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February 1, 2015

Torrential Rains Destroy Historic Bridge In Epirus, State on Alert, Gov't Chairs Emergency Meeting (VIDEOS)

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chaired an emergency meeting on Sunday with the General Secretariat for Civil Protection to discuss immediate measures that will deal with flooding and damages that were caused at the weekend by the extreme weather conditions in northwestern and central Greece. The ministers of civil protection, interior, production reform, as well as the government spokesman would also be present at the meeting.

According to news reports, the historical stone bridge of Plaka in the region of Epirus in northwestern Greece collapsed on Sunday following two days of torrential rains which have literally forced local authorities to open a dam to prevent further flooding in the area.

The bridge which was constructed by Konstantinos Bekas in 1866 over the Arachthos river, is viewed as being one of the region's most prominent landmarks and attracts thousands of tourists and hikers every year. The Epirusgate news site said in a report that following the collapse only a small part of the bridge remains on the side of Monolithi village.

Meanwhile, another bridge suffered serious damages in the area of Komboti in Arta in western Greece on Sunday, after torrential rains in the region raised water pressure against the construction.

The torrential rains are so intense that the regional authority of Epirus issued a warning on Sunday that urged its citizens to be on alert for possible flooding, both in the lowlands and even in the city of Arta. At the same time it announced that it would open the flood gates of the damn in Pournari in the framework of allowing water to flow into Arachthos River. The dam is adjacent to the local power utility unit. The dam last opened during the floods of 2005.
     "The administration of PPC's hydroelectric dam in Pournari will release a larger quantity of water in Arachthos River because the water level has risen dangerously after intense weather conditions," it announced in a press release.
Meanwhile, the Deputy regional Arta prefect, Vasilis Psathas, told Real FM radio that it is preparing to evacuate some villages in the area.
     "We are in full alert, we are informing people. It's possible we will have to evacuate villages and communities. We have been preparing for this since Saturday," he said. 
A man near the city of Arta shot some footage of a stone bridge in danger of being swept away from the force of the water of the overflown river. The video was posted on the Facebook page of Arta City - Amvrakia. CLICK Here to view - https://www.facebook.com/pages/ARTA-City-ancient-Amvrakia-Greece

Epirus was not the only region to suffer from torrential rain. In the region of Thessaly it was reported that the banks of the Pineios river also flooded. The Trikalaola.gr newsite apparently released a video showing how the water has blanketed the whole region. Also in central Greece, the Spercheios River in the area of Phthiotis was reported to have flooded the valley of Lamia. Apparently it disrupted train services both north- and southbound, essentially cutting Greece in two.

Sources: facebook.com/SevereWeatherReportsGr, epirusgate.blogspot.gr, Lamia report, Trikalaola.gr, enikos, RealFM



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Tsipras Reassures EU, Gov't Hires Lazard Group, Varoufakis Asks For Help of US

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took on the role of fire-fighter at the weekend to extinguish the fire that was set between the Greek Finance Ministry and the EU last week and reassured his EU partners that Greece would make due on its debts. At the same time Yiannis Varoufakis asked for the intervention of the US to mediate between Athens and Brussels and hired the controversial Lazard Group to on issues of public debt and fiscal management.

More exactly, and in accordance to an article on Bloomberg, Tsipras said at the weekend that Athens is planning on repaying its debts to the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as reach a (new) deal “soon”.
    “The deliberation with our European partners has just begun,” the report on Bloomber quoted Tsipras as saying.
     “Despite the fact that there are differences in perspective, I am absolutely confident that we will soon manage to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, both for Greece and for Europe as a whole.”
The announcement comes one day after bond yields surged when Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the six-day-old government will turn its back on the rescue program that allowed Greece to pay pensions and public wages for the past five years in exchange for a punishing regime of spending cuts that wiped out 25 percent of its economy.

Tsipras, said the same report, is asking its EU partners to accept a write down of Greece’s debt to allow an alternative program with more public spending to revive the economy.
     “We need time to breathe and create our own medium-term recovery program, which amongst other things will incorporate the targets of primary balanced budgets and radical reforms to address the issues of tax evasion, corruption and clientelistic policies,” Tsipras said.
The diplomatic effort is expected to continue this week with Tsipras traveling to Cyprus on Monday to meet President Nicos Anastasiades before holding talks with Italy’s Matteo Renzi and France’s Francois Hollande a couple of days after that.

Greece Hires Controversial Lazard Firm

Meanwhile a report on Reuters said that the Greek Finance Ministry hired financial advisers Lazard to consult on issues of public debt and fiscal management. It should be reminded that Greece (or PASOK government under Papandreou) used Lazard during talks in 2012 over private sector involvement (PSI) as it sought to write down billions of euros of debt in a major sovereign restructuring.

Europe's bailout program for Greece, part of a 240-billion-euro ($270 billion) rescue package along with the International Monetary Fund, expires on Feb. 28 and a failure to renew it could leave Athens unable to meet its financing needs and cut its banks off from ECB liquidity support.

Greek press reports quoted a Lazard official, Mathieu Ping (phonetic spelling), as telling a French radio station BFM Business in a statement that a new haircut should be made of at least 50%.
     "This restructuring is essential. It is not only necessary but also feasible," Ping said. 
In Athens and after getting off on a wrong step with the EU last week, Varoufakis on Sunday travelled to Paris to meet and hold talks with his French counterpart Michel Sapin.

Speaking to the Agora newspaper ahead of his trip the minister of finance made it clear there is no issue of Greece tearing up the previous program.

The Greek finance minister told the Greek financial paper that within the context of his meetings with his EU counterparts there will be a meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. At the same time he underlined that the Greek proposals on the debt have less cost to the European tax payers in comparison with the lenders' proposals and at the same time noted that "the State has continuity" clarifying that a number of agreements that have been made with private investors will not be touched.
     "We will not tear up the previous program; there is not issue of asking for an extension of the previous program. Europe is very skillful in finding euphemisms and phrases that satisfy everyone."
     "What is really needed is a 'bridge' between the old program, that we reject, and the new agreement after the completion of our negotiations."
Asked if Greece will receive the installment, Varoufakis clarified that the new Greek government "will not take the tranche because it will mean that we accept the continuation of the program. It is frequently said that there is a deadline on February 28; we believe that this is an arbitrary deadline; it is a product of the former government's political agreement with our partners. Where an issue will really exist is in June-July when the bonds that ECB has will mature. We want the negotiation, the deliberation to be completed until then and to have a new agreement in order to move afterwards on the right course".

He then said that "the government's aim is to present a specific reform program.
     "What I want to underline is that the State has continuity. Our commitments to investors that have invested in the country's productive web will remain untouched".
In the same issue of Agora, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said that the European Union is ready to cooperate constructively with the new Greek government and both sides can found a solution with respect to the commitments.
     "We do not want a rift to exist. We must reinstate a new cooperation" noted the French Commissioner rejecting the confrontations attitude between Athens and Brussels. 
US Mediates Between Athens And its EU Partners

And if that wasn't enough, Varoufakis consulted with his American counterpart. Washington-based reporter Michael Ignatius reported that  Varoufakis requested the support -and intervention- of the Americans in the negotiations with EU officials.

It should be recalled that last Friday a White House spokesman made a statement that some interpreted as a US engagement effort in the crisis that has broken out between Greece and its creditors, as linked to economic and financial instability in Europe with the debt crisis in Greece and said that this instability has complications and effects on both the American and world economy.

