Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Investigation: Matthew Nimetz: Impartial Macedonia mediator or deep state agent?

Investigation: Matthew Nimetz: Impartial Macedonia mediator or deep state agent?
Major Hellenic Insider investigation: The role of Matthew Nimetz in the longstanding conflict between Greece and its northern neighbor may purportedly be that of an impartial mediator, but his past and present endeavors and many conflicts of interest reveal otherwise
by Michael NevradakisMICHAEL NEVRADAKIS
July 9, 2018, 2:59 pm

The UN's special mediator on the Macedonia naming dispute, Matthew Nimetz.


Nimetz performed his legal clerkship under a Supreme Court justice who co-founded an organization promoting eugenics and which maintained Nazi ties.
His diplomatic career began during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, under whose watch came the U.S.-supported coup which brought a military dictatorship to Greece in 1967.

Nimetz’ legal career has included partnerships at firms which have represented the likes of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase.
Nimetz was in charge of Greek-Turkish and East Mediterranean affairs in the U.S. State Department between 1977-1981. During this time, the U.S. arms embargo towards Turkey was lifted.

Nimetz proposed the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” as a temporary name for Greece’s northern neighbor in 1995, then used this name against Greece more recently, stating that Greece already accepted a country name which included the term “Macedonia.”
Nimetz is the former COO of General Atlantic LLC, which was a shareholder in Denmark’s Saxo Bank, which operated a banking subsidiary in Greece at the same time that Nimetz was the UN’s “special mediator” between Greece and “FYROM.”
Nimetz is a trustee of the Central European University (CEU), based in Budapest and founded by George Soros.
Nimetz is the founding chair and current board member of the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeastern Europe (CDRSEE), based in Thessaloniki, which operates the “Joint History Project.” This project, among other things, publishes history textbooks which are promoted to governments all across the Balkans. These textbooks recognize Greece’s northern neighbor as “Macedonia” and republish nationalist poems of that country.
As part of the Tsipras-Zaev deal brokered by Nimetz, the two countries are obliged to change the history textbooks used in their schools to remove “chauvinistic” references to Macedonia.

The CDRSEE is founded by George Soros’ CEU and Open Society foundations, the U.S. State Department, the European Union, and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In other words, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided funding to an organization founded by the purportedly “neutral” mediator between Greece and “FYROM” on the Macedonia name dispute.

The mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris is another CDRSEE donor.
The CEO of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy magazine and which recently proposed that Tsipras receive a Nobel Prize over the “North Macedonia” deal, is a board member of the NGO “IREX,” which is a donor to the Nimetz-founded CDRSEE.
Nimetz is a member of the board of advisers of the NCAFP, whose vice chairman Nancy E. Soderberg is the former vice-president of the International Crisis Group (ICG). The ICG proposed, in 2011, the name “Republic of North Macedonia” for Greece’s northern neighbor. The ICG includes amongst its board members George Soros and his son, Alexander Soros.
Tsipras admitted in a televised interview that the “North Macedonia” deal was sent to Nimetz for “corrections.” Which “corrections” were made, and why?
Has Nimetz truly been impartial in his role as mediator on the Macedonia naming dispute?


We are supposed to believe that the entire world is rejoicing at the news that Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his counterpart in “FYROM” (the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”) have come to an agreement where Greece’s norther neighbor will hereby be recognized as “North Macedonia.” Actors such as the EU, NATO, and the U.S. State Department have rejoiced, while Foreign Policy has ludicrously rushed to propose that Tsipras be awarded with a Nobel Prize.

Indeed, we are supposed to believe that this agreement is a great net positive for both countries and for all of humanity, putting an end to a dispute which has been ongoing ever since the unfortunate breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the “independence” of the so-called “Macedonia” in 1991.

Ever since 1994, the diplomat who has been tasked with brokering a solution for the dispute between the two countries is a man by the name of Matthew Nimetz. Initially appointed by the Clinton administration as a special envoy in 1994, Nimetz has served as the UN’s mediator on the Macedonia dispute ever since 1999.

When a diplomat is appointed to a position as a “mediator” in a conflict or dispute between two countries, one is led to believe that said diplomat is neutral and impartial, not siding with either party. Is this the case with Matthew Nimetz in the case of the Macedonia dispute, however? Who exactly is Matthew Nimetz, and what is his background? The following paragraphs will be quite revelatory.

Early beginnings in “diplomacy”

According to Nimetz’s biography, he was born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family in 1939, and graduated from Williams College, a small, private liberal arts college located in Massachusetts, in 1960. Such small liberal arts schools are favorites of the U.S. State Department for the purposes of recruiting future diplomats, in the mold of well-read and purportedly “idealistic” youth who want to “change the world” (but seemingly always within the confines of the existing order).

Nimetz immediately went on to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar — the scholarship program established by the racist colonialist Cecil Rhodes — prior to commencing his legal studies at Harvard, where he became editor of the Harvard Law Review, a position which was later also held by Barack Obama.

Upon Nimetz’s graduation from Harvard, he began a two-year legal clerkship for U.S. Supreme Court justice John Marshall Harlan II, son of John Maynard Harlan, who himself was a Supreme Court justice for more than three decades and who is considered one of the most influential justices in the court’s history. Harlan II and Nimetz both attended the same college at Oxford (Balliol College), whose alums also include Adam Smith and the (until recently) foreign minister of the UK, Boris Johnson.

The first of many detours begins here, as it is worth examining who Harlan II was. In 1937, Harlan II was one of the founding members of the notorious Pioneer Fund, infamous for its promotion of eugenics — a practice favored by the Nazi regime in Germany, and by many in North America at the time. At least two other founding members of the Pioneer Fund — Wickliffe Preston Draper and Harry Laughlin — seem to have maintained at least some ties with the Nazi regime. Draper met with leading proponents of eugenics during a visit to Nazi Germany in 1935 and expressed enthusiastic support over the concept, while Laughlin was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Heidelberg less than a year after the enactment of the Nuremburg Race Laws. Indeed, Laughlin is quoted as stating that the United States and the Third Reich shared “a common understanding of … the practical application” of eugenic principles to “racial endowments and … racial health.”

One additional founding member of the Pioneer Fund, Frederick Osborn, wrote in 1937 that the Nazi Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring was “the most exciting experiment that had ever been tried.” Still another founding member of the Pioneer Fund, Malcolm Donald, was also a former editor of the Harvard Law Review. See a pattern? One of course might wonder why Nimetz, who is Jewish, was so comfortable working with a justice who was a founding member of an organization that was so close to the Nazi regime.

Immediately following his clerkship in 1967, Nimetz was able to secure a position in the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson, initially as a member of his domestic policy staff. Clearly Nimetz didn’t have to worry too much about sending out copies of his resume and waiting for the phone to ring. What happened in 1967 though? This was the year that the U.S. and Western-backed military junta overthrew the democratic government of Greece.

To get a sense of the position of Lyndon B. Johnson towards political developments in Greece at the time, one needs to go no further than to an infamous outburst by Johnson towards then-Greek ambassador in 1965, after the latter rejected Johnson’s plan to divide Cyprus into Greek and Turkish parts, as a solution to the ongoing disputes between the two countries:

Fuck your Parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If those two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked… We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. Ambassador. If your prime minister gives me talk about democracy, parliaments, and constitutions, he, his parliament, and his constitution may not last very long… Don’t forget to tell old papa-what’s his name what I told you [referring to Greek Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou].

Fuck your Parliament and fuck your constitution. That’s the language used by the so-called “leader of the free world” and “progressive hero” Lyndon B. Johnson, towards Greece with regards to another issue of national importance. Then the proposal was for partition of Greek territory, today with the Macedonia issue, there is a partitioning of Greek history and cultural identity and the invention of a new ethnicity, language, and nationality out of thin air, one that is now apparently “racist” and “chauvinistic” to deny.

Of course, two years following Johnson’s outburst, the Greek junta came to power, a military regime whose attempted overthrow of the Cypriot government in 1973 opened the door to the Turkish invasion and occupation of almost 40 percent of the island which continues to this day. This was precisely the partitioning that Johnson screamed about in his rant.

As another quick aside here, it bears noting that fake savior Yanis Varoufakis, who rammed through austerity as Greece’s finance minister in the first half of 2015 while maintaining a “radical” and “anti-austerity” facade in the public eye, was invited for two years, spent the two years before his political appointment as a “visiting professor” at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin (which happens to also be my doctoral alma mater). Varoufakis was the second-highest paid visiting professor in the University of Texas system at the time, with a salary of $100,000 (more than many full-time faculty members) according to data which was publicly available at the time in the Texas Tribune. Varoufakis was brought to Texas by economist James Galbraith, also a part of the LBJ School. Keep that name in mind for later. Of course, Varoufakis also supports a compromise on the Macedonia name issue, going as far as to describe it as a “patriotic obligation” for Greece. What a surprise.

Strategic posts

Returning again to Nimetz, he remained part of the Johnson administration for two years, prior to moving on to the private sector, specifically to the major law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. With eleven offices and revenues of over one billion dollars annually at present, this firm has maintained longstanding relations with the likes of J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America (banks which “man of the people” Barack Obama informed us were “too big to fail”), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and more recently Microsoft, Google, and Facebook — together champions of so-called “net neutrality” whilst simultaneously engaging in systematic censorship online.

Once again Nimetz likely did not need to send out too many resumes or go to too many job interviews to land this position — nor did he seem to have much trouble becoming a partner at this prestigious firm (within just four years).

Even in the private sector, Nimetz continued his involvement in politics. For instance, in 1974 and 1975, Nimetz worked on the electoral campaign of Hugh Carey, who was soon to become governor of New York State and who in 1981 married the wealthy Greek-American real estate mogul Evangeline Gouletas. Carey later became a special adviser to president Bill Clinton.

Between 1975 and 1977, Nimetz was a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. For those who are not familiar, what exactly is the Port Authority? It is the owner of the three international airports of the New York City area (JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty), it operates the ports of the New York City area, and it was the owner of the World Trade Center and current owner of One World Trade Center. The Twin Towers had just been completed in 1975 and were in the process of being developed and populated. Airports and harbors imply trade, and trade is intricately linked to geopolitics.

Nimetz’ relationship with the Port Authority was indeed rekindled more recently, when in 2007 then-governor of New York Eliot Spitzer nominated Nimetz to again serve as a commissioner. Following the public disgracing of Spitzer (who once described himself as a “fucking steamroller“) and his subsequent resignation, Nimetz’ candidacy for the post did not progress.

Return to diplomacy, end of the U.S. arms embargo against Turkey under Nimetz’s watch

In 1977, Nimetz was appointed by the administration of U.S. president Jimmy Carter as Counselor of the United States Department of State, under then-Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Who was Cyrus Vance? He had also been a member of the Johnson administration along with Nimetz, is a member of the Trilateral Commission, and later served on the board of directors of IBM, Pan American World Airways, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, U.S. Steel, and The New York Times, and as a trustee of the Yale Corporation, as Chairman of the Board of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Vice Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. Vance had also practiced law at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, just as Nimetz had. Vance’s son is today a district attorney in Manhattan. As we will also see, Vance played his own significant role in Greek affairs in the coming decades.

