Geronimo : What if Osama Bin Laden was killed prior to 9/11?

Part 49: TBGB's Part 3

Part XLIX

TBGB’s, Part 3


Tony Blair has nominated long-time ally Peter Mandelson to Britain’s newest cabinet post as head of the department for entering the Eurozone. Saying he was “the top man for the job”. To handle to transition

The move represents an astonishing comeback for Mr Mandelson who has twice resigned from the cabinet under controversial circumstances and is being seen as a reward for his successful role in the Yes campaign.

-Mandelson gets Euro cabinet post, 23 April 2004


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(Left) PM Blair promotes (Right) Mandelson


In the new Civil Partnership Bill, gay couples are to receive the same legal rights as married couples. Official estimates show there are up to 500,000 couples who would sign up for the new partnerships.

The term "gay marriage" is not used in the Bill, but the Civil Partnership Registration Scheme seems to have been designed to be as close to a marriage contract as possible.

-Gay couples to receive joint rights, 31 April 2004




Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has admitted that voters have given Labour a kicking in a possible backlash to recent policies including the Euro referendum, the University top-up fees battle and fox hunting. Labour lost nearly 300 council seats to the Tories and the Lib Dems.

However, the night wasn’t a total loss as Ken Livingston won re-election as London’s mayor, a high-profile race that could have been a catastrophic loss for the government.

Conservative leader Michael Howard has celebrated the results as evidence that the Conservatives are gaining momentum, and Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats said it was proof the country was adapting to 3-party politics.

-Labour suffers a kicking, 5 May 2004




Both the Labour and Tory leaders are holding talks today reassuring their rank and file, concerning their worst results to date in the European elections.

A wave of support turned out for the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party which won 15 seats and the ‘fascist’ extreme-right British National Party which won 2 seats. Both parties doubled their take of the vote from their 1999 performance at the expense of the major parties.

The vote is being taken as a reaction to the UK’s coming transition to the Euro, Robert Killroy Silk the former TV host turned UKIP MEP specifically said he was setting out to “take back British independence, to expose European corruption and fraud and save our country”.

The BNP leader Nick Griffin celebrated a ‘Great victory’ to the mourning of the other party leaders who have described him as ‘sickening’ a ‘racist thug’ and an ‘openly bigoted Nazi, whose close colleagues include convicted rapists’

-UKIP and BNP surge in EU elections, 11 June 2004


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(Left) UKIP leader Silk (Right) BNP leader Griffin


Tony Blair has scraped home with 11 votes on his controversial plans to introduce higher university fees. After weeks of intense campaigning by rebels, the Prime Minister was able to reach a majority in his tightest victory yet as Prime Minister. It amounted to the largest government rebellion in decades.

The plan to allow universities to charge up to £3,000 a year has been controversial and opposed by student groups but Downing Street has defended the reforms as necessary to “ensure universities get the necessary resources.”

-Blair wins key Tuition Fee top up vote, 27 July 2004




Tony Blair has offered his sympathies to Russian President Vladimir Putin and pledged the UK’s support in the wake of the horrific passenger plane attacks in Moscow.

Downing Street said the President thanked the prime minister for the offer via a video call. The Prime Minister in a statement described the attacks as “acts of evil, beyond our worst visions”.

-Blair extends sympathy to Russia, 4 September 2004




The landscape of British policies has again been shaken today by the PM announcing that he will definitely fight the coming general election and he intends to serve a full third term, through to 2009.

There have been years of speculation regarding Mr Blair's (already the longest-serving Labour PM) possible succession and if this announcement hoped to quell such pondering it has failed.

Chancellor Gordon Brown is seen by many as the Prime Minister in waiting and it isn’t yet certain if today’s announcement was made with his prior knowledge possibly furthering the rift between them. Differences between the two regarding key policies have consistently stalked Blair's premiership.

-Blair: I will serve a third term, 20 September 2004




British forces stationed in the Indian ocean have launched cruise missiles at Afghanistan as part of the attacks against terrorist bases and the Taliban military supporting the United States and Russia.

The government has confirmed that multiple British submarines have joined the allied response and No10 has confirmed that aircraft carriers would be used in the coming days.

