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Thursday, January 11, 2018

US CONE OF SILENCE


- JUST DON’T MENTION WWII ALBANIAN NAZI COLLABORATORS
by Sasha Uzunov

The United States Ambassador to Kosovo has joined the ranks of his diplomatic colleague across the border in Macedonia in not wanting to comment nor be drawn into debate over the very touchy subject of rehabilitation of Albanian Nazi collaborators during World War II by the Kosovo state authorities and by the Albanian political bloc in Macedonia.

Ambassador Greg Delawie (left) was contacted by TEAM UZUNOV blog over a controversial decision in 2012 which largely slipped under the western media’s radar by then Kosovo President Atitefe Jahjaga to award posthumously an official state decoration, the Order of Freedom (Urdhrin i Lirise) to three prominent Albanian leaders who collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II. Nazi Germany was an enemy of the US during World War II.

“The U.S. Embassy has no comment. Sorry that I cannot be of further help,” said Mr Richard Mei,
Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Pristina, on behalf of Ambassador Delawie.

Kosovo and the Albanian political bloc in Macedonia are regarded as staunch US allies. There has been a reluctance on the part of the US - for one reason or another - to avoid commenting on this touchy subject of the rehabilitation of Albanian nationalists and fascists. see link here

But post World War II, during the Cold War (1946-89) and the showdown with communism and the Soviet Union, US intelligence cooped ex Nazi collaborators, conveniently turning a a blind eye to their previous activities.


In 2012 during centenary celebrations for Albanian independence, Kosovo President Atitefe Jahjaga -pictured here with US President Barak Obama and wife Michelle- awarded posthumously the Order of Kosovo (Urdhrin i Lirise) to Albanian leaders and signatories of the Albanian declaration of independence in 1912, including Mithat Frasheri, Rexhep Mitrovica and Bedri Pejani.  see link here

All three leaders went on to collaborate with Nazi Germany during the later stages of World War II in establish and maintaining a Greater Albania until the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

MITHAT FRASHERI (1880 to 1949) - became the leader of the Balli Kombetar (National Front), a fascist quisling militia funded by Nazi Germany during World War II which carried out brutal ethnic cleansing of native Macedonians in western Macedonia.

Major Balli Kombetar leaders in Macedonia were Xhem Hasa and Aqif Krosi Recani. Both have statues erected in their “honour” near the town of Gostivar by the Albanian political bloc in Macedonia.

Frasheri fled to Italy after the collapse of Nazi Germany and somehow ended up in the US post war as one of the leaders of The National Committee for a Free Albania, sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The use of Albanian Nazi collaborators by the CIA post WWII.

- Dr James D. Callanan (1999) in his thesis - The evolution of the CIA’s covert action mission, 1947-1963,  Durham University, UK, page 117 - see link here - wrote:

"The National Committee for a Free Albania was, however, far from a perfect construct for Anglo-American requirements, not least because the majority of Balli Kombetar's leaders were tainted as a result of their involvement in the administration of Albania while it was under Axis control."

Frasheri died in 1949 in the US.

Hermann Neubacher - Nazi German diplomat on his Mission in Albania 1943-4, helped in setting up a Nazi German puppet state in Albania. He wrote:

"The men of [Albanian nationalist militia] Balli Kombëtar never did battle with our [German Wehrmacht] troops."

REXHEP MITROVICA (1887-1961) & BEDRI PEJANI (1885-1946)

When Italian Fascist rule of Albania collapsed in 1943, Nazi Germany took control and installed Rexhep Mitrovica (right) as Prime Minister. Mitrovica later resigned due to poor health, a battle with tuberculosis. Eventually fleeing Albania and dying in Istanbul, Turkey in 1961.

- More on Rexhep Mitrovica at these links here and here

Mitrovica, together with Bedri Pejani (left) were instrumental -with Nazi German assistance - in setting up the Second Prizren League, which advocated and put into brutal practice a racially pure ethnic Greater Albania.

Pejani was described as fanatically pro Nazi, crazed, bloodthirst. Was responsible for ethnically cleansing 20,000 Serbs from Kosovo. Later executed by Yugoslav partisans. - More on Pejani at these links here and here

TEAM UZUNOV blog has contacted the Office of Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci, the incumbent, for a response over his predecessor’s decision to award medals to the three Albanian Nazi collaborators.

