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May 28, 2015

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Greece Drained from Highly Skilled Highly Educated Workers

Greece has been drained from highly skilled workers and this phenomenon is starting to concern the European Union (which coincidentally sucked Greece dry of its highly educated workforce), or so reports claim. In Greece unemployment was at 25.7% in January 2015, while unemployment among young people reached 57% (that is all of those who are skilled because the unskilled all dominate the black market).

Greece has lost 25% of its GDP since the crisis began - equally to the GDP lost by Western Europe and the U.S. during World War II. The country’s "intellectual capital" continues to be a strong national asset but, according to professor Lois Lambrinidis, the number of highly skilled Greeks who have left the country since the beginning of the crisis rose to 180,000. High-skilled migration of such scale may have further implications to the Greek economy’s long term growth potential.

Germany and U.K. are the countries that mainly reap the benefits of the human capital that is fleeing the country. They account for more than 50% of the work-related immigration below the age of 35.


EU plan for relocation of 40,000 asylum seekers from Greece, Italy

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed the relocation of 16,000 asylum seekers in Greece and 24,000 in Italy to other EU member-states within two years, presenting the actions under the European Agenda for Migration.

The Commission's proposal calls for the relocation of 40,000 asylum seekers that reached Greece and Italy after April 15 2015, of which 40 percent are Syrians and Eritreans. The Commission said that the relocation will be carried out over a period of two years, while Italy and Greece must promise to improve procedures for examining asylum applications.

European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, presenting the Commission's proposals, stressed that the target was to ensure a "minimum degree of solidarity" while at the same time "securing European borders and saving lives."

(ANA-MPA)

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Switzerland begins naming names of foreigners wanted on tax probes

Switzerland has begun online publication of names of foreigners and foreign firms wanted in tax probes by their countries of origin, including Germany. American citizens are identified only by their initials.The Swiss Sunday newspaper "Sonntagszeitung" said the country was flooded with formal tracing requests from foreign tax authorities.

In response, Switzerland had resorted to listing names, birth dates and nationalities in its federal gazette, where official texts are published.

The official justification was that the publication gave those identified the chance to hire a lawyer and seek legal recourse, said the "Sonntagszeitung", referring to recent roll-backs of Swiss bank secrecy, especially under US pressure.

The Swiss federal gazette's weekly editions in May contained several dozen decrees, naming citizens of Spain, India, the Netherlands, Germany, Britain, the USA and South Korea and companies registered in Panama, the Bahamas and Spain.

Source: www.dw.de


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Provocative Comments by US Ambassador to Cyprus Spark Strong Reaction

By George Psyllides (Cyprus Mail) - The Cyprus government on Wednesday said a statement by US Ambassador John Koenig that he did not see the Cyprus problem as one of invasion and occupation was unacceptable and only served to create problems in the ongoing dialogue.
     “It disregards and fully contravenes historical events,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said. “Such statements create problems in the ongoing dialogue, and to a considerable extent, it is statements like these that for years have hindered progress in the Cyprus problem.”
Asked if the government intended to protest to the US, Christodoulides said: “the ambassador was expressing his personal positions; despite this, yes, the matter will be discussed with the American government.”

Koening made the comment during an open discussion at the University of Cyprus on Wednesday evening.

When one student brought up the issue of Turkish troops and settlers in Cyprus, Koenig said the US certainly did not support the occupation of another country, nor did it condone the practice of settling.
     “The Cyprus conflict of course began 51 years ago and in that context of course it took a huge and tragic turn in 1974, and I am not in any way justifying what happened then, but it cannot be reduced to a problem of invasion and occupation,” he said. “That is in fact to ignore your own history. But I do not regard the Cyprus problem as a problem of invasion and occupation. If you don’t like it, I can’t help it. I do not regard that as the core of the Cyprus problem.”
He then pointed out that the Greek Cypriot view was not necessarily shared by Turkish Cypriots and urged an honest inward glance as to why that might be. The ambassador was referring to the inter-communal strife that broke out on the island three years after independence.

The main clashes started in December 1963 although there had been violent incidents between the two communities even before the British gave up control of the island. The violence started after Archbishop Makarios proposed 13 amendments to the constitution, ostensibly to make it more functional following a deadlock in parliament caused by the vetoes of Turkish Cypriot legislators. There was disagreement and the Turkish Cypriots left their posts – they say they were forced out – in parliament and the government. By 1974, much of the island’s Turkish Cypriot population was living in enclaves, which started forming after 1963.

As expected, the ambassador’s statement infuriated Greek Cypriot political parties. House President Yiannakis Omirou described it as a “monument to insolence” and an “affront to American foreign policy”.

Main opposition AKEL said the statement was provocative and unacceptable.

Instead of trying to help the procedure, once more, the American ambassador makes it difficult with his misplaced statements.
     “If the Cyprus problem is not a matter of invasion and occupation, then what are Turkish troops doing on the island for more than 40 years?” spokesman Giorgos Loukaides said.
He also wondered why United Nations resolutions demanded the withdrawal of the troops.
     “We do not need Mr Koening to convince us that the Cyprus problem has its internal aspect. From there however, to the claim it is not an invasion an occupation problem, there is a huge distance,” the party spokesman added.
DIKO chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos said the ambassador made the claim because that was what the Turkish side considered.

EDEK said the government must immediately ask for the ambassador’s withdrawal.

The party said after his unacceptable and historically unfounded references, Koening was persona non grata.

Koening’s term ends this summer.

EVROKO said the statement caused grief, anger and disappointment to the Cypriot people, while the Citizens’ Alliance said he acted as an ambassador for Turkey and its expansionist designs.

The Green Party said it was not convinced Koening was expressing his personal position but rather that of the US government.


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Mistakes and Shame


Mistakes and Shame

On May 9th, we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the victory against Nazi Germany. History will remember this date as one on which what we call “the West” and which in reality is only the circle of European allies of the United States, has committed a major political mistake. In this mistake, the responsibility of President François Hollande is significant, and could have profound consequences. It’s not only a mistake, it’s a shame, and a damning one! The following article was given to HellasFrappe to publish. It was written by by Jacques Sapir (and translated by Anne-Marie de Grazia) and first featured at russeurope.hypotheses.org

Putin isolated ?

Under the pressure of the United States, a majority of European countries renounced sending a President or a Prime Minister to Moscow to attend the great parade commemorating Victory. But, and this is extremely important, China, India and numerous countries of Latin America made the trip as well as some European leaders like the Czech President or the Greek one. If we measure the demographic weight of these representatives, they make up over 50% of the World population. If one measures their economic weight, it is high, too, around 40%. To speak under these conditions of an “isolation” of Vladimir Putin is an absurdity.

But the political symbolism is even more important. The chiefs of State or chiefs of governments of the « BRICS » countries and of the countries of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation went to Moscow. The presence of the Chinese and of the Indians acquires an even greater, more particular significance. The population of China paid an extremely heavy tribute to a conflict which, for China, started not in 1939, but in 1937. In fact, it is – behind the USSR – the country which has suffered the most. The atrocities committed by the Japanese army were abominable. Indian troops fought against Germany and Italy as well as against Japan. The participation of contingents of the Chinese and Indian armies to the parade in Moscow reaches, from all evidence, beyond mere commemoration.

It was clear therefore that this 9th of May would assume particular importance. Because of the attitude of the United States, but also because of the cowardice, not to use a more injurious term, of the European leaders, this 9th of May 2015 has confirmed that the world is split in two. It has symbolized the opposition of an “old world” of the Atlantic Basin to this new world emerging around Asia which is constantly attracting new countries. One can only, in this regard, take due notice of the Chinese or Sino-Russian initiatives [1], of the Asiatic Bank of Investment in Infrastructures [2] (BAII/AIIB), all the way to the project of a Eurasian Union, which are constantly taking on importance. These initiatives could have been conceived in a frame of openness to the “old world.” It is the responsibility of the United States, but also of those who out of a herd instinct or out of fear have followed in their footsteps, to have provoked the symbolic rupture between these two worlds, which has been verified with the parade of May 9th.

The responsibility of François Hollande.