Mr Blair paid tribute to the UK armed forces, saying he knew they were "amongst the very best in the world".

-Britain joins ‘anti-terror coalition’ in Afghanistan strikes, 9 October 2004


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(Left) Blair meets Russian President Putin (Right) Royal Navy deployed to the Indian Ocean


Parliament has ended 700 years of foxhunting in England and Wales, after months of legal manoeuvres, pro-hunt demonstrations, and House of Lords opposition, the speaker asserted his authority in pushing the act through. The Government had been hoping for a compromise fearing the ban would unleash countryside resentment.

-Fox Hunting ban forced through Commons, 18 November 2004




The Islamic fundamentalist group that is based in Britain al-Mihajiroun (the emigres in Arabic) has announced its intention to recruit followers to go to Afghanistan to fight in support of the Taliban, and has indicated support for attacks on British political and military institutions as part of a “Jihad against Britain and the greater west” The spokesman encouraged young Muslims to ‘inspire with their sacrifice’ and said they ‘would not shed a tear for the collapse of the British state’

The group is known to have organized recent protests following Blair’s support for air strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The group’s leader Omar Bakri Muhammad is seen holding strong links with other terror groups having released the infamous terrorist leader Osama Bin Ladens final declarations.

-Islamic extremists endorse ‘Jihad against Britain’ 20, November 2004




The election season began last night when the Prime Minister addressed the Labour Party allies in a speech. Setting out his plans for a “progressive third term” and listing his ten commitments.

He promised the party he would deliver what no other Labour leader had, a third term in government. Enthused by rapturous applause, he spoke of the new ‘global Britain’ and pledged to bring “international criminals, thugs and terrorists to justice”.

-‘Up for more’ promises Blair, 3 January 2005




Following a contentious leadership bid to oust incumbent party leader Roger Knappman, Silk has won the support of 2/3rds of UKIP's membership. The campaign began after Silk claimed responsibility for the party’s recent success in the European elections. Known for his outrageous statements that his supporters brand ‘straight talk’ Silk has pledged to turn the party into an ‘electoral fighting force’ in the upcoming general election and will compete against all parties, including Eurosceptic conservatives.

-Robert Kilroy Silk to lead UKIP party, 3 February 2005




More signs of division between the chancellor and prime minister were evident in Mr Brown's speech last night. While Mr Brown steered well clear of any direct criticism of his boss, he sought to put the economy, his department, front and centre of the upcoming electoral campaign and didn’t deign to utter the word ‘New’ before Labour.

-Best when we are Labour, says Brown, 30 February 2005




Michael Howard the Conservative party leader made a call to disaffected Labour and Lib Dem voters to back the Conservatives. He urged those who felt let down to “come and join, the Conservative party offers value for money … we are the only party that will wage war on crime” And criticized the government for not providing “good local schools for children, or good clean hospitals for you parents”. He laid out his vision of a smaller state and pledged that his government unlike Blairs would remain honest and uphold British values.

-‘Come and join us’ urges Howard, 4 March 2005




The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles have finally become husband and wife – more than 30 years after their romance began. More than 20,000 people cheered as they arrived at Windsor Guildhall for their small private civil wedding.

-Charles and Camilla’s wedding day, 9 April 2005




Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has said their party is shifting from the party of protest to a ‘party of power’. Buoyed by polls that position the party in its best position in decades. Kennedy criticised the main parties as too similar and said the electorate needed the “clear breath of fresh air that we are offering”. Kennedy also noted that only his party had the ability to govern, insisting the others were “rife with division and backstabbing”.

-‘We’re on the move’ says Kennedy, 10 April 2005

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(Left to right) Main party leaders Blair, Howard, Kennedy and Silk


With only a few days left Tony Blair has said that the Conservative Party would ‘gut public services and undo the progress we’ve made’. Mr Howard said the predictions were ‘totally false’ and said that voters should “not trust Blair because of his consistent lies while campaigning” and that voters are tired of the “spinning and smirking”.

Charles Kennedy has reached out to wavering Labour voters to “show the government that it must be accountable to the public”. A YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph has suggested Labour has 38% support, the Tories 33% and the Liberal Democrats 20%.

