April 24, 2014

West Marches East - Part 1: The U.S.-NATO Strategy to Isolate Russia

A little historical context to help elucidate the current clash of gangster states.

(Andrew Gavin Marshall - Boiling Frogs Post) - In early March of 2014, following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in Ukraine, the New York Times editorial board declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “stepped far outside the bounds of civilized behavior,” suggesting that Russia should be isolated politically and economically in the face of “continued aggression.”

John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, lashed out at Russia’s ” incredible act of aggression,” stating that: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on [a] completely trumped up pre-text.” Indeed, invading foreign nations on “trumped up pre-texts” is something only the United States and its allies are allowed to do, not Russia! What audacity!

Even Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, proclaimed Russia’s actions in Ukraine to be ” aggressive, militaristic and imperialistic ,” threatening “the peace and stability of the world.” This is, of course, despite the fact that Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea took place without a single shot fired, and “faced no real opposition and has been greeted with joy by many citizens in the only region of Ukraine with a clear majority of ethnic Russians.”

Indeed, Russia can only be said to be an “aggressive” and “imperial” power so long as one accepts the unrelenting hypocrisy of U.S. and Western leaders. After all, it was not Russia that invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, killing millions. It is not Putin, but rather Barack Obama, who has waged a “global terror campaign,” compiling “kill lists” and using flying killer robots to bomb countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and even the Philippines, killing thousands of people around the world. It is not Putin, but rather, Barack Obama, who has been sending highly-trained killers into over 100 countries around the world at any given time, waging a “secret war” in most of the world’s nations. It was not Russia, but rather the United States, that has supported the creation of “death squads” in Iraq, contributing to the mass violence, civil war and genocide that resulted; or that has been destabilizing Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation, increasing the possibility of nuclear war.

All of these actions are considered to be a part of America’s strategy to secure ‘stability,’ to promote ‘peace’ and ‘democracy.’ It’s Russia that threatens “the peace and stability of the world,” not America or its NATO and Western allies. That is, of course, if you believe the verbal excretions from Western political leaders. The reality is that the West, with the United States as the uncontested global superpower, engages the rest of the world on the basis of ‘Mafia Principles’ of international relations: the United States is the global ‘Godfather’ of the Mafia crime family of Western industrial nations (the NATO powers). Countries like Russia and China are reasonably-sized crime families in their own right, but largely dependent upon the Godfather, with whom they both cooperate and compete for influence.

When the Mafia – and the Godfather – are disobeyed, whether by small nations (such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, et. al.), or by larger gangster states like China or Russia, the Godfather will seek to punish them. Disobedience cannot be tolerated. If a small country can defy the Godfather, then any country can. If a larger gangster state like Russia can defy the Godfather and get away with it, they might continue to challenge the authority of the Godfather.

For the U.S. and its NATO-capo Mafia allies, Ukraine and Russia have presented a complex challenge: how does one punish Russia and control Ukraine without pushing Russia too far outside the influence of the Mafia, itself? In other words, the West seeks to punish Russia for its “defiance” and “aggression,” but, if the West pushes too hard, it might find a Russia that pushes back even harder. That is, after all, how we got into this situation in the first place.

A little historical context helps elucidate the current clash of gangster states. Put aside the rhetoric of “democracy” and let’s deal with reality.

The Cold War Legacy

The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991 witnessed the emergence of what was termed by President George H.W. Bush a ‘new world order’ in which the United States reigned as the world’s sole superpower, proclaiming ‘victory’ over the Soviet Union and ‘Communism’: the age of ‘free markets’ and ‘democracy’ was at hand.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 prompted the negotiated withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Eastern Europe. The ‘old order’ of Europe was at an end, and a new one “needed to be established quickly,” noted Mary Elise Sarotte in the New York Times. This ‘new order’ was to begin with “the rapid reunification of Germany.” Negotiations took place in 1990 between Soviet president Gorbachev, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and President Bush’s Secretary of State, James A. Baker 3rd. The negotiations sought to have the Soviets remove their 380,000 troops from East Germany. In return, both James Baker and Helmut Kohl promised Gorbachev that the Western military alliance of NATO would not expand eastwards. West Germany’s foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, promised Gorbachev that, ” NATO will not expand itself to the East.” Gorbachev agreed, though asked – and did not receive – the promise in writing, remaining a “gentlemen’s agreement.”

The U.S. Ambassador to the USSR from 1987 to 1991, John F. Matlock Jr., later noted that the end of the Cold War was not ‘won’ by the West, but was brought about “by negotiation to the advantage of both sides.” Yet, he noted, “the United States insisted on treating Russia as the loser .” The United States almost immediately violated the agreement established in 1990, and NATO began moving eastwards, much to the dismay of the Russians. The new Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, warned that NATO’s expansion to the East threatened a ‘cold peace’ and was a violation of the ” spirit of conversations ” that took place in February of 1990 between Soviet, West German and American leaders.

In 1990, President Bush’s National Security Strategy for the United States acknowledged that, “even as East-West tensions diminish, American strategic concerns remain,” noting that previous U.S. military interventions which were justified as a response to Soviet ‘threats’, were – in actuality – “in response to threats to U.S. interests that could not be laid at the Kremlin’s door,” and that, “the necessity to defend our interests will continue.” In other words, decades of justifications for war by the United States – blaming ‘Soviet imperialism’ and ‘Communism’ – were lies, and now that the Soviet Union no longer existed as a threat, American imperialism will still have to continue.

Former National Security Adviser – and arch-imperial strategist – Zbigniew Brzezinski noted in 1992 that the Cold War strategy of the United States in advocating “liberation” against the USSR and Communism (thus justifying military interventions all over the world), ” was a strategic sham, designed to a significant degree for domestic political reasons… the policy was basically rhetorical, at most tactical.”

The Pentagon drafted a strategy in 1992 for the United States to manage the post-Cold War world, where the primary mission of the U.S. was “to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union.” As the New York Times noted, the document – largely drafted by Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney – “makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.”

This strategy was further enshrined with the Clinton administration, whose National Security Adviser, Anthony Lake, articulated the ‘Clinton doctrine’ in 1993 when he stated that: “The successor to a doctrine of containment must be a strategy of enlargement – enlargement of the world’s free community of market democracies,” which “must combine our broad goals of fostering democracy and markets with our more traditional geostrategic interests.”

Under Bill Clinton’s imperial presidency, the United States and NATO went to war against Serbia, ultimately tore Yugoslavia to pieces (itself representative of a ‘third way’ of organizing society, different than both the West and the USSR), and NATO commenced its Eastward expansion . In the late 1990s, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic entered the NATO alliance, and in 2004, seven former Soviet republics joined the alliance.

In 1991, roughly 80% of Russians had a ‘favorable’ view of the United States; by 1999, roughly 80% had an unfavorable view of America. Vladimir Putin, who was elected in 2000, initially followed a pro-Western strategy for Russia, supporting NATO’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, receiving only praise from President George W. Bush, who then proceeded to expand NATO further east .

The Color Revolutions

Throughout the 2000s, the United States and other NATO powers, allied with billionaires like George Soros and his foundations scattered throughout the world, worked together to fund and organize opposition groups in multiple countries across Eastern and Central Europe, promoting ‘democratic regime change’ which would ultimately bring to power more pro-Western leaders. It began in 2000 in Serbia with the removal of Slobodan Milosevic.

The United States had undertaken a $41 million “democracy-building campaign” in Serbia to remove Milosevic from power, which included funding polls, training thousands of opposition activists, which the Washington Post referred to as “the first poll-driven, focus group-tested revolution,” which was “a carefully researched strategy put together by Serbian democracy activists with the active assistance of Western advisers and pollsters.” Utilizing U.S.-government funded organizations aligned with major political parties, like the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) channeled money, assistance and training to activists (Michael Dobbs, Washington Post, 11 December 2000).

Mark Almond wrote in the Guardian in 2004 that, “throughout the 1980s, in the build-up to 1989′s velvet revolutions, a small army of volunteers – and, let’s be frank, spies – co-operated to promote what became People Power.” This was represented by “a network of interlocking foundations and charities [which] mushroomed to organize the logistics of transferring millions of dollars to dissidents.” The money itself ” came overwhelmingly from NATO states and covert allies such as ‘neutral’ Sweden,” as well as through the billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. Almond noted that these “modern market revolutionaries” would bring people into office “with the power to privatize.” Activists and populations are mobilized with “a multimedia vision of Euro-Atlantic prosperity by Western-funded ‘independent’ media to get them on the streets.” After successful Western-backed ‘revolutions’ comes the usual economic ‘shock therapy’ which brings with it “mass unemployment, rampant insider dealing, growth of organized crime, prostitution and soaring death rates.” Ah, democracy!

