April 16, 2014

ANALYSIS - Turkish Power Struggle Impedes NATO’s Campaign in Syria



Christoph Germann (Boiling Frogs Post) - Since the end of last year, Turkey has been engulfed in a spectacular power struggle between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the shadowy network of self-described “imam, preacher, and civil society activist” Fethullah Gülen. Due to the help of his friends in Langley, like for example Graham Fuller and Morton Abramowitz [1], Gülen managed to build a multi-billion dollar movement with millions of followers and a presence in 150 countries.[2]

The Gülen movement, also known as Hizmet, used its considerable influence in Turkey to launch an all-out attack on former ally Erdoğan at the end of last year, after the Turkish Prime Minister had fallen out of favor with Gülen and Washington.[3] When last December’s corruption scandal failed to bring down the government, Hizmet tried to discredit Erdoğan by exposing his role in supporting terrorism. At the end of last year, Gülen’s mouthpiece Today’s Zaman started to highlight the connection between Saudi terrorist financier Yasin al-Qadi and the AKP government as well as the Erdoğan family.[4] Although al-Qadi’s activities in Turkey had been known for years, Hizmet spared no efforts to highlight the al-Qadi-Erdoğan connection in the media but, as discussed previously, the coverage ignored a few important points:
      “Gülen-controlled media have publicized much of this in last few days but they will not dare to mention that al-Qadi is a Gladio B operative who had previously the backing of Fethullah Gülen and that he took part in the now infamous pre-9/11 meetings at the U.S. embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, where illustrious characters like Bandar bin Sultan and Ayman al-Zawahiri showed up. After all, the Gülen movement itself plays a central role in the Pentagon’s Operation Gladio B.”[5]
This also explains why Yasin al-Qadi could continue to conduct business with impunity in Turkey, Azerbaijan and other countries despite funding Ptech Inc. and ending up on several terrorist lists. The “terrorist” label, which had been removed in the meantime, is now being applied again and al-Qadi’s friend Erdoğan faces the same problem. Other terrorist supporters like the former U.S. Ambassadors to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz and Eric Edelman, who are featured in Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery along with Graham Fuller, emphasized that Erdoğan’s days are over.[6] So Hizmet has resorted to drastic measures in order to topple the disgraced Turkish Prime Minister.

2014 started with a bombshell. Utilizing their enormous influence in the Turkish police, Gülen’s followers stopped a truck carrying weapons and ammunition on its way to Syria. The truck was escorted by members of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and allegedly hired by the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH).[7] İHH has a long history of supporting terrorists in accordance with U.S. foreign policy from Afghanistan to Bosnia and Chechnya.[8] Given Turkey’s key role in the NATO-GCC-Israel campaign to remove the Syrian government, this arms shipment is hardly surprising. What makes this incident so remarkable is that this campaign and Turkey’s involvement were exposed by the Gülen movement, which is otherwise supporting NATO’s war in Syria. The Erdoğan-led government responded immediately by removing the police officers who had followed and stopped the truck in Turkey’s Hatay Province.[9] Other purges followed and by now thousands of police officers and several prosecutors have been removed or transferred in the ongoing power struggle.[10]

Hizmet subsequently focused on leaking recordings of wiretapped conversations, which highlight the corrupt and criminal activities of Erdoğan and his associates. Faced with one embarrassing leak after another, the Turkish Prime Minister turned to his former friends in Washington and asked for support. Pro-Erdoğan media alleged that he got a positive response and that Fethullah Gülen could possibly be extradited to Turkey.[11] But the White House lost no time in denying these reports and demonstrated its support of the U.S.-based Imam and his vast movement.[12] Meanwhile, the leaks continued exposing more and more explosive information:

Turkish Airlines allegedly shipped weapons to unknown groups in Nigeria, which has been ravaged by violence between the army and Boko Haram militants, a new incriminating phone call revealed on Tuesday.

The leaked conversation is the latest blow to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been hit by a corruption probe ensnaring his key allies and a widening phone-tapping scandal.[13]

Erdoğan tried to prevent the leaks from spreading via social media by banning Twitter, to no avail. Instead he drew heavy criticism from all over the world further damaging his approval ratings, which have been declining rapidly over the past months.[14] With Turkey’s local elections just a few days away, Hizmet decided to deliver a final blow. On March 27, another audio recording incriminating Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and other high-level officials was leaked:

The voices of the illegal recording believed to belong to Davutoğlu, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Gürel.[15]

According to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, the disclosed meeting had taken place at FM Davutoğlu’s office, where the officials were discussing the security situation in Syria. But the content of the audio recording has to be taken with a grain of salt. PM Erdoğan has regularly defended himself by saying that the leaked tapes were manipulated to give a false impression [16] and, as FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds cautioned, there is some truth to this claim when it comes to the latest leak:
     “The tape/audio has been heavily tampered with; if authentic, then they have taken statements/conversations from several different contexts and time frames, and then they’ve patched them together after sanitizing, censoring. For example: you don’t hear any mention of US/NATO or the Pentagon, yet they left the part with the UN in there …”
If taken at face value, the audio recording is absolutely damning, especially considering the fact that the al-Qaeda mercenaries of the NATO-GCC-Israel axis are losing ground in Syria and Turkey’s willingness to get militarily involved.[17] In order to justify an intervention in Syria, Davutoğlu & Co. allegedly discussed selling the idea that Turkey has to protect the tomb of Süleyman Shah, a historic shrine that is under Turkish jurisdiction but located inside Syria’s northern Aleppo province, from Islamist insurgents. Head of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan proposed staging a false flag to lend credence to this ridiculous idea:

Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”

Hakan Fida: “I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: “That’s what I told back there. For one thing, the situation is different. An operation on ISIL has solid ground on international law. We’re going to portray this is Al-Qaeda, there’s no distress there if it’s a matter regarding Al-Qaeda. And if it comes to defending Suleiman Shah Tomb, that’s a matter of protecting our land.”[18]

Just one day before the fateful leak, Turkish FM Davutoğlu was busy selling the terrorist threat in an exclusive interview with Agence France-Presse.[19] Simultaneously, pro- Erdoğan newspaper Daily Sabah took the same line: “Al-Qaeda Offshoot ISIL, A New Terror Threat For Turkey”.[20] In this context, Hizmet’s manipulated audio recording appears authentic but we have to consider the source, Gülen’s CIA-sponsored movement, which is now clearly prioritizing toppling Turkish PM Erdoğan over toppling Syrian President Assad. In a clear reference to Gülen’s shadowy network, Davutoğlu blamed a “parallel structure inside [the state]” for the leak and vowed to investigate “everybody and everything”.[21] Shortly thereafter, the first suspect, a Gülen-linked columnist, was detained.[22] Erdoğan’s response was to block YouTube, where all leaked recordings had been uploaded.[23] So the Western media could not ignore the incident. But the reporting focused entirely on Erdoğan’s passion for censorship instead of addressing the real issue: Hizmet had again exposed the terror campaign of the NATO-GCC-Israel axis in Syria in order to get rid of Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan.

The author, Christoph Germann, is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. 

