Putin’s Delight: U.S.-EU Economic War Over Russia

In the fortieth edition of the Russian Newspapers Monitor, Professor Filip Kovacevic discusses the articles from four Russian newspapers: Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, and Komsomolskaya Pravda. He discusses the unfolding of a serious economic conflict between the U.S. and the European Union over the relations with Russia, the geopolitical dynamic that may lead to the breakout of a civil war in Moldova, the way Russia plans to celebrate the Day of its National Navy, and the surprising affection of the young people in Russia for the Soviet Communist leader Josef Stalin.

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Show Notes

Rossiyskaya Gazeta – July 25, 2017

Izvestia – July 26, 2017

Nezavisimaya Gazeta – July 25, 2017

Komsomolskaya Pravda – July 21, 2017

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Newsbud Report with Peter B. Collins- Episode #2

Did we just finish Mainstream Media Malpractice Week? We examine the media’s premature projection of Hillary Clinton as Democratic nominee. We report on the FBI’s expanding use of paid informants in “domestic terrorism” cases, like the recent convictions in Minneapolis; and the FBI’s push for expanded powers to monitor internet activity. We examine NY Gov. Cuomo’s order to punish supporters of boycotts of Israel, and journalist Max Blumenthal comments in our interview. In our Newsbud Exclusive, Prof. Filip Kovacevic reports on Russia’s plan to counter NATO expansion with its Alliance of Neutral States. We also cover Brazil’s deepening crisis, and the US role in the 2009 coup in Honduras.

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BFP Exclusive- Stoltenberg in Belgrade, Biden in Zagreb

The U.S.-NATO Diplomatic Offensive in the Balkans

The recent visits of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to Belgrade and U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden to Zagreb within a week of each other show that both the U.S. and NATO are in the process of trying to augment their influence in the Balkans.

For more than a decade, after the overthrow of the regime of Slobodan Milosević in Serbia in 2000, the Balkans have been perceived by the U.S. and NATO decision-makers as their own fairly secure geopolitical playground. It is true that there has been a certain degree of displeasure with the behavior of various Serb political leaders both in the Serbian political entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Republika Srpska) and in Serbia proper. However, considering that these contrarian activities were essentially sui generis and did not depend on external support, they were criticized rhetorically, but were, in real terms, simply swept under the rug, hoping that in time they would go away by themselves. They were treated like the case of a bad cold. Sure it is obnoxious and slows you down, but if you just rest for a while, it will disappear even if you do nothing about it. And, after all, almost all politicians in contemporary Balkans have plenty of financial "skeletons" in their respective luxury closets, so that they are not all that difficult to keep on the short leash.

However, starting about two years ago, but intensifying after the outbreak of the violent confrontations in Ukraine in early 2014, the Balkan geopolitical chessboard suddenly became much more complex. Not only did the Chinese government institutions and banks begin to be active in financing various large-scale infrastructure projects in the Balkans,[1] but also the Russian government started to comment publicly on internal political developments in various Balkan countries. In many respects, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs began to play the role reserved since the end of the Cold War only for the U.S. State Department. This could hardly go unnoticed in Washington and Brussels and became the cause of an increasing concern.

The first time the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted in this way was during the wide-spread anti-government protests in Macedonia (FYROM) in the first months of 2015.[2] It sided with the official narrative of the government of Nikola Gruevski and against the activities of the opposition. It perceived the Gruevski government as favorable to Russia's own geopolitical interests and the opposition as doing the bidding of the Western powers, especially the U.S.

It is interesting to note that not long afterwards, reacting to an internal political crisis in another Balkan state, this time in Montenegro, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its public pronouncements took the side of the opposition as against the government. In fact, the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukanović, directly accused the Russian government of assisting the opposition protests in the country.[3] Most observers interpreted Djukanović's claim as a Machiavellian strategy to get support and sympathy from NATO and the U.S. despite the documented abuses of the corrupt, authoritarian regime he has been running for more than 25 years. Djukanović's accusations received a stinging rebuke from Moscow.[4] In fact, having read the original statement of the Ministry in Russian, I can say that I have not seen such a strongly worded statement issued by the Russian government against another state's leader since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It appears that the decision-makers in Brussels and Washington noticed the same thing and, as a result, decided to initiate the on-going diplomatic initiative in which the visits of high-level officials play a crucial role. That is the context in which the visits of Stoltenberg and Biden should be placed.

However, in addition to understanding the general context, it is also important to look at the specific content of these visits in order to be able to discern the shape of things to come.

Stoltenberg in Belgrade      

Jens Stoltenberg's visit to Belgrade was the first visit of a NATO General Secretary in ten years. As is well known, Serbia (at that time still a constituent component of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) suffered tremendous human and material damage during the 78-day long NATO bombing campaign in the spring of 1999. Even conservative estimates indicate that several hundred civilians, including children, were killed by the bombs. It is no surprise then that opposition to NATO and NATO-led activities runs high among the ordinary people in Serbia. This represents a big problem for NATO geopolitical expansionists who would like to assimilate Serbia into the fold.

If we examine the choreography of Stoltenberg's visit carefully, we begin to notice the cogs in the propaganda machinery to sway the "hearts and minds" of the Serbian citizens in favor of NATO. This effort centers on the figure of Stoltenberg and uses the facts of his personal biography in a manipulative way. Namely, Stoltenberg's father - Thorvald Stoltenberg - was a diplomat at the Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade when Jens was a small child. So, in all his public appearances in Belgrade, Stoltenberg stressed the experiences of his early childhood.[5] He recited the Serbian children's song. He recalled his Serbian governess (and his first ice-cream) with a great deal of emotion. He confessed that he adored the Serbian cuisine. The culmination was when he twitted that, in his heart, he was in fact a person from Belgrade (Beogradjanin). No doubt, a true Hollywood scenario, but for a B-movie. The NATO PR specialists know well that the first step to accepting the message is to trust the messenger.

But, it did not stop there. The Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, actively wooed by NATO as well as by the U.S., announced with an air of triumph that NATO has "returned" 25 kilometers of the Serbian airspace to the Serbian control.[6] The fact that Serbia did not have a complete control over its airspace was not widely known and Vučić would probably have tried to avoid talking about it, if asked even a week earlier. Now, however,  NATO's "return" of the airspace was the front page news.

Was there anybody to ask the basic question as to under what legal authority NATO held on to this part of the Serbian airspace at all? The 1999 military intervention itself violated international law, including the Charter of the United Nations. In other words, this situation is equivalent to that of a thief returning a piece of your property after 15 years and, instead of reporting him to the police, you throw a party in his honor. Would any credible leader, committed to the well-being of  his or her country's citizens, do something like this? Obviously, Vučić has his own reasons, which appear to have little to do with the public interest, but, arguably, quite a lot with the issues he discussed privately with Biden during his visit to Washington in September.[7]

Biden in Zagreb

Biden himself has come to the Balkans yet again. I have chronicled his Balkan connections in two previous BFP articles.[8] On November 25, 2015, Biden came to Zagreb to take part in the summit of the Balkan presidents called the "Brdo-Brijuni Process." It is an annual summit organized jointly by the presidents of Croatia and Slovenia and the name comes from the two well-known conference resorts (Brdo kod Kranja in Slovenia and Brijuni in Croatia). It is a recent invention which started in 2013 and is a kind of the consolation prize for those Balkan countries which are not the full members of the European Union. The way things stand, however, it appears that they will remain in this status for a long time to come.

Biden was specifically invited by the president of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. As I have shown in my previous BFP articles, Grabar-Kitarović is the key champion of the U.S.-NATO power in the Balkans.[9] She has served both as the Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Croatian Ambassador to the U.S. and her most recent function, before being elected president in January 2015, was NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy. In many respects, Croatia is NATO's hub for the Balkans and it plays a large role in NATO's anti-Putin designs. Croatia, for instance, granted citizenship to one of the most vocal Putin's critics, the former world chess celebrity Gary Kasparov.[10]

That there was a certain degree of urgency to this summit is exposed by the fact that the annual "Brdo-Brijuni" summit was already held in Budva, Montenegro in June 2015.[11] This is why this summit was labeled "extraordinary" even by the organizers. In other words, the geopolitical winds started blowing from the direction which is not particularly pleasant for the U.S.-NATO long-time "orderers" of the Balkans.

Biden's statement at the summit echoed the unabashedly expansionist spirit now under the increasing strain from both Russia and China. He admitted that the region was "of extraordinary significance" for the U.S. which should be interpreted to mean that the U.S. and NATO would protect their geopolitical gains using any and all means at their disposal.[12] The implication is that, in case it becomes necessary, this may also include the long-favored method of the "regime change" as well as the violation of the democratically expressed will of the majority. This strategy has already been put into practice in Montenegro where the majority of the population does not want NATO membership and yet the government of Milo Djukanović, in tight coordination with the embassies of several NATO states and the U.S.-based lobbyists, has been trying to shove it down their throats for years.

However, the most revealing statement at the summit was made by another new-Cold-War warrior against Russia, former Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk, now in the position of the President of the European Council (the figurehead EU President). He spoke more concretely about the "Euro-Atlantic" (NATO) future of the region than about its integration into the EU, even though he did express the opinion that all of the Balkans would eventually be invited in.[13] If we disregard Tusk's bureaucratic platitudes, the picture that emerges is that the EU expansion has definitely stalled and that those Balkan countries left out on the other side of the "Fortress Europe" should begin thinking about political alternatives. Otherwise, the augmented NATO militarization of the Balkans is imminent and, in the context of the deep economic and social crisis brought about by the anti-humanist neo-liberal model, this will likely lead to the flare-ups of violence all across the region.