All major party leaders have been touring marginal seats in their final manoeuvres of the campaign.

-Leaders final pitch to voters, 2 May 2005




Tony Blair has won a historic third term in Government for the Labour party, though with a shrunken majority. Mr Blair has pledged to “plough onward” with his agenda responding to the BBC prediction, which sees his majority government cut from 167 seats in 2001 to 120 seats today.

The Conservatives mounted a stronger challenge, but their overall share of the vote is very similar to 2001.

The Lib Dems made decent inroads and look set to win 57 seats, their largest yet.

Blair seemed enthused saying the results made it clear that “the British people support our reforms and the direction we’re taking the country” but that it was important the party return “back to basics”.

The party was able to hold onto its winning voting location though, a decrease in turnout in marginal constituencies is seen to have cost the party seats.

The Conservatives have regained ground but largely in nominally safe Tory areas though they knabbed back a few seats they lost in 1997.

The Lib Dems fought on two fronts attempting to win over centre-ground Tory and Labour voters taking on unpopular Labour policies like the rise in tuition fees and local taxes while pledging not to raise taxes. Its attempt to ‘decapitate’ the Tory leadership has won the party the seats of the Shadow Education Secretary Tim Collins and Shadow Chancellor Oliver Letwin both embarrassing losses for the Tories.

The UK Independence Party failed to win a seat far from its triumph in the European elections and many of its candidates failed to get enough votes to keep their deposits. However, its leader Robert Kilroy Silk has claimed a victory of sorts, “Our vote exceeded predictions we have nearly tripled our support, we have given the British people the opportunity to stand up to liberal fascism”.

The British National Party gained 1.4% of the vote becoming the 5th most voted-for party in the country, although hugely underperformed polling which expected they could win up to 4%.

-Blair secures historic third term, 6 May 2005


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2005 UK General Election Wiki Box
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Tony Blair celebrates his victory


Tory Leader Michael Howard will stand down “sooner rather than later” to allow a new leader to take over. With the party only making a few gains in the election, Howard made the decision to quickly announce he would not be leading the party into the next one. And insisted that the party must “do away with bickering and backstabbing, I will not prolong the debate about my leadership, we have achieved much over the last year, shifting the public perception of our party but it is clear there is still much to be done.”

His decision opens to door to a leadership contest, senior party leaders have speculated that the party’s rash decision to select Howard, annoyed the rank-and-file membership. Senior Blair advisor Alistair Campbell said the party was “still looking inwards, trying to reconcile its policies with its membership and not reaching out to the wider electorate, in the end, they were left flat on their backs”.

-Howard to stand down, 6 May 2005




Gordon Brown has stood down from his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer the longest-serving labour chancellor in history who has served in the position since the beginning of Blair's premiership. There have been strong allegations of a growing rift between Number 10 and 11 regarding policy, some have described shouting matches and insults, and the Chancellor was reported to be ‘grumpy’ over his reduced role in the recent election on top of the Prime Minister's unilateral decision to serve another full term.

Party insiders say the decision was made by Blair to move Brown out of the treasury to reduce his grip over domestic policy, initially by offering him the foreign office position. However, Brown rejected the offer essentially forcing his resignation.

Who is replacing Brown in the treasury and other possible reshuffles is not known, though sources point to among others the Minister without portfolio and senior Blair advisor Alan Milburn…


-Brown out at Treasury amid big reshuffle, 7 May 2005

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Former Chancellor Gordon Brown
 
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Great update.

However Labour's majority in 2001 is counted as 167
(659-413= 246, then 413-246=167 (if the Labour Speaker is counted but this was how news reports counted it at the time))

So for 2005, it should be (646-383 = 263, them 383-263 = Labour majority of 120)

If there is going to be a financial crisis like 2008, without Brown in the government, it looks like it may be greater chaos which may break Blair's premiership.
 
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Great update.