Notes

  • [1] Sibel Edmonds, “Did You Know: The King of Madrasas Now Operates Over 100 Charter Schools in the US?,” Boiling Frogs Post, 20 October 2010: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2010/10/20/did-you-know-the-king-of-madrasas-now-operates-over-100-charter-schools-in-the-us/.
  • [2] Tim Franks, “Fethullah Gulen: Powerful but reclusive Turkish cleric,” BBC, 27 January 2014: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-25885817.
  • [3] Sibel Edmonds, “Turkish PM Erdogan: The Speedy Transformation of an Imperial Puppet,” Boiling Frogs Post, 18 January 2014: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/01/18/turkish-pm-erdogan-the-speedy-transformation-of-an-imperial-puppet/.
  • [4] “Report: Al-Qaeda suspects flee after Turkish gov’t blocks raid,” Today’s Zaman, 26 December 2013: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-335038-report-al-qaeda-suspects-flee-after-turkish-govt-blocks-raid.html.
  • [5] Christoph Germann, “The New Great Game Round-Up: January 5, 2014,” Boiling Frogs Post, 5 January 2014: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/01/05/the-new-great-game-round-up-january-5-2014/.
  • [6] Sibel Edmonds, “CIA-Gladio’s Zionist Operatives Urge Obama to Overthrow Erdogan’s Administration,” Boiling Frogs Post, 23 January 2014: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/01/23/cia-gladios-zionist-operatives-urge-obama-to-overthrow-erdogans-administration/.
  • [7] Fevzi Kızılkoyun, “Turkish governor blocks police search on Syria-bound truck reportedly carrying weapons,” Hürriyet, 2 January 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-governor-blocks-police-search-on-syria-bound-truck-reportedly-carrying-weapons-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=60494&NewsCatID=341.
  • [8] Ibid., Germann.
  • [9] “Police officers removed after stopping truck allegedly carrying weapons to Syria,” Hürriyet, 3 January 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/police-officers-removed-after-stopping-truck-allegedly-carrying-weapons-to-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=60522&NewsCatID=341.
  • [10] Constanze Letsch, “Turkish police caught in middle of war between Erdoğan and former ally Gülen,” The Guardian, 9 February 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/09/turkish-police-fethullah-gulen-network.
  • [11] “Gülen Could Be Extradited To Turkey,” Daily Sabah, 14.03.2014: http://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2014/03/14/gulen-could-be-extradited-to-turkey.
  • [12] Tolga TANIŞ, “Turkish PM’s account of Obama’s Gülen response ‘not accurate,’ White House says,” Hürriyet, 8 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pms-account-of-obamas-gulen-response-not-accurate-white-house-says-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=63341&NewsCatID=359.
  • [13] “Turkish Airlines allegedly ships arms to Nigeria, tape reveals,” Agence France-Presse, 18 March 2014: http://news.yahoo.com/turkish-airlines-allegedly-ships-arms-nigeria-tape-reveals-202353840.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory.
  • [14] Terri Rupar, “Turkey’s prime minister banned Twitter, but these images show he can still muster huge crowds,” The Washington Post, 24 March 2014: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/03/24/turkeys-prime-minister-banned-twitter-but-these-images-show-he-can-still-muster-huge-crowds/.
  • [15] “WRAP UP: Ankara on alert after spying on security meeting leaked,” Hürriyet, 27 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/wrap-up-ankara-on-alert-after-spying-on-security-meeting-leaked.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64190&NewsCatID=338.
  • [16] Ralph Boulton, “Ahead of vote, Erdogan paints picture of Turkey besieged by enemies,” Reuters, 27 March 2014: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/27/us-turkey-election-idUSBREA2Q0XG20140327.
  • [17] Tony Cartalucci, “Turkey Vs. Syria: NATO’s Last Gasp?,” New Eastern Outlook, 26.03.2014: http://journal-neo.org/2014/03/26/turkey-vs-syria-nato-s-last-gasp/.
  • [18] Mimi al Laham, “Leaks Reveal Turkey using ALQaeda for False flag in Syria,” SyriaNews, 27 March 2014: http://www.syrianews.cc/leaks-reveal-turkey-using-alqaeda-false-flag-syria/.
  • [19] “Turkey vows ‘any measures’ against Syria threats,” Hürriyet, 26 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-vows-any-measures-against-syria-threats.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64135&NewsCatID=338.
  • [20] “Al-Qaeda Offshoot ISIL, A New Terror Threat For Turkey,” Daily Sabah, 26 March 2014: http://www.dailysabah.com/nation/2014/03/26/alqaeda-offshoot-isil-a-new-terror-threat-for-turkey.
  • [21] “Turkey’s FM implies espionage from within ministry over Syria leak,” Hürriyet, 28 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-fm-implies-espionage-from-within-ministry-over-syria-leak.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64232&NewsCatID=338.
  • [22] “Gülen-linked pundit detained over leak of key Syria meeting,” Hürriyet, 29 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/gulen-linked-pundit-detained-over-leak-of-key-syria-meeting.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64274&NewsCatID=338.
  • [23] Paul Vale, “Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan Moves To Block YouTube Following Similar Ban On Twitter,” The Huffington Post, 27 March 2014: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/27/turkey-erdogan-youtube-twitter_n_5044280.html.


INSIDE SCOOP - Russia Aims To Get A Cantons Solution to Crisis In Ukraine


Although the Ukrainian mess is rapidly turning into stereophonic spin, the one thing that’s clear (as not exactly exclusively predicted right at the outset) is things are getting out of control, and events will pretty soon start overtaking whatever cunning plans both sides had at the start. In an article, the Slog points out that ‘what a massive majority of Ukrainians now want [is] to have more local control but be neither Eunatic nor Bear. At the time, Monster Murdoch’s Fox News claims to have intelligence suggesting Moscow would try and deliver that in a sort of Swiss canton arrangement.

The Slog suggests that may well be Putin’s objective. But from what he can gather, Vlad the Lad’s idea of independence won’t be the West’s.

The information suggests that Russia’s “green men” provocateurs have expanded beyond Crimea, and Moscow’s aim is to secure the creation of a Donetsk State enjoying a customs agreement with it – ie, a vassal State along the lines of the old Soviet Union. Central Ukraine will be given back to democratically elected crook Viktor Yanukovych – independent of both EU and RF…but obviously pro Moscow. And the rump will become the new Ukraine which will effortlessly fold into the arms of the IMF/EU moneylenders. Or more exactly, it will collapse into their arms, given it has a whopping debt and not much left in the way of an economy.

(One presumes that Moscow will pick up the tab for the rest of it….as the Kremlin was going to do before the EC idiots stuck their noses in and began to side with the anti-Yanukovych protesters.)

The Russian mentality will see this as a fair compromise, a large minority of Ukrainians will see it as rape, and the West will find it unacceptable. But the author of the Slog still doubts that NATO and the EU will go beyond stepping up sanctions, and he also still believes that Russia is in good shape to weather them for some time yet.

The Western media machine went into overdrive earlier this week in a bid to show that the RF is on the verge of collapse; this is wishful thinking: sanctions will have an effect, but that will take time. Meanwhile, the West itself is not exactly in a position to restrict its access to business with Russia… or anyone else for that matter.

The Slog

BUSTED - German LIDL And It's Little Lamb Scam


German low cost supermarket chain LIDL has been accused of underhanded practices after thousands of Easter shoppers flocked to its stores to take advantage of super-low prices on lamb advertised by the chain only to find that the only meat available was significantly more expensive.

For Greeks, lamb at Easter is what turkey is to Christmas: an intrinsic part of Sunday’s feast; far more important than chocolate eggs or plastic rabbits.

So it is little surprise (especially given the financial difficulties so many families are currently facing) that in the run up to Easter supermarkets compete ferociously to offer the lowest prices on lamb.

Many large supermarkets will sell lamb at, or even below cost in order to lure shoppers into their stores where they will end up making other purchases. While such practices may ultimately end up squeezing profit margins for the producers who rely on Easter for a bump in sales, the news for consumers is better.

According to a study by the Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods the price of fresh Easter lamb at large supermarket chains is 5.5% lower than it was in 2013, with the average price expected to be about 5.96 euros per kilo (last year it was 6.30 euros). Overall this continues a downward trend with the price of fresh lamb today 25% cheaper than it was in the run up to Easter 2011.

However even given this reduction in prices among all the major chains, the German chain LIDL blew its competition out of the water when it advertised fresh Greek lamb at only 3.99 euros per kilo. Customers reportedly formed long queues outside LIDL outlets hoping to take advantage of the price which seemed too good to be true. It turned out that for most it was.

Even though in its advertising the chain claimed that the offer would be available from last Sunday to this Saturday (the day before Easter), that turned out to only be in theory. From the first day of the sale, consumers were informed that the lamb at the advertised price had sold out and only significantly more expensive meat was available.

According to reports individual stores were said to have had as few as 10 packages of fresh lamb at the ultra-low price, which were sold-out within minutes. Irate customers spoke of false advertising and an abuse of trust.

Many of them contacted the Development and Competition Ministry’s consumer protection branch, prompting it to take action. It has launched an investigation into whether the chain is guilty of deliberately running misleading adverts and demanded the supermarket chain provide figures for the number of units it had intended to sell at the bargain price and whether it will discontinue advertising the offer given that they have already been sold out.

LIDL has since released a statement about the incident, although is rather coy about the particular offer stating only that it plans to sell 190,000 kilos of fresh lamb meat this year, 14 times the amount offered last year. It notably has not given precise figures for how much of this will be sold at the eye-catchingly low price, and how much at more normal rates.

PressProject


BOOK REVIEW - Banking Cartel is the Cause of Humanity's Woes


    
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." ---Thomas Jefferson
In November 1949, Eustace Mullins, 25, was a researcher in Washington DC when friends invited him to visit the famous American poet Ezra Pound, who was confined at St. Elizabeth's Mental Hospital and listed as a "political prisoner."

A leading figure in Modern English literature, Pound was the editor and critic who introduced the world to James Joyce, W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot. During the Second World War, he was charged with treason for broadcasts on Rome Radio that questioned the motives behind America's involvement.

