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REFERENCE CLASSIFICATION CREATED LEAKED ORIGIN
08ATHENS1396 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY 10/2/2008 14:08 Embassy Athens
 
     
  U.S. MESSAGE CLEAR AS GREECE'S ANSWER TO "60 MINUTES"  
     
  UNCLAS ATHENS 001396

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

EUR FOR GRAFFY, BRYZA; EUR/PPD FOR PEREZ, TONER; EUR/SE FOR
FITZPATRICK

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL, KPAO, SOCI, MOPS, GR, RU, GE
SUBJECT: U.S. MESSAGE CLEAR AS GREECE'S ANSWER TO "60 MINUTES"
INVESTIGATES THE GEORGIA-RUSSIA CRISIS

REF: http://folders.skai.gr/default

1. (U) Summary and Introduction: Greece's elite,
progressive SKAI TV devoted the September 29 season premiere
of its popular "60 Minutes"-style investigative show
"Neoi Fakkeloi" (The New Files, or Folders) to the
Georgia-Russia crisis, featuring an interview conducted on
location in Tbilisi with EUR DAS Matt Bryza. With its
well-chosen presentation of key U.S. positions, the
station achieved very high journalistic standards in this
broadcast, also available in streaming video and in transcript
form on its website (REF), as well as on YouTube. Next
Monday night, October 6, the series continues with
"Gazprom's Global Project." End Summary and Introduction.

2. (U) After a straightforward presentation of the events
of "Three Days in August," Bryza appears in the second of
the show's four segments. This part focuses on U.S.,
Georgian, and Russian diplomacy and is entitled
"The 'Secret' War." It explores "how close we came to
a new Cold War," says Alexis Papahelas, probably
the best-known journalist in Greece, in his introduction.
Bryza is credited as "the one who spoke to the Georgians
that night," and is shown making three key points: that
the U.S. discouraged any Georgian military response; that
Russian provocations preceded it; and that Russia failed to
achieve anything.

3. (U) Speaking for their governments along by now
established lines, Georgia's Minister for Reintegration Temuri
Yakobashvili and Russian Federation Council Deputy Vasili
Likhatchev (Vice President of the International Relations
Committee) also appear in this segment. In addition,
Moscow-based journalist Peter Lavelle, "an American who is
also the main anchor for Russia Today," at one point
exclaims that "it's absolute lunacy!" to believe that
Russia is to blame. An interview with "Saakashvili on
the New Files" follows, and the show concludes with "The
Last Greeks of the Caucasus," which focuses on the plight
of the ethnic Greek diaspora in Georgia.

4. (SBU) Comment: One of the show's three co-anchors told
us that the Russian government was slow to respond to the
station's invitation, and that the Federation Council deputy
was uncomfortable, beginning most of his answers with
"The official line is..." This preface apparently hit
the cutting room floor during the editing process, while
the Russia Today journalist's wild gesticulations were kept
in because they make for "good television
(imagery)," we were told. Still, overall, the show was
balanced and made an important contribution to getting the
U.S. message out in Greece. Post wishes to thank Embassy
Tbilisi for its assistance with this project.
SPECKHARD
 
     
 
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