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Almost 1000 years ago, Turkish tribes started settling in Anatolia, beginning the formation of the Turkish state. How did it happen? Many jump to quick conclusions and simplify the matter pointing to the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071. The reality is different: in the aftermath of the battle, Emperor Romanos Diogenes reached a peace agreement under which the Turkish Seljuk sultan was handsomely rewarded with money while the Byzantine Empire did not suffer territorial loss. The Byzantine elite in Constantinople, however, decided to unseat Romanos and not to adhere to the agreement. In the subsequent squabble over the throne, one of the competing factions would hire a relative of the Turkish sultan, Suleiman to increase its chances to seize the throne. As the Byzantine elite rushed to Constantinople, Suleiman was left with his troops to control one of the biggest Byzantine cities of Anatolia, Nicaea. The resulting Sultanate of Rum, the first presence of the Turkish people in Anatolia, was born not by conquest, but by the shortsightedness of the Byzantine ruling class.
The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the European Union, which came into force on 1 January 2016, was about to help the East European economy to recover; however, the results after the first year fell far short of Ukraine’s expectations. The former Soviet Republic lost €2.2 billion more than it lost in 2015 on trade with the EU. While imports from the EU have surged, exports have merely grown.
As Polish media reports, the European Union has flooded Ukraine with goods,1)Unia Europejska zalała towarami Ukrainę, Rzeczpospolita 2017-02-27.which is contrary to the aim of the free trade agreement: the document assumed the asymmetric openness of the markets in Ukraine’s favour.
When the so called communist system had crumbled in Eastern European countries, their respective societies embraced Western-style democracy and economy, which, taking into consideration the development gap between the two systems came as no surprise. What was stunning, however, was the fact that yesterday’s communists became today’s social-democrats; yesterday’s enemies of the West transpired as today’s ardent friends of the west; yesterday’s anti-liberal propagandists had no difficulty changing sides and becoming today’s pro-liberal propagandists; why, to top it all, yesterday’s Moscow’s footstools turned into the Kermlin’s fierce critics. It does not stand to reason that they (i) became capitalists overnight and that (ii) they converted to western values in droves.
The same people in a position of power who before 1989 would punish their compatriots for entertaining a mere thought of emigrating to the West or copying Western-style political or economic solutions; the same people at the helm who would not even ponder leaving the Warsaw Pact and joining NATO, arguing that geopolitics was such as to impediment any such attempts, the same people after 1989 came to laugh at the opponents of the European Union or NATO.
A break-up of the eurozone due to the European Central Bank and its Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) should not be treated like a science-fiction scenario. The more government bonds the ECB buys, the smaller becomes the problem of a country’s insolvency and debt conversion into French francs or Greek drachmas. Eventually, who cares if all the bonds are kept by the institution that cannot go bankrupt and that is out of the financial market?
Let us recall: the exclusion of Greece from the Euro Area was impossible in 2012 due to a large amount of Greek debt held by foreign banks, which were rescued by the ECB, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. These institutions, called Troika, saved banks and private creditors, not the Greeks: 95% of the bailout money went to banks, as a study of the European School of Management and Technology proved.1)Study: Bailouts for Banks, Not Greeks, Source: Handelsblatt 2016-05-04
For two months, using marinetraffic.com, we have been monitoring the movements of ships owned by a couple of NGOs. Using data from data.unhcr.org., we have kept track of the daily arrivals of African immigrants in Italy. It turned out we were witness to a big scam and an illegal human traffic operation.
Germany in, France out? German preponderance in Central Europe and… in Western Europe as well? Revival of the Holy Roman Empire (Sacrum Imperium Romanum) with Sclavinia, Gallia, Roma, and Germania paying homage to the German emperor, nay, chancellor? A Forth Reich in the making?
Smoke was far from subsiding over the trenches of the battlefields of World War One when in 1916 a book was published. Its title was Mitteleuropa1)Friedrich Naumann, Mitteleuropa, Berlin 1916, available at Internet Archive, a non-profit library.and its author: Friedrich Naumann.2)Friedrich Naumann, Encyclopaedia Britannica. The war was about making a new deal between the superpowers at the turn of the 20th century: Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France and England. A deal about re-assigning African and Asian colonies and a new order in Europe. At that time no one could know how the war would end: it was not generally assumed that Austria-Hungary would disappear from the political map or that Russia would drastically change its political system. It was rather taken for granted that the superpowers would have to make mutual concessions and that they could only expand at the cost of smaller nations. Where were they to be found? In Central Europe, from the Baltic down to the Mediterranean: Courland (present day Latvia), Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria to name a few.