Following Serbia in 2000, the activists, Western ‘aid agencies’, foundations and funders moved their resources to the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where in 2003, the ‘Rose Revolution’ replaced the president with a more pro-Western (and Western-educated) leader, Mikheil Saakashvili, a protégé of George Soros, who played a significant role in funding so-called ‘pro-democracy’ groups in Georgia that the country has often been referred to as ‘Sorosistan’. In 2004, Ukraine became the next target of Western-backed ‘democratic’ regime change in what became known as the ‘Orange Revolution’. Russia viewed these ‘color revolutions’ as “U.S.-sponsored plots using local dupes to overthrow governments unfriendly to Washington and install American vassals.”

Mark MacKinnon, who was the Globe and Mail‘s Moscow bureau chief between 2002 and 2005, covered these Western-funded protests and has since written extensively on the subject of the ‘color revolutions.’ Reviewing a book of his on the subject, the Montreal Gazette noted that these so-called revolutions were not “spontaneous popular uprisings, but in fact were planned and financed either directly by American diplomats or through a collection of NGOs acting as fronts for the United States government,” and that while there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with the ruling, corrupt elites in each country, the ‘democratic opposition’ within these countries received their “marching orders and cash from American and European officials, whose intentions often had to do more with securing access to energy resources and pipeline routes than genuine interest in democracy.”

The ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine in 2004 was – as Ian Traynor wrote in the Guardian – ” an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing,” with funding and organizing from the U.S. government, “deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-governmental organizations.”

In Ukraine, the contested elections which spurred the ‘Orange Revolution’ saw accusations of election fraud leveled against Viktor Yanukovich by his main opponent, Viktor Yuschenko. Despite claims of upholding democracy, Yuschenko had ties to the previous regime, having served as Prime Minister in the government of Leonid Kuchma, and with that, had close ties to the oligarchs who led and profited from the mass privatizations of the post-Soviet era. Yuschenko, however, “got the western nod, and floods of money poured into groups which support[ed] him.” As Jonathan Steele noted in the Guardian, “Ukraine has been turned into a geostrategic matter not by Moscow but by the US, which refuses to abandon its cold war policy of encircling Russia and seeking to pull every former Soviet republic to its side.”

As Mark McKinnon wrote in the Globe and Mail some years later, the uprisings in both Georgia and Ukraine “had many things in common, among them the fall of autocrats who ran semi-independent governments that deferred to Moscow when the chips were down,” as well as being “spurred by organizations that received funding from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy,” reflecting a view held by Western governments that “promoting democracy” in places like the Middle East and Eastern Europe was in fact “a code word for supporting pro-Western politicians .” These Western-sponsored uprisings erupted alongside the ever-expanding march of NATO to Russia’s borders.

The following year – in 2005 – the Western-supported ‘colour revolutions’ hit the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan in what was known as the ‘Tulip Revolution’. Once again, contested elections saw the mobilization of Western-backed civil society groups, “independent” media, and NGOs – drawing in the usual funding sources of the National Endowment for Democracy, the NDI, IRI, Freedom House, and George Soros, among others. The New York Times reported that the “democratically inspired revolution” western governments were praising began to look ” more like a garden-variety coup .” Efforts not only by the U.S., but also Britain, Norway and the Netherlands were pivotal in preparing the way for the 2005 uprising in Kyrgyzstan. The then-President of Kyrgyzstan blamed the West for the unrest experienced in his country.

The U.S. NGOs that sponsored the ‘color revolutions’ were run by former top government and national security officials, including Freedom House, which was chaired by former CIA Director James Woolsey, and other “pro-democracy” groups funding these revolts were led by figures such as Senator John McCain or Bill Clinton’s former National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, who had articulated the national security strategy of the Clinton administration as being one of “enlargement of the world’s free community of market democracies.” These organizations effectively act as an extension of the U.S. government apparatus, advancing U.S. imperial interests under the veneer of “pro-democracy” work and institutionalized in purportedly “non”-governmental groups.

By 2010, however, most of the gains of the ‘color revolutions’ that spread across Eastern Europe and Central Asia had taken several steps back. While the “political center of gravity was tilting towards the West,” noted Time Magazine in April of 2010, “now that tend has reversed,” with the pro-Western leadership of both Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan both having once again been replaced with leaders ” far friendlier to Russia.” The “good guys” that the West supported in these countries, “proved to be as power hungry and greedy as their predecessors, disregarding democratic principles… in order to cling to power, and exploiting American diplomatic and economic support as part of [an] effort to contain domestic and outside threats and win financial assistance.” Typical behavior for vassal states to any empire.

The ‘Enlargement’ of the European Union: An Empire of Economics

The process of European integration and growth of the European Union has – over the past three decades – been largely driven by powerful European corporate and financial interests, notably by the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), an influential group of roughly 50 of Europe’s top CEOs who lobby and work directly with Europe’s political elites to design the goals and methods of European integration and enlargement of the EU, advancing the EU to promote and institutionalize neoliberal economic reforms: austerity, privatizations, liberalization of markets and the destruction of labour power.

The enlargement of the European Union into Eastern Europe reflected a process of Eastern European nations having to implement neoliberal reforms in order to join the EU, including mass privatizations, deregulation, liberalization of markets and harsh austerity measures. The enlargement of the EU into Central and Eastern Europe advanced in 2004 and 2007, when new states were admitted into EU membership, including Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

These new EU members were hit hard by the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, and subsequently forced to impose harsh austerity measures. They have been slower to ‘recover’ than other nations, increasingly having to deal with “political instability and mass unemployment and human suffering.” The exception to this is Poland, which did not implement austerity measures, which has left the Polish economy in a better position than the rest of the new EU members. The financial publication Forbes warned in 2013 that “the prospect of endless economic stagnation in the newest EU members… will, sooner or later, bring extremely deleterious political consequences .”

In the words of a senior British diplomat, Robert Cooper, the European Union represents a type of ” cooperative empire.” The expansion of the EU into Central and Eastern Europe brought increased corporate profits, with new investments and cheap labour to exploit. Further, the newer EU members were more explicitly pro-market than the older EU members that continued to promote a different social market economy than those promoted by the Americans and British. With these states joining the EU, noted the Financial Times in 2008, “the new member states have reinforced the ranks of the free marketeers and free traders,” as they increasingly “team up with northern states to vote for deregulation and liberalization of the market.”

The West Marches East

For the past quarter-century, Russia has stood and watched as the United States, NATO, and the European Union have advanced their borders and sphere of influence eastwards to Russia’s borders. As the West has marched East, Russia has consistently complained of encroachment and its views of this process as being a direct threat to Russia. The protests of the former superpower have largely gone ignored or dismissed. After all, in the view of the Americans, they “won” the Cold War, and therefore, Russia has no say in the post-Cold War global order being shaped by the West.

The West’s continued march East to Russia’s borders will continue to be examined in future parts of this series. For Russia, the problem is clear: the Godfather and its NATO-Mafia partners are ever-expanding to its borders, viewed (rightly so) as a threat to the Russian gangster state itself. Russia’s invasion of Crimea – much like its 2008 invasion of Georgia – are the first examples of Russia’s push back against the Western imperial expansion Eastwards. This, then, is not a case of “Russian aggression,” but rather, Russian reaction to the West’s ever-expanding imperialism and global aggression.

The West may think that it has domesticated and beaten down the bear, chained it up, make it dance and whip it into obedience. But every once in a while, the bear will take a swipe back at the one holding the whip. This is inevitable. And so long as the West continued with its current strategy, the reactions will only get worse in time. 

Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, with a focus on studying the ideas, institutions, and individuals of power and resistance across a wide spectrum of social, political, economic, and historical spheres. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project and has a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost

SHOCKING NEWS - Turkish Byzantinist Claims That Holy Cross Is Hidden Under Agia Sophia

As reported in the Turkish newspaper Sabah, Radi Dikici, one of Turkey's most eminent Byzantinists believes that a portion of the True Cross discovered by Empress Helen in the fourth century and brought to Constantinople still resides somewhere in Aagia Sophia, (in a hidden location).

(It should be noted that Radi Dikici has published the books "Bizans İmparatorluğu Tarihi" (History of the Byzantine Empire), "Şu Bizim Bizans" (This Our Byzantium) and a novel titled Empress Theodora)

Historical accounts record how Empress Helen (Saint Elena), upon discovering the Cross outside the walls of Jerusalem, left a portion of it in Jerusalem and brought the rest back to Constantinople together with the nails.

Eventually it was placed in Agia Sophia for veneration.