However Labour's majority in 2001 is counted as 167
(659-413= 246, then 413-246=167 (if the Labour Speaker is counted but this was how news reports counted it at the time))

So for 2005, it should be (646-383 = 263, them 383-263 = Labour majority of 120)

If there is going to be a financial crisis like 2008, without Brown in the government, it looks like it may be greater chaos which may break Blair's premiership.
Updated , thanks
 
So ITTL when GTA 4 comes out does that mean the World Trade Center will be in Liberty City?

Both GTA III and GTA IV will probably have it.
I don't recall GTA III's version of Liberty City having the World Trade Center in it, even in the game's beta stages. Liberty City in GTA III is only very loosely based on New York City, with very few landmarks that resemble real life NYC's.

However for GTA IV, without 9/11 being a thing, I can definitely see that game's version of Liberty City having their version of the Twin Towers. They'd probably wouldn't serve much purpose in the game other than a possible place for players to have fun by having Niko Bellic jump off of them (similar to how player like having Niko jump off the Rotterdam Tower, which is Liberty City's version of the Empire State Building).
 
I don't recall GTA III's version of Liberty City having the World Trade Center in it, even in the game's beta stages. Liberty City in GTA III is only very loosely based on New York City, with very few landmarks that resemble real life NYC's.

However for GTA IV, without 9/11 being a thing, I can definitely see that game's version of Liberty City having their version of the Twin Towers. They'd probably wouldn't serve much purpose in the game other than a possible place for players to have fun by having Niko Bellic jump off of them (similar to how player like having Niko jump off the Rotterdam Tower, which is Liberty City's version of the Empire State Building).
According to Kotaku, there were rumours that there was supposed to be two buildings that resemble the WTC.
It's long been a subject of fan speculation as to how much Rockstar Games changed Grand Theft Auto III in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. In the decade-plus since GTA III came out, rumors have abounded: cut sequences where planes hit buildings, a supposedly removed pair of Twin Towers-style skyscrapers and the erasure of children and school buses.
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We removed only one mission that referenced terrorists and changed a few other cosmetic details – car details, a couple of [pedestrian] comments, lines of radio dialogue etc – the game came out a very short time later. The biggest change was the US packaging which remixed the previous packaging into what became our signature style – because the previous packaging [which was released as the cover of the game in Europe] was, we felt, too raw after 9/11.
Although children and school buses would have caused more uproar compared to two buildings resemble the WTC. I think this concept was later placed in Bully, another open-world game by Rockstar.

In the ATL GTA IV, I could see the WTC being placed where it is. Perhaps the writers would place a mission where Niko Bellic will walk in a thin-line just like that French person who did it in the 1970s.
 
Part 50: Vladimir
Part L

Vladimir

Since Mikael Saakashvili was swept to power off the back of a popular revolution in Georgia, he set out an ambitious agenda to reform the post-soviet economy and dense bureaucracy into a modern streamlined European democracy. The country was rife with gang violence, stagnant wages, widespread corruption, decaying infrastructure and dysfunctional public services needed to be confronted with the hammer that Saakashvili sought to wield.

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3rd President of Georgia Mikael Saakashvili

His anti-corruption crusade transformed the nation's institutions, as hangers-on of the old regime were systematically forced out; corrupt politicians, public officials and police were investigated and arrested at such crippling speeds that some civil rights groups were concerned about an overreach of power, but Saakashvili brushed aside such complaints as getting “in the way of the post-revolutionary Georgia”.

Civil servant pay was boosted to discourage bribery and a ‘state building’ campaign commenced to revamp Georgia's withered public services, combatting tax evasion, and deregulating industry to attract outside investment. There was a marketable improvement, as millions of dollars and euros began to flood into the country as entrepreneurs and speculators were keen to invest in what looked like the world’s freshest thriving democracy.

Water, electricity, hospitals, and schools received renovations at dramatic speeds, there still remained lagging problems of poverty and lingering unemployment but to many, hope had finally been restored to the country.

Of course, there were still major tensions in the nation, most prominently the unruly provinces, South Ossetia, Abkhazia (both separatist-controlled) and Adjara (de facto independent). Saakashvili made restoring Tbilisi’s control over the provinces a top priority but had so far been blocked by the consistent intervention of neighbouring Russia into the debate, which had sent tacit backing to the province’s rulers in the guise of 'peacekeepers'. While maintaining a military base in Batumi the provincial capital of Adjara.

