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NGOs afraid to spy2011-07-22 14:40
One of the largest NGOs in Georgia, Human Rights Center, having evidently decided to be in advance of events, has stated that human rights defenders would soon become the main heroes of the spy scandals. Head of the Center Ucha Nanuashvili said that he has been spied upon since March and representatives of other public organizations are talking about total wiretap.
The scared social activists decided to risk it all and tell about being spied upon without waiting for black Toyotas to come at night. A special press-conference was held yesterday for this purpose; it was attained by representatives of several non-governmental organizations. As was stated at the conference, surveillance was organized by Georgian MIA, with dozens of cars following those of NGO members day and night. The cars are different but they've got the same registration numbers. It is unclear whether the police have got the same license plates for different cars or whether they've got only one for all of them. To be more persuasive, Ucha Nanuashvili, the leader of the Human Rights Center, showed the pictures of those cars.
Yesterday's conference was visited not only by journalists but by diplomats as well, and it was not in vain. The point is that according to the employees of non-governmental organizations, the events have acquired a bad turn lately. Ministry of Internal Affairs has drawn correct conclusions from the situation with the photographers. The public opinion was obviously not ready for an unexpected detention of the journalists. No one approved of the government's position - neither the Georgians, nor the diplomatic corps, nor international organizations. Accordingly, MIA has lost the minds war so far.
In order to prevent such situations from reoccurring, the Ministry is taking preventive measures on the eve of the new detentions. Now it is the turn of NGO activists - those, who do not seem to support the government.
Top public officers personally convince the representatives of foreign administrations that the Georgian public organizations are working for the Russian Intelligence Service. Their logic goes as follows: social activists are subject to the Russian special services that "ask" these NGOs to influence the diplomats' position in this or that issue. In this intricate way, Russia ensures its influence upon Sakartvelo.
The purpose of disseminating these rumours throughout the diplomatic corps is clear. In two weeks or in a month, when another lot of "spies" is arrested, it won't damage the country's image like it was in case with the "photographers affair".
Head of the Human Rights Center NGO Ucha Nanuashvili says that the detention of the press photographers is not a single shot of the special services. MIA has invented a multi-step combination with the revelation of a "spy network" that will comprise everyone whose freedom is undesirable for the Georgian authorities at the next elections.
Not all of the non-governmental organizations are sure that they are spied on but yesterday's press conference was attended by those who are worried about their employees' safety.
They are sure that the telephone conversations are tapped and they expect various surprises from the special services.
NGOs have turned to the authorities with a straight question: why they are being watched and what they are suspected of. Naturally, no answer has been given so far.