According to Dikici, there is testimony that when the Crusaders sacked Constantinople in 1204, certain Byzantine dignitaries and priests took the Holy Cross and hid it in a secret place within Agia Sophia.

While Constantinople was under the Latin yoke, eventually those who hid the Cross died and its location has remained hidden ever since. Radi Dikici believes that the True Cross remains hidden somewhere within Agia Sophia.

Whether or not the Cross of Christ is indeed hidden within Agia Sophia today remains a mystery, but it is also interesting that such a story is not only being explored by a Turkish Byzantinist, but that it was circulated in one of Turkey's most popular daily newspapers.

Is it proof of Turkey's growing interest in Orthodox Christianity, it remains to be seen.

john sanidopoulos

Greek & German Researchers Prove That Paintings of Sunsets Estimate Pollution Levels

IMAGE : The Lake, Petworth: Sunset, Fighting Bucks (c. 1829) was one of the paintings by J. M. W. Turner analyzed by Zerefos et al. to study the past atmosphere. Credit: This work, obtained from WikiPaintings, is in the public domain.
A team of Greek and German researchers has shown that the colours of sunsets painted by famous artists can be used to estimate pollution levels in the Earth's past atmosphere. In particular, the paintings reveal that ash and gas released during major volcanic eruptions scatter the different colours of sunlight, making sunsets appear more red. The results are published today in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

When the Tambora volcano in Indonesia erupted in 1815, painters in Europe could see the colours of the sky changing. The volcanic ash and gas spewed into the atmosphere travelled the world and, as these aerosol particles scattered sunlight, they produced bright red and orange sunsets in Europe for up to three years after the eruption. J. M. W. Turner was one of the artists who painted the stunning sunsets during that time. Now, scientists are using his, and other great masters', paintings to retrieve information on the composition of the past atmosphere.
     "Nature speaks to the hearts and souls of great artists," says lead-author Christos Zerefos, a professor of atmospheric physics at the Academy of Athens in Greece. "But we have found that, when colouring sunsets, it is the way their brains perceive greens and reds that contains important environmental information."
Zerefos and his team analysed hundreds of high-quality digital photographs of sunset paintings done between 1500 and 2000, a period including over 50 large volcanic eruptions around the globe. They were looking to find out whether the relative amounts of red and green along the horizon of each painting could provide information on the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere.
     "We found that red-to-green ratios measured in the sunsets of paintings by great masters correlate well with the amount of volcanic aerosols in the atmosphere, regardless of the painters and of the school of painting," says Zerefos.
Skies more polluted by volcanic ash scatter sunlight more, so they appear more red. Similar effects are seen with mineral (desert dust) or man-made aerosols. Air with a higher amount of aerosols has a higher 'aerosol optical depth', a parameter the team calculated using the red-to-green ratios in the paintings. They then compared these values with those given by independent proxies such as ice-core and volcanic-explosivity data, and found good agreement. The results obtained validate those of the team's previous study, published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics in 2007.

To further support their model, the researchers asked a famous colourist to paint sunsets during and after the passage of a Saharan dust cloud over the island of Hydra in June 2010. The painter was not aware of the dust event. The scientists then compared measurements of the aerosol optical depth made by modern instruments with those estimated from the red-to-green ratios of the paintings and of digital photographs, and found that they all matched well.

Since aerosols scatter sunlight, less of it reaches the surface, leading to cooling. The Tambora eruption, the largest in recorded history, killed some 10,000 people directly and over 60,000 more due to the starvation and disease during the 'volcanic winter' that followed. Aerosol optical depth can be directly used in climate models, so having estimates for this parameter helps researchers understand how aerosols have affected the Earth's climate in the past. This, in turn, can help improve predictions of future climate change.
     "We wanted to provide alternative ways of exploiting the environmental information in the past atmosphere in places where, and in centuries when, instrumental measurements were not available," concludes Zerefos.
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics - link to the paper (TBA)

False Greek Prophecy About Lost Malaysia Airlines Flight Goes Viral

After the baffling disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight with almost 240 passengers, an alleged prophecy began going viral in Greek, attributed to a monk named Daniel who lived in Sinai in the 17th century. It was then translated and distributed in many other languages. Obviously the story is WITHOUT a DOUBT FALSE, nonetheless HellasFrappe decided to publish it because it is quite interesting.

According to one news source, it is difficult to trace the origins of this alleged prophecy (which is a red flag in itself). Other red flags are the following:
It is written in modern demotic Greek without a trace of 17th century Greek.No one seems to know who this monk named Daniel is. There is no source given for the prophecy.
It refers to a "Byzantine" flag. 17th century "Greeks" never referred to themselves as "Greeks" nor were they aware of the term "Byzantine". Rather they referred to themselves as Romans and their lost empire as Roman up until the 19th century and the creation of the modern Greek nation.

There is a reference to traveling back in time. Not only is there theological and scientific issues with this, but even such a concept of the possibility of traveling back in time is very modern and in the realm of science fiction.
The monk depicted in the photo that is being circulated with this prophecy is Elder Daniel of Katounakia. This Holy Elder lived in the early 20th century on Mount Athos. He never wrote down any prophecies, but instead he was distinguished as a spiritual father with great discernment, and he is even known for exposing such false prophecies and end-time hysteria.
Below is the post that was circulated and beneath that is an interpretation of the following:

The Prophecy of Elder Daniel Confirmed

The monk Daniel lived in the monastery of Sinai in the late 17th century...
      "The bird will be suddenly lost above the slit-eyed and will travel back in time. Many will search but they will not find. Then war will catch from above. The Orthodox will unite and vanquish the Frank and the Tiara. The short Muscovite together with our own will raise once again the Byzantine flag of the Queen City at the hour the Turks are leaving to save their race in Crimea."
     "Το πουλί θα χαθεί ξαφνικά πάνω από τους σχιστομάτηδες και θα ταξιδέψει πίσω στο χρόνο. Πολλοί θα ψάχνουν αλλά δεν θα βρίσκουν. Τότε ο πόλεμος θα πιαστεί από πάνω. Οι ορθόδοξοι θα ενωθούν και θα κατατροπώσουν τον Φράγκο και την Τιάρα. Ο κοντός Μόσκοβος μαζί με τους δικούς μας θα υψώσουν ξανά την βυζαντινή σημαία στην Βασιλεύουσα την ώρα που θα φεύγουν οι Τούρκοι να σώσουν τη φυλή τους στην Κριμαία."
Interpretation of key words:
  • The bird = Malaysia Airlines
  • Slit-eyed = a term for Asians
  • Frank = Roman Catholics
  • Tiara = Muslims
  • Short Muscovite = Vladimir Putin
  • Our own = Greece
  • Queen City = Constantinople

On March 22, 2014 a statement was published by the fathers of the Sacred Monastery of Saint Katherine of Mount Sinai, originally issued on March 18th, regarding the above false prophecy. They stressed that a charismatic monk named Daniel did not live in their Monastery in the 17th century, nor since that time. They call this "prophecy" false, based on the obvious fact of using the term "Byzantine" in the 17th century.

The statement also said:
     "The Gospel forewarns us of the phenomenon of false prophecies, and the occupation with them are characterized as a twisted and ill religiosity even in our own times (Matt. 24), which particularly likes futuristic articulations and predictions. The Church, knowing that genuine prophecies are a gift of the Holy Spirit, explains and guides us through the mouth of the Apostle Paul: 'Are all prophets? Are all teachers? ... Are all interpreters? Seek then the higher gifts. ... there remain faith, hope and love - these three things' (1 Cor. 12:29-13:33)."
Reference - john sanidopoulos

Greek Army Holds Celebrations For Its Patron Saint George

The Greek Army on Wednesday celebrated its patron Saint George in a special ceremony at the Infantry School at Halkida (on the island of Evia). At the event, which was attended by the leadership of the Armed Forces, representatives of political parties, municipal dignitaries and others,  National Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, once again stressed the need for national unity, so that Greece can successfully come to weather the difficulties being faced by society at this time.
     "History has proven that whenever we joined our strengths we overcame difficulties, we successfully confronted the challenges and we opened paths of hope for our homeland. The same has to be done now, as well", Avramopoulos said.
The minister expressed his absolute satisfaction for the fact, that Greece "has one of the most trustworthy and effective defence systems in Europe and the world", adding that this defence system is primarily destined to both protect the independence and the integrity of the country and serve the international order of law.

The Army Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Christos Manolas in his order of the day urged the people serving the Army to understand, among others, that "the economic crisis must not in any case affect the defensive and deterrent ability of the country".