Specifically, Mr. Ernest said:
     "We will continue to work closely with the EU and with the new political leaders in Greece, in order to try to resolve the differences between them and to restore the Greek, European and world economies on the path of growth and prosperity, because it will ultimately be in the interest of the US economy."
Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg, Agora, Mignatiou.com

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"K.O.L.O.T.O.U.M.B.A" - The New Greek Word for Hope

By Justine Frangouli-Argyris (Mignatiou.com) - The Greek word “kolotoumba,” or somersault, indicative of a complete reversal in one’s thinking or policies, has become the new catchphrase of the Greek political scene, repeatedly trumpeted in the local media as well as the foreign press. Greece’s newly elected, radical-left Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, has already performed his first kolotoumba by opting for a coalition with Panos Kammenos of the right-wing Independent Greeks, a party, like Tsipras’s, that is staunchly anti-austerity but that derives from the complete opposite end of the political spectrum.

Yianis Varoufakis, the country’s newly appointed Finance Minister, also did a kolotoumba as he is no longer putting an emphasis on a reduction of the Greek debt by indicating that a lengthening of the repayment terms could be an acceptable alternative.

The European Union also made a kolotoumba of its own as it does not appear to be threatening the new government with ultimatums but, rather, encouraging a new dialogue in the hope of finding a potential consensus.

Alexis Tsipras performed another kolotoumba by putting aside his pre-election promises to restore public sector salaries to their pre-crisis levels, rehire all dismissed civil servants and do away with the crippling taxes imposed by previous administrations, merely promising to raise the minimum wage and restore electricity to the country’s impoverished.

By Sunday evening, Tsipras, the leader of the radical-left Syriza party who triumphed in Greece’s national elections by claiming 149 seats in the Greek Parliament, only two shy of an outright majority, started the kolotoumbas and his European partners quickly followed, making the word the key when it comes to the subject of the country’s future in the eurozone.

The Europeans are seeking a new deal with Tsipras in order to keep Greece within the group. Although Germany insists that Greece must adhere to its debt obligations, other voices in the European Union are musing about the possibility of an elongation in the repayment of the country’s debt in order to make it viable for the crippled Greek economy.

Even Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the stern chairman of the Eurogroup, has stated that although there is minimal support for any debt write-off negotiations, there will be discussions on the issue. And, even the hard-line Prime Minister of Finland and the Finance Minister of Belgium have left open the possibility of extending or reducing Greece’s debt load.

Yanis Varoufakis, who was adamant in his pre-election discourses, at times even discussing a potential return to the Drachma for the country, told the BBC that a “Grexit is not on the cards; we are not going to Brussels and to Frankfurt and to Berlin in confrontational style..” and indicated that there is great potential for a mutually beneficial solution to be found.

Of course, all discussions are premature at this stage as the situation is very fluid in the country. The people, tired and humiliated after five years of recession, with unemployment at 26 percent of the population and at 50 percent among its young, with a large exodus of talented Greeks going abroad in the quest of a job and with 2.5 millions Greeks subsisting below poverty thresholds, voted massively for Alexis Tsipras, providing him with a solid mandate to negotiate an end to the country’s harsh austerity measures.

On the other hand, the new Prime Minister, along with his associate in government, Panos Kammenos, has the delicate task of concluding a new loan agreement with his European partners while also maintaining a tough fiscal line in order to keep the budget balanced or, in the least, not let it exceed the European benchmark of three percent of GDP.

At the same time, the boisterous leftists in Syriza are pushing Tsipras to deliver on his pre-election promises, pledges that would dramatically increase the deficit, while Kammenos remains rather skeptical to any such ideas.

The various conflicts within Syriza, with its hodgepodge mix of radical and extreme-radical leftists and more moderate socialists, and those within the new governmental alliance, foreshadow difficult days ahead for the people of Greece who voted for change and relief but want to remain in a united Europe.

Perhaps, from here on in, hope in Europe’s future may be spelled k-o-l-o-t-o-u-m-b-a!


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Tsipras Appoints PASOK Veteran Reporter As Head of Intelligence Agency

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday appointed journalist Yiannis Roubatis as the head of Greece's National Intelligence Service (EYP). According to the Parapolitika newspaper, the appointment of Roubatis came as a surprise to many because it is the first time that a journalist assumes a position that was routinely occupied by officials from the military, the police or ambassadors, etc.

(There were some exceptions of course throughout Greek history with the appointments of Tsimas, Papanghelopoulos and Dravillas).

Roubatis was born in 1948 in Ioannina and studied in the USA. He is said to hold a PhD in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University.

He served as the Washington correspondent for the socialist To Vima newspaper for quite a few years and after the rise of Andreas Papandreou in 1981, Roubatis became a special advisor to the then PASOK PM on international issues.

In March 1987 he assumed a role in Papandreou's government and remained in this position until June 1988 when Andreas Papandreou replaced him with Dimitri Maroudas.

It should also be noted that he served as PASOK's eurodeputy from 1994-1999 and was an extremely close associate to the founder of PASOK Andreas Papandreou.

(As we can clearly see, more and more hardline PASOK veterans are assuming more and more posts in the government.)

Sources - enikos, protothema, parapolitika


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Greece Backs EU Move to Extend Russian Sanctions - But Greek Media Ignores News

The fears that the new SYRIZA government would torpedo a move by the European Union to extend sanctions against Russia last Friday were not realized. Unfortunately the Greek media is purposely ignoring this MAJOR detail, and has allowed Greek citizens to believe that the new government was against the sanctions. As noted in the report below by Reuters, we weren't really told the whole truth. Indeed the Greeks called for the decision on tighter sanctions to be delayed and it is true that they were not alone on their decision since other nations such as Italy and Austria also favored a delay,  but Britain and the Baltic states wanted a clearer commitment to imposing new sanctions quickly, as did Germany, and as always Greece complied.

(Reuters) - European Union foreign ministers extended existing sanctions against Russia, holding off on tighter economic measures for now but winning the support of the new left-leaning government of Greece, whose position had been in doubt.  The ministers agreed to extend until September travel bans and asset freezes imposed last year that had been due to expire. They also agreed to list the names of additional people who could be targeted with sanctions when they meet again on Feb. 9.

They dropped language, however, about drawing up "further restrictive measures" that had appeared in a pre-meeting draft. The bloc's foreign policy chief said a decision on such measures would be left to EU leaders meeting next month.

Germany said that decision would depend on the situation on the ground, with any major new rebel advance demanding tougher sanctions.

The emergency meeting had been called after rebels launched an advance last week, disavowing a five-month-old ceasefire. Last Saturday, suspected rebel forces shelled the major port city of Mariupol, killing 30 people. Since then, there has been intense fighting along the front line, although the rebels appear to have held back from an all-out assault on Mariupol.

Washington, which has coordinated sanctions moves with Brussels in the past year, said it was not planning an immediate new announcement itself.
     “Certainly, we welcome it; it's a positive step,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a regular news briefing.
     “This is just a further sign that the actions of the last several days and weeks are absolutely unacceptable and that there will be new consequences put in place," she said.
Psaki noted that the EU and the U.S. sanctions lists had not targeted exactly the same people, firms, or sectors, and added: "We'll continue to consider others that we could add, but … I don't think there's anything to expect today.”

The run-up to the Brussels talks was dominated by Greece, whose new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, took power last Monday and complained that his government had not been consulted before tighter sanctions were threatened. But at the meeting, colleagues said new foreign minister Nikos Kotzias had swiftly dispelled suggestions that Greece would automatically torpedo any sanctions effort.

According to Italy's foreign minister, Kotzias announced to the meeting:
     "I am not a Russian puppet."
He signed up to a sharply worded statement that declared Moscow responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine and demanded it halt its backing for the separatists.

