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Hidden agenda behind Greece’s unfriendly move against Russia

On July 11, Greece said it would expel two Russian diplomats and barred the entry of two others.

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Geoffrey Pyatt, former US ambassador to Ukraine and current US ambassador to Greece.

The formal reason is alleged meddling in an attempt to foment opposition to the “historic” name deal between Athens and Skopje paving the way for Macedonia’s NATO membership. Moscow said it would respond in kind.

Nothing like this ever happened before. The relations between the two countries have traditionally been warm. This year Moscow and Athens mark the 190th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Hellenic Republic. They have signed over 50 treaties and agreements.

The Greek people’s positive attitude towards Russia is well known. It had been widely believed that Athens trusted Moscow more than Brussels. Russian ambassador to Athens Andrey Maslov has recently described Greece “as a reliable partner”. More than one million Russian tourists are expected to visit Greece this year.

Unlike the majority of other Western countries, Greece rejected the British request to expel Russian diplomats in the wake of London’s claims of Moscow’s involvement in the Skripal poisoning. It’s also among the few NATO members to have Russian weapons in the armed forces’ inventory, including S-300 air defense systems.

The Greek Kathimerini daily’s report offers details on the matter. It’s not so important what exactly happened or if the sources cited are reliable enough to believe them. The information is too scarce anyway for making any conclusions. New Democracy’s shadow Foreign Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos on July 12 criticized the lack of information from the government on the rift between Greece and Russia.

Such things happen from time to time and if the relations are good, the differences can be ironed out behind the scenes without much ado. There is always a hidden agenda behind making such scoops leaked into media. Nothing comes from nothing. And timing is never accidental.

Spy scandals never come out of the blue. For instance, the news about the expulsion coincided with the NATO summit in Brussels demonstrating Greece’s solidarity with the allies. It was also the time preparations for a visit of Russian FM Sergey Lavrov to Greece were in full swing. Now it’s not known whether the visit will take place.

Kathimerini says the relationship started to gradually worsen behind the scenes about a couple of years ago. What happened back then? Geoffrey Pyatt assumed office as US Ambassador to Greece. Before the assignment he had served as ambassador to Ukraine in 2013-2016 at the time of Euromaidan – the events the US took active part in. He almost openly contributed into the Russia-Ukraine rift. Now it’s the turn of Greece. The ambassador has already warned Athens about the “malign influence of Russia”. He remains true to himself.

During the two years, Greece has not been opposing the anti-Russia sanctions as vigorously and resolutely as Italy or Hungary. None of the planned energy or other economic projects has come into fruition.

Greece is involved in the EastMed sea gas project along with Cyprus, Italy and Israel. The country is also viewed by the United States as a potential customer for American LNG exports, especially after it modernized its port facilities near Pireaus. Greece plans to build a floating storage terminal for LNG in Alexandroupoli. Economy always shapes foreign policy. Evidently, Greece is not interested in cheap Russian gas coming to Europe via the North Stream pipelines. Neither is the United States.

The scandal may be a straw for Greece to catch at as the heavily indebted nation is balancing on the brink of financial crisis. Athens needs relief deals to restructure the debt. It makes it dependent on the US-controlled IMF and the EU (Germany is the largest lender) to bail it out. Under the circumstances, it cannot be politically independent. As opposition to the austerity measures is growing, the government needs a “meddling scandal” to distract the people from everyday life woes.

President Trump has promised Prime Minister Tsipras large investments into economy. The United States is the sixth-largest foreign investor in that country. Addressing the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce annual New Year’s event in Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt expressed his optimism that 2018 would be a year of recovery for Greece, while all the more US investors are seeking ways to collaborate with Greek enterprises.

The extension of the agreement for the use of the US naval base in Souda Bay, Crete, the only deep-water port in southern Europe and the Mediterranean able to accommodate American aircraft carriers, is a topic for talks. Upgrading of the Greek fleet of F-16 fighters is also on the agenda. The US is ready to make it a relief deal.