EU Against South Stream - Issue To Be Solved by Year End

Remember the South Stream natural gas pipeline project? The failed assassination attempt against the former prime minister of Greece Costas Karamanlis was because he decided to allow Greece to benefit from this particular project. The venture may have been under minded by the West since it does not want to see Russia expand its energy influence in Europe, but according to this article it looks like Moscow has quite a few aces up its sleeve and is going with the project at all costs.

(RIA Novosti via Voice of Russia) - Legal claims of the European Commission against the South Stream natural gas pipeline project are likely to be settled by the yearend, Russia’s Ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, said on Thursday at a High-Level Opening Policy Conference of the European Energy Policy that is taking place at the College of Europe in Bruges.
     "Implementation of the project is in full swing and construction is underway as well. The first section of the pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2015," Chizhov said. "By the time, I hope, solutions will be found to all the problems of the current intergovernmental agreements between Russia and each member state of the South Stream corresponds to the requirements of the EU third energy package."
To coordinate the issues, a special intergovernmental commission between Russia and the European Union was set up at the beginning of the year.

The commission is due to amend intergovernmental agreements between Russia and six countries of the European Union the South Stream is to stretch across — Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria as well as through Serbia, which is not an EU member-state yet.

The European Commission claims that they violate the requirements of the EU Third Package while Russia insists the South Stream as a trans-border gas pipeline does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Third Package, which came into force after agreements had been signed.

The EU claims against the South Stream have stemmed from the main provisions of the Third Package that require all the pipelines to be managed by the operator that is independent from generation or production companies. Besides, the EC pushes for some of the project’s capability to be reserved for the supplies of natural gas provided by "independent producers.

FIRST TIME IN HISTORY - Erdogan Offers Condolences to Armenians for Genocide

By Joachim Hagopian (Global Research) - Today April 24th is considered Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day by Armenians throughout the world. On Wednesday for the very first time in history on the eve of the 99th year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the Turkish government abandoned its century long official wall of denial when  the Turkish Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan expressed his condolences to Armenians around the world who lost ancestors at the hands of Ottoman Turks.

It was a historic gesture welcomed by many including a handful of prominent and outspoken Turkish historians who have been encouraging the government to change its longstanding policy of denying that Turks ever killed Armenians at all.

After reading his conciliatory message before the Turkish parliament, Erdogan received a warm reception from his ministers and legislators.

Erdogan’s comments stopped short of delivering an official apology for his nation’s committing genocide against the Armenians living in Turkey a century earlier during the final years of both the Ottoman Empire and World War I. The Turkish leader’s conciliatory tone is seen as a first step in the right direction toward openly acknowledging the tragic events of a century before. And though very few survivors from the 1915-1917 genocide are still alive, many Armenians all over the world still feel angry with raw emotions unable to either forget or forgive the Turkish government’s hard line stance of rigid denial throughout the decades.

Erdogan’s statement was issued in seven languages and widely circulated in the Turkish media.

The prime minister mentioned “shared pain” inflicted on not only Armenians but Turkish people as well, making it a point to include both religions and ethnicities as victims killed during the expulsions and brutalities during “the war to end all wars.” The prime minister remarked:
     “The 24th of April carries a particular significance for our Armenian citizens and for all Armenians around the world, and provides a valuable opportunity to share opinions freely on a historical matter. It is indisputable that the last years of the Ottoman Empire were a difficult period, full of suffering for Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Armenian and millions of other Ottoman citizens, regardless of their religion or ethnic origin.”
Making a reference to no longer holding onto their “hierarchies of pain,” Erdogan diplomatically appealed to Armenians to refrain from holding the grudge that disputes their suffering was so much worse than the other aforementioned ethnicities along with Assyrians and Greeks who also suffered their own atrocities. This point only enflamed many Armenians like Aram Hamparian, the executive director of Armenian National Committee of America, who countered that the Turkish leader’s statement a mere “cold-hearted and cynical ploy” to minimize Armenians’ genocidal suffering. Hamparian added that Turkey is finding itself increasingly isolated internationally from other nations especially within its NATO alliance, and claims that Erdogan’s speech was designed as merely a “repackaging” of its genocide denials.

Less than a month ago Turkey was caught with its hand in the false flag jar.

A leaked tape surfaced with the Turkish intelligence chief, a general and a deputy foreign minister discussing a plan to stage a false flag attack on Turkey in order to falsely blame Syrian government forces that would then justify a military air strike on Syria. It was believed to be recorded either late last year or early this year. This kind of international embarrassment explains why the Turkish government has so vociferously been clamping down on social media.

Censorship has been a feeble attempt to prevent such humiliating disclosures from leaking out to the rest of the world exposing Turkey’s transparency toward military aggression against Syria at virtually all cost, of course with full stamp of approval from the American Empire.

Possessing a very rich and long history, Armenians are the first people to officially declare Christianity as their state religion in 301AD. Surrounded by Moslems, they are also the only ethnic group in the entire Middle East whose majority is Christian, with 97% identifying themselves as such. Thus over the centuries, they have historically been easy targets in the region.

It was also just last month that eyewitness accounts in Syria were reporting that mortar shells and gunfire were launched from the Turkish border toward the Armenian village of Kassab. Four weeks ago anti-Assad rebels began occupying the ancient Armenian town of 2500 residents. All but 30 of the Armenian occupants fled. A Syrian field commander in the area explained to journalists that al Qaeda insurgents initiated the attack “with clear support from the Turks.”

During the three year war anti-Assad rebels have vandalized ancient Armenian Christian churches in Syria. Armenian political science professor Ohannes Geukjian from Beirut’s American University stated, “Kassab is a symbol of Armenian history, language and continuity. It’s very symbolic. And so with the fall of Kassab, I consider it the defeat of Armenian identity in that area.”

Even before the World War One-era massacres, Armenians had made a home in the nearby Syrian city of Aleppo dating back to the first century. Loss of this historical Armenian home to extremist Islamist rebels indicates a very uncertain future for these displaced Armenians.

As recently as three weeks ago there were loud protests from Armenians from across the Diaspora including such Armenian American celebrities as Kim Kardashian expressing grave concern over more Turkish efforts of ethnic cleansing. Both the Syrian opposition rebel forces and Turkey have denied violence toward the Armenians.

With most of the Kassab residents temporarily relocated to the nearby town of Latakia thirty miles away, another thirty families have been reported to be refugees in the Lebanese city of Anjar. Since the anti-Assad rebels took over the town of Kassab, there has been little news coverage of the fate of both all the displaced Armenians as well as the thirty older Armenians too weak to leave the ancient Armenian community on the Mediterranean Sea.

A century ago a small portion of Armenian genocide survivors managed to stay alive despite their forced deportation across the desert from their homeland that is now Turkey to where they mostly resettled in the norther Syrian city of Aleppo. Though Armenian residents have called Aleppo their home since the first century, waves of genocide victims swelled the Armenian population in Aleppo by 1925 up to about 60,000 residents.

There were 70,000 Armenians living in Aleppo and up to 100,000 in Syria at the start of the civil war three years ago. At least 9000 Armenians that fled from Syria during the war have sought refuge in their Diaspora homeland Armenia and have been immediately accepted as citizens of the Republic of Armenia.

Due to the economic hardship of unemployment and difficulty finding adequate housing, many have since left and returned to Syria. Another 8000 refugees are reported to be living in Lebanon now.

Due to its volatile ancient history surrounded by a majority of Moslems nations, the small Christian ethnic group especially since the century ago genocide is currently spread across the globe. The estimated worldwide population of Armenians is eleven million. 3.5 million are currently living in the Republic of Armenia, including 130,000 in the disputed region of Nagorno-Korabakh that was a source of violent conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan in the early 1990’s. Another 5 million are
disbursed on every continent with anywhere between near a million to a million and a half residing in America, predominantly in Southern California.
     "The annual commemoration of the Armenian genocide every April 24th brings up deep emotional memories in Armenians throughout the world. As an ethnic group Armenians have tended to be historically traditional and proud of their ancient past and culture.
     Tough my centenarian father was still a toddler during his formative years when one third of all Armenians were being slaughtered, as a genocide survivor he grew up hearing and remembering some of the heinous crimes committed against his own family members back in the old country. And though he passed several months ago, his haunting stories of what occurred way back when still remain forever fresh in my mind. I recall a family relative who was a young adolescent girl at the time actually swallowing family jewelry to avoid the Turkish soldiers from confiscating her family’s heirlooms when they invaded and looted her home. Apparently the Turks engaged in a common practice of seeking and collecting every valuable possession belonging to Armenians. As part of the systematic killing, a Turkish soldier allegedly used his saber to cut open the girl’s stomach to ensure the acquisition of every last valuable.
Other stories corroborated with photographs taken at the time that have been frequently handed down from one generation to the next depicted starving Armenian victims being forced on a deportation march out of what is now eastern Turkey through the desert into Syria. Those who were too famished and weak to stay on their feet during the march as armed Turkish soldiers riding alongside on horseback prodded and pushed them, when the mostly women and children would fall to the ground, the Turks would regularly stab their victims and throw their bleeding bodies still alive to drown in the Euphrates River. Numerous accounts of the horrid scene spoke of the river running red.