What were Nimetz’s responsibilities at the State Department between 1977 and 1981? His purview included the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations. Why is this significant? In 1978, under Nimetz’s watch as the Carter administration’s official in charge of Greek-Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean affairs, the U.S. arms embargo against Turkey was lifted. This embargo was implemented in 1975 following Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of almost 40 percent of Cyprus.

It is also interesting to take a look at other issues under the purview of Nimetz during his time at the State Department, which included U.S.-Mexico border affairs (hold on to this thought, as well as to Nimetz’ previous role in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey), and the Micronesian status negotiations. How did these negotiations turn out? According to Hellenic Insider contributor Déborah Berman-Santana:

The US dragged out the Micronesia negotiations for over 20 years, long enough to break down plans for an independent Federation with sovereignty over the surrounding ocean (a no no for the US), divide the Micronesians into fake “associated republics” with no sovereignty but UN votes, payoffs of compliant locals and assassinations of leaders, torpedoing reparations for nuclear testing, etc.

One therefore may wonder whether Nimetz’s role has been not to solve disputes but to perpetuate them, at least until one of the parties is sufficiently weakened.

Following his tenure in the Carter administration, Nimetz returned to the private sector for the next 19 years, joining another high-profile New York law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, almost immediately becoming partner. To provide a sense of where this firm is coming from, it is listed as the third-biggest donor to U.S. Senator and current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (another Harvard Law alum) between 1989-2018. That “top ten” list of donors also includes Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, and Lazard — brought to Greece by the aforementioned Varoufakis and by the previous two governments to advise the country on implementing the austerity agreements with the “troika.” Another Schumer donor? George Soros.

Nimetz again continued his involvement in politics and particularly in matters of foreign affairs while in the private sector, however his return to politics in earnest came in 1994, when president Bill Clinton appointed Nimetz as his special negotiator for the Macedonian issue.

Now, what was happening during this period? The breakup of Yugoslavia was fully underway by this point, war was being waged in much of the region, and “Macedonia” had itself declared independence in 1991. And beginning that year, one of the individuals who was prominently involved in negotiations between the different sides in the Yugoslav conflict was none other than Cyrus Vance himself.

Getting involved with “Macedonia”

It was Nimetz who, in September 1995, oversaw the temporary accord between Greece and its northern neighbor whereby the temporary name “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” was assigned. Nimetz has since used this temporary accord against Greece. In an interview broadcast earlier this year by Greece’s ANT1 TV, Nimetz stated:

“One has to be realistic. Right now the name of the country in the United Nations is Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. So the name Macedonia is in the name now in the United Nations and recognized by Greece with that name. Over 100 countries recognize the name as Republic as Macedonia, so it has Macedonia in the name, for most countries.”

The Yugoslav conflict finally came to a close in December 1995, just a few months after the interim accord between Greece and “FYROM,” with the Dayton Accords, whose chief architect was the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Richard Holbrooke. Upon Holbrooke’s death in 2010, a “heartfelt” obituary was published in The Guardian by economist Peter Galbraith. Who is Peter Galbraith? He is a former State Department diplomat who, among other things, “discovered” that Saddam Hussein was “gassing” the Kurds (and who has supported the breakup of Iraq into three states, while also playing a role in the creation of Iraq’s new constitution in 2003, following the Bush administration’s invasion of the country).

Peter Galbraith was also the former U.S. Ambassador to Croatia during the crucial 1993-1998 period. He is the son of the Nobel Prize-winning economist John Kenneth Galbraith and brother of economist James Galbraith, who is based at the aforementioned Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. Galbraith was an adviser to Varoufakis when the latter served as Greece’s finance minister, a founding member of Varoufakis’ DiEM 25 “movement,” and has repeatedly defended Varoufakis’ inexcusable actions in the press. In the world of globalism, “it’s all in the family.”

Furthermore, Peter Galbraith was also a former candidate for the governorship of the state of Vermont. Keep Vermont in mind as you continue reading.

In 1999, Nimetz became the United Nations’ special mediator for the Macedonia issue following his nomination by the then-Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan, the same Annan who was the architect of the “Annan Plan” for Cyprus which would have, among other things, led to the maintenance of a permanent Turkish military presence on the island, or if you prefer, would make permanent the presence of the island’s current occupying force. The plan was (rightly) rejected by Greek Cypriots in a referendum, while it was (again not surprisingly) approved by Turkish Cypriots. The Greek “rejection” of a “solution” to the Cyprus issue is now used as a “weapon” of sorts against the Greek side, implying that it is the Greeks who do not desire peace and reconciliation on the island.

That’s how Nimetz attained his position as the United Nations’ special mediator for the Macedonia name dispute. However, aside from his questionable diplomatic past, Nimetz has also long been involved with other organizations and initiatives which belie where his true allegiances lie while calling into question his impartiality regarding the Macedonia issue.

Globalism, NGOs, George Soros, and clear conflicts of interest

To begin with, it should be mentioned that Nimetz is listed as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which will appear many times in the coming paragraphs and whose influence over such things as the mainstream media is well-documented.

One highlight of Nimetz’s resume is his former position as director of the Nature Conservancy. Who works for the Nature Conservancy today? Maria Damanaki, as the NGO’s global managing director for oceans. And who is Damanaki? She was purportedly involved in the “resistance” against the Greek military junta and was the voice of the famous pirate radio broadcast by students from inside the occupied Athens Polytechnic Institute during the student uprising, shouting out “Edo Polytechneio” (“This is the Polytechnic”). She parlayed her “resistance” into a political career, and is a former member of the Synaspismos political party (which was the predecessor to SYRIZA) and PASOK (the Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), out of which Synaspismos later split.

In 1994 and 1998 Damanaki was a candidate for mayor of Athens, finishing second in 1998. In 2009, Damanaki was named Greece’s representative to the European Commission, while the following year Damanaki was elected as the EU’s Commissioner-designate for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, a position she held until 2014. Despite earning 400,000 euro annually in this position, Damanaki maintained her parliamentary pension at a time when Greece had been forced to enact the first and second memorandum agreements, implementing harsh austerity cuts for those not fortunate enough to be professionally involved in saving the planet as Damanaki was.

Nimetz, between 1986 and 1994, also served as the Chairman of the United Nations Development Corporation (UNDC), as an αppointee of former New York City mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins.

Nimetz is also a trustee of his original alma mater, Williams College. He is also a director of the Revson Foundation, founded by Charles H. Revson, the founding president of Revlon Cosmetics. Nimitz, between 2009 and 2014, also served as chair of the advisory board of SUNY Global/The Levin Institute of the University of the State of New York, named after Neil D. Levin, the former executive director of the aforementioned Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Nimetz is also the co-founder and former head of the World Resources Institute, which boasts offices in the U.S., China, Brazil, Indonesia, and India, and which puts forth “policy solutions” for a “sustainable economy” and “sustainable cities.” The institute’s current president, Andrew Steer, is the World Bank’s former special envoy for climate change, while the organization’s board members include other former World Bank personnel as well as the ex-president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón.

In addition, Nimetz — who seems to have his hands in everything — is a member of the board of an NGO known as the Landesa Rural Development Institute, an organization which purports to support “land rights” for the world’s poor. One of the senior advisors to Landesa is none other than Bill Gates.

On Nimetz’s Landesa bio, he is listed as an Advisory Director and former Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of General Atlantic LLC, worldwide growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support for growth companies.

Indeed, Nimetz’s time at General Atlantic includes another conflict of interest with his role as a “neutral mediator” between Greece and “FYROM.” As has been revealed — but never reported in Greece or by Greece’s foreign correspondents — General Atlantic, during Nimetz’s time at the company, invested in a Danish bank known as Saxo Bank. Saxo Bank has a Greek affiliate, which however was never disclosed by Nimetz in reports filed with the UN (see here, here, and here for example). Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN’s Secretary-General, was confronted with this obvious conflict of an interest at a press briefing earlier this year and denied any impropriety on the part of Nimetz.

Nimetz also is the former director of Renren Inc. and its subsidiary, Oak Pacific Interactive the second-largest operator of social networking sites in China. Nimetz, in addition, is a former board member of KCG Investments (Knight Capital Group), formed in 2013 with General Atlantic as a major shareholder, while Rene Kern, General Atlantic’s Managing Director, joined KCG’s board. KCG Investments was a global financial services firm engaging in market making, high-frequency trading, electronic execution, and institutional sales and trading.

Additionally, Nimetz also served as the director of Pennsylvania-based supermarket chain Weis Markets Inc., and has served as the director of Ability Resources, Inc., a third-party administrator of life and health insurance products, in addition to involvement with Zagat Survey, Inc., and Multiplan, Inc. Bloomberg also lists Nimetz as the director of the European Institute of Public Administration.

But wait, it gets better still! Since 2017, Nimetz is also a trustee of the Central European University (CEU), based in Budapest. The founder of the CEU is none other than George Soros, while the CEU openly promotes Soros’ “open society” initiatives. Recently, the continued operation of the CEU has come under threat by the government of Viktor Orban in Hungary, and one of the leading figures opposing Orban’s stance towards the CEU is Kati Marton, wife of the late Richard Holbrooke (previously mentioned) and former wife of longtime ABC Evening News presenter, the late Peter Jennings.

Soros remained chair of the CEU until 2007, and was succeeded by Leon Botstein, who at the time was president of Bard College in New York State. Why is this significant? Bard College is the home of the Levy Economics Institute, whose president since its establishment in 1986 is economist Dimitri B. Papadimitriou. Papadimitriou, who has taught at Bard since 1977, has also presided over Congressional committees, previously studied at the New School, infamous for its connection to the Frankfurt School and what is known today as “cultural Marxism.”

Papadimitriou, between November 2016 and February 2018, served as SYRIZA’s minister of economy, development, and tourism before resigning (reluctantly) in disgrace after it was revealed that Papadimitriou along with his wife, Rania Antonopoulos, who was the SYRIZA government’s alternate minister of labor and social solidarity, were each receiving a generous rent subsidy from the Greek State for their residence in Athens, claiming that they were permanent overseas residents. Antonopoulos resigned as well following these revelations. Notably, Papadimitriou and Antonopoulos were the wealthiest couple in Greece’s parliament.

Antonopoulos has also long been an economist with the Levy Institute and a member of the faculty at Bard College. She, like her husband, also completed her studies at the New School. She is a former adviser to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and to “UN Women,” and is a proponent of “feminist economic theory.” As a researcher at the Levy Institute, her proposed “Greek New Deal” (later touted by Varoufakis and James Galbraith) promised the creation of up to 550,000 new (minimum wage) jobs, which of course have never materialized during the three-plus years of the SYRIZA government. Antonopoulos also famously wrote in SYRIZA party-owned newspaper Avgi in 2016 that the third memorandum agreement, signed by the SYRIZA-led government after it ignored the result of the July 2015 referendum, was “a blessing.”