Traditionally, it is France who seeks to re-establish dialog and which strives, because it has a universalist conception of certain principles, to bring down prejudices and to reduce hostilities between blocks. General de Gaulle pronounced many speeches against the « blocks-politics, » of which the one at Phnom Penh, in 1967, remains the most famous. By deciding, in the last minute, to send Laurent Fabius, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, not only did François Hollande commit a heavy mistake, but he discredited himself durably on the international scene. Sending the Minister of Foreign Affairs clearly sends an undignified message of “neither-nor.” If one wanted to be present in Moscow, the President should have made the trip, or his Prime Minister (Manuel Valls) who, we must remember, according to the Constitution, « leads the politics of the country. » But François Hollande preferred to take in the sun in the Caribbean and Manuel Valls to engage in disgraceful polemics against Emmanuel Todd. History will remember this desertion, both physical and moral, of the two most important authorities in our country and the disgrace they inflicted not just to Russia but to France too.

But most serious is the fact that if, in the future, France should be – justifiably – troubled by this resurgence of “blocks-politics,” it will no longer have any legitimacy to speak up against it. François Mitterrand, who had a sense of History and of formula, used the expression «the little telegraph boy » to denounce the visit of Valery Giscard d’Estaing to Moscow at the beginning (1979) of the war against Afghanistan. But today, at a moment when it would have been important to be in Moscow, be it only to bear witness through his presence of the unity of the world and to enter into conversation with these leaders of the “new world,” the French President preferred to play the absentee subscriber. His absence is an abdication and a damning shame.

The consequences.

This abdication will doubtlessly have profound and durable consequences at least as long as the current political personnel will be in power. One forgets, or feigns to ignore that, within the government and the political class in Russia, Vladimir Putin is one of the most pro-Western [3]. In one sense, he took due notice of the principles of international politics which were the basis of international relations since the 1980s, at the moment when they were being increasingly abandoned by the United States and their allies.

The question of the principles and rules, which must command over international relations is at the heart of the problematic defended by Vladimir Putin since the speech he pronounced in Munich in 2007[4]. He came back to this theme several times, particularly in 2012[5]. This latter declaration is particularly important because it predates the Ukrainian crisis. One of the points broached by Putin is the following: « The recent series of armed conflicts started under the pretext of humanitarian aims is undermining the time-honoured principle of state sovereignty, creating a moral and legal void in the practice of international relations. It is often said that human rights override state sovereignty. This is undoubtedly true – crimes against humanity must be punished by the International Court. However, when state sovereignty is too easily violated in the name of this provision, when human rights are protected from abroad and on a selective basis, and when the same rights of a population are trampled underfoot in the process of such “protection,” including the most basic and sacred right – the right to one’s life – these actions cannot be considered a noble mission but rather outright demagogy. » [6] .

This question was already in the air in 2007, when Vladimir Putin had called for a clarification of the rules of International Law. Since 2003, from the American intervention in Iraq, it became obvious that a tendency to interpret rules to their sole profit was driving the policies of the United-States[7]. We know that this drift of American policy towards ever more « interventionism » has only reinforced itself.

Similarly, in 2012, he expressed the following reflections as to the will of the United States to build themselves up into an invulnerable bastion: « By definition, absolute invulnerability for one country would in theory require absolute vulnerability for all others. This is something that cannot be accepted. » [8]. We see here the responsibility of the American policies in the progressive stiffening of the Russian position. The incapacity of the United States to admit that the XXI century will not be the American century is pregnant with conflict.

Multipolarity or unipolarity of the world.

The attitude of the United States, and of the countries which follow them or which they constrain into following them is in the process of welding together an alliance of the new world against the old one. This was not the initial project of Vladimir Putin who, in his 2007 speech, was talking about a multipolar world. The reconstruction of Russia did not imply a direct confrontation with the United States [9]. Russia, for all that it sought to free international institutions from the American grasp, did not want to monopolize them for itself. [10]. At the conference of Munich in 2007, we find this declaration of Vladimir Putin : “I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world. And this is not only because if there was individual leadership in today’s – and precisely in today’s – world, then the military, political and economic resources would not suffice. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation.”

Not enough attention has been given to what Vladimir Putin said. Yet, he drove home the message again shortly after in the same speech: “We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations.” [12].

He was not alone among Russian leaders to hold such a discourse. In an article published both in the Russian press and the Financial Times the then Minister of Finances, Alexis Kudrin, declared:  « It is not difficult to understand that if one of these structures [Kudrin is referring here to the IMF as well as to the World Bank] is perceived by a significant part of the world as insuring the domination of one country or of one group of countries, it will lose its legitimacy. It will cease to be an efficient instrument »[13].

This passage shows the Russian position articulating two elements which were distinct but linked. The first is a doubt about the capacities of one country (here he clearly means the United States) to assemble all the means required in order to exert its hegemony in an efficient way. It is an argument of realism. Even the most powerful and the richest country in the world cannot insure alone the stability of the world. The American project exceeds American strength. This is an observation against which little can be said. But there is a second argument which is no less important and which is situated at the level of the principles of Law. There exist no norms on which to found unipolarity.

In his book of 2002, Evguenni Primakov, who was Prime Minister of Russia in 1998 and 1999, and who remains one of the great connoisseurs of international politics, said just that[14]. Not that the various countries are not able to define common interests, or even that there exist common values. Putin’s speech is by no means “relativistic.” He only assesses that these values (the “moral and ethical basis”) cannot be the foundation of unipolarity, because the exercise of power, political or economic, cannot be defined in terms of values but must also be defined according to interests. This is tantamount to refuting the thesis of a de-politisation of international relations which, in the mind of those who promote it, is to become reduced to Human Rights and to the “laws” of economy. If international relations are not technical (the mere operating of common norms) but political (the management of different and potentially conflicting interests) including in economic relations, then any aspiration to hegemony becomes immoral.

In praise of Gaullian politics. 

One understands then that it is important to break this new dynamic of “blocks-policy” in order to revert to the dynamics of a multipolar world, and this is what the Russian government was expecting from France. But we are forced to take act of the fact that the French government and its Prime Minister have failed on this point, as on many another. Beyond the shame and anger inspired to us by the attitude of François Hollande and of Manuel Valls, beyond the disgust we feel at the insult not only to the Russian people but to those of China and India, and to all those who have come to Moscow on May 9th, we must observe coldly that either by calculation or out of cowardice, the French leaders, by abdicating their natural role, contribute to precipitate the world into a future made of wars and conflicts. Their responsibility in having given up Gaullian politics at the moment when they were required, shows their congenital incapacity and will remain in History. It’s a mistake and – as we have known since Talleyrand – mistakes in politics are worse than crimes.

We should remember the poem The Scythians, written by Alexander Blok in 1918. His words still resound today with an eery force. Did he not write then: « Comrades! We shall be brothers!/ But if you refuse, – we have nothing to lose./ And we can be perfidious, too.  For centuries you will be cursed/By generations of sick children! /Everywhere we shall withdraw/ into the thickness of our forests. And to seductive Europe,/We shall show our Asiatic grin. »
The Scythians

You are millions. We are hordes and hordes and hordes.
Try and take us on!
Yes, Scythians – we! Yes, Asians – we!
With slanted, greedy eyes!

To you – the centuries, to us – but an hour.
We, like obedient slaves,
Held up a shield between two enemy races –
The Mongols and Europe!

For centuries and centuries your old furnace raged
And drowned out the roar of avalanches,
And Lisbon and Messina’s fall
To you was but a monstrous tale!

For hundreds of years you gazed at the East,
Storing up and melting down our jewels,
And, jeering, you merely counted the days
Until you could point at us your guns!

The time is come. Trouble beats its wings –
And every day our grudges grow,
And the day will come when every trace
Of your Paestums may vanish!

O, old world! While you still survive,
While you still suffer your sweet torture,
Come to a halt, sage as Oedipus,
Before the ancient riddle of the Sphinx!

Russia is the Sphinx. Rejoicing, grieving,
And drenched in black blood,
It gazes, gazes, gazes at you,
With hatred and with love!

It has been centuries since you’ve loved
As our blood still loves!
You have forgotten that the world holds love
To burn and to destroy!

We love everything – the fire of cold maths,
The inspiration of divine vision,
We understand everything – sharp Gallic thinking
And gloomy Teutonic genius…

We remember everything – the hell of Parisian streets,
And Venetian chills,
The distant aroma of lemon groves
And the smoke towers of Cologne…

We love the flesh – its flavor and its color,
The stifling, mortal scent of flesh…
Will you blame us, if your bones crack
Under our strong and tender paws?
 …
Come to us! Out of the horrors of war,
Come into our peaceful arms!
While there is still time – sheathe the old sword,
Comrades! We shall be brothers!

