Newsbud Exclusive-The Travels of NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg: An Analysis

An exposé on the expansionist agenda of NATO which shows no intention of slowing down!

We travel to people and places important to us. If somebody looked at our travel itineraries over time, it would not be difficult to discover our priorities, our likes and dislikes, our beliefs and fears, the general pattern of how we live our lives and what we think about.

The same applies to political figures. Whom they travel to meet can reveal a lot about their current political agenda and the way they go about putting it into practice. It might even be possible to predict certain of their future moves.

Considering that, at this time, NATO activities are bringing Europe one step closer to another global conflagration (so familiar from both recent and more distant European past), it is worth examining the travels of its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and seeing what they can tell us about current and future NATO moves.[1]

Jens Stoltenberg is a long-time Norwegian politician of centrist social-democratic orientation and was the leader of the Norwegian Labour Party.[2] His father Thorvald Stoltenberg was also a well-known figure in the same political party and, at different times, held the posts of defense minister (1979-1981) and foreign minister (1987-1989 & 1990-1993).[3] The younger Stoltenberg served two times as the prime minister: 2000-2001 and 2005-2013. It should be noted that he was in charge of Norway during the July 22, 2011 bomb attack on the government building in Oslo and the subsequent Breivik massacre.

Stoltenberg's party lost the majority in the parliamentary elections of September 2013 and, as a result, he lost the post of the prime minister. Conveniently, the chief NATO position became open a year later and he was chosen to replace the neo-liberal Iraq-war Bush ally Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the NATO summit in Wales in September 2014. It appears that Stoltenberg's nomination received the strongest support from the German chancellor Angela Merkel who was able to convince other NATO leaders to vote for him.[4]

This is interesting in light of the fact that both Merkel and Stoltenberg have been alleged to have had contacts with the Soviet KGB in their youth. All throughout the last decade there were occasional reports in the Norwegian media about the alleged "grooming" of the young Stoltenberg by the KGB agents in Oslo in the 1980s under the code name Steklov.[5] Stoltenberg denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the allegations were a part of the brutal campaign by his right-wing opponents. It is curious though that Stoltenberg toned down the aggressive anti-Russian rhetoric of his NATO predecessor Rasmussen. However, it is the actions that count and they are no different than Rasmussen's.

The 13th Secretary General

Stoltenberg's first day on the job as NATO's Secretary General was October 1, 2014. He is the 13th Secretary General since NATO's founding in 1949 and let's hope that this number is not a sign of bad luck for him, Europe, or the world.

Stoltenberg's first foreign trip took place just 5 days later and it was to Poland. This choice of the first destination is very revealing. Poland is the most populous among East-Central European NATO members and plays the key role in the new NATO doctrine of putting pressure on Russia in the North. It is also the  most important ally of the pro-NATO government in Ukraine and is actively engaged in assisting the Kiev side in the civil war. The fact that the next NATO Summit will take place in Warsaw in July 2016 was likely also the topic of discussion.

Stoltenberg's second trip exposed even more clearly the contours of a logic that has the encirclement of Russia as its main driving force. It was a two-day trip to Turkey on October 9-10, 2014. Just like Poland in the North, Turkey is the most important NATO member in the South. At the same time, due to its numerous internal problems and imperial historical tradition, Turkey is the most "troublesome" of all NATO allies. We have witnessed the exponential increase in the hostilities between Turkey and Russia within the last year, linked, primarily, to the Russian military intervention in Syria, but also to the situation in Crimea and the general Black Sea region. It is worth remembering that Russia and Turkey have fought a long series of wars in the past centuries and that this region has now once again become one of the most explosive places in the world.

This was not Stoltenberg's only visit to Turkey so far. He visited it much more recently on April 21-22, 2016 and this should be taken as an indicator of the further deterioration of the Russo-Turkish relations. At the same time, Stoltenberg visited the squadron of NATO ships based in the Aegean Sea, the official purpose of which is to monitor the refugee situation, but which at the same time keeps a very close watch on the Russian navy activity in the area.

Every time Stoltenberg visits Turkey, he also has to visit Greece in order to appear fair to both NATO members which have a lot of unresolved issues, including the division of Cyprus. Hence he visited Greece right after Turkey on both occasions, the first time on October 30, 2014, and the second time on April 22, 2016. Recently, Greece has intensified relations with Russia as  exemplified in the May 2016 visit of the Russian president Vladimir Putin. Of extreme importance in this respect was Putin's visit to the Orthodox monastic community on Mount Athos.[6] This Christian Orthodox connection may turn out to be the eventual undoing of NATO, but that is a topic that requires a separate studious treatment.

Stoltenberg also visited two ongoing NATO operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo. He visited Afghanistan twice, first, quite early in his tenure on November 6, 2014 (which shows the high priority of this operation), and then on March 15, 2016. He visited Kosovo only once on January 23, 2015. It is very important to note that his visit was officially announced as the visit to the KFOR troops, even though he met with the entire Kosovo Albanian leadership. This was done in order to save NATO itself from an embarrassing and open dissension among its members, considering that four NATO member states do not recognize Kosovo's independence: Spain, Slovakia, Romania, and Greece. This issue remains an Achilles heel of NATO and will no doubt be even more exploited by its opponents in the future.

Moreover, is it surprising that the country most visited by Stoltenberg so far is neither Poland nor Turkey nor the U.K. and the U.S., but Germany? In fact, Germany is the only NATO member state in which Stoltenberg met not only with the leadership, but also addressed the meetings of political parties. He gave a speech at the annual meeting of the conservative Bavarian CSU parliamentary group in Wildbad Kreuth on January 8, 2015 and the social-democrat SPD conference in Berlin on February 8, 2015. This intense focus on Germany shows to what extent the support of German political elites is crucial for the continued existence of NATO. Let's not forget that one of the most concise definitions of NATO was given by its first Secretary General Lord Ismay when he said that the purpose of NATO is "to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down."[7] Stoltenberg also took part in the Munich Security Conference, the annual gathering of the erstwhile Cold Warriors, on February 6-7, 2015.

Forums and Conferences

In addition to the Munich conference, it is interesting to see which other international conferences and forums were attended by Stoltenberg because this will give us a sense of the network of NATO-friendly international non-governmental organizations. One of these is the Snow Meeting organized every year by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, which Stoltenberg attended on January 15-16, 2015. Another is the Brussels Forum organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and attended by Stoltenberg on March 20, 2015 and again on March 18, 2016. This not-for-profit organization has been one of the strongest advocates of the NATO expansion in Europe and sponsors the whole variety of activities connected to NATO promotion. One can say that the GMF is one of the most significant tools of NATO soft power. It is financially supported by the German government as well as many corporate sponsors. The close association between the GMF and Stoltenberg is also revealed by the fact that one of his first speeches in office was the address to the GMF in Brussels on October 28, 2015.

Tightly related to the GMF is the POLITICO magazine, considering that its Editor-in-Chief John F. Harris is on the GMF Board of Trustees.[8] And, indeed, Stoltenberg attended the launch party for the European branch of POLITICO in Brussels on April 23, 2015. No doubt that POLITICO is a new addition to the usual suspects of the U.S. public diplomacy (propaganda) warfare in Europe, such as the Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America.

While he was in the U.S. on May 25-27, 2015, Stoltenberg delivered a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) based in Washington, D.C., another think tank whose raison d'être is to promote NATO interests in Europe and beyond. Stoltenberg visited the U.S. on two more occasions, most recently, on April 4-7, 2016. He also took part in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 22-23, 2016.

Non-NATO states

The key part of the job of a NATO Secretary General is to lobby  - using the stick, the carrot, or both - the (remaining) non-NATO states in Europe, the post-Soviet region, North Africa, and the Middle East to closely tie their foreign policy to NATO goals and projects, even if they stop short of becoming actual members. Obviously, the pressure to integrate into NATO is the strongest in Europe and it is therefore not surprising that Stoltenberg visited almost all militarily neutral European states. The first on his list was Finland which he visited on March 4-5, 2015, then came Sweden on November 9-10, 2015, Serbia on November 19-20, 2015, and Switzerland on January 22-23, 2016 (on the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos). All these states (barring perhaps Switzerland) are currently under intense propaganda barrage by the external and internal NATO-friendly political forces to give up their traditional military neutrality and join NATO. Stoltenberg's visits were an important component of the carefully designed psychological operation to turn up the heat on the unwilling general population of these states. This is especially evident in the case of Montenegro which Stoltenberg visited twice, first, on June 10-11, 2015 and, then, again on October 14-15, 2015. His visits were used by the Montenegrin regime of Milo Djukanović to increase the popular support for NATO membership. The regime's attempts were not successful as the majority of the Montenegrin citizens still remain opposed to NATO.

Stoltenberg also visited two former Soviet states, Georgia on August 26-27, 2015, and Ukraine on September 21-22, 2015. The ruling elites of both states have become willing collaborators in NATO's Eastern expansion, which turned these states into overt and covert battlefields with Russia. Both the winners and the losers of this NATO-Russia geopolitical chess game are known. The winners are the military-industrial-intelligence complexes and the losers are the ordinary people. On all sides.

It should also be noted that Stoltenberg visited several non-NATO states in the Middle East and North Africa. He visited Jordan on December 8-10, 2014 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the NATO-sponsored organization Mediterranean Dialogue, which includes seven states: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunis.[9] He continued on to Qatar on December 10-12, 2014 to mark another anniversary: the 10th anniversary of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, a NATO-led project that brings together NATO member states and Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain.[10] Stoltenberg paid another visit to the region more recently. He visited Kuwait on February 29, 2016, Iraq on March 1, 2016, and the UAE on March 2, 2016.

Overall, in the period included in this analysis (October 2014 - June 2016), Stoltenberg made slightly less than 90 trips. His travels expose the expansionist agenda of NATO which shows no intention of slowing down. However, the intention is one thing and its becoming reality quite another.

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Filip Kovacevic 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 & conference presentations and hundreds of newspaper columns and media commentaries. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco. He can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

Notes

[1] All the information about Stoltenberg's travels comes from the official NATO website

www.nato.int and concerns the time period from his becoming the Secretary General until early June 2016 when the analysis was conducted.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jens_Stoltenberg

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorvald_Stoltenberg

[4] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29424512

[5] http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ba6_1413068110

[6] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/putin-visits-orthodox-monastic-community-at-mount-athos/2016/05/28/af53bf56-24d0-11e6-b944-52f7b1793dae_story.html

[7] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/opinion/16iht-edwheatcroft16.html?_r=0

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Marshall_Fund

[9] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_60021.htm

[10] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_58787.htm?

 

The Alliance of Neutral States (ANS): Putin’s Anti-NATO Grand Design for the Balkans

Capitalizing on the popular dissatisfaction with the neoliberal Atlanticist political & economic status quo

For about two decades, it appeared that the end of the Cold War in Europe left the Balkan states with no long-term geostrategic option except the so-called Euro-Atlantic integrations underwritten by the ideology known as Atlanticism. This option reached the peak of its strength after NATO's military intervention in the Bosnian conflict in 1995 (which was its first out-of-area military operation since the founding in 1949) and NATO's 78-day long war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999. More covertly, NATO forces also intervened in the Macedonian-Albanian conflict in 2001.

