October 1, 2014

Dimitris Avramopoulos On Migration Priorities

Responding to reporter's questions on Tuesday from from the European Parliament's Civil Liberties and Home Affairs Committee during confirmation hearings in Brussels, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Greek Commissioner-designate, (who is being considered for the portfolio of migration and home affairs) said hat this post is crucial amid increasing migration flows and international security concerns (especially for Greece).
      "We need to keep Europe safe and secure," he said, adding, that "this must be achieved in full respect of fundamental rights, in compliance with the Schengen rules that allow people to travel without internal border controls, and without building a ‘Fortress Europe’."
Avramopoulos, who still holds the post of Greece's Defense Minister, also noted the need for Europe to assume a unified approach on migration, describing legal migration as “a fence” against illegal immigration.

His appointment would be confirmed later in the day, just several weeks ahead of a final vote on the new European Commission which is expected to be held on October 22.

OPINION - Turkey: Is Ankara The Jihadists' Fifth Column in NATO?

By Joseph Klein (Frontpage Magazine) - Turkey's autocratic Islamist president, Tayyip Erdogan, has allowed Turkey's border to become a passageway for jihadist fighters streaming into Syria to join ISIS and the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra.

Oil from fields in Iraq and Syria under ISIS control has been regularly transported into Turkey, and sold to black market traders at below international oil market prices. Turkey itself is reportedly a major buyer of the cheap black market oil. The income from ISIS's oil sales through the black market, as much as $30 million a month, helps finance ISIS's expansion, making Turkey one of ISIS's key bankrollers and enablers.

Turkey has also allowed ISIS recruiting networks operating online and through religious study groups to flourish within its borders. Turkey's Milliyet newspaper reported that as many as 3,000 Turks have joined ISIS. For a government that has cracked down harshly on Kurdish dissidents and on journalists reporting inside Turkey who dare to question Erdogan's policies, Erdogan's regime has not appeared to have discouraged ISIS recruitment within its borders or the flow of recruits from Turkey, and the flow of recruits from other countries traveling through Turkey, who are joining ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Despite pressure from the United States, Erdogan has held back from making any significant contributions to the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition, fearing that Syria's Assad regime and Kurds would benefit to Turkey's detriment. Even after Turkey secured the release of its citizens held by ISIS -- reportedly through a prisoner exchange with ISIS -- Turkey is not acting like an active NATO partner.

Turkey may now decide to provide a show of token support to the coalition to humor Obama and win U.S. support for Turkey's bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council next year. However, the fact is that Erdogan is on the side of the jihadists and will use a seat on the Security Council to push an agenda that is both pro-Islamist and anti-Israel.

Erdogan's active support of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood speaks for itself. And if there were any doubt where Erdogan's sympathies lie, one only need to take a look at his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week.

Instead of expressing moral outrage at the jihadists' slaughters in Iraq and Syria, for example, Erdogan engaged in a gratuitous attack on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who had responded to mass demonstrations in Egypt demanding an end to the theocracy that the jihadists were seeking to impose forcibly on Egyptian citizens. Erdogan was upset that his Muslim Brotherhood jihadist buddy Mohamed Morsi was no longer Egypt's leader:
    "The United Nations as well as the democratic countries have done nothing but watch the events such as overthrowing the elected president in Egypt and the killings of thousands of innocent people who want to defend their choice. And the person who carried out this coup is being legitimized. If we are going to defend people who come to power through coups, then I ask the question why we exist as the United Nations."
Erdogan's pettiness was evidenced by reports that he refused to attend a luncheon hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week when he learned he would be sitting at the same table as President Sisi.

Instead of playing a constructive role, like Egypt did, in trying to bring an end to the conflict in Gaza on terms that were not a complete give-away to Hamas's demands, Erdogan did what he could to undermine Egypt's efforts. He has previously referred to President Sisi as a "tyrant" who could not be trusted to broker a cease-fire.

Egypt's foreign ministry put out a statement after Erdogan's General Assembly speech exposing Erdogan's hidden agenda to restore the Ottoman Empire's glory days of the past:
    "There is no doubt that the fabrication of such lies and fabrications are not something strange that comes from the Turkish President, who is keen to provoke chaos to sow divisions in the Middle East region through its support for groups and terrorist organizations. Whether political support or funding or accommodation in order to harm the interests of the peoples of the region to achieve personal ambitions for the Turkish president and revive illusions of the past."
Erdogan told the Council on Foreign Relations, in a speech he delivered a day before his General Assembly address, that everything would have been hunky-dory if only the Ottoman Empire had remained intact. He said that "we see significant crises taking place in the Middle East and Eastern Europe today, and up until 100 years ago, these areas were governed from the Ottoman capital, Istanbul. The Palestinian issue, the problems in Iraq and Syria, Crimea, the Balkans are all issues that emerged following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire."

Erdogan has in the past evoked the imagery of the Battle of Manzikert as a symbol for Turkish youth to look up to and emulate. The Battle of Manzikert occurred in 1071, when the Seljuk Turks decisively defeated the leading Christian power of that era, the Byzantine Empire.

In sum, Erdogan shares the same goal as ISIS -- the restoral of an Islamic caliphate -- even if they ultimately spar over who will control the caliphate.

Read More at : frontpagemag.com

Balkan & Adriatic Summit On Oil & Gas Opens in Athens

The third edition of the "Balkans and the Adriatic Oil & Gas Summit" began on Wednesday in Athens and expects to provide all those interested with an overview of the fiscal and legal framework of the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, along with updates on current or future energy projects in the area.

The Summit that is expected to wrap up on from October 3rd, is expected to offer a unique networking platform where delegates from different ministries are going to come together in order to discuss the changes in legislation and will serve as a platform from where experts can come to showcase how their operations work in the Balkan region.

Addressing the summit, Greece's Minister of Environment Yiannis Maniatis pointed out the need for regional cooperation in the sector of exploration, while he also noted that positive news in one country can bring benefits to all the countries in the region. Maniatis also stressed that prospects in the region are from encouraging to extremely positive, as well as attract the interest of small and big oil companies.

TRAGEDY - Are Copts Fleeing Egypt?

"The emigration of Egypt's Copts is neither wrong nor dangerous; emigration is a human right. Forcible migration, however, is dangerous," Kamal Zakher, a researcher in Coptic affairs, said at a Sunday discussion on Coptic emigration. The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies (ECPPS) held a seminar on the short documentary "Emigration of Roots," which tackled the emigration of Copts since the January 25 Revolution in 2011.
    "The Nasserite regime neglected the fact that Egypt is a multi-cultural country. Since then, the idea of the one rule, the one thought and the one direction took over," Zakher said.
Customary sessions replace law
    "It is dangerous that the rule of law diminishes in favor of customs," Zakher said, commenting on customary reconciliation sessions, which he said have become a tradition, especially in rural areas and in Upper Egypt, when a sectarian clash erupts, even if it is originally a merely criminal case.
In Upper Egypt, the concept of tahr, meaning revenge or blood debt, dictates that if a family member is killed, a member of the killer's family must die, which can often spiral into cycles of violence. Police and court procedures often do not sufficiently redress families' honor, so reconciliation meetings are seen as a practical means to curb violence and preserve face in the community.

Such sessions are held between the conflicting parties, local officials, and Muslim and Christian clerics to conclude "reconciliation."
    "Unjust conditions are imposed on Christians in these customary sessions but they accept them because they are afraid," said Mina Thabet, a researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF.)
Forcible displacement of Copts in some cases a result of customary sessions, Thabet added.

On Aug. 14, 2013, dozens of churches and Coptic properties were burned down and hundreds of Christians were attacked and intimidated in several governorates following the dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in, in what many saw as retaliatory attacks.

Delga, a town in Minya, was one of the areas that bore the brunt of Islamists wrath at the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.

After repeated pleas by the town's Copts and reports of arson, movement restrictions, displacement, armed robbery and forcible levies, security forces raided the town in September, arresting dozens of the alleged assailants.

Dozens of Delga Coptic families have not returned to their homes since then because they are afraid, their homes are damaged, or because Muslim locals occupied them, according to Thabet.