# # # #

NOTES:

[1] For a more detailed analysis, see my earlier BFP article "China and the Balkans," http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/12/15/bfp-exclusive-china-the-balkans-this-geopolitical-battle-in-its-beginning-phases/

[2] http://www.suedosteuropa.uni-graz.at/biepag/node/156; http://balkanist.net/russia-macedonia-pan-slavism/

[3] http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/montenegro-says-russia-trying-to-force-regime-change/540359.html

[4] http://rbth.com/news/2015/10/27/moscow-perplexed-by-rusias-accusation-of-provoking-protests-in-montenegro_534477

[5] http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Politika/607535/BEOGRADjANIN-U-SRCU-Znamo-gde-je-sef-NATO-odrastao-ali-jednu-jos-vazniju-stvar-ne-znamo; http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Politika/607996/Vucic-Svaka-vrsta-naseg-loseg-odnosa-sa-NATO-moze-da-nam-steti

[6]http://www.rts.rs/page/stories/ci/story/1/%D0%9F%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B0/2111284/%D0%9A%D1%84%D0%BE%D1%80+%D1%83%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%83%D0%BE+%D0%BE%D0%B3%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%9A%D0%B0+%D0%B7%D0%B0+%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B5+%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%B7%D0%B4%D1%83%D1%88%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B3+%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%B0+%D0%A1%D1%80%D0%B1%D0%B8%D1%98%D0%B5.html

[7] http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Politika/590705/Vucic-i-Bajden-EU-ce-biti-cela-kad-Srbija-udje-u-nju

[8] See my BFP articles - "Joe Biden in Munich: Incentivizing the U.S. Balkan Vassals," http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/02/17/bfp-exclusive-joe-biden-in-munich-incentivizing-the-us-balkan-vassals/ and "Biden's Balkan Sphere of Influence," http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/06/07/bfp-exclusive-bidens-balkan-sphere-of-influence/

[9] See my BFP articles - "The Balkans Presidential December: A Test for the U.S.-NATO Empire, "  http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/12/23/bfp-exclusive-the-balkans-presidential-december-a-test-for-the-us-nato-empire/ and "The Balkans Elections Update: Croatia & Greece," http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/01/29/bfp-exclusive-the-balkans-elections-update-croatia-greece/

[10] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/28/chess-champion-garry-kasparov-croatian-citizenship

[11] http://www.rtvbudva.me/vijesti/danas-u-budvi-pocinje-dvodnevni-sastanak-lidera-brdo-brioni-procesa/8766

[12] http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Politika/609053/SAMIT-U-ZAGREBU-Bajden-Ova-regija-je-od-izuzetnog-znacaja-za-SAD

[13]http://www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/11/Region/2116595/Lideri+Jugoisto%C4%8Dne+Evrope+u+Zagrebu.html; http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Politika/609254/Tusk-Nema-sumnje-da-je-buducnost-Zapadnog-Balkana-u-EU/komentari

 

BFP Exclusive – Guess, Who’s Coming to the Moscow Parade?

The US-NATO Control of the Balkan Ruling Elites

Recently, the president of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman made news around the world when he publicly confronted the US ambassador to the Czech Republic Andrew Schapiro about the ambassador's statement that Zeman's attendance of the Victory Day parade in Moscow would be "awkward". "I can’t imagine the Czech ambassador in Washington would give advice to the American president where to travel,” Zeman said. “I won’t let any ambassador have a say about my foreign travels.” And, then, in order to make concrete his displeasure at the attempted interference, he added that Schapiro "has the door to the castle [Zeman's presidential residence] closed".[1]

This made Zeman an instant celebrity among those in Europe who believe that the US-NATO military build-up, coupled with the strengthening of the anti-Russian geopolitical discourse, might have serious repercussions for the European political and economic stability and peace. This, however, is nothing new for Zeman as he has voiced similar opinions in the past as well. For instance, he was one of the first EU high-level politicians to take a stand against the imposition of the sanctions against Russia.[2] For this reason, he became a target of the smear campaign by several pro-US political parties and organizations and was even pelted with eggs and symbolically shown the red card by the protesters during the public commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in November 2014.[3]

It appears, however, that the pressure this time around was so overwhelming that Zeman was forced to change his plans. It could easily be that he was blackmailed in some way as one could see the collective glee of pro-NATO political forces after Zeman backed down from his earlier decision.[4] Obviously, the US-NATO Empire could not tolerate such an open defiance against its imperial interests and was willing to use all the means at its disposal to have its isolation of Russia stick. And, so, the latest news is that Zeman will be in Moscow on the day of the parade, but will not be actually attending it.[5]

In contrast to Zeman, many of his Balkan colleagues did not even put up the fight to defend their countries' sovereign foreign policy decision making. There are only a very few exceptions. In my opinion, the examination of who is and who is not going to the Victory Day parade in Moscow provides a good litmus test of the extent to which the US-NATO Empire exercises a firm control over the ruling political elites in the Balkans. In this analysis, I will look at the political dynamic with regards to this issue in each country of the region.

Greece

The prime minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras has visited Moscow last week (April 8 and 9) and, notwithstanding the vocal opposition from the Obama administration and several US-controlled EU politicians, has signed important agreements to deepen and expand economic cooperation between Greece and Russia.[6] Needless to say, the issue of Tsipras's coming to Moscow again for the Victory Day parade created a lot of controversy. There were even some reports in the US mainstream media that he would not go. However, Tsipras dispelled all these rumors during the meeting with the Russian president Vladimir Putin and made clear that he would be in Moscow on May 9.[7]

Serbia

In addition to Tsipras, there is only one more Balkan leader that has explicitly said that he would attend the Victory Day parade in Moscow. That is the president of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić. Just like Zeman, Nikolić was publicly lectured by various EU politicians to reverse his decision. During a visit to Belgrade in March 2015, the head of the European Parliament delegation Eduard Kukan for instance said that Nikolić "should not attend the milary parade in Moscow on May 9".[8] Nikolić replied that it was "rude to offer the advice to somebody who did not ask for any" and stated that it was "in vain" to try to put pressure on him to go against the interests and opinions of the vast majority of the Serbian people.[9]

At this point, it appears that not only will Nikolić attend the parade, but also a Serbian military unit will march together with the Russian troops in what is called "the parade of victors".[10] This will no doubt expose Serbia to even bigger pressures and threats from the US-NATO Empire.

The recent statement of the Albanian prime minister Edi Rama (Albania is a member of NATO and probably the most US-controlled state in the Balkans) should be seen from this perspective. In an interview for a Kosovo TV station, Rama said that if the EU did not enable the union of Albania and Kosovo within its framework, they will unite in another way.[11] There is some controversy about the exact translation of Rama's statement,[12] but the implicit meaning is unmistakable: Albanians in Albania and Albanians in Kosovo should be politically united in the near future. This geopolitical narrative may lead to a serious destabilization of the Balkans in the coming years.

It is indicative of the geopolitical stakes that Rama's statement was condemned by both the EU[13] and Russia,[14] though the Serbian foreign minister Ivica Dačić complained that the reaction of Brussels was "lukewarm".[15] It is interesting that the European Parliament member Kukan, who earlier criticized Nikolić's decision to attend the Moscow parade, stated that he did not like Rama's statement and that it made him "nervous".[16] In my opinion, by saying this, he was in fact trying to cover up his own deep involvement in the US-NATO strategy to punish Serbia for disobedience. But, in order to make sure that he is not misinterpreted by his "Euro-Atlantic" mentors, Kukan in the same interview explicitly condemned the Serbian policy of military neutrality.

Montenegro

With regards to the Victory Day parade in Moscow, the position of the ruling coalition in Montenegro has been especially tragicomic, even burlesque. It is no secret of course that this coalition of corrupt politicians is publicly supported by the imperial foreign policy establishment in Washington and covertly by the CIA, whose officials have allegedly interfered in the Montenegrin election process.[17] Still, the rationale offered for the cancellation of the trip to Moscow represents a shameless attempt at the infantilization of the Montenegrin public.

Namely, in March 2015, the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov included the president of Montenegro Filip Vujanović (the figure of compromised political legitimacy elected in the rigged presidential elections in April 2013)[18] in the list of those heads of states who confirmed their presence in Moscow on May 9.[19] The same was later repeated by the Russian ambassador to Montenegro Andrey Nesterenko who expressed his astonishment at the reversal, considering that the Russian embassy received an official acceptance letter from the president's cabinet at an earlier time.[20]

However, in the first week of April 2015, Vujanović announced that he was not going to Moscow after all as "it would not be natural for the president to ignore the commemoration in his own country because of his attendence of the parade in Moscow".[21] He hid behind an alleged request of the Montenegrin WWII Veterans' organization to organize the commemoration in Montenegro as well. That this is a made-up excuse is shown by the fact that Yugoslavia, one of the victors in WWII, celebrated the Victory Day not on May 9, but on May 15 when the fascist troops and their collaborators finally surrendered. This means that if the WWII veterans wanted to organize an authentic commemoration, this should have been done on May 15, not on May 9 and therefore Vujanović's presence in both places would be made possible. However, as is clear, this anti-Russian move (in addition to being a serious diplomatic faux pas) was yet another episode of the Montenegrin political puppet theater directed by the forces of the US-NATO Empire.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

The high-level officials of Bosnia-Herzegovina were also on Lavrov's March list of the attendees. He specifically mentioned not only "the president of the Serb Republic (Republika Srpska) within the B-H", but also referred to other officials, including those from the other entity making up the country (the Muslim-Croat Federation).[22] However, at this point of time, there is no confirmation that anybody else, except the president of the Serb Republic Milorad Dodik, will come to Moscow.[23] This fits with the geopolitical narrative that divides Bosnia into the two spheres of influence, which is imposed by the US-NATO Empire and which in the long-run threatens to destabilize the functioning of the country's institutions.

Macedonia (FYROM)

Even though the presence of Georgi Ivanov, the president of Macedonia, was also announced by Lavrov, I seriously doubt that he will attend in the end. So far, there are no official announcements, but I expect that some excuse will soon be found, perhaps one along the lines used by the Montenegrin officials and equally unconvincing. The ruling political elites of both Montenegro and Macedonia have been willing puppets of the US-NATO agenda in the Balkans and certain policy decisions have been closely coordinated, such as for instance the momentous decision to recognize Kosovo as an independent state on October 9, 2008.[24] The blurring between the two countries in the minds of some high-level US officials sometimes reaches comic proportions. For instance, during the speech on his visit to Montenegro in May 2011 (on which the Montenegrin government spent $200,000 of taxpayers' money), former US president Bill Clinton  spoke of the "breathtaking beauty of Macedonia".[25]

Croatia, Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania

The heads of state and government of these countries, firmly integrated into the US-NATO Empire, have all stated that they would not attend the Victory Day parade in Moscow.[26] This is not to say that in these countries, there are no political forces which oppose NATO and demand the dissolution of that geopolitically expansionist military alliance. As I have written in my previous BFP analyses, the presidential candidate in Croatia, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, advocated a clear anti-NATO political agenda during the presidential elections in December 2014 and received more than 16% of the total vote.[27] At this time, Sinčić and his political organization "Živi zid" are preparing for the parliamentary elections to be held sometime during this year.[28]  The political movements, sharing the similar anti-war perspective, are also active in Slovenia and Bulgaria. I expect that within the next year or two (unless there is a wide-scale European war) the number of their supporters will double and the US-NATO Empire in the Balkans will not be as hegemonic as it is at this time.