As yet no response has been forthcoming.
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TEAM UZUNOV blog question to US Ambassador to Kosovo, Mr Greg Delawie:

I wanted to bring to your attention an issue which paints the US in a very negative light as well Kosovo.

In 2012 the then Kosovo President Ms Atitefe Jahjaga awarded posthumously Kosovo state decorations / medals - the Order of Freedom - to…Albanian Nazi collaborators from World War II, Rexhep Mitrovica and Midthat Frasheri.

Ambassador, will you be counselling the current Kosovo President Mr Hashim Thaci to revoke the awards ?

Is it appropriate in this day and age for Nazi collaborators to be commemorated as national heroes?
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Previous story GERMANY RESPONDS TO ALBANIAN “NAZI” STATUES IN MACEDONIA - see link here


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1949 CIA assessment paper - Strategic importance of Albania ! 

"Strategic: Historically, the strategic significance of Albania derives from the country's position on the Eastern shore of the Strait of Otranto, at the entrance to the Adriatic and astride the land route between the Adriatic and the Aegean. In this position, Albania has long been a focal point of conflicting power interests, especially those of Greece, Italy, and the Slays. Thus Albania as an "independent" national state is more an artificial creation of Great Power politics, than an expression of national will and power of the people. Albania is, in other words, an entity arising from the essentially negative factor of the unwillingness of any of the Powers interested in the area to allow any other power to control it; it does not arise from positive factors of inherent strength, and therefore, even during periods of formal “independence,” Albania has in one way or another been controlled by one of the Powers.”
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A FRAUGHT RELATIONSHIP -US FOREIGN POLICY ON MACEDONIA SINCE 2000 - a summary.

After NATO’s War in Kosovo in 1999 and the fall of Slobodan Milosevic regime in Serbia in 2000, a unitary Macedonia state is no longer of strategic importance to the US as a buffer state to Serbia. Are other dynamics now in play - a federalised Macedonia? A partitioned Macedonia?

ALBANIAN FACTOR:

It's no coincidence that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) invaded Macedonia in 2001 with covert US support in order for Washington to establish a long term "insurance policy" in the Southern Balkans which links up with the US base at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo in a powerful axis.

There has been a deliberate silence from the West over the rise of Albanian Neo-Fascism in the Balkans, including Macedonia- the rehabilitation of Albanian Nazi collaborators of World War II and the statues built to them in Macedonia - Xhem Hasa and Aqif Krosi Recani. further story here

You don’t see modern day Germany or Austria building statues to Nazis.

THE REMNANTS OF SERB-YUGOSLAVIST CULTURAL COLONIALISM:

Other factors are in play - namely cultural - in 1991 after the collapse of Yugoslavia and Macedonia’s declaration of independence, Macedonia’s powerful Serb-Yugoslavist grouping split into 2 factions - one that remained loyal to Belgrade and the second faction (for example Macedonian Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska who switches between a Macedonian and Serb identity when the mood hits here, pundit Borjan Jovanovski, Skopje suburban Mayor Sasa Bogdanovic, Macedonian MP Pavle Bogoevski, Levica Movement leader Branimir Jovanovski, Balkan Insight reporter Sinisa Jakov Marusic etc. etc.) that aligned with Washington. Both factions don’t believe in supporting native ethnic Macedonian identity and subscribe to the Pan-slavist, Slav Migration Theory, introduced into what is now the Republic of Macedonia during Serbian colonial rule (1912-41).

When Macedonia was needed in the US’s struggle against Slobodan Milosevic, the nasty attack on native Macedonian identity by Macedono-Serb Borjan Jovanovski and others like him didn’t receive much support from the US. But that has now been reversed - which indicates the US is no longer interested in a unitary Macedonian state.

- further stories here and here and here

BULGARIA:

Bulgaria joining NATO and hosting 4 US military bases is of more strategic importance to the US than Macedonia is. Before Bulgaria joined NATO, ironically, the Serb-Yugoslavist pro US faction acted as a buffer against Bulgarian influences in Macedonia, especially the shameful antics of then Macedonian PM Ljubco Georgievski and the powerful pro Bulgarian faction within the nominally Macedonian nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party.