In June, a Muslim family in Matareya, Dakahlia, placed construction materials in front of a furniture store owned by a Christian; some furniture was exposed to dust, reported to Sada el-Balad.

Dozens were injured in subsequent clashes, and a Christian killed a Muslim; a number of media reported that this killing was an accident.

The customary reconciliation session compelled the Christian family to slaughter 100 camels and five calves, and provide 134 acres and 1 million EGP ($139,600) to build an orphanage as a donation to the residents of Matariya.

Read more at: http://thecairopost.com/

GOOD - Supreme Court Launches Investigation Into Why Greek Mayors Are Refusing Audits

Supreme Court Prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani launched a preliminary investigation into why specific Greek mayors have been refusing to check the backgrounds of their public sector employees (certificates, diplomas, credentials, etc), whose contracts have been converted from fixed-term to indefinite.

The five municipalities that suspiciously refuse to cooperate with auditors are the area of Halandri (a suburb in northern Athens), the area of Nikea (a suburb in Piraeus), the area of Zografou in central Athens, the city of Larisa in central Greece and the city of Patras in the Peloponnese.

(It should be noted that three of these five mayors were fully supported by SYRIZA -surprise, surprise- at the recent municiple elections, one was backed by DIMAR -another radical Leftist party- and the last one was supported from the Greek Communist Party of Greece. In other words, all five mayors are backed from radical Leftists groups who we all know only want to cause chaos throughout the country).

According to press reports, the prosecutor wants to find out whether or not these mayors have committed the offenses of breach of trust and misconduct.

As a result, Koutzamani forwarded the related files that were sent by the Minister of Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis last week to various prosecution authorities in Athens, Piraeus, Patras and Larissa.

Mitsotakis apparently sent the files of these (five) mayors to the country's top court because they refused to implement an evaluation scheme for civil servants, in a move likely to strain even further relations between the government and municipal officials.

The Minister had also warned that prosecutors would soon look into the files of all of those who resist the plan, while he also slammed SYRIZA backed Attica Governor Rena Dourou for actually supporting these mayors.

In fact SYRIZA has rejected the Ministry’s move with regard to permanent contracts, arguing that all the municipal employees be allowed to maintain their positions given that they had since been working for the municipalities for the past 10 years, regardless of their credentials of course.

In a statement that was released last week and which supported the mayors, SYRIZA even said that the it would provide "political" backing to the mayors and even accused Mitsotakis of conducting a witch hunt.

September 30, 2014

Roma Protests in Halandri - They threaten Not To Leave Illegally Occupied Land

A decision to finally demolish the illegal Roma camp in the area of Halandri (a suburb in northern Athens) sparked conflict between the police and members of the Roma community early on Tuesday morning. According to reports, more than 40 protesters gathered at Mesogeion Avenue to stage a protest by torching rubber tyres and blocking traffic.

The truth is that the Roma camp has been in the region for almost four decades and until today the issue was never really tackled by local or federal officials. Things have obviously changed since a decision was recently adopted to transfer the camp from the Mint to the area of Megara (in Western Attica) but as you can all see it was met with the Roma community’s anger and disapproval.

The General Secretary of the Decentralized Administration of Attica, Manolis Angelakas, rendered the settlement as illegal and in violation of property laws, however the members of the community state that moving them to an isolated region would distance them from schools and medical services.

(They of course forget that they have settled in the area illegally.)

Of course this is overlooked by some Greek politicians (or wannabes) who have never respected the law. In fact they say that the demolition of the settlement is in direct contrast to Greece’s commitments to the United Nations.


For instance... Halandri’s Mayor Simos Roussos (who probably needs their votes to be reelected) is one of the people against the arbitrary removal of these Roma citizens stating that “a solution can’t be found in such an authoritarian way and by such means.” He believes that the decision isn’t viable and believes that the move could be in retaliation to the fact that he was one of the mayors opposed to the government’s evaluation scheme for permanent public servants in his municipality.

Meanwhile, government spokesperson Sofia Voultepsi implored the mayor not to get involved on the matter while being interviewed on MEGA channel on Tuesday morning and claimed that the Roma gypsies have occupied private property. She also accused the main opposition party SYRIZA of supporting them “because they are looking for a source of lawlessness”.

Unfortunately following talks, authorities agreed to let the Roma stay in the camp for the time being and on their part the Roma agreed to let authorities demolish 12 abandoned homes in the camp. Greek authorities also vowed to find a proper site for the population’s rehousing, which will both meet sanitary standards and be located close to educational institutions. Basically... the government once again chickened out because of the fear of losing the Roma vote.

(Editor's Note: Why the hell would Greek tax payers agree to give anyone better living conditions when we cannot even make ends meet at the end of the month? If the Roma people want fairer living conditions, -such as parks, schools, running water, electricity, and green pastures- tthen they should rent a home somewhere in the city -even Halandri- and experience all that they desire by PAYING their way everyday as we do, and not by illegally occupying land, stealing electricity and freeloading off of the backs of the rest of the country. Greek citizens are not obligated to provide them with free running water and electricity, nor can we accept paying for land while they illegally occupy it. If they truely want to be treated equally then they have to pay their fair share. And finally SYRIZA should stop siding with forces that only want chaos for this country... We backed the Greek government on this decision and hoped that they not back down on this issue, but as you can see... they did. Sickening!)

LOOK OUT SOCCER FANS - Doing the Impossible, Holding FIFA Accountable

By Binoy Kampmark (Global Research) - There is a sense of frustration in bringing that unruly and labyrinthine football entity known as FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) into the world of squeaky clean finance.  It resists two terms with an almost tribal enthusiasm: accountability and transparency.

Both concepts are intrinsically linked – that of transparency being a means to keep accountability on the straight and narrow; accountability making it easier to be transparent.  The operating rationale of FIFA has been to reject both concepts.  When the football players start dribbling the ball, the bureaucrats are forgotten.

Academics have ventured into this field with ponderous unease and postulated several models of accountability (Roger Pielke Jr. in Sport Management Review suggests seven), though this is by no means reliable.[1] A rather simple view is put forth by R. Grant and R. O. Keohane in the American Political Science Review (2005), though their recipe is intended as a broad splash over a range of fields

Accountability “implies that some actors have the right to hold other actors to a set of standards, to judge whether they have fulfilled their responsibilities in light of those standards, and to impose sanctions if they determine that those responsibilities have not been met.”

The whole point of FIFA is that it resists theorisation on an easy model in a world of opaque global governance.  It is, in itself, an organism of considerable sophistication, part thief and part bargain hunter.  It also plays the best of games, having voices within it who sing the song of transparency without having the vote to push it through.  Its church is broad enough to tolerate dissent without actual change.

Michael Garcia, the ethics chief beavering into FIFA’s bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, reminded those who cared to listen that his report ought to be released in full.  How utterly idiosyncratic of him, and how demonstratively ignorant.

According to Hans-Joachim Eckert, head of the adjudicatory arm of the ethics committee, only four people have laid eyes on Garcia’s 350-page report, and the fewer eyes the better.  It could be destined for the archives, the incinerator, or a lonely life as a classic on a shelf.

US Soccer president Sunil Gulati, who is on FIFA’s executive committee, is one who has taken Garcia’s line, along with Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan and the Concacaf president, Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands.
      “If we’re going to truly support the idea of transparency and change within FIFA, [the report] has to be made public in the truest meaning of the word.”[2]
But no one, it seemed, had asked the FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Recently he suggested that,
     “There was not any request from any of these members to publish this report.”
Then, the transparency advocates suddenly vanished – Gulati, when asked about Blatter’s position, seemed to have lost his tongue.

It should surprise no one, student of impartial observer of the institution, that FIFA has its own code of ethics, including proscriptions against the acceptance on the part of officials of “bribes” or “bribing third parties”.

Clause 12 prohibits officials from accepting commissions, or promises of such, while negotiating deals connected with FIFA duties.  Officials have been keen to exploit the lack of definition as to what constitutes “bribe” or “bribing”. In such cases, relativity is king.