Pound commissioned Mullins to examine the influence of the banking establishment on U.S. policy. Mullins spent every morning for two years in the Library of Congress and met with Pound every afternoon. The resulting manuscript, "The Secrets of the Federal Reserve" proved too hot for any American publisher to handle. Nineteen rejected it. One said, "you'll never get this published in New York." When it finally appeared in Germany in 1955, the U.S. Military Government confiscated all 10,000 copies and burned them.

Thanks to the American Patriot Friends Network, this book is freely available on line. (I recommend you save it on your desktop, as I did.) Why is it so (excuse the pun) inflammatory?

Essentially it paints a picture of the world, and the role of the United States, which is radically different from the one we are given in school or in the media.
     "Notwithstanding the war of independence against England," writes Mullins, "we remained an economic and financial colony of Great Britain." Between 1865 and 1913, he says London bankers led by the Rothschilds used agents such as J.P. Morgan and J.D. Rockefeller to gain control of American industry and organize it into cartels.
Where did these bankers get the money? For over 200 years, European bankers have been able to draw on the credit of their host countries to print it!

In the Seventeenth Century, the moneylenders and the aristocracy made a pact. If the king would make paper currency a liability of the state, the moneylenders would print as much as he liked! Thus the Banks of England, France and the Reichsbank came into being but they were all private corporations and remain so today.

According to this nefarious pact, the moneylenders got to charge interest on assets they created out of thin air. The aristocracy all took shares in the central banks plus they got to finance a burgeoning government and to wage costly wars.

This piece of chicanery is at the heart what plagues humanity.

The bankers have a vested interest in the state (i.e. the people) incurring as much debt as possible. They are behind the Marxist, socialist and liberal movements which call for big government and social spending. They are behind the catastrophic wars of the last century. The Warburgs financed the Bolshevik Revolution. The Bank of England financed the rise of Hitler. Prescott Bush (W's grandfather) was head of Brown Brothers Harriman, which financed the construction of the Nazi war machine.

Naturally if you can create money out of thin air, your first instinct is to buy tangible assets with it. There is a powerful impulse to use debt to control nations and take over their real assets. This is the essence of the so-called Third World Debt crisis. Dedicated to owning all wealth and enslaving humanity, an irresistible vampire has been unleashed uponthe world

Much of Mullins book is devoted to the subterfuge by which the United States was drawn into its lethal embrace. In 1913, the Owen-Glass Bill gave mostly foreign-controlled banks (posing as "the Federal Reserve") the right to create currency based on the credit of the United States government and to charge it interest for doing it!

To accomplish this, the bankers had to rig the election of 1913 in order to get Woodrow Wilson elected. Then their stooges in Congress passed the legislation on December 22 after their opponents had gone home for Christmas.
     "This act establishes the most gigantic trust [cartel] on earth," Congressman Charles Lindbergh said at the time. "When the President signs this bill; the invisible government by the Monetary Power will be legalized. The people may not know it immediately but the day of reckoning is only a few years removed."
Mullins explains that the legislation passed just in time for the American people to finance World War One. After maintaining standing armies for 50 years, European powers no longer could afford the luxury of another war. But the U.S. was relatively debt free and made the whole thing possible.

What would WWI have been without Germany? Apparently Germany was not self-sufficient in food and would have had to sit out this war. In the nick of time, the bankers organized something called "The Belgium Relief Committee" which channeled billions of dollars worth of U.S. meat and potatoes not to Belgium but to Germany. When Edith Cavell, an American working in a Belgium hospital pointed this out, British intelligence had the Germans arrest and execute her.

Mullins makes a convincing case that every U.S. President since Wilson has been a lackey of the bankers. J.F. Kennedy was assassinated because he started to print his own U.S. government-backed currency. This is also the transgression that led to the murders of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and James Garfield.

The American people paid $360 billion in interest to bankers in 2001 alone. To maintain this massive fraud, the bankers enforce an iron grip on the political and cultural organs of the nation. According to Mullins, "The New York Times" is owned by the Kuhn Loeb while "The Washington Post" is owned by Lazard Freres. In Europe the Rothschilds own Reuters as well as the French and German news services.

I presume US publishers, TV networks and movie producers are similarly beholden. Rockefellers, Carnegies and the Fords endow the nations' libraries and universities. Journalists and professors dutifully parrot fantasies about democracy and freedom. Mind control laboratories run by the CIA and the British army (TheTavistock Institute) dream up ways to manipulate and undermine the population. The psychological sterilization of the human female ("feminism") is an example.

The "War on Terror" is part of the banking cabal's plan to consolidate its grip on humanity in a friendly (or not so friendly) fascist "New World Order." They want to secure their political, economic and social grip on the obstreperous Muslim world, as well as build up a security apparatus in case the docile populations of the West become restive.

Well, at least the cosmic battle between Good and Evil is out in the open at last!

henrymakow.com

ND Candidate For Athens Mayor Says New Mosque Will Attract Illegal Immigrants (Nooooo!)


Former Education Minister and ND cadres, Aris Spiliotopoulos, who is presently running for Athens Mayor said on Wednesday that the construction of Athens' first official mosque within the municipality's borders would result in 'third-world tents (appearing) under the sacred rock of the Acropolis'. He said that the structure should be constructed outside of the municipality's borders.

In an interview with SKAI TV, Spiliotopoulos said that recent calls for a city-wide referendum on the proposals to build Athens first mosque were not motivated by religious differences, but over concerns about the location of the structure.

It should be reminded that in 2013 the New Democracy-PASOK coalition agreed to construct a mosque on land belonging to the Hellenic Navy in the area of Votanikos (which is located very close to central Athens). A few months later, or specifically in November 2013 it awarded 946,000 EUROS for the contract for its construction to a private consortium and from what was reported at the time, work on the building was expected to commence early in 2014.

Spiliotopoulos may be part of the government that awarded the contract, but he has repeatedly sought to blame incumbent -incompetent and Soros backed- mayor, George Kaminis, for the location of the mosque.
     "Mr Kaminis says that he wants to plant a mosque in the centre of Athens and I say that we should ask the Athenians before we plant it," said Spiliotopoulos, who was tourism minister from 2007 to 2009 and then education minister for a number of months.
He added that Athenians know better than the education ministry – which has responsibility for religious affairs –, or the mayor, on where the mosque should be located and that Athens city residents should be the ones to decide on its fate and no one else.
     "I don't want it in Athens. We already have high urban density. I don't want any more concrete structures, I don't want another pole for illegal immigration; I don't want new third-world tents under the sacred rock of the Acropolis." 
Additionally, the candidate accused Kaminis of neglecting areas in the city center, where illicit trade and crime have escalated to unspeakable levels, while he stressed that “the mayor’s job is not to handout food, but to create new jobs”.

He also attempted to defend his description of desperate protesters demonstrating in Athens against their dismissal as “half-crazy”, by suggesting they were a handful of protesters for Palestine.


Swiss Events For The Return of Parthenon Marbles


Parthenon sculptures have to be returned to Greece, noted Professor Dusan Sidjanski, the president of the Swiss Committee for the Return of Parthenon Marbles, during an event that was held at the University of Zurich earlier this week. At the event, titled “Europe and the Parthenon Marbles-Common Cause”, Professor Sidjanski referred to the Swiss Committee’ opposition to the legal claim of the return of the Parthenon sculptures, stressing that it is a European issue which must be resolved through dialogue at the European institutions’ level as well as through informing the public, especially in Britain.

The event was attended by scientists, students and members of various Greek communities as well as consul general Angelos Ipsilantis.

Sidjanski said that the demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles is a unique case, which concerns the integrity of a symbolic monument which has been ravaged.

At a similar event, which took place at the University of Geneva, speakers referred to the peculiarity of the request for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, as well as to the ways of resolving cultural differences. At the same time they supported the proposal of the Swiss Committee for finding a mutually acceptable solution to the issue as well as to the disadvantages of legal resolution of cultural differences.

The event was attended by well known scholars, scientists and archaeologists and even Greek ambassador Charalambos Manessis.


PROVOCATION - Turkish War Planes Over North Aegean - Intercepted by Hellenic Air Force


Four armed Turkish aircraft illegally entered the Athens FIR on Tuesday over the North Aegean without submitting a flight plan.  In two cases the interception by Greek fighter planes apparently turned into a dog fight. (The last time that Greek and Turkish aircraft were involved in similar dogfights was in January 2012.)

Aside from the four Turkish crafts, a helicopter from a nearby Turkish Navy vessel also reportedly entered the Athens FIR.