But if you will not – we have nothing to lose,
And we can be perfidious, too!
For centuries and centuries you will be cursed
By generations of sick children!

Everywhere into our woods and thickets
We shall withdraw! And to seductive Europe
We shall show our Asiatic grins…
Translators: Tatiana Tulchinsky, Andrew Wachtel, and Gwenan Wilbur

Notes

  • [1] Garibov K., « La Russie a adhéré officiellement au pool de réserves monétaires des BRICS », text posted on SPUTNIK 27 April 2015, http://fr.sputniknews.com/opinion/20150427/1015850582.html
  • [2] http://www.lefigaro.fr/conjoncture/2015/04/17/20002-20150417ARTFIG00363-cette-banque-chinoise-qui-veut-concurrencer-la-banque-mondiale.php
  • [3] See discussion between Fyodor Lyukanov and Max Fisher published on http://valdaiclub.com/usa/77200.html
  • [4] A complete and faithful translation of this speech can be found in the review La lettre Sentinel, n° 43-44, January-February 2007, pp. 24-29
  • [5] Vladimir Putin on foreign policy: Russia and the changing world, declaration published in http://valdaiclub.com/politics/39300.html
  • [6] Idem, page 2. [7] J. Sapir, “Endiguer l’isolationnisme interventionniste providentialiste américain” in La Revue Internationale et Stratégique, n°51, autumn 2003, pp. 37-44
  • [8] Vladimir Putin on foreign policy: Russia and the changing world, declaration published in http://valdaiclub.com/politics/39300.html, p.2, « By definition, absolute invulnerability for one country would in theory require absolute vulnerability for all others. This is something that cannot be accepted. »
  • [9] Sapir J., “ Russie : retour gagnant ” in La Revue pour l’intelligence du monde, n°7, March-April 2007, pp. 28-38.
  • [10] A. Kudrin, « Bretton Woods Redux », in Moscow Times, 2 October 2007 (tribune also published in The Financial Times).
  • [11] See the review La lettre Sentinel, n° 43-44, January-February 2007, pp. 25.
  • [12] La lettre Sentinel, n° 43-44, p. 25 and ssq.
  • [13] A. Kudrin, op.cit..
  • [14] E. Primakov, Le monde après le 11 septembre et la guerre en Irak, Presses de la renaissance, Paris, 2003, Mir Posle 11 sentjabrja, Mysl,., pp. 138-151.





May 22, 2015

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OPINION - No buckling – support for Syriza still rock solid

New poll shows Greek govt solidly ahead, Previous Troika negotiators dwarfed by Alexis Tsipras' popularity 

By John Ward (The Slog) - Every day another German, Dutch, French or Belgian nitwit talks of “lots more work to do”, “some progress”, “intensive talks” and alleged Greek perfidy. Even Merkel was at it today. But the truth remains that five years of austerity have left the Greeks in no mood to compromise…. as a new poll out today confirms in spades.

Earlier this week, one of the most trusted of the Hellenic pollsters, Macedonia University, carried out a large-scale voting study to check on the state of play among the Greek electorate. It represents very cold comfort indeed for Troika 2.

* Syriza is more than twice as big as any other party. It would get 36.5% of the vote, to a dwindling 15.5% for Nia Demokratia. Just so we have a parallel here, on almost exactly the same vote, the UK Conservative Party now has a clear majority. Before the EU/EC/ECB bullies lost their senses, Syriza had just 5.5% of the popular Greek vote.

* With a personal positive rating of 36%, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has a rating nearly three times that of Nia Demokratia. Seven times more Greeks are very positive about Tsipras compared to the meagre 2% who feel the same about ND leader Antonis Samaras.

* Although To Potami (‘the River’) has a mere 6% of the votes, its leader Stavros Theodorakis gets a 21% favourability rating. This is to be expected (he is a well-known TV journalist) but his popularity and pro-EU stance makes him very de rigueur with the Troikanauts in Brussels and the CIA-State Department axis that runs Washington foreign policy. (I am reliably informed by an Athens student body, however, that his real ‘raison d’etre’, as a way to ease Syriza out of total power, is something of an open secret among the educated young).

* Just 1 Greek in a hundred has a very positive view of Evangelos Venizelos. So add this to the 2% feeling very positive about the olive-stone megabrain from Kalamata, and it becomes clear just how representative of Greek aspirations the previous Troika1 negotiators were.

The rumour that those very favourable towards Venizelos include his mum, his priest, 6 chauffeurs, 4 chefs, 44 yacht crew and 73 restaurateurs has been hotly denied by PASOK’s media centre.They insisted this afternoon that a total staff of 272 constantly required suit-alteration tailors are also devoted to Big Benny, and would continue to be so.


UEFA puts end to possible soccer “Grexit” scenario

The European soccer administration UEFA apparently placed an end to scenarios of expelling the Greek soccer federation from its competitions (a so-called “soccer Grexit”), over a controversial sports bill, which aims at confronting violence in sports.

In a letter to Greece's Deputy Minister of Sports, Stavros Kontonis, General Secretary Giannis Infantino notes that “UEFA is ready to assist with respect to any further revision of the Greek sports legislation”. According to reports, Infantino offered support to the Greek Minister and suggested that representatives from FIFA and EPO participate in relevant meetings.

Commenting on the letter, Kontonis said it refutes recent talks of a Greek expulsion from international soccer and that he was pleased with this development. He also praised UEFA for offering assistance to Greek authorities on sports legislation.


May 21, 2015

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OPINION: Greek Debt Chaos - 200 negotiators diagnosed as Aplomb-Positive

By John Ward (The Slog) - Fulfilling the suspicions of many concerned observers around the world, 188 negotiators have been admitted to an exclusive Zurich clinic suffering from APLOMB – Acute Plot-Lost Overloaded Memory Banks syndrome. Jean-Claude Drunker confirmed on Thursday morning that he no longer knew whether the negotiation was about borrowing money, not wanting money, running out of money or demands for German alimony but cheers anyway, first of the day by God I needed that.

In a dramatic move on Wednesday night, Greek and EU negotiators checked themselves en masse into a private Swiss memory clinic. Sources revealed soon afterwards that all the negotiating teams were in a confused state “and decided to get help with a view to working out what the f****k is going on, who said what, and where the f****k we are as of now”. As the officials, politicians and translation staff ran to 188 people – all of whom had crossed eyes and a headache – the Zurich-based Clinic for Tangled Web Removal had to devote an entire floor to the case.

Later, a Mr Verdefookarsis commented:
     “We seem to be in disagreement about which wall we have hit and why the wall is there. I read on the Bloomberg site that the wall might fall on us as it was prefabricated in China but I couldn’t be certain.”
In turn, a Frau Mirakle from Berlin told reporters:
     “I realised I had a problem when I had to ask my Foreign Affairs minister who this person was ringing me every day from Athens speaking ropey Italian to me. When I asked who he was, the gentleman replied, “I was about to ask you the same question”.
The nuisance caller has since been identified as Alexicon Shiprat, a former unemployed politician and Hell’s Angel who has also checked into the Swiss clinic. Offered a private room, Mr Shiprat said “I’d rather be left on a filthy trolley in a draughty corridor if you don’t mind, but I’ve lost my mind somewhere so I can’t remember why.”

Locked in a high-security wing are two FinMin Eurogroupe Netherdeutsch Commission Troika prongs, Herr Wolfpack Bauble and Jeremiah Fizzlebang. Doctors engaged in their treatment have confirmed that Herr Bauble has no feeling in his legs, or his heart, while Mr Fizzlebang insists that he will defend the zip on his purse to the end, leaving the last bullet for himself.

Another patient wandering about in a catatonic state and a delightfully sequinned full length dress gave his name variously at different times as Mario Goldman, Alfonse Capone and Marion Dracula. Other patients confirm his/her compulsive repetition of the words, “Issall a verrree simples. You kissa my arse or I measure you forra de cement overshoes, cappiche?”

