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“Greek” Parliament devolves into chaos over Macedonia issue, confidence vote

Walkout of KKE MPs, calls for a military putsch by Golden Dawn MP and subsequent expulsion of party from the parliamentary debate, SYRIZA MP speaks “Macedonian” in intense day of proceedings.

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As could be expected, the political situation in Greece is getting more fiery by the day following the Tsipras-Zaev agreement which, if ratified, would allow Greece’s northern neighbor to officially name itself “North Macedonia.”

Following the passage of an austerity multi-bill in parliament on Wednesday, a bill which was carried solely by the votes of the “radical leftist” SYRIZA and its coalition partner, the “nationalist” and “patriotic” Independent Greeks party and which promises more austerity and privatizations for a country supposedly exiting the austerity and memorandum regime — Friday’s parliamentary agenda concerned the vote of no confidence against the government, which was called by the center-right New Democracy party, the main opposition party. And it is here were chaos — or at least a well-choreographed version of it — ensued.

First came the example of Konstantinos Barbarousis, a member of parliament with the far right Golden Dawn party. In a speech before parliament, Barbarousis suggested that the military intervene and arrest the president of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos, prime minister Alexis Tsipras, and defense minister Panos Kammenos.

Following this, the Greek justice system — typically slow as molasses when it comes to the concerns of ordinary citizens — kicked into overdrive, with Barbarousis facing immediate charges of high treason for his calls for a military putsch. While early reports erroneously stated that Barbarousis had been arrested, in a phone call to national network Star TV, Barbarousis stated that he was “freely circulating.” This was followed by a police chase on the Athens-Patras highway, where Barbarousis reportedly evaded a police blockade before going into hiding. As of the time of this writing on Friday evening, Barbarousis had not been arrested.

Following Barbarousis’ statements in parliament, Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos expelled Barbarousis from Golden Dawn’s parliamentary team. In turn, Golden Dawn’s parliamentary representation was expelled from the no confidence proceedings.

The parliamentary festivities then continued as debate over the no confidence motion went on, with all of the MPs of the Communist Party (KKE) walking out of the debate. In a statement before parliament, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, the general secretary of the KKE, stated that “the KKE will no longer legitimize this process, our parliamentary team will no longer participate in this parody of a parliamentary procedure, we are departing immediately.”

While the no confidence procedure may indeed be a farce, and while the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition government was likely to survive a no confidence vote, KKE’s departure, along with the expulsion of Golden Dawn, means that SYRIZA could surpass a no confidence vote simply with the votes of its own MPs, without necessitating the support even of the Independent Greeks — who have stated that they do not support the “North Macedonia” deal but nevertheless (and not surprisingly, considering the history of this party) continue to “support” the government. The sweet taste of power is so very hard to let go of, after all.

At this point, it should be mentioned that seemingly the entirety of Greek (and foreign press correspondent) reporting on the KKE departure and Golden Dawn expulsion did not address what this would mean for the no confidence vote and the number of votes the government would need to survive the censure. It is one of many instances where the servile, pro-EU, pro-austerity, neoliberal media — both domestic and international — have kept their audience in the dark.

Adding to this hallmark day in Greece’s parliament was an instance where SYRIZA MP Giorgos Oursouzidis spoke in the “Macedonian” language, in a message of “friendship” towards the people of Greece’s northern neighbor. At a time where the SYRIZA government is attempting to ram through an agreement which is highly unpopular with a large majority of Greece (but highly popular with sundry neoliberals, globalists, and warmongers such as John McCain), speaking in a language which the government just recognized as “Macedonian” based on a fraudulent argument regarding the “recognition” of this language by the United Nations in 1977, is itself a provocative act, even if one of a much different nature from the statements made by Barbarousis.

As all of this was occurring inside the parliament building, outside of parliament, protesters gradually began to gather throughout the day, opposing the “North Macedonia” agreement. At some point, a group of these protesters attempted, unsuccessfully, to storm the parliament building, lobbing bottles and coffee cups at the police presence, which pushed back the protesters. No arrests have been reported. This police presence, of course, has no problem defending criminals of many stripes inside the parliament building, all for a paltry monthly wage of around 700 euros which those same politicians have repeatedly slashed in recent years. Surely other similarly-paying professions, such as scrubbing toilets, would be far more honorable and honest. For some in crisis-hit Greece though, the cost of one’s dignity has hit rock bottom.

Nevertheless, the protest outside the parliament building was largely peaceful and while it was modest in size, it grew as the day wore on. Protesters waved Greek flags and sang patriotic songs such as “Macedonia Xakousti,” a song which very well could be considered “chauvinistic” and thus in violation of the Tsipras-Zaev deal, if and when it comes into effect.

Demonstration outside Greece’s parliament on June 15, 2018, in opposition to the Tsipras-Zaev “North Macedonia” deal. (Photo: Michael Nevradakis)

Despite today’s moderately sized demonstration, larger protests are planned for Saturday evening outside of parliament, and on Sunday in the Prespes region of the northern Greek prefecture of Macedonia, again in opposition to the “North Macedonia” deal.

As for the parliamentary proceedings, they should come as no surprise, not due to some sort of deficiency of the Greeks or their ability to practice politics, but due to the fact that the parliament has, throughout the years of the crisis and indefinitely into the future, been reduced to an entity which rubber-stamps and rams through foreign-imposed legislation and agreements, public opinion be damned. And for SYRIZA in particular, any opposition to any of its actions, such as the “North Macedonia” agreement or the new austerity it is passing while claiming that the “end of austerity” has arrived, easily earns one the “fascist” label — ironic considering SYRIZA’s intolerance towards anything other than the absolute and total truth it obviously believes it represents.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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