That has obviously now changed with SDSM (Social Democrats) party led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, once the pro Serb-Yugoslavist party of choice in Macedonia, signing a “Good neighbourly Agreement” with Bulgaria - in which Macedonia promised to give up the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and cave into Bulgarian demands to soften or airbrush Bulgaria’s brutal Nazi quisling occupation of Macedonia during World War II.

Any opposition to Bulgarian influence in Macedonia has been removed. The concomitant of that is the Macedonian Orthodox Church coming under Bulgarian jurisdiction. Something that would have been unheard of 18 months ago. Furthermore, SDSM, like its rival VMRO-DPMNE before it, is in a coalition government with right-wing Albanian nationalists, DUI, who invoke Albanian fascist collaborators as heroes and builds statues to them.

- further stories here and here and here

POLITICAL GROOMING

It's no coincidence, too, that the US has deliberately groomed politician Radmila Sekerinska, now Macedonia's Defence Minister, as a future leader. She opportunistically interchanges between a Macedonian and Serb identity when the mood strikes her and doesn’t feel a real connection to native ethnic Macedonian identity. see link here 

Likewise, the US to hedge its bets and counter balance the pro US Serb-Yugoslavist faction in Macedonia, has carefully groomed Nikola Dimitrov, now the foreign Minister of Macedonia, who comes from a pro Bulgarian family. see links here and here

GREECE 

Greece is a long standing US ally which has been funded by Washington since 1946 and for a long time hosted US military bases on its soil - which have now been relocated to Bulgaria and Romania. One US Naval base remains on the island of Crete.

Greece is the US and NATO's southern flank overseeing the important Mediterranean Sea.

This explains why the US has never leaned on Greece to stop its outrageous opposition to Macedonia's name. In 1995 Macedonia caved in to Greek demands and changed its flag and gave up its ethnic minority in Greece but to no avail.

2004 - NAME RECOGNITION 

In 2004 the US recognised Macedonia’s name for purely cynical reasons to stop a referendum that would have thrown a spanner in the works in the territorial reorganisation of Macedonia - meaning creating a defacto Albanian state within Macedonia. further story here

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE?

The Russian fear is a smokescreen pure and simple. Russia poses no threat to Macedonia.

The obvious giveaway that there is no Russian “interference” in Macedonia is you have the staunchly  pro US Serb-Yugoslavist faction in Macedonia- i.e.  Serbs such as Borjan Jovanovski, Sasa Bogdanovic etc. etc. who share the same hostile views towards native ethnic Macedonians as many hard core Serb nationalists in Belgrade who hate the US…and who turn to Russian President Vladimir Putin for salvation.

The US Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia doesn't deny that some of its key supporters hold such views ! Moreover, there have been no protests outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje.

This tells you loud and clear there is no Russian interference in Macedonia.

WORST CASE SCENARIOS FLOATED:

In 2017 during a US Comgressional hearing, US expert Professor Daniel Serwer mentioned the possibility of a long term US military occupation of Macdonia which would oversee the partition of the country if “nation building failed"- a large slice being given to the Albanians and what was left over would be "allowed to vote" to join a neighbouring state - Greece, Bulgaria or Serbia.


BILINGUALISM:

In 2007 the US Embassy warned against raising Albanian on par with Macedonian as an official language in Macedonia - knowing it would lead to federalisation and then unravelling of Macedonia.



2007 - US Diplomatic cable - link here 

That policy has now been overturned since the advent of US Ambassador Jess Baily in Macedonia. The Macedonian government has just recently voted for bilingualism and it now remains up to the Macedonian President George Ivanov to veto it. If it is vetoed, it the legislation returns to the parliament and is voted in again. If it passes, it overrides the President’s veto. The whole saga has a nasty after taste to it. Bilingualism - that is Albanian becoming the second official language in Macedonia was snuck in as part of the “Tirana Platform” after the crucial 2016 general elections, meaning Macedonians who cast their vote were deliberately kept in the dark over Zaev’s election program.

- further stories here and here

The 2007 OSCE report is of enormous interest as covered by writer Chris Deliso - “Albanians in Tetovo Stunned by OSCE Official’s Call for Minority Language Obligations, but Government Fails to Capitalize” - link here

NAME CHANGE ?

