viernes, 29 de mayo de 2009
Memoir recounts Cold War technological sabotage
In January 1982, President Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official.
Thomas C. Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time, describes the episode in "At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War," to be published next month by Ballantine Books. Reed writes that the pipeline explosion was just one example of "cold-eyed economic warfare" against the Soviet Union that the CIA carried out under Director William J. Casey during the final years of the Cold War.
At the time, the United States was attempting to block Western Europe from importing Soviet natural gas. There were also signs that the Soviets were trying to steal a wide variety of Western technology. Then, a KGB insider revealed the specific shopping list and the CIA slipped the flawed software to the Soviets in a way they would not detect it.
'Programmed to go haywire'
"In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines, and valves was programmed to go haywire, after a decent interval, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds," Reed writes.
"The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space," he recalls, adding that U.S. satellites picked up the explosion. Reed said in an interview that the blast occurred in the summer of 1982.
"While there were no physical casualties from the pipeline explosion, there was significant damage to the Soviet economy," he writes. "Its ultimate bankruptcy, not a bloody battle or nuclear exchange, is what brought the Cold War to an end. In time the Soviets came to understand that they had been stealing bogus technology, but now what were they to do? By implication, every cell of the Soviet leviathan might be infected. They had no way of knowing which equipment was sound, which was bogus. All was suspect, which was the intended endgame for the entire operation."
Reed said he obtained CIA approval to publish details about the operation. The CIA learned of the full extent of the KGB's pursuit of Western technology in an intelligence operation known as the Farewell Dossier. Portions of the operation have been disclosed earlier, including in a 1996 paper in Studies in Intelligence, a CIA journal. The paper was written by Gus W. Weiss, an expert on technology and intelligence who was instrumental in devising the plan to send the flawed materials and served with Reed on the National Security Council. Weiss died Nov. 25 at 72.
According to the Weiss article and Reed's book, the Soviet authorities in 1970 set up a new KGB section, known as Directorate T, to plumb Western research and development for badly needed technology. Directorate T's operating arm to steal the technology was known as Line X. Its spies were often sprinkled throughout Soviet delegations to the United States; on one visit to a Boeing plant, "a Soviet guest applied adhesive to his shoes to obtain metal samples," Weiss recalled in his article.
Then, at a July 1981 economic summit in Ottawa, President Francois Mitterrand of France told Reagan that French intelligence had obtained the services of an agent they dubbed "Farewell," Col. Vladimir Vetrov, a 53-year-old engineer who was assigned to evaluate the intelligence collected by Directorate T.
Vetrov, who Weiss recalled had provided his services for ideological reasons, photographed and supplied 4,000 documents on the program. The documents revealed the names of more than 200 Line X officers around the world and showed how the Soviets were carrying out a broad-based effort to steal Western technology.
'Caused a storm'
"Reagan expressed great interest in Mitterrand's sensitive revelations and was grateful for his offer to make the material available to the U.S. administration," Reed writes. The Farewell Dossier arrived at the CIA in August 1981. "It immediately caused a storm," Reed says in the book. "The files were incredibly explicit. They set forth the extent of Soviet penetration into U.S. and other Western laboratories, factories and government agencies."
"Reading the material caused my worst nightmares to come true," Weiss recalled. The documents showed the Soviets had stolen valuable data on radar, computers, machine tools and semiconductors, he wrote. "Our science was supporting their national defense."
The Farewell Dossier included a shopping list of future Soviet priorities. In January 1982, Weiss said he proposed to Casey a program to slip the Soviets technology that would work for a while, then fail. Reed said the CIA "would add 'extra ingredients' to the software and hardware on the KGB's shopping list."
"Reagan received the plan enthusiastically," Reed writes. "Casey was given a go." According to Weiss, "American industry helped in the preparation of items to be 'marketed' to Line X." Some details about the flawed technology were reported in Aviation Week and Space Technology in 1986 and in a 1995 book by Peter Schweizer, "Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy that Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union."
The sabotage of the gas pipeline has not been previously disclosed, and at the time was a closely guarded secret. When the pipeline exploded, Reed writes, the first reports caused concern in the U.S. military and at the White House. "NORAD feared a missile liftoff from a place where no rockets were known to be based," he said, referring to North American Air Defense Command. "Or perhaps it was the detonation of a small nuclear device." However, satellites did not pick up any telltale signs of a nuclear explosion.
"Before these conflicting indicators could turn into an international crisis," he added, "Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry."