Rewriting history one textbook at a time

Even more egregiously, Nimetz, in 2014, was the founding chair and later director of an organization known as the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeastern Europe (CDRSEE). Nimetz remains on the organization’s board of directors to this day. Despite being based in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city and the capital of the Greek prefecture of Macedonia, this organization is virtually unknown to the general public in Greece. And yet its role is extremely significant to the Macedonia issue — and to Greek cultural and historical maintenance.

The CDRSEE describes itself as “a non-governmental, non-profit organization that seeks to foster democratic, pluralist, and peaceful societies in Southeast Europe.” Among other initiatives, has promoted a “Joint History Project” with the support of the EU. This project is described as an effort to “change the way history is taught in schools in the Balkans,” and one might be tempted to wonder whether such a “joint history” includes, for instance, a “joint history” of Greece and “Macedonia.”

The answer to that question is very likely “yes.” As was revealed by Nina Gatzoulis, general coordinator of the World Pan-Macedonian Congress, history books released under the auspices of the CDRSEE’s “Joint History Project” make repeated references to “Macedonia” and to a “Macedonian nation.” Published under the oversight of Panteion University professor of modern and contemporary history Christina Koulouri, the CDRSEE has released three books which purport to promote “balance” and “objectivity” in the teaching of the history of the Balkan region, and “reconciliation” between its peoples.

How do these books apparently achieve this objective? One example comes from a section titled “nations and states,” which includes the national anthems of the countries of the Balkans. For Greece’s northern neighbor though, its national anthem is not included and in its place, a nationalist “Macedonian” poem attributed to Gjorgi Pulevski and titled “The Historical Roots of the Macedonian Nation” appears. This poem refers to the “Czar” Alexander and to “our” ancient Macedonian kingdom.

In other words, these “joint history” textbooks, under the guise of “tolerance,” are promoting the ultra-nationalist historical revisionism of so-called “Macedonians,” despite a wealth of evidence that Alexander the Great, as opposed to “Czar” Alexander, was indisputably Greek. And here another danger arises: while the Tsipras-Zaev deal purports to protect “Macedonian” claims against ancient Hellenic civilization, the hard-line position of “Macedonian” nationalists has been that ancient Macedonia and figures such as Alexander the Great were not Greek.

The covers of three history books produced by the CDRSEE’s “Joint History Project.”
It should also be noted that while the aforementioned nationalist poem has been attributed to Pulevski, no original manuscript has been found of the poem, which was written in Bulgarian instead of in the so-called “Macedonian” language.


A “Macedonian” nationalist poem published in place of the “Macedonian” national anthem, in a history book published by the CDRSEE and translated into Greek.
The CDRSEE’s history books have been translated into the Greek language, as can be seen in the accompanying image, and are being targeted for usage in Greek schools. And here one would be correct to ask another question: with the Tsipras-Zaev deal specifically stating that textbooks and other educational materials in use by the two countries will be reviewed for “irredentist” and “chauvinistic” material, will the CDRSEE, founded by the purportedly “neutral” Matthew Nimetz, stand to benefit by providing the new, “historically correct” textbooks that will be used by schools in both countries?

As for Koulouri, her curriculum vitae shows a long history of involvement on committees responsible for school history textbooks in Greece — during a period (since the late 1990s) when the teaching of Greek history in Greek primary and secondary schools has been gradually diluted. Specifically, her CV describes, as part of her 17 years of involvement with the CDRSEE, such highlights as organizing workshops “on how to teach sensitive and controversial issues in history in Southeast Europe,” “assessment and editing of alternative teaching materials…as part of a new method in history education,” “coordinating the editing of local editions in seven Balkan countries,” and “coordinating the development of alternative teaching materials…in Kosovo and Montenegro.” It bears noting that Kosovo is not even recognized by Greece. In addition, Koulouri has participated in a similar “shared history project” between Greece and Turkey

What is perhaps most notable and striking about the CDRSEE is a look at who funds this organization. The list is enlightening, featuring a globalist who’s who which encompasses:

The European Commission
The U.S. State Department
The European Commission’s “European Neighbourhood Policy And Enlargement Negotiations,” headed by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who was in the Prespes region for the signing of the Tsipras-Zaev deal and could barely conceal his glee.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
The National Endowment for Democracy
The European Agency for Reconstruction
The European Fund for the Balkans
The aforementioned United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (which was in existence between 1999 and 2008 and of which “Macedonia” was a member. This body created a “South-East Europe Regional Energy Market” with the participation of Greece)
The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (so much for Switzerland being “neutral”)
The Austrian Development Agency (ADA)
The Austrian Ministry for Education and Cultural Affairs
Norway’s Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norwegian People’s Aid
Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Principality of Lichtenstein
The Balkan Trust for Democracy (under the aegis of the German Marshall Fund)
The Central European Initiative
The Institute for Sustainable Communities (co-founded by Madeleine Kunin, former governor of Vermont and former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland during the Clinton presidency). Where have we seen Vermont previously?
The United States Institute of Peace (founded by the U.S. Congress and whose experts include the chair of the Police Restructuring Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina and former head of the legal department of the International Civilian Office in Kosovo, a former National Endowment for Democracy fellow, and a former assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID and current member of the Council on Foreign Relations)
The Winston Foundation for World Peace at William and Mary University (another liberal arts college favored for recruitment by the State Department)
ING Insurance
IREX (a nonprofit whose board members include the managing director of the Bush-affiliated Carlyle Group, the vice president of content acquisition for Comcast — which owns NBC, a former USAID director and Google executive, a former communications director of USAID, the former Senior Advisor of International Education for USAID and wife of former Iowa governor and presidential candidate Tom Vilsack, a former U.S. State Department official during the George W. Bush administration, a former vice president of the Carnegie Corporation, the former executive director of the previously-mentioned “UN Women,” the CEO of the FP group — publisher of Foreign Policy, the chair of Refugees International and a former reporter for Time, CBS, CNN and NPR; and the former Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs and former deputy secretary to Bill Clinton during his presidency)
Sabanci University (Turkey)
The University of Bucharest (Romania)
And last but not least, the George Soros-founded and affiliated Open Society Foundations, Foundation Open Society Macedonia, Open Society Institute Sofia, and Central European University.
The above list does not include the various “Greek” sources of funding for the CDRSEE, which includes:

The “Hellenic” Ministry of Foreign Affairs (under the aegis of Minister Nikos Kotzias)
The Municipality of Thessaloniki (under the mayorship of globalist darling Yiannis Boutaris)
The A.G. Leventis Foundation
The Cyprus Federation of America (which maintains extremely close ties with the U.S. Democratic Party, including Senator Robert Menendez, who has faced corruption charges. Its membership and leadership includes Philip Christopher and Nikos Mouyiaris, former owners and publishers of the now-defunct pro-PASOK diaspora newspaper “Proini,” based in New York City, whose one time editor, Michalis Ignatiou, was the longtime U.S. correspondent of the pro-austerity, pro-PASOK Mega Channel television network in Greece. Christopher’s niece is employed by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Business Channel, while Proini also once included within its ranks Chrysanthos Lazaridis, former adviser to ex-Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras; and Alexis Papachelas, executive editor of the pro-austerity, neoliberal Kathimerini which also publishes the English-language eKathimerini. Papachelas studied economics at Bard College at the same time that the aforementioned Papadimitriou taught economics at the same university. Papachelas has also attended the Bilderberg meetings in the past. He recently appeared alongside Tsipras on state broadcaster’s ERT panel discussion on the “North Macedonia” agreement).
The Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (whose longtime chairman, George A. David, has been a regular in the annual meetings of the Bilderberg Group)
Titan Cement (whose CEO, Dimitris Papalexopoulos, is a regular attendee of the Bilderberg meetings, including this year’s conclave)
The National Bank of Greece (repeatedly recapitalized by Greek taxpayers)
Greece’s Alpha Bank (repeatedly recapitalized by Greek taxpayers)
Samaras and Associates (based in Thessaloniki)
The Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki
The Greek-Turkish Business Council

In turn, the CDRSEE’s private donors include Matthew Nimetz himself, Greek attorney Stathis Potamitis, shipping magnate Pekin Baran (a member of a Turkish think tank known as the Global Relations Forum), the late John Brademas (former Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, former president of New York University, former chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and former board member of the New York Stock Exchange and the Rockefeller Foundation), businessman Nikos Efthymiadis (vice president of the CDRSEE, Honorary Consul of the Netherlands in Thessaloniki, and Chairman of the STABILITY PACT/Business Advisory Council for Southeast Europe), businesswoman Stacey A. Polites (Elastrak), Alex Gus Spanos (the billionaire chairman of the A.G. Spanos Companies, owner of the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers, and one of the top donors to the campaigns of George W. Bush and a Bush family friend), Rigas Tzelepoglou (president of the Thessaloniki Business College), and Spiros Voyadzis (οwner, Partnerships for Finance and Development).

Many of the aforementioned individuals participate in an annual conclave which could be described as the Greek edition of the Bilderberg Group, the Delphi Economic Forum. These individuals include Nikos Mouyiaris, Nikos Efthymiadis, Alexis Papahelas, Dimitris Papalexopoulos, and Maria Damanaki, in addition to a veritable all-star team of leading Greek and foreign politicians, businesspeople, bankers, journalists, academics, clerics, military leadership, and ambassadors far too numerous to list here. As mentioned earlier, it’s “all in the family” as far as neoliberalism and globalism is concerned.

To illustrate just some of the above connections, consider that David Rothkopf, the CEO of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy, is a board member of the IREX NGO. IREX is listed as a donor of the CDRSEE, where Nimetz is a founding member, former director, and current board member. Foreign Policy, following the Tsipras-Zaev deal, has suggested that Tsipras be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At the same time, the Trump-Kim peace deal and the reconciliation between North and South Korea, for instance, are treated with hostility by the same press establishment, and by the “markets.”

In another example, we see that Nimetz is a trustee of the Central European University (CEU), which in turn is a donor to the CDRSEE, as are the Open Society Foundations of George Soros, who established the CEU and was its initial chair. His successor, Leon Botstein, was previously the president of Bard College in New York. Bard College is the home of the Levy Economics Institute, whose founder and president Dimitri B. Papadimitriou was, until recently, Greece’s economy minister, while his wife, a senior economist with the Levy Economics Institute, was alternate minister of labor in the same SYRIZA-led government. Journalist Alexis Papachelas, who appeared alongside Alexis Tsipras in his televised interview immediately following the “North Macedonia” deal, was once a journalist with the Greek diaspora newspaper Proini, whose owners are members and past presidents and board members of the Cyprus Federation of America, which is also listed as a donor to the CDRSEE. “All in the family,” as we see once more.

What should be evident here is a stunning conflict of interest on multiple levels, calling into question Nimetz’ impartiality towards Greece and his suitability for the role of “mediator” between Greece and the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” He is the founder, former director, and board member of an organization which, in the textbooks it produces, has long referred to Greece’s northern neighbor as “Macedonia.” His textbooks have reproduced nationalist texts of “Macedonia” and made references to a “Macedonian ethnicity.” And the agreement which he brokered includes a specific clause which makes reference to the revision of school textbooks and other educational materials in both countries, as they pertain to the teaching of history. The CDRSEE produces history textbooks, under the auspices of the “Joint History Project.”