As the result of these offensive military undertakings, Bosnia and Kosovo essentially became NATO protectorates with the civilian administrations being supervised by the EU, while the U.S. military bases and auxiliary facilities were quickly established in both. In addition,  Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Romania became the members of NATO in 2004 and Croatia and Albania in 2009. All remaining Balkan states, surrounded by NATO members from all sides, rapidly developed close military and intelligence linkages with NATO headquarters in Brussels. This process was greatly helped by the fact that the ruling political elites in these states, except to some extent in Serbia and the Serb Republic (a political subunit within Bosnia), openly acted as NATO's agents of influence and advocated membership, even though this contradicted the political will of the majority of the population.

These Balkan political elites have been allowed to compensate for the obvious lack of internal democratic legitimacy by the endless praise from the high-level officials in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, London, and Washington, DC. Organized crime, corruption, lawless privatizations, massive unemployment, widespread poverty and hopelessness have simply been swept under the rug. The typically loud defenders of human rights and the rule of law have looked the other way. Evidently, the Atlanticist end justified all and any "dirty" means. Geography trumped democracy.

Progressive Resistance

It is true that even during this period there were political forces which advocated alternative scenarios, mostly based on the Titoist policy of non-alignment and the "third way" in international affairs. However, their activities were constantly being subverted by the well-oiled,  imported NATO propaganda machinery in the government, in the media, and in the non-governmental sector. Their members were generally young people who were enthusiastic, honest and genuinely committed to the public good, but were plagued by the lack of funding and faced with frequent media blackout and open discrimination. Nonetheless, their programs articulated the most promising and humane geopolitical vision for the Balkans. They conceptualized the Balkans as a territorial bridge between the West and the East rather than as the place of persistent confrontation, or the "line of fire" as formulated by the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in 2015.[1] They wanted the Balkans to become a force for peace and human dignity in the world.[2] Their vision still remains the best option for the Balkan peoples.

However, even though these progressive groups still continue to be active with no less enthusiasm than before, they are being increasingly superseded in their anti-NATO efforts by the revival of the once vanquished (and left for dead) U.S. Cold War opponent. Since the beginning of conflict in Ukraine in early 2014, Putin's administration has returned to the Balkans with political force and funding not seen since the days of the tsar Nicholas II.

Enter Putin (in the footsteps of Nicholas II)

It is worth remembering that in summer 1914 Nicholas II entered what came to be known as the WWI in order to protect Serbia and the Serbian people from the Austro-Hungarian invasion. Some political circles in both Russia and Serbia understand the decades-long NATO's military activities in the very same historical key, especially with regard to the status of Kosovo. While the possibility that history will repeat itself in this respect is, thankfully, still far remote, it cannot be denied that recent developments go a long way in creating the ominous atmosphere for the eruption of localized violence in the near future.

These developments all relate to the declining popularity of the Atlanticist geopolitical narrative in the Balkans and the foremost among them is the public articulation of a new Balkan grand design by the Putin administration. Just as the fundamental component of the U.S. grand design for the Balkans is its eventual full integration into NATO, Russia has now articulated a clear and precise counter-design. Instead of joining NATO, the remaining non-NATO Balkan states (Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Macedonia) are to form the alliance of neutral states (ANS).

The Lovćen Declaration

What the ANS means in practice can best understood if we examine the first formal document in which it has been articulated. This so-called Lovćen declaration was signed by the representatives of the United Russia party (founded by Putin and currently chaired by the Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev) and the Montenegrin opposition party Democratic People's Party in the historically significant Montenegrin village of Njeguši on May 6, 2016.[3]

Njeguši is the birthplace of the Montenegrin royal dynasty of Petrović-Njegoš which ruled over Montenegro for more than 200 years and developed very close political and family ties with the long-ruling Russian dynasty of Romanovs. Moreover, the declaration was signed in the house in which one of the most famous rulers of the dynasty, Petar II, known as the Montenegrin Shakespeare, was born. The name of the declaration also has an important historical connotation as it comes from the nearby mountain Lovćen on the top of which the Petar II's mausoleum is located.

One of the most powerful political figures in Montenegro, the metropolitan Amfilohije, the chief bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, was present at the signing and gave his blessing. Though in the past Amfilohije has been known to support the authoritarian and pro-NATO prime minister Milo Djukanović around the election time, he has always publicly opposed NATO membership and has given fiery speeches on its "evil nature" to the point of accusing NATO for continuing Hitler's anti-Slavic project.[4]

Even more importantly, Amfilohije's involvement with the Lovćen declaration reveals one of the fundamental components of Putin's overall geopolitical plan - the nurturing and intensification of the religious Christian Orthodox connection between the Russians and the Orthodox peoples of the Balkans. This includes not the Serbs, Montenegrins and Macedonians, but also the Greeks and Bulgarians whose states are in NATO and whose religious "awakening" can easily subvert NATO from the inside. The strength of this connection and its future implications have seriously been underestimated by the Atlanticist circles. There are clear indications that these circles have been taken by surprise and now, in their first reactions, seek to minimize the importance of Putin's ANS efforts.

The Atlanticist Response

For example, the journalist Gennady Sysoev, Balkan correspondent for the Russian newspaper Kommersant, who is known in Montenegro for his NATO-friendly commentaries, claims that Putin's undertaking is bound to end in failure because the partners of the United Russia in the Balkans are in the political opposition and the ANS goes against the officially proclaimed policies of the Montenegrin and other Balkan governments.[5] However, Sysoev is intentionally silent on the fact that, given the present political instability in Montenegro, Bosnia, and Macedonia, the United Russia's political partners, which, it is true, are now in the opposition, might be able to come to power at some point in the not too distant future. Indeed, they have entered the partnership with Russia's ruling political party precisely because they intend not to be the opposition any longer and expect financial and logistical help from Putin in their electoral political activities. They will hardly be disappointed. The Lovćen declaration spells out in detail all aspects of political, economic, and social relations in which the Russian support will be forthcoming.

The NATO-controlled media in Montenegro quickly seized on Sysoev's article and summarized it under the title "Putin's party relies on marginal figures."[6] The speed of translation and publication suggest the high degree of coordination. However, the title of the article is misleading because the very same method has been used by the U.S. and NATO intelligence services to control the governments of East-Central European states since the collapse of communism. Countless small parties with just a handful of parliamentary deputies were formed with the money coming from the various "black budgets" with the task of entering the governing coalition and then steering the entire government in the direction charted by their foreign founders and mentors. These parties have had minimal public legitimacy, but have made a great political impact with their "blackmail" potential. As they also don't cost very much, the CIA, the MI6, and the BND regularly create them for every new election cycle.

Now the Russians (primarily, the SVR and the GRU) are using the same rulebook for their own geopolitical interests. In addition, however, Putin's grand design for the Balkans embodied in the ANS is also likely to prove durable not only because it builds on the traditional cultural and religious ties linking Russia and the Balkans, but also because it rides on the wave of the enormous present popular dissatisfaction with the neoliberal Atlanticist political and economic status quo.

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Filip Kovacevic 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 & conference presentations and hundreds of newspaper columns and media commentaries. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco. He can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

NOTES

[1] http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=5a7_1425064348 ;  See also my previous BFP article on the destabilization factors in the Balkans, http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/03/03/bfp-exclusive-who-is-trying-to-destabilize-the-balkans/

[2] Consider for instance the activities of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro and similar organizations across the ex-Yugoslav political space, http://mnmne.org/

[3] http://ruskarec.ru/politics/2016/05/06/u-crnoj-gori-je-potpisana-lovcenska-deklaracija-sa-jedinstvenom-rusijom_591025

[4] http://www.dan.co.me/?nivo=3&rubrika=Drustvo&datum=2015-07-21&clanak=501981

[5] http://kommersant.ru/doc/2982518

[6] http://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/putinova-stranka-se-oslanja-na-marginalce-887562

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BFP Exclusive- Will the Next U.N. Secretary-General Come From the Balkans?

The Chinese support will be decisive if Türk is to prevail over the intelligence networks backing Bokova

Seventy years ago, the organization of United Nations was officially founded in San Francisco, the city I live in at this time. A few days ago, I went to see the mural commemorating this event in the city's landmark cathedral, Grace Cathedral on California St. Painted by the Bolivian-American artist Antonio Sotomayor, the mural depicts all nations of the world coming together in the spirit of peace and cooperation.[1]

The question as to whether, and to what extent, the U.N. activities in its seven-decade-long existence helped or hindered the sustenance of that spirit is the subject of many polemics in both the mainstream and alternative media and cannot be addressed in the short space of this article. However, it is indicative that those currently opposed to the U.S.-NATO global hegemony are increasingly pointing to the Charter of the United Nations as a valid starting point for the more just reconfiguration of global affairs. Such is, for instance, the view of the Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed in the documentary "World Order," which was produced by the Russian state-controlled TV channel and aired at the end of December 2015.[2] Putin explicitly linked the roots of the prevailing chaotic political and economic situation in many parts of the world to the U.S. and its allies' open and blatant violation of the Charter in undertaking their military interventions, starting with NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Spring 1999.

It is interesting that both the current President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić and the Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić appeared in the documentary. This is something that will definitely cause the ire of the Washington Establishment, because the documentary gathered together many well-known critics of the U.S. foreign policy, such as the film director Oliver Stone and the Bundestag deputy Sahra Wagenknecht. The appearance of Vučić is all the more curious, considering that he is a good friend of the long-time U.S. deep state asset, Montenegro's Prime Minister Milo Djukanović, and has recently become a protégé of the U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden. No doubt there will be a political price for Vučić to pay for this escapade, if, of course, he was not assigned the role of a double-agent, passing on to the Americans what the Russians tell him in confidence.

The brief appearance in the film is also made by the current Secretary-General of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon, which is a sign that the Russian foreign policy circles consider the position of the Secretary-General important in their efforts to generate and codify new international rules of behavior for what they see as the emerging multi-polar world. Of course, even a cursory look at Ban's almost ten years at the helm of the U.N. will reveal that he has favored the aims of the U.S.-NATO global hegemony. However, including him in the documentary signifies that the Russians intend to exert quite a lot of influence and pressure in the choice of his successor. In fact, not only the Russians, but also the elites of all the other BRICS countries (Brazil, China, India, and South Africa), will no doubt put their political and economic weight in play. In my opinion, this will be one of the key international political battles in the coming year.

The Process

Ban Ki-moon is the 8th U.N. Secretary-General since February 1946 when the Norwegian socialist politician Trygve Lie, a compromise candidate, was chosen for that post. Ban took office on January 1, 2007 and is now in the last year of his second five-year term. Needless to say, the process of choosing his successor has already begun behind the closed doors. In the past, the selection process was guided by regional considerations, though there are no written rules to that effect.

The only formal rule regarding the selection process is found in Chapter XV, Article 97 of the U.N. Charter and states that "the Secretary-General shall be appointed by the General Assembly [in which all 193 member states have one vote] upon the recommendation of the Security Council [which consists of 10 temporary members serving on a 2-year rotating basis and 5 permanent members with veto power - U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, and China]."[3] Early on in the U.N. history, it was decided that only one candidate would be recommended to the General Assembly and so far the recommended candidate has always been voted in.