Calls For Delay

While the Greeks did call for the decision on tighter sanctions to be delayed, they were not alone: other countries such as Italy and Austria also favored a delay, diplomats said, while Britain and the Baltic states wanted a clearer commitment to imposing new sanctions quickly.
     "We are not against every sanction," Kotzias said later. "We are in the mainstream, we are not the bad boys."
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed frustration with the ambiguity of the Greek position before the talks:
     "It is no secret that the new stance of the Greek government has not made today's debate any easier," he said.
However, after he met with Kotzias in private, the German officials said he was less concerned.

(hmmmmmm)




January 30, 2015

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European & Greek Position On Debt... Miles Apart

credit emea.gr
Today’s meeting between Greek government officials and Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem is the first crash test for the new Greek government, which had to finally get in touch with the European reality. Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and Dijsselbloem pledged to cooperate on issues regarding Greece's debt, but appeared to be miles apart in their set positions at a joint press conference.

While speaking with reporters, the newly appointed Greek Minister of Finance said that Athens does not recognize the body of representatives of the "Troika" which has indebted Greece in a bailout deal in May 2010. He noted that Greece does not recognize the bailout deal on the basis of which these negotiations are being carried out and reiterated that the SYRIZA's position that a European conference on debt is necessary.
     "We don’t have any plans to co-operate" with the troika mission, Varoufakis said.
Signalling the rejection of this part of Greece's proposal, Dijsselbloem replied that the pan-European conference that Varoufakis spoke of already exists and is called "the Eurogroup."
     "We want Greece to regain economic independence; it is important not to lose the progress made these years in Greece... unilateral actions aren't progressive steps."
Indeed the unofficial or behind-the-scenes contacts that took place recently may have restricted the objections the dominant leaders in the Eurozone may have (or have had) towards SYRIZA, but it seems that many of them remain on the table.

Even before he came to Athens, the Eurogroup chief managed to prepare the ground work through many of his statements which stress that the election proclamations are incompatible with the program. This is not intimidating the Greek side, because it is confident about the national recovery plan that it is going to present to them and actually believes that it will be accepted by the Europeans.

In a New York Times interview on Friday, Varoufakis said Greece "didn’t want" the money in its next EU-IMF bailout loan tranche.
     "We don’t want the 7 billion euros.... We want to sit down and rethink the whole program," he said.
Debt rating agency Fitch said Greece was still likely to reach a deal with its creditors but only after protracted talks damaging to the economy.
     "There is a high risk that protracted and difficult negotiations will sap confidence and liquidity from the Greek economy," it said in a note.
Obviously, the negotiations between Greece and its lenders are not going to be simple or painless and now that the Left is finally faced with this grim reality they will quickly realize that these negotiations will also be difficult. Nonetheless we hope (for Greece) that patience, calmness and above all a comprehensive plan things will prevail and who knows... in the long run change might follow (and hopefully it will be a move away from strict austerity).

Without a doubt a mutually accepted compromise is necessary, but that requires the political will of Greece and Europeans alike. The time we have ahead of us is critical and there is no room for major delays and procrastination. The real negotiations that began today must become the start for the reaffirmation of Greece’s new relationship with the EU.

References - capital, To Vima, protothema, enikos


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PROVOCATION - Turkish F-16 near Imia while Kammenos Lays Memorial Wreath

According to a report on defecenent, as well as on ProtoThema, Turkish F-16 fighter planes suddenly appeared in the skies on Friday near the islet of Imia as the newly appointed Minister of Defense, Panos Kammenos, was aboard a helicopter to lay a wreath in memory of three Hellenic Navy aviators that were killed during the 1996 Imia crisis when their chopper crashed in the vicinity. The Turkish planes attempted a type of ambush on the helicopter that was carrying the Greek minister but luckily they were immediately challenged by Greek F-16s which had taken off from the 115th unit in Crete!

Reports claim that the Turkish fighter did not violate Greek airspace, but without a doubt it wanted to intimidate the significance of the moment. Also there was no need of a dogfight since the Greek fighters managed to encircle the Ministers helicopter which was now hovered over the islet of Imia. The same reports add that a few more planes took to the skies from both sides but the Turks decided to withdraw their forces after realizing that the Greek fighters had locked on to their movements and had taken their place around the controversial islet.

The NH-90 helicopter that was transporting the Greek defence minister over Imia maneuvered over the islet’s shore to allow the ministry delegation to lay the wreath.

It should be reminded that in 1996 the events that unfolded at this island almost led to a war between Greece and Turkey (read article below for details.) At the time Turkey began to dispute the sovereignty of these Greek islands and spoke of “grey zones” in the Aegean. This is one of the reasons why the US requested that all armed forces and flags be removed from the area.

The minister was accompanied to Imia by the Chief General Armed Forces Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.

It should be noted that Kammenos was the first Minister to visit the Islets since 1996. His initiative to honor the three pilots who perished at sea at the time should indeed be applauded. (Bravo tou)

Earlier on Friday he also would lay a wreath at the Imia memorial in down town Athens.

The Golden Dawn party has also organized a demonstration at the Imia Memorial in Athens, while various antifascist groups have arranged to gather in Omonia Square.

Imia: Almost Two Decades Later And We Have Not Forgotten

At the end of January in 1996 on the islet of Imia (Ίμια), which is a set of two small uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea, at the Greek chain of islands known as the Dodecanese, a war nearly broke out between Greece and Turkey. That night, Greek special forces landed on the east islet without being spotted by the nearby Turkish ships. 

On January 31, at 01:40 Turkish special forces landed on the west islet escalating the tensions, and a Greek helicopter took off at 05:30 am from the Greek frigate "Navarino" for reconnaissance. During the mission the helicopter crashed over the islets (some speculating due to Turkish fire) and three Greek officers, namely Commander Christodoulos Karathanasis. Commander Panagiotis Vlahakis and flagship Hector Gialopso died. (These are the three heroic men who died in defence of the blue and white and who the Greek Minister of Defence wanted to commemorate on Friday).

IMAGE - The photo above shows the bullets that were fired on the helicopter from the Turkish side. It is one of the few photos that have not been able to erase the responsibilities of those who rushed to claim that the helicopter fell because the pilot, Karathanasis suffered heart problems.





The Greek Parliament is quickly briefed on the incident, and the acting Prime Minister at the time, Costas Simitis, calls on his cabinet and chairs an extraordinary meeting. Following this, Simitis holds a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, via the mediation of Americans in the framework of avoiding war. At 6:10 am the ministers of defense and foreign affairs, namely, Arsenis and Theodore Pangalos, respectively, announce that an agreement was reached between Athens and Ankara following the diplomatic intervention of US President Bill Clinton and his mediator Richard Holbrooke.  

(The same man who years later was sending cables from Athens to the US about Costas Karamanlis, and the same man who a couple of years ago -and while George Papandreou was in power- accompanied Hillary Clinton to Athens to discuss Greece's natural energy reserves. He is a man who has always lobbied in favor of sharing the Aegean sea (and all its wealth) with Turkey... If you need more information, simply type in his name in our search box and you will be astonished with what will pop up.)

Later on in the day and following a "thank you" to the Americans by Simitis in the Greek parliament (which infuriated MPs from the Right to the Left), the Turkish threat began to die down. That is of course what Simitis' PASOK party believed at the time..., but as we can all see the Greek people never forgot.

Almost two decades later... we have still not forgotten, and we never will. How can a nation forget that its own government sent three innocent souls to be slaughtered at the hands of ruthless men? This tragedy will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN, nor will it EVER BE FORGIVEN.

Background to the tragedy

On December 25, 1995 the Turkish cargo vessel "Figen Akat" ran aground on one of the Imia rocky islets. Although the accident occurred within Greek territorial waters the captain of the "Figen Akat" refused assistance from the competent Greek authorities claiming that he was within Turkish territorial waters. Despite assurances to the contrary, the captain sought assistance from the Turkish authorities. Finally, in agreement with the Turkish company that owned the vessel, the "Figen Akat" was towed to the Turkish port of Gulluk by a Greek tug boat.