61% of the Dutch voters rejected the Ukraine association treaty in a referendum this year. 31% of the population showed up, which is a far larger number than of those who turned up at Maidan to protest. For the second time the Dutch population cast its vote in a referendum, for the second time the outcome will be nullified in the name of European Democracy.
European leaders have celebrated the Maidan revolution as the attempt of Ukrainian people to join the family of liberal democracies of Western Europe. It couldn’t be further from the truth. In the official version presented in the West, Maidan protests were spontaneously sparked off when the pro-Russian Yanukovich government renounced to ratify an association agreement with the European Union.
Yet in November 2013, before the Maidan movement even started, Oleg Tsarov, member of the Ukrainian parliament, had reported in a parliamentary session on the recruitment of activists organized by the US embassy in Kiev for unknown purposes1)“MUST WATCH: Nov 2013 (pre-Maidan!): Ukraine Deputy has proof of USA staging civil war in Ukraine”, Youtube.
The US embassy in Kiev, via its representative Victoria Nuland, would later become a primary actor in pressuring for a regime change and the formation of a pro-West government in the first months of 2014. For clarity, Victoria Nuland is the third in charge of the US foreign policy, second only President Obama and John Kerry, who had been busy negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.
Ship-tracking software and reports from journalists prove that NGOs, the Italian Coast Guard and smugglers coordinate their actions. The Automatic Identification System (AIS) exposes NGOs operating in Libyan territorial waters. Since the ouster of President Ghadafi, a growing number of Africans are smuggled into Europe. They travel via Libya from where they cross the Mediterranean. Different “humanitarian” organisations or NGOs involved are an indispensable part of the smuggle route to Europe. We noticed that the Italian coast guard, NGOs and locals coordinate their actions. Whatever they call it themselves, these operations cannot be classified as genuine rescue operations.
The Dutch, Maltese and German based NGOs are part of the human smuggling network and one wonders, are these NGOs themselves criminal organisations.
Whatever the motives of these NGOs, their behaviour is illegal, and in countries governed by a constitution, i.e. European states, crime should be prosecuted regardless of the intention of its perpetrators.
We followed the movements of the Golfo Azzurro on 12 October. We used AIS Marine Traffic signals, twitter and the live reports of a Dutch journalist on board of the Golfo Azzurro.
Jonathan Samuels, Sky News Correspondent, and his team discovered a discarded handbook, printed in Arabic, on the shore of the Isle of Lesbos, providing the migrants with detailed information on the routes, important phone numbers, non-government organizations that aid the migrants and on their rights in target countries1)(also video), Sky Finds ‘Handbook’ For EU-Bound Migrants, Sky News 2015-09-13.. WatchTheMed (watchthemed.net and alarmphone.org) and w2eu (w2eu.info and w2eu.net) are among the organizations listed in the said rough guide.
MOAS stands for Migrant Offshore Aid Station. It is a Malta-based non-governmental organisation, which set itself the task of patrolling the Mediterranean and rescuing people in high seas, lifting them up from dinghies, rafts and boats onto the Phoenix, the MOAS-owned trawler, a vessel complete with drones for scanning the waters, and ferrying migrants from places several miles off the Libyan shore to Sicily. The organisation is run by Chris Catrambone (35) and his wife Regina.
Since 2015 more and more private NGOs are involved in the illegal migrant ferrying from Libya to Italy. They all claim to be on a rescuing mission, but are they? “We can now confirm that at least 3,800 people have died, making 2016 the deadliest ever,” William Spindler, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), declared last week. The previous record, 3,771 lives lost,, was set in 2015. Despite a sharp drop in the number of refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean, from 1.01 million last year to 327,800 so far this year, more and more people drown at sea or die as a result of other causes1)UN: 2016 deadliest year for refugees in Mediterranean, Deutsche Welle..