It is important to note that the only region which has yet to have its representative as the U.N. Secretary-General is Eastern Europe. This makes the question in the title of this article worth asking and answering in detail. And, in fact, most candidates put forth by this time come from the Balkan states.

In addition, it is likely that the selection process this time around will also include the gender dimension. No woman has ever been appointed to this position and there is a growing number of voices in support of breaking the "glass-ceiling" in this respect as well.[4]

The Candidates

One of the first Balkan politicians who declared his candidacy for this post was Vuk Jeremić, the Foreign Minister of Serbia from 2007 to 2012. At 32 years of age, he was one of the youngest foreign ministers in the history of diplomacy. The most challenging issue for the state of Serbia - the recognition of the autonomous province of Kosovo as an independent state by the U.S. and most EU countries - took place at the beginning of his term. Jeremić travelled to many African and Asian capitals in the effort to stop the wave of recognitions and many observers declare his mission a success for Serbian diplomacy. Even at this time, Kosovo is recognized by only about 60% of the world's states and there is no Great Power consensus about its membership in the key international organizations.

In addition, Jeremić was successful in being elected the President of the U.N. General Assembly in June 2012 for an one-year term starting in September 2012 and ending in September 2013. In the vote by the General Assembly, he was able to defeat the Lithuanian diplomat Dalius Čekuolis, the U.S-NATO candidate for the post, in what one analyst called "a basketball score" - 99:85.[5] Needless to say, this did not make Jeremić the friend of the hegemonists, but it definitely enhanced his reputation among the developing nations of the world. The representatives of these nations might potentiatially be his greatest allies in this candidacy as well.

It is important to note that Jeremić received the vote of Montenegro, was rejected by Croatia, while the representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina abstained from voting. This means that these three ex-Yugoslav republics, even 25 years after the bloody collapse of Yugoslavia, do not consider themselves to be on the same geopolitical page.

However, regardless of the international support it may have, Jeremić's candidacy has recently hit a major roadblock. It appears likely that the government of Serbia will not endorse his candidacy, which makes him ineligible to run. In an interview several days ago, President Nikolić was explicit about that,[6] while Prime Minister Vučić's response was more nuanced, but still in the same general direction.[7] The explanation for this is to be found in the Serbian domestic politics. Jeremić used to be a member of the opposition political party and is still an opposition member of the Parliament.

While Serbia has yet to endorse a candidate for the U.N. post, the neighboring Bulgaria has already endorsed Irina Bokova who has been the Director-General of UNESCO, the specialized U.N. agency for educational, scientific, and cultural matters, since 2009. Before being selected for this post, Bokova has held several influential positions in the Bulgarian foreign policy establishment.[8] It is interesting that she graduated from Moscow State University for International Affairs [МГИМО], the premier Soviet school for diplomacy as well as the most fertile recruiting ground for both the KGB and the SVR [the Soviet internal and external intelligence agencies], but in the 1990s became a NATO fellow and attended Harvard's JFK School of Government. In other words, it is very likely that Bokova is firmly enmeshed in the intelligence networks on both sides of the past and present Iron Curtain and this, in addition to the already time-tested globalist experience and commitments in her present post, in my opinion, makes her a possible winner. Obviously, she also brings in the needed gender dimension.

Still, there is one more candidate who is a very serious contender for the post. That candidate is Danilo Türk, the President of Slovenia from 2007 to 2012. He is a distinguished professor of international law and has already served in a high-level position at the U.N. He was Assistant U.N. Secretary-General for Political Affairs from 2000 to 2005 during the mandate of Kofi Anan.[9] While in this position, Türk had made a lot of diplomatic contacts around the world and, at this time, it appears that he is able to garner the support of BRICS countries. He visited China last year and gave a long interview on CCTV. His statements sounded thoughtful and impartial, which is a rarity in the current polarized geopolitical climate, and I discerned many similarities with the non-aligned policies of the long-time Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito. Türk was also the only male candidate mentioned by name in the recent NYT article on this topic.[10]

There are also several other candidates from the Balkans, but these are more "vanity" candidacies and have no serious chance of getting any votes. The most laughable among them is the candidacy of the Foreign Minister of Montenegro, Igor Lukšić, one of the most corrupt players of the repressive Djukanović regime. As is already clear, he won't get any support even from the countries bordering Montenegro, let alone from any others.[11] This does not mean, however, that the corrupt regime will not spend a lot of Montenegrin taxpayers' money on Lukšić's fruitless lobbying excursions around the world.

So, to conclude, I think that there is a high degree of probability that the next U.N. Secretary-General will indeed come from the Balkans and that the Chinese support will be decisive if Türk is to prevail over the intelligence networks backing Bokova.

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Filip Kovacevic 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 & conference presentations and hundreds of newspaper columns and media commentaries. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco. He can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

 

NOTES

[1] http://un70charter.org/location/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNhYzYUo42g

[3] http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-xv/index.html

[4] http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/12/02/u-n-leaders-call-for-a-woman-to-replace-secretary-general-ban-ki-moon-in-2017/

[5] http://www.b92.net/mobilni/info/616909

[6] http://mondo.rs/a862061/Info/Srbija/Tomislav-Nikolic-Ne-podrzavam-kandidaturu-Vuka-Jeremica-za-generalnog-sekretara-UN.html

[7] http://www.pravda.rs/2015/12/28/vucic-o-kandidaturi-vuka-jeremica-za-generalnog-sekretra-un-a/

[8] http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/about-us/who-we-are/director-general/biography/

[9] http://www2.gov.si/up-rs/2007-2012/turk-ang-arhiv.nsf/dokumentiweb/Zivljenjepis?OpenDocument

[10] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/world/after-70-years-of-men-some-say-it-is-high-time-a-woman-led-the-un.html?_r=0

[11] http://www.blic.rs/vesti/politika/kandidat-za-genseka-un-dacic-necemo-podrzati-ni-makedoniju-ni-cg-ni-hrvatsku/df904g4

 

BFP Exclusive- What the New York Times Did Not Tell You About NATO & Montenegro

The New York Times throws its weight behind those whose global code of conduct is nothing else but the expression of the war-mongering slogan "might makes right."

On December 2, 2015, the foreign ministers of NATO member states, including the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, meeting at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, agreed to grant a membership invitation to Montenegro.[1]

In response to this indisputable historical fact, the New York Times published two articles, a front page article and an editorial, which, due to their selective and biased treatment of the issue at hand, make it impossible for the readers to gain an objective understanding of the complexity of the situation on the ground. Both articles are consistent with the goals of an expansionist U.S. foreign policy and show little desire to engage with the expansionism's destabilizing consequences not only in Montenegro and the Balkans, but also in Europe and beyond.

The NYT Front Page Article

The front page article, signed by Steven Erlanger, is entitled "NATO Unveils Plans to Grow, Drawing Fury and Threats from Russia."[2] As is evident, Montenegro is not even mentioned in the title, and this is the treatment of Montenegro and its citizens that Erlanger demonstrates throughout the article. Apparently, for Erlanger, looking down from on high, it does not really matter what the citizens of a sovereign state think about their country's future. He is more than willing to erase Montenegrin individual and collective subjectivities and present Montenegro as a mere pawn in the Great Powers' geopolitical chess game. According to him, all that matters is that NATO is on track in implementing "its plans" and that Russia reacted not only negatively, but "in fury."

The old Orientalist cliché, so well described by the Palestinian-American critical theorist Edward Said, is being repeated here. While the West is presented as cool and rational (making its plans into reality), the East is emotional and unpredictable (reacting with threats and fury). According to Erlanger's elitist account, here once again we have the case of the "mature" and powerful West scoring against the "immature" and powerless East.

The fact that the ultimate decision about joining NATO will not be made by NATO foreign ministers but by the people of Montenegro themselves is not only disregarded by Erlanger, but it is intentionally presented in the way that falsifies the reality on the ground. Namely, in the only reference to the Montenegrin internal politics in the entire article - and it is no more than a half-sentence -, Erlanger writes that Montenegro is "eager to join." This is very far from being true.

The majority of people in Montenegro actually prefer the option of military neutrality. However, the government of Montenegro, in order to preserve its undemocratic grip on power, has undertaken an immense and well-financed propaganda effort to convince the NATO decision-makers that the anti-NATO sentiment is losing ground. The Prime Minister Milo Djukanović, a corrupt opportunist well-connected to the shadowy networks of organized crime and intelligence services,[3] in power since the Fall of the Berlin Wall, even called those who are against NATO membership "the enemies of the state." However, the objective assessment of Djukanović's tenure can easily show that it is him who is the authentic destroyer of the Montenegrin state, considering that no state institution in Montenegro today is free from the control of his inner circle of family and friends.

Moreover, it is clear that Djukanović is ready to do anything it takes to stay in power. In late October 2015, the special police forces instructed by Djukanović brutally suppressed civic anti-government demonstrations. Anybody found on the street was tear-gassed and beaten without mercy.[4]

None of this is mentioned by Erlanger. It simply does not square well with his account in which NATO figures as the champion of democracy, rule of law, and human rights, protecting the world against evil dictatorships.

The NYT Editorial

The editorial article does not score much better on the scale of fairness and objectivity than Erlanger's geopolitical propaganda piece. It is entitled "Russia's Fury Over Montenegro and NATO."[5] Again, we have the issue of the Russian "fury" and NATO's "coolness." We have Vladimir Putin being made the centerpiece of the article, instead of the focus being directed to the people of Montenegro who are the only legitimate decision-makers on the subject of Montenegro's NATO membership.

Just like in Erlanger's article, there is only a brief mention of the internal political realities in Montenegro. It is tucked to the end of the article like an after-thought. It refers to the issue of the "sharply divided sentiments among Montenegrins" concerning NATO membership. While this comes closer to the reality on the ground than Erlanger's "eagerness to join," it is still misleading. Namely, the sentiments are not "sharply divided," because there is a clear majority of those who are against membership. The Djukanović's government is well-aware of this fact and that is why it is trying to find ways to block the initiative for holding the referendum on the subject.

Instead of promoting the right of ordinary people to have a say on matters that will significantly affect their lives, as one would expect from any liberal newspaper, the New York Times throws its weight behind those whose global code of conduct is nothing else but the expression of the war-mongering slogan "might makes right."

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic 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 & conference presentations and hundreds of newspaper columns and media commentaries. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco. He can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

NOTES

[1] http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/02/europe/nato-montenegro-membership-invitation/

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/03/world/europe/kerry-nato-syria-russia.html?_r=0

[3] See my earlier BFT article - http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/02/05/bfp-exclusive-the-citizenship-policies-of-the-us-puppets-the-case-of-montenegros-milo-djukanovic/

[4] http://www.criticatac.ro/lefteast/violence-in-montenegros-capital-an-overview/

[5] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/04/opinion/russias-fury-over-montenegro-and-nato.html

 

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 EyeOpener Report- The Hastert Scandal: What the Media Isn’t Telling You

A scandal too deep, too dark, and covers too many people from both sides of the political aisle for it to ever proceed in public

When former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was first indicted, the mainstream press treated it as a story of a long-ago transgression that has long since been swept under the rug. But a series of revelations from FBI whistleblowers reveal that this story is just the tip of a very seedy iceberg, one that implicates Hastert, his top aide, other Congress members and government officials in a criminal network involved in sexual intrigue, foreign espionage, blackmail, and drug money...