On December 29, 1995, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to the Greek Embassy in Ankara a Note Verbal, asserting, for the first time in more than half a century, that Imia constitutes part of the Turkish territory, registered in the land registry of the Turkish province of Mugla. Greece reacted and on January 10, 1996 it addressed a Note Verbal to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. By that Note Greece rejected the Turkish claims and underlined that Imia is Greek territory by virtue of cession from Italy, to which it belonged in accordance with the 1932 Italo-Turkish Agreement and the subsequent Proces Verbal.

While legal and diplomatic staffs in both Athens and Ankara started to dig the archives and to develop more elaborate arguments, the incident escalated to a crisis. On January 25, 1996, the Mayor of Kalymnos together with three other Greek citizens raised a Greek flag on the larger of the Imia islets. On January 27, 1996, Turkish journalists from the Turkish daily Hurriyet landed on this same islet, took down the Greek flag that was posted there and raised the Turkish flag. Although the Turkish Government did not officially endorse the action of the Turkish journalists, the Turkish Prime Minister at that time, Ms Tansu Ciller, insisted a few days later: "We can't let a foreign flag fly on Turkish soil. The flag will come down."

On January 28, 1996, a Greek navy detachment replaced the Greek flag. At the same time a major naval build up was developing around the Imia islets and at various times up to 20 vessels were reported in the area. On January 30, 1996, Turkey sent several ships to the region, prompting Greece to send an equal number. A Turkish frigate violated Greek territorial waters targeting a Greek gunboat that was patrolling the area and a Turkish helicopter flew over the Imia islets. The same day the entire Greek fleet left its naval base near Pireus and sailed to the Aegean. The crisis reached its peak in the early morning hours of January 31, 1996 when the Turkish army landed some men on the smaller of the Imia islets.
(hri). 


After the Imia incident, and PASOK's Secret Diplomacy Exposed

Following Imia, as revealed in the videos, the Greek government sent a letter to US officials telling them that they would command that all Greek military forces leave from the Dodecanese islands that run along the Turkish coast in the framework of mending Greek-Turkish relations. Luckily for our country, the Greek military presence in the area remained.

No harm in that right? 

Wrong.

In a series of classified documents that were presented by reporter Costas Chardavelas (Video Below) -based on talks between former US President Bill Clinton, the then head of the CIA, the Greek and Turkish governments- and which were declassified a couple of years ago by the US, show that top secret meetings were held by Costas Simitis, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Theodore Pangalos, the then Minister of Defence Gerasimos Arsenis, the then head of the Armed Forces Mr. Lyberis, etc, with American and Turkish officials.

In one of those documents, it was more or less understood that Theodore Pangalos had agreed and noted (in a document) that it was "illegal" for Greek troops to be stationed in the area known as the Dodecanese islands. We repeat... In an effort to please the West in their outrageous demands, a GREEK MINISTER SAID THAT IT WAS ILLEGAL TO HAVE GREEK TROOPS STATIONED ON A GREEK ISLAND. (The reporter Costas Chardavelas said that this was one condition that was demanded by the American side. Watch full video below for all the details.)


In some nations people would be hung with such statements, but under the PASOK regime and its green corrupt blanket, the story did not even make headlines in the news.

In simple words, the division of the Aegean -or the so-called grey zones- obviously began on the night that the Imia affair unfolded, under the Simitis government.

(And we all know who continued the dirty work thereafter. Correct... George Papandreou)

The media in Greece may have remained silent on the issue of Imia. Only a few daring reporters have actually touched the subject. Some believe that this was done in an effort to manipulate us into thinking that it was a one time incident, or even a misunderstanding, but as we said earlier, almost two decades have passed and the issue has still not been forgotten by the masses.

In fact, now that our leaders have finally admitted that there is oil and natural gas in these areas, one thing is for certain, Imia (and Kastelorizo) will dominate the news again!

This of course will never bring back those three young boys who rushed to the call of duty on that frightful night. These young boys will always be remembered. Their sacrifice is not only hailed by their families... but by all Hellenes. We can never repay them for this act of selflessness. The only thing that we can do, however, (or rather are obligated as a people and compelled to do) is honor them every year, remember their sacrifice and bravery and tell their story.

Signed
Marina Spanos 

References:
  • http://strangehellas.blogspot.com/2010/02/blog-post_24.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmium
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imia
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHBi35oaimw
  • http://www.antirrisies.gr/node/361

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Avramopoulos: Gov’s Presidential Candidate, After Conservatives React Against "Establishment's" Choice of Karamanlis

Press leaks are claiming that European Commission of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be the government-sponsored candidate in the upcoming Presidential elections, the likeliest date of which is February 13th. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his coalition partner Minister of National Defense Panos Kammenos are now narrowing in on the name Avramopoulos after getting highly criticized for even considering the name of Costas Karamanlis by hard line Karamanlis supporters.

Before we begin to analyze why we feel that Karamanlis supporters slammed this proposal we need to note that we still do not know how the conservative New Democracy party will respond to Avramopoulos' possible candidacy and whether or not it will continue to support the candidacy of Stavros Dimas, (since he failed to be elected in the previous three votes in December).

We also want to note that there are quite a few voices in the European Peoples’ Party who are apparently discontent with this development, as it could mean that the center-right would lose a valuable officer, who could in the future be replaced by someone from the radical left. Avramopoulos’ replacement in the Commission may also receive a different portfolio.

On its part, the government has yet to reveal its cards on this issue and from what we learn government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis has denied any agreement for Avramopoulos being a candidate at all. In fact he insists that for now the government’s priorities lie in restoring Greece’s place in Europe and preparing its policy statement, but as we all know Papoulias' term ends in March and whether SYRIZA likes it or not they will have to lay down their cards at one point or another.

The same holds true at New Democracy.

So here is why HellasFrappe believes that Karamanlis supporters got angered upon hearing his name being suggested by SYRIZA and ANEL for the position of President of the Republic. Those who know the former prime minister find it ridiculous if not laughable that he would accept, as do hundreds of thousands of his supporters who were even angered by this possibility. This is because the role of the President is solely ceremonial and has been since the 1986 constitutional reform (under Andreas Papandreou) and this is something that would only benefit the "business as usual" oligarchs of Greece who till this day find him a threat.

In a few words, the President of the Hellenic Republic is the nominal commander-in-chief of the Greek Armed Forces and occupies the first place in our country's order of precedence but his position was totally stripped of power by the late Andreas Papandreou government. The Greek Constitution of 1974 vested him with considerable powers on paper, but PASOK's Andreas Papandreou reduced his powers with a 1986 constitutional amendment, and this is why Karamanlis supporters are opposed to his his candidacy.

Frappers should realize that five years (+) after resigning as New Democracy leader, the same cartels who lived in fear during his term in office, are continuing to limit his power because they are afraid that Karamanlis can offer the average voter in Greece an alternative form of governance without their interference, or worse yet HOPE. And they should be afraid, because he can! Till this day many can attribute many things to his MPs but there is no proof whatsoever that would discredit his competence and patriotism for Greece. Karamanlis was toppled because of his stance on the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, his tight relations with Vladimir Putin, his stance on the destructive Annan peace plan against Cyprus and certainly for his loud NO to the accession of FYROM to NATO. (It should be reminded that at that same summit a loud NO was voiced by Ukraine as well... and look a the situation in Ukraine today.) All this and more is why the "establishment" wants Karamanlis in a safe place, where he will not be able to be in the forefront of developments - especially now since we are beginning to slice Greece's energy pie ( each interest of which is based on a variety of reasons) .