Head consultant at the clinic Jean-Claude Cliche told a press conference:
     “What we see here is something as yet still very rare, but showing all the signs of a potential pandemic. It is what happens when two magnetically negative groups of people try to reach an agreement using the two complementary strategies of game theory and media leaks, but keep repelling each other. It is my theory that leaks in the game theory generator infected the media with false realities, causing the various teams to suffer toxic brain-meltdown after reading completely contradictory accounts 24/7 during a ten week period.
     “The brain damage has been exacerbated by the what we doctors call Acute Sidelining Syndrome, or ASS. This is where several asses are moved from a hole at the centre, and then swapped with others on the periphery. The unfortunate result is that everyone sees everyone else as a potential asshole, but with no importance hierarchy to guide them”.
Dr Cliche is urging all those potentially affected in the media to come forward and make themselves known.
     “We are especially concerned,” he said, “about a Mr Hugo Dixon at Reuters, and Ambrose Evan-Elpus at the Daily Telegraph. The staff of the Guardian, the New York Times, the Daily Mail and Bild Zeitung are in turn displaying tertiary symptoms of refusing to recognise the chaos and making daily predictions of certainty about which they later appear to be uncertain.”
Meanwhile, the European Centrifugal Plank issued a statement saying that pressure on Greek banks would be relaxed, but this is the fifth to last time they would do this “otherwise Greece would default on its Grexit and become a public health danger and there is no Plan C because there is no Plan B please help me I am the real Jack the Ripper but I can’t stop myself”.

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GEOPOLITICS: Russia Turkey and the New Greek Sirtaki

According to geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl, the European Union has an uncanny knack for shooting itself in the foot. He claims that under strong pressure from a Russo-phobic Washington administration and various Russo-phobic EU governments, Brussels decided to take steps in 2014 to block the bilateral agreements between Russia’s state Gazprom and EU countries such as Greece and Bulgaria to buy gas from a new Russian pipeline that was to have been called South Stream, the southern counterpart to the Gazprom-Germany North Stream line.

F. William Engdahl (NEO) - For the neoconservatives in the Obama State Department and Pentagon, that would have forged far too strong EU-Russia economic ties that would significantly weaken America’s ability to blackmail the EU. The EU Commission is brazenly violating all legal precepts by trying to enforce, retroactively, new laws that they claim Gazprom has violated. Further they forced the weak government of Bulgaria last year to back out of their Gazprom contract.

Washington’s Russo-phobes were gloating as they fantasized about getting a nuclear deal with Russia’s ally Iran that could woo Teheran to double-cross Moscow and sell Iranian gas from South Pars, the world’s largest gas field, via another pipeline through to Iran’s city of Bazargan at the border with Turkey where it would transit Turkey on to Greece and Italy.

Unlike the failed US Nabucco gas project which lacked gas, the Persian Pipeline, were Iran to be foolish enough to let Washington control it, would have gas, lots of it to weaken Russia’s hold on EU gas markets that were previously supplied via Gazprom via older Ukraine pipelines.

Putin calls EU bluff

As we noted at the time last December, Russian President Vladimir Putin caught the EU by surprise when he announced cancellation of the South Stream Gazprom EU project during a visit in Turkey with President Erdogan. There Putin proposed instead an alternative that would pipe Russia’s gas through Turkey to the door of EU member Greece. There different EU states could “take it or leave it.” The advantage for Gazprom and Russia is that they would not be responsible for construction of the needed EU pipelines.

When he announced the decision, he stated bluntly, “If Europe doesn’t want to realize this, then it means it won’t be realized. We will redirect the flow of our energy resources to other regions of the world. We couldn’t get necessary permissions from Bulgaria, so we cannot continue with the project. We can’t make all the investment just to be stopped at the Bulgarian border. Of course, this is the choice of our friends in Europe.” South Stream would have provided secure delivery to southern EU countries including Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Croatia and also Serbia. It would avoid the current transit pipelines running through Ukraine.

Now less than six months later Russia and Turkey have completed the landmark deal to begin deliveries of Gazprom Russian gas via a new “Turkish Stream” pipeline into and across Turkey through a pipeline now in construction. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced on May 7 that, “An agreement has been made on the beginning of exploitation and deliveries of [Russian] gas along the Turkish Stream in December 2016.” The statement came following Miller’s meeting earlier in the day with Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız. The new pipeline will travel through Turkey to a gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border for further distribution to European customers.

A geopolitical cherry on top

And only minutes after the successful Russia-Turkish agreement, Putin, reported to be a master chess player, made a master geopolitical chess move into the European Union disaster that is called the Eurozone.

Greek news outlet, Capital.gr, reported that the very same day Miller’s Turkey Gazprom deal was finalized, Putin had an apparently very cordial phone chat with Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras. After the talk, Putin’s office released a statement that Putin had told Tsipras that Russia would be willing to extend money to Greece in return for Greek participation in the Turkish Stream project into the EU. The Kremlin statement said, “In that context, the Russian side confirmed its willingness to consider the issue of extending financing to state and private companies that will cooperate in the project.”
    In Tsipras’ April 8 meeting with Putin Russia denied it had made a deal on energy; that all changed on May 7 after Turkey finalized Turkish Stream
After Tsipras’ talks with Putin in Moscow on April 8, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, issued a denial of Der Spiegel reports that the two had come to an agreement in which Moscow would advance the cash-desperate Greek government with an immediate €5 billion cash advance from Russia based on expected future profits linked to the pipeline. The Greek energy minister said at the time that Athens would repay Moscow after 2019, when the pipeline is expected to start operating.

That was on April 8. Flash forward to May 7 and the finalization of the Russia-Turkish Stream deal, and it seems now that there is also a Russia-Greece deal to advance Athens the sizeable cash sum, just before Athens must come up with large sums to repay IMF and EU loans in order to get more senseless EU and ECB “support.” The difference was clearly the finalization of the Turkish Stream. Now EU bureaucrats in Brussels have new gas pains as Putin puts a Greek cherry atop Moscow’s Turkish geopolitical deal on gas.

If the Russia cash advance to Tsipras comes to pass, not only will Athens be able to dance a Sirtaki. This time it will be a dance in which the role of Zorba is played by a Russian, Vladimir Putin, not the Mexican, Anthony Quinn.

Wolfgang Schaüble, Angela Merkel, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker all will have three options. They can decide to stand on the sidelines and clap to the sensuous rhythms of the new Sirtaki. They can join in the dance by refusing Washington blackmail on renewing EU economic sanctions against Russia. Or they can go on to boycott the dance and sink deeper into a new crisis of the Euro.

The ongoing panic selloff in German bond markets over recent days suggests it might be wise for the Berlin government to consider an entire new choreography for its European Grand Strategy. The old Atlantic NATO dance is rapidly becoming a Danse Macabre for Germany and for Europe. Putin’s Sirtaki would be far more fun for Europe and the world.

The author, F. William Engdahl, is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.




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Russians still interested in acquiring privatised Greek rail companies

Russian Railways (PZD) are still in talks with the Greek government on the possibility of submitting bids in the privatisation of related Greek state companies, Russia's railway boss Vladimir Yakunin said earlier this week. Talking to the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation - a sort of alternative "Parliament of experts" - Yakunin was quoted by Th. Avgerinos from ANA-MPA as saying that these companies included the Greek trains operator TRAINOSE, the rolling stock repair and maintenance company ROSCO and the port of Thessaloniki.

Yakunin stressed that "nothing had gone quiet" and that the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had requested a meeting with him during his recent visit to Moscow, during which he indicated that the Greek side was also interested in such cooperation.
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Greece's waters of 'excellent quality'

"The quality of water in Greece's seas and lakes is known and constitutes a competitive advantage of the country," Alternate Environment Minister Yiannis Tsironis said.

From the 1540 bathing waters, 1518 were assessed, as 22 points were monitored for the first time in 2014. The new points have not been evaluated for 2014 since the minimum number of samples required by the Directive has not yet been collected. However, from the initial results of 2014 it is evident that the concentrations of microbiological parameters remain below the respective criteria values of excellent quality. For the remaining 1518 bathing waters, the classification results are the following report:

  • - 1495 bathing waters are classified as "excellent quality". One of them are located in inland waters and the 1494 in coastal waters.
  • - 23 bathing waters are classified as "good quality", one of which is located in inland waters and 22 in coastal waters.
  • - None of bathing waters was classified as "sufficient quality".
  • - None of bathing waters was classified as "poor quality".

