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The future belongs to those who do not surrender

Compared to our ancestors, we are really distinguished by cowardice, fatalistic passivity and laziness. All this, however, can change quickly.

Milos Kovic

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An interview with Milos Kovic, historian, Assistant professor at the Department of History, Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, Serbia, who published a book about a difficult moment when only one path remained for Serbia, and not a promising one – “The only path: Entente Powers and the defense of Serbia in 1915.”

How accurate is the theory that there are tragic events of exceptional strength that really shape the identity of a nation? How is this happening and what if we do not learn a lesson out of those experiences?

– The prominent French writer Renan wrote in his lecture “What is a Nation?” that people are often connected by memories of shared suffering, and Serbs are no exception. Today, when Yugoslavia is no more, there is no reason why Jasenovac should not be brought back to the center of the Serbian identity, just like the Jews did with Auschwitz.

 During the Balkan wars and the First World War, we had a great victory, but also a lot of suffering. We were always criticized for building our identity on suffering, defeat, and therefore, for hardly looking towards the future.

– When Americans ask you a question like that, then they should be reminded of the Hollywood spectacle “300” about Leonidas, that they filmed and earned a great amount of money. What are the ethics taught in this film? It’s not about celebrating only defeats. Battles are fought to be won. Nobody wants to die. War ethics require courage, wisdom and victory. And defeats teach us lessons and they should make us wiser.

If we draw a parallel between the behavior of the Allies in the First World War and what happened in the nineties, we can see that in both cases the Serbian interests were crushed and betrayed, but despite all harmful decisions for us, we still walk persistently toward the European integration.

– In 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had a stick in one hand, and in another it had a bag, and they offered Serbia integration, better roads, better health care, better schools. The only condition was to give up independence. The EU today is having the same behavior, even worse. The stick is thicker and the carrots are thinner. It is interesting that, after all, at present a large percentage of Serbs are ready to plunge the country into the EU and to give up sovereignty and freedom, and in 1914 it was unthinkable.

Why was it unthinkable?

– The answers are within ourselves. We are subject to special treatment by the great powers who applied similar methods in Hawaii, the Philippines, the Wild West, in India. But we cannot always blame someone else. The Serbian honor was famed by Serbs from the Republika Srpska and the former Republic of Krajina (in Croatia). Just look at the unfortunate Montenegro, the former Serbian Sparta. Or our desolate Belgrade, which is still acting as if it was the capital of Yugoslavia. Compared to our ancestors, we are really distinguished by cowardice, fatalistic passivity and laziness. All this, however, can change quickly. Vladislav Petković Dis (Serbian poet) lamented in the same way over the Serbian vices, on the eve of the big victories 1912-1918. We only need determination, intelligence and courage.

Nowadays many people believe that our defeats from the end of the 20th century are somehow rooted in victories from the Balkan wars and the First World War, because at that time we got a new State?

– I would say that this kind of debate relates only to the nineties. The generations fleeing the military mobilization and protesting against their own country, at a time when the Serbs across the Drina river were fighting for survival, are now running from their own weakness and are accusing their grandfathers and great-grandfather. Those fathers plunged a mighty sword into the hard stone, and their sons, not being able to pull out that sword, are accusing their fathers for of it. Our grandfathers left us a great Yugoslav State. We, our generation, we were not able to preserve it. It is easy to blame the dead for our own weakness. Let’s look in the mirror and answer the question about where we were and what we did in the nineties when Yugoslavia was broken down and what we are doing today when they are trying to break down our Serbia.

What actually happened to the Albanians in 1912, 1913, 1914, and after 1941?

– It was offered to the Muslim Albanians, who were a privileged class in the Ottoman Empire, to live in a relatively well-ordered and modern Yugoslav State instead of the Ottoman Empire. As equal citizens with their former serfs. Unfortunately, most of them refused. The hostility of Albanians towards the new State was based on class and religious grounds. That is why in the forthcoming World War, the majority sided with the occupiers and enemies of the Serbian people and they again committed genocide against the Serbian people in Kosovo and Macedonia, but also against the Macedonians.

To what extent is the issue explored in the Serbian historiography? Were there any punishment and reprisals in the Serbian army?