Unfortunately the political game in Greece does not play ball with logic. Shady interests use mechanisms to manipulate the truth to such an extent that lies are twisted to sound like truths and they do this easily through their newspapers, radio, television and news sites. In simple words Greek oligarchs and all those forces who want Karamanlis out of the way, with a limited amount of powers to monitor them, still till this day use PROPAGANDA to push their agendas so that they can continue to operate as usual.

There is just one little problem with this today, people have caught on to their manipulation and lies. In fact today people know that Karamanlis refused to bow to these well-known "cartels" for all the reasons we saw unfold before us over the last few years, or after the signing of the First Memorandum. In fact most conservatives, and especially those who doubted Karamanlis in the 2009 elections, today have admitted that because he was toppled because he did not succumb to all these forces. So much so that his credibility as a politician was questioned, his political career was shattered into pieces and there was even an attempted assassination against his life.

Friends, several years ago, the PROPAGANDA machine named PASOK (and all the mechanisms that operated it) worked feverishly to tarnish the reputation of Karamanlis, and today the same mechanism is working with the same "cartels" again but with other forces with a plan to exterminate Karamanlis from the political world -or at the very least keep him silent and without any power-.

These individuals are well known in political circles and have on more than one occasion flip-flopped from being supporters of Andreas Papandreou, to supporters of Costas Simitis, on to George Papandreou, then to Evangelos Venizelos and now to SYRIZA. In fact these interests will do anything it takes to keep Karamanlis out of speaking because they know that when socialists rule, they will always fatten their bank wallets more easily.

One of the tools that is commonly used by these cartels are the "Ta Nea" and "To Vima" newspapers. In fact these newspapers have been used for decades to spread falsifications against the conservative New Democracy party. We see this happen every so often in their weekend editions. Up until several months ago they were even claiming that Karamanlis' government was largely responsible for leading the country into the arms of the Troika, or at least opening a door to it and today because they fear his active presence in ND they are pushing for his candidacy as President of the Republic.

There are some that might disagree with our analysis about Karamanlis' time in government so HellasFrappe will give them the facts. The truth must be told about the damned Greek economy because lies will always be lies, but numbers, official data, facts and reports cannot be interpreted (to suit anyone's needs) and are indisputable. As we all know, history and numbers, cannot be challenged, cannot be interpreted and they most certainly cannot be ignored!

So here goes: In 2004 PASOK left a total debt of 184,514.30 billion euros and maturing bonds: Interest on the debts that were generated by the PASOK governments and unfortunately paid by the conservative government of Costas Karamanlis were: In 2004 9.464 billion euros, in 2005 9.774 billion euros, in 2006 9.589 billion euros, in 2007 9.750 billion euros, in 2008 10.500 billion euros.

On top of this Karamanlis also inherited the more than 10 billion euros from PASOK's controversial armaments program (which today is being investigated by authorities), the scandalous and excessive debts from the (Gianna Aggelopoulou Daskalis') Athens 2004 Olympic Games and last but not least Costas Simitis 2001 SWAP with Goldman Sachs of some 5 billion euros (as well as all the shady deals for various security systems).

Now that you are starting to get a better picture of things keep in mind that expenditures on interest rates do not drop because some leftists claim that they do because only an IDIOT could say that. If a government bond was 5% in 2003 for example, and was paid at that interest that year, it was also the same for all previous years. In other words, all those who slammed Karamanlis and today are pushing for his candidacy actually believe that the interest rates on the loans that were made during the socialist's time in governance, -and there were a lot of them- remained at 5% and never rose!

So before we are accused of being anti-Leftists, let us look at the FACTS and then you can all judge for yourselves on who is more responsible about the current state of the Greek economy.

FACT - When PASOK came to power in 1981, it received an economy with public debt 32.8% of GDP!

FACT - When PASOK lost to the New Democracy Party in 1989, the Greek deficit had already reached 14.3% and the national debt was at 61.5% of the GDP. In other words, the socialists, or PASOK, more than doubled the national debt - all this within only eight years of rule under the Andreas Papandreou government. (Imagine how these numbers mounted when the large works began to take place around the country and how high they reached with the pricey Athens 2004 Olympic Games).

But the buck does not stop there. The truth gets even uglier.

Before PASOK fell out of power -or in 1989-, it had given state debt guarantees to local authorities and public utility companies, which several years down the road forced the Greek national debt to reach an astronomical 100% of the GDP.

Some can confirm this easily by googling the press reports at the time and specifically when the Coalition Government of Zolotas could not find the sufficient funds needed in order to pay public sector wages and pensions. (All thanks to eight years of rule from Andreas Papandreou!)

Fast forward to the period 2004-2009 and Karamanlis' rule. The negative reports that were published in the anti-Karamanlis papers which today want him out of the way and in the inactive presidential seat claim that his government generated a further 100 billion in debt. This is another lie. The papers fail to explain how and why this debt was generated. But we will because we stick to the facts!

During the period 2004 - 2009 the Greek State paid:

    -62 billion euros in interest from previous loans (mostly generated by both the Andreas Papandreou and Costas Simitis PASOK governments)!

    - The conservatives were also forced to pay 10 billion euros in payments which were never recorded in State budgets that were drafted from the Simitis government periods 1996 to 2004!

    - The conservatives were forced to pay almost 15 Billion in commissions to the armed forces from decisions that were taken from previous PASOK governments.

    - The conservatives were forces to pay 6 Billion euros to the hospitals as well that were never paid by the PASOK governments. In fact the EU drafted a legislation in 2004 to legalize the balance sheets of hospitals so that this 6 billion can be paid.

Get out your claculators... The total my friends is 93 billion Euros!

Obviously the debt which sent Greece into an economic hurricane was not the fault of Costas Karamanlis and this needs to be told. Add it up yourselves and you will agree with us as well.

Frappers, Costas Simitis and his PASOK party not only generated a HUGE debt before falling out of power in 2004, but they also made sure to collect prepayment of future state revenues and as such deprived this revenue from ever being absorbed by future governments!

Let us give you a few more examples so that there are no doubts:

  • According to article 14 of Law 2801 of 2000, PASOK received prepayment of future revenue of 4 billion Euros.
  • On December 13, 2001, PASOK granted a right to prepayment of 355 million euros to the offshore company "Aeolos" from the Community Support Funds (CSF) until 2009!
  • In 2000 the PASOK government of Simitis received prepayment of revenues from the state lottery worth more than 650 million euros.
  • The PASOK government of Costas Simtis also received prepayment of future revenues from the 3rd CSF program worth more than 2 billion euros!

In this round, the PASOK government of Costas Simitis received prepayment of revenues totalling more than 7 billion euros (meaning that these revenues would never enter state funds in the years to follow)!

As for the public sector hirings. This indeed is a joke as well. New Democracy, and especially the Karamanlis government, was accused of making tens of thousands of public sector hirings and some may recall George Papandreou accusing Karamanlis of creating a "blue" state in some pre-election speeches in 2009.

That is another crock of sh***t. When Karamanlis came to power, the EU forced his government to place at least 80 percent of these workers in the public sector permanently, because their rights were being violated all the previous years from the PASOK governments. And all he did was comply to the EU ruling.

Unfortunately old dogs do not learn new tricks, most of these workers returned to PASOK and some of them still support the party till this day and today these same hardliners are in SYRIZA! Those who work for the public sector know very well that the unions that represent most of the public sector workforce are -till this day- governed by leftist unions. And we ask... If there were so many hirings made by Karamanlis' government -and if he had truely created a Blue State- then why hasn't the power shifted in the unions? Why hasn't a conservative unionist ever been appointed to a high ranking post? Simple common sense will give you the answers. But of course the "cartels", overlook all the above facts and stick to what they know best and that is PROPAGANDA and disallowing this truth to ever reach you the voter.

