the Disillusioned kid: The "Information War"
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The "Information War"

"Investigators" (the need for quotation marks will become obvious I hope) in Uzbekistan have completed their report on the government orchestrated massacre at Andijan in May and have presented it to a Parliamentary committee. What did they discover?:
The investigation has concluded that the acts in Andijan were a carefully planned action, organized by outside destructive forces and aimed against Uzbekistan’s independent policy and national interests, changing present constitutional order and creation of an Islamic state meeting their geopolitical demands.

The investigation has shown that starting from August 2004, the above-named destructive forces, with attraction of international terrorist and religious extremist organizations like Islamic Movement of Turkestan, Hizb-ut-Tahrir and one of its branches Akramiylar, planned organizing terrorist actions in Uzbekistan in May 2005 with the purpose of seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order.
The reference to IMT, HUT and Akramiya is strange, particularly when you look closely at the wording. Nathan suggests that these groups are not being blamed directly, but "that the official position is that unnamed 'outside destructive forces' are the prime culprits and that the Islamist organizations in question merely provided support." This is certainly one possibility, although I wonder if there is a suggestion that those groups helped to create a climate in which the Andijan "terrorist acts" (to use the article's choice of terminology) could take place.

Anyway, the allegations continue...
The scenario and the detailed plan of terrorist acts were carefully planned, including forming armed groups, their military training, provision with arms and ammunition, determining and reconnaissance of objects of attack, including military units and law-enforcement subdivisions, their arms and ammunition depots, etc.

The investigation has proven that the “screenwriters” chose the territory of southern provinces of Kyrgyzstan as a foothold for preparation to terrorist acts. There, from January to April 2005 foreign instructors taught diversion and terrorist skills to some 70 religious extremists.
The choice of the term "screenwriters" is pretty inexplicable. Are we to believe that these are the Islamic extremist groups mentioned above? Foreign governments hostile to Uzbek interests? Whoever they were, they were clearly very busy in the run up to Andijan:
In order to ensure swift seizure of power in Andijan, up to 20 attack groups consisting of 9 to 22 people each were formed. The heads of these groups carefully studied the plans of the objects of attacks, and prepared the necessary arms, ammunition and explosives beforehand.

In the night of 12 May, more than 60 trained and armed militants (Kyrgyz citizens) intruded the territory of Uzbekistan and took an active part in the terrorist acts.
As Nathan notes, the next bit's where it really starts to get interesting:
Simultaneously with the terrorist aggression, information war against Uzbekistan was being prepared. False "peaceful" demonstrations of citizens were planned in parallel with terrorist acts. For this, organizers of the acts wanted to draw as many people as possible in the streets, to create conditions and opportunities for criminal elements, mainly freed dangerous criminals, to riot in the streets of Andijan, carrying out pogroms, arsons, destructions and robbing. To put it shortly, they planned creating an unrestrained Bacchanalia on the principle of "the more fire and smoke, the more visibility of mass unrest, demonstrations of the rebelling people".

The "screenwriters" of the above-named actions planned to create the visibility of a city seized by the rebelling "angry population", against which the government troops allegedly carry out military actions, so that the omnipresent so-called "humanitarian" "charity" international organizations demanded according their plan to stop, as they say, the "massacre of the peaceful population".

The main role to cover these events was assigned to mass media controlled by them.
The claim that large scale protests are manipulated by outside influences is hardly a new one for an authoritarian regime to make.

At this point the "screenwriters" were to unleash their piece de resistance and unleash the assembled ranks of human rights activists and journalists:
With this purpose, representatives of a number of foreign human rights organizations, media and foreign charity societies, which were informed beforehand, started gathering in the territories adjacent to Andijan – Osh, Aravan, Karasu and Jalalabad – before the events, starting from 9-10 May.

Being present in this region, they were waiting for the start of the action, in order to capture the explosion in Andijan and spread the slander about the actions of the organs of authority and law-enforcement.
Nathan argues that "considering who the mass media and nongovernmental organizations in question are, it is fairly evident that this report again is pointing fingers at Western governments–the US and UK in particular one suspects–as 'destructive forces' seeking to topple the Uzbek government." I'm not entirely sure I agree (nor for that matter that I entirely disagree). You could read the report were blaming the US and UK (who, in any case, were pretty mealy-mouthed in their statements on Andijan at the time) why do so so subtly? You could read the report as an attack on the various human rights organisations who have been consistently and vociferously critical of the Karimov regime and those journalists who have had the temerity to report their concerns. Maybe they really do believe that human rights organisations control the mass media.

The logical offshoot of a claim that the Andijan uprising was backed by the US and UK: that the West would like to see Karimov replaced by an Islamic regime also doesn't make a great deal of sense. Perhaps we can simply attribute this leap of illogic to the paranoia of an increasingly embattled dictatorship which sees threats and plots everywhere.

The various allegations levelled at Kyrgyzstan are also intriguing: the foreign militants were - we are told - "Kyrgyz citizens," while "the 'screenwriters' chose the territory of southern provinces of Kyrgyzstan as a foothold for preparation to terrorist acts." As you might expect, the Kyrgyz government dismissed the claims of a terrorist base as "nothing but a lie," and it remains to be seen if the prosecutors will produce any real evidence for the claims. The allegations are perhaps a consequence of the country's decision to shelter refugees from Andijan, a decision which has already resulted in Uzbekistan making moves to cut-off vital gas supplies to its neighbour. Alternatively the fact that the current Kyrgyz government came to power on the back of the "Tulip Revolution" earlier this year may worry the Karimov regime who fear a similar uprising in Uzbekistan.

On what might appear to be the plus side, the report does reveal that members of Uzbek forces will stand trial for their participation in Andijan:
At the same time, the fact that terrorists counted on the limpness and negligence of separate employees of the police and servicemen, which allowed violation of the statutes, proved correct in a certain sense. Unfortunately, as a result of this, terrorists managed to seize a large amount of firing arms and ammunition.

For negligent attitude to execute their official duties to protect the entrusted objects and failure to show proper resistance to bandits’ attacks, criminal cases were launched against 25 officials of the interior organs and the military.
Long story short: members of Uzbekistan's armed forces are to be prosecuted because their response to the Andijan uprising wasn't severe enough.

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