The proclamation calling for extermination of all Armenians residing inside the Turkish borders issued on April 24th, 1915 proceeded in two organized phases. The first was launched on that April 24th date systematically rounded up, detained and executed the ablest-bodied Armenian males consisting of 250 patriarchal community leaders, the intellectuals, most accomplished artisans, prominent businessmen, clergymen from the Christian Armenian Orthodox church and professionals were targeted and slain. The premeditated genocide had been well thought out and organized, killing those deemed most capable of defending their people first mostly by firing squad. This earliest offensive to massacre the most able-bodied male leaders was the cunning and largely successful Turkish strategy designed to chop off the head of its victim in order to next easily dismember the body.

Thus the wholesale slaughter of the male population through massacre and forced labor generally preceded the deportation of women, children and the elderly on the death marches to the Syrian desert. In a three year period upwards of a million and a half Armenians were brutally murdered.

Despite Turkey’s denial the Armenian genocide is accepted as the first modern genocide of the twentieth century, one that Adolf Hitler just two decades later would use as his blueprint model for his own Holocaust against six million Jews he killed during the Second World War. Hitler flippantly referred to the “already forgotten Armenian genocide” as his cue to proceed forth with the second genocide of the century.

Twenty-three nations have openly recognized the prolonged tragedy of the Armenian genocide, placing increasing pressure in recent years calling on the Turkish government to suspend its official “living a lie” policy of unequivocal genocide denial. Of course due to the crucially important geopolitical location of Turkey as a key NATO ally of the United States to reign supreme as the sole global superpower maintaining full dominance and hegemonic control of both the Middle East and eastern Europe right up to Russia’s doorstep, America will never be among those 23 nations applying any pressure on Turkey to do the right thing, not when the US military occupies two significant military installations in Turkey.

The US maintaining its global superpower status in the strategic chessboard game of one-upmanship in the most oil rich region on earth obviously holds court over any moral principle or ethics of what might have happened to a small forgotten ethnic minority a full century ago. Incirlik US Air Force Base is located close to the ancient city of Adana near the Syrian border where the US has a persistent vested interest in fighting its proxy war to defeat the Syrian Army and the second post is Izmir Airbase in western Turkey that is utilized more pivotally for military operations in Europe.

The conciliatory remarks by the Turkish Prime Minister mark an important footnote in Turkish-Armenian history, and perhaps at least opens a small window for further dialogue between the two nations and people. In a current world where tensions and conflicts appear to be on the rise with war looming over a number of regional hotspots, the Turkish leader’s words of condolence offer a glimmer of light and hope that a spirit of forgiveness and mutual acceptance may pave the way toward much needed healing. And by this first step forward, perhaps it can set the example for more nations and more people to embrace our shared humanness and commonalities that in turn facilitates increased understanding, cooperation and peace.

Joachim Hagopian is an Armenian American who also is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. His written manuscript based on his military experience examines leadership and national security issues and can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now focuses on writing.

BUSTED - New York Times Admits It Pushed Fabricated Evidence about Iraq, Syria & Ukraine

By Washington's Blog via Global Research -  The New York Times pushed fabricated evidence in the run up to the Iraq war.   A year later, the newspaper apologized for its inaccurate, one-sided coverage.

The U.S. and the New York Times pretended that Syria’s government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack … but that claim was debunked, and even the New York Times was forced to retract itseveral months later.

(The alternative media, including Pulitzer prize winning reporter Seymour Hersh, has also pointed out that it was the Syrians rebels – with the help of the Turkish government – did it).

Then the U.S. and the New York Times pretended that they had proof that Russian soldiers were the mysterious “masked men” seizing government buildings in Russia.  But a couple of days later, they were forced reporting from the alternative media – especially Robert Parry, winner of the George Polk Award for National Reporting – into retracting that claim, and admitting that their “proof” was almost as flimsy as proof of Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction”.

It seems like the alternative media is forcing the New York Times to retract half-baked, pro-war, propaganda claims more and more quickly.

New Day Dawns For Greek Economy, But Leftists Still B**tch About Its Failure

Greece's primary surplus totaled 3.4 billion euros in 2013 (excluding the financial support offered to banks), Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Wednesday. According to press reports, the primary surplus figure was based on Eurostat's methodology, while the troika estimates this figure at 1.5 billion euros.

A European Commission spokesperson was quoted by reporters as saying in Brussels that Greece's primary surplus in 2013 totaled 1.5 billion euros, corresponding to almost 0.8 percent of the country's GDP.

In a report, the Greek ministry noted that the general government's primary surplus, based on ESA 95, excluding the impact from supporting Greek banks, totaled 3.4 billion euros in 2013. The primary surplus, based on the framework of an Economic Policy Program, is estimated at 1.5 billion euros, higher than the program's provisions for zero surplus and surpassing budget provisions for a surplus of 812 million euros.

The report stressed that according to a recent report by Hellenic Statistical Authority on measuring primary budget balance, in the framework of an Economic Policy Program, a series of spending and proceeds were addressed differently from recording of fiscal data when presented by Hellenic Statistical Authority and Eurostat.

Such spending or proceeds are, for example, revenues from privatization of assets, spending on transactions related with a recapitalization of banks and proceeds from money transfer related with Eurozone central banks' income from their portfolio in Greek state bonds.

The state news agency quoted Staikouras as saying that the Troika's estimate was fully compatible with the government's decision to distribute a social dividend, repay overdue debt to the private sector and reducing non-wage cost in the country.

It should be reminded that on Wednesday Eurostat said that the general government's deficit totalled 12.7 pct of GDP in 2013, while excluding the financial support to banks, the deficit was 2.1 pct of GDP. Eurostat also said that the deficit amounted to some 23.109 billion euros in 2013, which excluding the financial support offered to banks led to a primary surplus of 3.4 billion euros, is a figure fully aligned with data released by Hellenic Statistical Authority on April 14.

On the other hand, in the same period under review it was reported that the present debt was estimated at roughly 318.703 billion euros, while Greece's Gross Domestic Product reached 182.054 billion euros.

Commenting on the confirmation of the country's primary surplus by Eurostat, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said that Greece "was gradually drawing away from the crisis and laying the foundations for the future."
     "Today's formal announcement of the surplus confirms the great turnaround achieved by Greece's economy, thanks to the sacrifices of the Greek people," the prime minister noted.
On his part and when asked whether the 'countdown' had begun for a haircut of Greece's debt, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said everything else is arranged via the agreements that Greece has made.

According to the state news agency, the Finance ministry is expected to raise the issue of launching the debate over the Greek debt relief, even on a technical level, during the Euro Working Group meeting on Thursday in Brussels.

The government considers that the circumstances are favorable for Greece, as the meeting will be held a day after the ratification of the 2013 primary surplus.

The Euro Working Group will also prepare the agenda for the Eurogroup on May 5, during which Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras is expected to make a political intervention on the issue of debt relief based on the decision of the Eurogroup on November 27, 2012, given that the government considers that Greece meets all the conditions to start the debate on the debt such as meeting 90 percent of the targets of the program.

Besides, according to government officials, the approval by the Euro Working Group of the 6.3 billion euro tranche to Greece will certify that the country has met around 90 percent of the targets.

During the Euro Working Group, the Greek side is also expected to present a four-page memo on the main issues of the development plan for the Greek economy, which was finalized on Tuesday.
     "The discussion will begin and we will see when this will end. What matters is that we achieved a primary surplus, that we are doing very well. That's what matters," he said.
He also declined to give reporters any details regarding Greece's proposals, replying: "We will see."

Later on, Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos underlined that Eurostat's announcement only confirmed the great achievement of the Greek people, which is the result of their big sacrifices.
     "With the surplus and the country's return to the international markets we exit the crisis and return to normalcy. However, some are saddened instead of being happy," he underlined, adding that "Greece is exiting the crisis, the fiscal deficit is impressively low and the next step is to make the Greek debt's sustainability official".
The news wasn't received well by most of Greece's opposition parties since they have based their political platforms on the failure of the government to tackle the economy.

For instance, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, said that "it is time for lies to come to an end. It is time for us to take (our) fortunes in our hands. It is time for us to change the status quo. Let us look at the truth straight in the eyes".