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Map of Georgia, separatist regions in orange, Adjara in blue

Saakashvili had tried to utilize popular support to force Adjara to capitulate to the central government but the plan failed when the Adjara chairman Aslan Abashidze used loyal militia and security forces on top of supportive Russian riflemen to hold back protesters and prevent Georgian intervention.

Saakashvili and the Tbilisi government decided to wait Abashidze out, with local elections scheduled for March 2005, Saakashvili believed that he could be forced from office after a resounding electoral defeat, the government initiated a campaign to counter any potential rigging, sent aid to the government's supporters including undercover officers to the region for security and commenced a propaganda campaign to expose Abashidze corruption.

This all arrived as relations between Tbilisi, Moscow and the northern breakaway regions deteriorated. Following the 4/9 attacks in Russia and the escalating spats between the countries Georgia refused to participate in CIS security meetings and Saakashvili either did not attend (or was not invited) to the attacks memorial or the upcoming 60th great patriotic war victory parade. Additionally, clashes between Georgian forces and South Ossetia increased, while Saakashvili continued to reach out to the United States for military training and economic aid.

While the nations of the world gathered to hear the thumping bombast of the red army orchestra, Saakashvili made his journey to Adjara to celebrate the upcoming reclamation, following his parties victory (over 60% of the vote) in the local election and to witness the inauguration of a close ally into the chairman’s position, a major victory in his quest to reunite Georgia.

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(Left) the President attends Georgias 2nd World War ceremony, (Right) Saakashvili campaigning

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Georgia's President killed by grenade
By Michael Dobbs
May 13, 2005

Mikael Saakashvili, the Georgian President and the leader of the Rose Revolution that peacefully toppled the country's strongman leader Eduard Shevardnadze, was attacked and killed today by an explosive as he approached a crowd of supporters outside the regional parliament in the coastal city of Batumi.

The Georgian government has immediately declared a state of emergency, suspending all political activity in the year-old republic and has now imposed a strict media blackout to ‘prevent misinformation’. Local Police and security forces are on a massive manhunt for Saakashvili’s killer or killers setting up roadblocks and more army troops have entered the province on the back of trucks and tanks.

The President had a fierce rivalry with the region's leader Aslan Abashidze who has so far refused to acknowledge the new governments control over the region and barred most government officials from entering the territory, but as Abashidze's term of office was due to expire, Saakashvili came to promote his preferred replacement.

The Georgian Government has said that the killing resulted from a grenade being thrown at the feet of the President by a still unidentified assailant, but suspicion has fallen on pro-Abashidze militia groups or members of his loyal state security. Interior Minister Merabishvili said of the groups “they known for their militant opposition to the government [in the capital] and the President,[they are against his efforts to eliminate organized crime and unite Georgia under democracy”.

Saakashvili was a close ally of Washington and supported further integration with the European Union and NATO.

News reports in Tbilisi have reported that Georgian Military forces have entered the Adjara region to enforce an order of martial law requested by acting-president Nino Burjanadze. The murder has further eroded Georgia’s political stability and it follows the death of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania last February from carbon monoxide poisoning though some within the country are suspicious of potential foul play.

It has been just over a year since Saakashvili won his overwhelming Presidential victory, leading a pro-democratic and pro-western coalition of politicians into power, and he made powerful enemies in the process, from organized crime to separatist organizations, former communists and dissident groups within the police and army. Saakashvili survived an apparent assassination last year when several gunmen were detained by the President's supporters outside a rally.

Well-liked by western governments, including the United States, President Edwards said:
“History will remember President Saakashvili for his strong leadership in Georgia’s successful struggle to peacefully liberate itself and build a new democratic future.”





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3rd President of Georgia Mikael Saakashvili
The death of the President sparked a major political crisis and spawned a state of emergency in Georgia. Immediately, military and police forces responded as the units crossed the Adjaran border to quell potential unrest. The interior ministry put forward the demand that Abashidze immediately resigns his office, and condemn any attempt to subvert the military order. Abashidze complied, resigning his position as Georgian troops instituted martial law and strict curfews encountering no real resistance apart from the occasional disapproving scowl.

