Thursday, August 18, 2016

Will Ankara take aim at Patriarch Bartholomew?

Against the background of the failed coup in Turkey and the ongoing crackdown on sympathisers of Fethullah Gülen, Ankara might take aim at the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, or try to win him, writes the US Ambassador (retired) Arthur H. Hughes.

Arthur H. Hugues has served as US Ambassador to Yemen in 1991-1994, after which he became the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. He has also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Near East and South Asia and has held numerious other posts with the U.S. Foreign Service, including as Deputy Chief of Mission in Tel Aviv.

At least since Mustafa Kemal’s time, Orthodox Christians in Turkey have witnessed repressions from the state. Thousands of Turkish-tongue Christians had to emigrate. In 1971, the Halki theological seminary was closed down. The dissemination of orthodox literature and missionary activities of any kind are banned. In an attempt to foster patriotism and obtain a wider support of the conservative part of society, the Turkish government tried to build relations with nationalists, most radical of whom even made several attempts at Patriarch Bartholomew! [Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople is the 270th and current Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, since November 1991.]

It’s no wonder that such a situation induced the Patriarchate to establish close ties with the American political elite. Congregations in the US and the donations from American businesspersons of Greek origin are the main sources of income for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In its turn, Washington considers the condition of religious minority in Turkey an ace in the diplomatic game to put pressure upon Ankara. Moreover, being primus inter pares among the heads of the other Autocephalous Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople can affect the whole Orthodox world. And, obviously, the US intelligence couldn’t have missed such a chance.

Thus, one of the members of the American-Israeli lobby in the Constantinople Patriarchate is Father Alexander Karloutsos, Public Affairs Officer close to Archbishop Demetrios. Thanks to his ties with high-level officials and Greek-American billionaires, he is basically the only person who controls the money flows from the US to the Phanar, and that gives him wide possibilities of exerting pressure upon the Ecumenical Patriarchate. On the other hand, Karloutsos is also in good relations with former CIA Director George Tenet, and with the preacher Fethullah Gülen cooperating with the American intelligence. That means the amount of financing is directly bound to how successfully the Patriarchate’s heads accomplish the tasks they receive from their US supervisors.

Besides that, Patriarch Bartholomew personally has met with Gülen, or Hoca Efendi, as he calls him, quite a number of times. For instance, they met on 6 April 1996 to discuss the prospects of interfaith dialogue. This was before Gülen fled to the US with the assistance of the diplomat Morton Abramovitz, CIA agents Graham Fuller and George Fidas, and the above-mentioned Fr. Alexander Karloutsos.

The Patriarch of Constantinople praised Gülen in 2012 when he took part in a meeting of Journalists and Writers’ Association (GYV) founded by the Turkish preacher. About a month before the event, the Chicago Tribune published an interview with Bartholomew in which he highly appreciated Gülen’s efforts to develop interfaith dialogue and foster intimacy among faiths “for the benefit of humankind.” Then, a week past the Association’s meeting, on 13 May 2012 in an interview dedicated to the award Bartholomew received from Roosevelt Institute, the Patriarch publicly mentioned his friendship with “Hoca Efendi” [Gülen]: “We really love him. We hope he comes back soon.” Should anyone wonder than why the Patriarch of Constantinople touched upon the inadmissibility of Muslim services in Hagia Sophia only on 11 July – a month after they had begun – and just 4 days before the attempted coup?

Does the Turkish government realize its failure after the recent coup attempt? Would they try to win the Orthodox patriarch over or crackdown on him? Obviously, it would be much easier for Erdogan to cut off the foreign financing of the tiny Turkish Orthodox community to get rid of it for good. On the other hand, the cooperation with its own Orthodox Patriarch could give Turkey new possibilities to improve its reputation and expand its influence in the Orthodox world. Should the authorities recognize the Ecumenical status of the Patriarchate of Constantinople at last?

Unfortunately, it would be extremely hard to ground such a decision at this moment. Instead of consolidating Orthodox Churches, the Council held in June on Crete simply alienated them. We saw Patriarch Bartholomew incapable of uniting the Orthodox world. Moreover, it turned out that his influence doesn’t affect even a half of Orthodox Christians! The reasons are his authoritarianism, pertinacity and hostility towards the Russian Orthodox Church.