In total, three violations of air traffic were recorded, which developed into violation of Greece’s national airspace over the North Aegean. All of the Turkish aircraft were recognized and intercepted by our boys at the Hellenic Air Force.


War Propaganda - Fear & Disinformation Campaign Is Launched - MUST READ


This text was first published in January 2003, two months prior to the beginning of war on Iraq by Montreal's very own Professor Michel Chossudovsky who heads up Global Research. It may be a decade old, but it is as current today as ipads are and a MUST READ by anyone wishing to understand the media's role in war.

Military planners in the Pentagon are acutely aware of the central role of war propaganda. Waged from the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA, a fear and disinformation campaign (FDC) has been launched. The blatant distortion of the truth and the systematic manipulation of all sources of information is an integral part of war planning. In the wake of 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created to the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or “Office of Disinformation” as it was labeled by its critics:
    “The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries — as an effort to influence public opinion across the world.1
And, all of a sudden, the OSI was formally disbanded following political pressures and “troublesome” media stories that “its purpose was to deliberately lie to advance American interests.”2
      “Rumsfeld backed off and said this is embarrassing.”3 Yet despite this apparent about-turn, the Pentagon’s Orwellian disinformation campaign remains functionally intact: “[T]he secretary of defense is not being particularly candid here. 
Disinformation in military propaganda is part of war.”4

Rumsfeld later confirmed in a press interview that while the OSI no longer exists in name, the “Office’s intended functions are being carried out” 5 (Rumsfeld’s precise words can be consulted at http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod111802.html ).

A number of government agencies and intelligence units –with links to the Pentagon– are involved in various components of the propaganda campaign. Realities are turned upside down. Acts of war are heralded as “humanitarian interventions” geared towards “regime change” and “the restoration of democracy”. Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as “peace-keeping”. The derogation of civil liberties –in the context of the so-called “anti-terrorist legislation”– is portrayed as a means to providing “domestic security” and upholding civil liberties. And underlying these manipulated realties, “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements, which circulate profusely in the news chain, are upheld as the basis for an understanding of World events.

In the critical “planning stages” leading up to an invasion of Iraq, the twisting of public opinion at home and around the World, is an integral part of the War agenda, War propaganda is pursued at all stages: before, during the military operation as well as in its cruel aftermath. War propaganda serves to drown the real causes and consequences of war.

A few months after the OSI was disbanded amidst controversy (February 2002), The New York Times confirmed that the disinformation campaign was running strong and that the Pentagon was:
    “…considering issuing a secret directive to American military to conduct covert operations aimed at influencing public opinion and policymakers in friendly and neutral nations …The proposal has ignited a fierce battle throughout the Bush administration over whether the military should carry out secret propaganda missions in friendly nations like Germany… The fight, one Pentagon official said, is over ‘the strategic communications for our nation, the message we want to send for long-term influence, and how we do it….’We have the assets and the capabilities and the training to go into friendly and neutral nations to influence public opinion. We could do it and get away with it. That doesn’t mean we should.’6
Fabricating the Truth

To sustain the war agenda, these “fabricated realities”, funneled on a day to day basis into the news chain must become indelible truths, which form part of a broad political and media consensus. In this regard, the corporate media –although acting independently of the military-intelligence apparatus, is an instrument of this evolving totalitarian system.

In close liaison with the Pentagon and the CIA, the State Department has also set up its own “soft-sell” (civilian) propaganda unit, headed by Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Charlotte Beers, a powerful figure in the advertising industry. Working in liaison with the Pentagon, Beers was appointed to head the State Department’s propaganda unit in the immediate wake of 9/11. Her mandate is “to counteract anti-Americanism abroad.”7 Her office at the State department is to:
     “ensure that public diplomacy (engaging, informing, and influencing key international audiences) is practiced in harmony with public affairs (outreach to Americans) and traditional diplomacy to advance U.S. interests and security and to provide the moral basis for U.S. leadership in the world.” (http://www.state.gov/r/ )
The Role of the CIA

The most powerful component of the Fear and Disinformation Campaign (FDI) rests with the CIA, which, secretly subsidizes authors, journalists and media critics, through a web of private foundations and CIA sponsored front organizations. The CIA also influences the scope and direction of many Hollywood productions. Since 9/11, one third of Hollywood productions are war movies. “Hollywood stars and scriptwriters are rushing to bolster the new message of patriotism, conferring with the CIA and brainstorming with the military about possible real-life terrorist attacks.”8 “The Sum of All Fears” directed by Phil Alden Robinson, which depicts the scenario of a nuclear war, received the endorsement and support of both the Pentagon and the CIA.9

Disinformation is routinely “planted” by CIA operatives in the newsroom of major dailies, magazines and TV channels. Outside public relations firms are often used to create “fake stories” Carefully documented by Chaim Kupferberg in relation to the events of September 11: “A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the scoops, that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources, where the parameters of debate are set and the “official reality” is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain.”10

Covert disinformation initiatives under CIA auspices are also funneled through various intelligence proxies in other countries. Since 9/11, they have resulted in the day-to-day dissemination of false information concerning alleged “terrorist attacks”. In virtually all of the reported cases (Britain, France, Indonesia, India, Philippines, etc.) the « alleged terrorist groups» are said to have «links to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda», without of course acknowledging the fact (amply documented by intelligence reports and official documents) that Al Qaeda is a creation of CIA.

The Doctrine of “Self Defense”

At this critical juncture, in the month(s) leading up to the announced invasion of Iraq, the propaganda campaign is geared towards sustaining the illusion that “America is under attack”. Relayed not only through the mainstream media but also through a number of alternative internet media sites, these “fabricated realities” portray the war as a bona fide act of self-defense, while carefully concealing the broad strategic and economic objectives of the war.

In turn, the propaganda campaign develops a casus belli, “a justification”, a political legitimacy for waging war. The “official reality” (conveyed profusely in George W’s speeches) rests on the broad “humanitarian” premise of a so-called “preemptive”, namely “defensive war”, “a war to protect freedom”:
    « We’re under attack because we love freedom… And as long as we love freedom and love liberty and value every human life, they’re going to try to hurt us.» 11
Spelled out in the National Security Strategy (NSS), the preemptive “defensive war” doctrine and the “war on terrorism” against Al Qaeda constitute the two essential building blocks of the Pentagon’s propaganda campaign. The objective is to present “preemptive military action” –meaning war as an act of “self-defense” against two categories of enemies, “rogue States” and “Islamic terrorists”:
    “The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. …America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.
    …Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction (…)
    The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.
    The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, (…). To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.”12 (National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html )
Feeding Disinformation into the News Chain

How is war propaganda carried out? Two sets of “eye popping” “statements” emanating from a variety of sources (including official National Security statements, media, Washington-based think tanks, etc.) are fed on a daily basis into the news chain. Some of the events (including news regarding presumed terrorists) are blatantly fabricated by the intelligence agencies. These statements are supported by simple and catchy “buzzwords”, which set the stage for fabricating the news:

Buzzword no. 1.”Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda” (Osama) is behind most news stories regarding the “war on terrorism” including “alleged”, “future” “presumed”, and “actual” terrorist attacks. What is rarely mentioned is that this outside enemy Al Qaeda is a CIA “intelligence asset”, used in covert operations.

Buzzword no. 2.The “Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)” statement is used to justify the “pre-emptive war” against the “State sponsors of terror”, –i.e. countries such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea which allegedly possess WMD. Amply documented in the case of Iraq, a large body of news on WMD and biological attacks, are fabricated.

The “WMD” and “Osama bin Laden” statements become part of day to day debate, embodied in routine conversations between citizens. Repeated ad nauseam, they penetrate the inner consciousness of ordinary people molding their individual perceptions on current events. Through deception and manipulation, this shaping of the minds of entire populations, sets the stage –under the façade of a functioning democracy—for the installation of a de facto police State. Needless to say, war propaganda weakens the antiwar movement.

In turn, the disinformation regarding alleged “terrorist attacks” or “weapons of mass destruction” instils an atmosphere of fear, which mobilizes unswerving patriotism and support for the State, and its main political and military actors.

Repeated in virtually every national news report, this stigmatic focus on WMD-Al Qaeda essentially serves as a dogma, to blind people on the causes and consequences of America’s war of conquest, while providing a simple, unquestioned and authoritative justification for “self defense.”

