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US govt-funded Coda Story smears American journalists who undermine new Cold War propaganda

With backing from the US government’s regime-change arm, an Operation Mockingbird-style website called Coda Story is attacking American journalists who have punctured Washington’s sensationalist narratives against China.

by Ben Norton

Part 2 - Coda Story’s NATO links and mysterious office in Georgia

The US government’s National Endowment for Democracy emphasized in materials praising Coda Story that the media outlet has two offices: one in New York, typical for Western news organizations; and another in the country of Georgia, a former member of the Soviet Union that since the end of the first cold war has become a major hub for Western intelligence operations and “color revolution” coup-plotting.

Following a Western-backed 2003 regime-change operation dubbed the “Rose Revolution,” Georgia effectively became a client state of the United States, NATO, and European Union. Georgia has actively sought to become a member of NATO, and the US-led military alliance boasts on its official website that “Georgia is one of the Alliance’s closest partners.

Georgia represents a central friction point with Russia, and waged a brief war with Moscow in 2008. Some members of Georgia’s special forces who were trained by the US military to battle Russia in that conflict later went on to join the genocidal Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, including top ISIS commander Omar al-Shishani.

Mikheil Saakashvili, the strongly pro-Western president who assumed power as a result of the color revolution, had been carefully cultivated for a leadership role by US intelligence officials, and was so subservient that he was described as a “Washington pet.”

This son of this loyal US asset, Eduard Saakashvili, landed a job at Coda Story after he graduated from college in the United States.

Eduard Saakashvili worked as an associate managing editor of Coda Story from 2018 to 2019, writing about his personal experiences with “disinformation” concerning his father and Georgian politics. He also oversaw the creation of the blog’s section on “Authoritarian Tech” – by which the neoconservative website means technology largely originating from China, Russia, and their allies, not the West.

Coda Story publishes some of its articles in the Georgian language. The website also translates pieces into Russian.

Natalia Antelava, the co-founder of Coda Story, is an overtly pro-Western journalist originally from Tbilisi, Georgia. Before becoming the neoconservative site’s editor-in-chief, Antelava worked as the Caucasus correspondent for the UK government-backed BBC, and covered the 2008 Russo-Georgian War from a hardline anti-Moscow perspective.

NATO has taken notice, and has found utility in Antelava’s viewpoint. In 2018, the Coda Story editor was invited to speak at the NATO-Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum in Tbilsi.

The NATO conference featured Georgia’s prime minister and president, alongside top US government officials. It was organized by Tbilisi’s NATO and EU Information Center, along with the Georgian foreign and defense ministries.

Antelava participated in a panel titled “The Era of Post-Truth and Fake News.” Joining Antelava on the stage was Oleksiy Makukhin, the director of the Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group of the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, an anti-Russian organization funded by a long list of Western governments, including the United States, NATO, Germany, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands, along with the European Endowment for Democracy.

The other panelist sitting next to Antelava at the NATO conference was Anna Nemtsova, a correspondent for neoconservative website The Daily Beast whose willingness to propagate the most lurid narratives of the new Cold War has made her a favorite at Western confabs.

The moderator of the event was Mark Laity, a NATO spokesperson who directs strategic communications at the military alliance’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).

Like Antelava, Laity is a veteran of the UK government’s BBC, which is closely linked to British intelligence and was used by MI6 during the first cold war to spread propaganda.

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