Far more representative are such instances as FIFA’s Audit and Compliance committee, a watchdog which, when watched, was found wanting.  Earlier this month, Canover Watson, one of eight members of the committee, was suspected, in the words of anti-corruption commissioner David Baines of the Cayman Islands, of “breach of trust contrary to section 13 of the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law, as well as abuse of public office… and conflict of interest.”[3]  There was also a strong whiff of money laundering, though Watson remains defiant.

Given FIFA’s Swiss base, and increasing hostility shown by law makers to its practices in the country, change may well be pressed or coerced through.

While Switzerland may have a warm reputation to the making and conserving of money, the legal committee of the Parliament’s lower house has been busy trying to close the loop on money laundering activities.  Transparency International feels it could be busier, suggesting the public registration of information on the beneficial ownership of limited liability companies, and the abolition of bearer shares.[4]

For all of this, the stick in the mud executive led by Blatter, who increasingly resembles a stone god of antiquity, remains well versed in tactics of simulated inertia.  Even Garcia’s own probing efforts had proven incomplete, at least when it came to interviewing all 22 executive members behind the fateful decisions.  Some were never reached.  For the cover-up artists and charlatans of the world, FIFA offers a doctoral-level guide to deception and dissimulation.  It may take more than the Swiss laws to stun the habit.  At the very best, the organisation might just decamp.

The author, Dr. Binoy Kampmark, was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

[1] http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2013.01.pdf
[2] http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/sep/24/michael-garcia-fifa-investigation-public-world-cup
[4] http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/switzerland-urged-to-tighten-its-money-laundering-laws/40585182

Greece Slams Reports on FYROM Dispute - Russia Vetos Addition of FYROM in NATO

There is definitely something brewing with the ongoing FYROM name dispute and once again -believe it or not- it all ties to geopolitics, natural gas pipelines and dirty games by Western war mongers (example: Kissinger and Soros). For Greece, the dispute is over FYROM's use of the name "Macedonia" which we all know implies territorial claims (and expansionist plans) in our northern region with the same name, for Moscow the issue is totally geopolitical and for FYROM (as we all will soon learn) it is not about identity but more about which gas pipelines pass through its borders.

Greece's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday slammed recent reports regarding the ongoing negotiations in the FYROM name dispute, and once again reiterated our country’s position of a composite name with a geographical qualifier. In a statement, the Ministry argued that such a composite name would be used erga omnes, domestically and internationally, and should include a geographical qualifier before the word “Macedonia”, rather than “Democracy”.

At the same time the Ministry underlined that the current, temporary name by which FYROM was inducted in the UN in 1993 includes epithets prior to the term “Republic”, rather than “Macedonia”. It adds that the temporary name is not used erga omnes, but only in international organizations, treaties and meetings, rather than in the FYROM’s interior (this also includes the bilateral relations with other countries which have recognized FYROM’s so-called constitutional name.)

The Greek Ministry also said that the present situation is in violation of international law and must be addressed.

In a lively twist of events, and for the first time in history, Russia officially declared that it was against the expansion of NATO into the Balkans and especially in FYROM! This stance goes against the Western recognition of FYROM as well as vindicates the position that was adopted by the previous government of Costas Karamanlis when he openly vetoed FYROM's entrance to NATO in the face of George Bush Jr. at the Bucharest Summit in 2008.

In fact Russia made it clear that NATO cannot expand its influence in the Balkans as well as Eastern Europe "otherwise there will be a corresponding expansion of Russia and its allies in other areas, such as Transnistria in Moldova, Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, and then in Russian regions now belonging to Ukraine Administrative such as Kharkiv, Kherson and the Odessa."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview that a possible expansion of NATO in countries such as Bosnia, FUROM and Montenegro would be "challenge", while he underlined that Moscow opposes any expansion of NATO to all the former communist countries in eastern and southeastern Europe.

(It should be reminded that Montenegro, FYROM and Bosnia seek to join the Western military alliance, following the steps of Albania and Croatia who joined in 2009).  

Asked about the integration of the three countries into NATO, Lavrov told the Bosnian "Dnevni Avaz" newspaper that:
     "With regard to the expansion of NATO, I think the error is a challenge."
     "It is, somehow, an irresponsible policy that undermines the determination to create a system of equal and common security in Europe, equality for everyone regardless of whether a country is a member of that or of any other coalition."
Lavrov confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to make an official visit to Serbia in mid-October on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the release of the Yugoslav Partisans and the Soviet army from Nazi occupation.

From all the nations from the former Yugoslavia, only Serbia is Russia's closest ally, and obviously it does not seek NATO membership.

(It is more than clear that Russia is determined to put an end to American expansion designs in the Balkans, and is striking against all this Western imperialism by encircling the US and making corresponding moves in Latin America.)

But this might not be as easy as it sounds.

The West is determined to pull through on Kissinger's and Soros' plans in the Balkans and believe it or not folks the issue of FYROM is not about a nation of people who seek a name for their nation, but more about a nation that seeks to become an energy hub for various gas pipelines to Europe!

Sounds too far-fetched?

Well... It's not.

At the weekend, and on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly, a meeting was held between Greece's Minister of Foreign Affiars Evangelos Venizelos and his FYROM counterpart Popovski. As revealed by various press reports, discussions centered mostly on energy matters. In fact it was reported that Popovski asked Venizelos to confirm that Greece was positively disposed to linking the TransAdriatic Pipeline (TAP) to FYROM's gas network.

The reports said that Venizelos replied that everything he told FYROM Premier Nikola Gruevski during his visit to Skopje (in the framework of Greece's EU presidency) continues to apply and that the two countries can proceed irrespective of the outstanding dispute over the name, adding that meetings must be held between the respective energy ministers in both countries to discuss the technical details.

(Question: What did he discuss with Gruevski? And can we really trust Venizelos who we all know has never supported Greece's positions and especially those that were adopted by the Karamanlis administration.)

Later on, and prompted by Popovski's statements to the media, the Greek foreign ministry issued an announcement rejecting his suggestion that the Greek side does not see the resolution of the name issue as a priority.

(Notice how FYROM cunningly uses the so called dispute over the name to pressure Greece into what it really wants? Clearly it does not care about the name, but getting a piece of the geopolitical-pipeline pie.)

In its announcement, the Greek foreign ministry stressed that:
     "Responding to a relevant question from Mr. Poposki, Mr. Venizelos confirmed the Greek position - which he had set out during his visit to Skopje this past March, as the President of the Council of the EU - in favor of the construction of an inter connector pipeline between the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), in Greece, and FYROM. This inter connector pipeline strengthens the dynamic and importance of the TAP and offers the neighbouring country an alternative source of natural gas supply. 
(It is more than evident what FYROM's intentions are. As you can see, the issue of the name is more of a geopolitical matter rather than about a nation of desperate people who simply want a name for their country! Let us not forget that if that was the case then they would have adopted Vardar as their name, since the nation was recognized as such until Tito. This elementary rhetoric was used by some buffoons who work with war-mongers such as Soros and Kissinger and who still till this day believe that they can shift borders in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and anywhere else in the world as easily as hauling laundry up the stairs. Obviously they were surprised over the patriotism of Greeks who until today have been fighting Western imperialism in this name dispute by themselves. Luckily for us, Russia is also against this now, for her intent and reasons, but at least we have another voice that can support us on our historical rights. We all know \that FYROM has expansionist plans in our northern region because the imperialists who have been supporting the name "Macedonia" need a port to do their dirty work in the rest of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. That is why we see maps continually being drawn up by some whacked out pseudo nationalists in FYROM that include our very own region of Macedonia. Another reasons why Moscow is against this, is because these maps also include the area of Mont Athos - which we all know is dominated by Russian Orthodox monasteries.)

Read more about Soros' plans in the Balkans and Eastern Europe

George Soros, Eastern Europe, The Balkans, FYROM And The Spread of a New World Order

SOROS STRIKES AGAIN - Skopje Irredentist Claims - Says 700,000 FYROManians Living in Greece

Rothschild & Soros ' Octopus Over the Balkans - Yugoslavia had to be divided

PITIFUL - 20,000 icons of Cyprus are in the hands of smugglers

Until 1974 there were 575 churches and other Christian shrines on the territory of Cyprus which is now illegally occupied by Turks.