Speaking during an election campaign on the island of Crete, Tsipras accused prime minister Antonis Samaras "and his buddies" of "representing anomaly, they are pursuing anomaly, they are conveying anomaly, from the heights of institutions to the last Greek home and anomaly in parliamentary procedures" and spoke of "prolonged anomaly".

Responding to the speech, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said that "political anomaly is expressed by him who attempts to undermine stability in his country, which is recovering, and he is delirious because he is not succeeding".

Opposition Democratic Left (DIM.AR) said that it recognized the usefulness and necessity of a primary surplus but it then noted that it should be based on policies that promote economic growth and not on excessive taxes, public spending cuts, recession-causing measures and creative accounting.

As regards the allocation of the surplus, DIM.AR underlined that its distribution should not be based on attracting votes and that the goals should be economic growth, combating unemployment and exiting memorandum-imposed austerity policies.

On its part the Greek Communist party (KKE) said in an announcement that the state budget's primary surplus ratification by Eurostat for 2013, stressed that "the primary surplus is the result of bleeding the people that will continue with the prolonged memorandums and the EU's supervision apparatuses. This truth is being hidden from the Greek people by both the government - with promises for the so-called alleviation of the debt that will supposedly relieve the people - and by the other parties of the EU that defend this reactionary structure and acknowledge the debt".

Combined Reports

April 23, 2014

Western Balkans Facing (SERIOUS) Incoming Terrorist Threat - MUST READ

The following article was written by geopolitical and security expert Ioannis Michaletos and featured on his site RIMSE. HellasFrappe decided to republish it because we need to spread awareness about a subject that only comes to confirm our fears that there has been a serious penetration of Jihadists in the Balkan region from Syria. Why should Greek citizens concern themselves with this subject? Simple... It is happening right smack ion our neighbourhood and who knows... Maybe, just maybe these people stationed themselves in the Balkans after illegally entering through Greece! Besides... the mere fact that they are stationed on European soil should frighten all of us. Michelatos says that the implications of the ongoing "Jihadization" of Albanians in Syria poses a direct threat for the rest of Europe. When a prominent security expert warns European officials that this is a serious threat... and proposes that they should adopt countermeasures, then common sense dictates that his words should not be taken with a grain of salt, but must be respected and taken very seriously. Please read the article and re post if necessary.

Ioannis Michaletos (RIMSE) - The Western Balkan region and in particular Albania are threatened by the incoming Jihadists from Syria that have started rising in prominence over the past few months and have proved to be capable of substantial terrorist action.

According to a public report by the Albanian intelligence service (SHISH) there are 86 confirmed citizens of that country fighting in Syria nowadays on the side of terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Nusra. Their recruitment took place in the country a while after the Syrian conflict erupted and they were sent to the battle field via Turkey, while it is estimated that they received additional training near the borders with Syria before venturing into the battle zones.

Already the Albanian prosecutor for serious offences has issued legal action against 13 of those and it is of interest to note that the recruiters and coordinators for these individuals from Albania originate from Kosovo who has a larger and more upscale presence in Syria than any other Balkan region.

On the 21st of March the general Albanian prosecutor Adriatik Llalla and the head of SHISH Visho Ajazi Lika met with the political authorities to discuss the issue that can -if not opposed - destabilize the country and pose serious security burden in the near future and in the neighboring countries.

From what it seems the Albanian authorities are going to get tougher in that field and try to uncover the exact composition of the networking involved that allows transfer of people to the battle fields.

It has to be noted though that these networks are transnational and have a great spread amongst different countries. Moreover the involvement of Kosovo figures inhibits a strict response by the Tirana government in most cases.

The implications of the ongoing "Jihadization" of Albanians in Syria pose a direct threat for the rest of Europe.

All information available by credible media sources and governmental executives that follow up on the developments, talk about preparations of sending freshly trained and battle hardened Islamists to the West via in the Balkans, as well as, in other Middle Eastern terrains with Sinai Peninsula and Iraq as the new 'Jihadi frontiers".

The head of the CIA, John Brennan in a recent reporting of its service noted on the danger of Syria becoming the springboard for global terrorism.

Already the Kosovo- Albanian national Blerim Heta has blew himself up in Baghdad, killing dozens of bystanders recently in what becomes the first Albanian "kamikaze".

It is important to note that in various internet forums that are directed mostly to young Albanians, trials of glorification of such acts and significant number of adherents and supporters has been noted, identifying the issue as having a broader social consensus rather than actions of isolated figures. Moreover the mutation of Jihadism from Syria to Iraq is clearly illustrated in that case.

Due to the lack of serious border control between Albania, FYROM, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia and Sanjak-Raska in Serbia the probability that a new generation of Jihadists will flourish aiming to strike in Western European countries is not out of the question.
Coupled with a lack of reliable data on the actual intentions of the residing Jihadists and those returning back, it is safe to assume that the threat level in that particular geographical zone is certainly on the rise.

In parallel, across Turkey there are literally masses of Jihadist from tens of countries going back and forth to the Syrian battle zone. Turkey does not have visa regime with a country such as Libya, further facilitating the connections between radicals across the world, who are mainly congregating in Istanbul.

At the same time the incumbent Erdogan-AKP administration faces tremendous tasks which are related to its collision with the strategic plans of mostly USA and to a second degree Saudi Arabia, due to its continuous affiliation with Qatar and its failure to secure a "win" in the Syrian war.

Its close relations at times with Iran have alienated Israel and in sort Turkey is steadily becoming a territory where various Jihadist groups may strike within as the situation becomes more and more blurred and various state and non-state interests are in conflict.

Thus it is safe to assume that Ankara sooner or later will enact a project to either repatriate or simply throw out a large number of Jihadists, which will then become a problem for the rest of the countries involved.

The Western Balkan states, although they do have a concrete knowledge for their own radical Islamic communities and still retain an extensive domestic surveillance network, they have almost a complete lack of information regarding the international coordinators and the wider strategic trends involved, as well as, the collaborating Middle Eastern and Magrebian networks that will supply with finance, training and weapons the potential local Jihadists.

  • - Broader security collaboration between Western Balkan countries and the international community
  • - Re-assessment on the vulnerability of the so-called "soft targets"
  • - Establishment of regional task force groups to evaluate the problem and propose practical solutions
  • - Wider political and regional initiatives on the educational and religious sector with the engagement of law abiding local elements
  • - Exchange of information and collaboration between Western Balkan security authorities and specifically those in Egypt, Israel, Iraq and Algeria
  • All the above of course include the tactical theater of the Western Balkans.
On a global level only a swift and decisive defeat of the Jihadists in Syria, along with a world power consensus on their marginalization could be a "success story" regarding the battling of international terrorism.

Read More - RIMSE

EYE OPENER - Turkish Flotilla Charity Tied to Terrorism - AGAIN

By Jonathan Schanzer (FDD) -  Serbian news agencies reported that a Turkish charity, best known for organizing a 2010 flotilla to Gaza that led to conflict with Israeli commandos on the high seas, is under investigation in Bosnia-Herzegovina for exporting weapons to jihadis in Syria. Reports suggest that the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) may have been working with several local charities and businesses, and even the Bosnia-Herzegovina Ministry of Defense.

The IHH has long-standing ties to Bosnia. As early as 1996, the CIA reportedly noted that the charity was one of fifteen NGOs sponsoring terrorist activities in Bosnia. Esad Hecimovic, a Bosnian investigative journalist, asserts that the IHH was linked to jihadist activity and arms trafficking during the Bosnia conflict. French magistrate Jean-Louis Brougiere further notes that the IHH played a role in Ahmed Ressam's failed plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999.

The IHH came under considerable scrutiny following the 2010 flotilla to Gaza. The Dutch and German governments both issued designations of purported IHH branches for their ties to Hamas (the Turkish IHH denied any connection to them). U.S. agencies also began examining whether the IHH deserved a terror designation. A leaked classified cable reveals the Treasury Department's concerns that the IHH has provided Hamas with material assistance. To date, no designation has been issued.

More recently, concerns have surfaced regarding the IHH's support for extremists in Syria. A March 2013 McClatchy report suggests that the IHH provides aid to fighters in Syria, including the Salafist faction Ahrar al-Sham, which fights alongside al-Qaeda affiliates Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). In December 2013, Abu Khalid al-Suri (Mohamed Bahaiah), a senior al-Qaeda operative, was identified as a leading figure in Ahrar al-Sham.
According to the Treasury, al-Suri is al-Qaeda's representative in Syria and received at least $600,000 in 2013 from a Qatar-based al-Qaeda financier for operations in Syria.