*Information on Dennis Hastert and ‘others’ are also covered in my books Classified Woman & The Lone Gladio. For this campaign, until October 31, we are offering both e-books under $2. Please spread the word; for truth & integrity.

Additional Information

BFP Exclusive- Two Delays & Tight-Lipped Negotiations Point to Graymail & Blackmail Tactics by Hastert’s Legal Team

Hastert Case: How the COINTELPRO II Bucket Turned into a Can of Worms (Podcast)

Hastert Case, Clinton Scandals, FBI & the 1996 COINTELPRO II Directive (Podcast)

Dennis Hastert: Why Prosecutors Will Be Forced To ‘Lose’ or ‘Drop’ the Case (Podcast)

Two FBI Whistleblowers Confirm Illegal Wiretapping of Government Officials and Misuse of FISA

Gilbert Graham Case Filed with DOJ-IG

Sibel Edmonds: An Inconvenient Patriot

Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?

BFP Exclusive- Two Delays & Tight-Lipped Negotiations Point to Graymail & Blackmail Tactics by Hastert’s Legal Team

Hastert Legal Team & Government Prosecutors File Request for Yet Another Delay- Here’s Why

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has again asked a federal judge to delay the deadline for pre-trial motions in his criminal hush-money case.

Hastert’s attorneys and prosecutors filed a joint motion today asking for another two-week extension. Ten days ago, on September 11, 2015, they had asked for a delay, which was granted.

As with the previous one, the new motion repeats that both sides, Hastert’s legal team and government prosecutors, are discussing issues Hastert "may raise in pretrial motions." Neither party has offered any details.

BFP Report has been publishing a series on the Hastert case, involved entities with much at stake if the case were to proceed as a real case, and various methods that could be implemented to limit or end the case. The back-to-back filings for the delay, consented by both parties, and the announcement by Hastert’s legal team on their intention to file a motion to dismiss all charges, point to the likelihood of the case being dropped.

There are grounds on which the parties may agree to have the charges dropped. Despite refusal by both parties to offer any details on the matters under negotiation, there are solid indicators pointing to the pressure points that are being utilized by Hastert’s attorneys to make the case go away. Here are some likely grounds that are being exploited by Hastert’s legal team to get the charges dropped (For more in-depth analyses see here, here and here).

Graymail Tactic

Based on previous government surveillance and evidence files on Hastert and past court cases directly related to the Hastert case, the defense may be utilizing the legal tactic commonly known as graymail.

Graymail is the threatened revelation of state secrets in order to manipulate legal proceedings. It is used as a defense tactic, forcing the government to drop a case to avoid revealing national secrets. Graymail can occur in two ways:

To straight forwardly blackmail the government, forcing it to drop the case using the threat that if the trial moves forward the defendant will reveal classified information he or she already knows.

To request the use of classified material as evidence in the trial, with an expectation that the government will be unwilling to make the material fully available to the case, and that this will raise the possibility, in the eyes of the judge or jury, that the unreleased material might clear the defendant, making it difficult to prove guilt.

Dennis Hastert and his legal team possess more than enough leverage to successfully execute these methods to force the government to drop all charges.

Hastert’s team has leverage to argue that the recent criminal investigation against Hastert was the extension and or continuation of previous operations that were targeting and surveilling Hastert during his tenure in the U.S. Congress. Based on this they could ask for all files and documents gathered on him dating back to 1996.

Hastert’s attorneys can easily point to the multi-page exposé by Vanity Fair Magazine on Hastert published in September 2005. The article was published based on disclosures from several credible witnesses from the FBI and DOJ regarding criminal evidence obtained on Hastert based on the FBI’s counterintelligence investigations from their Chicago and Washington D.C. Field Offices.

The counterintelligence operation in question was targeting the Turkish lobby and associated networks in the US. Hastert was said to have knowingly received foreign bribery from these networks, and engaged in illegal campaign financing and other financial fraud activities.

Less than two years after the publication of the exposé by Vanity Fair Hastert left the US Congress. Six months after leaving the House, Hastert began reaping the benefits of serving Turkish interests in Congress by joining the firm Dickstein Shapiro as a lobbyist representing the Turkish government, among other clients. He worked jointly with former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, sometimes traveling together to Turkey, and splitting millions of dollars in lucrative lobbying fees.

Knowing that the Department of Justice and the FBI have repeatedly invoked State Secrets Privilege in cases that entailed counterintelligence information on illegal foreign lobby operations in the United States, many of which included Hastert, Hastert’s attorneys can reasonably expect a similar response from the Department of Justice today. Meaning, if faced with discovery requests involving the FBI’s two-decades long files and operations related to Hastert, obtained via counterintelligence operations involving foreign lobbies in the U.S., the government would invoke classification and state secrets privilege again.

Blackmail Tactic

Hastert’s legal team can easily resort to indirect or direct blackmail that can lead to partial or complete dropping of the charges against Dennis Hastert.

Based on past cases, reports and disclosures Hastert’s attorneys can threaten the government with exposing its illegal domestic surveillance operations between 1996 and 2002 that were in violation of FISA laws. The attorneys can point to reports filed in 2002 with the DOJ Inspector General’s Office regarding ongoing FBI counterintelligence operations targeting public officials in violation of ELSUR (Electronic Surveillance) and FISA regulations.

In 2007, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), obtained and released a copy of an official complaint filed by veteran FBI Special Agent Gilbert Graham with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG). SA Graham’s protected disclosures report the violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in conducting electronic surveillance of high-profile U.S. public officials.

The illegal domestic surveillance operations began with the White House classified directive issued in 1996 directing the DOJ-FBI to begin conducting a new domestic operation using its counterintelligence divisions and bypassing FISA regulations in response to two sexual scandals, Jones and Lewinsky, and the likely risk of impeachment. Dennis Hastert, Bob Livingston and Dan Burton, were among those targeted by the operation.

Hastert’s legal team can utilize this information, and related witnesses and evidence, to blackmail the government. They can reasonably argue that the recent criminal investigation of the Justice Department in Chicago may be the continuation of previous illegal surveillance and investigations conducted by the DOJ and FBI in violation of FISA law and ELSUR regulations. By doing this they would be playing the Fruit of Poisonous Tree legal card. Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal metaphor used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally. The logic of the terminology is that if the source (the "tree") of the evidence or the evidence itself is tainted, then anything gained (the "fruit") from it is tainted as well.

Hastert’s attorneys can reasonably claim that since the use of FISA and FBI’s counterintelligence units in violation of FISA to target public officials were illegal, and since Hastert’s current case may be the extension of those illegal operations, the government would be exposing its own unlawful deeds if it were to move forward with the criminal charges against Hastert.

Currently both parties are engaged in intense discussions. The discussions are wrapped in absolute secrecy with neither providing a hint. Considering the facts on the ground, the two delay requests jointly filed back-to-back with the court, and the Hastert legal team’s self-assuredly expressed intention to demand that the government drop all charges against its client, point to a scheme that consists of graymail and blackmail legal tactics, backed up by solid historical evidence and witnesses.

Last week in our coverage of the Hastert Case we predicted and explained why and how prosecutors would be forced to ‘lose’ or ‘drop’ the Hastert Case. With the filing of this second request for delay we are getting closer to seeing that prediction come true. Meanwhile we’ll wait and see what transpires next.

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds is editor and publisher of Boiling Frogs Post, founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), and author of the acclaimed book Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, and The Lone Gladio, a Political Spy Thriller. Ms. Edmonds is a certified linguist, fluent in four languages, and has an MA in public policy from George Mason University and a BA in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award. 

Related Information

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The EyeOpener Report- Sibel Edmonds on Turkey, Syria & the Kurdish Question

Syria is once again the center of attention with Washington and Ankara agreeing on "ISIS-free zones" that each partner is interpreting in its own way. Joining us to explore those interpretations is Sibel Edmonds of BoilingFrogsPost.com, just back from the region with intel on a possible timeline for increased military action in the country. In this conversation James and Sibel discuss Turkey's battle against the Kurds and how the Kurdish population are being used by the US and Israel as pawns in a complex chess game. We also examine the recent bombing in Suruc and signs that it was a false flag provocation.

Here is when & where we @ BFP broke Syria News long before US media:

The Continued Blackout on West’s Secret Training & Support Camp in Turkey for War on Syria (Dec 3, 2011)

BFP Exclusive: Syria- Secret US-NATO Training & Support Camp to Oust Current Syrian President (Nov 21, 2011)

BFP Exclusive- Hundreds of US-NATO Soldiers Arrive & Begin Operations on the Jordan-Syria Border (Dec 11, 2011)

BREAKING: US Troops Deploying on Jordan-Syria Border (YouTube, Dec 11, 2011)

BFP Exclusive- The Balkans & the Implications of the Possible Demise of the European Union

What if the EU is no more?

The ongoing Greek crisis has shown that not only the Eurozone, but also the European Union itself, is constructed on very fragile institutional foundations. It has shown that, in the long run, a monetary union without the federative political arrangement is not sustainable. Without the precisely delineated rules, as would be inscribed in a federal constitution, the economically weaker members of the EU become the victims of the dictates of those who are economically stronger. This leads to the democratically indefensible outcome in which the votes of some members of the EU count for more than the votes of others. As in George Orwell's Animal Farm, "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others". This is why it is very likely that the EU in its current incarnation is faced with a slow but inevitable demise.

It appears that the propitious political moment to establish a federative political structure has passed in 2005 when the French and Dutch voters rejected the draft of an EU Constitution.[1] Even though the EU has expanded since then, accepting into its fold Romania and Bulgaria in 2007 and Croatia in 2013, the inclusion of these three Balkan countries did not make any significant impact on the democratization of the EU institutional framework.

In fact, more than by anything else, this round of enlargement was motivated by purely geopolitical concerns of trying to counter the growing Russian (and Chinese) economic and political influence in the region. What this means in practice could clearly been seen in the latter half of 2014 when the government of Bulgaria, under the pressure of the EU, was forced to abandon the plans for participation in the Russian-led South Stream gas project.[2] It is worth remembering that this issue precipitated the snap parliamentary elections in Bulgaria and brought to power political parties more willing to implement the EU-favored geopolitical agenda. In other words, not only did the strings attached to the EU membership prevent the realization of the project that could have provided much needed economic relief to ordinary Bulgarian citizens, but they also led to the externally incited political turbulence and the changes in the government itself.

It is true, however, that even though the EU as a whole has imposed economic sanctions on Russia, following the outbreak of the civil war in Ukraine, not all member states share the same level of anti-Russian geopolitical animosity. Due to a set of ideological and historical reasons, this confrontational agenda is prominent among the political elites in those EU member states which were either the members of the Warsaw Pact or the USSR itself. Not surprisingly, they are also the closest allies of the US-NATO Establishments and typically promote the explicitly racist "civilizational" narrative in which the more East you go, the more "barbarians" you encounter. Yet, the influential segments of political elites in the original EU countries, such as Germany, France, and Italy as well as their respective domestic audiences have been much more reserved and skeptical toward such attitudes.

