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The Blame-Game Game

The back-and-forth blame game over Russia's August invasion of Georgia just got a little bit more interesting. "The Wall Street Journal's" Marc Champion has a story in today's edition about Ryan Grist, the former British army captain who was OSCE deputy mission chief in Georgia during the five-day war.

In November, Grist almost single-handedly changed the narrative on the war with claims, reported by "The New York Times" and elsewhere, that Georgian attacked the separatist province of South Ossetia unprovoked. Although the claims were easily debunked, they gained wide currency in the Western media.

"The Wall Street Journal" reports that Grist's "objectivity is now being questioned by Georgia and some Western diplomats in Tbilisi." Grist admitted in an interview for the article that he went across South Ossetian lines during the war without OSCE authorization and that his freelance fact-finding mission cost him his job. Grist also said that his comments on the war were misinterpreted. "I have never said there was no provocation by the South Ossetians."

The whole article is well worth a read.

-- Brian Whitmore

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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