Over the past few years they take pleasure of continually bashing Karamanlis because they know, and fear, that he can still give Greeks an alternative form of governance that would weaken their privileged lives. They are afraid that with Karamanlis in power people will once again have HOPE instead of feeling helpless and powerless. They just never banked on the fact that Karamanlis' supporters are well prepared not to allow them and armed with knowledge and facts!

This is why Karamanlis' name was tossed in the air. On the other hand, Avramopoulos would be great in this position because he loves the spotlight, adores being in the public eye, and is more ceremonial in character.

Signed
The HellasFrappe Team


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Lafazanis Says Gov't Considering Changes For Greek Hydrocarbons Tenders

Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister, Panayiotis Lafazanis said that he is going to look into the ongoing international tenders for exploration and exploitation licences in three land blocks in western Greece. He said that he is going to do this for possible changes before its deadline.

It should be reminded that the tender, concerns blocks in Arta-Preveza, Etoloakarnania, and northwest Peloponnese, and expires on February 6th. It was launched by the previous government based on terms stipulated by EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company.
     "We’re examining the issue. We may need to intervene before the deadline expires and offers are submitted," Lafazanis, the newly appointed minister, told enerypress.
The same formula had been applied to a preceding - and finalized - tender for three other blocks along Greece’s western flank, in Ioannina, the Gulf of Patras, and Katakolo.

SYRIZA has in the past disagreed with the specific model used by EDEY, noting, in Parliament, that it does "not promote and protect the interests of Greek people", but, instead, transfers, "medium-to-long term state benefits" to the private sector.

Source: energypress.eu


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IOC Slams Saudi Arabia Proposal To Hold Separate Olympic Games for Males & Females

Saudi Arabia, which HellasFrappe feels boasts segregation on all fronts, does not have a clean slate when it comes to human rights that is why its proposal to the International Olympics Games Committee which wants to see men and women competing in separate games came as no surprise to us. Let us not forget that this country follows Hanbali Islamic religious laws under absolute rule of the Saudi royal family and according to Wikipedia they are ranked as being the worst records in the world.

Earlier this week a report in the Daily Mirror said that Saudi Arabian officials floated the idea of male athletes competing in his country while female games would be held in neighbouring Bahrain.

More exactly, international relations consultant to the president of the Saudi committee, Prince Fahad bin Jalawi Al Saud, told the French sports website Frances Jeux that he could see his country bidding for the Olympics with another Gulf state (and as ridiculous as that sounds they also want these games to be segregated!)

Thankfully the IOC immediately dismissed Fahad's suggestion for segregated games. Committee president Thomas Bach told the Associated Press:
     "A commitment to "non-discrimination" will be mandatory for all countries hoping to bid for the Olympics in the future."
     "This was made very clear in the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms and will even be in the host city contract. If this is not applied, the bid would not be admissible. Countries like Saudi Arabia must really work to allow female athletes to freely participate."
In Saudi Arabia female access to exercise is actually shunned by hard-line religious clerics who warn it could blur gender lines and expose women to licentiousness. There is so much discrimination that women literally struggle to find facilities to train and are not even allowed to attend sporting matches in stadiums. HellasFrappe feels that these are not cultural constraints (being the politically correct term) but a clear sign of bigotry and loathing for the female species!

Indeed, participation in the Ancient Olympic Games was limited to male athletes only, but then again that was well over 3000 years ago. Women first began participating in the games in 1900 at the Paris Games with the inclusion of women's events in lawn tennis and golf, while women's athletics and gymnastics debuted at the 1928 Olympics. This is also around the time when women gained the right to vote.

Even though women have made huge strides since the Dark Ages against discrimination it is still devastating throughout the world. The United Nations Women's Treaty which was implemented a few decades ago gave women a right to take part in their nations political and public life but in many countries women are still unable to purchase their own property, vote or even wear what they want.

In Africa there is still female genital mutilation. trafficking is still a huge problem and it is estimated that over 700,000 people are trafficked each year for sexual exploitation. The most disturbing is that in parts of the Middle East, “honor killings” are still practiced. These killings can be brought on by women engaging in homosexual acts or sexual acts outside of marriage, wanting to end or prevent and arranged marriage or even dressing too provocatively. In Turkey, there is no protection for women being abused, there are no shelters or help for women in these dangerous circumstances.

In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive, in Yemen women are some of the least empowered women in the world, in Nepal if a woman is raped or assaulted the perpetrators are not punished, and are not even arrested, and the list goes on and on and on. These are all examples of extreme discrimination of women throughout the world but there are still profound acts of discrimination in the Western world as well. Even though females have higher education rates and work more than men in the same profession they still get paid less.

If we can keep shedding a light on the discrimination of women throughout the world we can hopefully change things for the better.

References
Daily Mail
Wikipedia




January 29, 2015

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Leak Over Samaras Secret Deal With Troika CONFIRMED As "Official" - Plot Thickens

A new article by John Ward at the Slog only comes to confirm a previous report that was posted by HellasFrappe on Wednesday morning about a secret deal that was made between the outgoing Samaras government and the EU. The news was leaked by the leftist La Reppublica newspaper and according to the article, a person, or persons, leaked the "news" that Antonis Samaras had already extracted huge concessions from the country’s lenders in a secret deal completed last November. In the story below, the Slog tries to unravel truth from fiction but admits that the story is 100 percent authentic. We featured the story on HellasFrappe on Wednesday morning. (Click HERE to read), but it was slammed by many of our readers who labelled it as a "conspiracy" theory right away. After discussing the issue with them on the social networks, we noted to them that we feared SYRIZA's rise to power was part of a wider plan that had more to do with geopolitical reasons, rather than the economy. The connection is not as far-fetched as it sounds and as you will see in the article below, we were right! No sooner had we said this it was reported that Victoria Nuland, the mastermind behind the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, and the lady who once told her ambassador on the phone to "f***ck the EU", stated that she was in favor of Greece strengthening its ties with Russia! (Click here to READ). If this is not strange and something that makes someone pause for a moment and ask themselves WTF then we do not know what is. Why? Because we all know how hard she has worked to destabilize Ukraine's relations with Moscow which as we all know is more about NATO's relations with the East! (Click here to ReadSo it is obvious that the information published in La Reppublica as well as the article that was published by the Slog clearly confirms our theory that SYRIZA's sudden rise to fame has nothing to do with austerity, since this is already a done deal! We also advise our readers to read another article that was published by our blog today that suddenly (and miraculously) reveals SYRIZA and ANEL's love story with Russia (Click Here To Read).

John Ward (The Slog) - The Italian daily La Repubblica was first with the story, which has since been picked up by Open Europe and ForexLive. Although as yet not officially confirmed, the general feeling in Athens and Berlin is that the article “has official approval”. This is normal EU code for “was leaked”.

Two questions now become important:

i. Who leaked it and why?
ii. Is the content invention or genuine?

On the second question, I have many doubts… but to see why, we need to look at the first question.

€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€

At first glance, the fact that it appeared first in Republicca points the finger at Alexis Tsipras: the paper is pro-Syriza, and he speaks excellent Italian. But it falls down at the ‘why?’ hurdle: the piece asserts that:
     "In November 2014 Greece and its European partners had made a secret pact for postponement of repayment until 2020. In other words, EU and Greek officials had already agreed to push back the debt…. bilateral loans from the EU would see the interest rate chopped to the 3-month interbank rate +50 basis points, currently at 0.53%…"
That would, if true, effectively leave SYRIZA flat-footed.

So why leak it?