Hence, in addition to the institutional weaknesses, these differences on the future EU geopolitical trajectory and the way it is ideologically justified among the member states represent another sign of the EU long-term unsustainability. Together, these two factors also seriously call into question the EU capacity for further expansion. This, in turn, has momentous political and geopolitical significance for the Balkans, especially for those countries which have spent the last decade or more in the process of the so-called "European integration".

 

What if the EU is no more?

Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Albania are all in various stages of the process of the integration with the EU. Designated as the Western Balkans (the term which appeared in the US-EU parlance around the turn of the 21st century)[3], these countries have been encouraged by the EU technocrats to harmonize their political and economic systems with the EU. However, at this point, it appears that all expansion has been put on hold.

Sure, we can find a lot of statements by the top Balkan politicians, the assorted prime ministers and presidents, continuing to deceive their citizens by saying that everything is on track and that the membership in the EU is around the corner, to be expected by 2020 or 2025. This has proven to be a good electoral strategy. Faced with the hard economic realities and democratically unresponsive ruling class, the majority of citizens of the non-EU Balkan countries still see the EU as some kind of a panacea, as a cure for all economic and political ills. There appears to be a belief that the bureaucrats in Brussels are on the side of ordinary people as against the corrupt local oligarchs. Many citizens seem willing to appeal to the EU as if it were an impartial judge.

However, the recent sequence of events in Greece has exposed the deep contempt and loathing that the EU ruling elites feel for the basic postulates of elective democracy and popular sovereignty. It is enough to read the interview of the ex-Greek finance minister, a neo-Marxist economist Yanis Varoufakis, in which he talks about the way he was treated by other eurozone ministers to realize that this group considers itself both beyond existing laws and above popular democratic mandates.[4] It is quite apparent that the Eurozone finance ministers, under the command of the German finance minister Wolfgang Shäuble, manifested pure dictatorial hubris. Varoufakis was told that he would either submit or Greece would be crushed. There was to be no third way, and no wonder that he resigned. This, however, did not stop the infernal plan of destroying the foundations of Greek democracy from being put into action. That is what the new agreement the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has accepted is all about.[5] I find it ominous that there are forces in Europe which want to extinguish democracy in its ancient cradle, in the geopolitical space that gave birth to it. It is a boomerang that will bring chaos also to those who sow it. The nightmarish return to the ghosts of Europe's fascist past - the Weimar Europe - appears more than likely.

Whither the Balkans?

This is why it seems prudent for the citizens of the non-EU Balkan countries to consider alternatives to the EU. It is likely that the weakening of the EU will also lead to the slowing down of further Balkan NATO expansion. At times, over the years, it appeared that some in the NATO leadership (for instance, the former Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen) explicitly encouraged the weakening of the EU by playing up the differences between the so-called 'old' Europe (France, Germany) and the 'new' Europe (the ex-Eastern bloc), believing that the power loss for the EU will translate into the power gain for NATO.[6] Ultimately, however, the crumbling EU will encourage the centrifugal forces within NATO itself as we are beginning to witness not only in Greece, but also in France, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. This means that the Great Powers within the EU will increasingly start to get involved in the Balkans on the unilateral basis.

Moreover, the US might find that hiding behind NATO is becoming more and more cumbersome in protecting and furthering its own national interests in the Balkans. This is why it is likely to bring back to life its own regional alliance infrastructure, such as the US Adriatic Charter Organization (A5), which includes all the above mentioned countries (Serbia and Kosovo have observer status, all others are full members).[7] I am sure that there are planners within the US State Department/CIA nexus who would like to see this organization grow into something like a Balkan mini-NATO. However, there is no reason to expect that the majority of the Balkan citizens who reject NATO membership for their countries could now be persuaded to support its Balkan incarnation.

That is why this shadowy group is also active in implementing an alternative geopolitical strategy, which consists of building up and financing the historically revisionist Balkan projects such as, for instance, the "Greater" or "Natural" Albania in order to put pressure on the unwilling governments and populations. Here we are back in the familiar Gladio territory and, in fact, the way the recent terrorist incident in Kumanovo, Macedonia played out points to the dirty dealings of all the usual Gladio suspects.[8] To me, it is revealing that the nickname of one of the killed Albanian militia leaders was Commander NATO.[9] This operation appears to be a mix of the Gladio A and Gladio B strategies as the perpetrators have links both to the nationalist/fascist and Islamic networks.

At the same time, it is also clear that Russia is back in the Balkan geopolitical game. Two recent instances demonstrate this beyond any reasonable doubt. The first instance is the open and public support of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the government of the Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski against the resignation demands by the political opposition (which in turn appears to be supported by the US and EU officials).[10] This means that in Macedonia, in many respects, we have significant elements of the first US-Russia proxy conflict in the Balkans since the fall of Serbia's Milošević regime in 2000. The second instance is the recent Russia's veto of the UN Security Resolution, proposed by the British, concerning the horrendous July 1995 events in Srebrenica, which the UN tribunals have qualified as genocide, the claim officially rejected by the Serbian government.[11] The increased Russian involvement is a trend which will intensify in the future.

However, it is still early to talk about any formal linkages of the non-EU Balkan countries with the Russia (and China) led political, economic, and military international alliances. As the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are acquiring more permanent and better funded institutional structures, this question will increasingly be raised. Yet, at this point, there is scant evidence that these organizations will also not become plagued by the bureaucratization and democratic deficit which have fatally corroded the EU and NATO. If the EEU, SCO, and CSTO simply become the replicas of the EU and NATO (only with different, rival empires in charge), then there is not much that the Balkan citizens can hope from them. The membership in them would simply mean substituting one imperial master for another, whereas the point is to get rid of the imperial masters altogether.

For this to happen, one will have to revive progressive ideologies premised on the universal equality and brotherhood of ordinary citizens as well as on the common struggle against the domestic and imperial elite oppression and exploitation. This will obviously take time, but historical precedents do exist. Such has, for example, been the idea of a Balkan Federation advocated by many Balkan progressives since the end of the 19th century.[12]

# # # #

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

 

ENDNOTES

[1] http://www.cfr.org/france/european-union-french-dutch-referendums/p8148

[2] http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28854089

[3] I first noticed this term some time after the fall of the Milošević regime in Serbia in 2000. It would be interesting to explore its origins as it contains clear geopolitical implications. Just like the term "the Balkans", it is not native to the Balkans, but is the product of the Brussels/Washington imperial discourse.

[4] http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2015/07/yanis-varoufakis-full-transcript-our-battle-save-greece

[5] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-13/eurozone-leaders-say-agreement-reached-at-greece-talks/6616448

[6] As their attitudes and behavior toward Russia show, they seem to be fond of the dangerous zero-sum games in the NATO Headquarters.

[7] http://mnmne.org/filip-kovacevic-from-a5-to-b3-the-role-of-us-adriatic-and-us-baltic-charter-organizations/

[8] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32695909

[9] http://www.abrasmedia.info/content/u-kumanovu-ubijeni-%E2%80%9Ekomandant-nato%E2%80%9C-i-%E2%80%9Ekomandant-begu%E2%80%9C

[10] http://rs.seebiz.eu/zasto-gruevskom-odgovara-ruska-podrska/ar-112506/

[11] http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/russia-vetoes-resolution-calling-srebrenica-massacre-32301237

[12] http://www.okde.org/keimena/vag_kout_balkan_inter_0603_en.htm

BFP Exclusive-The Breakdown in NATO’s Balkan Expansion Strategy: The Case of Montenegro

The NATO's Balkan expansion project has come to a standstill

Since its independence in 2006, Montenegro is being pushed into NATO membership by its corrupt ruling elite. The key political figures in this geopolitical and ideological project have been a long-time prime minister Milo Djukanović and the speaker of the Montenegrin Parliament Ranko Krivokapić. In my previous BFP articles, I have chronicled many of their efforts on this front.[1] Notwithstanding their undemocratic methods of holding on to political power, both Djukanović and Krivokapić have received a great deal of concrete material support from the US and NATO Establishments. This is just one of the countless examples of the US-NATO rhetoric on "human rights" and the "rule of law" being unmasked as nothing more than a cynical deception spouted for geopolitical reasons. The control of territories and resources is the real name of this game. This is as true in the Balkans as in the other colonized regions of the world.

In recent years, there have been two particularly egregious instances of the US-NATO representatives' meddling into the Montenegrin internal political dynamic. The first instance took place after the last parliamentary elections in October 2012 when the Djukanović-led coalition lost the absolute majority in the Parliament and it seemed as if the opposition parties were on the eve of forming a municipal government and electing a mayor in the second biggest municipality in Montenegro, the municipality of Nikšić.

Had this occurred, it would have provided enough political momentum for the overwhelming opposition victory on the presidential elections in April 2013, the victory of such a scope that it would have been impossible for the regime to rig the election results (as happened many times in the past). Knowing full well that this democratic political turnaround could be a likely outcome, the US-NATO operators embedded in Montenegro swung into immediate action in order to protect their political puppets.

According to the public statement by one of the leaders of the Montenegrin opposition, Nebojša Medojević, as well as several reports communicated to me by credible non-political figures, an official of the US Embassy in Montenegro, Andrej Popov, was instrumental in pressuring the leadership of one opposition party not to make the common cause with the rest and form an opposition-led municipal government in Nikšić.

Medojević went so far as to claim that Popov was the CIA resident in Montenegro, the claim denied by the US Embassy for obvious reasons.[2] However, Popov's interventions (whatever form they took, whether that of the "carrot" or of the "stick") were successful and the opposition's negotiations fell apart. As the lasting political consequence, Djukanović's party was able to hold on not only to political power in the municipality of Nikšić, but also to steal the April 2013 presidential elections victory from the opposition candidate Miodrag Lekić in a particularly brazen manner.[3] No US-NATO official condemned the illegitimacy of the (re)election of the new-old president Filip Vujanović and, in fact, it appears that, for all intents and purposes, they all breathed a sigh of relief. Not for long, however.

It is one thing to legislate from on high to the corrupt and servile elite, it is another to convince the people of Montenegro that corruption and servility is the only way of life. No self-respecting citizen will accept that and this goes for the majority of Montenegrins. Their dissatisfaction with Djukanović and his cronies was building up again in the anticipation of the municipal elections in the capital city of Podgorica in May 2014. However, just as the public opinion polls began showing the possibility of the regime change in Podgorica, the Montenegrin government received a high-level visitor from NATO headquarters in Brussels.

It was none other than the NATO secretary-general at the time, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Rasmussen came to Montenegro just three days before the elections in order to give explicit political support to the ruling coalition and confer on them the so-called international legitimacy.[4] He disregarded the mountains of evidence on the regime's intricate electoral manipulations, collected by independent media and various objective researchers, and declared that Montenegro is a democratic country which shares "Euro-Atlantic values" and whose membership in NATO is imminent.

Rasmussen's statements exposed as false the frequent claims of the NATO propagandists in Montenegro that NATO membership would have beneficial effects on the institutional democratization and the overall economic wellbeing. The truth is, however, that the government of Montenegro is run by a corrupt political clan tied to the regional and global networks of organized crime, and the publicly expressed support by NATO officials only serves to augment and justify its authoritarian practices of political and cultural discrimination and abuse. When, not surprisingly, the election results in Podgorica turned out to be in favor of Djukanović, it became clear that, yet again, he succeeded to push the massive citizen discontent under the rug with the help of his US-NATO "partners".