Macedonia is now on the threshold of changing its name - more precisely the pro US government in Macedonia is - to appease Greek nationalist demands. With the change and bilingualism, it means the end of a Macedonian nation-state. You have to ask why is there a need for a third Albanian state in the Balkans - when Albanian and Kosovo exist but Macedonians have barely one state?











Friday, December 15, 2017

GERMANY RESPONDS TO ALBANIAN “NAZI” STATUES

2015 - Statue of Aquf Krosi Recani unveiled- commander of the Balli Kombetar,
 a Nazi quisling militia, in western Macedonia during World War II

by Sasha Uzunov

Team Uzunov blog exclusive - Deputy German Ambassador to Macedonia Mr Marco Acquaticci (pictured below) responds to concerns over Albanian Nazi collaborator statues that have been unveiled in Macedonia. Ambassador Acquaticcci has given Team Uzunov the following statement.

“Let me assure you that Germany intensively faces up to its past and particularly the history of National Socialism [Nazism].

“Germany therefore supports several initiatives and promotes a wide-ranging dialogue related to these issues, also in the countries of the Western Balkans.

We will continue to foster this important culture of remembrance in the future.”


Despite repeated requests from Team Uzunov blog, and In stark contrast to the Germany Embassy, the US Ambassador to Macedonia Mr Jess Baily has declined to comment on the controversial statues of Xhem Hasa and Aqif Krosi Recani, both commanders of an Albanian quisling militia, the Balli Kombetar, funded by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during Word War II and active in western Macedonia.

Team Uzunov blog posed the following question to the Germany Foreign Ministry:

“[there]…has been silence in Macedonia over these controversial statues which only sends the wrong message to the rest of the world in that the European Union is deliberately looking the other way at Albanian extremism. This only damages modern Germany's good standing internationally. Will the German Ambassador to Macedonia counsel Albanian leaders in Macedonia that such statues only do harm to their cause by invoking a Nazi collaborator as a some kind of Albanian national hero and hurts Germany's reputation in the process?"



STATUES -
Xhem Hasa:




In 2006, the statue of Xhem Hasa was erected in his “honour” in his home village of Simnica, near the town of Gostivar, in western Macedonia. TEAM UZUNOV visited the village and filmed the statue for a special report

Aqif Krosi Recani:

In 2015 the Mayor of Gostivar, Mr Nevzat Bejta, from the ethnic Albanian political party DUI, unveiled a statue to Recani in the village of Recan, near Gostivar, western Macedonia. Bejta, was also the Minister for Local Government in Macedonian government (2011-13) - link here

BEJTA - the man behind the two statues !




Nevzat Bejta, expresses “pride” in building two Albanian Nazi collaborator statues in western Macedonia. Odd way to express “human rights activity.” Normally you would be invoking Nelson Mandela or the Dalai Lama !

2015 - In his speech, the mayor of Gostivar, Nevzat Bejta expressed the happiness that his first mandate in the village of Simnica [2006] was erected the statue of the “national hero” Xhemë Hasë (Xhem Hasa) , and in his second term as mayor, the statue was unveiled of Xhem’s co-worker, the prominent national ballast, Aqif Krosi (Reçani) [in 2015]. link here

“Во својот говор, градоначалникот на Гостивар, Невзат Бејта, изрази задоволство што неговиот прв мандат во селото Симницаго подигна статуата на националниот херој Џеме Хаше (Симница), а во неговиот втор мандат како градоначалник беше откриена статуата соработник на Џемај, истакнат национален балистичар, Акиф Кроси (Речани).”

Në fjalimin e tij, kryetari i Komunës së Gostivarit, Nevzat Bejta shprehu lumturinë që në mandatin e tij të parë në fshatin Simnicë u ngrit shtatorja e heroit kombëtar Xhemë Hasë (Simnica), dhe në mandatin e dytë të tij si kryetar komune, shpaloset shtatorja e bashkëveprimtarit të Xhemës, ballistin të shquar kombëtar, kombëtar Aqif Krosi (Reçani).
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Current Albanian nationalist ideology - has been shaped by the World War II Balli Kombetar - in pursuit of an ethnically pure Greater Albania which would include Albania, Kosovo, a large slice of western Macedonia and a piece of north-western Greece, the Epirus.

