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Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson
#46 - JRL 2008-184 - JRL Home
From: Pavel Felgenhauer <pavelf@online.ru>
Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2008
Subject: A rebuttal to Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D. [re: Anna Politkovskaya, murders of journalists, Russo-Georgian War]

From Pavel Felgenhauer Ph.D.
Defense analyst and columnist, Novaya Gazeta

I am not a party to the discussions between Gordon Hahn and Col. Hamilton. Mr. Hahn's arguments do not seem to be serious, say, like the passage from his #180 JRL contribution: "Col. Hamilton claims that in the New York Times September 16 article regarding tapes purporting to sound Ossetian and Russian soldiers around the Roki Tunnel on Aug 7 ushering Russian forces into South Ossetia, are described in the article as "credible by U.S. intelligence sources." If these are the same sources that gave us the pipes from Nigeria and Iran's abandonment of its nuclear weapons program, I would suggest that we NOT form our Russia and Georgian policies or our view of the Ossetian war based on this interpretation of these tapes."

Of course, there have been other multiple reports and interviews given by Russian solders, published in different Russian newspapers that report first-hand evidence that Russian troops began the invasion of Georgia on August 7^th and actually crossed the border before the Georgian troops attacked the Ossetian positions in the Tskhinvali region. Newsru.com published a good summery of such reports on September 11. But even if the New York Times tapes were not supported by other evidence, do "pipes from Nigeria and Iran's abandonment of its nuclear weapons program" in anyway discredit them? Did Mr. Hahn establish that the same people were involved with vetting the pipes, the program and the tapes?

Mr. Hahn stepped out of his way in his #180 JRL contribution to personally attack my murdered friend Anna Politkovskaya and the Novaya Gazeta in which she worked and I still do: "I would encourage those who can read Russian to read the Novaya Gazeta articles on the Georgian elections as well. Remember this "Russian newspaper" was Anna Politkovskaya's home, and there are many more Anna Politkovskayas at Novaya. On occasion they engage in something other than the kind of reporting that paints the worst possible picture of Russia that is so well received by people of Col. Hamilton's "mindset".....most of the time."

Anna Politkovskaya was murdered for her reporting. Novaya Gazeta is indeed a "Russian newspaper" that is not controlled by the Kremlin. This has put the journalists of Novaya Gazeta into mortal danger. I do hope that there are indeed "more Anna Politkovskayas at Novaya" and we do our best to resist censorship and political repression in Russia. We put our lives and well-being in constant jeopardy by trying to exercise free expression in a corrupt and repressive Russia. Mr. Hahn seems to be jeering cheerfully from the nice safety of his sunny California tenure, maybe awaiting that "more Anna Politkovskayas at Novaya" are murdered and the voice of independent journalism is finally squashed in Vladimir Putin's Russia.