However, the discontent did not and will not go away, and Djukanović has recently been dialing up NATO for assistance again. And so, a few weeks ago, on June 10, 2015, the new NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, former Norwegian prime minister, visited Montenegro. [5] Stoltenberg replaced Rasmussen at the helm of NATO after the 2014 Wales Summit.[6] However, his attitude toward Djukanović and the rampant political corruption in the country was essentially the same as Rasmussen's.

Even though Stoltenberg spoke of the rule of law and institutional reforms, his pronouncements remained at a highly abstract level.[7] He did not mention any of the various concrete government scandals exposed in the last several years, including the most recent revelations about the falsification of the level of public support for NATO membership by both Djukanović and the minister of foreign affairs, Igor Lukšić.[8]

Djukanović and Lukšić knowingly lied to the public about the results of the opinion poll the government itself commissioned and which showed that the public support for NATO has been decreasing and that the majority of the Montenegrin citizens support the policy of military neutrality. However, due to the courageous efforts of the journalist Marko Milačić, director of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro, all the reports, including the secret communications from various Montenegrin embassies, saw the light of day and were published in the Montenegrin daily newspaper Dan.[9] This created a major public outcry against the government and NATO itself, but was conveniently ignored by Stoltenberg and his Montenegrin "partners".

During his press conference with Djukanović, Stoltenberg claimed that those countries in Central and Eastern Europe which have entered NATO since the end of the Cold War "have strengthened their democracy, improved their security, [and] made the lives of their citizens safer".[10] He offered no confirmatory evidence for this claim and, in fact, the truth is the exact opposite.

NATO military-intelligence intrigues have actually corroded the democratic procedures and mechanisms in the new members. In regard to the overall security and citizen safety, even if one does not take into consideration the current renewed militarization of Europe under NATO's auspices, it can hardly be said to have improved in the last decade.

In other words, Stoltenberg's rhetoric was a prepackaged PR product directed at those Montenegrin citizens who may not have made up their minds about whether or not they would support NATO membership. But, as they say in the Balkans, the number of these is so small that one would need a flashlight to find them in the broad daylight.

In order to try to undermine the increasingly well-organized and vocal opponents of NATO in Montenegro, Stoltenberg addressed what he was told by his hosts to be the main criticism of NATO: the widespread negative public attitude due to the 1999 NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which also affected Montenegro and resulted in civilian casualties, including the deaths of children. In contrast to his predecessor Rasmussen, who, in a typically arrogant imperial fashion, told a Montenegrin TV audience that, basically, they were bombed for their own good, Stoltenberg stated that he regretted the civilian loss of life and expressed his condolences.[11] However, he immediately added that the goal of the mission was to "defend the civilians" and that this mission was successful. He did not explain how the "defense of civilians" could involve killing hundreds of them, unless (and this is a persistent "Euro-Atlantic" prejudice) "Western" lives are more important than others and the geopolitical desire for territorial expansion justifies the use of all the means at hand, including deadly force. Stoltenberg claimed that NATO attacks made a lasting peace possible, whereas the true state of affairs is that NATO bombing (which wrecked both the UN Charter and the US Constitution) and the subsequent construction of the US military base in Kosovo have made this part of the Balkans the perpetual source of instability for many years to come.

In addition, Stoltenberg stopped far short from admitting the guilt and taking the responsibility for the civilian deaths, the enduring health hazards caused by the bombs, and the billions of dollars of property damage. In this respect, it is revealing that, while the Balkan media covered Stoltenberg's "statement of regret" extensively, there is no mention of it in the report on his Montenegro visit provided on the official NATO website. This leads to the conclusion that the 'statement of regret' was made only in order to make a positive impact in the internal political debates in Montenegro. After all, it remained unclear whether Stoltenberg regretted only the civilian victims in Montenegro or his regrets also extended to Serbia, where a far greater number of civilians were killed. And what about the deaths of Chinese diplomats and journalists?

However, Stoltenberg's "bluff" was immediately called by those progressive political forces in Montenegro which reject the imperial dictates either in domestic or foreign policy. They refused to accept Stoltenberg's regrets and exposed his behavior as "a desperate attempt" to increase the percentage of NATO supporters in Montenegro and help the Djukanović regime avoid having to organize a referendum on the question.[12] Still, the percentage of those who demand a referendum is firmly above 80 percent, of whom more than a half would say 'No' to NATO. This means that no matter what NATO does in the coming period, its strategy to have the majority of Montenegrin citizens on its side has failed. The NATO's Balkan expansion project has come to a standstill.

# # # #

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

ENDNOTES

[1] See, for instance, http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/02/05/bfp-exclusive-the-citizenship-policies-of-the-us-puppets-the-case-of-montenegros-milo-djukanovic/ and http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/03/18/bfp-exclusive-the-balkan-gladio-of-congressman-mike-turner/

[2] http://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/medojevic-od-anb-a-hoce-podatke-o-popovu-1059

[3] http://www.cdm.me/politika/danilovic-lekic-pokraden-posebno-u-rozajama

[4] http://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/rasmusen-dosao-da-podrzi-opstanak-autoritarnog-rezima-211868

[5]http://balkans.aljazeera.net/vijesti/stoltenberg-nato-dobitna-kombinacija-za-crnu-goru

[6] It is not a coincidence that both the former and the current NATO secretary-general come from the NATO Scandinavian contingent (which, it must be remembered, excludes the militarily neutral Sweden and Finland). Traditionally, it is precisely the countries from this contingent that have been most in favor of the antagonistic relations with Russia, in addition of course to the NATO Baltic states, which, it appears, are not as yet "trusted" enough for such a high post by the US (the CIA).

[7] http://www.slobodnaevropa.org/content/stoltenberg-crna-gora-da-pokaze-da-je-spremna-za-clanstvo-u-nato/27066871.html

[8] http://www.dan.co.me/?nivo=3&rubrika=Vijest%20dana&datum=2015-05-07&clanak=489972

[9] http://mnmne.org/marko-milacic-the-cablegate-affair-in-montenegro-cables-came-from-the-montenegrin-government-agency-for-national-security-and-the-council-for-nato/

[10] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_120534.htm

[11] http://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/stoltenberg-o-bombardovanju-duboko-zalim-zbog-zrtava-837680

[12] http://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/pokret-za-neutralnost-stoltenbergovo-zaljenje-kalkulantsko-837698

 

 

 

 

BFP Exclusive – Victoria Nuland & the Balkans

Victoria Nuland, the Balkans & the two-fold Cold War agenda of keeping the US-NATO Empire in

With regard to the production of geopolitical discourses, the field of critical geopolitics distinguishes between the "intellectuals of statecraft" and the "dissident intellectuals". The intellectuals of statecraft are those whose activities are directed toward the extending and deepening the power of the status quo, whereas the dissident intellectuals endeavor to demystify and deconstruct the existing networks of power and privilege.[1] The former are the creators of official manipulations and lies, while the latter seek to reveal the hidden truths behind them. While the latter write for BFP on a voluntary basis, the former work for the government agencies for a lot of taxpayers' money. This article is about one such intellectual of statecraft and the little known aspect of her geopolitical activities.

Victoria Nuland attained global spotlight relatively recently in connection to the Euromaidan events in Ukraine in early 2014. Her expletive regarding the EU travelled around the globe within minutes of the appearance of the leaked telephone conversation between her and the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on Youtube.[2] The very day the conversation became public, I took part in the panel discussion on the geopolitical significance of the events in Ukraine at the Center for Civic Education in Podgorica, Montenegro.[3]

In my presentation, I stated that we would be able to judge as to whether there was any commitment to political accountability and sensible diplomacy in the US State Department by Nuland's subsequent professional fate. I claimed that if she did not resign after such an outrageous diplomatic scandal, it would mean that the moral decay and corruption, coupled with imperial and aggressive disregard for all differences in approach and opinion, took hold within the State Department and was now beyond repair. Not surprisingly, this is exactly what happened. Nuland held on to her post and her brand of "diplomacy" appears to have become the norm in the US relations with both the allies and the supposed opponents in Europe and beyond.

Even though Nuland became a high-level functionary of the State Department only about a year and a half ago (she was appointed assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in September 2013), she has been active in the US foreign policy establishment for more than two decades.[4] She began her career in the US embassies in Russia and Mongolia and later worked in the US Mission to NATO. From 2000 to 2003, she was the US deputy permanent representative to NATO, and she became the (18th) US permanent representative (ambassador) to NATO from 2005 to 2008. In between the two NATO stints, she advised (who else but) the imperial chief strategist, the US vice president Dick Cheney. Obviously, she has been involved in formulating and implementing the expansionist geopolitical policies of NATO from the late 1990s. In this manner, she contributed a great deal to current political and economic instability on the European continent.

Together with her husband Robert Kagan, a well-known neoconservative author and one of the founders of the imperialist/globalist Project for a New American Century (PNAC), Nuland has been a member of the Washington inner circle of those who think that the US should make the entire planet serve its imperial interests. The government, professional, and academic networks of the Nuland-Kagan couple show that there is basically no distinction between the Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the goals of the imperial foreign policy.

In addition, just like some of the most powerful "intellectuals of statecraft" in the recent US history, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Madeleine Albright, Nuland has family roots in Eastern Europe (Odessa, Ukraine) and this may in part explain (but cannot justify) her distrustfully aggressive attitude toward Russia, its national interests and foreign policy goals. In fact, considering that the reductive anti-Russian worldview propelled the careers of both Brzezinski and Albright, the same could be anticipated in the case of Nuland as well. If the US foreign policy continues going down the current, ultimately destructive path, I would not be very surprised to see her appointed as the secretary of state in the next presidential administration.

While Nuland's geopolitical activities on the rimlands of Russia are well covered by the alternative and anti-imperial media (e.g. distributing monetary aid to the pro-imperial political forces in Ukraine and, more symbolically, cookies to the Maidan protesters),[5] not much has been written about her activities in the Balkans. This article aims to remedy that significant lacuna. In my opinion, the US-NATO extensive involvement in the Balkans is just as important for the success of the overall imperial agenda as the heavily militarized engagement on the borders of Russia and its Central Asian allies.

Nuland in the Balkans

In her capacity as the assistant secretary of state, Victoria Nuland visited the Balkans for the first time in the mid-July 2014. The general aim of her mission was two-fold. First, to further the imperial goals of strengthening the US-NATO hold over the region, and, secondly, to oppose the historical Russian and the emerging Chinese influences, using all the means at her disposal (from open threats to promises to look the other way while the attacks on free thought and human rights are being perpetrated by the Balkan governments).

Nuland first landed in Croatia and took part in the Croatia Forum in Dubrovnik on July 11, 2014. The Croatia Forum is a decade-old annual gathering of the foreign ministers and other political dignitaries from Europe and beyond involved in the formulation of foreign policy. Considering that Croatia is a member of NATO since 2009, it is not surprising that Nuland called it "a fantastic ally".[6] However, on the issue of gas and oil industry, Nuland cautioned the Croatian allies to be careful and make "smart decisions". This was an implicit reference to the talks going on at the time on the possible business deals between the Croatian oil and gas companies and the Russian Gazprom.[7] Also, at the time, the building of the South Stream oil pipeline was still in the cards and Nuland was concerned that Croatia's involvement in its future operations would lead to its developing tighter and mutually profitable economic links with Russia. As is known, the pipeline was later cancelled after the intense political pressure by the US and EU officials on the Bulgarian government. Obviously, in this respect, Nuland got what she wanted, but this outcome will lead to the imposition of heavy economic costs on the ordinary citizens of the Balkans left without a source of cheap(er) energy.

