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Greek economist: 'Economic center of gravity shifting eastwards' as Greece develops ties with Eurasian Union


"Alexis, let's get out of here!"

"Yes, but let's do it carefully; we don't want to act until we're sure the plan works."
The member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union as well as India and China are displaying sizable growth and are playing a greater role in global economy

Whether western European countries want it or not, the center of economic gravity is shifting eastwards, and the member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union as well as India and China are displaying sizable growth and are playing a greater role in global economy, the President of the Greek-Eurasian Business Council, Dr. Spyros Kouvelis said on Thursday.

He said it at a ceremony devoted to the start of the organization's activity.

"We're making steps towards an expansion of cooperative ties with the Eurasian Economic Union," he said adding that unless Greece took account of the persistently growing role of the region in the world economy it might lose a big part of this important market.

Dr. Kouvelis voiced the conviction that business ties should be untied from politics.

Comment: A somewhat more elucidating article appeared in the Financial Times last month:

'Alarm bells ring over Syriza's Russian links' - January 28th 2015
Soon after Syriza, the Greek radical leftwing party, swept to power this week, alarm bells began ringing in the capitals of Europe. However it was not finance officials who were rattled but Europe's defence and security chiefs.
Naturally! Take note, however, that when the Financial Times here says "Europe", it really means the 'Two Towers' of the Atlantic Alliance: Washington and London.
The day after his election as Greece's new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras threw a grenade in the direction of Brussels: he objected to calls for further sanctions against Russia as a result of rising violence in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Athens went further. "We are against the embargo that has been imposed against Russia," said Panagiotis Lafazanis, the energy minister and leader of Syriza's far-left faction, according to the semi-official Athens News Agency. "We have no differences with Russia and the Russian people." [...]

While some diplomats and analysts see Mr Tsipras's intervention against more sanctions as an opening gambit in forthcoming negotiations over Greece's international bailout and debt burden, others point to it as another example of spreading Russian influence in southeastern Europe.

European and Nato intelligence officials are now poring over links between the Kremlin and senior figures from Syriza and its coalition partner, the Independent Greeks party.
"European and Nato intelligence officials"... In other words, the CIA and MI6.
The fact that the first foreign official Mr Tsipras invited to the Maximos Mansion in Athens on Monday was Andrey Maslov, Russia's ambassador, speaks to their concerns.

Mr Tsipras's previous comments on the Ukrainian crisis are also clear enough: in a trip to Moscow in May, he chief accused Kiev of harbouring "neo-Nazi" elements and denounced sanctions against Russia.

"It's a regression for us to see fascism and the neo Nazis entering European governments again and for this to be accepted by the EU," Mr Tsipras said at the time. "The EU is shooting itself in the foot with this strategy."

Other members of Greece's new government harbour similar views. Nikos Kotzias, the foreign minister, and Panos Kammenos, defence minister, have both been cultivated by figures close to Russian president Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

Mr Kotzias — a former Piraeus university professor — has espoused increasingly nationalist positions, developing a relationship with Alexander Dugin, the Russian nationalist philosopher, during several visits to Moscow, according to a colleague who declined to be identified.

Mr Dugin, who is close to several figures in the Moscow security establishment and last August called for a "genocide" of Ukrainians...
Not quite. Dugin is certainly brutally blunt at times, but he's not really calling for genocide. Here's what he actually said:
"Ukraine should be cleared of the idiots. Genocide of the cretins is suggested. The evil cretins are closed to the Voice of the Logos, and deadly with all their incredible stupidity. I do not believe that these are Ukrainians. Ukrainians are beautiful Slavic people. This kind of appeared out of manholes as a bastard race."
... in reference to the cretins running the country in to the ground, and the Nazi thugs who have been running riot across the country, not just in the Donbass/Novorossiya.
...was invited by Mr Kotzias to speak at an event in the Piraeus campus in 2013, where he extolled the role of Orthodox Christianity in uniting Greeks and Russians.
He said much more than that: Geopolitics of Russia. Athenian lecture. Alexandr Dugin
Mr Kammenos [Greece's new Minister of Defence, and from among the right-wing independents who teamed up with Syriza to form the new government] has also been a frequent visitor to Moscow. A picture shows him in the Russian capital two weeks ago, meeting the chairman of the Russian Duma's foreign affairs committee and the deputy chairman of its defence committee.

Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeyev, a sometime ally of Mr Dugin, and another pro-Kremlin figure who has developed close ties with radical European political movements, said he also knew Mr Kammenos.

Mr Malofeyev is subject to EU and US travel bans and wanted by Kiev for allegedly financing pro-Russia separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

"I used to travel to Athens often — before the sanctions," he told the Financial Times. He said Greece has lived "under a long enslavement by the troika [of international lenders — the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank]".

"It is in the interests of Greeks for relations with Russia to normalise . . . For the Greek economy, for the Greek people, friendship with Russia is necessary," he added.

Anton Shekhovtsov, a Vienna-based analyst of Europe's radical political movements, has studied links between Russia and populist parties such as Syriza. "Russia will certainly be looking to capitalise on the win of Syriza and pro-Kremlin sentiments that are fairly widespread in Greek society but especially in these parties," he said.

Figures such as Mr Dugin have become very active in developing ties with radical populist European movements, Mr Shekhovtsov added, from the National Front in France to Austria's FPÖ. "The Greek case is perhaps the most dangerous in terms of its potential implications for the EU and sanctions policy. There is also the issue of Nato's information security."

Fears over the links of Greece's new political establishment with Moscow are part of a growing set of concerns among European security agencies.

"The question of [Russian] influence in fringe politics is definitely a worry," said one British diplomat who declined to be named. "It's something we and others are certainly looking at."

Syriza campaigned two years ago for Greece's exit from Nato but has since toned down its hostility towards the alliance.
Leaving NATO, more so than leaving the EU, would be a VERY challenging thing to do. Many Greek governments have wished to do so since the 1970s. When you sign up to NATO, you essentially hand over control of your armed forces and security/intelligence services to 'the higher power'. All of Greece's military hardware is American or British-made, which can be remotely deactivated from 'homebase'. NATO's 'stay-behind' agents are always on stand-by for generating mayhem-and-madness (the NATO euphemism for which is 'stability'). The new Greek 'government' would first need to conduct a successful coup d'etat to take power from the real 'government within'...

Colosseum

Reprehensible! ISIS goons destroy ancient relics in Iraq

mosul museum
© AP
The Islamic State has posted a video online showing a group of militants destroying ancient statues and other artifacts, saying they are symbols of idolatry. Some of the objects date from the seventh century BC. Specialists say the damage is incalculable.

The video, which appeared online on Thursday, shows monuments and relics of the Assyrian era - including a winged deity - being smashed with sledgehammers and an electric drill. The militants placed the statues in a large exhibition room and shattered them on the floor, breaking the smaller sculptures to pieces.

The attackers do not state their location, but it is believed to be a museum in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which was seized by the Islamic State last June.

The statues, described by ISIS leaders as "idols," and must be removed is a part of the militant group's policy.


Comment: Only a person without a conscience can destroy items of such value. ISIS is succeeding in finishing what the U.S. started when they did nothing to prevent the looting of Baghdad's museum in 2003. American troops couldn't have cared less about Iraq's cultural heritage. ISIS is no different.

Chess

What the BRICS plus Germany are really up to?

BRICs Leaders
© Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino
Winston Churchill once said, "I feel lonely without a war." He also badly missed the loss of empire. Churchill's successor - the 'Empire of Chaos' - now faces the same quandary. Some wars - as in Ukraine, by proxy - are not going so well.

And the loss of empire increasingly manifests itself in myriad moves by selected players aiming towards a multipolar world.