More recently, both in speeches by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, as well as in the news, WMD statements are now carefully blended into Osama statements. UK Defense Minister Jack Straw warned in early January “that ‘rogue regimes’ such as Iraq were the most likely source of WMD technology for groups like al-Qaeda.”13 Also, in January, a presumed al Qaeda cell “with links to Iraq” was discovered in Edinburgh, allegedly involved in the use of biological weapons against people in the UK. The hidden agenda of “the links to Iraq” statement is blatantly obvious. The objective is to discredit Iraq in the months leading up to the war: the so-called “State sponsors of terror” are said to support Osama bin Laden, Conversely, Osama is said to collaborate with Iraq in the use of weapons of mass destruction.

In recent months, several thousand news reports have woven “WMD-Osama stories” of which a couple of excerpts are provided below:
      “Skeptics will argue that the inconsistencies don’t prove the Iraqis have continued developing weapons of mass destruction. It also leaves Washington casting about for other damning material and charges, including the midweek claim, again unproved, that Islamic extremists affiliated with al-Qaeda took possession of a chemical weapon in Iraq last November or late October.”14
North Korea has admitted it lied about that and is brazenly cranking up its nuclear program again. Iraq has almost certainly lied about it, but won’t admit it. Meanwhile Al Qaeda, although dispersed, remains a shadowy, threatening force, and along with other terrorist groups, a potential recipient of the deadly weaponry that could emerge from Iraq and North Korea.15

Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair listed Iraq, North Korea, the Middle East and al-Qaeda among “difficult and dangerous” problems Britain faced in the coming year.16

The WMD-Osama statements are used profusely by the mainstream media. In the wake of 9/11, these stylized statements have also become an integral part of day to day political discourse. They have also permeated the workings of international diplomacy and the functioning of the United Nations.

Notes
  • 1. Interview with Steve Adubato, Fox News, 26 December 2002.
  • 2. Air Force Magazine, January 2003, italics added..
  • 3. Adubato, op. cit. italics added
  • 4. Ibid, italics added.
  • 5. Quoted in Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Secrecy News, http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2002/11/112702.html , Rumsfeld’s press interview can be consulted at:
  • http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod111802.html .
  • 6. New York Times, 16 December 2002.
  • 7. Sunday Times, London 5 January 2003.
  • 8. Ros Davidson, Stars earn their Stripes, The Sunday Herald (Scotland), 11 November 2001).
  • 9. See Samuel Blumenfeld, Le Pentagone et la CIA enrôlent Hollywood, Le Monde, 24 July 2002, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BLU207A.html .
  • 10. Chaim Kupferberg, The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11, Global Outlook, No. 3, 2003, p. 19, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KUP206A.html .
  • 11. Remarks by President Bush in Trenton, New Jersey, «Welcome Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility, Trenton, New Jersey », 23 September 2002.
  • 12. National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html
  • 13. Agence France Presse (AFP), 7 January 2003.
  • 14. Insight on the News, 20 January 2003.
  • 15. Christian Science Monitor, 8 January 2003
  • 16. Agence France Presse (AFP), 1 January 2003


Ukrainian Soldiers Side With Protesters in Slavyansk


(RIA Novosti) - About 60 Ukrainian servicemen from the crews of armored combat vehicles sent to the town of Kramatorsk as part of a military operation to quell federalization protests in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday sided with protesters. The servicemen took down Ukrainian flags and headed to nearby Slavyansk.
     "We have seen that they [protesters] are not separatists or terrorists, but ordinary local residents. We will not fight against them," one of the servicemen who changed sides, all of them from Dnepropetrovsk, told a RIA Novosti correspondent.
By now, the crews of six airborne assault vehicles, several armored infantry vehicles and one armored personnel carrier have taken the protesters’ side. Part of them raised Russian flags and flags of the Russian Airborne Assault Forces. Several armored vehicles deployed around the state administration building in Slavyansk, which has been controlled by federalization supporters for several successive days.

Armored vehicles enter Slavyansk

A column of armored vehicles has entered the town of Slavyansk, and servicemen are considering siding with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, acting Slavyansk mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov told TASS.

Facing Slavyansk's Town Hall are four armored vehicles, a self-propelled gun and a communications vehicles sent by the Kiev-based command to the Donetsk region.
     "We've let them through. The only condition is that the servicemen unclip their magazines through they retain the ammunition load. Our activists are bringing dinner shortly: we'll offer them a meal and then let them decide if they remain on our side or leave," Ponomaryov said.
The military has a choice: join the Donbass self-defense units or leave their weapons and military equipment and withdraw, he added.

Earlier, fighters of 25th airborne troops brigade sided with the self-defense activists. However, a considerable amount of armored vehicles belonging to Kiev-controlled military units is still amassed near Slavyansk.

'Anti-Maidan' in Odessa announces creation of its own People's Republic

The "Anti-Maidan" in Odessa has announced the region the People's Republic of Odessa and urged residents to block traffic in the city. "From today, the Odessa region becomes the People's Republic of Odessa, where the power belongs to the people living in its territory," a statement on the official website of the "Anti-Maidan" reads.

Activists urged city residents to block traffic in Odessa, having pointed 153 places on a special map on Yandex, where people should block traffic. It is planned to block the traffic for all kinds of transport, except ambulances.
     "At 16:00 tomorrow, Odessa must get blocked! Literally," the appeal reads. "Everybody who has not yet realized that the war had come to our houses should not go to work tomorrow," the activists of the "Anti-Maidan" said.
Crews of six Kiev's APCs sent to Kramatorsk join forces with anti-Maidan activists - eyewitness

The personnel of six armored transport vehicles sent to the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk has switched sides and has joined the pro-federalist activists, witnesses told RIA Novosti on Wednesday
     "We found them at a square near the railway station. A group of women surrounded them, we started telling them we were peaceful residents who are just fighting for their rights and that there are no terrorists here," the witness said, adding: "They won't shoot us."
     "The main armored transport vehicle had a Russian flag on it and they left together with our insurgents towards Slaviansk," the witness said.
The number of personnel from the transport vehicles was not specified.

The strongest confrontation between the protesters and security forces took place in two cities in the North of the Donetsk region: in Slavyansk on Saturday and in Kramatorsk on Tuesday. According to various data, several people were killed in each case. The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Lavrov, called the decision of the new Ukrainian authorities to use force, including the army, against the protesters are supporters of federalization an extremely dangerous development of events.

February 22, a change of government with signs of a coup took place in Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada dismissed the country's President Viktor Yanukovych from power, changed the Constitution and appointed presidential elections for May 25. Moscow believes that the legitimacy of the Rada’s decisions is doubtful, and the legitimacy of the elections will depend on a number of conditions, including transparency and taking into account the interests of the regions.

Anti-Maidan protesters seize six armoured personnel carriers in Kramatorsk – media

Ukraine federalization supporters have seized six armoured personnel carriers that have been involved in a special operation in Kramatorsk, the Donetsk-based OstroV Internet portal reports with reference to its correspondent in the city.

According to the portal, first the local activists blocked the APCs, then they were joined by a group of people wearing camouflages.

They jointly disarmed the APCs and drove them towards the village of Ivanovka, the report says.

The report has thus far failed to be confirmed by other sources.

Some media reported earlier on Wednesday that military armoured vehicles with Ukrainian flags appeared in the streets of Kramatorsk this morning, while two helicopters kept flying over the city.

Armored vehicles of Ukrainian army appear in Kramatorsk - media

Armoured vehicles with flags of Ukraine have appeared in the streets of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region. Some local residents are trying to hold up their movement.

Several infantry fighting vehicles have entered Kramatorsk, Interfax informs with reference to the local media. They were blocked by a mini-bus. Two helicopters are flying over the city. In all, according to eyewitnesses, about 300 Ukrainian soldiers are staying in the city, the Agency says.

UNICEF: 1 Greek Child in Every 3 At Risk of Poverty Or Social Exclusion


A new report from Unicef claims that many children in Greece have very little and/or no access to healthcare because their parents have no insurance.

More precisely, and according to Unicef, roughly 686,000 children, or 35.4% of all the children in Greece, are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, up from 30.4% in 2013.

The report entitled "The situation of children in Greece, 2014 says that the most vulnerable victims are children from single-parent homes (where 74.7% were deemed at risk) whereas in large families the figure was estimated at 43.7%. A significant number of children in Greece had no access to health care because their parents had lost their state social insurance coverage, it said.

Children living in households with no working adults rose to 292,000, or 13.2% of the total in 2012, up by 204,000 compared with 2008.

The report, conducted in collaboration with the University of Athens, also found a large reduction in numbers of children in Greece since 2001. The underage population shrunk 9% in the decade between 2001 and 2011 census, at a faster rate than the overall population, which fell by 1.1%.

It also found a significant reduction in social expenditure on benefits, with welfare payments decreasing by 4.%9 in 2011 relative to 2009.