During the Turkish invasion and the subsequent occupation in Cyprus many churches were destroyed. Others were adapted for the use of livestock businesses: stall boxes as well as silage, building materials and technical equipment depots. Some of them were simply sacked or bulldozed (and from what we at HellasFrappe learn others were even used as toilets).

Around 80 temples were converted into mosques. 20,000 icons, dating back to the 12th-20th centuries, vessels and mosaics were stolen from 575 churches.

As a result of the strong foreign policy pressure and the interference of the UN, the situation with the icons has begun to improve over the past year. Nevertheless, ancient churches are gradually crumbling due to the lack of any restoration work since 1974 to the present time.

In order to understand what happened and is happening today in this region, the Greek website Romfea addressed the Church of Cyprus.

Bishop Porphyrius of Naples has referred Romfea to Priest Savvas Hagiionas, representative of the Synodal Committee for the Monuments on the occupied territory. According to him, about 50 churches, which are of international cultural importance, are absolutely inaccessible, as they are situated on the territory of Turkish military bases.

In collaboration with international organizations, some of relics were returned.

In February 2012, the 12th century wall paintings were returned from Houston (Texas, USA).

In October of last year, dozens of relics, for which the Church had been searching from 2004 to 2013 through various agencies, were brought from München (Germany).
     “Now we demand the return from Zurich of a 16th century icon of the Savior and an iconostasis of the same period, which belonged to the Antiphonitis Monastery (Kalogrea village),” said Fr. Savvas.
     “The Church will not cease its attempts to return the stolen relics!”


Only in Greece - Cop by day, priest by night!

In the afternoon Priest Konstantinos Spanos serves at the Church of the Dormition of All-Holy Theotokos in Ilioupolis, and in the morning, from 7 a.m. he is on his beat as a junior lieutenant at the Attica Police Central Administration, says a report in Romfea.

He explains his stand on the matter in his interview with the Democratia Greek newspaper:
     “Since early childhood, my time spent in church was the most inspiring and joyous time in my life. To help our parish priest during services was for me a special blessing of God. However, in spite of all my love for the Church, I resolved first to enter to the Greek Police service. But with the course of time I wished more and more to dedicate myself to the ministry of preaching. Thus I decided to become a priest.”
Fr. Konstantinos has also noted that his choice was approved by his colleagues and church parishioners alike:
     “Their support was particularly important for me. I am grateful to God and to Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens, who put himself in my place and blessed this form of ministry. I also won approval of my confessor and, of course, my spouse”. 

Beating blindness with Omega-3 and olive oil

New research shows Omega-3 rich oils improve membrane fluidity in retina cells and can help fight age-related eye diseases

Scientists working at the Research Center on Aging at the Health and Social Services Centre — University Institute of Geriatrics of Sherbrooke (CSSS-IUGS) (Canada) have been studying strategies for protecting retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. Dysfunction of the RPE is found in retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness of elderly people in developed countries.

Findings published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology suggest that incubating retinal cells with vegetable oils induces biochemical and biophysical changes in the cell membrane, which may have a beneficial effect in preventing or slowing the development of retinopathy.
     "Membrane fluidity, which refers to the viscosity of the lipid bi-layer of a cell membrane, is a marker of the cell function," explained Prof. A. Khalil, professor at the Université de Sherbrooke and principal investigator of the study.
     "A decrease of membrane fluidity can affect the rotation and diffusion of proteins and other bio-molecules within the membrane, thereby affecting the functions of these molecules. Whereas, an increase in membrane fluidity makes for a more flexible membrane and facilitates the transmission of light through the eye."
The researchers discovered that vegetable oil fatty acids incorporate in retina cells and increase the plasma membrane fluidity. They concluded that a diet low in trans-unsaturated fats and rich in omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil may reduce the risk of retinopathy.

In addition, the research suggests that replacing the neutral oil used in eye drops with oil that possesses valuable biological properties for the eye could also contribute to the prevention of retina diseases.

OPINION - Is Merkel debating US/EU folly against a future with Sino-Russian revival?

According to the latest article from John Ward on the Slog there is a big debate currently taking place in Berlin. He says that the latest ISIS Islamic petropower is actually forcing Angela Merkel to move closer to Vladimir Putin (or Russia). This is not the first time Mr.Ward has said this, there have been countless articles that have been published in the press over the last few months that also follow the same argument. He says that the issues of fossil fuels, sovereign debt, radical Islam, the future of the euro, American debt, (the missing or not missing) German gold and deregulated credit is what is really driving Merkel closer to Mosocw. Is this so? No one knows, but as more and more voices across Europe wake up and realize what this geopolitical crisis is really about then it will be Italy with a dash of France that forces Berlin's moves. And we all know what that means! But never underestimate Merkel who is a geopolitical wiz. Right now she sees America declining on her one hand, while on the other she sees the dangers of radical Islam. This could be the reasons why she may pivot towards the East sooner than we think (or towards closer ties to Russia/China) because quite simply her entire career has been about jumping unexpectedly at the right moment, while screwing those who had aided her progress, as well as those who had crossed her.

John Ward (The Slog) - There exists today a geopolitical continuum in which energy, credit, fiat currency collapse, sovereign debt and banking derivative exposures blur one into another. Saudi power, ISIS fury and Western duplicity have all rendered what used to be thought wild conspiracy theories into everyday geopolitics. Something is being planned in Berlin, but what is it?

In the Berlin Chancellery today, Angela Merkel and several of her closest confidantes are trying to decide what comes next for Germany. They do so on a canvas where, writ large, are the failures of post-Gold Standard paper money, the eurozone debt crisis, the threat of Draghi’s control over the European Central Bank, the will o’ the wisp that was once 120 tonnes of German gold, a global neolib crisis, and a massive shift in the fulcrum of monied power.

It is still about the munneeee.

To give one obvious example (having devoted four articles to the question of ISIS ‘beheadings’ and all the theory options) the old Woodward/Bernstein Deep Throat command still applies: follow the money.

There seems to me no question that ISIS is bankrolled in part by the Saudis. The Saudi oil-wealth (and its relevance to the petrodollar’s survival) is equally certain. For all this gibberish about “the war on terror” there is only one massive geopolitical game in play at the minute: for the Americans to keep the Saudis sweet, and ensure they don’t one day dump the petrodollar.

I don’t have any inside track on that one, but only common sense is required to interpret the race. I doubt if the hand-chopping wife decapitators of Saudi Arabia are enjoying the current US action against ISIS. But then, I doubt if the action is any more than window-dressing.

While almost every Western news title has talked robotically about the “enormous scope” of the American attack, this is a line they’re being fed in order to give it the shock-and-awe factor. Iraq and Syria are, as Noel Coward might have said, “very very big”: the Obama action is, to be blunt, an egg timer in a desert.

As so often (if not always) it comes back to fossil energy – with the obsession of the US to retain access to it, and the Russian need to retain maximum control of its supply.

With the global slump now clearly taking shape, Moscow is far more concerned about the fall-off in oil/gas demand than it is about a Federated Ukraine. And ISIS could behead every other American as far as the US Establishment is concerned…just so long as their paymasters don’t dump the petrodollar.

The petrodollar is chiefly important in that the “system” is a currency closed-shop: even if not a single US finger ever went anywhere near the deal, if Australia wants to buy Saudi oil, it must pay in $US. This acts as America’s main collateral against which to borrow: without it, default wouldn’t be far round the next corner but one.

So then, what’s going on here?

Is ISIS a Saudi-US plot-cum-distraction?

Was ISIS formed with the specific intention of angering the US and thus causing the Saudis to retaliate against military action?

Are the Saudis bankrolling ISIS in order to evoke US retaliation, giving them an excuse to dump the Buck… thus hastening the global triumph of Islam?

Or are the beheadings a US/McCain/CIA setup designed to persuade the Saudis that the White House had no choice but to deal with the threat?

They’re not mutually exclusive, but they are all possibilities. And if you think that context alone is Cohen Brothers movie meets the Maltese Falcon, there are further dimensions: Russo-Chinese deals already avoid the Dollar, and at least three of Putin’s senior advisers are hawkish about introducing the Petroruble.