So no wonder US 'Think Tankland' is going bonkers, releasing wacky CIA-tinted "forecasts" where Russia is bound to disintegrate, and China is turning into a communist dictatorship. So much (imperial) wishful thinking, so little time to prolong hegemony.

The acronym that all these "forecasts" dare not reveal is BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). BRICS is worse than the plague as far as the 'Masters of the Universe' that really control the current - rigged - world system are concerned. True, the BRICS are facing multiple problems. Brazil at the moment is totally paralyzed; a long, complex, self-defeating process, now coupled with intimations of regime change by local 'Empire of Chaos' minions. It will take time, but Brazil will rebound.

That leaves the "RIC" - Russia, India and China - in BRICS as the key drivers of change. For all their interlocking discrepancies, they all agree they don't need to challenge the hegemon directly while aiming for a new multipolar order.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) - a key alternative to the IMF enabling developing nations to get rid of the US dollar as a reserve currency - will be operative by the end of this year. The NDB will finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects not only in the BRICS nations but other developing nations. Forget about the Western-controlled World Bank, whose capital and lending capacity are never increased by the so-called Western "powers." The NDB will be an open institution. BRICS nations will keep 55 percent of the voting power, and outside their domain no country will be allowed more than 7 percent of votes. But crucially, developing nations may also become partners and receive loans.
Network

The failure of America's Pacific Century sends Asia fleeing towards China

United States Asia pivot
When former-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the US "pivot to Asia," she and the policy wonks who dreamed it up probably imagined it as a well choreographed geopolitical masterstroke. In reality, it was more like an elephant crashing through the jungle, sending all in its path fleeing for cover well ahead of its arrival.

The empty rhetoric accompanying its announcement never materialized. Reading between the lines, what the "pivot" actually meant, was the doubling down on attempts to subvert, corral and otherwise twist the arms of Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia into arraying themselves for Washington's convenience and gain, against the growing influence and power of Beijing.

American designs have unraveled everywhere from Malaysia to Thailand and the only steps of this pivot still in good form appear to be in Myanmar and the South China Sea where budding political subversion is growing in one and an escalating strategy of tension is growing in the other. Despite these "successes," the prospects of Myanmar resigning itself to a future with close and growing ties to Beijing are unrealistic.

Likewise, the notion of a remilitarized Japan somehow containing China is untenable and more so each passing day.

Those capitulating today to Washington's attempts to reorder Asia will only be setting their nations back in the years to come when ultimately the "pivot" fails, and all that is left is China and those nations that decided to move forward together with it on its way up.

Comment: In 2011 Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, wrote, "The future of politics will be decided in Asia." It's been clear, however, that the US 'pivot' has not meant working towards equitable relations with China, but rather an effort to contain, dominate and grow US hegemony over the region. It's a policy that has been met with total failure. US influence is on the decline as the world grows tired of it's liberal economic agenda and it's pathological machinations that seek to usurp power and resources.

Snakes in Suits

On a roll: Bill O'Reilly's LA riots 'bombardment' stories disputed by former colleagues

Former colleagues of Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News host whose tales of past reporting exploits are facing renewed scrutiny, have disputed his account of surviving a bombardment of bricks and rocks while covering the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.

Six people who covered the riots with O'Reilly in California for Inside Edition told the Guardian they did not recall an incident in which, as O'Reilly has claimed, "concrete was raining down on us" and "we were attacked by protesters".

Several members of the team suggested that O'Reilly may instead be overstating a fracas involving one disgruntled Los Angeles resident, who smashed one of their cameras with a piece of rubble.

Comment: No surprise in O'Reilly's behavior when you understand psychopathy. He is finally being called out.

Quenelle

'Paris' throws temper tantrum after French lawmakers hold 'unauthorized' meetings with Assad, Hezbollah

© Reuters/SANA
French President Francois Hollande (Reuters/Vincent Kessler) and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.
Four French lawmakers have been slammed by their government and one of them threatened with sanctions and suspension after an unauthorized meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus as well with a Hezbollah member.