Furthermore, the CDRSEE receives funding from an outfit, IREX, one of whose board members is the CEO of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy and which has called for Tsipras to receive a Nobel Prize as a result of the “North Macedonia” agreement, brokered by Nimetz.

Another noteworthy factoid is that the FP Group is itself a division of The Slate Group, which also operates and which itself is owned by the Graham Holdings Company, formerly The Washington Post Company (which owned the newspaper by the same name, as well as Newsweek magazine). This company has branched out into other industries, including health care, manufacturing, and energy. With regards to the latter, Graham Holdings purchased, in 2013, Forney Corp. Based in Texas, Forney manufactures equipment that monitors and controls the combustion of coal, natural gas, and other materials. This equipment is sold to electric utilities for use in power generation plants.

Here, one simply needs to recall that the Tsipras-Zaev deal includes a specific clause for cooperation between the two countries on the construction, development, and operation of oil and gas pipelines. One may further note that the “Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe,” which was in existence between 1999 and 2008 and of which “Macedonia” was a member, was a donor to the CDRSEE. A lasting legacy of this body is the creation of a “South-East Europe Regional Energy Market” with the participation of Greece). And at this time, while all of Greece was focused on the “North Macedonia” agreement, a new austerity multi-bill was passed in Parliament in June, placing 25 billion euros’ worth of public assets as collateral, while foreseeing the privatization of Greece’s Public Power Corporation (DEH). Stavros K. Goutsos, the CEO of DEH, was one of the speakers at this year’s Delphi Economic Forum.

What is also egregious is the fact that the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was purportedly negotiating with the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” over the name issue, is listed as a donor to the very organization, the CDRSEE, founded by the mediator in the name dispute, Matthew Nimetz, an organization from which Nimetz has not absolved himself as he remains a board member. Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in other words, has funded an organization founded and directed by Nimetz, of which Nimetz remains part, which has long recognized Greece’s northern neighbor as “Macedonia” and which may stand to benefit from the “revision” of history textbooks in both Greece and the country which may soon be known as “North Macedonia.”

Continuing this thread of potential conflicts of interest, Nimetz is also a member of the Board of Advisors of an outfit known as the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP). Described as “a nonprofit policy organization dedicated to the resolution of conflicts that threaten U.S. interests,” the NCAFP “identifies, articulates, and helps advance American foreign policy interests from a nonpartisan perspective within the framework of political realism.” How can Nimetz serve as an impartial, neutral mediator if he is simultaneously a member of the board of an organization which seeks to “advance American foreign policy interests”?

Notably, the NCAFP’s leadership includes Paul Volcker (former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System), and more notably still, a certain Nancy E. Soderberg, who is the committee’s vice chairman. From 2001 until 2005, Soderberg served as the vice president of the International Crisis Group (ICG), which in 2011 proposed the name “Republic of North Macedonia” for Greece’s northern neighbor. Other NCAFP board members have served as Vice Chairman of Global Banking for Citigroup and Undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury for International Affairs, former associates of the RAND Corporation, and are members of the Council on Foreign Relations.

As the Council on Foreign Relations has appeared several times in this investigation, it bears noting that recently, Julian Assange tweeted an image showing the CFR’s links to major media holdings. Many of those outlets have correspondents based in Greece or who regularly report about Greece, almost all of whom have not concealed their excitement over the “North Macedonia” agreement while, for instance, ignoring the austerity bill passed by parliament last week and instead reporting that Greece is on the road to economic recovery.


Note that Foreign Policy appears above, as do many other prominent outlets. This may therefore help explain why practically all of the mainstream media outlets — and their correspondents based in or otherwise reporting on Greece — have barely concealed their excitement over the “North Macedonia” deal.

However, what about the International Crisis Group mentioned earlier? On its board, we find both George Soros and his son Alexander Soros, in addition to a globalist all-star team which includes former Swedish prime minister and foreign minister Carl Bildt (who served as a mediator during the Yugoslav conflict, as the EU’s Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia, co-chairman of the Dayton Peace Conference, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UN’s Special Envoy for the Balkans), Wesley Clark (former U.S. presidential candidate endorsed by the “leftist” Michael Moore, and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, who led the bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999), Wadah Khanfar (former Director General of Al Jazeera, which has repeatedly chastised Greece and other European countries for their “treatment” of “refugees” while Al Jazeera’s parent government hasn’t taken any in), Wim Kok (former Dutch prime minister), former U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, Javier Solana (former Spanish foreign minister, former NATO Secretary General, former EU Commissioner, and Distinguished Fellow at the aforementioned Brookings Institute), and former U.S. Treasury Secretary and president of Harvard University “Larry” Summers. The president of the International Crisis Group, Robert Malley, former Special Assistant to the President during the Obama administration, has followed virtually the same academic path as Nimetz, attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, as well as Harvard Law School.

It should also be mentioned that two “Greeks” also find themselves on the International Crisis Group’s board of trustees, including former U.S. Congresswoman Olympia Snowe and Maria Livanos Cattaui, former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce. What else does Livanos Cattaui do? She is on the global board of the Open Society Foundation of (who else?) George Soros.

Indeed, to be specific, both George Soros and son Alexander are on the Open Society Foundation’s global board, along with (surprise!) some other familiar names, including Leon Botstein, the aforementioned president of Bard College and member of the board of trustees of Soros’ Central European University. Another board member, Ivan Krastev, is also a member of the board of trustees of the now-familiar International Crisis Group in addition to being a founding board member of the European Council of Foreign Relations and former executive director of the International Commission on the Balkans. All in the family once more.

Some further peculiarities

In Tsipras’ interview on Greek state broadcaster ERT soon after the agreement was reached, he stated that both he and Zaev sent the deal to Nimetz for “corrections.” Say what? Exactly what “corrections” were made by Nimetz? And were these “corrections” approved by Tsipras and/or Zaev, or were they unilateral? Tsipras did not clarify his statement, nor did the softball government-employed interviewer on ERT.

What is nevertheless interesting though is that Nimetz has a long history of finding himself in positions which pertain to border and frontier disputes, and in regions which also happen to be known for trafficking of all sorts: drugs, humans, and more. Nimetz was at one time responsible for U.S.-Mexico border issues at the U.S. State Department. He was a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the airports and harbors of the New York City area. And the region which includes “FYROM” as well as Albania — and the significant Albanian minority within “FYROM” proper — is notorious for drug and human trafficking. What does Nimetz know about these issues and what, if anything, has he done to combat such issues all these years?

Therefore, having examined Nimetz’ history, his diplomatic and business connections, and his prior positions both in the public and private sectors, numerous serious questions arise as to Nimetz’ impartiality, the many potential conflicts of interest which can be identified between his role as “special mediator” on the Macedonia issue and his positions on numerous corporate and non-profit boards, his prior stance towards Greece and Greek national issues dating back to his role in charge of Greek-Turkish affairs in the U.S. State Department during the Carter administration, and the ulterior motives he may have had in brokering the 1995 agreement which led to the name “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and which was then used by Nimetz against Greece by claiming that the name “Macedonia” had already been accepted for inclusion in the name of Greece’s northern neighbor. Is it simply a coincidence that Nimetz’ Thessaloniki-based NGO, the CDRSEE, produces school history textbooks for the Balkan region, recognizes “Macedonia” and a “Macedonian nation,” and that the Tsipras-Zaev deal brokered by Nimetz includes specific provisions for the revision of school textbooks in both countries?

Further questions also arise: why has the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs been providing financial support for an NGO which was founded by the purportedly “unbiased” Nimetz and which recognizes Greece’s northern neighbor as “Macedonia”? Why is such funding also provided by the Municipality of Thessaloniki under its mayor, Yiannis Boutaris? What is the role of the international press and of figures such as George Soros in the Macedonia dispute, as evidenced by the many connections between NGOs Nimetz participates in, and Soros and the global press? Furthermore, was the “North Macedonia” name agreed upon as far back as 2011 or even earlier, and finally rolled out today for specific diplomatic or geopolitical reasons, such as, say, a fear that with Euroskepticism and “Trumpism” gaining ground in Europe and SYRIZA’s support continuously weakening in Greece (despite its purported “economic success story”), the time was now for the EU, NATO, and Nimetz to finally announce an agreement?

More questions still: what is the SYRIZA government gaining from this agreement and indeed why are they suddenly so desperate to “solve” longstanding foreign policy disputes such as this? Furthermore, what’s in the deal for Zaev and his country? Was Zaev, who did not win the December 2016 elections in his country, installed precisely to see this agreement through, and for what ends?

Or could it perhaps be that the Tsipras-Zaev deal, with the many hurdles that it still faces before ratification, is meant to fail? If so, what will follow a collapse of the Tsipras-Zaev agreement?

In looking at Nimetz’ diplomatic history, was he perhaps installed as “mediator” due to a prior history which could be considered questionable with regard to his stance towards Greece? Indeed, was he placed in the position he maintained for over a quarter century due to a history of not resolving longstanding disputes, such as the issue of Micronesian independence? Is the fact that Nimetz has often been placed in positions which concern border regions and areas with a high degree of trafficking coincidental, or is there something more to the story that we are not being told?

Ultimately, all of the above questions boil down to this concluding query: was Nimetz truly impartial in his role as “mediator” or are the many potential conflicts of interest identified above enough for the Tsipras-Zaev deal to be considered invalid?

Friday, 6 July 2018

The death of Alexis Grigoropoulos: CIA destabilization over Russian gas pipelines?

The death of Alexis Grigoropoulos: CIA destabilization over Russian gas pipelines?
Almost a decade later, the case of Alexis Grigoropoulos presents more questions than answers. How is the Grigoropoulos case related to Operation Pythia, the destructive fires of 2007 and repeated scandals leading to the downfall of the Karamanlis government, oil and gas pipeline deals with the Russians, and the economic crisis which followed?
by Evans Agelissopoulos
July 5, 2018, 12:06 pm

This is the decade of the 2000s, when deals were being cut between Italy, Greece, France and Russia over delivering Russian oil and gas from the South. The United States, busy spending billions on its unipolar wars, was proceeding full steam ahead in destabilizing the weak link in the chain, which was none other than Greece.

During this decade, Greece suffered fires of unimaginable magnitude, phone tapping scandals, and even attempts at murdering an elected prime minister by what has become known since then as a CIA destabilization plan. The decade ended with violent disturbances over the fatal shooting of a 15-year old schoolboy, Alexis Grigoropoulos, while the new decade kicked off with constant weather modification issues that recently resulted with dozens of deaths in flash floods in an area known as Mandra on the outskirts of Athens.