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

NOTES

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/05/czech-president-bans-us-ambassador-prague-castle

[2] http://praguepost.com/eu-news/42701-zeman-appears-on-russian-tv-to-blast-sanctions

[3] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30086495

[4] http://www.voanews.com/content/czech-pm-sobotka-says-president-zeman-overreacted-to-us-envoy-schapiro-comments/2710293.html

[5] http://news.yahoo.com/czech-leader-skip-military-parade-during-moscow-trip-184404657.html

[6] http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/04/08/tsipras-putin-sign-new-trade-deal-and-renew-greece-russia-relations/

[7] http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20150409/1020681869.html

[8] http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2015&mm=03&dd=20&nav_id=93555

[9] http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2015&mm=03&dd=20&nav_id=93557

[10] http://www.telegraf.rs/vesti/politika/1510902-nikolic-odlucio-vojska-srbije-ucestvuje-na-vojnoj-paradi-u-moskvi

[11] http://www.slobodnaevropa.org/archive/news/latest/500/500.html?id=26942719

[12] http://www.slobodnaevropa.org/content/sta-je-stvarno-rama-rekao/26943085.html

[13] http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Politika/549611/EU-o-Rami-Provokacije-su-neprihvatljive

[14] http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/naslovna/politika/aktuelno.289.html%3A543690-Moskva-osudila-izjave-Rame-o-ujedinjenju-Albanije-i-Kosova

[15] http://www.palo.rs/svet-jugoistocna-evropa/mlaka-reakcija-brisela-na-provokaciju-iz-tirane/1016612/

[16] http://www.tanjug.rs/novosti/173745/kukan--ne-dopadaju-mi-se-ramine-izjave.htm

[17] http://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/ambasada-sad-popov-nije-agent-cia-vec-sekretar-105835

[18] http://www.telegraf.rs/vesti/638813-lekic-izbori-u-cg-su-pokradeni-dokazacemo; http://www.cdm.me/politika/lekic-vujanovic-je-formalni-i-lazni-predsjednik

[19] http://tass.ru/en/russia/783263

[20] http://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/nesterenko-vujanovic-je-prvo-rekao-da-ce-doci-u-moskvu-828080

[21] http://www.tanjug.rs/novosti/173327/nesterenko--vujanovic-prvo-potvrdio-dolazak--iznenadjen-sam.htm

[22] http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/planeta.299.html:538966-Lavrov-Nikolic-i-Dodik-na-Paradi-pobede-u-Moskvi

[23] http://www.rtvbn.com/337436/Dodik-i-Nikolic-na-Paradi-pobjede-9-maja-u-Moskvi

[24] http://www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/11/Region/21052/I+Makedonija+priznala+nezavisnost+Kosova.html

[25] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI0HgPSdolo

[26] http://report.az/en/other-countries/bulgarian-president-will-not-participate-in-victory-parade-in-moscow/; http://www.balkaneu.com/croatian-president-attend-military-parade-moscow/

[27] http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/01/29/bfp-exclusive-the-balkans-elections-update-croatia-greece/

[28] http://www.24sata.hr/politika/lesar-parlamentarni-izbori-su-moguci-vec-17-svibnja-2015-406988

BFP Exclusive- The Geopolitics of Soccer in the Balkans

The interlinking of politics and sports goes a long way back in human history. However, whereas in the ancient days, all wars stopped during the Olympic Games, there has been a trend recently to start major wars precisely at that time. The Georgian attack on South Ossetia on the opening day of the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008 and the Ukrainian coup d'état during the closing days of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 immediately come to mind. The global media attention was focused on the Games and the opponents seemed to have let their guard down. Still, neither operation has been a success, while the noble tradition of laying down arms to compete on the green has been destroyed.

In a certain sense, sports can be taken as the sublimation of the human aggressive drives (what Sigmund Freud and Herbert Marcuse referred to as Thanatos). But, one can easily see that the sublimation extends only to the direct participants, and not to the fans. Sport fans, especially soccer fans, have in the past decades become a source of tremendous violence and public disorder all across the world. Their "chiefs" are typically linked to the shady world of organized crime as well as the military-intelligence networks, which only exacerbates the trouble. One area of the world where this is particularly glaring is the Balkans.

Some observers trace the symbolic beginning of the break-up of Yugoslavia to the soccer match between the Croatian team "Dinamo" and the Serbian team "Crvena Zvezda" held on May 13, 1990 in Zagreb, Croatia. The match was suspended due to the extreme violence between the fans of the two teams at the stadium.[i] Both groups of fans operated under nationalist slogans and their intent was to show to the Yugoslav public (the match was on live TV) that Serbs and Croats could not live together in the same state. Close to 200 people were injured in the ensuing violence, most of whom were the police officers, and the Zagreb city center was partly demolished.

In the past several years, new evidence emerged that the incident was carefully planned by the hardliners in the military-security complex in order to give the nationalist politicians, both in Croatia and Serbia, an excuse for the speedy disintegration of the country.[ii] In my opinion, the close examination of the events also warrants a speculation about the involvement of Western intelligence networks (especially the CIA-BND constellation).

Over the years, soccer fans in the (now) independent states of ex-Yugoslavia hardly deviated from the pattern of vulgar and violent nationalist behavior. In addition, many of them were the members and even the commanders of various paramilitary forces during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo. And when the wars were over, they formed their own crime networks. To this day, the fans' organizations remain linked to various deep state structures and do their bidding when the opportunities present themselves.

Two recent incidents at the international soccer matches in the Balkans can be used as the case studies of this inter-relation. The first is the incident on the Serbia-Albania match held on October 14, 2014 in Belgrade, and the second is the incident on the Montenegro-Russia match held on March 27, 2015 in Podgorica. Both of these were qualifying matches for the 2016 European Championship and both were stopped and abandoned before their completion. The objective of those who planned the incidents was to send a geopolitical message of regional instability both to the local publics and to the international community in order to increase the support for NATO integration.

The Serbia-Albania Match

Serbia and Albania have long had a tense political relationship due to the ethnic conflict between the Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, but is still not recognized by all the member states of the European Union and does not have a seat in the United Nations. In the past two years, there has been a certain level of normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo under the auspices of the European Union. However, many issues remain unresolved and represent a source of constant tension. Some observers expected that the elections of the new governments in Albania led by the prime minister Edi Rama and in Serbia led by the prime minister Aleksandar Vučić would accelerate the Kosovo reconciliation process. However, it appears that the powerful circles within the Western intelligence community want to keep the region under a permanent threat of destabilization according to the age-old maxim "divide et impera". The incident on the October 14 soccer match should be seen in that context.

The match itself started under a tremendous pressure of disorderly Serbian fans. Many objects were thrown on the soccer field, but the game kept going until the 40th minute of the first half when a drone carrying the flag of a "Greater Albania" (which includes Kosovo) landed on the field. It was picked up by a Serbian player who was immediately confronted by Albanian players, resulting in a brawl. The fans went wild and started throwing everything they could onto the field, so the referee had no choice but to suspend the match.[iii] Right away the speculations appeared in the Serbian media that the drone was flown by the prime minister Rama's brother Olsi from the VIP lodge, which he denied.[iv]

The immediate political fallout of the incident was the postponement of Edi Rama's official visit which would have been the first visit of an Albanian leader to Belgrade since the meeting of the WWII Communist allies Josip Broz Tito and Enver Hodxa in 1946.[v] It should be noted that the idea of "a Greater Albania", which is an expansionist/revisionist geopolitical narrative, goes back to the pre-WWI Great Powers rivalry in the Balkans and had been used to threaten the territorial integrity of what were at that time perceived as the Russian allies in the region (Serbia and Montenegro). It appears that the same trend continues to this day.

Rama did visit Serbia a month later, but his meetings with the Serbian officials, including the press conference with the prime minister Vučić, took place in the atmosphere of tensions and mutual recriminations. Not much substantive was achieved, no doubt due to the lingering consequences of the soccer match incident.[vi] In addition, both national soccer teams were punished by the Union of the European Football Associations (UEFA) by being fined 100,000 Swiss Francs. UEFA rewarded the Serbian team with a 3:0 technical victory, but then immediately substracted those three points from their score.[vii] In this way, hijacked by a devious political agenda, soccer as a sport and its authentic fans both in Serbia and Albania were forced to pay a heavy price.

The Montenegro-Russia Match

For the last few years, Montenegrin citizens have been subjected to an intense anti-Russian propaganda coming primarily from the politicians and the media close to the US political, economic, and intelligence centers. Especially vocal in this respect has been the Speaker of the Montenegrin Parliment, Ranko Krivokapić, whose visits to Washington have recently become quite frequent. As the head of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) last year, Krivokapić pretended impartiality in his meetings with the Russian and Ukrainian parliamentarians, but in fact he is a dogmatic proponent of NATO expansion in Europe and typically speaks in a Mackinderian fashion about the threats of Eurasia.[viii] Krivokapić is, however, not the only Montenegrin high official whose US visits are sponsored by the Atlantic Council, the think tank whose main goal is the strengthening of the US-NATO Empire in Europe.

In April 2014, the Council's guest of honor was the prime minister Milo Djukanović.[ix] No wonder than that Montenegro later joined the US-EU sanctions against Russia, even though the head of the EU Delegation in Montenegro Mitja Drobnič said that it did not have to do this as it was still not the EU member.[x] However, in the behavior of the Montenegrin ruling elite, one can easily discern a clear case of servile comprador mentality, of being "more Catholic than the pope", which wholly explains their foreign policy priorities.