The group of four cross-party lawmakers, identified as Gerard Bapt, Jean-Pierre Vial, Jacques Myard and Francois Zochetto, went to the Middle East on a ''personal mission to see what is going on, to hear, listen."

According to the Syrian state news agency, Assad and the French lawmakers discussed developments and challenges facing Arab and European nations, especially those pertaining to terrorism.

"We met Bashar al-Assad for a good hour. It went very well," Jacques Myard, an MP from the opposition UMP party, told AFP but refused to give details.

Comment: It's good to see some lawmakers actually going out to see for themselves if what they are being told is actually true. Naturally they will be condemned for doing so as everyone else who searches for the truth.

Snakes in Suits

Bill O'Reilly busted again: 'Phony' Fox News star 'lied' about JFK murder witness

© Still from Youtube video
Conservative TV host Bill O'Reilly has been caught repeatedly lying about being present at the suicide of a key JFK assassination investigation witness, a week after he was accused of exaggerating the dangers he faced reporting from the Falklands War.

"Bill O'Reilly's a phony, there's no other way to put it," Tracy Rowlett, who worked with O'Reilly at a local Dallas WFAA station during the alleged incident, told Media Matters, an online news website.

The suicide victim is George de Mohrenschildt, a picaresque Russian émigré, who was on friendly terms with both the family of Jackie Kennedy and the assassin of John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald. He reportedly cooperated for decades with the CIA.

Comment: Hopefully more will come out on Bill O'Reilly's lying to force him off the air.

Clipboard

Defeat in Debaltsevo: Kiev's Stalingrad

ukraine graves
Junta's losses over the last month stagger the imagination.

DPR Ministry of Defense published data concerning the losses of Ukrainian occupation forces which they suffered during battles with Novorossia's defenders in the vicinity of Debaltsevo and on other sectors of the front between January 12 and February 20.

Occupier losses include 10,940 killed and wounded (including 4110 killed), and 1178 prisoners of war.

Equipment losses are also staggering. The invaders have lost the following quantities of equipment:

Comment: It was a humiliating defeat, that's for sure. Now Kiev is on the hunt to replenish their weapons supply. UAE to the rescue!



Boat

Cyprus and Russia renew military cooperation

© Twitter
Anastasiades and Putin.
Russian navy ships will keep having access to stop off at Cyprus' ports in Mediterranean as the two countries have agreed to prolong the pre-existing deal on military cooperation.

The agreement, which applies to Russian vessels involved in counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts, was signed by President Vladimir Putin and his Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, in Moscow.

The signing came aimed heightened tensions and sanctions between Russia and the EU over the military conflict in Ukraine.

President Putin, however, stressed that the agreement, as well as Russia-Cypriot ''friendly ties aren't aimed against anyone."

"I don't think it should cause worries anywhere," he said.

During his press conference at Tass news agency's headquarters, Anastasiades stressed that Moscow and Nicosia haven't signed any new agreements, but only prolonged those that were in place before.

Comment: See also: While the West continues to bash Putin, Putin continues to behave like a gentleman.

Question

Why is there a Department of Homeland Security in the first place?

homeland security
© The Daily Beast
When it’s not making us take our shoes off, it’s trampling our civil liberties and ‘building’ centers that don’t exist. Enough already.
Are you nervous, America?

If nothing happens before Friday, the mighty Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—every bit as much a WTF legacy of George W. Bush as those surreal White House Christmas videos that featured Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson talking to Barney "the First Dog" like the Son of Sam killer—will lose its funding due to a budget fight between congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama.

And when DHS funding ends, then...well, nothing much, actually, it turns out.

Without funding, about 30,000 "non-essential" DHS employees will be told not to show up for work. The other 210,000 or so workers who are considered "essential" and "exempt" will still have to punch the clock, although most of them won't get paid until after the budget stalemate is ended. Not optimal, but not the worst outcome, either.

Comment: A shutdown of the DHS sounds like a good idea, but like all good ideas in the US government, it probably won't happen.

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