A brief aside if I may, given that context. We are talking here about two bottom-line motives behind geopolitics: fossil energy and American debt.

The dependence on the first is the direct result of US oilcos lobbying Congress to block any and all funds being applied to transport and heating research to look beyond fossil. That our reliance upon the same internal combustion engine has endured 125 years of history is anti-achievement greater than any scientific advance blocked by the medieval Church of Rome.

Reliance upon the second is the ultimate outcome of neoliberal economics, whereby growth must be maintained whatever the cost… and the medium chosen for achieving this has been instantly available and appallingly controlled credit.

The latter, of course, was what brought on 2008. And the factors that caused 2008 remain firmly in place… thanks to the lobbying of Western governments by the Bourses and Banks.

That is a sobering conclusion, is it not?

Crack the solution to fossil fuel independence – while eschewing neoliberal economics – and we would overnight solve almost every dangerous territorial and religious crisis on the planet.

But that isn’t going to happen, is it?

Well… it will eventually – but not until it’s in everyone’s interests.

It’s already in the interests of 97% of us to do that: but its the brain-in-penis 3% minority who count – not We the People.


My hunch is that the debate surrounding which way to jump is what the Berlin ‘something big brewing’ rumour-mill is all about.

Nobody should underestimate the power of Germany today: it is the biggest exporter by value in the world, period.

It’s influence over the EU is beyond paramount: it is near-dictatorial.

If it turned nasty over the German Gold that no longer exists issue, the US would face a crisis of confidence. And the AfD Party is once more gaining ground.

I think that very soon, German voters will awake from their wet dream about Würst mit Kartoffelnsalat, and spot that the MerkeSchäuble two-headed Monster lied to them during the General Election.

As I have predicted all along, it will be Italy with a dash of France that forces the awakening, not Greece.

If she doesn’t move fast, Geli the Osti Fridge Magnet will find herself saddled with the bill for the euro’s grisly demise. At which point, I suspect, Weidmann’s Bundesbank Tendency is going to roast her alive in public.

There is no other thinker on Earth with the same genius for geopolitics and ruthless career advancement as that enjoyed by Frau Doktor Merkel.

She has a declining America to the West whose actions irritate her more and more, an Islam to the south towards whom she feels a well-expressed antipathy, and a Russia to the East whom she observes forging a future with the long-term coming power, China.

Chancellor Merkel’s entire career has been about jumping unexpectedly at the right moment, while screwing both those who had aided her progress, and those who had crossed her.

Could this be what the Big Debate in Berlin is about?

It's About The Gas Dummy! - Turkish warship monitors Cyprus gas exploration

credit World Bulletin
The following article is, more or less, factual proof as to why a German-led European Union (purposely) pushed Russia out of Cyprus and then (surprisingly) raided the cash vaults. In Cyprus it was about corrupt Russian oligarchs, in Greece it was called a PSI. Hogwash! We here at HellasFrappe have said from the very start of this economic crisis, that both Greece and Cyprus' economic woes was not only about corrupt bankers, shady politicians and corporate crooks, we are convinced -and have argued about this in numerous articles- that everything we see happening in our corner of the world over the past five years is in fact motivated by solidifying Europe’s future energy independence and positioning Brussels as a future world superpower. In previous posts on HellasFrappe, we noted that Greece could become the future corridor for forwarding energy from the Mediterranean, Middle East and northern African nations. Positive indeed, but also dangerous since both Greece and Cyprus are not protected by their allies in the West. Look at what is happening in the Eastern Mediterranean and why we still see displays of Turkish supremacy in the region. Is Brussels putting Greece and Cyprus in harms way by focusing only "black gold" or are some hotheads in Brussels working with other warmongers across the Atlantic in order to boost Ankara's role in the region? The only thing we can do is speculate, but as the pieces of this grand geopolitical puzzle begin to take shape we now know that NATO is nothing more than a farce (because it allows Turkey to bully its allies), and the EU cannot guarantee the safety of its member states! Our argument is confirmed in a recent report in World Bulletin which said that Turkey sent a warship to Cyprus' EEZ last week with the intent of monitoring an Italian-Korean drill ship that is probing the area for natural gas reserves.
    Turkey sent a warship to the island of Cyprus to monitor a drillship that has been sent to search for natural gas reserves off the island’s coast.
    Italian-Korean consortium ENI/KOGAS has sent the Bahamas flag-carrier Saipem 10000 drillship to the “Onasagoras” gas field in Block 9 of the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on Tuesday.
    In response, the Turkish navy has sent its Bafra Korveti warship to observe the drillship’s activities.
    Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on that hydrocarbon exploration in the region will continue despite Turkey’s objections, calling Turkey’s actions ‘potential harassment’.
    Meanwhile, Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company president Toula Onoufriou will begin ‘very soon’.
    Speaking to CNA, Onoufriou said the ENI/KOGAS consortium has planned a series of exploratory drillings over the next 18 months.
    Previously, Onoufriou had told ITAR-TASS, that Cyprus would be able to provide Europe with liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Cyprus by 2022.
    The 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas found in Block 12 of the Aphrodite gas field, which was discovered by US Noble Energy company, is insufficient to fund an LNG plant.
    Onoufriou went on to tell CNA, “Through this program that has been accelerated, we expect to have sooner, more concrete results, which will allow us to have a clearer picture of the data, to take important decisions on the exploitation and the future of this industry in our country.”
    Greek Cypriot Minister of Energy Giorgos Lakkotrypis wrote on his personal twitter account that the first results of the drilling are expected to come within 80 days, reiterating Onoufriou’s estimate.
    In addition to Block 9, the ENI/KOGAS consortium has also been granted the right to drill four to six wells in Block 2 and Block 3 of the Cyprus EEZ.
    France’s Total and US energy giant Noble have also been given rights to other blocks.
Full article: Turkish warship monitors Cyprus gas exploration (World Bulletin)

September 29, 2014

Samaras: Greece won't need more bailouts

"Freedom means to be upright and strong," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Saturday, addressing an event for the 40th anniversary since the founding of the conservative New Democracy party. Explaining the government's policy choices, ND's president said the country was emerging from its six-year recession in the third quarter of 2014, would not need a new bailout and that the government was now delivering on its promise to end the economic crisis.
      "We were never the ones who said: 'There is money'," he underlined to a packed audience in an Athos Palace Hotel banquet hall in Kallithea, Halkidiki. "We in New Democracy are proud of what we did 40 years ago and we continue to be proud. We have strong roots, we are firmly grounded in the present and ready to make the leap to the future."
The choice of venue was symbolic, since it was in the same banquet hall that ND's founder Constantine Karamanlis had held the party's first pre-congress in April 1977 and then its first congress in May 1979.

The prime minister also attacked main opposition SYRIZA, saying it would "never become a government because it did not even manage to become an opposition," and that SYRIZA will continue to lose voters now that things were improving since the attitude 'there is money' was more frightening to voters.
     "They are playing with things that are well over their heads," he added, accusing SYRIZA of "incurable populism".
He stressed that the country will not need any more bailouts or memorandums, nor will it need the money from the current loan tranches that remain in the next year, while he also announced that measures to relieve the heavy tax burden were imminent.
     "The worst is over," he said in response to questions, "and better times are coming." Whereas, a few months ago, the discussion was focused on whether new austerity measures would be necessary, now the main issue was the tax relief that was coming, he pointed out.
     "A year ago, we were talking about how much higher unemployment would go. Now unemployment is starting to steadily decrease! A short while ago the debate was about how much longer the recession will last. Whereas now that the recovery is beginning, we are concerned about how fast the growth will be in coming years," he said.
The prime minister analysed ND's role in dealing with the crisis, stressing that the party may have made some mistakes over its history, failing to resist those things that led Greece to the crisis in the first place, but had not stooped to the populism that lay behind it and shown great responsibility, not hesitating to support the country during difficult times.

Referring to ND's initial opposition to the bailout memorandums while main opposition, he pointed out that the party had nevertheless supported most crucial measures to cut wasteful spending and for structural changes that should have been made years earlier, before the crisis was reached. "For this we are proud," he underlined.