And yet, the problem for the US-controlled political circles in Montenegro is that the majority of the population does not share their Russophobic agenda, while at the same time the Russian government has tried not to retaliate for the actions of the Montenegrin government. This is why the CIA-dominated Montenegrin military-intelligence network went into an overdrive to create an incident which would drive the wedge between the Montenegrin and Russian people. The soccer match between the national teams of Montenegro and Russia in Podgorica on March 27 turned out to be an ideal setting for their perfidious plan.

Even though the stadium police is supposed to enforce strict measures of control, those posing as the fans of the Montenegrin team were able to bring in a large amount of flares, fire-crackers, and other pyrotechnic material. This shows that the ensuing incident had support from the "inside" the security apparatus, that is to say, its taking place was pre-arranged in order to damage the Russian-Montenegrin relations. And so, already during the first minute of the game, one of these "fans" hit the Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev in the head with a burning flare. Akinfeev collapsed and was taken to the hospital and treated for head injury and burns.[xi] Under the pressure of the UEFA officials, the Russian team agreed to continue playing the game, even though the fan rage did not show any signs of subsiding. Then, in the 22nd minute of the second half, another Russian player was hit by an unidentified object and the referee decide to halt the game.[xii]

Immediately after the injury of Akinfeev, the Russian minister of sport Vitaly Mutko called the incident "a disgrace",[xiii] and it is clear that the treatment of the Russian national soccer team in Podgorica will be taken into consideration next time when the Russian-Montenegrin relations come under scrutiny by the Russian government. This re-consideration might lead to the activation of a full-fledged arsenal of sanctions-retaliatory measures, which would then play into the hands of those in Montenegro and in the US in whose interest it is to drive these two countries apart. The ultimate hope of these Gladio-type circles is that these retaliatory actions and the emerging animosity toward Montenegro among the Russian public will increase the Montenegrins' public support for NATO membership and, in fact, that is the main reason while the whole incident was set up.

Since the incident happened last week, it is still too early to know the extent of UEFA's punishment of Montenegro's national soccer team. However, it is already obvious that the Montenegrin chances of qualifying to the 2016 European Championship have been smashed. The final (ironic) twist is that those who watched the game say that the Montenegrin team could have won fair and square. This is yet another proof that those willing to push, under any and all circumstances, the Atlanticist geopolitical agenda in Montenegro are causing real damage to the country's global image as well as to its internal political, economic, and social stability.

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

NOTES

[i] http://www.index.hr/sport/clanak/godisnjica-neodigrane-utakmice-dinama-i-zvezde-21-godina-od-velikih-nereda-na-maksimiru/551543.aspx

[ii] http://www.vreme.com/cms/view.php?id=931952

[iii] http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/oct/14/serbia-albania-euro-2016-flag-halted

[iv] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/serbia-vs-albania-euro-2016-qualifier-mass-brawl-sparked-by-drone-carrying-greater-albania-flag-1470088

[v] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/21/world/europe/albania-edi-rama-belgrade-trip-soccer-match-drone.html

[vi] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-2828381/Serbia-Albania-hold-icebreaking-talks.html

[vii] http://sports.yahoo.com/news/uefa-serbia-gets-3-0-090529877--sow.html

[viii] http://www.cdm.me/politika/krivokapic-crna-gora-posljednja-puzla-koja-nedostaje-na-nato-mapi

[ix] http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/events/past-events/prime-minister-montenegro-expects-invitation-to-join-nato-in-september

[x] http://www.cdm.me/politika/drobnic-crna-gora-nije-morala-da-se-pridruzi-sankcijama-rusiji

[xi] http://www.vecernji.hr/nogomet/kvalifikacije-za-europsko-prvenstvo-utakmica-crne-gore-i-rusije-prekinuta-997473

[xii] http://www.vijesti.me/sport/uzivo-nastavljen-mec-crne-gore-i-rusije-826025

[xiii] http://latestnewsresource.com/en/news/mutko-nazval-intsident-s-akinfeevym-bezobraziem

 

BFP Exclusive – Who is Trying to Destabilize the Balkans?

The US-NATO Empire is trying to shift the blame for the ensuing political & economic crises on the ultimate "fall country"- Russia

Though seemingly spontaneous, it is likely that the US Secretary of State John Kerry knew that several sentences he said during the hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on February 24, 2015 could create a storm of media controversy across the Balkan region. Although he said many things concerning this year's activities of the US foreign policy establishment during the nearly three-hour long session, these few sentences took the spotlight because they had to do with the Balkans and Russia.[1] In the Washington's resurgent warmongering political discourse, Russia is once again, after two decades, being presented to the American people as the enemy number one (the "evil empire").

In answering the question about the "growing Russian influence" in Europe posed by the Subcommittee's Chairman Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who, it appears, cannot wait to get the US into another war, Kerry claimed that this indeed was the case, and he specifically mentioned  "Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, and others" [he also added Georgia, Moldova, and Pridnestrovie].[2] His answer was later echoed by the commentary of the junior Democratic Senator Christopher Murphy who stated that when he visited Serbia last Fall, he was amazed by the strength of the Russian presence there. Murphy seemed not to know anything about the long-running historical ties between these two countries and their peoples and claimed that the Russian presence is the result of the alleged "asymmetric warfare", which he defined in this way: "They [Russians] buy the media, pay off public servants, or intimidate those they cannot buy".[3]

I do not know what was going through Murphy's mind while he was formulating this sentence, but I have no doubt that he let the cat out of the (CIA) bag and gave away the game. This is precisely what the civilian and military officials of the US-NATO Empire have been doing, overtly and covertly, in the region, since the break-up of Yugoslavia, which was also planned and executed by them and their cronies on the ground.

In recent times, these practices have been well documented. I for instance wrote an article for BFP on the journalistic "psychological operation" that goes under the name of the Southeastern European Times, the supposedly impartial online newspaper which is funded by the institution known for its "impartiality", the US military's European Command (EUCOM).[4]

On the other hand, (so far) there have not been any projects similar in intent and scope by either the Russian state institutions or their spinoffs in the Balkans. It is possible that Murphy may have been purposefully misinformed by his Balkan interlocutors, the "Euro-Atlantic" vassal political elites, which tend to exaggerate the "Russian threat" in order to get more funding from the US and, also, to get the US to be more tolerant of their own corrupt, even criminal, behavior toward the ordinary citizens whom they supposedly "represent". However, it is also possible that Murphy is intentionally misrepresenting the facts on the ground because he has become a covert lobbyist for these elites and expects his efforts to be rewarded with certain favors in the future.

As to my own assessment of the present Russian influence, based both on my observations over the years as well as my direct experience in dealing with both the US and Russian diplomats, I will say that I have been surprised at how poorly Russians have played the PR game in the Balkans, especially taking into consideration that both the Soviet diplomacy as well as the Soviet intelligence networks had had, in certain operations, a great deal of success against their opponents.

Be that as it may, the most incendiary sentence of the Senate hearing had yet to come to pass, and it was articulated by Kerry precisely in response to Murphy's Russo-phobic confabulations. Namely, Kerry quite ominously remarked that those Balkan countries he mentioned are "in the firing line" between the US-NATO Empire and Russia.[5] This sentence became the headline news in the US-NATO affiliated Balkan media and was exploited to spread the fears of political instability. The intent was to put further pressure on those Balkan governments and citizens who do not believe that their countries' integration into the US-NATO Empire is a good idea.

The Destabilization Effort

The ironic thing is that the Balkan media editors found out about Kerry's and Murphy's statements through the report of RIA Novosti, the Russian state news agency. It appears that this was the case in all the countries mentioned by Kerry - Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo (which is not recognized by the UN), and Macedonia (the official name of which is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). This explains why Kerry was being quoted as saying that these countries are "in the line of fire", whereas he said that they were on "the firing line", which in English has a slightly different and, I would say, an even more frightening connotation.[6]

This sentence was seized upon by the Balkan US-NATO supported and affiliated media (state-run and private, print and electronic) to make another strong push for the idea that all Balkan countries will be ultimately "invaded" by the Russians unless they quickly gave up any semblance of independence in their foreign policy and became the members of NATO.

In Montenegro, the media close to the US puppet regime of Milo Djukanović made the claim that Kerry's statement meant that the US would exert additional pressure on the European NATO member states to send the membership invitation to Montenegro by the end of this year.[7] The key emphasis was that, given the nature of the alleged Russian subversive undertakings, the invitation has now become inevitable. The editorial intent was to confuse and misinform the majority of the Montenegrin population which is opposed to NATO membership, and discourage the efforts of those who advocate the alternative: the military neutrality of Montenegro.

The Montenegrin private media, which is critical of Djukanović, but has built close links with certain US donors, foundations, NGOs, and government agencies, also joined the Russia-bashing campaign. The editors of the daily newspaper Vijesti, for instance, added a further twist in the story by quoting the US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth who stated, during the hearing of the House Armed Services Committee held the day after Kerry's hearing in the Senate, that Russia could "move on some countries which are not the members of NATO, such as for instance Montenegro, some of the smaller countries, and attempt to create instability, using some of the informational operations and techniques" allegedly used in Ukraine.[8] The headline of the Vijesti article "Putin wants to destabilize Montenegro", which appeared on the front page of the newspaper, said a great deal about both the manipulative intent and the sensationalist nature of this type of journalism. Once again, as in the media controlled by Djukanović, the idea was to confuse and misinform the public, and, what was even worse, to plant the poisonous seeds of US neoconservative Russo-phobia alien to the historical traditions of the country and its political culture.

In Serbia, the political context is different, because, unlike in Montenegro, the Serbian Parliament declared the status of military neutrality in December 2007.[9] This is why the US-NATO affiliated media in Serbia had to take a more roundabout approach. In other words, the editors and analysts claimed that the military neutrality of Serbia was no longer possible, that Serbia had no choice but to choose only one side, that this was a warning that had to be heeded, etc.[10] What was a bit surprising was that even the report of the Serbian National Television (RTS) seemed to go in the same direction.[11] This may have to do with the policies of the prime minister Aleksandar Vučić who has recently been warmly welcomed by several high-level US officials, including the US vice president Joe Biden at the February Munich Security Conference. Vučić is also a close political ally of Montenegro's Djukanović, who is a long-time US puppet.