Macedonians, according to this extremist ideology, are regarded as being part of an “evil Slav” conspiracy together with Serbs in wanting to persecute Albanians. Many Macedonians regard the epithet “Slav” as being a racist insult used against them to deny their native identity. According to a prominent mainstream academic, Dr Florin Curta of Florida University, there was no “Slav migration” to the Balkans in the 7th century, meaning the modern day Macedonians are people who are largely indigenous to Macedonia. 

Albanian nationalist ideology deliberately ignores the fact that Macedonians were themselves the victims of brutal Serb colonialism beginning in 1912-13 with the partition of Macedonia amongst Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria. Greece and Bulgaria also imposed their own brutal forms of colonialism and assimilation. In 1944 a Macedonian republic, within the framework of federal Yugoslavia was proclaimed.

1941 British Foreign Office report on “colonialism" in what it's now the Republic of Macedonia - 

His Majesty's British Minister to Belgrade, R.I. Campbell writing to Lord Halifax, Her Majesty's British Foreign Secretary,  in 1941: 

"Since the occupation by Serbia in 1913 of the Macedonian districts, the Government has carried out in this area, with greater or lesser severity, a policy of suppression and assimilation. In the years following the Great War land was taken away from the inhabitants and given to Serbian colonists. Macedonians were compelled to change their names and the Government did little or nothing to assist the economic development of the country…"


Citation: British Foreign Office document -   FO371/29785, Campbell (Belgrade) to Halifax, 6 January 1941.


In April 1941, with the German invasion of then Kingdom of Yugoslavia, that part of Macedonia under Serbian colonial rule was further partitioned amongst Nazi allies Bulgaria and Fascist Italy. Within the framework of an Italian “protectorate” a Greater Albania was proclaimed and included a chunk of western Macedonia.

The Bulgarian occupation forces rounded up the Jews from Macedonia and handed them over to Nazi Germany for the Final Solution, the Holocaust.


A Macedonian partisan resistance, consisting of a loose or unofficial alliance of communists and non communists, emerged in 1941 and grew in size. The partisans cut off from Tito’s Yugoslav partisans because of distance, operated independently and were supplied by the British, the US and Soviets. This 1944 report from US Captain Richard Rayner who was attached to a Macedonian partisan brigade goes into some details over the partisans’ motivation in fighting. see link here

The Macedonian partisans (left) fought the Italians, Germans, Bulgarians, the Albanian Balli Kombetar and even Serbian Chetniks, royalists who wanted the return Serbian colonial rule. A number of ethnic Albanian partisan battalions were also included in the Macedonian partisan army known as the NOVM - the National Liberation Army of Macedonia.

BALLI KOMBETAR -  was an Albanian nationalist militia formed by Fascist Italy in 1942 and when Italy capitulated in 1943, Nazi Germany took over. It was supplied with gold and weapons. see link here

The Balli Kombetar was involved in ethnic cleansing operations against Macedonians in western Macedonia and also killed anti fascist Albanians.


Balli Kombetar militia


- cited in "Albanian Escape: The True Story of U.S. Army Nurses Behind Enemy Lines- link here

1943 - ETHNIC CLEANSING OF MACEDONIANS IN WESTERN MACEDONIA 

Albanian & Italian colonialists in western Macedonia.

San Bernardino Sun newspaper, California, US, Volume 49, 4 April 1943 - page 4. - LINK

Bulgaria furious at Axis ally Fascist Italy for deliberately settling cooperative Albanians and Italians in [western] Macedonian towns to deliberately change ethnic composition


TEAM UZUNOV COMMENT:

The selective nature of Macedonia’s ‘civic’ organisations, NGOs - read US government backed - in their behaviour over corruption, rule of law, democracy, Euro-Atlantic values, can be best summed up by the virulent attack on so called Macedonian “nationalism” and various statues and monuments but the incredible silence and inaction over Albanian fascist monuments that have sprung up in the country.