There is one possibility: that having discovered the existence of the deal, the new Greek government could easily position the EC as devious – and trying to renege on a deal that had already been made… and also embarrass the Sprouts by showing they’d given a special deal to Greece, but not SYRIZA.

(On this basis, that ‘explains’ why the deal wasn’t revealed earlier – because ‘deal contagion’ would’ve spread to other ClubMed States).

My preference at the moment is to assume that the Troikanauts leaked the information. This allows them to suggest to the Greek people that SYRIZA is making a fuss about nothing: but more crucially, it would allow them to give ground and pretend they’d given nothing away. The risk of relief contagion remains; but these are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures.

However, I’m fairly certain that this particular desperate measure is a lie, and the reason is simple: contagion now is no different to contagion before the election.

Had his deal been done, Samaras and Schäuble would’ve been screaming from the rooftops about it. Perhaps most telling of all, the EC/ECB strategy right up to election day was a single-minded “Tsipras is lying to you, voting for him will gain you nothing”.

The leak now seems to catch SYRIZA on the back foot, and also allows for concessions without loss of face; but it is totally at odds with what Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin said before the election.

Two other things now suggest themselves.

First, that the EC was bluffing, and the surprising size of SYRIZA’s win has called that bluff; and second, the Bundesbank almost certainly knew nothing about the deal… if indeed it ever happened.

As to who personally dreamed up the leak, it does have Schäuble written all over it; but it would also play to Mario Draghi’s long-term game plan as well.

It’s yet another tangled web, and another alarming example of the Western press ignoring a potentially vital clue in the process of unravelling what happens next in the euro zone.

The day following the Republicca piece, Clive Crook at Bloomberg announced somewhat pompously that, yes indeed, the refusal of either side to give in was pure posturing. So convinced is Clive of this, he loftily observed:
     "What surprises me is that this all-or-nothing positioning takes anybody in”.
He could well be right, but the speed and radical nature of these first SYRIZA moves suggests something quite different. To be blunt about this, Tsipras and Varoufakis have spent the last two days rubbing Brussels-am-Berlin’s noses in it.

Perhaps the most flagrant act was to disavow themselves from the EU/Nato/US line of “it’s all Putin’s fault” in relation to the Ukraine crisis.

But odder still in that context was the reaction of US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland that “the US government has no problem with the close working relationship of Greece and Russia”.

We may be back at the 2011 Geithner/Wall Street “amputate Greece” game that dominated US diplomacy at that time: the game-plan being to separate Athens from Brussels, and then swarm all over the Greeks offering every kind of gift.

The view in Washington is that Russia is finished, so their relationship with Greece is irrelevant, and don’t forget, Tsipras spent a lot of time in the US during 2013. (read more about that on HF by clicking HERE)

However one interprets this deep pool of perfidy, Greece’s new prime minister sent a clear message to the EU on Monday: Greece – and Cyprus – disagree with the imposition of sanctions on Russia.

Given Moscow’s longstanding interest in Cyprus as a base, that must’ve sent one or two ripples through the UK Foreign Office.



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Obama Congradulates Tsipras While Nuland Approves of Greek-Russia Relations (????)

U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday to personally congratulate Greece's new premier on his election victory. During the conversation, the US president told Tsipras that Washington will support the Greek government's efforts to end austerity policies. Obama also said that this support will also be expressed in action, through cooperation between the U.S. Treasury and the Greek finance ministry, noting that the US would support growth policies and employment.

The U.S. President noted that Europe must break free of austerity policies, as the U.S. had done, and adopt a strong agenda for growth.

He advised Tsipras to get some rest now that the election campaign was over, saying that he would need his strength for what lay ahead, with Tsipras replying that "this is difficult, due to the circumstances".

Obama expressed certainty that he will also manage to get some rest and told Tsipras: "I started young as well and now my hair has turned grey".

One day earlier, US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Victoria Nuland spoke at an event hosted by the Brookings Institute, entitled “Unity in Challenging Times: Building on Transatlantic Resolve”. After congratulating the Greek people and government, Nuland stated that as NATO allies, the US was looking forward to cooperating with Greece and Cyprus in combating terrorism.

She also underlined that the sacrifices made by the Greek people were not in vain and that the Greek economy would continue to receive support. She also commented that there was “no problem” in Greece developing closer ties with Russia (?????????), arguing that the previous government helped exchange messages between the two superpowers.

Regarding the naming dispute with FYROM, Nuland expressed her hope that talks would resume and that a solution including the term “Macedonia” will eventually be found, as the prolongation of tension may be detrimental to FYROM, the Balkans and Greece itself.

(ANA-MPA, ProtoThema, To Vima, enikos)


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Schulz warns Gov't Against Straying Away From EU Stance On Russia - VIDEO

(HellasFrappe finds it both interesting and suspicious how the newly SYRIZA government is suddenly so infatuated with Russia, considering its party leader spent a lot of time in the US the past two years all thanks to G.Soros funding. We therefore advise our readers to soak up the news about SYRIZA's sudden love with Moscow with a grain of salt because if it was so then why would it turn against China? Let us not forget that Tsipras’ “national salvation” government said it was putting on hold the previous administration’s plans to sell a majority stake in the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, and would also halt the privatisation of the top electricity and petroleum companies. China’s giant Cosco group is among the bidders for Piraeus, one of Europe’s busiest ports, and the review has unnerved quite a few officials in the Chinese government. Let us not also forget that the West believes that Russia is a no-go anymore and therefore could play the pro-Russia card to detach Greece from the EU on false pretences only to swallow it up later.) 

According to a report from Reuters, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, who would arrive in Greece on Thursday to meet with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, warned against diverging from the European Union's stance towards Russia in the Ukraine crisis.
     "I've noticed with dismay that Greece today has abandoned the joint position of the European Union on Russia," Schulz told the German broadcaster ZDF.
     "You just cannot, on the one hand, demand from Europe to show solidarity with your own country like Mr. Tsipras does and then, as a first official step, split the joint European position," he added.
Schulz, a member of Germany's co-governing Social Democrats, will meet Tsipras on Thursday in Athens to discuss the agenda of his new anti-bailout government and how Greece wants to solve its debt problems.

Watch video by clicking HERE

In a separate report on The Big News network we read another entertaining piece that claims that in December 2014, a Russian hacker group named Shaltai Boltai released a trove of e-mails taken from Georgy Gavrish, a close friend of Dugin's and an official in Dugin's Eurasia movement (Click HERE). The report claims that a lot of these e-mails relate to efforts by Dugin and Malofeyev to create a circle of European politicians and intellectuals sympathetic to Russia, two of wich are SYRIZA and ANEL. Christo Grozev, a media investor and blogger specializing in information issues in eastern Europe claims that the emails reveal conversations between Gavrish and people inside SYRIZA.
     The messages show "very close cooperation on strategy, on PR, and so on," Grozev says.
The report claims that officials from SYRIZA would send "strategic memoranda" on party positions and policies to Dugin and Gavrish for their comments and suggestions. Apparently he lived in Greece until 2013.
     "Over those five years, he [Gavrish] served, apparently, as a proxy for Dugin to find like-minded or susceptible politicians and public figures in Greece to engage with Dugin's ideology of Eurasianism versus Atlanticism," Grozev says.
According to the article, one of the people involved in the exchanges is Nicolas Laos, a Greek intellectual and SYRIZA adviser with business ties to Russia. The latter is apparently a partner of the Russian corporate-security firm.

