Mr. Grist, the OSCE, and South Ossetia

I read an interesting news piece in the Wall Street Journal December 19th, 2008 about Ryan Grist, former Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) operative.  Mr. Grist’s CV includes military and diplomatic missions in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as other places I’ve not personally been.  The man knows his stuff.  He is also known for speaking his mind.  He’s been chastised by the Politically Correct frequently over this.  From all I know of the man, he calls ’em like he sees ’em.

Mr. Grist was OSCE second in command on the mission in Georgia prior to the conflict in South Ossetia, August 2008. 

A very short primer on South Ossetia and the real issue at hand. 

South Ossetia speaks Russian and Ossetian.  They are ethnically, culturally, and religiously tied to Russia and to North Ossetia.  They want independence from Georgia.  Be reminded that the line drawn in the dirt between North Ossetia and South Ossetia that gave South Ossetia to Georgia was arbitrarily created without any regard to the people.  As a point of reference, this is essentially how Kosovo acquired its three northern provinces, which are tied in a similar fashion to Serbia. 

“Here, let’s draw the line between this and that.  What do you mean there’s a house in the middle?  Tear it down.  There are people involved in this?  They’ll adjust.  People always do.  This is our decision, and we’ll draw the line wherever we want it.” 

Thus the West has said in its infinite wisdom many, many times. 

Some have said South Ossetia didn’t provoke the attacks from Georgia.  In a sense they are right – not war waged on them by Georgia.  As Mr. Grist said, “…the response from Georgian authorities was disproportionate.  To react with indiscriminate shelling – there just had to be a Russian response.”  He pointed out that he warned of an escalation in South Ossetia and that monitors in certain locations were ignored.  He was angry when Ms. Hakala ordered, from the safety and comfort of her Finnish homeland, the evacuation of monitors from the OSCE building in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia after it was shelled by the Georgians.  He had been organising a wider evacuation, and she stopped it.

I want to interject here that Ms. Hakala stated that what three monitors heard near their locations (in South Ossetia) was “a bit irrelevant”.  Tell me, Ms. Hakala, what is relevant?  Only those bits that were politically acceptable to the West?

While in charge of the OSCE in Georgia, Mr. Grist questioned the viability of Georgia’s attacks on South Ossetia.  As he made known his desire to understand the truth, it became clear that his query was unwelcome – by Georgia and by his superior with the OSCE, Ms. Terhi Hakala.  She ordered him to take a vacation and leave Georgia.

Mr. Grist is like me.  If something is bothering me, I am going to investigate it.  I go with my instincts until and unless I find out for myself that my instincts are wrong.  Most of the time, they’re not.  I’m convinced Mr. Grist has operated this way always.  It is what has given him integrity over the years.  It is also what compelled him to go, without permission while he was on “vacation”, back into South Ossetia to find out what was really going on.

From the moment he tried to get fair and equitable information all the way to his permanent removal from Georgia back to the UK and his forced resignation from the OSCE, Mr. Grist’s treatment has been deplorable.  Unfortunately, this is what can be expected from an organisation steeped in Western culture and tradition.  The West is no more fair and equitable, and often less so, than other cultures.

I know.

I’ve been there.


5 Responses to “Mr. Grist, the OSCE, and South Ossetia”

  1. Maniacal Mommy Says:

    Thank you for a little more education, Maggie!

  2. Deb aka St Colette Says:

    Thanks for posting this, Maggie.

  3. Maggie, you don’t know what you are talking about Mr Grist is anything like you think he is, He is a very dangerous man

  4. To non-supporter:

    Then I am also a very dangerous person based on similar experiences in central and eastern Europe. I do know what I am talking about.

    I checked your IP. I know the location from which your wrote this, so you are less anonymous than you would like to be…and I understand your perspective.

  5. Tskhovrebova’s web of espionage is a complicated one, and we likely only see the tip of the iceberg even now. Take for instance the story of her close pal, the now disgraced Ryan Grist, a former British officer who became an observer for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe OSCE observer in Georgia. When the hostilities broke out, Grist suddenly went AWOL from his post and was allowed by Russian forces to waltz right in to the Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, where he met with Tskhovrebova at her home. Within hours, he was launching his own furious PR offensive against Georgia, blaming it for grossly disproportional response in regard to Ossetian shelling of its territory. Georgia’s secret police believe Grist, too, was KGB mole.

    It’s not unusual for foreign governments to hire PR firms to help them lie to the world. Georgia too has hired such consultants. What’s so insidious and terrifying about Russia’s actions is not that it wants to lie, but what it wants to lie about.

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