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EU and NATO openly meddle in North Macedonia referendum (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 123.

Alex Christoforou

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FYROM’s electoral commission announced that a referendum on changing the country’s name to North Macedonia did not pass the 50% turnout threshold needed to make the vote legally valid.

Although over 90% of voters expressed their support for the name change, total voter turnout was a paltry 36.8%, which, strictly speaking, does not allow the current government in FYROM to recognize the referendum as having taken place. As with all votes that are to the benefit of NATO and the EU, FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has vowed to push the name change forward.

The head of FYROM’s electoral board, Oliver Derkoski noted that “in this referendum, it is clear that the decision has not been made,” further stating that the referendum on signing a treaty with Greece to rename the Republic of Macedonia held on September 30th “has been declared void”.

Dangling NATO and EU accession to those who turned out to vote, the question on the ballot read:

“Are you for EU and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece?” 

Of course no outside influence from Brussels to see here.

The aim of the referendum was to resolve a long-standing dispute with Greece over who can use the name Macedonia. If the change goes moves forward, Greece will lift its veto on FYROM’s attempts to join the EU and NATO.

FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that the will of the people (the 36% percent of them that showed up to vote) must be respected and approved by MPs. Zaev threatened that he would call snap parliamentary elections if lawmakers fail to approve the plan.

The EU’s Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, immediately voiced support for the referendum, calling on all parties “to respect this decision and take it forward with utmost responsibility and unity across party lines.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the FYROM referendum and its implications on the entire Balkan region. US, EU and NATO meddling in the vote shows that globalist forces are prepared to subject the entire region into a crippling economic and military alliance at all costs, even if it may lead to another conflict in the Balkans.

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According to RT  it should not be all that surprising that Western leaders failed to drum up support for Macedonia’s referendum, experts told RT, suggesting that Skopje’s vow to ignore the result and push ahead with EU and NATO membership is even less shocking.

Despite the slew of Western dignitaries who poured into Skopje to lobby for the measure, most Macedonians chose to stay home for Sunday’s non-binding referendum, which would have opened the door for EU and NATO membership.

Some 90 percent voted in support of the referendum, which asked: “Are you for EU and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece?” but with around 36 percent turnout, the results were invalidated. Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said after the vote that he remains committed to renaming the country North Macedonia, resolving a name dispute with neighboring Greece and paving the way for EU and NATO membership.

The underwhelming turnout, coupled with the government’s defiant pledge to carry on with the name change despite its unpopularity, highlights the deep divide between the country’s people and its political elite, analysts told RT. They said that the dismal result is a kick in the teeth to Western leaders and top officials who visited the country ahead of the ill-fated vote.

Western meddling?

While the incredibly low turnout presents an unexpected setback for Zaev, it’s also a defeat for his Western sponsors, Elena Guskova, head of the Modern Balkan Crisis Studies Center of the Slavic Studies Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RT.

Enormous efforts were taken by Brussels and Washington to make Macedonia’s accession to the European bloc, and the famously offensive defensive alliance, as seamless as possible. Just in the past week alone, a deluge of Western dignitaries graced the Macedonian capital, including German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, US Defense Secretary James Mattis, and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also paid their respects earlier this month.

The “pro-Western” Macedonian prime minister relied upon the help of Washington and Brussels to push through the referendum and resolve the name issue with Athens, Guskova said.

“It is very important for the West to unweave this knot and to remove the influence Russia can potentially exert on Macedonia. That is why [the West] strived so much for this referendum to succeed.”

Ironically, Defense Secretary Mattis accused Moscow of meddling in Macedonia’s internal affairs during his visit to Skopje, and already, accusations have surfaced that Russia “sought to prevent the Macedonians from going to the polls.”

“They de facto blame Russia for the low turnout,” Guskova noted, adding that the “humiliating” name change was the real motivating factor behind the referendum result.

The blame game may also be motivated by wounded pride: the West’s sudden and intense interest in Macedonia – Merkel’s visit marked the first time a German chancellor had travelled to the country, for example – seems to have accomplished little aside from highlighting the disconnect between the country’s leaders and its people.

“There is a huge discrepancy between the political elite in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and its people,”Stavros Mavroudeas, professor of political economy at the Department of Economics in the University of Macedonia, told RT. “The political elite in Skopje is subservient to the Western powers – the EU and US. This creates a gap.”

Turning lemons into NATO membership

Although it appears that Macedonians are less than enthusiastic about the name change, NATO and Washington have hailed the referendum’s result as a victory. “I welcome the yes vote in [the Macedonia] referendum. I urge all political leaders [and] parties to engage constructively [and] responsibly to seize this historic opportunity. #NATO’s door is open, but all national procedures have to be completed,” Stoltenberg tweeted.

Responding to the vote, the US State Department urged Macedonia’s parliament to go forward with the name change, which would require a two-thirds majority, calling on the country’s lawmakers “to rise above partisan politics” and “secure a brighter future for the country as a full participant in Western institutions.”

The EU’s Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, echoed a similar position, telling all parties to “respect this decision and take it forward with utmost responsibility and unity across party lines.”

Like so many of the “non-binding” referendums used to rubber-stamp EU and NATO membership over the past decade, it appears that the will of the people can be ignored when the political elite decide that the stakes are too high.

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a.f.Aleksandaram hantsVFL Recent comment authors
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I guess the macedonians realized they will get screwed, the name change would be one thing, but the corrupt ‘Elites’ tied this together with joining NATO+EU, what I read in the past joining NATO wasn’t very popular with the people but NATO doesn’t really care about that or democracy in general. The same NATO that destroyed a stabil Yugoslavia by inciting a bloody brutal messy war just to destroy an allie to Russia in smashing Yugoslavia to smal bits. What to expect now? It reminds me very strongly what happen right before the Coup d’éta in Ukraine. Also it’s the… Read more »

AM Hants
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AM Hants

36% electorate turnout, with over 96% keeping Nato, plus the EU happy. Self determination, but, the EU plus Nato will demand the vote is respected. Despite it violating the constitution of Macedonia.

Over in Crimea, they held a referendum, under the rules of ‘self determination’, which the UN Charter is based on. Over 80% of the electorate voted, with over 90% wishing to go home to Russia. Funnily enough the ‘5 Eyes Nations’, EU plus US, refuse to accept the outcome of the wishes of the majority of the electorate in Crimea.

a.f.
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a.f.

Under gunpont of Russia, so illegal vote. Besides under gunpoint 52% voted. And 48% in favor of illegal occupation, nazzi.

Aleksandar
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Aleksandar

The greek moron writing this article should not forget that we are neither FYROM neither Northern Macedonia. Macedonia was voting on an illegal referendum and Macedonian people overthrow the agreement in breach with international law with Greece which is imposing way more than a name change. The Greek fascist including the author should just simply accept the existence of Macedonia and Macedonians.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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