The most important group’s opinion was those of the residents of the '12th Military Base' outside Batumi. The 89th Rifle Division stayed quiet and remained on base at the time of the assassination making no manoeuvres to counter the military directive, their influence seemingly evaporating following Abashidze’s resignation.

In the days that followed the assassination, the nation mourned en masse. Despite growing numbers of detractors, Saakashvili was still enormously popular throughout the country, as the man who ended the decrepit Shevardnadze era looked upon by many as the new father of the nation. Politicians of all stripes even those of the old regime stood in mourning as the coffin clad in the cross of Saint George was carried through the street. Followed by his widow and children, flanked by his political comrades including acting President Burjanadze.

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State funeral of Mikael Saakashvili

Following his death, military forces and police detained hundreds of suspects still searching for the person responsible for the assassination, one of the detained included the now-former Adjara Chairman Abashidze, held on a dozen charges relating to abusing his power while in office. A sudden turn for the man who only weeks ago had ruled the region as a personal fiefdom, expecting to be allowed to leave the country at the end of his tenure with a hefty endowment in his back pocket.

The interior ministry additionally placed a 250,000 Iari ($130,000) reward on information leading to the assassin's capture and the minister Merabishvili gave routine televised updates on the government’s pursuit. Weeks into the manhunt, following a tip-off, in a live broadcast senior ministry officials and officers led a raid on the suspect’s home. Military units surrounded the house engaged in a gunfight and captured the suspect, one Vladimir Arutyunian, an ethnically Armenian Georgian with links to the Democratic Revival Party Abashidze’s political party, but more concerning was his manner of dress at the time of the capture, a Russian military uniform. Russia was swift to deny that Arutyunian had ever served in the Russian military and the Georgian government admitted that it wasn’t hard to get a Russian uniform in Georgia, but it still fed into the widespread belief that Russia was continually undermining Georgia's sovereignty, Artunyian himself admitted to being the assassin but refused to provide a motive.

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(Left) Interior Minister Merabishvili (Right) Saakashvili assassin Artunyian following arrest

With the immediate security crisis resolved, the country was allowed to move on to its political crisis, the need to replace Saakashvili. To fix this, an emergency election was scheduled for June, but it became clear swiftly who the next President would be when the acting-President and Speaker of the Parliament Nino Burjanadze the only surviving member of the Rose Revolution trifecta declared her intention to contest the upcoming election.

A key figure in the Georgian government for the last decade, Burjanadze was widely seen as a key figure of the revolution though with less personal popularity than the outspoken Saakashvili or Zhvania. She was the first woman to sit in the Georgian Parliament and exemplified the professional revolutionary as opposed to her public-facing more populist compatriots, possibly owing to her background as a ‘bread heiress’. She eulogized the former President “We will not let the enemies of the revolution of roses erase our achievements, nor will spilt blood intimidate us, we will not allow our country to be disintegrated” and committed to fulfilling Saakashvili’s vision “We will continue to walk the path of democracy, of unity, of stability, security … and we seek to open the door to Europe and NATO to reach out to our transatlantic friends to solve our conflicts by peaceful means.”

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(Centre) Nino Burjanadze only surviving member of the revolutionary triumvirate (Left) Saakashvili, (Right) Zhvania

The following week Burjanadze fielded a phone call with the American President Edwards where for the first time he expressed his endorsement of Georgia joining NATO a major acknowledgement of the nation’s goals. However cold water was thrown on that good news as yet another flare-up began in South Ossetia, as reports of separatists kidnapping Georgians came to her.

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2005 Georgian presidential election Wiki Box

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4th Georgian President Nino Burjanadze
 
However for GTA IV, without 9/11 being a thing, I can definitely see that game's version of Liberty City having their version of the Twin Towers. They'd probably wouldn't serve much purpose in the game other than a possible place for players to have fun by having Niko Bellic jump off of them (similar to how player like having Niko jump off the Rotterdam Tower, which is Liberty City's version of the Empire State Building).
Niko: Ahhhhhhh!
 
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