     "It is everyone's care and obligation - the state and the citizens - to continuously protect our seas and coasts in the best possible way. It is up to us to maintain the quality of our waters forever," Tsironis added.
Bathing water quality for the year 2014 was monitored and assessed in the framework of the Monitoring Programme of Bathing Water Quality that was implemented under the supervision of the Special Secretariat for Water of the Ministry of Reconstruction of production, Environment and Energy.

ANA/MPA

Naxos: Experts find existence of Neaderthals on the island

According to new research in Stelida, Neaderthals existed on Naxos island, three km northwest of the capital, at a very developed tourist area. Press reports on Thursday claimed that the Canadian Institute in cooperation with Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades conducted an excavation in the area which brought into the limelight a series of objects that certify the existence of early humans in the area up to 260,000 ago.

The majority of finds, located on the surface during the 2013 research, were mostly carved stones while a quantity of emery was found (a material that is widely found on the island but not at Stelida). The ceramics found in the area are very rare and are rather from a later era.

According to a dispatch from the state news agency, the Central Archaeological Council approved the five-year programme for the continuation of the research that will focus on the dating of the finds that changes the prehistoric data on Cyclades.

Until recently, the archaeologists believed that the human activity on the islands started very later, approximately in the 5th millenium B.C while only in 1981 with the discovery of Stelida emerged the possibility of an earlier dating.

The new programme has multiple targets. One of them is the dating of the site with the use of scientific technics in order to clarify when the early humans migrated to Europe through the Aegean basin and if this migration was realised through the sea. Moreover, an in detail analysis of the artifacts will take place and the relations of the early humans, meaning the Neaderthals and the Homo Sapiens, will be examined.


May 20, 2015

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EDITORIAL: Greeks did not vote for uncertainty Mr. Tsipras, but rather for stability!

Time is ticking and more and people are starting to realize that the "change" that they wanted and voted for on January 25th has instead given way to much more uncertainty and insecurity. Negotiations with Greece's creditors are never ending, red lines fade only to reappear,  the recession is suddenly returning, the economy is frozen, consumption is clearly retreating, more private sector jobs are being lost, investments are being abandoned, activities are on the decline and tourism may be on the rise but with the surge of illegal immigration into our country this too will soon be under threat. While the government is straining every available resource to pay wages and pensions, the majority of the public that works in the private sector, and which has been the most affected by this six-year recession is either not being paid, and if they are receiving any money at all it is months later seeing that there is no liquidity on the market. In addition to this, our national issues are in the air, we have upset both the east and the west, anarchists are destroying public infrastructure and causing havoc all over the country, our borders are being compromised because the government believes in open borders, our education system is being set back at least 30 years by being politicized and the public sector is returning to a system that we all condemned. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras knows this, but he also knows that he cannot delay with reforms much longer because our nation is literally one inch from completely crashing.

When the SYRIZA-ANEL government rose to power on January 25th, HellasFrappe had published a special report noting that it would limit its criticism of the new government until negotiations with our creditors ended, but there is a limit to everything. When we made this statement we had also stressed that any decision/action that was taken by the present government which was positive for Greece would be applauded by us (and we proved this with many of the articles that have been posted on this blog). Nonetheless, we also warned that if we felt that Greece was heading towards total destruction we would immediately ignore the honeymoon and grace period and begin stating our opinion!

Time is up; and we are up to here with all this insecurity and uncertainty.

Here are some areas that are deeply concerning to us.

ECONOMY

The new government has wasted almost three months in endless negotiations with Greece's creditors, following all its anti-memorandum rhetoric. In our opinion, its decision to extend the negotiations for two and a half months caused a resurgence of insecurity, and has more or less wiped away what trust had been built by the previous government of Antonis Samaras.

Let us make it clear, we are not claiming that the conservative government did a better job at managing this country's finances, but certainly no one can deny that the (international economic) mood was starting to change under ND's rule and things were starting to stabilize once again.

In other areas, the vice grip on liquidity has tightened, the funding gap was revealed and all remaining resources had to be pooled in the State's account at the Bank of Greece, in order to pay the loan payments to avoid another possible disorderly default that would in no doubt have caused catastrophic consequences for our nation.

In the real economy things are not only completely in the air but they have worsened to dangerous levels. Aside from a lack of funding from the banks, Greece now has a suspension of financial decisions from taxpayers, households, investors and businesses.

Why?

Simple, because many of those who voted for the new government, also voted for their past do not pay rhetoric.

And if that wasn't enough, some financial newspapers are even speaking of a new recession which they claim began in the first three months of this year and is now expected to cripple the last bits of the economy that withstood the long six year recession which the previous government was painfully getting us out of.

Only a handful of MPs in the government know exactly what is going on because they have finally come in tune with REALITY, but there are still too many forces in SYRIZA whose mental state forces science to lift its hands in the air.

SYRIZA may have won the elections with promises of a recovery, of tearing up the memorandums and blah blah, blah... but haven't they realized that this cannot happen? What will it take for these people to wake up and smell the coffee?

Today Greece only has a couple of days to come to an agreement or basically die.

Alexis Tsipras is obliged to do everything in his power to save the country from total destruction and forget about impressing a few members in his party who are clearly clueless of what the best interests of Greece actually are.

POLITICAL INSTABILITY

It is entertaining to watch various ministers in this Leftist government make proclamations one day which are then recalled by the senior administration the very same day! At the same time it is also quite pitiful because these officials insist on playing games of self-assertion, while ignoring the consequences of their words. They forget that Tsipras did not win the elections simply because he won the progressive vote, but because he also received quite a bit of support from many conservatives as well. It is almost like milking a stone for water, getting the extreme left-wing of SYRIZA to understand this is almost impossible. All of this of course is beginning to take affect public opinion. Indeed, the SYRIZA-ANEL party is still leading over the main opposition New Democracy party, but with all this uncertainty the general mood will give way to dire repercussions sooner or later.

Over the past few months, we have witnessed ministers and institutional officers stating whatever they think benefits their political clientele, even though their decisions come into direct conflict with the interests of Greece. Some metaphorically threatened our creditors that we would export jihadists all over Europe, others said they believed that it was compatible to not pay our creditors (or one or two installments), and others are busying themselves with a mechanism on how to not pay the burdensome debt.

If it was that simple... Then wouldn't have this already have happened? Is this the image that Greece really wants to give the world?

It is our opinion here at HellasFrappe that some ministers in this government have not yet understood that they are not in the opposition anymore (where they stated whatever they wanted without consequence). The confusion does not only exist in their public appearance but also in the government’s negotiation tactics and it’s day-to-day management tactics, which is also raising a few eyebrows as well. For instance, we find it totally absurd for a Minister to state in the morning that he is 400 million euros short to pay wages and pensions, only to listen to a statement by the same minister two hours later claiming that he retracted his statement and the money was found. Is this just mere naivety and inexperience? It could probably be, but it is also very destabilising and we hope they understand that the Greek people cannot bear anymore wise and cheap talk. If you are going to make an official statement, make sure that all your facts are straight from the beginning!

DOMESTIC FRONT

On the domestic front, anarchists freely vandalize the walls outside parliament, invade the Polytechnic and spread chaos in the area of Exarchia. Everywhere these hooligans go they threaten and burn public property without ever taking into consideration that these damages will be later paid by the majority of Greek taxpayers. Leftists feel so overwhelmed by their beliefs, that they feel that they have to destroy buildings, concrete, marble statues, set fire to private property, etc to get their point across. Excuse us... But what ever happened to COMMUNICATION?

Luckily for us we live in an era that freely allows us to communicate to anyone and everyone in numerous ways. Why do they feel that they need to destroy public property to do so?

Then there is the issue of our police forces. Their powers have been limited since SYRIZA came to power and from what we know are now forced to observe from a distance, and only act on orders (as with most officers,) but we all know these orders never come. Neither Greece’s major problems, nor the social problems that emerge on a daily basis can wait for the new SYRIZA-ANEL government to mature and assume its responsibilities.

EDUCATION

Ah yes education. Once more this institution is falling prey to political and partisan expediencies. Before the latest law for the universities could be tested out in practice, SYRIZA's new Minister of Education decided to knock it down, and totally change the university entry system. Without dialogue, basic coordination or debate, he devised a new set of reforms that does not seek solutions and improvements, but a return to the past.