The role that Reagan and the United States played in the collapse of the Soviet Union is still a matter of intense debate. Some argue that U.S. policy was the key factor -- Reagan's military buildup; the Strategic Defense Initiative, Reagan's proposed missile defense system; confronting the Soviets in regional conflicts; and rapid advances in U.S. high technology. But others say that internal Soviet factors were more important, including economic decline and President Mikhail Gorbachev's revolutionary policies of glasnost and perestroika.
Reed, who served in the National Security Council from January 1982 to June 1983, said the United States and its NATO allies later "rolled up the entire Line X collection network, both in the U.S. and overseas." Weiss said "the heart of Soviet technology collection crumbled and would not recover."
However, Vetrov's espionage was discovered by the KGB, and he was executed in 1983.
The Washington Post
By David E. Hoffman
updated 12:13 a.m. ET Feb. 27, 2004
sábado, 9 de mayo de 2009
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions
We speak with John Perkins, a former respected member of the international banking community. In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man he describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then take over their economies.
John Perkins describes himself as a former economic hit man–a highly paid professional who cheated countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars.
20 years ago Perkins began writing a book with the working title, “Conscience of an Economic Hit Men.”
Perkins writes, "The book was to be dedicated to the presidents of two countries, men who had been his clients whom I respected and thought of as kindred spirits–Jaime Roldós, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama. Both had just died in fiery crashes. Their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We Economic Hit Men failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in.
John Perkins goes on to write: “I was persuaded to stop writing that book. I started it four more times during the next twenty years. On each occasion, my decision to begin again was influenced by current world events: the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1980, the first Gulf War, Somalia, and the rise of Osama bin Laden. However, threats or bribes always convinced me to stop.”
But now Perkins has finally published his story. The book is titled Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. John Perkins joins us now in our Firehouse studios.
- John Perkins, from 1971 to 1981 he worked for the international consulting firm of Chas T. Main where he was a self-described “economic hit man.” He is the author of the new book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
JOHN PERKINS: Thank you, Amy. It’s great to be here.
AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Okay, explain this term, “economic hit man,” e.h.m., as you call it.
JOHN PERKINS: Basically what we were trained to do and what our job is to do is to build up the American empire. To bring—to create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we’ve been very successful. We’ve built the largest empire in the history of the world. It’s been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It’s only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort. This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you become one? Who did you work for?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, I was initially recruited while I was in business school back in the late sixties by the National Security Agency, the nation’s largest and least understood spy organization; but ultimately I worked for private corporations. The first real economic hit man was back in the early 1950’s, Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy, who overthrew of government of Iran, a democratically elected government, Mossadegh’s government who was Time‘s magazine person of the year; and he was so successful at doing this without any bloodshed—well, there was a little bloodshed, but no military intervention, just spending millions of dollars and replaced Mossadegh with the Shah of Iran. At that point, we understood that this idea of economic hit man was an extremely good one. We didn’t have to worry about the threat of war with Russia when we did it this way. The problem with that was that Roosevelt was a C.I.A. agent. He was a government employee. Had he been caught, we would have been in a lot of trouble. It would have been very embarrassing. So, at that point, the decision was made to use organizations like the C.I.A. and the N.S.A. to recruit potential economic hit men like me and then send us to work for private consulting companies, engineering firms, construction companies, so that if we were caught, there would be no connection with the government.
AMY GOODMAN: Okay. Explain the company you worked for.
JOHN PERKINS: Well, the company I worked for was a company named Chas. T. Main in Boston, Massachusetts. We were about 2,000 employees, and I became its chief economist. I ended up having fifty people working for me. But my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan—let’s say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador—and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies, to build the infrastructure—a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, “Look, you’re not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil.” And today we’re going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they’ve accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It’s an empire. There’s no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It’s been extremely successful.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. You say because of bribes and other reason you didn’t write this book for a long time. What do you mean? Who tried to bribe you, or who—what are the bribes you accepted?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, I accepted a half a million dollar bribe in the nineties not to write the book.
AMY GOODMAN: From?
JOHN PERKINS: From a major construction engineering company.
AMY GOODMAN: Which one?