– Yes, there were. There are preserved commands from officers during the retreat across Albania stating that any robbery of Albanian civilians would be severely punished. In the short story “Resimić the drummer” Dragisa Vasic describes one such case, when the starving Serbian recruits, while crossing Albania, steal fowl in an Albanian village, and at the request of peasants, the Serbian officer shoots dead those kids. It was a real historical event.

Simon Sebag Montefiore in his “Jerusalem”, considers the Albanians very seriously and notes that they have grown as a strong ethnical group since the beginning of the 19th century. By what means did we underestimate them as a group and a political power?

– It must be said that Belgrade really underestimated the Albanian nationalism and that it was generally despised. We were unable to encourage professionals for Albanian studies. There were some, but not enough. It is still difficult to find one who would deal with this important question. Unlike Albanians who, at least in Kosovo and Metohija, were learning Serbian, we were not learning Albanian. So, there has been some underestimation, especially of the Albanian nationalism, and we paid the price. Nevertheless, we must not waste time on blaming ourselves, we must not lose faith in our own strength and we should not forget that the future belongs to those who do not surrender.

Translated from Serbian by Svetlana MAKSOVIC

Source: ZURNALIST.RS 31.05.2017.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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Saudi Arabia trying to squirm free of Khashoggi murder (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 2.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s possible admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi…accidentally, while they were torturing the man inside the consulate in Istanbul.

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Via Zerohedge

Even before the publication of last night’s Saudi trial balloon hinting that the kingdom would soon acknowledge that the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi – the insider-turned dissident journalist who walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week and never walked back out – was the result of a “botched” kidnapping attempt carried out by “rogue killers” (despite reports that the US intelligence community knew that Khashoggi was being “targeted”), two realities had become increasingly clear. One: That the Saudis would avoid responsibility for the killing by pinning it on some unfortunate underling, and two: that there would be few, if any, lasting diplomatic repercussions.

And as more media organizations confirmed reports about Saudi’s plans to spin Khashoggi’s murder as a botched interrogation (we can only imagine what was said in that room to justify the use of such extreme violence), CNN calculated the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for approximately 15 minutes early Tuesday, following his 12-hour-plus flight to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia lasted no more than 15 minutes, CNN estimates based on the time the top US diplomat’s motorcade arrived at the royal court and departed.

The motorcade arrived at the royal court at 11:42 a.m. (4:42 a.m. ET) and left 26 minutes later. There is a fair distance to walk from where the motorcade dropped Pompeo off to where he met the king.

While Trump said on Monday that Pompeo would travel to Turkey “if necessary”, the Saudi’s decision to “come clean” about Khashoggi’s death pretty much rendered Pompeo’s fact-finding mission unnecessary.More important are developments in Turkey, where the joint Saudi-Turkish “investigation” is turning its attention toward the home of the Saudi consul, where a black diplomatic van that departed the Saudi consulate just under two hours after Khashoggi entered was captured on camera disappearing into a garage. Some speculate that this is where the killers finished disposing of Khashoggi’s body. This comes after a “nine-hour” search of the Saudi consulate building that, according to leaks published in Al-Jazeera, turned up “evidence of tampering” by the Saudis. On Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister clarified that Saudi had yet to admit its role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and probable death.

Turkish investigators will carry out a search of the Saudi Consul General’s residence on Tuesday as the probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

CCTV footage released to the media from the day the Washington Post writer vanished show movement of vehicles from the consulate building to the Consul General’s residence nearby.

As speculation mounts that the incident could unseat the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (who has already marginalized or incapacitated nearly every threat to his rule), it’s looking more likely that neither the US nor the rest of the Western world will do much to punish the world’s most important oil exporter, which can “weaponize” the oil market seemingly on a whim.

Any punishment for this flagrant violation of human rights will need to come, therefore, from the private sector, which, according to Bloomberg, could sabotage MbS’s grand Vision 2030 plan, which aims to remake the Saudi economy via a flood of foreign direct investment:

The economic strategy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, is to make investment the main engine of economic growth instead of government spending, but the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi could frustrate these ambitions. Foreign direct investment, a key part of the plan to reinvent Saudi Arabia’s economy, declined sharply in 2017 and is unlikely to return to previous levels, leaving the government’s target for 2020 beyond reach, according to analysis by Bloomberg Economics. Increased policy uncertainty and, after the Khashoggi incident, the risk of reputational damage to foreign companies working in Saudi Arabia won’t help.

 

 

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