He also pointed out that ND was later vindicated in opposing the terms of the first memorandums, since both the policy mix and multipliers of the programme were proved wrong, but had not opted to "rest on its laurels" at the country's expense:
     "At the crucial moment, I preferred to change its course, to change its fate insteady of basking in the 'glory' of my country's destruction. Many warned me that I'd been given a hand grenade that could go off in my hands. I knew it! But I held on and I defused that grenade. I did not let it go off. Someone had to do it and it was us. This is the legacy of New Democracy."
For these reasons, he added, the party stayed upright when everything around it was tottering, acting as the main pillar of stability for the present, the main force that would bring the country out of the crisis and the main force that would bring the future of growth, competitiveness and an open economy.

He attacked SYRIZA, by contrast, as a "ghost from the past" and as "sirens of populism":
     "They pretend they want to change the whole world but do not themselves want to change even the slightest thing that is wrong with Greece. They want the world to change but for Greece to make do with yesterday," he said.
The government, Samaras stressed was committed to leading Greece out of the memorandum as soon as possible, something that was happening now, and committed to carrying out and continuing to carry out reforms to make Greece a modern, European country.

Part of this effort he added, was a new Constitution that would allow the country to make faster and more decisive progress in reforms and bring growth and prosperity to all, announcing that this effort will begin in the coming months.
     "This development for the Constitution will be the issue that will dominate 2015," he said.
     "This is what freedom means: to keep a country upright, to strengthen it, to put it in international markets, to overcome its inflexibilities, upgrade its role in energy issues and geopolitically and everywhere. To overcome the crisis as quickly as possible," the prime minister stressed, adding that this was all happening as others were trying to once again mire the country in the deficits that had cast it down and humiliated it.
Among others, Samaras attacked the main opposition for 'mixed messages' concerning Greece's position in EuroAtlantic institutions, especially in light of the volatile situation in the Middle East when many countries were lining up to join the EU and align themselves with the West.
     "At this time, to undermine the country's European position is therefore dangerous. To undermine the country's position in NATO is surely disastrous," he stressed.
Emphasing that support of national issues and religious symbols have always been core values of his party, Samaras also referred to the main opposition's 'silence' regarding the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, who were being driven from their homes in great numbers.

He wrapped up his speech by referring to the party's role in historic milestones of Greece's course, from its founding by Constantine Karamanlis and its entry into Europe right to the present day, as well as its warnings against the populism and policies that Greece had paid for so dearly.

Stressing that the party will continue to be the dominant political force in Greece, he urged the party's supporters and "all those that want to see Greece better and stronger," to join in the party's struggle.

The event was attended by former premier Costas Karamanlis, the nephew of the party's founder, several ministers, MPs and high-ranking members of the party. Speeches will also be made by Petros Molyviatis, Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Parliament President Vangelis Meimarakis, Vassilis Mihaloliakos and ND Political Committee Secretary Andreas Papamimikos.


Greece: Only EU country without guaranteed minimum income

Although the government has promised to start a pilot guaranteed minimum income programme the envisaged payment of 200 Euros a month for a single person on no income would still leave him or her below the poverty line of 432 Euros a month for one person

Greece is the only EU country not to have implemented a guaranteed minimum income and is among the most sluggish in adopting programmes to address social inequality and aid citizens living in extreme poverty and social exclusion, a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office has found.

This is despite the fact that six in ten citizens are living in or at risk of poverty, the PBO report (pdf), which was published on Thursday, said.
     “The demand for social responsibility on the part of citizens is pronounced but what the state offers is characterised by fragmentation and administrative problems. Thus the social safety net is characterised by inefficiency, while at the same time there is are no expectations that income lost due to the economic downturn will be replenished in the near future,” the report stated.
The government has said that, this month, a new 20 million Euros, six-month pilot programme will begin in 13 municipalities which will provide what it says is a minimum income. Monthly payments will range from 200 Euros a month for a single person on no income to 400 Euros for a married couple with two underage children with no other earnings.

Those payments will still leave recipients below the poverty line, which the PBO report sets at 432 Euros a month for one person or 908  Euros for a family of four.

The PBO singled out specific social groups which it said deserved “special care”. These included the long-term unemployed, new entrants to the labour market, uninsured workers, breadwinners on low incomes, the self-employed, the elderly and people with disability.
     “These groups have experienced the accumulation of debt, the loss of purchasing power, reduced incomes and increased taxes,” the report added.
The report listed Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden as the countries with the most robust guaranteed minimum income programmes.

Most programmes combine cash payments as well as payments in kind, such as free medical care in Cyprus. Commonly, each country requires that applicants have a minimum number of years of legal residency in order to benefit. Some countries also limit the benefits to their own citizens, although Cyprus is the only state not to have any such restriction.


According to the PBO report, entitled “Minimum income policies in the EU and Greece: a comparative analysis”, 2.5 million citizens are already living below the poverty line in Greece, with a further 3.8 million at risk of poverty.

The report set the poverty line –the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country – at €432 a month for one person or €908 for a family of four.

The threshold for those deemed to be at risk of poverty, ie those whose income is 60% or less of the general average, was €665 for one person and €1,397 for a family of four.

The report also said that the minimum household costs (excluding rent and mortgage payments) in Attica, which includes the Athens, was 233 Euros for one person and 684 Euros for a family of four.


Greece-Cyprus-Egypt Alliance: New Pillar of Stability in Mediterranean

The Foreign Affairs Ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt (Evangelos Venizelos, Ioannis Kasoulidis and Sameh Shoukry, respectively) issued a joint communique at the weekend, after holding a meeting in New York. In their communique, the Ministers praised the progress of the ongoing negotiations regarding mutually beneficial sectors, while it also points out that this new alliance could turn out to be a new pillar of stability in the Mediterranean.

All three FMs had the opportunity to evaluate and discuss latest developments in the region and underlined the importance of cooperation, particularly in the energy sector.

Both Greece and Cyprus offered their support to the Egyptian government and its people, but also praised the efforts made to adopt a new Constitution via referendum between January 14-15 which press reports claim aims to entrench basic human rights.

On the issue of Cyprus, all three men lauded the recent appointment of Espen Barth Eide as UN Special Envoy to Cyprus and repeated their commitment towards finding a solution to the Cypriot dispute, based on UN Security Council resolutions.

Turning to matters in the Middle East, and specifically to Gaza, all three Ministers stressed the importance of the two sides resuming negotiations in order to come up with a mutually-accepted solution that can sustain peace. The FMs also expressed their hope that the talks scheduled to begin in Norway on October 12th is going to work towards this goal.

On other matters, and especially on the developments in Iraq and Syria, particularly regarding human rights violations and terrorist activities, (minority groups being persecuted by ISIL), the ministers noted the importance of collective action under the UN, but at the same time warned that other extremist groups are also operating in the region.

ANALYSIS - Turn the Tables On West: Stop Aggression in Syria!

Bangkok-based geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci says that the terrorist group ISIS is in fact the very proxy mercenaries that were created with the aim of fighting the West's proxy war against Iran and its arc of influence stretching from Iraq, through Syria, and into Lebanon. He bases his argument on an article published in the New Yorker by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh four years before the Arab Spring. He even reveals how the West flooded this unstable region in the Middle East with billions of dollars worth of military equipment and weapons, as well as provided the training and cash for the purpose of bolstering "moderate rebels". Tony Cartalucci says that despite everything that is unfolding before our eyes there still exists an opportunity to turn the tables on the West, using its propaganda and the precedents it has set against it and its insidious agenda. 

Tony Cartalucci - NEO via LD - As the US begins token airstrikes on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border, the fighting capacity of the "Islamic State" or "ISIS," has seen no visible setbacks. This is because ISIS is in fact the very proxy mercenaries intentionally created to fight the West's proxy war against Iran and its arc of influence stretching from neighboring Iraq, through Syria, and into Lebanon.

As early as 2007 - a full 4 years before the 2011 "Arab Spring" would begin - Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article titled, ""The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?" would warn specifically (emphasis added):
    To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
After the West's flooding of the region with billions of dollars worth of weapons, equipment, vehicles, training, and cash for the purpose of bolstering "moderate rebels," what has emerged is precisely the "extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam" and are "sympathetic to Al Qaeda" Hersh warned about in 2007. The West has thus far otherwise failed to explain who else besides extremists could have received the aid, or who is funding extremists above and beyond the collective support provided by the US, Europe, and the West's Middle Eastern partners, that have allowed these extremists to dominate the battlefield so decisively.