Its military is reportedly harboring thoughts about developing in Greece a regional alternative to the use of the crucial Incirlik base in Turkey. The relationship between Turkey and the West continues to deteriorate. Greece sees it as a chance to boost its importance for the US in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa.

Propaganda also has a role to play. For instance, Russia is blamed by Western media for harboring nefarious plans to hinder the possible agreement between Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the UK to reunify the island. It is also accused of meddling in Macedonia. As usual, one story is invented after another to be spread around by Western media outlets.

A day after expelling diplomats, Greece said it wants to turn a page seeking good relations with Moscow. Russia has no desire to seriously deteriorate the relationship but it will retaliate as it always does. It will also keep in mind that the Greek government is playing its own games and Russia is supposed to a part of it. Greece is also used by those it depends on.

National sovereignty happened to be too costly for Athens. Normal bilateral relations may be preserved but things like trust and sincerity will be missing. Games change and governments come and go but friendly relations between the peoples remain. The provocation committed by the Greek government cannot change the reality. 63% of Greeks hold a favorable view of Russia. This relationship is too strong to be ruined outside pressure.

Via Strategic Culture

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AriusArmenianVeeNarian (Yerevan)lordbaldricMikenewport2002lickeyleaks Recent comment authors
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Just one name, Pyatt, the blood-soaked exceptionalist, was enough for me to be convinced about the US role.
Syriza has become just another US ass-lick.
The Greek people will never be free until they dump the slavery of the Euro. Hopefully, the flame of freedom will be kept alive until the USD/Euro crash and a re-ordering of the world.

AriusArmenian
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AriusArmenian

The US maneuvers others into debt then uses that debt to control.
You are right that the Greek people will not be free until they repudiate the debt and leave the Euro. But Syriza betrayed the people’s vote to the interests of EU and US elites.

lordbaldric
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lordbaldric

Greece can’t be happy about Russia cozying up to Turkey. Seems like this should have been mentioned in the article.

Mikenewport2002
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Mikenewport2002

To put the record straight the UK did not ask any other country to expel Russian diplomats following the nerve gas attack on UK soil. Other countries expelled Russian diplomats in outrage at such a dangerous, illegal and horrifying attack on another country. We have seen the danger of this murderous attack only this week, Russia was so incompetent at their assassination attempt they have caused the death of a British citizen. Don’t be so silly as to fall for Russian disinformation, this has been typical Russian behaviour going back to the Romanov.s dynasty.

lickeyleaks
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lickeyleaks

This stinks of CIA as usual..

Celin Navarro
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Celin Navarro

Do yu believe Kathimerini? For me it is a mainstream corporative media, like CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Reuters, so you know, a tabloid!

franz kafka
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franz kafka

Jeffrey Pyatt(nitsky) – Zionist Jew and hit man for the US/CIA/Mossad coup in the formerly Christian Ukraine.

AM Hants
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AM Hants

Remember the ‘Nuland FU EU’ phone call, with Geoffrey Pyatt? Nuland moved to Cyprus, with instructions for them to turn down the Russian port, plus give Turkey one of the British Forces Bases. Things did not work out as planned, Turkstream went ahead. Pyatt went to Greece. ‘Who controls Greece, Malta and Cyprus, controls the World’ – Henry Kissinger. Obama, Kissinger and Nuland: Cyprus 1974 – Cyprus 2017… ‘… Now Mrs Nuland wants exactly the same solution before she leaves the State Department. She wants to impose it on Cyprus through a new coup d’état, of a very different, less… Read more »

AM Hants
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AM Hants

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Bill Spence
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Bill Spence

The Russians must decide how many diplomats they need in Greece. Are numbers important?