Trans-Atlantic Bail-in Policy Drives the World toward War


Since European Finance Ministers adopted the bail-in scheme to expropriate bank depositors and shareholders in March, the entire City of London and Wall Street centered monetarist financial system is doomed. The only way an inevitable default can be averted is by provoking a war, which will allow the winners to write off the mass of unpayable debt in a post-war shake out.

Contributed to HellasFrappe
By EIR Strategic Alert

It is for this reason alone that the NATO alliance has broken off all channels of collaboration with Russia, thus accelerating the prospects of a strategic military showdown. At the same time, President Obama is moving to provoke similar confrontation with China. In Congressional testimony last week, Assistant Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel directly threatened China with retaliation if they take any steps to apply the “Crimea model” to the disputed islands in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, under White House orders, announced that two new U.S. Navy destroyers equipped with Aegis missile defense systems will be deployed to Japan by 2017, thus tightening the containment noose around China.

The deployment is ostensibly targeted at North Korea, but Beijing will clearly read it as part of the scheme to create an Asia-Pacific alliance against China. At the same time, opposition factions in Taiwan continue to stage violent provocations, aimed at reviving confrontation at the very moment that China-Taiwan relations have moved towards reconciliation and eventual unification.

Simultaneously, an American destroyer with Aegis ABM systems is being deployed into the Black Sea not far from the key Russian naval base at Sevastopol in the Crimea.

At the NATO meeting last week, all ties with Russia were cut off, including the NATO-Russia Council. In Washington, President Obama announced that all cooperation with Russia on the military-strategic level has been shut down. All work on ballistic missile defense in Europe has been cancelled, and even NASA cooperation with Russia on such vital issues as asteroid defense have been severed.

Such a blatant cutoff of all channels of official communication would only take place on the eve of war. Signalling Russian readiness to respond to the American and NATO provocations, President Putin ordered strategic maneuvers by the nuclear weapons units, involving more than 10,000 specialized forces.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has offered John Kerry a proposal to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis. But President Obama, an agent of the City of London-Wall Street apparatus, is not about to accept a reasonable diplomatic solution.

Lyndon LaRouche has made the case clear: If the financial system goes into disintegration through bail-in/bailout, the entire oligarchical system and along with it, the power of empire, will be wiped out. If war can be provoked before the blowout, the debt can be written off under wartime conditions, and the Empire survives. If the blowout occurs first, the oligarchy’s trans-Atlantic system is gone. That is the reason why the world now stands on the verge of thermonuclear war.

To avert the danger, Lyndon LaRouche has stressed, President Obama must be removed from office, immediately. And in Europe and the United States, the current doomed financial system must be eliminated in orderly fashion and replaced with a Glass-Steagall system, as the first step. And that must be done very quickly.





April 15, 2014

Question On German Corruption 'Unacceptable' Says European President


The President of the European Parliament and candidate for President of the European Commission, Martin Schulz, rejected as 'unacceptable' a parliamentary question asked by SYRIZA MEP Nikos Chountis regarding EU monitoring of German anti-corruption investigations, despite recent newspaper reports implicating influential German business leaders.

According to a press release posted by Mr Chountis on his personal website (link in Greek) the parliamentary question which was originally submitted in February was as follows (translation by TPPi):
      “Recent articles of the German newspaper Der Spiegel implicate the President of the German Federation of Industries [Ulrich Grillo] in cases of bribery regarding Greek defense system procurement programs from the end of the decade of the 1990’s when he was head of the companies Rheinmetall and STN Atlas [read TPPi’s coverage of the allegations here]. Evidence from the investigating authorities in Bremen is also cited, according to which among the accused are ten former collaborators of Rheinmetall and 6 collaborators of STN Atlas. Indeed the same authorities, in a decision to issue an investigative warrant note that, “already from 1999 STN Atlas had raised questions with the leadership of the group over the handling of unusually high commissions towards the ‘cooperating partner’ of one Greek representative.
      “Given that in its answer Ε-007718/2013, the Commission responded that Germany is the only country in the EU which has not ratified the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on
Corruption, nor the United Nation’s Convention against Corruption, and that, ‘The implementation of anti-corruption policies in all Member States is followed as part of the EU anti-corruption reporting mechanism ('EU Anti-Corruption Report'),’ with ‘assessments oof the Member States efforts against corruption’ and ‘exposing systemic problems,’ The Commission is asked:
     "Has it made recommendations to Germany in order for it to ratify the two aforementioned anti-corruption conventions? What justifications does Germany give for their non-ratification? Does it know if investigations are currently underway in Greece and in Germany to shed light on the particular case which involves improper practices regarding public contracts, bribery etc.? From which authorities? At what stage are they? Are the competent branches of the Commission monitoring the case in question? If yes, which are these? If not under what circumstances will they undertake its investigation?
According to Mr Chountis, the MEP received the following response from the Secretariat European Parliament:
"The President requested that I inform you over his decision, in an implementation of Annex III of the Rules of Procedure, related to the ability to accept questions for a written response (Rule 117).
Given that your question Ε-001247/2014revis.1 was considered to exceed the competence and responsibility of the Commission, the President determined it to be unacceptable.
Signed,
Francesca R. Ratti"
While according to European Parliamentary rules, the President of the Parliament is the ultimate arbiter of what questions are admissible, the decision by Martin Schulz raised eyebrows among many, and was rejected by Mr Chountis.

In a statement released by the MEP, he called the reasoning behind the rejection of the question ‘baseless’ given that the European Union has itself adopted the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption which Germany refuses to ratify. Mr Chountis also stressed that the Commission is duty-bound to monitor bribery cases, even if these have been handled by the justice system of member states.

One can only hope that Mr Schulz’s decision to reject Mr Chountis’s question has nothing to do with the former’s current candidacy for the position of President of the European Commission and a potential unwillingness to ask awkward questions of the Eurozone’s most powerful member. Because if one thing is clear for the ongoing investigations into the Greek MoD’s procurement programs, it is that German and other Northern European companies were as willing to pay millions in bribes for over-priced contracts as the Greek officials were to receive them.

So far Martin Schulz, a candidate on behalf of the European Socialists, has tried to distance himself from the current German policy and to appear as being independent from Berlin’s management of the crisis.

Recently, during a debate on France24 television, he indirectly attacked Chancellor’s Merkel decisions: He said that “Juncker (the candidate backed by Merkel’s CDU and the European Popular Party) and other mostly conservative leaders in charge of the European institutions at the outbreak of the euro zone debt crisis had misdiagnosed the problem by prescribing strict austerity, forcing millions out of work”. But critics doubt whether he is really that different: During the same debate, one of the presenters asked both candidates:
     "What distinguishes you from each other?” There was an embarrassed pause before Schulz said: "I don't know what distinguishes us... The EPP candidate (Juncker) is quite close to my programme, but whether the EPP is so close is another question."
PressProject

Hellenic Navy Gen. Slams Incident with Frigate Salamis


A TV station on Sunday reported that in the evening of Wednesday, April 9, a guided missile almost hit the Frigate SALAMIS off the coast of Haifa, in Israel. As such, the Hellenic Navy General Staff on Sunday categorically denied that "in the evening of April 9, 2014 a guided missile almost hit Frigate SALAMIS off the coast of Haifa, in Israel" and added the Frigate had never been threatened by one.

The Hellenic Navy General Staff said in a statement that a member of the crew of the Frigate was urgently taken to a hospital in Haifa for reasons irrelevant to the alleged incident.

SALAMIS returned to Salamina naval base on Saturday.

According to the state news agency, the Frigate participated in the scheduled multi-national exercise "Noble Dina" conducted in the sea around Crete and in Eastern Mediterranean between March 26 and April 10 with the participation of Navy and Air force units from Greece, the United States and Israel.

(Greek Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos asked to be "thoroughly briefed by military leaders" on the "alleged incident with Frigate SALAMIS.")


S.ARABIA - Succession Change Risks Royal Family Squabble


King Abdullah's appointment of Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, his half-brother, as deputy crown prince could marginalize Crown Prince Salman.

Succession in Saudi Arabia is a curious mixture of precedence and edict. In recent years, King Abdullah has tried to further systematize the process, most notably with the establishment of an "Allegiance Council" in 2006 made up of senior princes. But a royal decree issued earlier today essentially reduces the council's role. Instead it "mandates" that the royal family pledge allegiance to Muqrin as crown prince if that position becomes vacant, or as king if the positions of king and crown prince become vacant at the same time.