At this time, there is a lot of media speculation that Vučić has hired the former UK prime minister Tony Blair to be one of his advisers, the fact that was received with disbelief among many citizens of Serbia, considering Blair's nefarious role in the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (of which Serbia and Montenegro were the two constitutive republics).[12] On February 19, 2015, the Russian-funded RT had an unusually critical news report about the Vučić-Blair cooperation, inviting as guest analysts two very sharp critics of Vučić.[13]

However, Vučić has publicly denied that Blair is his adviser and said that Blair recently visited Belgrade only in order to give a lecture to the government ministers. He did, however, admit that Serbia has found itself in "an unenvious geopolitical position".[14] Although some may see this as the sign that Serbia will join the US-EU sanctions against Russia, I do not think it will happen as yet. And regarding Serbia and NATO, the public support for membership is so low that Vučić is likely to stay away from that topic for some time to come. Still, as this year Serbia is presiding over the Organization  for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which has been given an important mandate in resolving the Ukraine civil war, the US-NATO use of the carrot-and-stick approach toward its leaders will only increase.

Since both Macedonia and Kosovo have the governments oriented toward the eventual NATO membership, their dominant political and media elites reacted to Kerry's remarks in much the same way as in Montenegro. However, considering that Kosovo has many unresolved political and economic issues with Serbia, and that Macedonia appears far from resolving the issue of its official name with Greece, these two states are much more susceptible to the US-NATO fear-spreading campaigns than Serbia and Montenegro.

Generally speaking, Kosovo is more prone to destabilization than Macedonia because, on the one hand, there is the increasingly close political and economic cooperation with the neighboring Albania, a NATO member since 2009, exemplified for instance by the joint sessions of the two governments,[15] and, also, the presence of a sizable US military contigent at the US base "Bondsteel" in the eastern part of the country, while, on the other hand, the northern part of the country, populated by the Serbian minority, is strongly supported by the Serbian goverment and resists assimilation by the central Kosovo authorities.

However, within the last two months, Macedonia has been plunged into a very serious political crisis with the government accusing the main opposition party leaders for planning a coup helped by a foreign intelligence agency (the CIA), while the opposition is alleging a massive abuse of power by the government, including the extensive and invasive surveillance of its opponents. The opposition leader Zoran Zaev has publicly released several records of the allegedly wiretapped conversations between the prime minister Nikola Gruevski and other high-level government officials discussing the use of corrupt and illegal means to hold on to polical power.[16] And so, it does appear that "fire" might indeed break out in Macedonia in the near future. However, the winds fanning it do not come from the East, but from the West.

In fact, the overall conclusion seems to be that the US-NATO Empire, faced with the inevitable failure of its methods to rule over the Balkans, and with the rise of political forces which are increasingly rejecting this domination as such, is trying to shift the blame for the ensuing political and economic crises on the usual suspect, the ultimate "fall country" (as in the colloquial "fall guy"), that is to say, Russia.

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

NOTES

[1] The webcast of the entire session can be seen here: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/webcast/state-foreign-operations-subcommittee-fy16-us-department-state-budget-hearing

[2] http://www.b92.net/eng/news/world.php?yyyy=2015&mm=02&dd=25&nav_id=93293

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/12/10/bfp-exclusive-the-southeast-european-times-the-us-military-propaganda-operation-in-the-balkans/

[5] See the webcast at 1:35:25.

[6] See for instance http://www.rtklive.com/en/?id=2&r=975; http://www.b92.net/eng/news/world.php?yyyy=2015&mm=02&dd=25&nav_id=93293; http://balkanopen.com/kerry-balkan-countries-in-line-of-fire-over-ukraine/

[7] http://www.cdm.me/politika/janjic-poruka-crnoj-gori-da-ce-do-kraja-godine-u-nato

[8] http://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/putin-zeli-da-destabilizuje-crnu-goru-821034; http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_UNITED_STATES_UKRAINE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-02-25-14-57-39

[9] http://www.politika.rs/rubrike/Politika/Kako-je-utvrdjena-vojna-neutralnost.lt.html

[10] http://www.cdm.me/politika/janjic-poruka-crnoj-gori-da-ce-do-kraja-godine-u-nato

[11]http://www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/9/Politika/1842444/Srpska+politi%C4%8Dka+ru%C5%BEa+vetrova.html

[12] http://www.frontal.ba/novost/77517/nakon-sto-se-zalagao-za-bombardovanje-srbije-toni-bler-je-sada-vucicev-savjetnik-; It appears that what ties Vučić, Djukanović and Blair together are their links with the controversial Palestinian Mohammed Dahlan and the powerful UAE circles. Dahlan, a known associate of the US intelligence agencies, has recently been granted both the Serbian and Montenegrin citizenship. See my previous BFP article, http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/02/05/bfp-exclusive-the-citizenship-policies-of-the-us-puppets-the-case-of-montenegros-milo-djukanovic/

[13] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk4SV08cA64

[14] http://rs.n1info.com/a38826/Vesti/Vucic-o-boravku-Tonija-Blera-u-Beogradu.html

[15] http://www.rtklive.com/en/?id=2&r=1017

[16] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/27/fears-macedonias-fragile-democracy-amid-coup-wiretap-claims

BFP Exclusive- Joe Biden in Munich: Incentivizing the US Balkan Vassals

Biden's imperial blessings of his Balkan interlocutors to enforce the neoliberal, militarist dogma against their own people's interests

The 51st Munich Security Conference, the erstwhile gathering of the Cold Warriors, took place from February 6 to February 8, 2015. This year's conference was probably the most politically contentious in the living memory. The participants witnessed an open and direct clash of views regarding the situation in Ukraine between the US and NATO political leaders on one side, and the Russian political leaders on the other. If the relations between the US-NATO Empire and Russia continue deteriorating at the pace we have seen in the past ten months, I seriously doubt that the conference in this format will be able to convene next year.

The highlights of the conference included the PR stunt of the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko who, during his speech, held up several Russian passports alleging that they belonged to the Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine,[i] and, earlier, the audience's booing and laughing at the comments of the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.[ii] For me, however, the most interesting was the inadvertent double entendre of Philip M. Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR), who said that "what we [US and NATO] need to do is to put the truth out".[iii] Yes, exactly, to put it out and extinguish it like a brush fire! The US-NATO intelligence and military forces have been experts at doing that for many decades now.

Enter Balkan Vassals

As every year since at least the turn of the 21st century, the Balkans' leaders contingent at the conference was quite numerous. According to the official list of the participants, almost all Balkan countries were represented at the highest level.[iv] There were the presidents of Slovenia Borut Pahor, of Croatia (the newly-elected) Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov, of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev, and the former president of Turkey Abdullah Gül; the prime ministers of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, of Montenegro Milo Djukanović, and of Kosovo Isa Mustafa as well as the foreign ministers of Bosnia Zlatko Lagumdžija, of Albania Ditmit Bushati, of Romania Bogdan Aurescu and of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Noticeable was the absence of anyone from Greece, which most likely has to do with the recent radical electoral shakedown of the established Greek political elites by SYRIZA. The more or less direct critics of the US foreign policy such as the president of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić and the president of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik were also absent.

Several Balkan leaders took part in the official program of the conference. At the panel entitled "Beyond Ukraine - Unresolved Conflicts in Europe" held on the second day of the conference, one of the participants was the prime minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, while the chair and moderator was the president of Slovenia Borut Pahor.[v] It is interesting to note that among the panelists were also the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the prime minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili.This is a clear example that in the panel organizers' NATO-inspired geographical imagination, these two countries are also in Europe (that is, in Europe perceived as the segment of the US-NATO Empire). More generally speaking, this is yet another proof that geographical terminology does not represent an objective state of affairs, but is an interpretation dependent on political and ideological viewpoints.

It is important to note that Serbia is one of the few countries in Europe which did not join the US-EU sanctions against Russia and this is why its leaders have been under a strong pressure of the officials of the US-NATO Empire. The prime minister Vučić, who is very close to the prime minister of Montenegro Djukanović, a long-time operative of the US deep state, has publicly tried to chart the middle path, which is also reflected in his comments during the panel.[vi] However, the unresolved issues regarding the Serb-Albanian relations in Kosovo (whose statehood is still a matter of contention even within the EU) and the process of Serbia's integration into the EU (plus the various perks available to those who favor US policy goals) have made Vućić an easy target for the official and unofficial "carrot & stick" policy. This is why his advocacy of the "third way" has increasingly become emptied of meaningful content and turned into no more than a rhetorical ploy to placate the Serbian voters who are traditionally inclined to Russia.

The US-NATO Empire's goal of bringing Serbia more tighly into the fold represents a strategic necessity for the imperial cause because this year Serbia holds the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE),[vii]  and OSCE will be a key player in administering any peace deal regarding the conflict in Ukraine, as is for instance envisioned by the latest revisions of the Minsk Agreement.[viii]

 Biden's imperial blessings

That things are going in this direction is shown by the very cordial meeting between Vučić and the US vice president Joe Biden at the Munich Conference. After Vućić reported that Serbia was about to sign a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and implement the IMF austerity program (recently rejected as inhumane by the Greek government, for instance), Biden was no doubt impressed. He told Vučić that he was doing "an excellent job" and invited him to visit the US at the earliest opportunity.[ix]

In this respect, it is important to recall that since the beginning of the Yugoslav conflicts in the early 1990s, Biden has articulated some of the most aggressive anti-Serb political positions in the US, even advocating a military occupation during the NATO bombing campaign in the spring of 1999.[x] Obviously, Vučić knew all that and yet, in the style of a typical (want-to-be) US vassal, chose to ignore it and, for the sake of private political gain, put the valid interests of the Serbian citizens on the back burner. Who knows perhaps the next thing we hear from Vučić might be that NATO bombed Serbia for the Serbs' own good, the line of thinking frequently voiced by the former NATO General Secretary Andreas Fogh Rasmussen?

Vučić also met with the ubiquitous State Department high official, Victoria Nuland, for whom he (frankly) said that she had "a great deal of decision-making authority" not only in Europe, but also in other places.[xi] Of course, we all recall the extent of Nuland's imperial powers before and during the violent coup d'etat in Ukraine last February.