Aidi Deduction
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Aidi Deduction

“They have penetrated already into every state, so that it is difficult to find a single place in the world in which their tribe has not been received and become dominant.” Strabo, Geographica, 7 CE “I want to tell you something very clear. Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We the Jewish people control America and the Americans know it.” Ariel Sharon, Oct 3, 2001, broadcast Israeli radio “Things are exactly as they appear to be.” Epicurus – believed that the truth was not at the bottom of the well – but rather, very near the surface, scarcely veiled… Read more »

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Some Russian monarchists want Tsar Vladimir Putin

Latest news from Russian monarchists highlight the debate over bringing the Russian Empire back to life in modern times.

Seraphim Hanisch

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A December 13 report in The Wall Street Journal shone light on a notion that has been afoot in the Russian Federation since the fall of Communism in 1991 – the restoration of the Monarchy as the form of government, complete with a new Tsar of all the Russias.

Of course, some of these monarchists have a top contender in mind for that post, none other than President Vladimir Putin himself.

This idea has long been used in a pejorative light in the West, as various shadowy and not-so-shadowy elements in the American media speculated over the years that Mr. Putin was actually aspiring to become Tsar. This was thrown around until probably the time that the Russian president spoke, lamenting the fall of Communism, and since then the prime accusation has been that President Putin wants to bring back the Soviet Union.

This is not true. It also does not appear to be the case that the Russian president wants to be Tsar. But the monarchists are not fazed in the slightest. Here is excerpted material from the WSJ piece, with emphases added:

The last time term limits forced Russian leader Vladimir Putin to step down from the presidency, he became prime minister for a few years.

This time around, a group of pro-Kremlin activists have a different idea: Proclaim him Czar Vladimir.

“We will do everything possible to make sure Putin stays in power as long as possible,” Konstantin Malofeyev, a politically active businessman, said recently to thunderous applause from hundreds of Russian Orthodox priests and members of the country’s top political parties gathered at a conference outside Moscow. They were united by one cause—to return the monarchy to Russia…

Even among those who want a monarchy, however, there are splits over what kind it should be. Is an absolute monarchy better than a constitutional monarchy? Should a blood line be established or should the czar be elected? For those who favor male succession, would it be a problem that Mr. Putin reportedly only has two daughters? Some have even suggested others besides Mr. Putin should accede to the throne.

There is a very keen interest indeed among some in Russia that propose various options as to who might best become Tsar in the event that the Monarchy is restored.

Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov and his mother, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, together with Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, head of the Russian Orthodox Church Department of External Relations

One candidate that has received significant attention is a man by the name of George Mikhailovich Romanov. He is an actual member of the Royal family, the heir apparent to Maria Vladimirovna Romanova, Grand Duchess of Russia. There are other heir apparents as well, and the issue as to who it should be has not been settled among the surviving members of the Romanov family.

The restoration of the Russian monarchy is unique because to carries strong religious significance. As far back as the 8th and 9th centuries, A.D., a host of saints and prophets appear to have foreseen the advent of the Soviet times and the restoration of the Tsar after their conclusion.

Some such prophecies are attributed to anonymous sources, but some are named. Here are two with rather extensive editing, so please go to the site linked for the fullest description of the prophecies.

Monk Abel the Prophet (+1831).

In a conversation with Tsar Paul I (+1801), after prophesying the destinies of all the Tsars from Paul I to Nicholas II:

“What is impossible for man is possible for God. God delays with His help, but it is said that He will give it soon and will raise the horn of Russian salvation. And there will arise a great prince from your race in exile, who stands for the sons of his people. He will be a chosen one of God, and on his head will be blessing. He will be the only one comprehensible to all, the very heart of Russia will sense him. His appearance will be sovereign and radiant, and nobody will say: ‘The Tsar is here or there’, but all will say: ‘That is him’. The will of the people will submit to the mercy of God, and he himself will confirm his calling. His name has occurred three times in Russian history. Two of the same name have already been on the throne, but not on the Tsar’s throne. But he will sit on the Tsar’s throne as the third. In him will be the salvation and happiness of the Russian realm.”

“Russian hopes will be realized upon [the cathedral of Hagia] Sophia in Tsargrad [Constantinople]; the Orthodox Cross will gleam again; Holy Rus will be filled with the smoke of incense and prayer, and will blossom like a heavenly lily.”