The announcement partially clarifies the uncertainty that has surrounded Prince Muqrin since he was appointed second deputy prime minister in February 2013. In the past, that position has been seen as "crown prince in waiting," though officially it only enables the holder to chair the weekly Council of Ministers meeting if the king (who is also the prime minister) or crown prince (who doubles as deputy prime minister) are abroad or otherwise unavailable.

Age seventy-one this year, Muqrin is the youngest surviving son of the late King Abdulaziz, a.k.a. Ibn Saud, the kingdom's founder. Since his death in 1953, the throne has passed from brother to younger brother with only a few omissions among Ibn Saud's more than forty sons, of which only fifteen are still alive. Most are sick and/or feeble. King Abdullah (age 90) can no longer walk unaided but remains compos mentis. Crown Prince Salman (77) has apparently had trouble focusing mentally of late, and doubts are often expressed about his capacity to become king. His recent trip to Japan was mainly for medical reasons.

But Muqrin's elevation challenges accepted understandings of how princes can qualify to be king because he is one of several of Ibn Saud's sons without Saudi tribal lineage. His mother, referred to in history books as "Baraka the Yemeni" was either a concubine or favored slave girl, a domestic arrangement that allowed Ibn Saud to have more than the four concurrent wives to which he was limited by Islamic law.

It would be surprising if Muqrin was not challenged on this point by royal family rivals with better pedigrees, though such disagreement might not be publicly visible. Keeping up appearances is important to Saudi royals. Crown Prince Salman recently completed a hectic series of official visits to Pakistan, Japan, India, the Maldives, and China, then chaired the Council of Ministers meeting the day after he returned. Given concerns about his health, the most likely explanation for his busy schedule is that his own sons -- along with his remaining full brothers in the so-called "Sudairi Seven" power clique -- are pushing him to retain the appearance of being the next king. Muqrin's appointment effectively casts doubt over the future political and financial prospects of Salman and these relatives.

A possible next move in this game of royal family chess is for King Abdullah to have a team of doctors declare Salman medically incompetent, allowing for Muqrin's early elevation to the heir apparent slot. Genes aside, Muqrin's professional credentials compare well with others. Trained as an F-15 pilot, he served as head of intelligence from 2005 to 2012 and as a provincial governor before that. He also has a reputation for being a nice man and a safe pair of hands, diplomatically speaking.

At the moment, it is difficult to see him as the leader of a kingdom that regards itself as the head of the Islamic, Arab, and energy worlds. (It is also challenging to identify any other immediate contender.) Yet today's announcement guarantees Muqrin a place in tomorrow's talks between King Abdullah and President Obama -- an occasion that will solidify his appointment without dampening speculation on when and how the kingdom's next big transition will occur.

Simon Henderson - Simon Henderson is the Baker Fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Read more at - http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/saudi-succession-change-risks-royal-family-squabble


Elite-Driven Media Follows Suit When Danish Politicians Go to War


Danish newspapers mirror to a high degree the viewpoints of the political elite when Danish military participation in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya has been on the public agenda during the past 10 years. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have tested the so-called 'elite-driven media' theory on editorial viewpoints on the military engagements and the results may help explain why support for the war efforts have been remarkably consistent in the small and hitherto less belligerent nation.

While political discussions concerning the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have been heated in many countries, political parties and public opinion in Denmark have generally been supportive of the war efforts during the last decade, despite the high level of involvement by Danish forces and – relatively speaking – high level of casualties.

A newly published Danish analysis, conducted by media researchers from The University of Copenhagen, covers five national dailies and their editorial stances on the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

- Our research demonstrates, as the 'elite-driven media' theory suggests, that the editorials reflect dominant viewpoints among the political elites: When the elites are in agreement, the newspapers display a similar agreement and reproduce dominant arguments. When political elites disagree, it makes room for a higher degree of diversity among the newspapers, says Professor Stig Hjarvard who has conducted the analysis with his colleague Associate Professor Nete Nørgaard Kristensen. Their findings have been published in the April issue of the international journal Media, War & Conflict.

Limited focus on the soldiers' experience

The four national newspapers Jyllands-Posten, Berlingske, Politiken, and B.T. have generally been supportive of the Danish military efforts, particularly in the case of Afghanistan and Libya. During the invasion of Iraq there was disagreement among the newspapers – mirroring the political divisions in the Danish parliament and public opinion in general. However, when dominant political parties reached consensus about the subsequent deployment of Danish troops in Iraq, critique in the newspapers became less dominant.

- The analysis clearly shows that the arguments in favor of military efforts have to a large extent concerned humanitarian ideals and general international obligations towards alliance partners in the 'war against terror'. The editorials of Danish dailies have only to a limited extent dealt with the specific assignments, problems and consequences Danish soldiers have been facing during the three wars, explains Nete Nørgaard Kristensen who points to the niche newspaper Information as the only media in the analysis that departs from the overall pattern. To a higher degree, this newspaper has been able to develop and sustain editorial viewpoints independent of existing consensus among the political establishment.

- Such niche media as Information may, therefore, play an important role for sustaining alternative arguments when the political elites and the major news media display a high level of consensus, she says. Stig Hjarvard concludes:

- Considering the important role of national news media in framing the public agenda during these three wars, the existing news media supply may not be sufficient to ensure a diverse representation of arguments and viewpoints when politicians have decided to go to war.


Oldest Weather Report In This World Could Revise Bronze Age Chronology


An inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone block from Egypt may be one of the world's oldest weather reports—and could provide new evidence about the chronology of events in the ancient Middle East.

A new translation of a 40-line inscription on the 6-foot-tall calcite block called the Tempest Stela describes rain, darkness and "the sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses."

Two scholars at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute believe the unusual weather patterns described on the slab were the result of a massive volcano explosion at Thera—the present-day island of Santorini in the Mediterranean Sea. Because volcano eruptions can have a widespread impact on weather, the Thera explosion likely would have caused significant disruptions in Egypt.

The new translation suggests the Egyptian pharaoh Ahmose ruled at a time closer to the Thera eruption than previously thought—a finding that could change scholars' understanding of a critical juncture in human history as Bronze Age empires realigned. The research from the Oriental Institute's Nadine Moeller and Robert Ritner appears in the spring issue of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies.

The Tempest Stela dates back to the reign of the pharaoh Ahmose, the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. His rule marked the beginning of the New Kingdom, a time when Egypt's power reached its height. The block was found in pieces in Thebes, modern Luxor, where Ahmose ruled.

If the stela does describe the aftermath of the Thera catastrophe, the correct dating of the stela itself and Ahmose's reign, currently thought to be about 1550 B.C., could actually be 30 to 50 years earlier.
      "This is important to scholars of the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean, generally because the chronology that archaeologists use is based on the lists of Egyptian pharaohs, and this new information could adjust those dates," said Moeller, assistant professor of Egyptian archaeology at the Oriental Institute, who specializes in research on ancient urbanism and chronology.
In 2006, radiocarbon testing of an olive tree buried under volcanic residue placed the date of the Thera eruption at 1621-1605 B.C. Until now, the archeological evidence for the date of the Thera eruption seemed at odds with the radiocarbon dating, explained Oriental Institute postdoctoral scholar Felix Hoeflmayer, who has studied the chronological implications related to the eruption. However, if the date of Ahmose's reign is earlier than previously believed, the resulting shift in chronology "might solve the whole problem," Hoeflmayer said.

The revised dating of Ahmose's reign could mean the dates of other events in the ancient Near East fit together more logically, scholars said. For example, it realigns the dates of important events such as the fall of the power of the Canaanites and the collapse of the Babylonian Empire, said David Schloen, associate professor in the Oriental Institute and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations on ancient cultures in the Middle East.
      "This new information would provide a better understanding of the role of the environment in the development and destruction of empires in the ancient Middle East," he said.
For example, the new chronology helps to explain how Ahmose rose to power and supplanted the Canaanite rulers of Egypt—the Hyksos—according to Schloen. The Thera eruption and resulting tsunami would have destroyed the Hyksos' ports and significantly weakened their sea power.

In addition, the disruption to trade and agriculture caused by the eruption would have undermined the power of the Babylonian Empire and could explain why the Babylonians were unable to fend off an invasion of the Hittites, another ancient culture that flourished in what is now Turkey.

'A TEMPEST OF RAIN'

Some researchers consider the text on the Tempest Stela to be a metaphorical document that described the impact of the Hyksos invasion. However, Ritner's translation shows that the text was more likely a description of weather events consistent with the disruption caused by the massive Thera explosion.

Ritner said the text reports that Ahmose witnessed the disaster—the description of events in the stela text is frightening.