Russian Documentary
There was an extensive documentary that was aired some time ago on the Russia 24 news channel which made reference to the “Pythia” plan, which encompassed the ex-prime minister Konstantinos Karamanlis over the South Stream gas pipeline and the fomenting of destabilization in Greece.
Russia 24 referred to the “insurrection” of December 2008 after the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos and mentioned that from 2009 the FSB uncovered discussions with the CIA agents which referred to removing the Greek prime minister from his position.
During that period, a close friend of Karamanlis’ by the name of Christos Zahopoulos, who had been appointed to a prominent position in the ministry of culture allegedly attempted suicide, falling off a five-story building after it was revealed he maintained an office affair and he felt guilty explaining the situation to his wife! A reaction which had previously been unheard of in Greece, mind you. But this was simply a warning.

In the summer of 2007, Greece was burnt to smithereens via two massive fires in the Peloponnese region and in the Parnitha mountain range north of Athens, while in December of 2008 riots ensued for one month. The aura created at the time was that the government had lost control, with demands allegedly for martial law. The government’s mandate was until 2011, but eventually they went for early elections in 2009. In other words, the government was brought down and one of the first measures taken by the incoming government of George Papandreou was the cancellation of the Russian gas contracts.

What happened with Alexis Grigoropoulos?
As the story goes, allegedly the police were passing by in a car in the “radical” Exarchia neighborhood of Athens, and Alexis and his friends threw rocks at it. Police got out and shot at them, killing Alexis. The video that has been produced is grainy, taken in the night, and no one can make heads or tails of it. Whilst Alexis was a resident of the well-to-do northern suburbs of Athens, he was buried in the south of Athens, in a left-wing area. His coffin was a closed casket – again unusual. The mainstream media circulated he was an “anarchist” at the ripe old age of 15. The pictures they circulated sometimes were from a real victim of disturbances, Mihalis Kaltezas.

On the night of Alexis’ murder and within an hour or so of its occurrence, there were disturbances in a number of cities which continued for a number of days. They reached a crescendo of burning local businesses and migrants were employed to loot them. Foreign participants flew over from the UK, for instance, to take part. Social media went almost global over the event.

December 2008 is widely regarded as the time Twitter “took off” as a social medium in Greece. And since that time, the Greek “twittersphere” has been a stronghold of “antifa” and self-styled “leftists,” and to a lesser extent, a “liberal” and pro-technocracy contingent. The thread connecting these two elements is their absolute love for the EU and globalism, the incredibly coordinated manner in which they seem to have responded to events such as the Grigoropoulos shooting in 2008, and the almost simultaneous disappearance or sudden inactivity of many such prominent Twitter accounts soon after SYRIZA’s electoral victory in January 2015.

For example, soon after the large-scale fires of 2007, Greece’s first-ever protests purportedly organized via SMS text messaging and by bloggers “spontaneously” appeared in Athens and other large cities. Organizers of these demonstrations were later said to have participated in the December 2008 disturbances, in addition to involvement with such groups as the Athens Indymedia Center, which also played a key role during the December 2008 riots. Also in 2007, an alleged police beating of a UK-born photographer during a demonstration in Thessaloniki went “viral,” in one of the earliest such instances in Greece. The individual in question is later said to have participated in the December 2008 disturbances. Could all of this have been a coordinated prelude to what was to follow in Greece?

What actually happened?
It is beyond reasonable doubt that Grigoropoulos wasn’t an “anarchist” and never had any political involvement. According to the same mainstream media reports his family, soon after his death, said that he was friends with police and hated violence, while Grigoropoulos’ friends stated that if he was alive he would have condemned all the subsequent events in his name. But most of these reports disappeared as per the account which follows.

A special policeman by the name of Epameinondas Korkoneas is said to have shot Grigoropoulos dead at almost point blank range for unexplained reasons or reasons to do with allegedly throwing a bottle of beer at a police car. As if one bottle threatened the police enough to warrant a shooting? Subsequently the state invented a character who was allegedly friends with Alexis by the name of Nikos Romanos, who then became a hardcore “anarchist” constantly in and out of prison.

Romanos recounted a totally different story than the one circulated at the time, but hey, the mainstream media control the narrative and make it up as they go along, as they have done with so many other events the world over pertaining to “terrorism.” Romanos is the son of George Nazioutsik, who owns a 55-acre wedding venue and museum on the outskirts of Athens in total opulence. What actual issues of oppression did a rich boy in Greece face in 2009? None. This is Greece we are talking about, where the rich youth can spend months in the summer in nightclubs on the islands and in the winter can travel to northern Europe. This isn’t pre-revolutionary Russia with the absolutism of the Tsars and Narodnya Volya where Lenin’s brothers were killed in terrorist actions.

Therefore, speculating as to what actually happened as we won’t know for certain until government files are made public, we arrive at three possible scenarios. One scenario involves special forces bumping off Grigoropoulos to spark a riot, a hybrid war of destabilization against the Karamanlis regime as part of the “Pythia” plan. In a second scenario, he died of other causes (such as drugs), while in a third scenario, Grigoropoulos was exported to the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” the good ol’ US of A and was used as a … “victim” of a “police shootout.”

The plan was so well organized that rocks from the beach areas were present in demonstrations, brought into Athens by trucks so the young protestors could have a large supply of objects to throw at the police. It’s as if the state was fighting the state and the protestors were pawns in the middle. The volume of shops attacked was vast, and videos surfaced of migrants looting small Greek-owned businesses. This was the period when protests had already started in central Athens against the presence of swarms of illegal migrants who lived in public squares, literally turning them into public latrines.

The funeral of Alexis in Athens

Despite being a resident of the wealthy northern suburbs of Athens, Alexis was buried in the south of Athens, in a working-class district and specifically in the Neos Kosmos-Palaio Faliro graveyards. Thousands of youth arrived and the police deliberately targeted them. They tear gassed a funeral cortege so as to create more mayhem. It’s as if the state was saying: we will bump your children off and then attack the mourners as if this were occupied Palestine.

The actual funeral was with a closed casket and if one reviews the videos of the era, one sees the paid presstitutes arguing that Karamanlis enjoyed no popular support, that there was a social explosion (at least 4 years prior to unemployment officially reaching 30 percent) due to the fraud of Vatopedi (priests selling off land in the monastic region of Agion Oros), etc. Something doesn’t add up.
Court Case 8 Years Later and counting…

Two policemen were charged for the murder, Korkoneas and Vasilis Saraliotis: Korkoneas for the actual shooting, and Skaraliotis for indirectly supporting him. Zoe Konstantopoulou, the former president of Greece’s Parliament in the first SYRIZA government, has become the lawyer for Alexis’ mother, Ms. Tsalikian. The irony of the situation is that in 2017, she stated in court, under oath, that the murder of her son was part of this aforementioned “Pythia” plan, essentially stating that the policeman who murdered her son was a U.S. agent. She also stated that her son was only in Exarchia to celebrate Romanos’ birthday. In a video interview recorded in 2010, Alexis’ mother stated that her son was killed for no reason.

Now, taking into account this event happened in 2008, we are dealing with a “court case” that has been ongoing for nearly a decade. This begs the question, is it a court case or just a continuation of the propaganda regarding this whole issue and the characters involved are there to continue this event? We have two sets of explanations by Alexis’ mother with regards to the causes of her son’s death, separated by almost a decade. Since 2008, the issue of the CIA destabilization plans have gone mainstream as a number of media have published various accounts regarding this topic, and so as to not appear to be left out of the loop the storyline changes.

Who is Alexis’ mother, Jina Tsalikian?
Just as Grigoropoulos’ alleged friend Romanos is the son of someone who is wealthy by Greek standards, Alexis’ mother owned a gold jewelry store in Athens’ premier shopping street, known as Voukourestiou. Jina was married to a banker, so she is known in high society. Not long ago after divorcing, she married a ship owner. It is alleged she had a close personal relationship with Dora Bakogianni, the daughter of Greece’s former prime minister and close friend of the Bush family, Konstantinos Mitsotakis. The Mitsotakis clan were well-known CIA supporters from the mid-1960s. This family has been pivotal at all turning points in Greece’s latter-day history, from bringing down a Papandreou government in the mid-1960’s, to the issues surrounding the “restoration” of “democracy” in the mid-1970s after the colonels’ coup and subsequent dictatorship, and in the issues surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s. What we can see is that the security services of Greece serve different foreign powers depending on the situation. As for Tsalikian, it was also reported she was compensated to the tune of 800,000 euro following the murder of her son.

Looking back at this period, one can see the establishment ended up playing a double role. They undermined the government to such an extent that it was forced to resign and declare early elections in 2009 instead of the scheduled elections in 2011. This comes in stark contrast to today’s situation, where the SYRIZA-led government are doing everything in their power to postpone elections and stay in power for as long as possible. At the same time, the establishment trained the paramilitary police, both in official uniform and plain clothes, for the events that were to rock Greece in the next decade. Indeed, one of the first measures of the newly elected Papandreou government was to block the gas pipeline agreement with Russia. Nothing, it appears, goes to waste in the CIA Disneyland that is Greece. The question that now concerns us is this: do we have a shift in U.S. foreign policy and will Russia be allowed to sell gas and oil to the Southern European states as they do with the northern countries, or will CIA destabilization continue?

Monday, 2 July 2018

Crime, punishment and injustice in SYRIZA’s Greece

In the “new Greece” of SYRIZA, the same old practices continue: oligarchs and politicians go unpunished while the elderly are convicted for defending their home and their nation
by Evans Agelissopoulos
July 2, 2018,

77-year old with injuries to his face following protests against the controversial gold mining operations in the Skouries region of Northern Greece. This man was convicted of "assaulting" 10 riot police officers and received a suspended jail sentence.

Two recent cases in the media reveal the ludicrous nature of the “radical leftist” SYRIZA government. One regards the case of an 88-year old man arrested and charged for not agreeing to being robbed by two hoodlums in his own house. The other concerns the case of a 77-year old man caught protesting the controversial gold mining operations in Skouries, who was charged with beating up 10 riot policemen.

Only a banana republic which never charges politicians for financial and other types of fraud or big businessmen for tax evasion, will set out to publicly prosecute two pensioners following the letter of the law.

According to media reports, two hoodlums one of which was allegedly a migrant knocked on the door of the 88-year old man, claiming their ball had fallen in his garden. He let them in and they proceeded to attack him. Having a gun at hand he shot at them, injuring one. The police then made a big show of arresting him and taking him to court the following day in handcuffs under the known charges of illegal possession of a gun. But the unlawful presence of an illegal (Albanian) migrant is never, of course, taken into account, nor is the age of the alleged “perpetrator.”

The crime of robbing pensioners and torturing them with the use of hot irons has become a trend in the last two decades, and is the sign of the times. Adding to this, the robbery of their pensions by the men in suits and the continued economic genocide only adds to an environment that implies that it is “anything goes” season — a Hobbesian state of nature where life has no meaning.

In the case of the 77-year old who protested the gold mining activities in the Skouries region of Northern Greece, Greek courts found him guilty of the charges of “attacking” the riot police and issued him a 12-month suspended sentence, with three years’ bail. On that specific day, the accused checked himself into to the local hospital after suffering what must have been self-inflicting wounds, bruises all over his face and body.