And from one of the most famous saints in Russian history:

St. John of Kronstadt (+1908):

“I foresee the restoration of a powerful Russia, still stronger and mightier than before. On the bones of these martyrs, remember, as on a strong foundation, will the new Russia we built – according to the old model; strong in her faith in Christ God and in the Holy Trinity! And there will be, in accordance with the covenant of the holy Prince Vladimir, a single Church! Russian people have ceased to understand what Rus is: it is the footstool of the Lord’s Throne! The Russian person must understand this and thank God that he is Russian.”

“The Church will remain unshaken to the end of the age, and a Monarch of Russia, if he remains faithful to the Orthodox Church, will be established on the Throne of Russia until the end of the age.”

What may surprise those in the West is that there are a great many people in Russia and in Orthodox Christian countries in general who take these prophecies quite seriously.

Interestingly enough, when the idea of restoring the monarchy was brought to President Putin’s attention, he regarded the idea as “beautiful” according to Lt. General Leonid Reshetnikov, but also expressed concern that it would lead to stagnation within the country.

A second statement, this one by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, noted that President Putin does not like the idea of bringing back the monarchy, but offered no comment on the conversation with Mr. Reshetnikov.

The idea of restoring the monarchy is not completely absurd. Britain overthrew its own monarchy in 1649 during that country’s Civil War, but it was restored shortly afterwards under King Charles II. Spain cast aside its monarchy in 1931, with its king, Alfonso XIII going into exile, but after sixteen years this monarchy, too, was restored.

Both of these monarchies have become largely ceremonial, with most governing functions carried out through some kind of Parliament and Prime Minister. It is therefore not clear what a ruling monarchy in Russia would look like.

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US confirms pullout from INF treaty, Moscow will respond if missiles placed in Europe – deputy FM

Moscow will respond to possible attempts to place short and intermediate range nuclear-capable missiles in Europe if the US decides to go on with this plan.

RT

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Via RT…


Washington has confirmed its decision to withdraw from the INF treaty is final, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said, adding that Moscow will ‘take measures’ if American missiles that threaten its security are placed in Europe.

“Washington publicly announced its plans to withdraw from the treaty (the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) already in October. Through the high-level bilateral channels it was confirmed to us that this decision was final and wasn’t an attempt to initiate dialogue,” Sergey Ryabkov told the Kommersant newspaper.

The Deputy FM said that Moscow will respond to possible attempts to place short and intermediate range nuclear-capable missiles in Europe if the US decides to go on with this plan.

“We’ll be forced to come up with effective compensating measures. I’d like to warn against pushing the situation towards the eruption of new ‘missile crises.’ I am convinced that no sane country could be interested in something like this,” he said.

Russia isn’t threatening anybody, but have the necessary strength and means to counter any aggressor.
Back in October, President Donald Trump warned that Washington was planning unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty because “Russia has not adhered to the agreement.” The US leader also promised that the country would keep boosting its nuclear arsenal until Russia and China “come to their senses.”

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington will suspend its obligations under the treaty within 60 days if Russia does not “return to compliance.”

Signed in late 1988, the INF agreement was considered a milestone in ending the arms race between the US and the USSR.

In recent years, Moscow and Washington have repeatedly accused each other of violating the INF deal. While the US has alleged that Russia has developed missiles prohibited by the treaty, Russia insists that the American anti-missile systems deployed in Eastern Europe can actually be used to launch intermediate-range cruise missiles.

The deputy FM said that Washington “never made a secret” of the fact that its INF treaty pullout “wasn’t so much about problems between the US and Russia, but about the desire of the Americans to get rid of all restrictions that were inconvenient for them.”

The US side expressed belief that the INF deal “significantly limits the US military’s capabilities to counter states with arsenals of medium-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles,” which threaten American interests, he said. “China, Iran and North Korea” were specifically mentioned by Washington, Ryabkov added.

