about welders and weavers passionately supporting the ever-changing policies of Soviet government are staple of popular culture.

    Anyone reading Tskhovrebova’s passionate appeal for the release of an Ossetian from Georgian prison would recognize primitive astroturfing. Actually, in 2005 when this appeal was written, South Ossetian government didn’t even feel the need to pretend otherwise, and published it on the site of Ministry for Special Affairs of South Ossetia (yep, that’s the real name)

    Whatever her relationship with South Ossetian government: KGB agent, freelancer, or whatever else – only “useful idiots” can believe that she is independent human rights activist

  9. I know this is a bit late, but I just wanted to point out that a comment was also left over at our blog from “Truth for Ossetia” that was verbatim the same language. They just left another comment today.

    Who is leaving these comments on behalf of Lira? They refuse to identify themselves.

    Whenever you see the exact same comments posted across different blogs (especially in immaculate, measured English) that’s the clearest sign that they are using a PR agency (Kremlin $$$$$$).

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