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South Ossetia, manipulation: Images of war, war of images

Thursday 28 August 2008

A few days after these pictures had been analyzed by the Russian blog Russia Inside Out and the Serbian blog Byzantine blog as fake ones, staged by the photographer David Mdzinarishvili, some of them have been simply removed from the website of Reuters. Here the deconstruction made by Byzantine blog

This photo was first published by the Reuters as an image of a "dead woman being carried from the town of Gori". But this "dead woman", incredibly, is clutching the nurse’s arm.

This man exhibiting rage and grief happens to sit in the exact same place where the earlier picture was taken: the same pile of garbage is behind his back and scraps of metal from the picture of a "dead" woman being ’rescued’ are lying around like in the earlier photo — plus some, additional, unidentified scraps of metal. What are these supposed to represent?


The same men (both alive than dead) that you saw in the photo above are part of different characters in other photos of the same David Mdzinarishvili.

These two additional photos from the same photographer, showing a pair of elderly who mourn for their son died, the mounting evidence of the photographer whose objective is obvious: win prizes for photos of the war in South Ossetia in August 2008. There is evidence that the body had been moved by framing needs of women and the image has been instructed to take photogenic poses.

The caption Reuters gave to this photo is "Georgians stand next to the body of their son in the town of Gori". The woman is looking up towards the sky from where, presumably, death had stricken "her son".

But for the purposes of this photo the body of the "son" has been obviously moved quite a bit away from the curb. This was clearly not done in order to cover up the naked parts of the dead man’s body, nor to allow some measure of dignity to the dead. Was it done for the light? (One should challenge Reuters to find a mother — any mother — who would allow the body of her child to be dragged through dirt half naked like this, while she is taking instructions from a photographer where to stand, where to look and what to do next).

Forum posts

  • Yeah, I saw this a few days after Russia responded. Boy, thos Israeli and US military advisers sure ran out the back door fast once th Bear arrived, didn’t they?

    Yeah, this whole propaganda charade has been exposed. Georgia was WRONG and Russia was RIGHT.

  • Western manipulation of this issue by the media has been obvious from the beginning.

  • Georgians Did Not Start the War: The Russians Did! And the Russians Did it Because Russia is Very Sick Today With Xenophobia and Nostalgia for the Soviet Empire!

    Since beginning of August 2008, the Russian “Peacekeepers” together with Ossetian illegal militia have been ethnically cleansing Georgian villages and killing innocent civilians! Just think about this…

    Many experts and diplomats wondered whether the Russian government is sick with xenophobia and with the nostalgia of "good, old Soviet Union" is trying to revive the forgotten empire. Or maybe they are just playing a very stupid game that will have extremely severe consequences to the future of Russia and its citizens.

    It is not a new fact that the people from Caucasus republics are constantly being discriminated in Russia, are targets of Russian neo-Nazi groups and live second class citizens lives. The Russian government never tried to understand the mentality, culture and social norms of the people from the Caucasus region. Throughout history the Russian empire or the Soviets or Putin’s regime have been applying one rule to the Caucasus region in order to maintain control over it: divide and conquer! Putin successfully fueled ethnic tensions between various Caucasus nationalities, so they all had to look up to the Russians for help and the roots of this policy date back to Tsar’s Russian Empire, when the Russians were only able to take control over Caucasus with the help of Caucasus nations, primarily the Georgians. The Georgians thought they were doing a favor and Tsar would leave them alone to govern their own lives, but the Georgians were wrong.

    After the collapse of Soviet Union the Russian government successfully fueled ethnic tensions between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, Georgians and Ossetians, Georgians and Abkhazians, Ingushis and Ossetians, etc… This was the only strategy and the only game the Russian rulers played by: fuel hatred, divide the territories, resettle and arm the people so there will be no peace until the Russian soldier places his foot in the region. And of course, the Russian army is known for their outstanding performance in "peacekeeping" missions that have carried out, being involved in genocide, ethnic cleansing (Georgians in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Chechen civilians), rape, murder, torture and the list goes on. At the end it seems that the Russian "peacekeeping mission" is not that peaceful at all.