In simple terms, University Councils are being abolished, students will vote for Rectors, the academic asylum is changing again and the “eternal students” are once again making their comeback. Three decades or so after unionism was introduced in higher education, which established a state of populism and transaction that belittles the operation of the universities, this country is literally returning to the same model all thanks to a (Stalinistic) stance on modern education.

Instead of finding ways to improve our education system by closely examining how top institutions operate abroad, we are quite laughably returning to an old world of operation which we here at HellasFrappe feel undermines the education process itself. We are not alone, aside from the students who object to this, and their parents, tens of hundreds of academics from all over Greece and abroad have already requested for the Councils and new management to not be abolished, until their operation can be assessed but SYRIZA's Education Minister ignored all this and decided to adopt the opinions of a section of the union bodies of students and administrative staff.

At a time when everyone knows - and given the situation the country is in - that the greatest investment Greece can make is in its production capacity, knowledge and education, this new government is overturning any attempt to rationalize education. It is ignoring THREE DECADES of experience in the operation and management of universities and restoring a problematic model, in order to serve political consideration.

And we ask: Is this the way to move forward?

CONCLUSION

Frappers, these were just some of our concerns. There are so many more that deal with foreign relations and geopolitical issues but we are going to produce a separate report on that over the next few days.

All we want is for this cheap rhetoric to end. With Greece literally on the brink of total destruction, Tsipras who we feel can make a great leader needs to ignore the buffoons in his party, put some order to their endless parade of statements and bring back some stability to this country.

Did he or did he not promise us the Greek people a better and more efficient government?  If yes then he has to first end this war of statements and impressions – which we all know are primarily intended for domestic consumption – . Greece's salvation is paramount. There is no more time for delays and sensationalism. Decisions have to be made that will balance the general interest of the country and the people.

We had warned everyone about this before the elections. As it would seem, the Greek people had to experience SYRIZA’s reality in order to understand the gravity and complexity of Greece’s financial and political problems. It is time for logic understanding and low tones to prevail.

There cannot be a more recession-causing policy for the Greek economy than extending today’s uncertainty… Everything else is about fairy tales for gullible fans, who will be fewer and far between as time goes on. To overturn the situation the SYRIZA-ANEL government must finally assume its responsibilities towards the country and the people. There is no other way.

Signed
HellasFrappe



May 19, 2015

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Eurovision Contest: Maria Elena Kyriakou Represents Greece with "One Last Breath" Tonight! (VIDEOS)

At this year's Eurovision song contest, Greece is going to be represented by Maria Elena Kyriakou, the winner of the 2014 The Voice reality song contest show. Maria Elena is going to perform a song titled "One Last Breath", which she co-wrote with Efthivoulos Theocharous. The lyrics of this incredible ballad were composed by Vangelis Konstantinidis and Evelina Tziora.

The first semi-final of the Eurovision song contest is scheduled to begin tonight at the Stadhalle in Vienna and scheduled to be broadcasted by Greece's public television network NERIT, the second semi-final is scheduled for Thursday, while the grand final will be held on Saturday.

Some 27 countries are set to participate in the final on Saturday night. Europeans will get an opportunity to vote for twenty finalists in the two semi-finals (ten on Tuesday, and ten on Thursday) while the “Big Five” -consisting of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom-, do not have to go through the process of the semi-finals (as with everything else in Europe these countries are always less likely to struggle). Moreover, Austria which is the host country does not have to go through the process of the semi-finals as does the honorary participant for this year which is Australia.

Here is Maria-Elena performing Greece's entry for this year's contest, and HellasFrappe has also included a video of one of her performances in the 2014 "The Voice" music reality, as well as a video where she performed at the MAD walk show which recently presented Greece's fashion gurus. In our opinion, she is Greece's mix of Mariah Carey, Leona Lewis and Kelly Clarkson.

Good luck Maria-Elena and good luck to our pics: Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Australia, Russia, Serbia, Israel and Romania.



May 18, 2015

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ENERGY - US urges Greece to abandon Russian pipeline project

The US is urging Greece to drop the idea of hosting a controversial Russian pipeline project, arguing the Turkish Stream pipeline running across the Black Sea to Greece would end up harming Greek and European interests — but Greece is resisting. Amos Hochstein, the State Department’s special energy envoy, said Athens should instead promote the Southern Gas Corridor project aimed at bringing Caspian gas to Europe via Turkey and the planned Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP), rather than deepening Greece’s dependency on Russian energy.

The US said it was concerned that Athens’ consideration of an extension of the Moscow-backed Turkish Stream pipeline will not increase energy diversification, may be of concern to EU competition authorities, and is not a long-term solution to Greece’s energy needs.

Instead, the EU-backed Southern Gas Corridor project would bring much-needed cash and jobs. According to the embassy statement, “TAP will result in €1.5 billion in foreign investment in Greece, generate 10,000 jobs during construction, and provide many millions of euros in revenue annually over 25 years.” But after the recent meeting with the US official, Greek Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis said his government would continue to back Turkish Stream, “because we think it will be useful for our country.”

Cash-strapped Greece, backed against the wall by its international creditors and on the look-out for revenue, has intensified relations with Russia in the past months, a move that has been watched by Brussels and Washington with growing concern.

Alexei Miller, chief of Russian energy giant Gazprom, recently announced that his company would start building Turkish Stream and that gas would flow to Turkey by December 2016.

Brussels has been skeptical of the pipeline’s commercial viability. Many experts share this view.

According to Laszlo Varro of the International Energy Agency, Gazprom is in no position to undertake large new investment projects in 2015.

While 2013 saw record profits for the company, in 2015 the “idea that Gazprom will be able to finance large new infrastructure investments in South Eastern Europe has zero credibility in our view,” he said at a Brussels conference.

References: OCC247, Politico.eu



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GEOPOLITICS: Bosnia was a magnet for foreign mujahedeen, but now it exports them! (VIDEO)

credit youtube
According to this geopolitical analyst, Bosnia was once a magnet for foreign jihadists during its 1990s war, while today the nation is more or less grappling with the threat from home-grown extremists wooed by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

by Rusmir Smajilhodzic (RIMSE) - While most Bosnian Muslims are moderates, a few thousand have adopted the ultraconservative Salafist brand of Sunni Islam introduced by the fighters who flocked to Bosnia from North Africa, the Middle East and Asia during the 1992-1995 conflict between Serbs, Muslims and Croats.

Most of those foreign fighters, or "mujahedeen", left Bosnia when the war ended.

But the seed had already been sown. Twenty years on, the radical preachers giving fiery sermons in "mesdzids", or improvised prayer halls, are no longer foreigners.

Those taking up arms are also local men.

On Monday, a gunman shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest" in Arabic) opened fire on a police station in the eastern town of Zvornik, killing one officer and wounding two others before being killed in a shootout.

The assailant, identified as 24-year-old Nerdin Ibric from a village near the northeastern town of Zvornik, was suspected of links to radical Islamist groups. Another man, said to have travelled to Syria, was arrested Tuesday over the attack.

Suspected Islamist extremists had made their presence felt before in the Balkan country.

In October 2011, a gunman opened fire on the US embassy in Sarajevo, wounding a policeman before being injured himself and arrested.

In June of the previous year, a man set off an explosive device at a police station in the central town of Bugojno, killing one officer and wounding six others in what the government called a "terrorist act".

Prayer room recruitment

Would-be jihadists are suspected of being recruited by radical preachers, operating through a network of informal prayer rooms.
     "There is no doubt that the recruitment process is possible due to the existence of a network of such places of worship," Esad Hecimovic, a local journalist who has reported extensively on the subject told AFP.
Hardliners, whose numbers are estimated by the authorities at around 3,000 followers, represent just a fraction of Bosnian Muslims, who make up around 40 per cent of the population of 3.8 million.

But their ranks are suspecting of supplying scores of fighters to the wars in the Middle East.

Terrorism spreading

Reacting to the attack on the police station in Zvornik Security Minister Dragan Mektic warned terrorism had become "a serious problem".
     "We need to use all our capacity to stop this terrorism that has been spreading in Bosnia," he said.
     "Either we defeat terrorism or it will defeat us."
Some 150 Bosnians are believed to have joined jihadists groups in Iraq and Syria, while some 50 others have already been and returned from the battlefield, according to the intelligence services.