Apparently, in order to swap the vassal-type stories and experiences, Vučić also arranged a meeting with Djukanović in Munich.  Djukanovic had just completed his own meeting with Biden, one of the several they have had over the years, both in Europe and in Washington DC. Considering that Djukanović has been a willing subject of direct control by the US deep state mechanisms for more than 15 years, Biden accorded to him more attention and care than to Vučić. They had a carefully planned photo opportunity session with both of them seated like royalties in front of a stage set decorated with the US and Montenegrin flags.[xii] The report of their meeting was later the front page news in the state-run Montenegrin media as well as in the so-called independent media funded by the US donors.

Biden praised Djukanovic's efforts to get Montenegro into NATO as quickly as possible and promised support to his "trusted friend". Biden is of course aware that close to two-thirds of the Montenegrin citizens do not favor NATO membership,[xiii] but he and other members of the US Establishment are agressively pushing for it anyway, notwithstanding their high-brow discourse on democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. As has been shown in countless examples, these "values" are trampled under foot everytime they come into conflict with the interests of US military-industrial-banking complex. The case of the NATO propaganda in Montenegro is far from being an exception. Still, it is encouraging to see that the number of those supportive of NATO in Montenegro has remained low over the years, even though the Djukanović government spent millions of euros on the propaganda efforts. The key illegitimate aspect of the whole thing is that the money spent comes from the state budget, and hence is also coming out of the pockets of the majority of Montenegrins, who oppose NATO and prefer military neutrality instead.

Biden also met with the prime minister of Kosovo Isa Mustafa.[xiv] Mustafa has recently been appointed to this position, and his party is in a coalition government with the long-time US deep state operative Hashim Thaçi. In a typical imperial fashion, Biden immediately invited Mustafa for a visit to Washington, DC and promised his full support.

The US has a direct interest in propping up the Kosovo's corrupt political oligarchy, because one of the biggest US military bases in Europe - the infamous Bondsteel, used as a secret torture site by CIA, according to the 2005 Council of Europe report[xv] - is located there. In fact, many experts, including William Engdahl, believe that one of the main reasons for the NATO attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and  the later fierce US support for Kosovo's declaration of independence is directly tied to the effort to build and operate a huge military base there.[xvi]

Other US officials present at the Conference, including several senators, also met with various Balkan leaders and sought their commitment to the US-NATO policy goals. For instance, the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who is now the chairperson of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the key organization pushing the imperial agenda under the cover of democratic "principles", met with the foreign minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdžija.[xvii] Lagumdžija is a US asset on the Bosnian political scene, who frequently extols the benefits of NATO membership,[xviii] even though the insistance on that idea is sure to lead to the break-up of the constitutionally already very fragile country:

After the Munich Conference was over, Biden flew back to the imperial capital, while his Balkan interlocutors returned to their respective fiefdoms, brutally devastated by imperial neoliberal policies, with renewed incentive and determination to keep enforcing the neoliberal, militarist dogma against their own people's interests.

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

NOTES

[i]  http://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-leader-shows-off-captured-russian-military-ids-160048355.html

[ii] http://finance.yahoo.com/news/europeans-laugh-boo-lavrov-talks-030037922.html

[iii] https://www.securityconference.de/en/media-library/video/single/msc-2015-day-1-highlights/

[iv]https://www.securityconference.de/fileadmin/MSC_/2015/Agenda/03_MSC2015_ListParticipants_01.pdf

[v]https://www.securityconference.de/fileadmin/MSC_/2015/Agenda/MSC_Agenda_Saturday_150206__2_.pdf

[vi] http://www.kodex.me/clanak/78461/vucic-srbija-najbolje-zna-sta-znace-ratovi

[vii] http://www.osce.org/cio/134821

[viii] http://www.osce.org/cio/140156

[ix] http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Politika/532950/SAMIT-U-MINHENU-Vucic-razgovarao-sa-Bajdenom-o-americkim-ulaganjima-u-Srbiju

[x] http://www.nspm.rs/politicki-zivot/nas-gost-dzozef-bajden.html?alphabet=l

[xi] http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Politika/532950/SAMIT-U-MINHENU-Vucic-razgovarao-sa-Bajdenom-o-americkim-ulaganjima-u-Srbiju

[xii] http://www.gov.me/vijesti/145926/Susret-dukanovic-Bajden-SAD-visoko-cijene-ostvarene-rezultate-Crne-Gore-u-procesu-pridruzivanja-Alijansi.html

[xiii] http://www.dan.co.me/?nivo=3&rubrika=Politika&datum=2014-10-08&clanak=455972

[xiv]http://www.kryeministriks.net/index.php/2009/03/repository/docs/Action_Plan_Mars_2011_-_al.pdf?page=2,9,4716

[xv] http://www.spiegel.de/international/clandestine-camps-in-europe-everyone-knew-what-was-going-on-in-bondsteel-a-388556.html

[xvi] http://www.globalresearch.ca/kosovo-s-mafia-state-and-camp-bondsteel-towards-a-permanent-us-military-presence-in-southeast-europe/30262

[xvii] http://www.klix.ba/vijesti/bih/lagumdzija-na-51-minhenskoj-sigurnosnoj-konferenciji-bih-zasluzuje-novu-sansu/150208031

[xviii] http://www.slobodnaevropa.org/archive/news/20120222/500/500.html?id=24492771

BFP Exclusive- The Balkans Presidential December: A Test for the US-NATO Empire

Greece & Croatia: The clear presence of a political alternative to the hegemonic US-NATO Empire

 This month the presidential elections will take place in two Balkan countries: Croatia and Greece. The electoral systems in these two countries are different, but what they have in common is the clear presence of a political alternative to the hegemonic US-NATO Empire. This is yet another sign that the people of the region are beginning to resist and reject the imperial grip and are in the process of making possible a different, more autonomous political future.

Croatia

The elections in Croatia will take place on December 28. They will be the sixth presidential elections since Croatia separated from the Yugoslav Federation and became an independent state in 1992. So far there have been only three presidents: the nationalist Franjo Tudjman (1992-1999), the ex-Communist functionary Stipe Mesić (2000-2010) and the current president, law professor and composer Ivo Josipović (2010-). Josipović is also one of the candidates in the current elections. Both of his predeccesors were able to get the second mandate.

The incumbent Josipović, who is nominally an independent but is supported by the ruling Social-Democrat party (SDP) of the prime minister Zoran Milanović, has three challengers. The challenger who comes from the main opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), is Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. She is the "picture-perfect" candidate of the US-NATO Empire. She was the Croatian minister of foreign affairs during the key preparatory work for NATO membership (2005-2008), the Croatian ambassador to the U.S (2008-2011) and, most recently, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Democracy.[1] She is also a member of the Trilateral Commission and hence an accomplice in the US-centric neoliberal domination of the globe. In fact, it is precisely her election results that will show the present strength of the unipolar conception of the world in the Balkans. 

The second challenger is the medical doctor Milan Kujundžić, the founder of the party Croatian Dawn, an extreme nationalist party to the right of the mainstream conservative HDZ.[2] The emergence of this party is consistent with the populist-rightist trend in the European Union, which offers what are, in essence, false solutions to the very real social problems caused by neoliberal economic policies. These solutions are false because the real culprits for the crisis remain veiled and protected while others, who are likewise victims (immigrants, minorities, etc.), are vilified and attacked. 

This serious political mistake of taking the effect for the cause is exactly what the third challenger Ivan Vilibor Sinčić does not make and that is why he is, in my opinion, the most progressive and humanist candidate in the elections. Sinčić is the 25-year old leader of a grassroot organization "Živi zid" (the literal translation is the "human wall" or "human shield"), which has become widely popular in Croatia due to their actions of helping fight the numerous evictions and other abuses of human and social rights of ordinary citizens.[3] It is very important to note that Sinčić's organization is entirely locally funded and depends on the work of volunteers. His geopolitical conceptions is likewise  straightforward: the withdrawal from all US-NATO-led international projects and adventures and the return of the sovereign decision-making to the people of Croatia. Sinčić has already acquired a wide following in the Balkans which means that the anti-imperial political conceptions are gaining ground beyond Croatia.[4] He has also received support from noted European intellectuals and alter-globalists, such as Daniel Estulin, the author of the best-selling book on the Bilderbergs.[5] 

According to one of the most recent polls, Sinčić is in the third place with 9.2 percent of the vote, while Josipović is ahead with 46.5%, trailed by Grabar-Kitarović with 34.9%.[6] What is fairly clear at this time is that no candidate will win the outright majority in the first round and that the two highest placed candidates will have to go to the second round. This means that the voters of Sinčić, who most likely will not make the second round, will be crucial in defeating the candidate of US-NATO Empire Grabar-Kitarović. The incumbent Josipović, if he means to win, will therefore have to find a way to accomodate Sinčić's ideas and will be forced to move away from the open support for the further European fragmentation plans of the US-NATO Empire. Moreover, the present strong showing of Sinčić will also enable his organization to get a head-start on the next Croatian parliamentary elections, and we may well have another SYRIZA in the making.

Speaking of SYRIZA, let's take a look at the presidential elections in Greece.

Greece

While in Croatia the president is chosen directly by the people, in Greece, the election of the president takes place in the Parliament. There are three rounds of voting (three ballots). In the first and the second ballot, the candidate has to get 2/3 of the vote to get elected (200 out of 300 deputies), and, in the third, the threshold is lowered to 180 votes. If the candidate does not win the required number of votes in the final, third ballot, the government falls and the immediate parliamentary elections are triggered.

The first round was already held on December 17 and the candidate of the coalition government of the prime minister Antonis Samaras, Stavros Dimas, failed to win the necessary 200 votes.[7] Just like Grabar-Kitarović in the Croatian case, Dimas is a favorite of the US-NATO Empire. He is truly the "member of the club," having been the Greek foreign minister (2011-2012) and the EU Commissioner for the environment for six long years (2004-2010).[8] He was also a Wall Street lawyer and the functionary of the World Bank. It appears certain that he will not get enough votes on the second ballot on December 23. The key question, however, remains as to what will happen on the final ballot on December 29.