Even though Nuland did not visit Bosnia-Herzegovina, she did not miss the opportunity to mention it in her Dubrovnik speech by calling for the strengthening of the country's unity, a code phrase for the revision of the 1995 Dayton Agreements which ended the civil war. She publicly contradicted her "fantastic ally", the Croatian prime minister Zoran Milanović who, at the same forum only a day earlier, said that the revision of the B-H constitution was "unrealistic".[8] However, Nuland's statement points to the existence of a policy disagreement between the "allies", and therefore we could expect more political and economic instability in B-H in the coming period in order to suit the US imperial "strategy of tension".

The next stop on the Nuland's Balkan tour was Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro. Nuland met with all the top corrupt political dignitaries, the prime minister Milo Djukanović, a long-time CIA asset, the "president" Filip Vujanović, illegitimately elected in the rigged elections in April 2013, and the "usual puppets," the ministers of foreign affairs and defense, Igor Lukšić and Milica Pejanović-Djurišić.[9] She vexed ecstatic on the "political progress" in one of the most extensively mafia-controlled countries in the world and of course promised her help to get Montenegro an invitation to NATO membership by the end of 2015. Needless to say, Nuland also praised  Djukanović, who has been in power since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and is known to have been involved in the massive war crimes as well as many organized crime operations over the last 25 years.

From Podgorica, Nuland went to Tirana, the capital of Albania where she met with the top level Albanian officials, the prime minister Edi Rama, the president Bujar Nishani, and the speaker of the Parliament Ilir Meta. All three thanked Nuland on the continued US support, while Rama also mentioned the US support for "the Albanian people in the region".[10] This mention is of extreme relevance as it has to do with the relations between Albania and Kosovo, which have become very close since Kosovo's declaration of independence in 2008. In some circles, the increasing economic and political integration between the two conjures up the fear of a "Greater Albanian" state, the efforts on behalf of which by certain influential Albanian political elites (both in the region and in the US) could seriously destabilize the Balkans.

In Montenegro and Albania, Nuland also met with the leaders of the parliamentary opposition. These leaders brought up serious charges against both Djukanović and Rama, which were no doubt the source of cynical laughter among the US Embassy officials after the end of the meetings. In both countries, the US puppets are in power, and, no matter how corrupt they get, while they remain puppets, they will get all the support they need to keep holding on.

After Tirana, Nuland's next stop was Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, which many have called a "NATO state", considering that Kosovo's separation from Serbia was heavily supported by the US and its NATO allies. However, it is important to point out that not even all the NATO states have recognized Kosovo, which shows to what extent its recognition by other states (close to 110 at this point) was the result of the US imperial arm-twisting and not based on international law and relevant procedures. Is it surprising then that Nuland was herself lavished with praise from the Kosovo political leaders, including the suspected war criminals, Ramush Haradinaj and Hashim Thaçi? The president of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga thanked Nuland on the US support for Kosovo's "broad Euro-Atlantic integrations", which is a code phrase for the close cooperation with NATO military and intelligence networks.[11]

On July 13, 2015, Nuland visited Belgrade and met with the Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić as well as with the foreign minister Ivica Dačić. Nikolić stressed that Serbia wants to have good relations with both "the West and the East", which is definitely not what Nuland wanted to hear.[12] The US imperial interests demand that the Balkan countries cut off all good and mutually beneficial relations with the East. At the end of the day (unless, in the meantime, there is the End of the World), this will no doubt turn out to be a Quixotic quest on the part of the US, but not before much more economic and political instability is imported into the region as the preferred weapon of imperial control.

In contrast to Nikolić, Dačić, the close ally of the former Serbian authoritarian leader, Slobodan Milošević, was - perhaps due to the past sins in the US eyes - more amenable to Nuland's rhetoric. He talked about the strengthening and extending the relations with the US on various economic and security issues. Nuland returned the "compliment" and asserted that she was "impressed" with the progress of Serbia and the "ambitious reform plan of the Serbian government". Is it necessary to point out that the ambition of this plan consists only in further applying the neoliberal austerity measures on the already heavily impoverished population of Serbia?

The last segment of Nuland's Balkan trip was in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia (FYROM). She met both with the president George Ivanov and the prime minister Nikola Gruevski. Predictably, the topics of discussion included the "Euro-Atlantic" integrations and the implementation of neoliberal economic policies.[13] Not much was mentioned about the prevailing corruption and human rights abuses in the country, but Nuland stressed that more needed to be done by the Macedonian government to alleviate the concerns of the "Albanian regions". This emphasis should be enough to explain the praise Nuland received both in Albania and Kosovo for the continued US support. No doubt the location of one of the newest and biggest US military bases in Europe (the Camp Bondsteel) in Kosovo, not far the Macedonian border, has something to do with it.

Nuland has not visited the Balkans since July 2014, but there are some indications that she will visit again this summer.[14] However, since her visit, she often met with the Balkan leaders either in Washington, DC or at the margins of various international political gatherings, such as, for instance, the Munich Security Forum. This means that the two-fold Cold War agenda of keeping the US-NATO Empire in, and all the others (including the autonomous populist forces) out, is in the full swing at this time. However, if we take into consideration the political events in Greece since SYRIZA's coming to power, this agenda has hardly any long-term viability.

# # # #

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] See for instance Gearóid Ó Tuathail, Simon Dalby, and Paul Routledge (eds.). The Geopolitics Reader. New York: Routledge, 1998, especially Tuathail's "Introduction", pp. 1-14. This geopolitics reader is incomplete as it does not include the classic and contemporary writings of the Russian (Eurasian) geopolitical school.

[2]  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV9J6sxCs5k

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNrW09Y2TFI

[4] http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/214343.htm

[5] http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/05/us-assistant-secretary-nuland-visits-ukraine-some-thoughts-share-i.html

[6] http://dalje.com/en-economy/us-diplomat-says-croatia-must-make-smart-decisions-in-energy-sector/514772

[7] http://serbia-energy.eu/hungary-gazprom-buys-mols-share-in-ina-croatia-oil-company/

[8] http://www.slobodnadalmacija.hr/Hrvatska/tabid/66/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/250853/Default.aspx

[9] http://www.rtcg.me/vijesti/otvoreno-o-nato-u/58412/sad-ce-pomoci-cg-na-putu-ka-nato-u.html

[10] http://www.top-channel.tv/english/artikull.php?id=12299

[11] http://www.balkaneu.com/nuland-pushes-continuation-talks-serbia-stable-government/

[12] http://www.rtv.rs/sr_lat/politika/nikolic-i-nuland-za-nastavak-dijaloga_502492.html

[13] https://adukovska.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/assistant-secretary-nuland-the-u-s-supports-vision-of-integrated-macedonia/

[14] http://www.tanjug.rs/news/164338/dacic--serbia--usa-relations-on-upward-trajectory.htm

BFP Update: Our New Partners, Video-Podcast Shows & Exclusive Report-Analysis Series

BFP Welcomes SpyCulture’s Tom Secker, PorkinsPolicy’s Pearse Redmond & Journalist-Analyst Erik Moshe

We are entering an exciting new phase here at Boiling Frogs Post. I launched this website with a firm commitment to becoming a network of truly independent authors, analysts and producers to serve the community of critical-thinking irate minorities-those who we know we can depend on for moving towards needed changes; those who truly count: ‘You.’

We have been doing exactly that since our inception, and doing so slowly but with sure steps. Our website has evolved from a one-woman small forum to a multi-faceted network of stellar and independent authors, analysts and producers showcasing one-of-a-kind reports, podcast and video programs, editorial cartoons and analyses.

I am truly honored to announce and introduce our new partners and soon-to-begin reports and multimedia programs - which will be available exclusively to BFP member activists:

SpyCulture’s Tom Secker

I am sure many of you are familiar with author, analyst and filmmaker Tom Secker and his incredible research on macro topics ranging from Gladio to significant global false flag operations. Starting the first week in May, Tom will present his exclusive podcast series on highly significant topics and controversial issues ranging from conspiracy theories to the Deep State - all paired up with much needed history, examples and contexts. The title of Tom’s podcast series: Disinfowars. Here is a brief bio for Tom, which does not begin to encompass all his accomplishments.

Tom Secker- BFP Partner Producer & Host, Disinfowars
Tom Secker is a researcher, filmmaker and the author of Secrets, Spies and 7/7.  His work focuses on the intelligence services, particularly their roles in international terrorism and popular culture.  He is based in North Yorkshire, England.  Visit Tom’s website here.

Please welcome Tom, and stay tuned for his first podcast episode coming up the first week in May!

PorkinsPolicy’s Pearse Redmond

Pearse Redmond is another name and producer many of you are familiar with. Pearse has been producing some incredible podcast shows through his site, and we have published his latest discussion series with Tom Secker and me on Operation Gladio B and related topics here at Boiling Frogs Post. He is a rare talent who combines informed critical thinking with articulate and natural delivery (and a beautiful voice as well!).

Pearse will be joining Guillermo Jimenez and me as a partner producer and host for our coming BFP Roundtable Video Series. Just like Guillermo and me, Pearse is also pro spontaneous and interactive delivery. Meaning: just as with our new podcast series Probable Cause, we are going to invite and participate in your feedback, comments and questions posted under each video episode, and structure our following episode based on those comments and questions.

We have had several episodes experimenting with the Roundtable Video series, and now I think we are ready to make it a regular and permanent feature at BFP. The format and length will be pretty much the same. In addition to our trio we will be featuring rotating guests- including our BFP partners, contributing authors and others. However, after our initial experimentation I have decided to get out of the YouTube forums and make these episodes available to BFP activist members through BFP’s own streaming video server. Of course we will post very brief preview clips on our YouTube channel and homepage in order to provide a general overview of each episode, but the full show will be available only to our activist members and supporters @ Boiling Frogs Post.

Here is a brief bio for Pearse Redmond:

Pearse Redmond- BFP Partner Producer & Host, BFP Roundtable Video Series
Pearse Redmond is an alternative researcher and podcaster based in New York City.  He covers a wide variety of topics including geopolitics, terrorism, cults, and deep-state events.  He is the host of Porkins Policy Radio, and co-host of Porkins Great Game with Christoph Germann, as well as The CIA & Hollywood with Tom Secker.  Visit Pearse’s website here.

Let’s welcome Pearse to our BFP activist community. I am looking forward to our first Round Table episode!

Investigative Journalist & Analyst Erik Moshe

A few weeks ago I began communicating with writer, researcher and journalist Erik Moshe. Erik had been following our coverage of issues at BFP and realized the synergy between the areas/topics we cover and his areas of interest. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 2009-2013, and his areas of interest and research include world history, international conflicts and cover-ups.  Erik is currently working on his first multi-part series of research-analysis on the issue of Drones: the history of the drone, where the idea came from, and what it's foreshadowing for our future. Additionally he will be analyzing the issue of Drones from a psychological perspective: Perceptions related to the use of drones in today's society, why drones are revolting to us, why we oppose them, and much more.