Two men arrested at Sarajevo airport in February were charged with attempting to join the Islamic State group, which has sown terror throughout the Middle East and North Africa and executed several Western hostages.
     "Those who return to the country are very dangerous. They are of course under surveillance but the danger is that they start to recruit others," said Jasmin Ahic, a professor at the Sarajevo University Faculty of Criminology.
Stiff sentences

To prevent their departure, parliament last year introduced sentences of up to 20 years in prison for jihadists and their recruiters.

In January, a radical imam in the northwestern town of Buzim was the first person to go on trial accused of recruiting people for jihad.

Husein Bosnic, a former member of a mujahedeen unit in Bosnia's war, replaced Nusret Imamovic as leader of the country's Salafists after Imamovic left for Syria in late 2013, according to intelligence sources and the US State Department.

Imamovic, who is named on a US State Department terrorist list, is believed to be the third-in-command of Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

Testifying at Bosnic's trial in Sarajevo, the relatives of several youths who travelled to Syria or Iraq, some of whom have died in fighting, said their kin attended his sermons.

The prosecution accused the cleric of receiving "significant" funding from unnamed backers in Arab states.

Bosnia's Balkans neighbours Albania, Serbia and Kosovo have also swooped on jihadist networks in recent weeks.

Fifteen men went on trial in Serbia and Albania in March accused of recruiting and financing volunteers for the war in Syria.
     "For the first time in the region, people who call on others, in a very sophisticated way, to go to foreign battlefields and commit crimes, are being tried," Ahic said.
     "What will come out of these trials has yet to be seen."

Melenchon: Greece used as an example to show other states 'how those who resist are treated'

In an interview with French newspaper "l'Humanite" at the weekend, Jean-Luc Melenchon said that the reason why he decided to support Greece in his book "le Hareng de Bismarck" is Europe's stance towards Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The candidate of the Left Front in the 2012 presidential elections noted that he made the decision to write the book as he was outraged by the behaviour of the German government and because French president Francois Hollande has not yet reacted.
     "It is a serious political mistake against the European ideal to allow such a treatment towards an EU member state," he noted.
Melenchon also said that Greece is being used as an example to show other EU states "how those who resist are treated."

Please keep in mind that Jean-Luc Melenchon abandoned the French Socialist Party in November 2008 and founded the extreme Leftist Party with French deputy Marc Dolez.

According to Wikipedia, Melenchon, who was once a defender of European federalism, now declares that "the European Union is no longer a solution but a problem, because economic liberalism has totally corrupted the institution and makes it impossible to achieve the democratic change needed in the EU, all power belonging to technocrats with no popular legitimacy".

For this reason, he is for the establishment of a different, democratic, united, and cooperative Europe, and is opposed to the Lisbon Treaty as well as questioning the independence of the European Central Bank.

Also, and based on his experiences in South America, he apparently favors a "The Citizens' Revolution" (révolution citoyenne), drawing additionally on ideas stemming from the French Revolution and the Paris Commune, and a new strategy that respects the democratic process while seeking to win elections in order to change the constitution. In his opinion, this "citizens' revolution" should lead to a reversal of the current division of wealth held by capital, represented by shareholders, and the working class (understood in the broad sense of anyone who actually works to earn money directly). Additional goals include a new constitution that will initiate a 6th French Republic in which the president will have less power and Parliament more, increase wages, a public bank created by nationalizing the private banks, democratization through the establishment of new rights for employees allowing them to develop cooperatives, the nationalization of large corporations, environmental planning, an exit from NATO, an end to the war in Afghanistan, and peace in the Middle East through the creation of a Palestinian state. Jean-Luc Mélenchon also insists on the importance of "popular involvement" through public referendums on any essential subject.

References: l'Humanite, Wikipedia


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Exactly What Is The True Religion of the West?

The following article was written by Niko Pafras and presented on pravoslavie (link below). The staff of HellasFrappe was immediately drawn to this article because the author is a simple man, with a no-nonsense logic who tells it like it really is. And what is more, he does this in a simple and understandable language that leaves little room for argument. We applaud him for this article, which not only exposes the true face of the West (and why it has always supported barbarians over democracies) but also because he dares to touch on the subject of the Orthodox faith which has lately taken a beating from all fronts. We encourage our readers to read this American author's views on the current geopolitical developments in Europe (especially on what he says about the West's reaction to the invasion of Cyprus and on the current situation in the Ukraine) and draw their own conclusions. 

Niko Pafras (pravoslavie) - I’m not a professional journalist or an expert in international affairs. Fortunately, one doesn’t need to be either to see what is going on in the popular western media these days. Living in America I am bombarded on a daily basis with the “expert” opinions on the Ukrainian crisis by a horde of analysts on the nightly news. The recurring theme in these interviews, regardless of political affiliation or news network, is the outrage felt by western leaders at the supposed “aggression” shown by Russia towards Ukraine. Conveniently, the aggression of President Poroshenko towards his fellow citizens in eastern Ukraine vis-a-vis the openly neo-Nazi Azov battalion and its ilk, goes almost entirely unreported. Be that as it may, one must ask, what precisely is it in the psyche of western leaders and pundits that makes them foam at the mouth with outrage at the crisis in Ukraine but turn a blind eye when it comes to similar incidents that are conducted by western countries or their allies?

For example, on July 20th, 1974, NATO member Turkey under the leadership of then Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit launched the invasion of Cyprus known as “Operation Attila”.

What reason did Mr. Ecevit give for this naked aggression and violation of international norms?

The prevention of “Enosis”, which is Union with the Greek mainland, and the protection of the Turkish minority from alleged pogroms by Greeks whose population, at the time, made up approximately 77% of the Island. The result of the invasion was the bifurcation of Cyprus into the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus and the so-called TRNC or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus who is only recognized by Turkey.

On paper, the TRNC is considered by Turkey to be a separate state but in reality, the TRNC is a de facto part of Turkey.

In other words, an annexation.

Now one would expect, all things being equal, that similar outrage was shown towards Turkey for its illegal invasion and subsequent occupation of northern Cyprus.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where things are not equal. The Western response? Negligible at best. There was no American castigation of Turkey or heavy sanctions. No military build-up of American forces on the Turkish border or heaping of opprobrium by the western media. And interestingly, there were no Hitler-Ecevit comparisons made on a daily basis like there have ubiquitously been throughout the western press since the reunification of Crimea with Russia.

No, on the contrary, Turkey cemented its ties with America and Europe and continues to receive billions of dollars worth of military aid through the Truman doctrine.

Unlike the violent invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, which claimed the lives of thousands, Crimea was received into Russia by a free and fair referendum in which an overwhelming majority of Crimean residents chose unification with Russia. The American response to the Turkish invasion was silence. Yet, when it comes to the people of Crimea exercising their democratic rights and their right to self-determination, which America holds as universal right, the response is outrage, sanctions and threats.

How do we explain this response or rather, lack thereof?

Interests. Plain and simple.

Turkey is a NATO member whose strategic location is vital for NATO (read American) operations in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the black sea region.

The Turkish invasion and the American response have led me to only one reasonable conclusion. American outrage for the annexation of Crimea isn’t real. Its entirely manufactured for political purposes in order to continue their grand project of eastward NATO expansion despite the promises Russia was given in the 90’s that no such expansion would occur.

Considering all of this, I couldn’t help but think about America’s own founding documents. Specifically, the declaration of Independence which states in its first paragraph:
      “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
I guess the right to self-determination isn’t universal after all.

But the larger theme here is the western opposition to Orthodox countries who hold traditional Christian values.

In many ways the Orthodox world is a thorn in the flesh. It frustrates the west because the Orthodox world, in large measure, never experienced anything like the so-called “Enlightenment” which started the process of secularization and de-Christianization of the west in the 18th century.

The idea of a strong and robust nation that holds to traditional Christian values is an idea that Western Europe finds repugnant in the extreme. Why? Because such a nation would be an ideological rival and that is something that the current order can’t tolerate.

Western nations have been globalizing their secular values by branding them as “human rights” and using human rights organizations as a cudgel to browbeat, into submission, those nations who hold to traditional values. But of course, this only applies to those traditional countries that do not tow the line of the western agenda.

If you are a country like Turkey, a country that has manifold human rights abuses, you get a free pass because you have acquiesced to the program of western hegemony.

This is why America and Western Europe are mostly silent on the issue of human rights violations by countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. But for Orthodox countries like Russia and Serbia, no such pass is given and chastisement abounds.