Such a fact diminishes the Patriarchate’s value for those in power in Turkey. And Patriarch Bartholomew seems to have not that much time to attempt to change the situation.

Debunking Myths That Trump 'Has No Chance' of Winning the White House

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump walks the tarmac before boarding his campaign plane to depart from Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015

© AP Photo/ LM Otero
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Although polls show that Hillary Clinton is currently leading Donald Trump in a number of key battle ground states, it does not mean that Trump's campaign is doomed. His latest campaign shake-up indicates that the Republican presidential nominee is determined to win.

Although the US mainstream media is asserting its audience that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has given up and is merely unable to win, facts on the ground prove otherwise. "Donald Trump is preparing to lose… his rhetoric betrays a shift in psychology," CNN's contributor Timothy Stanley suggests.
"Given his personality type, I think he is exhibiting signs of intense frustration that comes from the diminishing amounts of undeserved adulation he received during his primary run. And that may very well lead him to simply take his ball and go home," CNBC's senior analyst Ron Insana believes.
However, according to Peter Navarro, a professor at the University of California-Irvine and a senior policy advisor to the Trump campaign, the situation is not as dire as it seems to some media pundits.
Navarro draws attention to the fact that political analysts have repeatedly underestimated and miscalculated Trump's moves in the course of the presidential campaign. Likewise, today, they have rushed to declare Hillary Clinton the likely winner of the 2016 presidential race.
"The question, of course, is whether these elites will finally get it right and turn Trump into an embarrassing historical footnote-or once again be spectacularly wrong. The answer will inevitably hinge on whether each of these 'Seven Pillars of Beltway Wisdom' turn out to be on point-or wildly off the mark," the US academic notes in his article for The National Interest.
First, national polls show that Hillary Clinton is currently leading Donald Trump in some "key battleground states." However, Navarro notes, that Trump still has strong positions in traditional "red" states. Furthermore, he may redraw some "blue" states into "red" due to his "independent-friendly and likely centrist" agenda.
The second misconception is that Hispanics will prefer Clinton to Trump, because she propagates "open borders" while her opponent wants to build a "big beautiful wall" between the US and Mexico.
Citing Brian Joondeph from American Thinker, Navarro underscores that Latino voters rank immigration the fifth in importance behind education, jobs, healthcare and the deficit.
Since Trump's message for Hispanic voters is that he wants not only to create new jobs for them but also to prevent illegals from taking their jobs (thus driving down their wages), he stands a good chance of winning their hearts and minds, he notes.
A campaign volunteer for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wears a hat signed by Trump during a rally with supporters in Gaffney, South Carolina February 18, 2016
© REUTERS/ Jonathan Ernst
A campaign volunteer for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wears a hat signed by Trump during a rally with supporters in Gaffney, South Carolina February 18, 2016
Third, similarly, those who believe that Hillary Clinton will command the "black vote" could be mistaken, the US scholar remarks. President Obama and Democrats have failed to improve the living standards of the African-American community.
"Trump will bluntly ask black (and brown) Americans whether they are more interested in more welfare checks and food stamps, which Hillary Clinton will happily supply, or whether they want the kind of job opportunities and rising wages a Trump presidency will offer," Navarro stresses.
Likewise, it is not written on the wall that Big Labor and women will more willingly vote for Hillary Clinton rather than for her opponent, he adds. The American academic stresses that Big Labor remembers that it was the Clintons who championed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993 as well as a 2012 South Korean trade pact which, according to labor unionists, destroyed tens of thousands of American jobs.
Moreover, there is little if any doubt Hillary Clinton will continue to push ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which triggers Big Labor's deepest concerns.
Navarro debunks yet another myth, which says that Trump's opposition in GOP will eventually "sink" him, referring to the fact that the presidential nominee's Republican opponents constitute a small faction within the party.
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes of both the political elites and Trump's opponents, according to the US academic, is that they believe that his tough rhetoric was costing him votes.
"After all, much of Trump's popularity stems from his willingness to say what he thinks, even (or especially) if it offends the politically correct," Navarro recalls, adding that "if Trump simply stays focused on his four aces of the economy, trade, immigration and national security, it is equally true that he will surely play a winning hand."
For her part, Kelly Riddell of the Washington Times denounced the mainstream media narrative that Donald Trump may surrender before the November election as "absurd," stressing that there are clear signs that Donald Trump is determined to win. She calls attention to the fact that Trump has shaken up his campaign by hiring Stephen Bannon, Breitbart News' executive chairman, as his campaign executive chief and Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, as his campaign manager.
"Mr. Trump has surprised this entire election season, and there's no reason to think he can't do it again, no matter what the polls say today," Riddell emphasized.
"I believe we're adding some of the best talents in politics, with the experience and expertise needed to defeat Hillary Clinton in November and continue to share my message and vision to make America great again," Trump said in his official announcement, as quoted by