    It is evident that the Russian political system always been in shape of a Pyramid, where all the political and economic control spheres of country is divided between a leader (Czar, or Secretary General or Prime Minister) at the top, who has a direct control and right hand support of secret service at one angle and military at the other. This is the heart of the Russian political life and everything else develops around it. With a strong propaganda machine, complete control over Russian citizens is assured, as well as "democratic" elections where one candidate always receives the vast majority (if not all) of the votes and there never seems to be opposition to the candidate. And what about the President Medvedev? He is just another toy in Putin’s closet…

    Putin decided to send a strong signal to the world and wished to overthrow the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, but he failed. He strongly believes that the fate of the Georgian people depends on his wishes and is determine to shape the borders of another sovereign country. This move directly threatens the World Order established after World War II. The current World Order is not perfect, but so far, with its deficiencies it is working.

    After the brief war with Georgia, the Russian government tried to justify its move by saying that the Georgians started the war. Here is the first lie! The Georgian government has been saying since beginning of August 2008 that the situation in South Ossetia is escalating and the Russian "peacekeepers" are staging provocations together with illegal armed forces of South Ossetian separatist regime. They started killing Georgian police officers and firing artillery shells at the Georgian villages located in South Ossetia, but the world was preoccupied with getting ready for the opening ceremony of Beijing 2008 Olympics.

    When the Georgian government officials told the Europeans in Brussels that we were at the brink of war, the Europeans politely warned the Georgians not to use the word "war" in the city of Brussels, because they do not like the word "war." It seems that old Europe is getting older each day and with the age, because numerous warnings and cries by the Georgian officials fell on the deaf ears of old Europe. Never mind the fact that it took Hitler conquering Poland and Czechoslovakia, before the Western Europe realized this was a war.

    And what about the Americans? The American society is in the midst of elections, the Democrats want to see Europe take more responsibility for security in Caucasus region, the Republicans are divided and worried about gay marriage and abortion rights… The friends of Georgia in new Europe are trying everything to force the old Europe take harsher approach towards Russia, but Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.
    Giving up on a young democracy does not seem plausible for the Europeans, but the old Europe is scared of the new Russian bear. The new Russia is controlled by a xenophobic psychopath who has decided to break all the rules of the game, in order to change those rules. And the question comes: how can you stop a bully? Everyone can keep condemning the Russian government, but that paper will wind up in Putin’s toilet again… The only way to stop a bully is bully up against the bully – simple rule of life.

    With the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Russian government has proven the world that they will violate international laws whenever they feel like it and they will use aggression in the name of peace as they did in Prague 1968. If the world would not stand up for Georgia, who will be the next prey of the hungry Russian bear? Maybe Ukraine? Or Moldova? Or who knows… The Russian government is as unpredictable as the weather in England…

    The Georgian people are united and stand united, we have survived the onslaught by Mongols, Persians, Arabs, Turk-Seljuks throughout the history and we have still survived and we are not scared of the Russian bear either.

    Just last question to Mr. Putin. Mr. Putin, if you are so concerned about the freedom of small minorities, why not recognize the independence of Chechnya? Then Daghestan? Then Ingushetia? And then all the other autonomous republics where the citizens do not even speak Russian? Think about that at first and then lets discuss the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, after 300,000 Georgian refugees return to their own homes.
    And to my fellow Abkhazian and South Ossetian brothers and sisters. Yes, there will be dancing and celebration in Sokhumi and Tskinvali. Yes, you will be smiling and waving flags - Georgian flags of course….

  • This is fairly typical of the so called mainstream, or rather the massmedia’s deception and manipulation in the West. Also typical the quiet, unapologetic removal of their staged propaganda, when and if the spinmasters get red-handed, like in this instance.

    There it is folks. It is the intellectual equivalent of ’mixed fodder’, beamed into Mr. John Q. Average and his family’s home for prime-time newshour viewing.

  • I will wish these ’clever guys’, who discovered ’fabrications’ in the pictures to get the same situation as soon as possible in their home streets, towns, willages, countries. Only after that they will realize how ’fabricated’ the pictures of bombed Gori was!