JOHN PERKINS: Legally speaking, it wasn’t—Stoner-Webster. Legally speaking it wasn’t a bribe, it was—I was being paid as a consultant. This is all very legal. But I essentially did nothing. It was a very understood, as I explained in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, that it was—I was—it was understood when I accepted this money as a consultant to them I wouldn’t have to do much work, but I mustn’t write any books about the subject, which they were aware that I was in the process of writing this book, which at the time I called “Conscience of an Economic Hit Man.” And I have to tell you, Amy, that, you know, it’s an extraordinary story from the standpoint of—It’s almost James Bondish, truly, and I mean-–
AMY GOODMAN: Well that’s certainly how the book reads.
JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, and it was, you know? And when the National Security Agency recruited me, they put me through a day of lie detector tests. They found out all my weaknesses and immediately seduced me. They used the strongest drugs in our culture, sex, power and money, to win me over. I come from a very old New England family, Calvinist, steeped in amazingly strong moral values. I think I, you know, I’m a good person overall, and I think my story really shows how this system and these powerful drugs of sex, money and power can seduce people, because I ceSrtainly was seduced. And if I hadn’t lived this life as an economic hit man, I think I’d have a hard time believing that anybody does these things. And that’s why I wrote the book, because our country really needs to understand, if people in this nation understood what our foreign policy is really about, what foreign aid is about, how our corporations work, where our tax money goes, I know we will demand change.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins. In your book, you talk about how you helped to implement a secret scheme that funneled billions of dollars of Saudi Arabian petrol dollars back into the U.S. economy, and that further cemented the intimate relationship between the House of Saud and successive U.S. administrations. Explain.
JOHN PERKINS: Yes, it was a fascinating time. I remember well, you’re probably too young to remember, but I remember well in the early seventies how OPEC exercised this power it had, and cut back on oil supplies. We had cars lined up at gas stations. The country was afraid that it was facing another 1929-type of crash—depression; and this was unacceptable. So, they—the Treasury Department hired me and a few other economic hit men. We went to Saudi Arabia. We—
AMY GOODMAN: You’re actually called economic hit men—e.h.m.’s?
JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, it was a tongue-in-cheek term that we called ourselves. Officially, I was a chief economist. We called ourselves e.h.m.‘s. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was like, nobody will believe us if we say this, you know? And, so, we went to Saudi Arabia in the early seventies. We knew Saudi Arabia was the key to dropping our dependency, or to controlling the situation. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro-dollars back to the United States and invest them in U.S. government securities. The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire U.S. companies to build Saudi Arabia—new cities, new infrastructure—which we’ve done. And the House of Saud would agree to maintain the price of oil within acceptable limits to us, which they’ve done all of these years, and we would agree to keep the House of Saud in power as long as they did this, which we’ve done, which is one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq in the first place. And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn’t buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn’t work, they perform assassinations. or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren’t able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had—His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him. So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we’ve obviously done in Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain how Torrijos died?
JOHN PERKINS: Omar Torrijos, the President of Panama. Omar Torrijos had signed the Canal Treaty with Carter much—and, you know, it passed our congress by only one vote. It was a highly contended issue. And Torrijos then also went ahead and negotiated with the Japanese to build a sea-level canal. The Japanese wanted to finance and construct a sea-level canal in Panama. Torrijos talked to them about this which very much upset Bechtel Corporation, whose president was George Schultz and senior council was Casper Weinberger. When Carter was thrown out (and that’s an interesting story—how that actually happened), when he lost the election, and Reagan came in and Schultz came in as Secretary of State from Bechtel, and Weinberger came from Bechtel to be Secretary of Defense, they were extremely angry at Torrijos—tried to get him to renegotiate the Canal Treaty and not to talk to the Japanese. He adamantly refused. He was a very principled man. He had his problem, but he was a very principled man. He was an amazing man, Torrijos. And so, he died in a fiery airplane crash, which was connected to a tape recorder with explosives in it, which—I was there. I had been working with him. I knew that we economic hit men had failed. I knew the jackals were closing in on him, and the next thing, his plane exploded with a tape recorder with a bomb in it. There’s no question in my mind that it was C.I.A. sanctioned, and most—many Latin American investigators have come to the same conclusion. Of course, we never heard about that in our country.
AMY GOODMAN: So, where—when did your change your heart happen?
JOHN PERKINS: I felt guilty throughout the whole time, but I was seduced. The power of these drugs, sex, power, and money, was extremely strong for me. And, of course, I was doing things I was being patted on the back for. I was chief economist. I was doing things that Robert McNamara liked and so on.
AMY GOODMAN: How closely did you work with the World Bank?