Monday, August 15, 2016

Soros gave Clinton step-by-step instructions on how to tackle Albania unrest – WikiLeaks email

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton © Chris Keane
An email leaked by WikiLeaks reveals that when Hillary Clinton was US secretary of state in 2011, billionaire George Soros instructed her on how to handle unrest in Albania, stressing it “needs urgent attention at senior levels of the US government.”
“Dear Hillary,” begins the email dated January 24, 2011 from the founder of Open Society Foundations, Soros.
“A serious situation has arisen in Albania which needs urgent attention at senior levels of the US government. You may know that an opposition demonstration in Tirana on Friday resulted in the deaths of three people and the destruction of property,” Soros says, according to the leaked email.
Three men were shot dead as anti-government demonstrators clashed with police in the Albanian capital in late January of 2011. Supporters of the opposition Socialist Party refused to accept the results of a 2009 election, citing corruption and fraud, when then-Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s Democratic Party won by a thin margin. Berisha accused the opposition of attempting to provoke a Tunisia-style uprising, saying “the bastard children of Albania’s own Ben Alis conceived Tunisian scenarios.”
“There are serious concerns about further unrest connected to a counter-demonstration to be organized by the governing party... and a follow-up event by the opposition two days later to memorialize the victims,” Soros says.
“The prospect of tens of thousands of people entering the streets in an already inflamed political environment bodes ill for the return of public order and the country’s fragile democratic process,” he adds.
“I believe two things need to be done urgently,” he adds.
“1. Bring the full weight of the international community to bear on Prime Minister Berisha and opposition leader Edi Rama to forestall further public demonstrations and to tone down public pronouncements.
2. Appoint a senior European official as a mediator.”
Soros suggested three candidates: Carl Bildt, Martti Ahtisaari, and Miroslav Lajcak, saying all “have strong connections to the Balkans.”
“The US and the EU must work in complete harmony over this, but given Albania’s European aspirations the EU must take the lead,” he stressed, adding that his foundation in Tirana was “monitoring the situation closely and can provide independent analysis of the crisis.”
Several days after the email was sent to Clinton, the EU did send one of Soros’ suggested nominees, Miroslav Lajcak, to meet Albanian leaders in Tirana to try to mediate an end to the unrest, Reuters reported.
In March, WikiLeaks launched a searchable archive consisting of 30,322 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server that she used while serving as US secretary of state. The 50,547 pages of documents cover Clinton’s correspondence from June 30, 2010 to August 12, 2014, of which 7,570 were sent by Clinton herself.
Last month, the whistleblowing website published an archive of over 1,200 of Clinton’s private emails pertaining to the Iraq War. Ahead of the release, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the “upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton” would be enough to indict her.
Soros made a name for himself as the “man who broke the Bank of England” by engaging in questionable Forex hedging and betting against the sterling pound – which made him more than $1 billion in one day in September of 1992. Some have speculated that Soros has benefited from insider trading information when making investments. In 2002, a Paris court found Soros guilty of using inside information to profit from a 1988 takeover deal for bank Societe Generale.



Hillary Clinton’s Work On The Iran Deal Led To A $400 Million Payment In Hard Currency Sent Straight To The Top State Sponsor Of Terrorism

Clinton Takes Credit For Helping Push Through The Iran Nuclear Deal:

Clinton Has Touted Her Work In Being “Part Of The Coalition That Brought Us To The Point Of This Agreement.” CLINTON: “Having been part of the coalition that brought us to the point of this agreement, I think we will have to immediately upon completion of this agreement and its rigorous enforcement, look to see how we build a coalition to try to prevent and undermine Iran’s bad behaviors in other arenas.” (Hillary Clinton, Remarks On U.S. Iran Nuclear Deal, Washington, D.C., 7/14/15)
Clinton: “I'm Very Proud Of The Iran Nuclear Agreement. I Was Very Pleased To Be Part Of What The President Put Into Action When He Took Office.” CLINTON: “Well, I'm very proud of the Iran Nuclear Agreement. I was very pleased to be part of what the president put into action when he took office. I was responsible for getting those sanctions imposed which put the pressure on Iran. It brought them to the negotiating table which resulted in this agreement.” (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At Democrat Primary Debate, Charleston, SC, 1/17/16)
Clinton: “I Was Responsible For Getting Those Sanctions Imposed Which Put The Pressure On Iran. It Brought Them To The Negotiating Table Which Resulted In This Agreement.” CLINTON: “Well, I'm very proud of the Iran Nuclear Agreement. I was very pleased to be part of what the president put into action when he took office. I was responsible for getting those sanctions imposed which put the pressure on Iran. It brought them to the negotiating table which resulted in this agreement.” (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At Democrat Primary Debate, Charleston, SC, 1/17/16)
Iran Is Recognized As “The Foremost State Sponsor Of Terrorism”:
National Director Of Intelligence James Clapper: “Iran—The Foremost State Sponsor Of Terrorism—Continues To Exert Its Influence In Regional Crises In The Middle East.” “Iran—the foremost state sponsor of terrorism—continues to exert its influence in regional crises in the Middle East through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—Qods Force (IRGC-QF), its terrorist partner Lebanese Hizballah, and proxy groups. It also provides military and economic aid to its allies in the region. Iran and Hizballah remain a continuing terrorist threat to US interests and partners worldwide. (James R. Clapper, Statement For The Record, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, PP. 10, 2/9/16)
The State Department’s Annual Country Report On Terrorism Listed Iran As A State Sponsor Of Terrorism And Said That They Had Increased Their Activity In 2015. “Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2015, including support for Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. In 2015, Iran increased its assistance to Iraqi Shia terrorist groups, including Kata’ib Hizballah (KH), which is a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, as part of an effort to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and bolster the Asad regime in Syria. Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. The IRGC-QF is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.” (State Department’s Annual Country Report On Terrorism, U.S. State Department, Chapter 3-State Sponsored Terrorism, 6/2/16)
Iran Has Been Funding Terrorist Groups Working Against U.S Interests In Their Region:
Iran Has Been Assisting Hizballah Rearm Since 2006 And Has Given Their Organization In Lebanon “Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars.” “Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict in 2006, Iran has also assisted in rearming Hizballah, in direct violation of UNSCR 1701. Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Hizballah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran. These trained fighters have used these skills in direct support of the Asad regime in Syria and, to a lesser extent, in support of operations against ISIL in Iraq. They have also carried out isolated attacks along the Lebanese border with Israel.” (State Department’s Annual Country Report On Terrorism, U.S. State Department, Chapter 3-State Sponsored Terrorism, 6/2/16)
Iran Has Funded And Armed Shia Terrorist Groups In Iraq That Have “Exacerbated Sectarian Tensions In Iraq And Have Committed Serious Human Rights Abuses Against Primarily Sunni Civilians.” “In Iraq, Iranian combat forces employed rockets, artillery, and drones against ISIL. Iran also increased its arming and funding of Iraqi Shia terrorist groups in an effort to reverse ISIL gains in Iraq. Many of these groups, such as KH, have exacerbated sectarian tensions in Iraq and have committed serious human rights abuses against primarily Sunni civilians. The IRGC-QF, in concert with Hizballah, provided training outside of Iraq, as well as advisors inside Iraq for Shia militants in the construction and use of advanced weaponry. Similar to Hizballah fighters, many of these trained Shia militants have used these skills to fight for the Asad regime in Syria or against ISIL in Iraq.” (State Department’s Annual Country Report On Terrorism, U.S. State Department, Chapter 3-State Sponsored Terrorism, 6/2/16)
Iran Has Been Funding Hamas And Other Terrorist Groups Carrying Out Attacks Against Israel. “Iran has historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. These Palestinian terrorist groups have been behind a number of deaths from attacks originating in Gaza and the West Bank. Although Hamas’s ties to Tehran have been strained due to the Syrian civil war, both sides took steps in 2015 to repair relations. Iran continued to declare its vocal support for Palestinian terrorist groups and its hostility to Israel in 2015. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Admiral Ali Shamkhani sought to frame a series of individual Palestinian attacks on Israeli security forces in the West Bank as a new “Intifada” in a speech on November 25.” (State Department’s Annual Country Report On Terrorism, U.S. State Department, Chapter 3-State Sponsored Terrorism, 6/2/16)
Iran Has Remained Unwilling To Bring Justice To Senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) Members. “Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) members it continued to detain and refused to publicly identify the members in its custody. Iran previously allowed AQ facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran since at least 2009, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.” (State Department’s Annual Country Report On Terrorism, U.S. State Department, Chapter 3-State Sponsored Terrorism, 6/2/16)
It Was Reported That The Obama Administration Shipped $400 Million In Hard Currency To The Iranian Government:
This Year The Obama Administration “Secretly Organized An Airlift Of $400 Million Worth Of Cash To Iran” Via “Wooden Pallets Stacked With Euros, Swiss Francs And Other Currencies” On “An Unmarked Cargo Plane.” “The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward. Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials.” (Jay Solomon And Carol E. Lee, “U.S. Sent Cash To Iran As Americans Were Freed,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/2/16)
The $400 Million In Hard Currency Was The “First Installment Of A $1.7 Billion Settlement The Obama Administration Reached With Iran.” “The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward. … The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.” (Jay Solomon And Carol E. Lee, “U.S. Sent Cash To Iran As Americans Were Freed,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/2/16)
“The $400 Million Was Paid In Foreign Currency Because Any Transaction With Iran In U.S. Dollars Is Illegal Under U.S. Law.” (Jay Solomon And Carol E. Lee, “U.S. Sent Cash To Iran As Americans Were Freed,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/2/16)