Namely, the early parliamentary elections could endanger the plans of the US-NATO Empire and the neoliberal policies of the Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund).According to the relevant public opinion polls, the likely winner of the parliamentary elections would be the progressive leftist party SYRIZA led by the charismatic young engineer Alexis Tsipras.[9]

The reason for this is simple. In the last several years, Troika's imposed policies have brought Greece to the brink of economic and social collapse, in addition to fueling violent right-wing extremism.When the implementation of these policies began, the Greek public debt was at the 115% of the GDP. Now, five years later, it is at the 175% of the GDP with the projection that it will go even beyond the 200% level.[10] It is therefore clear that the so-called austerity measures only worsened the situation.

On the hand, SYRIZA proposes radical economic changes and has a concrete political program to implement them. These policies resemble Roosevelt's "New Deal": massive infrastructure investments and employment opportunities financed by zero interest central bank credits and writing off the public debt.[11] SYRIZA also advocates the withdrawal of Greece from NATO and the radical restructuring of the EU institutions.

This is definitely something that can send the chill down the spines of the US-NATO Empire apparatchiks and their handlers in the corridors of Wall Street and other centers of neoliberal capitalism. In fact, the Empire's favorite media amplifier, the Wall Street Journal, admitted so in a recent article.[12] This is why one should not exclude the possibility of a massive corruption scheme of buying parliamentary votes for Dimas in between the second and the third ballot. This kind of the"carrot" also always goes hand-in-hand with the "stick" of blackmail.   

However, even if the dark, undemocratic forces prevail in this particular case and Dimas gets elected, SYRIZA's march to power appears unstoppable. It is grounded in the deeply felt desires of the Greek population to change the way it is treated by the powerful financial interests which have shown not to care about its wellbeing at all.

On the other hand, the defeat of the US-NATO Empire's candidates Grabar-Kitarović and Dimas will be a clear sign that the Balkan countries are beginning to chart a new, more independent geopolitical future. The political alternative offered by Tsipras and Sinčić will then be set to enlarge its electoral base in the near future. It may even be that all the other countries in the Balkans will soon have their own political equivalents. 

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com



NOTES

[1] http://www.dnevno.hr/zivotopis/121448-kolinda-grabar-kitarovic-zivotopis-biografija.html

[2] http://www.jutarnji.hr/milan-kujundzic-osnovao-stranku-hrvatska-zora-stranka-naroda/1115511/

[3] http://www.dnevno.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/139013-predsjednicki-kandidat-ivan-sincic-zeli-van-iz-eu-ponistenje-pretvorbe-broj-zastupnika-na-100-deblokadu-racuna.html

[4]http://mnmne.org/marko-milacic-zivi-zid-kolumna/

[5]https://hr-hr.facebook.com/zivizidd/posts/10203664027149379

[6] http://www.vecernji.hr/predsjednicki-izbori2014/evo-kako-predsjednicki-kandidati-stoje-u-anketama-980297

[7] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/12/17/why-everything-is-at-stake-and-yet-nothing-will-be-decided-in-todays-greek-presidential-election/

[8] http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2014/12/09/pm-samaras-stavros-dimas-is-the-presidential-candidate/

[9]http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30481307

[10]http://rt.com/op-edge/185052-greece-crisis-eu-default/

[11]http://links.org.au/node/2888

[12]http://www.wsj.com/articles/greek-leftist-party-syriza-spooks-some-investors-1418310035

 

BFP Exclusive – “China & the Balkans: This geopolitical Battle in its Beginning Phases”

China, the Balkans and A Battle for Geopolitical Influence & Power

The presence of China in the Balkans is not new. During the years of the Cold War, China closely cooperated first with Albania and then with Yugoslavia. In fact, Albania was one of the key initiators of the UN resolution 2758 which led to the UN recognition of the People's Republic of China in 1971.[1]

Towards the end of the 1970s, the relations between Albania and China deteriorated, largely due to the opinion of the supreme Albanian Communist leader Enver Hoxha that the Chinese leadership began taking the revisionist path regarding the classics of Marxism-Leninism.[2]

As the later developments showed, Hoxha's assessment was right on the mark. It is not surprising therefore that, after the death of Mao Zedong, the Communist party of China began cultivating friendly relations with the openly revisionist and non-aligned Yugoslavia.

During the wars that followed the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, China generally took a neutral standpoint and supported the decisions made by the UN Security Council concerning the situation on the ground. This attitude changed during the NATO attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the rump Yugoslav federation, consisting only of Serbia and Montenegro).

At that time, during one of the NATO raids on the Yugoslav capital Belgrade in early May 1999, NATO bombs hit and severely damaged the Chinese Embassy. Three people were killed and twenty injured, including Chinese diplomats.[3] NATO officials blamed outdated maps and other technical details, but the Chinese government was not convinced. Large-scale protest demonstrations took place all over China in condemnation of what was seen as an unprovoked aggression by NATO.[4]

It appears that this brutal infringement by NATO on the sovereign space of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade made the Chinese government re-consider its Balkan policy. Instead of more or less pronounced indifference which prevailed for a decade, it decided to accept the challenge of its Atlantic geopolitical adversary and get involved in the region more closely.

In fact, since 2000, the Chinese trade grew on average 30 percent annually not only with the Balkan countries, but also with their neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe.[5] In April 2012, the Chinese relations with this part of the world were raised on a higher level by the organization of the so-called "16+1" summit in Warsaw.

The "16" stood for the sixteen countries of the Central and Eastern Europe (11 EU members and 5 EU candidates) and "1" for China. There was even the talk of setting up a formal Secretariat and hence becoming an international organization with a legal status.

The first summit in Warsaw focused on the economic side of the relationship and especially on the possibility of Chinese large-scale investments.[6] Having just gone through a deep economic crisis, the Eastern and Central European countries were looking for ways to jump-start their economies and China was basking in the newly found but deserved role of the global player. No wonder that this summit attracted a lot of attention from the European Commission and their transatlantic US allies.

Some observers claimed that yet another rift was being created in the European Union between the so-called  "old Europe" (the EU founding members) and the "New Europe" (the former Communist countries). These two "halves" of the EU had already gone through a spate of animosity over the involvement in the Iraq war in 2003.[7]

However, most experts have been uncertain as to whether there is any cause for concern by the EU Commissioners in Brussels and the officials of the US-NATO Empire.

On the level of personalities, last year's summit in Bucharest involved a new figure on the Chinese side. In between the two summits, Li Keqiang replaced Wen Jiabao, who many consider the ideologue of the Chinese Central-Eastern European-Balkan pivot,  in the post of the prime minister. But the Chinese political line remained unchanged.

The Bucharest summit participants adopted certain formal guidelines, concerning increased cooperation in the fields of infrastructure development, science, technology, tourism, etc.[8] The key element in all of this constitute, of course, the credit lines of Chinese banks.

As far as the concrete things go, the prime minister of Hungary, the perpetual EU "rebel", Viktor Orban got a Chinese commitment to invest more than $2 billion dollars in the Budapest-Belgrade rail line and the host nation Romania was offered up to $8 billion dollars in investments.[9] This is much more than the EU could offer these countries in recent years and I think that it is likely to lead to more problems in the EU internal functioning in the future.

However, no doubt due to the historical as well as recent political ties, Yugoslavia's legal successor state Serbia, a non-member of the EU, was singled out by the Chinese for a particularly important bridge building project on the Danube. The construction of a 1.5 kilometer long bridge started in 2011 and, though it took longer than expected, the bridge will be officially opened during this year's "16+1" summit in Belgrade on December 16 and 17.[10] This is the biggest infrastructure project completed by a Chinese state company (in this case, China Road and Bridge Corporation) in the Balkans so far. Both the Chinese and Serbian officials are announcing "many more" projects to come and this is definitely in line with the Chinese Balkan strategy.[11]

This trend can be seen in the neighboring Montenegro as well. In October 2014, the government of Montenegro signed an agreement with the Chinese Exim Bank on a $1 billion loan for the construction of a stretch of a highway through Montenegro to be built by the already mentioned China Road and Bridge Corporation.[12] This decision, however, encountered strong dissent from the opposition parties which claimed that the loan would enormously increase the already high public debt and that the government entered into a corrupt construction scheme in order to further enrich its business cronies.[13] Many even questioned the necessity of constructing the highway at all.

However, it is not for those reasons (no matter what they say publicly) that the global economic levers of the US-NATO Empire, the IMF and the World Bank, oppose not only this particular highway project, but also other Chinese investment projects in the Balkans and the Central and Eastern Europe. They know well that what is taking place here is truly a battle for geopolitical influence and power. The US-NATO Empire has lost the aura of invincibility it had during the last two decades and the emerging multi-polarity of the world is getting its Balkan reflection as well.

This geopolitical battle is still in its beginning phases, but I expect it to intensify in the coming years, especially as China and Russia (which is a traditional ally of many Balkan countries) come to cooperate more closely not only in the economic, but also in the political and the military sphere, and as the daily functioning of the EU institutions begins to show more and more tear & wear under the pressure from the warmongering circles in Washington and London.

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com


NOTES

[1] http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/ziliao_665539/3602_665543/3604_665547/t18013.shtml

[2]http://www.enverhoxha.ru/Archive_of_books/English/enver_hoxha_reflections_on_china_volume_I_eng.pdf

[3] http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9905/08/kosovo.03/; http://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/oct/17/balkans

[4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/9/newsid_2519000/2519271.stm

[5] http://www.eias.org/sites/default/files/EU-Asia-at-a-glance-Richard-Turcsanyi-China-CEE.pdf

[6] http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-04/26/c_123043844.htm

[7] http://www.eias.org/sites/default/files/EU-Asia-at-a-glance-Richard-Turcsanyi-China-CEE.pdf

[8] http://www.eias.org/asian-news-outlook/li-keqiang-meets-central-and-eastern-european-leaders-bucharest-summit

[9] http://www.cnbc.com/id/101237467#.

[10] http://www.24sata.rs/vesti/beograd/vest/lickaju-most-pred-otvaranje-ekipa-24-sata-presla-precicom-od-zemuna-do-borce-fotke/160023.phtm

[11] http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/874768.shtml

[12] http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/30/montenegro-highway-idUSL5N0SP4BI20141030

BFP Exclusive- The Southeast European Times: The US Military Propaganda Operation in the Balkans

The Cracks in the US-Balkan Imperial Enterprise Are Already Showing

Under the innocuous and neutrally-sounding name of the web-based newspaper Southeast European Times, the US military is running a large propaganda operation in the Balkans. Its aim is to distort and twist the media interpretation of the political, economic and social events in order to make it fit with the interests of the US-NATO military industrial complex in this part of the world.