Now the US claims it must raise another army of "moderate" ground troops to augment its aerial bombardment of "ISIS." But in reality, attacks on phantom enemies in the desert serve the singular purpose of creating a no-fly zone and no-drive zone for Syria's military, preventing the final annihilation of the West's terrorist mercenaries in Syrian territory and in fact giving them a second chance to finally march on the gates of Damascus with US airpower in tow.

For all intents and purposes, the US through its airstrikes has carved out a defacto buffer zone protected by US airpower. The ground troops it seeks to deploy "against ISIS" are intended instead for Damascus, the overthrow of the Syrian government, and the handover of Syria to sectarian warlords for the same genocidal conflagration still being suffered in Libya after a similar "intervention" by the US and its NATO allies.

Turning the Tables 

Despite this diabolical, criminal conspiracy unfolding before the world's eyes - a verbatim repeat of the crimes against humanity committed by NATO in Libya - there still exists an opportunity to turn the tables on the West, using its propaganda and the precedents it has set against it and its insidious agenda.

While in all actuality ISIS and other extremist factions already constitute the ground component of the West's campaign against Damascus, now enjoying sanctuary under the cover of US airpower, the general public neither knows this, nor would ever accept this should they find out. The rhetorical hysteria surrounding the "awesome threat" ISIS suddenly poses to the world still has considerable momentum.

In a move of geopolitical redirection, Syria's allies can cite that "awesome threat" of ISIS as impetus for their own actions in Syria - and more specifically - an overt, wide-ranging, arming, training, and funding regiment for forces already on the ground, already guaranteed not to be extremists, and the only legitimate force in Syrian territory - the Syrian Arab Army.

The Syrian Arab Army or More "Moderates?" - A Clear Choice 

Indeed, the biggest quandary facing the West's next attempt to overthrow Syria is the creation of its "ground force." These troops would by necessity need to be indeed "moderates," and not simply "more moderate" than the boogeymen Western propaganda has created under the name "ISIS." Already, terrorists factions confirmed to have been armed with heavy weapons by the US have condemned airstrikes on ISIS and have openly admitted they fight alongside and within the ranks of Al Qaeda itself.

Image: "Moderates" armed with US anti-tank missiles have recently condemned airstrikes on ISIS in Syria and have admitted to fighting alongside Al Qaeda's al-Nusra - a US designated terrorists organization.

The Daily Beast would report in its article, "Al Qaeda Plotters in Syria ‘Went Dark,’ U.S. Spies Say," that (emphasis added):
    One Syrian rebel group supported in the past by the United States condemned the air strikes on Tuesday. Harakat Hazm, a rebel group that received a shipment of U.S. anti-tank weapons in the spring, called the airstrikes “an attack on national sovereignty” and charged that foreign led attacks only strengthen the Assad regime.The statement comes from a document, purportedly from the group, that has circulated online and was posted in English translation from a Twitter account called Syria Conflict Monitor. Several Syria experts, including the Brookings Doha Center's Charles Lister, believe the document to be authentic.
    Before the official statement, there were signs that Harakat Hazm was making alliances in Syria that could conflict with its role as a U.S. partner. In early Septemeber a Harakat Hazm official told a reporter for the L.A. Times: “Inside Syria, we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusra Front was going to battle us…But Nusra doesn't fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”
Harakat Hazm is the rule, not the exception. Beyond the nebulous title "moderates," the West has thus far failed to name any of these actual groups - because they do not exist. Weapons and cash it is pouring into Syria have ended up "alongside" Al Qaeda's al-Nusra front and ISIS, just as groups like Harakat Hazm have.

Russia, China, and Iran have an opportunity to cite the Syrian Arab Army as the most capable and appropriate force in the region with which to fight ISIS - a task the Syrian Arab Army has been demonstrably doing since at least 2011. It was the US State Department itself that stated in their official designation of Jabhat al-Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization that Al Qaeda and other hardcore sectarian terrorists had been fighting the Syrian government, spearheading the violence in Syria since the conflict began in 2011.

The US State Department's official press statement titled, "Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa'ida in Iraq," stated explicitly that:
    Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.
It is no stretch then to characterize Syria's conflict as one between a secular government and a menagerie of foreign-backed sectarian extremists. Without even mentioning these extremists' foreign sponsors, Syria's allies can use the current hysteria created by the Western media itself to offer overt and wide-ranging military and political support to the Syrian government and above all, the Syrian people. Beyond the buffer zone the West is struggling tactically, strategically, and politically to establish and maintain, will be a Syrian nation-state backed with the resources necessary to stop further aggression in its tracks and roll back the terrorist hordes the West is clearly perpetuating within Syria's borders and all along them.

The US is Not the Only Nation Entitled to "Defend" Itself Against ISIS 

The US appears to believe it is entitled to unilaterally attack, invade, and even occupy nations to "defend" itself against supposed threats. In the case of Syria, it is clear that after multiple failed attempts to sell regime change under the pretext of supporting "democracy," multiple manufactured "humanitarian" pretexts, and the threat of "chemical weapons," neutralizing ISIS is simply the latest excuse in a long line of verified, increasingly desperate lies being used to advance the West's agenda in the Middle East.

Russia - threatened explicitly by ISIS terrorists - and China are both demonstrably facing sectarian extremists within their own borders - many of whom are directly linked to Al Qaeda. Both could easily make a case for assisting the Syrian government in eliminating the "ISIS threat." Moscow and Beijing - and many others - could argue that clearly the West's strategy of arming "moderates" has failed, and their latest plan to arm and train between 5,000-15,000 more is a disaster in the making.

Instead, the secular nation-state of Syria should be given the resources and support it needs to finally bury the threat of extremism it itself has warned the world of since the West began disingenuously both stoking and perpetuating the conflict in 2011. If the West can unilaterally begin military operations within a sovereign nation and without a mandate from either Syria or the UN, surely Syria's allies can offer substantial and overt material and political support if given Damascus' approval.

For the so-called "moderates" - if any in fact exist - an opportunity to join the Syrian government in its fight and broker a truce with government forces could be an attractive alternative to the zero-sum and zero-gain scenario Washington has planned for Syrians on both sides of the conflict.

A Syrian soldier needs only look at the current state of Libya to understand the necessity to continue fighting on, and any genuine rebels there may be can do likewise, understanding the ploy against their own nation they have been used and abused for, and the ignoble end their fight is leading toward.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” featured on Land Destroyer.

Iran Threatens to Attack ISIS 'deep' Inside Iraq If They Advance Near Border

According to fresh reports, Iran is getting set to attack Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inside Iraq if they advance near the border. AINA quoted ground forces commander Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdestana as saying that:
     "If the terrorist group [ISIS] comes near our borders, we will attack deep into Iraqi territory and we will not allow it to approach our border," the official IRNA news agency quoted Pourdestana as saying.
ISIS controls a swathe of territory north of Baghdad, including in Diyala province, which borders Shiite Iran.

The United States launched air strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq in August and has since widened them to Syria, where the group has its headquarters, as part of an international coalition to crush the group.

Iran is a close ally of the Shiite-led government in Iraq and has been unusually accepting of U.S. military action in Iraq against the jihadists.

It has provided support to both the Iraqi government and Iraqi Kurdish forces fighting the militants and has dispatched weapons and military advisers. But Tehran, a close ally of the Damascus government, has criticized air strikes on Syria, saying they would not help restore stability in the region.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said he rejected a U.S. offer to join the international coalition it has been building against the militants.


BBC DOCUMENTARY On Fugitive Paleokostas: Is He Greece's Robin Hood?

The Uncatchable takes an immersive approach to explain the biography of a Vassilis Paleokostas, dubbed Greece’s Robin Hood, because of his legendary habit of distributing the proceeds of his crimes to people in need

It certainly is the stuff of movies and now that an extensive and gripping feature article detailing his life, bank-robbing and kidnapping exploits and two helicopter prison escapes has appeared on the BBC, fugitive Vassilis Paleokostas (48) could certainly expect that someday his fascinating story could make it to the silver screen.