“I don’t think that we’re talking about a new missile crisis, but the US plans are so far absolutely unclear,” Mikhail Khodarenok, retired colonel and military expert, told RT, reminding that the Americans have avoided any type of “meaningful discussion” with Moscow in regards to its INF deal pullout.

While “there’ll be no deployment of [US missiles] in Europe any time soon,” Moscow should expect that Washington would try to void other agreements with Russia as well, Khodarenok warned.

The INF deal “just stopped being beneficial for the US. Next up are all the other arms control treaties. There’ll be no resistance from the NATO allies [to US actions],” he said.

“The neocons who run Trump’s foreign policy never have liked arms reduction treaties,” former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT. “The new START treaty which comes up for renewal also could be in jeopardy.”

“The risk of a new nuclear buildup is really quite obvious” if the US withdrawals from the INF treaty, Dan Smith, the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, told RT.

“I think the relations between the great powers – the US and Russia as well as the US and China – are more difficult than they’ve been for a long time,” he added.

However, with Washington having indicated that it wants China to be part of the new deal, “there are still possibilities for negotiations and agreement,” according to Smith. Nonetheless, he warned that following this path will demand strong political will and tactical thinking from the leadership of all three countries.

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US Pressures Germany To Ditch Huawei Over ‘Security Concerns’

This news will likely not go over well in Beijing, which is still struggling with the US and Canada over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.

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Via Zerohedge


First it was Australia, New Zealand and Japan, now the US is pressing the German government to refuse to use equipment manufactured by Chinese telecom giant Huawei as Europe’s largest economy seeks to build out its 5G infrastructure.

According to Bloomberg, a US delegation met on Friday with German Foreign Ministry officials in Berlin to talk about the security risks presented by Huawei’s equipment, which the US says is vulnerable to spying. The meeting in Germany follows a report from late last month claiming the US had launched an “extraordinary outreach campaign” to warn its allies against using Huawei equipment (while its vulnerability to Chinese spying has been cited as the reason to avoid Huawei, it’s also worth noting that the US and China are locked in a battle for who will dominate the global 5G space…a battle that Huawei is currently winning).

Germany is set to hold an auction early next year to find a supplier to help expand its 5G network. The Berlin meeting took place one day after Deutsche Telekom said it would reexamine its decision to use Huawei equipment.

US officials are optimistic that their warnings are getting a hearing, though any detailed talks are in early stages and no concrete commitments have been made, according to one of the people.

The US pressure on Germany underscores increased scrutiny of Huawei as governments grapple with fears that the telecom-equipment maker’s gear is an enabler for Chinese espionage. The Berlin meeting took place a day after German carrier Deutsche Telekom AG said it will re-evaluate its purchasing strategy on Huawei, an indication that it may drop the Chinese company from its list of network suppliers.

France is also reportedly considering further restrictions after adding Huawei products to its “high alert” list. The US has already passed a ban preventing government agencies from using anything made by Huawei. But the telecoms equipment provider isn’t taking these threats to its business lying down.

U.S. warnings over espionage are a delicate matter in Germany. Revelations over the scale of the National Security Agency’s signals intelligence, including reports of tapping Merkel’s mobile phone, are still fresh in Berlin five years after they came to light.

Huawei is pushing back against the accusations. The company’s rotating chairman warned this week that blacklisting the Chinese company without proof will hurt the industry and disrupt the emergence of new wireless technology globally. Ken Hu, speaking at a Huawei manufacturing base in Dongguan, cited “groundless speculation,” in some of the first public comments since the shock arrest of the company’s chief financial officer.

This news will likely not go over well in Beijing, which is still struggling with the US and Canada over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. In an editorial published Sunday, the Global Times, an English-language mouthpiece for the Communist Party, warned that China should retaliate against any country that – like Australia – takes a hard line against Huawei. So, if you’re a German citizen in Beijing, you might want to consider getting the hell out of Dodge.

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