Notably, these very same gold mining activities in Skouries were once protested by SYRIZA when it was still in opposition. SYRIZA even organized speeches on behalf of the protestors all over Greece and even abroad. Today that has been forgotten, in the name of “growth and development” and “foreign investment.”

The fact that a 77-year old left his home to protest the ecological destruction of an entire community for the stock exchange surpluses of a dubious gold mine which is destroying the ecosystem of a whole region (including local agriculture and local tourism) is a sign of how rotten politics has become in Greece, as it is in bed with the most rapacious multinationals. An older article describes the situation under which this occurred.

In both cases it is clear that justice is not blind. It serves the interests of the ruling cliques. To be old in Greece only implies you are surplus to national requirements. You should not be concerned about what world you leave behind to your grandchildren or for your own safety…

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Analysis: Deal or no deal? SYRIZA sells out “Macedonia” name, but will the agreement be ratified?

Greece's prime minister Alexis Tsipras in a televised address announcing the agreement with the government of "FYROM" for the latter to be named "North Macedonia," Tuesday, June 13, 2018.

Could it be the case that the long-standing dispute between Greece and the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (FYROM) over the name “Macedonia” is headed towards a resolution?
At face value, that is what recent developments are indicating. Following a series of announcements and statements in recent weeks by Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras and foreign minister Nikos Kotzias, and by “FYROM’s” prime minister Zoran Zaev that a deal was imminent and would be reached within days, Tsipras and Zaev came to an agreement in a pair of phone calls between the two on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
Is this a done deal, however? As will be explained below, the obstacles towards the final realization of this agreement are great, and indeed it may be “FYROM” – and not Greece – where this deal may ultimately collapse. If, however, the deal is finalized and becomes official, the dangers and potential consequences and pitfalls for Greece, based on the full text of the agreement, will be analyzed.

The agreement
As has been reported, Zaev himself selected the name “Republic of North Macedonia” (Severna Makedonija) out of a list of three options which also included “Republic of Upper Macedonia” and “Republic of New Macedonia.” Other names that had previously been rejected include “Macedonia-Skopje,” “Vardar Macedonia,” and “Ilinden Macedonia.”

The agreement recognizes that the language of the country to be named “North Macedonia” is “Macedonian” – but that it is a language of Slavic origin with no relation to the Greek language – while the citizens of this country will be “Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia, again with a clear reference in the text of the agreement that the people of this country are unrelated to the people of the Ancient Greek civilization of Macedonia.

The new constitutional name will be acceptable for all uses and purposes, both domestic and international (erga omnes) and “North Macedonia” will be required to change all domestic references of the name of the country to this new name, with international documents to be changed within a period of five years, but domestic political documents to be changed within five years of each relevant step in the EU ascension process (which itself might drag on for a very long time).

Significantly, this deal also unlocks “FYROM”/“North Macedonia’s” NATO and European Union candidacy. This will be part of the next series of steps which are to follow before this agreement is finalized and becomes official in both countries. These steps encompass:
Tsipras will officially inform the Greek Parliament of the agreement on Friday.

Tsipras and Zaev signing the agreement this weekend on the shores of Lake Prespa, which straddles the border of the two countries.
Ratification of the agreement in the parliament of “FYROM.”
The parliamentary bill will then go to the desk of “FYROM” president Gjorge Ivanov. As will be explained further below, Ivanov is likely not to sign off on this agreement. This would mean that the bill will return to parliament to override Ivanov’s veto.
Assuming this process has been completed, Greece will send letters to NATO and to the European Union, formally unlocking ascension talks for “North Macedonia,” with the precondition that agreed-upon constitutional changes have been completed.
FYROM will be obliged to ratify all necessary constitutional amendments by December 2018, and will have the option of holding a referendum regarding the agreement if it chooses.
These ascension talks would likely be ratified at the meeting of EU foreign ministers (June 25-26) and the high-level EU summit (June 28-29), as well as the NATO summit (July 11), when a provisional invitation is expected to be extended to “North Macedonia,” pending completion of constitutional revisions.

The government of “FYROM” will then inform, in writing, all countries which have recognized the “Republic of Macedonia” that the country’s new name in all international venues and for all matters of international relations is “North Macedonia.”
“FYROM” may also hold, if it chooses, a referendum no later than December of this year regarding this agreement. In the event the referendum fails, snap parliamentary elections may be called.

Should the agreement pass these final electoral roadblocks in “FYROM,” the Greek parliament will convene to ratify the agreement and its acceptance of the NATO ascension talks of its northern neighbor.

If and only if these steps are all successfully completed will the Tsipras-Zaev deal regarding the “North Macedonia” name become fully official. And that is easier said than done.

Tsipras, in a televised address on Tuesday evening following the conclusion of his second call with Zaev, hailed the deal, calling it “a great diplomatic victory” and “a great historic opportunity,” which occurred within the framework of Greece’s longstanding position regarding the inclusion of a geographical qualifier before the name “Macedonia” for its northern neighbor.

Tsipras added that the agreement “achieves a clear separation between Greek Macedonia and our northern neighbors and puts a definite end to the irredentist claims implied by their current constitutional name.” Following this, Tsipras asserted in a softball interview broadcast on state mouthpiece ERT that the agreement is “beneficial for Greece” and that he does not see Greece “losing anything, only gaining.” Tsipras, reflecting the allergic reaction with which the “left” — or to be more precise, neoliberals and globalists — view patriotism, also stated that the deal strikes a blow to “merchants of patriotism.”

Previously, while talks between the two governments were still ongoing, Tsipras had called the inclusion of a geographical designation before the “Macedonia” name “a great victory.” And in a press conference in March, Tsipras had expressed his hope to a journalist from “FYROM” that soon he would be addressing her as a representative of “Gorna Makedonija” or some similar name.

In turn, Zaev, in a televised speech to his country’s citizens, hailed the “historic” agreement, stating that “there is no way back.”
In a televised interview following the first of the two telephone conversations between Tsipras and Zaev, Kotzias revealed that it was Zaev who made the final selection of the name from the final options which were on the table, and repeated statements made in a recent televised appearance on the servile, pro-government state broadcaster ERT that Greece recognized the “Macedonian” language in 1977, adding that “FYROM” is “a country of Macedonia”. Kotzias added that Greece’s northern neighbor “must come close to us,” adding that “now that we are emerging out of the crisis, we need to share our growth with the entire region…we want to create a country that will be our friend. We do not want to treat a smaller country in the same manner which others treated us.”

Addressing the leader of the main opposition party of “FYROM” Nikola Gruevski, Kotzias stated that he belongs to the same political grouping as Greece’s main opposition party, the center-right New Democracy – therefore not missing the opportunity to again turn a national issue into a partisan, “us versus them” matter.

Indeed, this statements from Kotzias reflect a strategy continuously utilized by SYRIZA since it climbed to power: everything is the fault of previous governments, the “left” is good, and the “right” is bad and the enemy of all progress. With such rhetoric, SYRIZA continuously fans the flames of the longstanding societal division between the “left” and the “right” in Greece which dates back to the Greek civil war of 1947-49 and which many parties (on both sides) have yet to overcome, decades later.

Consider other recent statements made by Tsipras and other members of the SYRIZA government. Tsipras, referring to large-scale rallies earlier this year in Athens and Thessaloniki which each attracted hundreds of thousands of Greeks opposing any compromise on the “Macedonia” name, and more recent rallies held in a number of regional Greek cities and towns – called such demonstrations as “irregular mobs,” while several other government ministers characterized participants as “junta nostalgists” and “crazy far-right wingers.” Kotzias recently described FYROM as “a beautiful lady named Macedonia which is headed towards marriage.”

Continuing the chorus, a Facebook posting by Nikos Karanikas, an adviser to Tsipras, characterized all those opposed to a Macedonia deal as “ignorant nationalists,” while government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakpopoulos, in turn, called the Pan-Macedonian federations which have organized the recent rallies “extremist formations which I am wholly indifferent towards.”

Alternate minister of agriculture Giannis Tsironis, in an interview on Skai TV, claimed that national hero Pavlos Melas was “allied with the Slav-Macedonians” and fought together with them from 1890 until 1913. Never mind that Melas was killed in 1904 by Ottoman Turkish forces. Continuing his historical lessons towards the Greek public, Tsironis also claimed that no European nation has a history spanning a thousand years, including Brazil in his list.

Setting the stage for the agreement which was to follow, SYRIZA MP Triantafyllos Mitafides stated in a radio interview in late May: “of course I accept the existence of a Macedonian language and minority.” And Ria Kalfakakou, a member of the Thessaloniki city council, blamed a recent attack against the city’s mayor Yiannis Boutaris, on “those who supported the [Macedonia] rallies.”

With such statements by Greece’s elected officials – and in particular the prime minister and high-ranking government ministers, one has to wonder whether they were negotiating in earnest on behalf of Greece or on behalf of “FYROM.”

The agreement between Tsipras and Zaev was also applauded by the U.S. State Department, by the UN special mediator on the Macedonian Issue Matthew Nimetz – whose actual impartiality is questionable, to say the least – by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, and by Albanian prime minister Edi Rama. It should be noted that Albanians are the largest ethnic minority in “FYROM” and Albanian was recently recognized as the country’s second official language, despite nationalist opposition. The neoliberal, globalist Brookings Institution, where the “radical leftist” Tsipras has spoken in the past, characterized the deal as “a triumph of diplomacy.”
Following suit, the overwhelming majority of Greece’s foreign correspondents, via their Twitter accounts, could barely conceal their glee at the news of the Tsipras-Zaev agreement, praising Tsipras as a “statesman” while openly mocking any opposition to the agreement. This same press corps has, of course, neglected to address the new round of austerity measures set to be approved by SYRIZA, preferring instead to inform their audience that the now-convicted former Greek statistics chief who fraudulently augmented Greece’s deficit and debt figures, providing the impetus to drag Greece into the troika-led austerity regime in the first place, is being “persecuted” by the Greek justice system.

It’s ironic, of course, to see such self-styled “leftist” and “anti-fascist” and “anti-racist” correspondents openly adopting and celebrating what is, in effect, a nationalist position…of “FYROM,” as well as openly supporting the imperialist, expansionist aims of NATO in the Balkan region. I suppose nationalism is good, as long as it’s NATO-approved.

To provide a sense of NATO’s view of the Macedonia issue, it was in February 2013 that I had the opportunity to visit NATO headquarters in Brussels as part of an academic program I was participating in at the time as a Ph.D. student. In a meeting with the then-U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ivo Daalder, another student asked Daalder which countries were candidates for NATO membership at the present time. Daalder asked us if there were any Greeks in the room. When I raised my hand, Daalder sarcastically retorted that because I was in the room, “Macedonia” would be referred to as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” This is what the so-called left – represented in the press corps, academia, NGOs and “activist” circles – applauds and supports.

