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SYRIZA's fight against corruption: Appoints tire shop owner as hospital vice president

While health workers live in communal housing, SYRIZA appoints a tire shop owner and partisan hack as vice-president of a public hospital, leases him a luxury house and a car.

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In the strange and surreal world of SYRIZA-governed Greece, it should come as no surprise that the same regime which is putting on a public show of “nipping corruption in the bud” is engaged in some of the most egregiously corrupt practices Greece has ever seen. And that’s saying a lot.
And so we have the story of Haralambos Panotopoulos, apparently a one-man success story, living the dream in the SYRIZA-led “success story” of Greece, whose economy we are told is improving with each passing day.

In an undated photo, Haralambos Panotopoulos (in blue) is pictured at his tire shop with an unnamed individual.


Panotopoulos, previously the owner of a tire shop, was appointed by deputy health minister Pavlos Polakis as his “right-hand man” in the ministry. When even that promotion was insufficient for Panotopoulos’ services, however, the former tire shop owner was then appointed as an adviser to “Health Units S.A.,” a company operated by the health ministry with oversight over the country’s public health facilities. Panotopoulos’ assignment was to serve as the vice president of the General Hospital of Santorini, in a decision published in Greek e-government website “Diavgeia” on January 9.

Public Hospital of Santorini


For his services, Panotopoulos is receiving a salary of €3,897 euros per month, or €46,000 per year, in a country where 48 percent of the population is receiving an income at or below the poverty line. Who said there’s no upward mobility in Greece?
Panotopoulos’ meteoric rise could be said to be unprecedented. He is a graduate of the Technical Educational Institute of Piraeus’ School of Applied Technology. Until 2012 he was the owner of a tire shop in the Athens suburb of Ilioupoli, but his fortunes seem to have changed in September 2015, when following the re-election of SYRIZA, the newly-appointed deputy health minister Pavlos Polakis appointed Panotopoulos to his parliamentary office with a decision posted on the “Diavgeia” portal on March 24, 2017.
Surely, Panotopoulos’ rapid rise up the ranks has nothing to do with his political sympathies towards SYRIZA. As reported by the Proto Thema newspaper, Panotopoulos, via his social media accounts, sings the graces of Polakis and prime minister Alexis Tsipras, whom he calls the “great captain.” His social media postings also include a strong dosage of socialist realism.


But that’s not all! According to newer revelations which have surfaced following allegations from the National Federation of Public Hospital Employees (POEDIN), Health Units S.A. leased and furnished a luxury villa in 2016 with public funds. It is in this villa where Panotopoulos is said to reside.

As if that weren’t enough, Panotopoulos has been provided an automobile for his transport on the island of Santorini, with a long-term lease paid by the Greek state (read: taxpayer).
In a recent statement, POEDIN alleged:

“At a time when the Health Ministry does not have even a few euros to spare for the nation’s hospitals in order to repair x-ray and CT scan equipment and when surgical procedures are being postponed due to a shortage of supplies, and when necessary drugs are not in supply, it is a provocation for funds from the budget of the Health Ministry to be disbursed for the provision of princely amenities to personnel of Health Units S.A. in Santorini. If this isn’t a scandal, it is surely a provocation.
It is a provocation at a time when public hospitals lack even bandages, and when 50 employees of the Hospital of Santorini reside in a Health Center commune due to high rents, that Mr. Panotopoulos lives in a residence which is paid for by the battered budget of the Health Ministry.”

Communal housing which is home to 50 health workers at the Public Hospital of Santorini. Photo provided by POEDIN.


As there has been up until now no report that Panotopoulos has resigned or been relieved of his position, one could safely assume that he remains in his position. And indeed that is the case. As of this writing, Panotopoulos’ name still appears on the website of Santorini Hospital, as vice president and special adviser.
After all, why should Panotopoulos resign? Polakis has not only publicly provided his full support, but has viciously attacked those who have revealed this blatant example of corruption and clientelism, shamelessly and brazenly calling them:

“…well-fed rats of KEELPNO [Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention] who have started publicly mudslinging and twisting the truth in order to deflect attention from the Novartis Scandal and to slander us with unbelievable lies, foolishly thinking that they will stop us.”

Greek deputy health minister Pavlos Polakis


I don’t know about you, but in my book, that’s the way a mafioso speaks. And that’s exactly who is governing Greece at this time, a gang of mafiosi, self-proclaimed “leftists” who have imposed the most brutal and inhuman austerity measures Greece has experienced in its nine years of economic crisis. They continue to engage in the most brazen examples of corruption, graft, nepotism, and clientelism all the while putting on a show of “fighting” corruption via the ludicrous Novartis Scandal — which unfortunately has fooled and fanaticized many people who still blame the previous governments for every ill in Greek society — and via its non-existent “clean-up” of Greek football, all the while arrogantly protecting “national savior” and pistol-wielding oligarch Ivan Savvidis.
Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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