JOHN PERKINS: Very, very closely with the World Bank. The World Bank provides most of the money that’s used by economic hit men, it and the I.M.F. But when 9/11 struck, I had a change of heart. I knew the story had to be told because what happened at 9/11 is a direct result of what the economic hit men are doing. And the only way that we’re going to feel secure in this country again and that we’re going to feel good about ourselves is if we use these systems we’ve put into place to create positive change around the world. I really believe we can do that. I believe the World Bank and other institutions can be turned around and do what they were originally intended to do, which is help reconstruct devastated parts of the world. Help—genuinely help poor people. There are twenty-four thousand people starving to death every day. We can change that.
AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins, I want to thank you very much for being with us. John Perkins’ book is called, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
Source: Democracy Now! Dec. 9, 2004
martes, 5 de mayo de 2009
HARDtalk: “If Fazlullah does not appear in court when summoned, he will be acting against shariat” —Sufi Muhammad, Leader of the TNSM
* Keeping weapons is allowed in Islam
* The military violated the ceasefire
* No objection to a cantonment in Swat
* Democracy is not allowed in Islam
The influential pro-Taliban cleric of Swat, Sufi Muhammad has said that the sharia law does not allow debate on the past, and therefore he will not term what his son-in-law Mullah Fazlullah did against the state of Pakistan during the last year and a half as haram or halal. In an exclusive interview with Daily Times’ Peshawar Bureau Chief Iqbal Khattak in Mingora city, the 74-year-old cleric said keeping weapons is Islamic, and that he did not demand that the Taliban surrender their weapons after a peace deal with the NWFP government. Excerpts follow:
Daily Times: You said in a 2005 interview with us that what Al Qaeda and the Taliban are doing in Pakistan is haram. Are Maulana Fazlullah’s activities over the last sixteen months also haram?
Sufi Muhammad: Yes, I said that about Al Qaeda, but not about the Taliban. Let me say...that debate on past happenings is disallowed in Islam. A hadith sharif says, what has happened in the past should not be discussed.
But how can we proceed without debating the past?
The hadith sharif says a Muslim should not discuss past happenings because he may not remember all the [details] and, therefore, he may...sin by not speaking the truth.
A majority of Swat residents do not think the peace deal recently signed between the TNSM and the NWFP government will last long.
God Almighty does everything; he builds and destroys countries.
Residents also doubt whether peace is possible in the presence of armed Taliban.
Everyone keeps weapons. People in Peshawar have weapons with them.
You support keeping weapons?
Yes, you can keep weapons with you.
Did you ask Fazlullah to surrender weapons after the sharia law deal?
Keeping weapons is halal in Islam.
President Zardari said recently that force would be used if the Taliban do not surrender weapons in Swat.
His statement is childish...immature.
With sharia law in Swat, there will be a complete ban on music and girls’ education, and people will be forced to grow beards?
There are five subjects — judiciary, politics, economics, education and the executive. The judicial subject will be with us, the rest is beyond our control.
The Taliban are kidnapping government officials and killing soldiers, yet you still hold the army responsible for ceasefire violations.
Kidnapping cases are taking place all over the world. The military violated the ceasefire.
The military says some of its soldiers were shot dead while bringing water.
No. This is not the case. The soldiers were not killed near any stream.
Are soldiers moving freely in Swat after the peace deal?
No. The military cannot move freely unless peace is restored.
After peace is restored, will the army leave Swat?
This is Pakistan’s army and Swat is within Pakistan’s borders. I will have no objection if a military cantonment is established here.
Locals say innocent people have been killed. Will the aggrieved families be able to get justice?
I have told you already: we will not discuss what has happened in the past. Sharia law does not allow this.
If a court summons a key Taliban commander, will he appear before the court?
If Caliph Umar (RA) can appear before a court, then why can’t others?
So Fazlullah will also appear in court if summoned?
If he does not...he will be acting against the sharia law.
What you did in Malakand in the 1990s and then in Afghanistan in 2001 you called ‘jihad’. Are Fazlullah’s activities over the last 16 months in Swat also jihad?
I do not want to speak on this.
What are Fazlullah’s plans after the peace deal?
He will support imposition of sharia law.
You have termed democracy ‘infidelity’. But Maulana Sami-ul Haq, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Qazi Hussain Ahmad are taking part in the democratic process.
Democracy is not permissible in sharia law. I will not name [these leaders] but they are taking part in infidelity. I will not offer prayers if one of [these leaders] is leading those prayers.