The IHH came under additional scrutiny on January 1, 2014, when Turkish media alleged that the charity was transporting weaponry to Syria. The IHH denied the allegations. Two weeks later, however, Turkish anti-terror units conducted raids in six cities against people suspected of financing, arming, and fighting on behalf of al-Qaeda and other jihadists in Syria. Among the locations targeted was an IHH office near the Syrian border. At least one suspect was arrested at the IHH office in Kilis. Another IHH employee was detained in Kayseri after the police raided his home.

The IHH enjoys significant support from the Turkish government. These recent reports out of Bosnia-Herzegovina raise new and troubling questions about the charity's activities and why Ankara continues to lend its support.

Jonathan Schanzer is vice president for research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


Italian Oil Giant Enel Eyes Oil & Nat. Gas Fields in Ionian Sea

According to reports in the Greek press, the Italian energy company, the Enel Group, submitted a request to search for hydrocarbons – namely oil and natural gas – in three key areas in Western Greece -or the Ionian Sea-.

One of the areas of interest is near the shores of Epirus, illustrating the growing international interest for energy in Greece. The other two areas are northwest of the Peloponnese and in the Aetoloakarnania region. The third area is in the Preveza-Arta region, between Aetoloakarnania and Ioannina.

(Quite interestingly, the two areas in the Peloponnese have been suspected of containing large amounts of hydrocarbons for decades and as much as our -lying- politicians hate to admit, they were included in older surveys that were produced in 1996 by the following oil companies: Enterprise Oil, Union Texas, MOL and ELPE.

Enel has expressed its interest in accordance with the relevant legislation, which is expected to allow the firm to carry out its surveys in the specific areas. On its part, the Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change has the final say in granting permits.

BUSTED - Poland trained putchists to enter Ukraine 2 months in advance

Lies have shorter and shorter legs. Two months after the change of regime in Kiev, the Polish press has disclosed the role of Donald Tusk’s government in preparing the coup. The new revelations belie Western discourse and demonstrate that the current interim government of Oleksandr Tourtchynov was imposed by NATO in violation of international law.

In his capacity as EU negotiator, Radosław Sikorski signed a crisis settlement agreement with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, in the evening of February 21, 2014. The following morning, the men he had secretly trained in Poland were about to take power.
    This article is based on information obtained by the Polish opposition. I erroneously cited as my source the satirical weekly Nie, which published a pastiche mixing truths and non-truths. The data it provides needs to be verified.
    In any case, the matter concerning the training of Pravy Sector members has in the meantime been brought before the Attorney General of Poland.
The Polish left-wing weekly Nie (No) published a startling witness account of the training given to the most violent of the EuroMaidan [1] activists.

According to this source, in September 2013, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski invited 86 members of the Right Sector (Sector Pravy), allegedly in the context of a university exchange program. In reality, the guests were not students, and many were over 40. Contrary to their official schedule, they did not go to the Warsaw University of Technology, but headed instead for the police training center in Legionowo, an hour’s drive from the capital. There, they received four weeks of intensive training in crowd management, person recognition, combat tactics, command skills, behavior in crisis situations, protection against gases used by police, erecting barricades, and especially shooting, including the handling of sniper rifles.

Such training took place in September 2013, while the Maidan Square protests were allegedly triggered by a decree suspending preparations for the signing of the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement, which was issued by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on November 21, i.e. two months later.

The Polish weekly refers to photographs attesting to the training, which show the Ukrainians in Nazi uniforms alongside their Polish instructors in civilian clothing.

These revelations warrant a fresh look at the resolution adopted in early December 2013 by the Polish Parliament (Sejm), pledging its "total solidarity with Ukrainian citizens who, with strong determination, are showing the world their desire to achieve the full membership of their country in the European Union." Naturally, the MPs were not yet aware of their country’s involvement in the training of the very individuals who were planning - and ultimately achieved - a violent takeover of power.

This scandal illustrates the role assigned by NATO to Poland in Ukraine, analogous to the one entrusted to Turkey in Syria. The government of pro-European liberal Donald Tusk is fully committed to playing its role. Foreign Affairs Minister Radosław Sikorski - a journalist and former political refugee in the United Kingdom - was the mastermind behind Poland’s integration into NATO. As a member of the "Weimar Triangle", he was one of three EU representatives who brokered the 21 February 2014 agreement between President Viktor Yanukovych and the three main EuroMaidan leaders [2]. Needless to say, the Ukrainian president was unaware of the Polish representative’s entanglement with the rioters. As for the Interior Minister and special services coordinator, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz (the great grand-son of novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz, best known for Quo Vadis?), he co-founded the Office for State Protection (Urzd Ochrony Państwa), Poland’s current intelligence agency. He also co-created and served as vice-president of the Centre for Eastern Studies (Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich), a national think-tank dealing with the situation in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, with particular emphasis on Ukraine and Turkey. It exerts a profound influence on the West’s perception of current events, through its agreements with Carnegie Foundation [3].

During Yulia Tymoshenko’s government (2007-2010), the current interim president of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tourtchynov, had served as intelligence chief and deputy prime minister. He liaised at the time with the Poles Donald Tusk (already Prime Minister), Radosław Sikorski (then Defense Minister) and Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz (director of the private intelligence firm ASBS Othago).

To overthrow the government of its neighbor state, Poland resorted to Nazi activists in the same way that Turkey uses Al-Qaeda to overthrow the Syrian government. Not only is it not surprising to see the current Polish authorities rely on the grand-children of the Nazis that the CIA tucked into the NATO Gladio network to fight against the Soviet Union, but we should also be reminded of the controversy which broke out in the 2005 Polish presidential election, when journalist and MP Jacek Kurski revealed that Józef Tusk, the grandfather of Donald Tusk, had intentionally enrolled in the Wehrmacht. After denying the facts, the Prime Minister finally admitted that his grandfather had indeed served in the Nazi army, but claimed he had been forcefully conscripted after the annexation of Danzig. A recollection that speaks volumes about how Washington selects its agents in Eastern Europe.

In summary, Poland trained a mob of thugs to overthrow the democratically-elected president of Ukraine and pretended he was subscribing to an appeasement agreement with him on 21 February 2014, while his rioters were in the process of seizing power.

Moreover, there is no doubt that the coup was sponsored by the United States, as evidenced by the telephone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt [4]. Similarly, it is clear that other NATO members, including Lithuania (in the past, Ukraine was dominated by the Polish-Lithuanian empire), and Israel in its capacity as a de facto member of its military command structure, took part in the coup [5]. This arrangement suggests that NATO now runs a new Gladio network in Eastern Europe [6]. In addition, following the coup, mercenaries working for Greystone Ltd., a subsidiary of Academi, were deployed in the country in coordination with the CIA [7].

These facts radically modify the perception that we may have had of the coup of 22 February 2014. They undermine the arguments provided supplied to the press by the U.S. Department of State (points 3 and 5 of the factsheet dated March 5) [8] and constitute an act of war under international law. Therefore, the arguments peddled by the West regarding the ensuing the events, including the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation and the current uprisings in East and South Ukraine, are null and void.

  • [1] « Tajemnica stanu, tajemnica Majdanu », Nie, n°13-2014, 18 April 2014.
  • [2] “Agreement on the Settlement of Crisis in Ukraine”, Voltaire Network, 21 February 2014.
  • [3] “The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace”, Voltaire Network, 25 August 2004.
  • [4] “What about apologizing to Ukraine, Mrs. Nuland?”, Oriental Review/Voltaire Network, 7 February 2014. And “The Secret Agenda of Ashton and Nuland Revealed”, by Wayne Madsen, Strategic Culture Foundation/Voltaire Network, 12 March 2014.
  • [5] “Camouflaged Israeli soldiers on Maidan Square”, Voltaire Network, 3 March 2014.
  • [6] “The new Gladio in Ukraine”, by Manlio Dinucci, Voltaire Network, 21 March 2014.
  • [7] “US mercenaries deployed in Southern Ukraine”, and “CIA director in Kiev searching for missing mercenaries”, Voltaire Network, 4 March and 16 April 2014.
  • [8] “State Department Fact Sheet on Putin’s False Claims About Ukraine”, Voltaire Network, 5 March 2014.

Voltaire Network

SIGN PETITION Against Plan to Advance Global Internet Censorship

This is urgent. An Internet censorship plan is being finalized in secret meetings right now. We need all hands on deck at this crucial moment.

Here’s the situation: (US) President Obama himself is in secretive meetings with key political figures and lobbyists in Asia to lock the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Internet censorship plan into place.

We know from leaked documents that this secretive plan will censor your use of the Internet and strip away your rights.[1] If finalized, this plan would force ISPs to act as “Internet Police” monitoring our Internet use, censoring content, and removing whole websites.[2]

It will give media conglomerates centralized control over what you can watch and share online.