There is kind of moral perversity in attacking a “kitsch” statue of someone purported to be Alexander the Great on a war steed designed to bring in Asian tourists and in the same breadth remaining silent over statues to men who collaborated with fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during World War II (1939-45). The 1940s weren’t that long ago; whilst Alexander the Great is now dust and goodness knows where his remains are after 2,000 years. 

All of this is a smokescreen to appease Greek nationalist demands when even the “Hellenic pedigree” of Alexander is in question. Be that as it may, it’s nothing more than a red herring.


2001 - The Kosovo Liberation Army’s Macedonian offshoot, the NLA,
 invaded Macedonia to take territory for a Greater Albania

You have to seriously ask why has there been silence from successive Macedonian governments, as well as various US Ambassadors, EU mandarins over the rise of extremist Albanian nationalist ideology in Macedonia which invokes the likes of Xhem Hasa and Aqif Krosi Recani and even builds statues to such figures?

Both men were commanders of the notorious Balli Kombetar, a quisling militia set up by Fascist Italy and later taken over by Nazi Germany. The Balli Kombetar’s objective was a Greater Albania, involving the ethnic cleansing of Macedonians in western Macedonia. Albanians who opposed the Balli Kombetar also fell victim.

In 2006, a statue to Xhem Hasa was unveiled in his village of birth, Sminica, near the Macedonian town of Gostivar.

In 2015, with much fanfare and nationalist hysteria whipped up against the ‘evil Slavs” - the Macedonians, the ethnic Albanian Mayor of Gostivar Nevzat Bejat unveiled a statue of Aqif Krosi Recani in the village of Recan. 

Both times there was silence from various activists. Would the building of a statue to Hermann Goering or Heinrich Himmler in modern day Germany be tolerated? First and foremost, most Germans wouldn’t even consider the idea to begin with. 

The Albanian political bloc in Macedonia has largely supported these Balli Kombetar statues - which then raises question marks over whether its agenda for increased ‘Albanian rights’ in Macedonia is genuine or not? It’s unheard of genuine activists invoking fascists. Genuine activists would be citing Nelson Mandela or the Dalai Lama.

Getting back to the question over silence - the Albanian Bloc in Macedonia is staunchly pro US and there is a reluctance to go against such allies, the Kosovo Liberation Army’s offshoot in Macedonia, the NLA, which started a war in 2001 in Macedonia.


Pictured: US Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess Baily (right), having a Fourth of July celebratory drink at the US Embassy with Talat Xhaferi (far left) and Ali Ahmeti (centre). It remains puzzling how both politicians went from terrorists involved in starting a war to “legitimate” politicians via a 2008 “amnesty” passed in the Macedonian parliament. What’s even more interesting is both men from the DUI party, the ex KLA/NLA transformed, were members of a coalition government run by Macedonian “nationalist” Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (2006-16) forced out over corruption. Yet no corruption charges were ever levelled at DUI; no secret recordings ever “leaked” to the media. It beggars belief that somehow DUI was not involved in any wheeling-dealing…

The objective then was to take territory for a Greater Albania much like the Balli Kombetar during World War II. When the Macedonian security forces thwarted the plan, despite getting off on the back foot militarily, the Western media narrative, in support of the US, changed from grabbing territory to “human rights activism.” Albanian leaders such as Ali Ahmeti, Talat Xhaferi and so on went from being terrorists to “legitimate” political players - in the form of the political party DUI - in Macedonia, courtesy of a 2008 amnesty law introduced by the Macedonian government, no doubt strong armed by the US in the background. The interesting thing is a European Court of Human Rights ruling has laid down that war crimes cannot be “pardoned” or “amnestied” yet no Macedonian court is willing to launch an indictment of Ahmeti or any of the KLA leaders in Macedonia. 

ALI AHMETI ECHOING BALLI KOMBETAR FASCIST IDEOLOGY OF ETHNIC CLEANSING - The Coming Balkan Caliphate book by Chris Deliso. Ahmeti told a western journalist in March 2001,

quote: “our aim is solely to remove [Macedonian] Slav forces from territory which is historically Albanian.”


One of Ahmeti’s commanders: “like all wars, ours was for territory- not because of some human rights problems.”