The stela's text describes the "sky being in storm" with "a tempest of rain" for a period of days. The passages also describe bodies floating down the Nile like "skiffs of papyrus."

Importantly, the text refers to events affecting both the delta region and the area of Egypt further south along the Nile. "This was clearly a major storm, and different from the kinds of heavy rains that Egypt periodically receives," Ritner said.

In addition to the Tempest Stela, a text known as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus from the reign of Ahmose also makes a special point of mentioning thunder and rain, "which is further proof that the scholars under Ahmose paid close and particular attention to matters of weather," Ritner said.

Marina Baldi, a scientist in climatology and meteorology at the Institute of Biometeorology of the National Research Council in Italy, has analyzed the information on the stela along with her colleagues and compared it to known weather patterns in Egypt.

A dominant weather pattern in the area is a system called "the Red Sea Trough," which brings hot, dry air to the area from East Africa. When disrupted, that system can bring severe weather, heavy precipitation and flash flooding, similar to what is reported on the Tempest Stela.
      "A modification in the atmospheric circulation after the eruption could have driven a change in the precipitation regime of the region. Therefore the episode in the Tempest Stela could be a consequence of these climatological changes," Baldi explained.
Other work is underway to get a clearer idea of accurate dating around the time of Ahmose, who ruled after the Second Intermediate period when the Hyksos people seized power in Egypt. That work also has pushed back the dates of his reign closer to the explosion on Thera, Moeller explained.


NEW REPORT - Greek public debt to decline in 2014


The Greek public debt is expected to fall in 2014 for the first time after decades of rising trends, not only in absolute numbers but as a percentage of GDP, according to the Pubic Debt Management Organization.

In a report to the Greek Parliament on Tuesday Parliament, and in response to a question by Maria Giatagana, an independent deputy, the Organization stressed that the country's public debt will fall both in absolute prices and as a percentage of GDP this year, for the first time after several decades of rising trends, after the country achieved a primary budget surplus, reducing interest spending following a debt restructuring in March 2012 (PSI) and promoting a privatization program. The Organization said that net borrowing for 2014 is going to be roughly 3.6 billion Euros in 2014, offering evidence that the country needed to borrow less to finance its budget.


Venizelos States Greek & EU Position On Ukraine, Syria & Bosnia-Herzegovina


Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos participated at the EU Foreign Affairs Council held in Luxembourg, on April 14. Commenting on the subject of Ukraine he stated that “we are seeing rapid, dangerous developments in Ukraine. The European policy is firm and clear. It is based on two pillars. The first is respect for the international legal order, for national sovereignty and for the territorial integrity of Ukraine and all countries. The second is the need for de-escalation and avoiding the use or the threat of violence. It is extremely critical for Europe that we not become entangled in a permanent problem, but that we find an agreed, mutually acceptable and practicable solution through political and diplomatic means. This is why we must pursue the holding of the quadrilateral meeting, which has, in principle, been scheduled for this week.

In his statement on Syria, the Greek FM pointed to the need for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution on confronting the humanitarian aspects of the crisis, as a human tragedy continues to unfold.

He said that he briefed the Council -yet again- on the Greek reservations regarding the process for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. Venizelos reiterated that the Greek position is that the hydrolysis at sea should be carried out in open waters, and not in the Mediterranean. Given, however, that this matter will be decided by the UN Security Council, if, in the end, hydrolysis in Mediterranean waters is chosen, it must be ensured that full guarantees are provided with regard to the protection of the Mediterranean marine environment; the EU should actively exercise its role on monitoring the implementation of these guarantees.

In his statement at the EU Foreign Affairs Council regarding the situation in Bosnia Herzegovina, the Greek foreign minister stressed that Bosnia-Herzegovina’s major issue continues to be the constitutional architecture of the Dayton Agreement, because under the constitutional pretext of a federation, in reality, there is de facto functioning of a confederal state.


BOOK - How The Military Changes Shaped Geopolitics & The Fate of Nations



Jimmy Teng looks at the role played by technology on a macrohistorical scale examining the reasons for the success of Eurasia and the failure of the Americas, Africa, and Australia over the course of civilization

Seventeen years have passed since the publication of Jared Diamond's groundbreaking Guns, Germs and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies - a Pulitzer winning global account on the rise of civilization, which formed the foundations to explain European supremacy in conquering other regions from the sixteenth century onwards, and dismantled unreservedly the theories of racial superiority in vogue with many researchers.

But the question why Europe performed better and why it emerged ultimately victorious in the competition with other civilizations in the second half of the past millennium still puzzles economists, sociologists, historians and the general public. It is now Jimmy Teng's turn to contribute to the lively discussion on how the world became what we know today, in his Musket, Map and Money – released now fully Open Access by De Gruyter Open.

The same approach used by Diamond to illustrate how humans and environmental factors affect differing societies, can be used to paint a general picture of the pattern of human development over time. Teng, a professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at The University of Nottingham, UK, uses economic concepts to explain how changes in military technology accelerated the competition between states and their ramifications in world history. Military technology has shaped geopolitical structure and economic performance since the dawn of civilization. Moreover, changes in military technology are usually seen as a consequence of changing economic and political institutions. Now, Teng presents an interesting case that the causality goes the other way – performing an interesting analysis of how military and political competition drives innovation and economic growth. Admittedly, we only have to look as far as the contemporary sahelian nations to see how the diffusion of armament is reshaping the map of Africa. According to Teng, the destructive power of gunpowder made warfare more lethal and raised the costs of conflict. At the beginning of the early modern era, it was not clear which major Eurasian civilization would break free from the rough equilibrium among the other cultures to forge ahead and become the leader in knitting together different regions into a global system. In its broad sweep, the book looks at the role played by technology on a macrohistorical scale examining the reasons for the success of Eurasia and the failure of the Americas, Africa, and Australia over the course of civilization.

Jimmy Teng's book is an ambitious project, meshing technological finesse with broad historical vision. "It employs two conceptual threads to spin a web of analysis that snares the key developments in the Eurasian history" observes Prof. Leonard Dudley from Université de Montréal, and author of The Word and the Sword. One notion is the mass factor, developed in the theory of conflict to measure military scale economies. The other is the marginal effect of relative capability that measures the effect of an additional unit of relative military capability on the probability of victory.

This provoking yet erudite work is likely to become an important contribution to the literature on explorations in economic history and will be of interest both to scholars in the field and to world history enthusiasts seeking to understand the development and perpetuation of military technology in human societies. Or as Dudley concludes, "Musket, Map and Money is a polished, tightly-woven story of Eurasian civilization from the dawn of history to the present."

The book is available open access to read, download and share at: http://www.degruyter.com/view/product/209733 

Women's jobs are less paid, less flexible & surprise surprise, more stressful


Women's jobs are poorer paid, less flexible, more stressful, and offer fewer promotion opportunities than men's, a large international study has found. Researchers say that the results disprove the theory that women have voluntarily traded less high-powered jobs in order to have more flexibility for their responsibilities at home.

Professor Haya Stier, of Tel Aviv University, and Professor Meir Yaish, University of Haifa, analysed survey data on the working lives of 8,500 men and 9,000 women in 27 industrialised countries, including the UK.

In a paper published in the journal Work, Employment and Society they looked at how those surveyed responded to questions about their jobs, and found:
    When asked if they or their employer decided at what time they started and ended work, how they organised their schedule, and whether they took time off work, men scored 0.148 points (15%) higher.
    On a scale of 1-5, on average men gave answers that were 0.215 points higher (8%) than women's when asked about their income and opportunities for promotion.
    On a scale of 1-5, on average men gave answers that were 0.159 points (5%) lower than women's when asked about how stressful and exhausting the work was.
    Men gave answers that were 0.084 (2 %) points higher than women's when asked about how interesting they found their work, how independently they could work and how much scope they had to improve their skills.
    Men gave answers that were 0.062 points (2%) lower than women's when asked about job security.
Only in the area of physical condition did men score their work worse, saying it was more physically arduous and dangerous, by 0.275 points (8%).
      "The findings show that women lag behind men on most dimensions of job quality," say the researchers. "This result runs counter to the expectation that women's occupations compensate for their low wages and limited opportunities for promotion by providing better employment conditions.
      "The findings indicate that women enjoy hardly any advantage over men in the labour market. Women lag behind men on most employment dimensions: their jobs offer lower salaries and fewer opportunities for advancement, but also lower job security, worse job content, less time autonomy and worse emotional conditions."
The research "does not support the claim that women enjoy a more relaxed and convenient work environment to compensate for their lack of achievement."

However the researchers also found that the more women in a profession or trade the closer their working conditions came to men's in most aspects of work.


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