I am looking forward to Erik’s part I of the series, which will published at BFP very soon, and will be available exclusively to our activist members.

Here is Erik’s bio:

BFP Partner Journalist & Analyst
Erik Moshe is BFP investigative journalist and analyst. He is an independent writer from Hollywood, Florida, and has worked as an editor of alternative news blog Media Monarchy and as an intern journalist with the History News Network. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 2009-2013. You can visit his site here.

Welcome to BFP Erik!

For those of you who have not read my recent comments under our latest episode of Probable Cause: I will be continuing our podcast series, however, for the next four months, due to my quarterly contract work and some travel (June-July), on average we will have a new episode every other week. I love our podcast series, especially our discussions related to each podcast. I would love nothing more than to be able to do this full-time, multiple times a week, including bonus episodes based on ‘current events & headlines.’ Unfortunately, we were not able to meet our subscription drive-campaign goal for the last quarter, so in order to make ends meet I had to sign up for another quarterly contract involving analyses-translations. Hopefully, one day soon, I will be able to quit my part-time job and focus solely on BFP. Well, that’s one of the items on my wish list. As you all know, another major item for BFP is to be able to enroll full-time investigative journalists to do major exposé work. I still have my hopes intact- together we shall get there; hopefully sooner rather than later. Until then 😉

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.

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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 – The Balkan Gladio of Congressman Mike Turner

Can one really be surprised that Turner was chosen to be the president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly?

Mike Turner is a Republican member of the US House of Representatives from Ohio's 10th District based in Dayton. He was first elected in 2003. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit organization which deals with the issues of ethics and accountability in the US political life, listed him in its 2008 and 2010 reports among the most corrupt members of the US Congress. The CREW alleges that Turner committed the ethics violations in the categories of "enrichment of self, family, or friends", and "solicitation of gifts".[1]

Turner's latest claim to public spotlight was the 2012 initiative to build the missile defense systems on the US East Coast whose alleged purpose would be to protect the US from the missiles from Iran and North Korea. According to Turner, "you cannot open a newspaper or turn on a TV … without seeing a story of the rising threat from Iran and North Korea to mainland United States ...With these emerging threats, it is inevitable that an East Coast site will be necessary in order to ensure we have the ability to lessen the threats from both Iran and North Korea".[2]

Seemingly oblivious of both geography (the US West Coast is much closer to North Korea, for instance) and common sense, the statements like these prove that Turner is one of those members of US Congress who, over the years, have pushed an extremely aggressive, arrogant, ignorant, and dangerous agenda which seeks to impose the goals of the US foreign policy on both allies and opponents the world over, no matter what it takes.

Possessed of such psychological traits and ideological worldview, can one really be surprised that Turner was chosen to be the president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly?[3] The Parliamentary Assembly is supposed to be NATO's attempt at playing a "civilian" alliance. But, since they elected Turner to be their leader, they themselves appear to have ripped off even this fig leaf of democracy. That is, no doubt, yet another piece of evidence that shows the extent to which NATO is intent on militarizing the EU and re-molding it into the politically scared and economically scarred nuclear bulwark against Russia and its allies in Europe and beyond. However, taking into consideration the recent actions of French president François Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel, it appears that this effort may not be as easy and smooth as some in NATO's Brussels have expected.

But this is exactly why they got Turner. His task is to stir up and inflame age-old grievances in the EU's "soft underbelly" - the Balkans. And so, Turner has recently got himself heavily involved in promoting NATO membership in the region. In November 2013, in Washington, during the visit of the speaker of the Montenegrin Parliament Ranko Krivokapić, a long-time US asset, several members of the US Congress formed the so-called Montenegrin Caucus, oriented primarily to pushing for Montenegro's NATO membership.[4] In fact, as one of the co-presidents of the caucus, Michael Michaud, a Democrat from Maine, said, they intended to work on this agenda in "an aggressive way".[5] Well, that certainly is no surprise.

What is also not surprising is that both Michaud and the other co-president, Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, have, just like Turner, been allegedly involved in scandals and corruption. Michaud, who is no longer in Congress, was faulted for failure of oversight over the US Veterans Administration whose corrupt practices led to dozens of veteran deaths,[6] while Lamborn was linked to the interests of the gambling industry and left threatening voice mails to those who sought to expose him.[7] Truly, who else but corrupt politicians would lobby for a state ruled by an undemocratic, mafia-type regime, such as the regime of the Montenegrin prime minister Milo Djukanović?

According to the news footage from the Caucus inauguration ceremony, Turner was one of the first Congressmen to join it and, by February 2014, he was already reported to be its president. In the past year, he met several times with the high officials of the Montenegrin government. Turner met with Djukanović in Brussels in March 2014,[8] right before Djukanović's visit to Washington in April 2014, where he met with the US vice-president Joe Biden.[9] In addition, Turner met with Krivokapić in September 2014 and, most recently, in February 2015.[10] He himself visited Montenegro as a member of the congressional delegation in October 2014.[11]

At all these meetings, one question dominated the agenda: how to convince the majority of the Montenegrin citizens, who are against NATO membership, that NATO is a good idea. The strategy decided on was, as I will show, from the Gladio repertoire: artificially instigating the tension with the neighboring states, preferably the ones who are not the members of NATO. In other words, making it seem as if other states harbored designs on the parts of Montenegrin territory, so that NATO could be offered up as the savior, as the only guaranty of the territorial integrity and the inviolability of borders. This in fact is one of the main claims of the Montenegrin government NATO membership propagandists, and now their task was to create a political crisis out of nothing, so that they could solve it via the US and NATO Gladio operators.

The Sutorina Gladio Operation

The point of contention chosen was the small area called Sutorina (80,000 square meters) on the coast of the Adriatic Sea which was part of Montenegro since the establishment of the Socialist Yugoslav Federation during WWII, but was a part of the Bosnian province of the Ottoman Empire in the more distant past. Certain politicians and academics, such as Denis Bećirović, a member of the Parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Suad Kurtćehajić, a political science professor at the University of Sarajevo, demanded that Montenegro give up this territory to Bosnia-Herzegovina.[12] For the time being, they have been successful in stopping the signing of the border agreement between two countries, and the "crisis", which is ongoing, has been widely reported both in the regional media and beyond.

Bosnia-Herzegovina recalled its ambassador from the Montenegrin capital Podgorica and Montenegro did not send its ambassador to Sarajevo after the end of the previous ambassador's mandate.[13] Just a few days before his recall, the ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Montenegro contacted me for a meeting on an unrelated matter, which I take as a sign that even he did not know that he was going to be recalled and that therefore the matter was planned at the last minute.

What is most revealing in the whole thing is that most of the Bosnian politicians and academics who are destabilizing the political situation by pushing for the border changes share the so-called Euro-Atlantic (NATO) orientation of Djukanović's government, while those politicians in Bosnia-Herzegovina who are against NATO membership and are critical of Djukanović's policies are keeping silent. Hence it appears, beyond a reasonable doubt, that those in the first group are all playing an assigned role in the Gladio-type charade. I pointed out this "anomaly" in a commentary published in the Montenegrin daily newspaper Dan in December 2014.[14]

And, then just a few weeks ago, additional evidence for my claim surfaced: Congressman Turner entered the fray. On February 25, 2015, he sent a letter to Bakir Izetbegović, the Bosnian Muslim member of the tripartite Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency, demanding that Bosnia drop all obstruction to the border agreement with Montenegro immediately.[15] He also threatened the cut-off of US aid and cooperation unless Bosnia promptly complies. In order to show that he means business, on March 3, 2015, Turner introduced an H.R. 1228, a bill entitled Montenegro Border Integrity Act, "to limit US assistance to Bosnia-Herzegovina until Bosnia-Herzegovina is in compliance with the state borders established by the Conference on Yugoslavia Arbitration Commission".[16]

Both the recipient of Turner's letter, Izetbegović, and the commentators in the Bosnian media noted that it was surprising that Turner did not write to the chairman of the Presidency, Mladen Ivanić, which would be procedurally the only right thing to do.[17] However, Ivanić is a Serb member of the Presidency and therefore likely not to be a member of the Balkan Gladio cabal. Ivanić later said that he did not see the letter and that "such letters are not very welcomed".[18]

Of course they are not "welcomed", because their purpose is to create an atmosphere of fear, instability, and tensions where there was none before. Their function is to sway civilian populations to accept the idea that only a military alliance such as NATO can provide for international peace and stability, whereas precisely the opposite is true, as this very example, among many, goes to show. And, fundamentally, they bear all the unmistakable signs of an intelligence Gladio operation in which, it appears, US Congressman Mike Turner is both an able and willing participant.

# # # #

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.citizensforethics.org/page/-/Beyond%20Delay%20Full%20Report_0.pdf?nocdn=1; http://www.citizensforethics.org/page/-/PDFs/Reports/Most%20Corrupt%20Reports/Most%20Corrupt%20Report%202010.pdf?nocdn=1; see also http://www.cdm.me/politika/nvo-pokret-za-neutralnost-korumpirani-kongresmeni-ubrzavaju-crnogorski-put-u-nato

[2] http://thehill.com/policy/defense/226265-republican-plans-east-coast-missile-defense-shield

[3] http://www.nato-pa.int/default.asp?SHORTCUT=201

[4] http://mondo.rs/a635789/Info/Ex-Yu/Formiran-crnogorski-kokus-koji-lobira-za-NATO.html

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz50zb7VI74

[6] http://www.themainewire.com/2014/06/michaud-refuses-responsibility-va-corruption-scandal/

[7] http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_6782060

[8] http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/planeta.300.html:483876-Djukanovic-Vreme-za-poziv-NATO

[9] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/08/readout-vice-president-s-meeting-prime-minister-milo-djukanovic-monteneg

[10] http://www.skupstina.me/index.php/en/skupstina/predsjednik/aktuelnosti/item/3323-predsednik-skupstine-u-poseti-sjedinjenim-americkim-drzavama

[11] http://www.cdm.me/politika/krivokapic-i-tarner-odnosi-crna-gora-i-sad-a-u-kontinuiranom-progresu

[12] http://www.slobodnahercegovina.com/becirovic-sutorina-je-pitanje-bih-a-ne-entiteta/; http://ba.n1info.com/a16719/Vijesti/Vijesti/Kurtcehajic-Potez-za-povrat-Sutorine-me-je-jako-obradovao.html

[13] http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/montenegro-bosnia-still-argue-over-adriatic-claim

[14] http://www.dan.co.me/?nivo=3&rubrika=Politika&datum=2014-12-29&clanak=469390&naslov=Milova

[15] http://www.balkaneu.com/senator-demands-bih-suspend-discussions-border-dispute-montenegro/

[16] http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/bulkdata/BILLS/114/1/hr/BILLS-114hr1228ih.xml

[17] http://www.bosniatoday.ba/bakir-izetbegovic-replies-to-american-congressman-turner-i-have-nothing-to-do-with-sutorina-issue/

[18] http://www.bosniatoday.ba/bih-presidency-will-consider-threats-by-congressman-turner-that-us-could-suspend-aid-to-bosnia/