Researched and written by Los Angeles-based British journalist Jeff Maysh over many months, The Uncatchable takes an immersive approach to explain the biography of a man dubbed Greece’s Robin Hood, because of his legendary habit of distributing the proceeds of his crimes to people in need: from poor farmers, girls needing dowries and migrants.

For the article, Maysh spoke to many people who know Paleokostas, including his father, Leonidas, and Costas Samaras, aka the Artist, who was a mentor to the young Paleokostas and his brother. Alket Rizai, the Albanian hitman who fled with Paleokostas in the second helicopter escape, also spoke to Maysh from his prison cell.

The Trikala-born brigand, who remains at large, would certainly take great pleasure if a movie ever materialised, considering his life-long love for action movies, a passion that developed when his family moved down from the mountains in the 1970s and got electricity for the first time. Indeed, when police swooped in on him in 2008, they found a DVD of Ransom and the Al Pacino movie Heat, about two veteran bank robbers evading the cops.


September 26, 2014

ANALYSIS - Is Turkey Preparing for Syria Occupation? - (VIDEOS)

Image: Turkey's population suffers the consequences of conflict stoked intentionally across its border with Syria by its own government in Ankara. Refugees created by chaos of NATO's own meddling are straining state resources that should be used to develop Turkey. (AP)

The following article was writen by geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci and first published on Land Destroyer. Cartalucci says that the Turkish government signaled a policy change this week in actively joining the international coalition led by the United States against the jihadist threat in Iraq and Syria. He also reveals that Turkey has served as a safe haven for ISIS terrorists for the past 3-4 years and further argues that billions in cash, weapons, equipment, and even vehicles used to build what is now a mercenary force contesting power simultaneously in three nations - Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq - were provided by nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar and funneled into terrorist hands by US CIA agents operating along Turkey's border with Syria. Finally he reveals that plans to carve off territory from Syria in order to create "buffer zones" was in fact part of the US agenda for Syria long before the threat of ISIS! ISIS, in his opinion, is simply the latest construct being used by the West and the rich Arab States to implement this very strategy. This is a MUST READ! (Photos & Article LD).

Tony Cartalucci (LD) - As Western-backed terrorists drive allegedly tens of thousands of refugees into Turkish territory, and amid what is being called a "sustainable, persistent campaign" of air assaults, missile strikes, and other assorted attacks on Syrian territory, the West is preparing to dust off plans to establish a "buffer zone" in northern Syria protected by NATO troops - particularly from Turkey.

Hurriyet Daily News in its article, "Turkey’s top soldier inspects troops on Syrian border as gov't signals joining anti-ISIL bid, " indicated Turkey was preparing to join the unilateral, illegal strikes on Syria led by the US and backed by several Persian Gulf autocracies. Hurriyet reported:
    Turkey’s land forces commander inspected troops along the Syrian border on Sept. 24, as the Turkish government signaled a policy change in actively joining the international coalition led by the United States against the jihadist threat in Iraq and Syria.
    Land Forces Commander Gen. Hulusi Akar visited Turkey’s military facilities and troops deployed along the Syrian border, where he was briefed by officers in the field.
    Turkey boosted its military presence along the Syrian border to deal with refugee influx in recent years and with the potential Syrian offensive last year. There are also reports that the army has intensified its military mobility in the region after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked the Syrian Kurds in the Kobane region bordering Turkey.
Image: Even maps of ISIS territory used by the Western media reveal well-defined corridors leading from Turkish territory and into both Syria and Iraq. It is clear that ISIS is not a "state," but rather an invasion and occupation originating from NATO territory.

While last year's planned military offensive was to directly strike at the Syrian Arab Army for provocations later revealed to have been false flag attacks carried out against Turkey by the Turkish government itself, it appears that now the so-called "Islamic State," (ISIS) will serve as cover for NATO's extraterritorial ambitions.

ISIS, which is neither Islamic, nor a state, is the culmination of years of US, European, Persian Gulf, and Turkish cash, weapons, and semi-covert support.

Turkey in particular has served as a safe haven for ISIS terrorists for the past 3-4 years. In fact, maps showing ISIS' territory across the Western media have clearly defined corridors leading directly from Turkish territory. The billions in cash, weapons, equipment, and even vehicles used to build what is now a mercenary force contesting power simultaneously in three nations - Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq - were provided by nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar and funneled into terrorist hands by US CIA agents operating along Turkey's border with Syria.

Despite the rhetorical shell game of renaming this mercenary force to confuse an unwitting public, no other explanation accounts for the scale of ISIS' operations beyond concerted multinational state-sponsorship. If Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq are fighting ISIS, through the process of elimination, these state-sponsors - whether they admit it or not - can be easily identified.

Turkey's Planned Occupation of Syria is a Documented Conspiracy 

Carving off territory from Syria and creating "buffer zones" was part of the US agenda in Syria for years - long before the threat of ISIS was wielded as a potential pretext for direct US military intervention. ISIS is simply the latest construct being used to implement the strategy.

While the idea of a buffer zone is meant to look like the latest honest attempt to solve a growing regional crisis and to "win" the war in Syria, in reality this has been planned since at least March of 2012, where the idea was proposed by the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution in their "Middle East Memo #21" "Assessing Options for Regime Change" where it stated specifically (emphasis added):
    "An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts."
Image: The Brookings Institution, Middle East Memo #21 "Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf)," makes no secret that the humanitarian "responsibility to protect" is but a pretext for long-planned regime change. Failing to sell the "humanitarian intervention," the old "War on Terror" has been dusted off and utilized as a pretext. 

Brookings continues by describing how Turkey's aligning of vast amounts of weapons and troops along its border in coordination with Israeli efforts in the south of Syria, could help effect violent regime change in Syria (emphasis added):
    In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly. 
Clearly, a "buffer zone" is the next step for Western designs aimed at exacting regime change in Syria. It is also a step that merely needs a pretext to move forward. In 2012, fabricated border incidents with Turkey were being used to help implement this strategy but failed. Now the threat of ISIS is being used to resell the exact same scheme.

Turkey's Daily Sabah would report in an article titled, "Turkish Army to be Authorized in Iraq and Syria. Davutoglu Says," that:
    Turkish government will ask for the parliament's authorization for military operations in Syria and Iraq, the newly-elected PM Ahmet Davutoğlu said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The paper would also report:
    "There can be two different bills depending on the risks in the region," Davutoğlu said. "We hope that the security situation will not deteriorate for Turkey in the region and that we will not have to send armed forces."
    Turkey will, however, take every means necessary against risks that will jeopardize the country's national security and the region's stability, according to Davutoğlu.
Of course, with US airstrikes carving out a vacuum soon to be filled with extremists uncontested by the Syrian Arab Army forced to back off in fear of provoking further Western aggression, the situation will undoubtedly "deteriorate." Just as Turkey staged false flag operations along its border last year in attempts to trigger a war with Syria directly, and by supporting terrorists resulting in a predictable humanitarian catastrophe now spilling over into Turkey' territory, the vacuum the US is intentionally creating is meant to be filled with terrorist mercenaries and NATO forces to protect them as the front is inched ever closer to Damascus in the form of a "buffer zone."

The only way for Syria to prevent this from happening is for it and its allies to quickly assemble tactical, strategic, and political means with which to fill the void in eastern Syria to prevent the West's "sustainable, persistent campaign" from taking root. Because if this campaign does take root, any attempts by Damascus to retake territory the West and its terrorist proxies are operating in  may trigger a direct confrontation between the US and Damascus - the ultimate provocation the West is searching for to conclude its long-stalled plans for regime change in Syria.

Long-term US operations in Syrian territory, with or without Turkish forces involved, could still be turned into a trap by Syria and its allies. By avoiding provocations and direct military confrontation with the West, Syria can use proxy forces to ensnare the West in yet another protracted and costly quagmire. Such a strategy would require building up enhanced deterrence against further incursions toward vital Syrian population centers along with immeasurable political patience. The West will be left with further delays and complications, as well as immense costs that will become increasingly difficult to justify before an already war-weary Western public.

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