Spile, Himare, August 15, 2016.

Organised by the following political and civil association of Himare:


This resolution is signed by the people of Himare, in free will, and directed to:

The Albanian Government and the Prime Minister Edi Rama

Diplomatic representatives in Albania of:

United States of America,

European Union / European Council

OSCE Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe,


The situation in the region of Himara the last 25 years, regarding property rights, is worsening because of of the actions and the arbitrariness of the Albanian government which is encouraging people with political and economical powers, members of organised crime groups and the mafia to systematically trespassing and stilling the properties of the people of Himara.

The parliament, the government, the justice system, the public administration and the media are been used to wipe out Himara and its history and implement assimilation policies which are favored by the new legal framework and decisions of the Albanian government which are resulting in violation of basic human rights and freedoms,  violating the Albanian Constitution.

The people of Himara demand:

1. The immediate cancellation of all urban planning initiative, project or development plan, expropriation of private land, donation of community land to any domestic or foreign pseudo-investor that the Albanian government is planning and implementing in our region until a proper and guarantied fare property registration of private and community owned land and real estate properties is fully completed in the whole region of Himara.

2. Abolition of the destructive 7501 law "For the farming land" which has resulted in taking away the ownership of farming land from its real owners and in the destruction of thousands of olive trees and in the construction of abusive buildings based on fraud ownership titles, which is also helped by the lack of a general property registration process and the ban of registration of properties which were returned to its legal inheritors through court decisions and the process of returning confiscated properties.

3. We call on international and Euro-Atlantic partners to urge pressure on the Albanian legislative and administrative institutions to cancel all unconstitutional laws and government decisions which violate basic human rights starting from the new administrative reform, the new property compensation law and the new law "For tourism".

4. We demand the final return of all community properties and those belonging to the Christian Orthodox Church in Himara, which the government should return and respect. Also the return of properties which use to belong to the army and properties belonging to the municipality.

5. We request the immediate halt of the construction of resorts and so called "touristic villages", until after the Albanian government has transparently proved to the people of Himare the legality of the ownership titles based on which those permissions were given.

6. We call on your representatives in Albania, to push towards the implementation of the new "decriminalization process" and "justice reform" as soon as possible including in the region of Himara where massive fraud and property theft has taken place from members of the Albanian mafia, organized crime connected with politicians, oligarchs and people close to the administrative and justice institutions, under the umbrella of the so called "plans for development of tourism".

With trust in GOD and respect towards the Albanian Constitution, the people of Himara express through this RESOLUTION, their free will and expectations, hoping to get your support and understanding in the difficult process of protecting our basic human rights and the implementation of the rule of law and justice in the region of Himare and throughout Albania.


Signed by all the free autochthon people of Himara