On September 3, Wired magazine published on its website a story by reporter David Axe, who blogs at War Is Boring. Axe has made a few freelance trips to Iraq and calls himself a “military correspondent,” with his main claims to fame being that he (a) often writes about Iraq for Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times and the Village Voice and (b) he writes graphic novels about war. It doesn’t appear that he has any expertise in Russia at all, or any military or national security credentials. The Daily Gamecock described Axe this way in 2001: “David Axe is 23 years old, a graduate student, a movie theater manager, and an overall nice guy, but, first and foremost, he’s a writer. The Dallas native received his undergraduate degree at Furman University and went on to study medieval history at UVA for a semester before coming to USC to continue those studies. He has since switched to the master of fine arts program, pursuing a degree in creative writing.”
The story claimed that Georgia had been making military preparations to invade Ossetia before it did so, and further claimed this proved it was the aggressor in the conflict. It attempted to rebut a story published August 16 on Eurasia.net by reporter Brian Whitmore, a seasoned Russia correspondent, which explained how Russia had been gathering a massive invasion force on Georgia’s border for months before the conflict, thus “suggesting that Russia’s military action in Georgia was planned months in advance, awaiting only an appropriate pretext to act.” In a companion piece, Axe accused Georgia of waging a “propaganda war” to cover its alleged aggression.
The sole basis for Axe’s account was an email sent out by one Professor Gordon Hahn and republished by Axe on his blog. We have previously discredited Hahn over at my blog La Russophobe and exposed his persistent pro-Kremlin misinformation about Russia. In a nutshell, he has close ties to Peter Lavelle, who is employed by the Russia Today Kremlin-funded propaganda TV network and whom La Russophobe has likewise previously exposed as a shameless pro-Kremlin shill. German sources are now reporting that Russia Today has censored their Tbilisi correspondent William Dunbar’s reporting on Russian bombing of civilians in the Georgian city of Gori during the recent war, and Dunbar has resigned in protest. Its coverage of Russia’s actions in the crisis has been intensely partisan, to say the least.