The Southeast European Times presents itself as "a news and information website covering the Balkans featuring current events, business, diplomacy, film, tourism, sports and science".[1] It claims that its goal is to "offer accurate, balanced and forward-looking coverage of developments in Southeast Europe". [2]

However, its coverage is neither accurate nor balanced and it is forward-looking only in the sense of helping make the Balkans even more under the thumb of the US and its allies in NATO. As can be expected, it whitewashes the mission of its main financial sponsor, the US military's European command (EUCOM), claiming that EUCOM's purpose is to "promote stability, cooperation, and prosperity in the region".

The truth, alas, is exactly the opposite. The presence of the large contingents of the US military in Europe, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has stunted the independent European political and economic development and prevented the formation of a politically and economically unified continent, one Europe "from the Atlantic to the Urals", which is an age-old dream of many Europeans, but which goes against the interests of the Anglo-American banking and industrial war machine.

Instead of helping cooperation and stability, the US military, hiding behind the protection of extraterritoriality, has colonized Europe with its network of military bases and intelligence structures and severely punished all those political and economic actors who tried to emancipate Europe from the US tutelage. The secret terror operations by the Gladio networks in almost all European countries offer ample proof of that.

I first became aware of the existence of the Southeast European Times in 2009 when one of their journalists contacted me for a commentary on the Russian presence in Montenegro. At the same time, obviously having heard of my status as a geopolitical analyst, he also offered me to become his source of information on Montenegro. When I received the questions, I was surprised by the wealth of concrete information on the Montenegrin-Russian relations and the questions' general drift toward portraying the government of Russia and its officials in a negative light. When I replied with what I thought was a fair and objective assessment of the situation which pointed out both the advantages and disadvantages of the Russian involvement and asked to authorize the article before the publication, the journalist got upset and refused to let me do so.

In the end, my commentary was shortened, the gist of its main points remaining, and I never heard from the journalist again, even though he had promised to contact me frequently. In fact, I heard neither from him nor from his colleagues, except once for a brief statement on the Montenegrin EU integrations. And yet, during this same period of time, the analysts affiliated with the US-supported NGOs as well as the officials of the US-puppet government of Montenegro have been cited hundreds of times.

For the sake of closer analysis, let's for instance take a recent article having to do with one of the most important geopolitical goals of the US Balkan foreign policy: the imposition of NATO membership on all the Balkan countries.

On November 20, 2014, the Southeast European Times correspondent from the Montenegrin capital Podgorica, Drazen Remikovic published an article entitled "NATO praises Montenegro military reforms". [3] This article is nothing but an one-sided and biased account of the Montenegro-NATO relations.

First of all, it says nothing at all about the wide public opposition to NATO membership. Secondly, it cites only two sources. The first source is the official spokeswoman of the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense and the second is Aleksandar Dedovic, former US-affiliated military specialist from the Afghan and Iraq wars, now the director of the NGO Alpha Centre, whose programs are in part funded by the US Embassy and the NATO's Department of Public Diplomacy. Dedovic is known as one of the foremost advocates of the Montenegrin NATO membership. However, in the article, his NGO is presented solely as dealing with general "security issues", thus obscuring from the readers Dedovic's real allegiances.

Moreover, at the very end of the article, the author engages in yet another attempt to manipulate his audience. He cites the opinion survey from March 2014 (more than eight months ago) which shows that supposedly 46 percent of the Montenegrin population supports NATO membership. However, nowhere does he inform his readers that this opinion survey was paid for by the government of Montenegro (which aggressively campaigns for NATO membership) and that there have been several opinion surveys completed since March by reputable public opinion pollsters which show a much lower level of public support (around 35 percent).

This article is just one example of the general paradigm of the Southeast European Times brand of journalism. Take any article, be it on Serbia, Moldova or Ukraine, and you will find the same: the choice of US-NATO affiliated sources together with corrupt government officials and never any voice of dissent.

This is of course far from the promised "accurate and balanced" treatment, but it is very revealing of the way the US military is promoting peace and stability in the Balkans. Considering the amount of their outright lies and covert destabilization campaigns, it is no wonder that the cracks in their Balkan imperial enterprise are already showing.

I think it is safe to say that no amount of propaganda, whether through the Southeast European Times or other similar well-financed media outlets, will be able to cover up the truth from the Balkan peoples for much longer. However, it will take the appearance of a new and appropriate political leadership for them to start resisting and taking their countries back from the claws of a militarized US-NATO Empire.

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

Notes:

1. www.setimes.com

2. http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/document/setimes/footer/about/about

3. http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2014/11/20/feature-01

Pentagon Consolidates Control over Balkans

Getting Closer to New Theaters of War

By Rick Rozoff

pent1Ahead of, during and after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 25th summit in Chicago on May 20-21, the Pentagon has continued expanding its permanent military presence in the former Yugoslavia and the rest of the Balkan region.

The military bloc’s two-day conclave in Chicago formalized, among several other initiatives including the initial activation of its U.S.-dominated interceptor missile system and Global Hawk-equipped Alliance Ground Surveillance operations, a new category of what NATO calls aspirant countries next in line for full Alliance membership. Three of them are former Yugoslav federal republics – Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro – and the fourth is Georgia, conflicts involving which could be the most immediate cause of a confrontation between the world’s two major nuclear powers.

This year new NATO partnership formats have sprung up like poisonous toadstools after a summer rain: Aspirants countries, the Partnership Cooperation Menu, the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, the Connected Forces Initiative and partners across the globe among them. [Read more...]

Podcast Show #71

The Boiling Frogs Presents Rick Rozoff

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This is Part 6 of our interview series on the New World Order. You can listen to the previous interviews in this series here: Part I, Part II, Part III , Part IV, and Part 5.

Investigative journalist and NATO expert Rick Rozoff joins us to discuss the eighteen-year-old project of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Paul Wolfowitz and their cabal to destroy the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States and create a chain of buffer states around Russia, enclosing it with NATO member states and partners. He provides us with analyses and implications of the invasion of Afghanistan by the U.S. and NATO, and the duo’s expansion into Central Asia where Russian, Chinese and Iranian interests converge. Mr. Rozoff talks about the Central Asia chessboard and how the region may be transformed into a battleground of conflicting 21st century geopolitical interests, the role of Islamic extremism and how it is used by the West on this grand chess board, Mujahideen and Al Qaeda’s partnership with US-NATO in the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia operations, the real mission of Afghanistan’s NATO-trained 7,000 troops as guardians of the oil and gas pipeline connecting Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India- the TAPI pipeline & more!

Rick RozoffRick Rozoff is an investigative journalist based in Chicago and has been an active opponent of war, militarism and intervention for over 40 years. He manages the Stop NATO e-mail list , and is the editor of Stop NATO, a website on the threat of international militarization, especially on the globalization of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Mr. Rozoff has a graduate degree in European literature.

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The EyeOpener- Terror in the Caucasus: US Sponsored, EU Hosted & Turkey Channeled

The West’s Active Funding, Training & Protection of the Caucasus’ Terrorists

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Turkish claims earlier this year that three Chechen militants who were gunned down in Istanbul were in fact killed by Russian agents hardly made a ripple in the mainstream western media. Seen as a minor footnote to the ongoing Russian edition of the so-called Global War on Terrorism, it seemed like an interesting but isolated incident. Far from being unusual, however, what this incident points to is only the latest data point on a graph that demonstrates protection of Chechen terrorists from the capital of Turkey right into the heart of Europe.

What this case and many others points to is the fundamental hypocrisy underlying the US-led, NATO-enforced, Western-backed "war on terror" paradigm; just as the self-same Afghan mujahedeen could be called "freedom fighters" by one American president and "evildoers" by another, so, too, authorities can use the "freedom fighter" excuse to justify looking the other way when Islamic extremists from the Northern Caucasus set up bases in Europe. Upon closer examination, however, the West has not been involved in merely tacit support of the terrorists in the Caucasus, but in active funding, training and protection of these terrorists.

This is our EyeOpener Report by James Corbett presenting the West’s continuous support and funding of terrorists in the Caucasus, Moscow's evident conviction that the Chechen terror organizations are being protected and supported by the West, and exploring the likely reasons behind the puzzling relative silence from the Kremlin on these still-hidden realities and facts behind the terror in the Caucasus.

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BFP Exclusive: US-NATO-Chechen Militia Joint Operations Base

Introducing UNC Terror Cooperation

checkenThe US media may be many awful things, but no one could ever accuse them of not being consistent- at least when it comes to certain subject areas; US-NATO-Chechen joint terrorism operations being one. The censorship of this topic goes to such extremes where even modified-sanitized-pasteurized versions of related events and facts are nowhere to be found in the US media. Let me list a few globally known and reported facts, then add a few twos and twos and twos together, and see whether you can find any traces of that in the US mainstream media:

Assassinations of Chechen Terrorist Leaders in Turkey

The following was reported by British paper Telegraph in September this year:

Kremlin hit squad 'assassinate Chechen Islamist in Istanbul'

The triple murder was carried out by a lone gunman in less than thirty seconds using a 9mm pistol fitted with a silencer. It brought the number of Chechens assassinated in the Turkish city in the last four years to at least six. The gunman pumped eleven bullets into the three men in a busy Istanbul street before speeding off in a black getaway car.

One of the murdered men, 33-year-old Berg-Haj Musayev, was said to be close to Doku Umarov, an Islamist terrorist leader who is Russia's most wanted man. The other two were said to be his bodyguards.

It was Umarov who claimed responsibility for the January suicide bombing of Moscow's busy Domodedovo airport, an atrocity that left 37 people dead. Musayev's widow Sehida said she was sure the Russian secret service was behind her husband's murder, a view echoed by Murat Ozer, head of a Chechen Diaspora group in Istanbul.

I am going to provide you with several cases like this, and go back several years, but for now keep this article in mind, and ask yourself: How did these notorious Chechen terrorist masterminds and leaders end up in Turkey? Why did all these high-level terrorists choose Turkey? How could they be allowed by the Turkish government to operate and carry out their terror operations from Turkey as their HQ-base? [Read more...]