As a friend of mine said, enlightenment liberalism is the true religion of the west and those who refuse to convert can expect no quarter.


,

OPINION - FYROM: Is Replacement of VMRO-DPMNE & Rule of SDSM Better for Greece?

In the dialectics of several months long acute struggle between the ruling VMRO-DPMNE and the opposing leftist party in FYROM, the Social-Democratic Union of FYROM, some Greek observers formed an opinion that political victory of SDSM – which in local political standards translates into “forming a government and giving mandate to a Prime Minister” – would have positive impact on Greece. The presumption is based on the ignorance of the position of SDSM on the name and identity issue of the major ethnic group of FYROM, an ignorance created by overt emphasis on bombastic and absurd identification of VMRO-DPMNE with Greek classical identity.

by Vladislav Perunović (olympia) - There’s no need to introduce a retrospective of these acts – renaming of streets and public object, erecting statues of important persons of northern Greek classical antiquity, semi-official use of Sun of Vergina, publication of pseudoscholarly books by circles that may be called members of the “official academia”. Observers of the latest years of the symbolic conflict generated by FYROM’s claim on classical antiquity know those facts well enough. However, the usage of the reasoning that VMRO-DPMNE reached a zenith of historical forgeries and that no single political option that would replace it can be worst is based on the false reasoning. The first and the most important is that, if domestic public in FYROM is excluded, these ‘ethnological theories’ formulated by VMRO-DPMNE have some worth in the realm of serious international academic circles.

For all 9 years of their promotion, not a single archeologist, a historian, linguist outside FYROM has accepted even partially those “theories of continuity”. A review of the most authoritative academic reference books produced outside Balkans in this period do not even quote those views as debatable stances, as theories worthy of mention. The only reason why some circles in Greece think that political elimination of this energetic forging of history by VMRO-DPMNE and affiliated (formally non-governmental organizations as well as private individuals) is the offense for the usurpation of the ancient cultural heritage of Greek people. However, what is forgotten is that, although this usurpation is offensive in itself, it is more of an indicator of anti-Hellenism in FYROM than a viable set of theories, models and hypothesis that have potential to sever the classical heritage of Macedon from the Greek historical narrative. What seems omitted by its critics is the fact that Gruevski’s identity politics alienated historical, linguistic, archaeological academic circles in stable academic environments (primarily in liberal democracies) which slowly, but steadily, begun (not without exceptions, but still in a majority) to accept the mainstream Titoist theories of separate “Macedonian” ethnicity which was produced in former Yugoslavia in 1940’s and 1950’s.

These sympathetic academics, most of them exponents of Western cultural liberalism or even cultural (as opposed to political) Marxism, are appalled in contemporary times by the unsubstantiated, vulgar theories of “ancient Macedonian continuity” which are groundless and established in total disregards of scholarly methodology. These academics, supportive of idea of separate “Makedonci” nationality, qualitatively different from Bulgarians, Serbs and Greeks, formed their opinions on the premises of notion of “self-determination” and similar philosophically Marxist and existentialists theories of ethnic genesis. The chief factor facilitating this development was the fact that among nationalisms in communist Yugoslavia, all were forbidden in the name of pan-Yugoslav “brotherhood and unity”, except the “Macedonian” nationalism, which was deemed necessary in order to weaken Serbia, sever ethnological ties to Bulgaria and position the young nation against Greece, or, more precisely, against Greek integrity in the North Aegean. This Marxist approach exported energetically in Yugoslavia (and, unfortunately, not challenged by official Greece, in time when Yugoslavia was west’s useful buffer zone against the Soviet bloc) was promoted by the “Communist Party of Macedonia” (KPM), the single political body of southern Yugoslav republic.

Today, its historical, philosophical, sociological and politicological descendants is the SDSM. This party today espouses, after criticism in 1990’s that it was “Pro-Serbian”, “anti-national”, “anti-patriotic” and subsequent reforms, based primarily upon leadership of relatively young people for which Yugoslavia is some sort of distant abstraction from the past, a reformed continuity of “Macedonian nationalism”. Precisely because this variant is very, very different from the bizarre ethnocentrism promoted by VMRO-DPMNE, it is more insidious for Greek long-term interests. Namely, this “Macedonian nationalism” of present-day SDSM is based on the idea of fundamental distinction of Slavic tribes of medieval period, which culminated in revolt by leftist intellectuals again “hegemonic expansionism” of Athens, Belgrade and Sofia, which gained popularity among masses which were ‘tired of fratricidal servitude to neighboring centers of power’.

This variant of “makedonski patriotism”, although ultimately also flawed, has an advantage that it is receptive for western liberals and postmodernists in present day. It is espoused in FYROM by such thinkers of SDSM as Denko Maleski, Ljubomir Frčkovski, Miroslav Grčev, Ljudmil Spasov et al. It has a tradition of institutional formation from 1944 to 1998. SDSM, regardless of the apparent “labourist”, “socialist”, “liberal” political ethos, is, due to the fact that Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Serbs, Roma and others have their own national parties, still a party almost exclusively composed of people which are “Makedonci” of the Slavic kind. To sum the issue, it is a dilemma for Greek public what is more “acceptable”: the outrageous, bizarre and megalomaniac nationalism of VMRO-DPMNE or the “sociological” Marxist construct cherished by SDSM, which asserts that there is a ‘case’ for ‘Makedonci’ history and culture in a manner that may have some sort of appeal of ‘realism’? Finally, the ongoing struggle of VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM is about such issues as ‘freedom of speech’, ‘corruption’, ‘nepotism’ – neither of both party doesn’t challenge the consensus that “Makedonci” exists for centuries and have a ‘historical right to nationhood’.

Thus, the prospective factors that may bring a fresh change relevant for Greece are the already visible trends of rehabilitation of Bulgarian and Serbian patriotism inside FYROM, both of which have historical tradition based on ethnonym, language and culture.

olympia


, , ,

BUSTED - Corruption in soccer, banking and even by EU authorities

By John Ward (The Slog) - The horribly nasty, depraved and all-round bung recipient Sepp Blatter of FIFA now fears for his freedom should he ever set foot on US soil again. And his fears are not paranoia. News of the more than three-year-old FBI investigation into FIFA corruption broke last November.

The investigation centres on corruption allegations about the venue choices for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar. FIFA conducted its own report on the bids last year: it was never made public, which suggests that even FIFA itself couldn’t find a way to declare Blatter innocent. The chief investigator, American lawyer Michael Garcia, later resigned to protest FIFA’s decision not to release the 350-page report in full.

Compare and contrast this obscene pavane with the mutualist and entirely above board why in which Manchester United rebels FCUM have toiled honestly these ten years or more to produce a footie club owned by the fans. This year, the club has won pretty much every competition it entered: next season, it will be in the Conference League… theoretically just six years away from playing Champions’ League football.

So right up your jacksie Rupert Murdoch, Glaser Family, Milt Friedman, Theodore Levitt, Daniel Hannan and all the other blind followers of the munnneeeee.

Banking News

Barclays’ most prominent foreign-currency-exchange executive Tim Cartledge has resigned rather suddenly ‘to take time out from the business’. But his abrupt departure has Barclays insiders wondering why a key player no longer works there.

Perhaps it is all part of CEO Anthony Jenkins’ rigorous policy of settling outstanding investigations into past misconduct, in order to reigorously stop them ever happening again by being rigorously accusatory.
     “I expect we will make significant, though sometimes difficult, progress in these issues in 2015,” he told the bank’s annual meeting, referring to issues including an ongoing investigation into alleged foreign exchange manipulation.
Cartledge was previously the head of the Barclays electronic currency trading (FX) platform Barx based in Singapore.

Just fancy that.

EU News

After months of preaching to Greek politicians on the subject of corruption, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem faces a Parliamentary enquiry into his handling of the bailed out ABN Amro Group NV, owned by the Netherlands State.

The Dutch parliament is debating the matter after MPs became furious about pay rises awarded to ABN Amro executives…. so outrageous in fact, the Government was forced to delay the bank’s flotation.

At one and the same time, Dijsselbloem promised ABN Amro top management that he would defend their increases, while telling the media he thought the pay hikes were unwise. Many and varied are the number of faces the Dutch finance minister has; we mere mortals marvel at how he mixes parsimony with sanctimony when it comes to his Greek and banker dealings. Respectively.


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