In one leaked e-mail, Laos writes to Dugin:
     "I know very well how the enemy works, and, under your patronage, I can strike back effectively and hard."
Another message apparently refers to Panos Kammenos, head of the Independent Greeks party (ANEL) and now Greece's new defense minister. The October 25, 2014, message, written by influential blogger Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, who was apparently doing strategy consultation for SYRIZA, talks about the Athens-based Institute of Geopolitical Studies, which Kammenos founded with his friend, University of Thrace professor Filippos Tsalidis.
     "Panos appeared almost one month ago full of 'enthusiasm,' asking for regular cooperation. And then he went to Moscow for personal reasons, as he told us (for a friend's wedding) and then disappeared from the face of the Earth in a quite impressive manner. I am very curious if I will ever know what reasons he will give for disappearing."
One month after the message was written, Kammenos's institute signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the influential Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI).

RISI was part of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) until it was brought under the office of the Russian president in 2009. Its director, Leonid Reshetnikov, is a retired SVR lieutenant general.

Dugin is also tied to Greece's new foreign minister, Nikos Kotzias. According to the article, in April 2013, Kotzias - then a professor at the University of Piraeus - invited Dugin to give a lecture where he said said that Greece should not join the Russia-led Eurasian Union, but instead should play a role "in the re-creation of the architecture of Europe" and form an "eastern pole of European identity" within the EU together with Serbia and others.

Dugin, claims Andreas Umland, a professor at Kyiv's Mohyla Academy, has been engaged in such activity across Europe for many years.
     "He is closely connected already for more than 20 years with a whole variety of right-wing intellectuals in France, Italy, Belgium, Great Britain," Umland says.
     "He is reading them and they read him. Some of his books have been translated. It is not a very public sort of activity because it is more in the realm of publishing, pseudo-academia, intellectual circles, and elite discourse."
Those efforts gained fairly little traction until Dugin joined forces with billionaire Konstantin Malofeyev, a conservative Russian Orthodox nationalist.

The article then goes on to reveal that on February 20, 2014, Dugin wrote Malofeyev a memo identifying key potential partners in Western Europe. Grozev says Dugin encouraged Malofeyev to "engage with" these figures "in order to create an 'elite club' of politicians, as [Dugin] calls it, supporting the Russian line."

At the end of May 2014, Dugin and Malofeyev hosted representatives of these movements - including SYRIZA - at a secret conference in Vienna. Researcher Shekhovtsov says that at that meeting Dugin and Malofeyev met and held talks with "the Austrian Freedom Party, of Bulgarian Ataka, of the French Front Nationale. All of these are far-right parties."
     "So they have been trying to get - already together, not Dugin alone - to build those links in order to promote Russian foreign policy," he adds.
The author of the article in question then goes on to say that there are no direct references to Dugin or Malofeyev providing funding or material support to SYRIZA or any of the other parties but Dugin and Gavrish often include people close to Malofeyev in the recipient lists of their e-mails.

Quite interestingly the report also says that one of the Malofeyev associates whose name appears most frequently is Aleksei Komov, an Orthodox businessman who is the Russian representative on the conservative World Congress of Families. According to the author, Komov gave a speech at the National Press Club in Washington in February 2014, at which he blamed "Wall Street bankers" for imposing communism on Russia.

According to the article, Nicolas Laos and Gavrish, particularly, are constantly talking about alleged Freemasons "within the Greek political environment who are, by definition, according to them, the biggest enemies of the Russian line."

(Combined Reports)

(Again... we advise Frappers to soak up all the information we have presented with a grain of salt, because everyone knows that Russia's biggest ally at the moment is China and SYRIZA's sudden negative move against China is obviously contrary to its sudden love for Moscow. HF is all in favor of strengthening ties with Moscow, in fact we not only wish it and encourage it but will applaud any effort that is made by the Greek government towards this development. Just as we would applaud the same effort being made with other countries because we feel that Greece needs to be on equal terms with all nations and not just a selected few. However, we find it particularly strange that SYRIZA suddenly fell in love with Russia, and is not afraid of suddenly revealing this anymore, considering its biggest supprter is Gianna Daskalaki Aggelopoulou, who we all know is 110% pro-Clinton and therefore 1000% pro US. Another thing that we find strange is Victoria Nuland's approval of Greece building its ties with Russia, since we all now know that Nuland masterminded the mess in Ukraine against Russia. (Click HERE to readAlso, we must not forget the articles that have appeared on HellasFrappe over the last few years revealing Tsipras' indirect connection with US neo-cons and Soros-backed institutions. Check out some of the articles below and you too will begin to question things as we do.  The first article on the list is the best kept secret since it reveals names....)

BUSTED - Tsipras' Side By Side With T.Miller & D. Speckhard - What The Greek Media Purposely Ignored
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/02/busted-tsipras-side-by-side-with.html

SPECIAL REPORT - Analyzing Meeting Of Tsipras & Angelopoulou-Daskalaki & Upcoming Clinton Global Conference
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2014/11/special-report-analyzing-meeting-of.html

Alexis Tsipras: What’s his Real Mask?
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/01/alexis-tsipras-whats-his-real-mask.html

BUSTED - Soros Funded Tsipras' Trip To US Says German Mag.
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/02/busted-soros-funded-tsipras-trip-to-us.html

Tsipras Holds Talks With US State Department Officials On Greek EEZ

US Tells Tsipras That Turkey Will Attack If Athens Proclaims EEZ
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/02/us-tells-tsipras-that-turkey-will.html

,

Greek Foreign Ministry on Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday issued the following announcement on the 70-year anniversary since the liberation of Auschwitz.
     "Today, on its National Memorial Day for the Greek Jewish Heroes and Martyrs of the Holocaust, Greece is standing against forgetfulness and joining its voice with the conscience of humankind, honoring the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.
     The Greek people pay homage to the thousands of their compatriots, Greek Jews, who fell victim to Nazi barbarity.
     The Greek state attaches the greatest importance to the categorical condemnation of anti-Semitism and Nazism activities. It considers denial of the Holocaust to be flagrantly repugnant and expresses the certainty that neo-Nazi elements, which are attempting to undermine Democracy and the rule of law, will be marginalized from Greek society, the vast majority of which denounces hatred, anti-Semitism and intolerance.
     The Greek state systematically and consistently assists in the international efforts towards respect for the memory of the Holocaust and towards the combating of anti-Semitism."


PASOK Slams Reports That Claim Venizelos Will Resign

The PASOK party slammed reports on Wednesday that claimed that its leader Evangelos Venizelos was planning to resign. The party said in a statement that the news which is being circulated on the Internet not only lacks "seriousness" but is a downright lie.
     "The president of PASOK's statement that he made on the night of elections," January 25, it said, "still holds... Everything, including the issue of party leadership will be discussed and decided on at the party congress."
The statement also noted that PASOK's greatest priority is the Greece's course, which, according to the party is going to affect the course of all of Greece's political powers.


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Crosschecks for Wealth Statements From General Secretariats

The wealth statements (pothen esches) submitted by 17 employees at the General Secretariat for Public Revenues are presently being crosschecked with bank accounts which were kept abroad, it was announced on Tuesday. According to the state news agency, the statements involve 15 tax bureau officers and two employees of public companies, whose assets are being under investigation.

Another 167 employees are being investigated for disciplinary violations, among them, 148 General Secretariat for Public Revenues employees, including 126 tax bureau officers, 19 customs officers, a chemist and 2 financial inspectors. The remaining 19 are employees of finance-ministry supervised agencies.

The evidence presented was the result of the processing of findings of crosschecks conducted by the General Secretariat for Public Revenues Internal Investigation Office.

Based on the relevant report drawn up, the scheduled investigations into delinquent behaviour for 2014 were 50 with 92 findings issued, exceeding the 84 pct target set. Eighteen of the findings were forwarded to the prosecutor's office. Another seven cases, concerning criminal law violations were also forwarded to the prosecutor's office. Also, an internal investigation was ordered into 11 cases concerning 12 employees.


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