We urgently need your help to fight back. Add your voice right now and we’ll project a Stop the Secrecy message on key buildings in Washington D.C. to ensure Obama, the media, and everyone else knows this censorship plan must be stopped.

This is huge: covering 40% of the global economy, the TPP is being called a legal “blueprint” for the rest of the world.[3]

Once key leaders finalize TPP Internet censorship plans, those plans will be used to globalize censorship. You will be affected and this may be our only chance to stop it.

Our attention-grabbing message will shine a light on their secret plan and will make clear to Washington lobbyists that the Internet community will never accept the TPP’s secrecy or censorship. The more who speak out, the larger our projection will become, and the more people we can reach.

This is a decisive moment: we need to act right now. Join with hundreds of thousands of people all over the world to shine a light on the TPP’s job-killing Internet censorship plan. Let’s send decision-makers and the lobbyists pulling the strings a message they can’t ignore: “Stop the secrecy now.”

Thank you for being a part of history,

After signing the petition, please forward this message to your friends.

– The RootsAction.org team

RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.

  • [1] WikiLeaks: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
  • [2] Electronic Frontier Foundation: TPP Creates Legal Incentives For ISPs To Police The Internet
  • [3] U.S. “Bullying” TPP Negotiators Amid Failure to Agree. Source: Inter Press Service News Agency.

EUROSTAT Confirms Greek Surplus & Deficit Figures for 2013

According to Eurostat’s figures, the Greek primary surplus was estimated to be 3.4 billion euros, while the Economic Policy Program said the surplus would range at 1.5 billion euros. In other figures, the General Government’s deficit in 2013 was estimated to be 23.109 billion euros, while the debt was 318.703 billion euros. Not including subsidies towards the banks, the General Government’s deficit was 2.1% less that EU and Eurozone averages.

In 2013, Greece’s fiscal deficit was 12.7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the European statistics authority estimated that the public debt was 175.1% GDP, which was the highest rate amongst the 27 EU member states.

It should be noted that Greece’s fiscal deficit rate is the second highest in the EU, trailing behind Slovenia’s 14.7% GDP rate. Luxembourg had a fiscal surplus of 0.1% GDP, while Germany’s had a balanced budget. The lowest fiscal deficit was documented in Estonia (0.2% GDP), while only 10 EU member states had a deficit over 3%.

More precisely, the lowest rates were documented in:
  • Estonia (10%)
  • Bulgaria (18.9%)
  • Luxembourg (23.1%)
  • Latvia (38.1)'
  • Romania (38.4%)
  • Lithuania (39.4%)
  • Sweden (40.6%).
Conversely, 16 members had a public debt rate higher than 60% GDP, with the highest rates documented in Greece (175.1%), Italy (132.6%), Portugal (129%), Ireland (123.7%), Cyprus (111.7%) and Belgium (101.5%).

In a nutshell, the fiscal deficit of the 28 EU members and the Eurozone dropped in 2013, compared to the rate in 2012, while the debt increased.

The fiscal deficit for the Eurozone dropped from 3.7% GDP in 2012 to 3% in 2013, while in the EU it dropped from a total of 3.9% to 3.3%. The rate of public debt in the Eurozone increased from 90.7% in 2012 to 92.6% in 2013, while for the EU debt grew from some 85.2% to 87.1%.

The EU is full of it - Vlad the Lad is going to make them pay BIGTIME

By John Ward (The Slog) - I recently stuck my neck out by suggesting that when it comes to “economic sanctions” being placed on Russia, the West – especially the EU – are what that old paedophile Mao Tse Tung used to call “Paper tigers”. Now a Slog reader points to further confirmation of Russia’s relative safety in the face of Western threats, given that ‘exported commodities represent 20% of Russian GDP. Additionally, commanding over 10% of the global gas and oil market, Russia is a huge marginal producer of the most important commodities on a global scale (and with over 40% of the produced palladium, one can see why its price in recent weeks has exploded)’.

But it doesn’t end there: ‘ Russia supplies literally all of the natural gas that Finland and the Baltics consume and 70% of what Ukraine consumes, a key point of Russian leverage in the current dispute. Dependence is not limited to smaller, immediately neighboring countries; Germany relies on Russia for around one-third of its total gas supplies.

Although seasonal and other factors could lessen the impact of disruptions to these flows, there is no doubt that such potential disruptions would negatively impact European growth… unlike the great powers of the developed world which have been unable to grow at a BRIC-like pace, and thus were forced to borrow heavily from the future for some very modest growth today, Russia did not have that problem. As a result, Russian total external debt is tiny when viewed from the prism of an insolvent G-7 country.’

I’m grateful to Christo for so robustly confirming my viewpoint.

To use the technical term, the EU is full of it: it made a stupid move in getting into Ukrainian politics, and now Vlad the Lad is going to make them pay bigtime.

Read More - The Slog

ANALYSIS - Preparing Ukraine for a Proxy War with Russia

By Tony Cartalucci (Global Research) -  The BBC reported in their article, “Ukraine crisis: Biden to meet Kiev leaders in show of support,” that:
  • US Vice-President Joe Biden is to meet Ukraine’s new leaders in a show of support for the pro-Western government.
  • Mr Biden is due to discuss the forthcoming elections with the country’s interim prime minister and president during his visit to Kiev.
  • A phone conversation between the US secretary of state and Russia’s foreign minister earlier led to both sides blaming the other over the crisis.
Biden’s visit is not the first time Western representatives have traveled to Kiev in direct support of the “Euromaidan” protests and the subsequent unelected regime that violently seized power. US Senator John McCain would literally take the stage with the ultra-right, Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party leaders as well as meet with “Fatherland Party” member and future “prime minister,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk. 

In mid-April, CIA director John Brennan was confirmed to have travelled to Kiev. Forbes in their article, “Why CIA Director Brennan Visited Kiev: In Ukraine The Covert War Has Begun,” reported that:
    Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan traveled to Kiev, nobody knows exactly why, but some speculate that he intends to open US intelligence resources to Ukrainian leaders about real-time Russian military maneuvers. The US has, thus far, refrained from sharing such knowledge because Moscow is believed to have penetrated much of Ukraine’s communications systems – and Washington isn’t about to hand over its surveillance secrets to the Russians.
Forbes would continue by suggesting arrangements were being made to prepare Ukraine for a possible proxy war with Russia – describing the shortcomings of Western backing during another proxy confrontation with Russia, the Georgia-Russia conflict in 2008 where Western equipped Georgian troops were humiliated after invading South Ossetia and incurring a counterattack by superior Russian forces. 

US Roadshow to Cover for Kiev’s Nonexistent Legitimacy

First McCain’s and now Biden’s trip to Kiev is meant to lend the “Euromaidan” derived regime international recognition and – Washington hopes – the illusion of legitimacy. However, the “Euromaidan” protests were led by a toxic mixture of Neo-Nazis, bigots, racists, and anti-Semites, many of whom were armed and conducted a campaign of violence to overthrow the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

These included the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, the “Fatherland Party,” and the admittedly armed Neo-Nazi “Right Sector” movement. The BBC would even concede that armed Neo-Nazis spearheaded the violence that ultimately overthrew the Ukrainian government in a short video report titled, “Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine,” which showed Neo-Nazis occupying the vandalized, ransacked offices of the ultra-right’s political enemies.

That the current regime has afforded top ministry positions to Neo-Nazi parties like Svoboda is particularly troubling. The Daily Caller in an article titled, “Ukraine party accused of anti-Semitism receives top positions in new government,” would admit:
    As the fires die down from the turmoil in Kiev, a political party that has been accused of promoting anti-Semitism and xenophobia is set to reap the benefits of the new government arrangement.
    The Svoboda Party will take control of not one, but three ministries in the interim government.
    These posts include the deputy prime minister and the heads of the agriculture and environmental ministries. In addition to these positions, a Svoboda lawmaker was appointed the new prosecutor general in the interim government.
If the nature of Svoboda is widely known, having been reported on for years by both the Western media and Western human rights organizations, then surely the United States and the European Union are well aware of the true nature of the new regime in Kiev. McCain and Biden’s rush to lend support for the regime is an attempt not to bolster leadership in Ukraine that represents the alleged values of the West, but to cover up the fact that the regime in Kiev represents the very antithesis of these values.

And of course, the very fact that the regime came to power through a violent coup, and not “democratic elections” as the West has repeatedly claimed is the only way a legitimate government can come to power, further undermines both the legitimacy of the regime, and those that seek to now back it – particularly the United States government and the European Union.

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

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