Do you intend to export
sharia law to other parts of Pakistan?
If people help me, I will. Otherwise, no. *
Source: Daily Times.pk, 05-05-2009
Georgian security forces on their way to the Mukhrovani army base near Tbilisi on Tuesday.
TBILISI, Georgia — Georgia announced Tuesday that it had put down a brief military mutiny that aimed to disrupt NATO military exercises, ratcheting up tensions a day before the exercises are scheduled to begin over Russian objections.
Georgian forces surrounded a tank battalion 25 miles outside of Tbilisi, whose leaders Georgia accused of planning the uprising. A few hours later, most of the unit’s 500 soldiers surrendered, and several of their commanders were detained.
“We are asking our northern neighbor to refrain from any provocations,” he said, in a televised interview.
Russia immediately denied any role in the unrest.
“This is not the first time we have been accused of interference without evidence,” said a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We would like to reiterate that Russia, as a matter of principle, doesn’t interfere in Georgia’s domestic affairs.”
The exchange raised the already high temperature ahead of the exercises, run by NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, which includes nonmembers. NATO has described the plan as routine and small-scale — around 1,000 soldiers will take part in field exercises — but Russia complains that, less than a year after its war with Georgia, any NATO training there are provocative.
Armenia, Serbia and Kazakhstan have said they will pull out of the exercises in solidarity with Russia. Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov notified NATO on Tuesday that Russia was pulling out of a long-anticipated NATO-Russia Council meeting scheduled for May 19 in Brussels in protest of the exercises, as well as NATO’s expulsion of two Russian diplomats on suspicion of spying.
Carmen Romero, a NATO spokeswoman, said Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer “regrets this decision” and hopes to reschedule the meeting soon.
She said the exercises would go on as scheduled.
Dmitri O. Rogozin, Russia’s envoy to NATO, warned that the exercises “may significantly affect the stability of the entire South Caucasus.”
“How can one insist on these exercises with such stubbornness and persistence?” he said, in comments aired on Russian television. “If these exercises were held at NATO’s insistence in some psychiatric hospital it would be a much more adequate decision than holding them on the territory of the Georgian state.”
Details of the Georgian mutiny emerged throughout the day on Tuesday, leaving many in the capital glued to their televisions.
Shota Utiashvili, a top official in Georgia’s Interior Ministry, said authorities learned at 6:30 a.m. that a tank battalion stationed at Mukhrovani — five miles from the site of the planned military exercises — publicly announced a mutiny. He said the unit’s 500 soldiers had sealed off the base and would not allow Ministry of Defense officials to enter.
“What happened is that battalion commanders told the soldiers that the Russians were attacking them and they had to take combat positions,” Mr. Utiashvili said. Around noon, he said, the soldiers learned from news reports that their commanders had misled them and surrendered. Authorities “didn’t know the scale of the mutiny” and were relieved to discover that it was small and isolated, he said.
In the morning, officials confidently asserted a Russian hand in the plan, but by afternoon they were more cautious. Mr. Utiashvili said it is “not exactly clear” whether the accused plotters had Russian support.
“To have a legally sound case we need more information,” he said. “This morning we had some evidence, and from that evidence one would follow that Russia was involved.”
Incriminating surveillance footage was broadcast all day on Georgian television.
In a video, which had been edited, Gia Ghvaladze, a former major in the Georgian special forces, describes plans to overthrow Mr. Saakashvili’s government on behalf of Russia. Mr. Ghvaladze says the plan was to approach Tbilisi with a column of 250 troop carriers and backup from 5,000 Russian troops, and talks about killing six of Mr. Saakashvili’s closest advisors.
Mr. Ghvaladze was arrested Monday night on charges of organizing a mutiny. By Tuesday evening, police had arrested 13 suspects, according to the Interior Ministry.
The unfolding events left much of Tbilisi spellbound — or paralyzed. Traffic thinned out on the city’s streets, and when Natia Kuprashvili, 29, tried to teach her class at Tbilisi State University, her students’ cell phones began to ring so wildly that she gave up and went in search of a television.
But in the end, she said, “it is very hard to understand what really happened here.”
Roman Apakidze, 30, concluded that a mutiny did take place, but that the government was distorting it for political purposes.
“I just don’t like the way the government is handling this information — it is real information terror against ordinary people, what they do,” he said. “It is better not to turn on the television at all.”
Olesya Vartanyan reported from Tbilisi, Georgia, and Ellen Barry from Moscow.