The devil is in the details

A close reading of the full text of the agreement reveals many clauses and conditions which were not initially announced by the SYRIZA-led government in Greece nor included in its “non paper.” In addition, many aspects of the agreement contradict historical realities and pose potential hazards for Greece in the future.

Perhaps the most significant of these clauses has to do with the so-called “Macedonian” language. The language of the agreement states that such a language was recognized by the Third UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, held in Athens in 1977. These claims had been repeated by Kotzias in a televised interview prior to the agreement between Tsipras and Zaev.

However, these claims do not correspond to reality. As explained by professor of Giorgos Bambiniotis, professor of lingustics at the University of Athens, the 1977 Conference had a sole purpose: the establishment of a system for the transliteration and “romanization” of geographical names of non-Latin based language systems (such as Greek or Cyrillic), while only one representative of the then-Yugoslavia, representing all six of its republics, was present.

A review of the technical papers of this conference reveals a solitary reference to a “Macedonian language” within the report submitted by the then-Yugoslavia, which names “Macedonian” as one of the “variants” of the language spoken in Yugoslav territory, further adding a reference to a “Macedonian Cyrillic” alphabet. These references are found only in the technical report submitted by Yugoslavia, while the reports submitted by Greece or any other country make no reference to the recognition by the United Nations of any “Macedonian” language.
And yet, in 2018, it is the Greek government which is claiming that such a language was recognized in 1977. One therefore must wonder, if the language was recognized in 1977, why does it need to be recognized again in the Tsipras-Zaev agreement of 2018? Could it be because the “Macedonian” language, in fact, was not recognized in 1977?

Perhaps even more dangerously, a “Macedonian ethnicity” is now recognized by Greece. This, in turn, opens the door towards the de facto (and eventually, official) recognition of a “Macedonian minority” within Greek territory. Denial of the existence of such a “minority” would presumably contradict Article 6 of the agreement which prohibits “chauvinism” and “hostility” against the other Party. While this might sound noble, who gets to decide what is “chauvinist” and what is “hostile” (and what isn’t)?

And if there is a “Macedonian ethnicity” which presumably exists within Greece as a “Macedonian minority,” what would stop such a “minority” or its compatriots in “North Macedonia” from eventually seeking “reunification” of the “two Macedonias”? Yes, the agreement recognizes the territorial integrity of the two countries and prohibits each country from making irredentist claims upon the other. But what if one party argues that the other party is violating this agreement by “persecuting” its “minority population”? Could this not be a pretext to “tear up” this agreement and to “come to the defense” of their “persecuted minority”? Or are we to expect that the most virulently nationalist forces in present-day “FYROM” will abide by this agreement to the letter, when until recently prominent politicians of “FYROM” have been photographed in front of photos of “Greater Macedonia”?

Relating to this, the agreement makes no clear reference protecting the name or status of the Greek region of Macedonia, nor the right of Greek Macedonians to refer to themselves as such. Instead, there is the vaguest of references to the “area and people of the northern region” of Greece. Could identifying as a “Greek Macedonian” one day be construed as “chauvinistic” or “hostile” as per Article 6 of this agreement?
Indeed, as per this agreement, there are two different understandings of “Macedonia” and “Macedonian” historical context and cultural heritage. And while the agreement bars “North Macedonia” from making any claims towards ancient Hellenic heritage, who gets to define what is—and what isn’t—part of this cultural and historical heritage?

To illustrate this point, consider that hardcore “Macedonian” nationalists—as well as some scholars—have put forth the argument that the Ancient Macedonian civilization was not Greek but something separate and distinct. Continuing down that line of thinking, “North Macedonia” could claim that any depictions and appropriations of, say, Alexander the Great or other symbols of Ancient Macedonian culture, history, and heritage are not in violation of this agreement, as “Ancient Macedonia” is distinct from ancient Hellenic civilization.
Along this vein, the agreement foresees that if either party is using one or more symbols constituting part of the historical or cultural patrimony of the other party, the other party will be obliged to take “appropriate corrective action” to “address the issue.” While this may seemingly defend Greece from cultural appropriation on the part of “North Macedonia,” who is to say that it cannot work in the opposite direction if, say, “North Macedonia” claims that symbols of Ancient Macedonia used by Greece are in violation of this clause, based on the aforementioned argument that “Ancient Macedonia” was not an ancient Hellenic civilization?

Furthermore, the agreement also states that “FYROM” will no longer use again “in any way and in all its forms” the symbol formerly displayed on its national flag (the ancient Greek “Star of Vergina”). The current flag of FYROM contains a variation of this symbol, but nevertheless that country’s government spokesman stated that “state symbols have never been part of the negotiations” and that “the anthem, flag, and coat of arms remain the same.” So which is it?

Another interesting point concerns the supposed referendum which will take place in “FYROM” to approve or reject the Tsipras-Zaev deal. The SYRIZA-led government initially claimed that “FYROM” would be obliged to hold a referendum no later than this year, claims which also made it into initial reports regarding this agreement. The text of the agreement, however, states otherwise, that “FYROM” simply has the option to hold a referendum on the issue.
While Zaev has stated that a referendum will be held, what is significant is that his government is not bound to do so as per this agreement. Furthermore, no detail is given as to the specifics of such a referendum, if it were to take place, including the question that would be posed to the voters. Furthermore, while “FYROM” may choose to hold a referendum on this agreement, no such option is available for Greece.
As stated earlier in this piece, there is also no provision in the text of the agreement for Greece or any other country to use the term “Severna Makedonija” untranslated, as Tsipras had initially claimed when announcing the agreement. Instead, “Republic of North Macedonia” or “North Macedonia” for short will be used in all instances, translated into the domestic language of each respective country.

Further adding to the mess, while as per the agreement “FYROM” is obliged to alter all of its official documents intended for international usage to reflect the country’s new name within five years, documents for internal and domestic political use will have to be changed within five years of the commencement of each relevant chapter in EU ascension negotiations. Therefore, if we have a situation such as that of Turkey, where its ascension talks have stalled for decades on end, “FYROM” will, de facto, have the right to continue referring to itself as “Macedonia” without any additional geographical or other qualifier, for an indefinite period.

Relating to this, “MK” and “MKD” remain as the national acronyms of “FYROM” with the only change apparently achieved by the Greek negotiating side is an obligation for “North Macedonian” license plates to be denoted with the acronyms “NM” and “NMK.”

Furthermore, “FYROM” will continue to be allowed to maintain its present-day commercial usage of the term “Macedonia” for a period of three years following the establishment of an “international group of experts” in 2019, which will examine commercial names in use by both countries.
Some of the most significant aspects of this agreement are those, however, which have not received much attention, if at all, from politicians on both sides of the issue, or from the press. One such issue has to do with the formation of a committee which will be supervised by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (and not, say, the Ministries of Education) of each respective country, which would review school textbooks and other aspects of each country’s educational curriculum, to ensure that no textbooks contain any “irredentist/revisionist references.” While this may again seem reasonable at face value, who gets to decide what is “irredentist/revisionist”?

Here it bears noting that the “impartial mediator” installed by the United Nations, Matthew Nimetz, has served as the founding chair and director of an organization, based in Thessaloniki, known as the “Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southern Europe” (CDRSEE). This organization, which receives funding from such sources as the George Soros-founded Central European University, the United Nations Development Program, the European Commission, and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is involved with an initiative known as the “Joint History Project.”

What is the “Joint History Project”? It is described as an effort to “change the way history is taught in schools in the Balkans.” Indeed, the CDRSEE produces school textbooks which are in use in schools in several Balkan countries. What do these books contain? One such textbook contains references to the “historic roots of the Macedonian nation,” and in place of the country’s national anthem, a nationalistic poem regarding the “Macedonian nation,” originally said to have been written in Bulgarian by a 19th century poet even though no original manuscript exists, is published.

Considering the above, multiple questions arise regarding the impartiality of Nimetz as a mediator between the two parties, as well as regarding a potential conflict of interest, if the CDRSEE stands to benefit from “revised” textbooks which the two countries might be obliged to publish as per this agreement.

The agreement also creates a de facto open border between the two countries. Article 14, Paragraph 3 clearly states that there shall be no impediment to the movement of people or goods through the territory of either party to the territory of the other. This, translated, means free migration and free trade, even prior to “North Macedonia’s” EU membership.

The very next paragraph of the agreement goes further, indicating the agreement of the two countries to construct, maintain, and utilize interconnecting oil and gas pipelines. Indeed, the agreement takes care to specify that this may refer to “existing, under construction and projected” pipeline projects.
In other words: follow the money.

Possible roadblocks
While Tsipras, Zaev, the State Department, NATO, the EU and the globalist press have been busy celebrating though, a number of potential obstacles for the final realization of this agreement have become evident and have been largely overlooked.

Reflecting the often amateurish way in which the Greek government has handled the Macedonia issue in public, a governmental “non paper” with 16 points arising from the Tsipras-Zaev deal was immediately called into question by FYROM government spokesman Mile Bosnjakovski, who described it as an “interpretation” of the agreement. For instance, while the SYRIZA government claimed that the name “Severna Makedonija” would be in use within Greece, the actual agreement makes no mention of “Severna Makedonija.” This, in any event, would contradict the “erga omnes” usage of the name “North Macedonia.” Bosnjakovski, in his statement, added that his country will maintain its “Macedonian indentity and language.”
In Greece, opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, head of the New Democracy party, has come out in opposition to the agreement. Making good on his threat, New Democracy released a ten-point takedown of the agreement, and followed this up on Thursday morning by announcing that it would call for a vote of confidence in parliament against the government on Friday, even though following EU pressure, New Democracy decided to formally call for the vote of confidence following Friday’s parliamentary vote on the new austerity bill being proposed. Can’t disappoint one’s EU masters, after all.

Nevertheless, Mitsotakis may simply be attempting to score cheap electoral points for an agreement that is domestically unpopular, however his opposition is nevertheless significant, especially if the deal ultimately reaches the Greek parliament for ratification.
Recently, the president of the Greek parliament Nikos Voutsis stated that an agreement regarding the Macedonia name might not need a supermajority of 180 votes in parliament, implying that it could be approved with a simple majority of 151 votes in the 300 seat chamber. This is despite pressure from the EU for the agreement to eventually be approved by a parliamentary supermajority, which would lend greater political legitimacy to the deal.

This difference is significant. If only a simple majority is required, SYRIZA – with 145 seats in parliament — could potentially get a deal passed through parliament even without the support of its coalition partner, the Independent Greeks, who according to the party’s leader, defense minister Panos Kammenos, will not vote for the deal and will expel any MP who does. The most likely source for the votes SYRIZA would need in this instance would be the “To Potami” political party, which holds 11 seats and whose leader, Stavros Theodorakis, came out in public support of the agreement, stating that “there will be no other historic opportunity” to solve the dispute between the two countries.
If, however, a supermajority is necessitated, the picture becomes more complicated. SYRIZA would need the votes not just of “To Potami,” but several other parties, which may include the Union of Centrists (9 seats), the Democratic Alignment (the former PASOK along with the Democratic Left party) with 17 seats, and its governing partner, the Independent Greeks, who hold 10 seats.

As has frequently been in the case with other controversial matters in the past, Kammenos and the Independent Greeks expressed public opposition to a controversial matter – in this case the Macedonia deal – but stopped short of resigning from the coalition, which would lead to the collapse of the government and snap elections. Nevertheless, if Kammenos keeps his word and his party opposes the agreement if it comes to a parliamentary vote, a forthcoming collapse could be imminent, as well as a potential failure to ratify the deal if a supermajority ends up being required.

It should also be stated here that the fact that it remains unclear whether such an important vote can be ratified with a simple majority or a supermajority demonstrates quite clearly the often arbitrary manner in which Greece is today being governed, and has been governed during the eight-plus years of economic crisis and foreign oversight. One needs to look no further than the first memorandum agreement, which was not even ratified by the Greek parliament. Instead, the loan agreement which delivered the first set of crippling austerity measures to Greece was simply signed by then-finance minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou and by the then-president of the Bank of Greece Giorgos Provopoulos.
Returning to Kammenos’ statements though, what is more significant than his verbal opposition to the deal was another remark he made which may have let the cat out of the bag. Specifically, Kammenos stated that “…the structure of the agreement shows that it will not be approved by FYROM.”

What exactly does Kammenos mean by this? The realities of politics in Greece’s northern neighbor are revealing.
For starters, a constitutional revision, which is a necessary prerequisite for the finalization of this deal and for the ascension of “FYROM” into NATO and the EU to proceed, requires a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the country’s parliament in order to be ratified, and indeed, for this ratification to take place no later than December 2018. The current Zaev-led government is a product of a political crisis which emerged in “FYROM” in 2015 and 2016, which led, after several postponements, to snap elections in late 2016. No clear winner emerged in these elections, in which Zaev’s “social democratic” SDSM party finished second. Nevertheless, after several months of political stalemate, and soon after the visit of U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Lee to “FYROM,” the SDSM was able to form a coalition government with pro-Albanian nationalist parties.

In other words, the parties currently governing FYROM did not even win the country’s most recent election. Nor does the government seem to enjoy wide parliamentary or public support. Protests against the government have become a regular occurrence, and indeed occurred outside the parliament of “FYROM” on Tuesday evening. Its most vehement opponents are precisely the nationalist hard liners of the previous governments which have themselves opposed a compromise on the “Macedonia” name, for very different reasons from those who oppose such a compromise in Greece.

One such hard liner is FYROM’s president Gjorge Ivanov, who prior to the agreement said that he will not accept an “erga omnes” use of the “Macedonia” name, characterizing it as a “Zaev-Tsipras deal.” Making good on his previously stated opposition, Ivanov refused to receive Zaev and “FYROM’s” foreign minister Nikola Dimitrov, walking out of their meeting on Wednesday after just two minutes, where Zaev and Dimitrov were set to officially Ivanov about the agreement.

Following this, Ivanov addressed his country’s citizens on television, referring to the agreement as “disastrous.” Furthermore, it remains unclear as to whether a potential veto by Ivanov can be overcome by “FYROM’s” parliament.

Even if such a veto is surpassed, however, it is even more doubtful that the necessary two-thirds majority in the parliament of “FYROM” can be secured in order to permit the necessary constitutional changes to be ratified. Without such ratification there’s no deal, and presumably no NATO or EU membership for the country. With opposition from the nationalist right-wing party which formerly governed “FYROM” (which finished first in the December 2016 elections but was unable to secure a parliamentary majority or to form a government) and the possibility that nationalist Albanian political forces may smell blood – via the opportunity to precipitate the dissolution of “FYROM” which well-informed geopolitical analysts such as Andrew Korybko have predicted going back to 2016, foreseeing the splitting of “FYROM” between Bulgaria and Albania – it seems highly likely that such a supermajority will not be secured.

One additional potential obstacle would be a national referendum in “FYROM,” should the agreement make it that far in the process and should such a referendum ultimately be held. Not everyone in “FYROM” is so insistent that their country should be named “Macedonia” in any form – and the country’s significant Albanian and other minorities may have other thoughts on the matter, should they have the opportunity to cast a vote. Indeed, recent public opinion polls in “FYROM” have suggested that such an agreement would fail to attain a majority in a referendum.
There is also public opinion in Greece to contend with. Public opinion polls, biased as they are, have consistently recorded large majorities opposing a compromise regarding the “Macedonia” name, and support for the rallies which have been organized. Consistent with this trend, early indications are that the Tsipras-Zaev agreement is highly unpopular amongst the Greek public, while a new round of demonstrations and rallies is being planned.

Why now?
So why the rush? Why is there such a push at this specific point in time to ram through this agreement after 27 years of stalemate?
One potential reason is political timing. As mentioned before, the SYRIZA-led Greek government is preparing to agree to a new set of austerity measures via a bill which will be placed before parliament for a vote on Friday. This bill, which is reportedly only in English, contains new rounds of cuts and also places 25 billion euro’s worth of Greek public assets as collateral, if Greece so much as misses one installment of its debt repayment. The irony, of course, is that this bill comes while SYRIZA (and much of the press and the foreign press corps which propagandize in its favor) are touting the Greek economic “success story,” thanks to SYRIZA and only to SYRIZA of course, while the government is proclaiming (falsely) the end of austerity, the end of the memorandum agreements, and the end of foreign economic oversight in the country. Therefore, a “heroic” deal on a longstanding national issue is a great distraction from such inconvenient economic news.
Oil and gas may be another reason. As noted earlier, the Tsipras-Zaev agreement specifically mentions cooperation between the two countries on the construction and development of oil and gas pipelines. It is possible that several players from both the West and the East want to get in on the action, and indeed various pipeline projects have been proposed in the past which would have been routed through both Northern Greece and “FYROM.” It bears noting that on Wednesday, Kotzias met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Ivanov, in Moscow, with economic cooperation, trade, and energy on the agenda.

One final factor which must not be overlooked is pressure from Brussels and Berlin, and various forms of economic blackmail and political gimmickry. In April, it was reported that Berlin was ready to accept a six-month postponement of the implementation of pension cuts which the SYRIZA-led government agreed to as part of the third memorandum, and which were due to come into effect on January 1, 2019. More recently, New Democracy has levied accusations against the government that it is preparing a solution to the Macedonia name dispute in exchange for debt relief.

Summing up
What should be clear is that when one looks past the celebratory rhetoric of the government, the EU, NATO, and the pro-EU, pro-NATO, pro-austerity, pro-SYRIZA press corps, this deal, if finalized, poses numerous potential hazards for Greece. A “Macedonian language” (based on, at best, a flimsy pretext) and “Macedonian ethnicity” has been recognized. The “Macedonia” name, even with a geographical qualifier, has been given away. NATO and EU ascension talks for Greece’s northern neighbor have been agreed upon, while it will have an (as of now) indefinite period of time to change all domestic political references referring to itself plainly as “Macedonia.” The “FYROM” government is also insisting that its flag and national anthem and symbols will not change, as part of this agreement. School textbooks and teaching materials may be revised in Greece to alter content that may be construed in some unspecified way as being “irredentist” towards “North Macedonia.” A de facto open border will be created between the two countries. And we are supposed to believe that the international community will become aware of all the various “asterisks” in the fine print of the agreement which are meant to inform us that today’s “North Macedonians” are “unrelated” to Ancient Macedonians and that today’s “North Macedonia” bears no relation to the ancient Macedonian civilization. We might as well ask that country’s citizens to walk around with a copy of the agreement at all times, to be shown to others on demand.

Moreover, by recognizing the existence of a “North” Macedonia, complete with a “Macedonian language and ethnicity,” the door opens up for the recognition of said “minority” within Greece, as well as future calls for a “reunification” of the “two Macedonias.”

The agreement is also wholly unclear as to the timeline of NATO and EU ascension procedures for “North Macedonia” or what happens if they get derailed or delayed. Are we, for instance, supposed to believe that if there’s some sort of violation of this agreement on the part of “North Macedonia” 10 or 20 years down the road, that suddenly they will cease being recognized as “North Macedonians” with a “Macedonian language and ethnicity”? Such things, quite simply, do not happen.

One might say that the agreement protects the territorial integrity of the two countries and prohibits claims of each country towards the other. But geopolitical reality in the world throughout history has shown that “agreements” are meant to be broken—and indeed are violated all the time. Turkey’s occupation of almost 40 percent of Cyprus is in violation of numerous UN resolutions, for instance. Yet it continues unabated and Turkey remains a candidate for EU membership and enjoys the benefits of NATO membership.

Meanwhile, popular opinion in Greece will be wholly, soundly ignored. That, however, is not of concern to a government which in the past has had no problem overturning referendum results – or referring to anyone who protests its policies as “fascist.” One such “fascist,” in the eyes of SYRIZA, is Mikis Theodorakis, who has once again spoken out on the “Macedonia” issue, calling this agreement “a national defeat.”
In many ways, this issue is reminiscent of the ongoing Cyprus conflict, one which was almost “solved” in 2004 with the Annan Plan (which, among other things, would have permitted a permanent Turkish military presence on the island) but which was rejected by Greek Cypriots in a referendum. Flashing forward 13 years, talks between Cyprus and Turkey in Geneva in early 2017 based on a framework similar to the Annan Plan were touted as the last, best chance for a solution to the island’s division. The servile, pro-EU government of Cyprus was ready to agree, but the demands of “mad sultan” Erdogan for still more concessions from Cyprus finally (and fortunately) derailed the agreement.

Might Greece be saved from itself (or its politicians, as well as its “allies” in Europe, NATO, and the State Department) once again? It’s entirely possible, if the deal is rejected in FYROM due to a presidential veto, a failure to enact the necessary constitutional amendments, or a failed referendum if such a vote takes place. It’s also possible if political opposition in Greece is such that it results in a collapse of the current SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition government. This, for instance, could happen via a parliamentary vote of no confidence in the government, or if the Independent Greeks – not known for keeping their word in the past – follow through on their threat to not vote for the agreement in parliament.

It may indeed be the case that the Greek world will need plenty of saving – with a new austerity agreement on the way despite claims of the “end of austerity,” and now with promises on the part of Kotzias that he will proceed to solve the Cyprus problem and ongoing tensions with Albania.

But it may also be that the people of Greece and the broader Greek diaspora will have the final say. Rallies are being planned on Friday and Saturday in Athens, and this coming weekend in the Prespes region where Tsipras and Zaev are slated to meet and to sign this agreement. Still more rallies are slated to come, and calls for a general strike have begun to be heard from some sources.
It is also quite possible that this deal will fail en route to completion in “FYROM,” and indeed, it is possible that should this agreement collapse, that political developments in Greece’s northern neighbor will be such that the eventual dissolution of the country and a potential split and federalization of sorts between Albania and Bulgaria (and perhaps other actors) may take place, as predicted by Korybko in his aforementioned analyses.

Ultimately though, while the agreement faces many hurdles on the part of “FYROM,” Greeks cannot exclusively pin their hopes on a “miracle” from their northern neighbor.