 More at links here and here and here and here  

MARK BRANOV - Canadian-Macedonian activist, ex media director for advocacy group United Macedonian Diaspora, and now part of a civic organisation called SNS-Makedonium, explains:

"The tolerance for Nazi symbols illustrates the funny game the EU plays, where it is neither a loose federation nor a strong federation, but it can act like either the one or the other, depending on the day of the week, and the prevailing whim of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

"To its credit, Germany goes out of its way to confront its own authoritarian past, almost to an extreme. But Greece does nothing of the sort; the average Greek is hardly aware of what happened in island prisons like Makronisos [Greek island penal colony used to hold ethnic Macedonian prisoners]. Bulgaria actually leverages its EU membership to erase recognition of their Nazi past and rewrite history in a neighbouring country [Macedonia]. 

“The EU-favoured successor parties of the UCK [KLA/NLA in Macedonia] raise monuments to Nazi era  heroes without any protest from Brussels. But, when it comes to other issues, like Athens accepting financial directives on its debt payments, the EU has no problem laying down the law. Brussels employs a local sovereignty” excuse when it feels like sweeping something under the rug, and takes away any local sovereignty whenever it feels like it."

“Thus, it can dictate human rights terms to a country like Macedonia via the Ohrid Framework Agreement, but it can ignore human rights for Macedonians in Aegean Macedonia.”
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Dr Chris Popov, a long time Macedonian human rights activist and a retired Australian public servant with the Federal Department of Immigration, is alarmed over the silence or inaction over the Balli Kombetar statues:


“Those who do not react to such monuments depicting Nazi collaborators and murderers are complicit in the dissemination of Nazi-like Greater Albanian ideology which is based on the racist notion that those lands [western Macedonia] that these mini-imperialists covet are inhabited by "inferior evil Slavs."
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New York Times article from 1982 - detailing the links between the US and Balli Kombetar supporters in the Cold War period 

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BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE - Macedonia 

New Zealand born military officer and official with the League of Nations, Colonel A.C. Corfe DSO (2 bars) had written in 1923 after a fact finding Mission to Macedonia that the Macedonians of Aegean Macedonia [Greece], and incidentally in the other two parts, were fearful of state officials and had nothing to say in their presence:

"But in the evenings in their own houses or when we had given the officials the slip, we encouraged them to speak to us. Then we in-variably heard the same story as "Bad administration. They want to force us to become Greeks, in language, in religion, in sentiment, in every way. We have served in the Greek army and we have fought for them: now they insult us by calling us 'damned Bulgars"' … To my question "What do you want? an autonomous Macedonia or a Macedonia under Bulgaria?" the answer was generally the same: "We want good administration. We are Macedonians, not Greeks or Bulgars…We want to be left in peace."

Citation: link

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Related story: BULGARIA’S HOLOCAUST DENIAL - link here

Related story: BULGARIAN AGREEMENT - link here 

Thursday, December 07, 2017

MONTENEGRIN (MINUS) - BULGARIAN (PLUS) SCENARIO ?


Is there a serious threat against the life of Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev?

by Sasha Uzunov

They say timing and coordination in politics is vital. Over the past few week or so Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has talked up a conspiracy theory - with Russia allegedly behind it -  involving his possible assassination for wanting Macedonia to join NATO, which is opposed by Russia.

But why this hysteria? The most obvious answer is by using the Russian bogeyman, Macedonia must join NATO at all cost to “save itself” from a (non) existent fear; in doing so giving up its name, identity, symbols, history to appease NATO allies Bulgaria and Greece.

To deliberately emphasise the dramatic nature of this “Russian threat” to scare Macedonians into committing national suicide in order to “save themselves,” Prime Minister Zaev appeared on Montenegrin television.

The objective, no doubt, was to infer or imply strongly of a Montenegro Scenario in Macedonia. So what is the Montenegrin Scenario?

MONTENEGRIN (MINUS) SCENARIO IN MACEDONIA? 

This from Radio Free Europe, a US government media agency: (link)

Aleksandar Sindjelic, a key witness in the trial of 14 people who allegedly plotted to topple Montenegro's pro-Western government, has implicated a purported Russian secret-service agent in organizing the coup attempt aimed at blocking the Balkan country's NATO accession.

Over two days of court testimony ending on October 27, Sindjelic identified Eduard Shishmakov as a key organizer and financier of the alleged plot to overthrow the government during parliamentary elections in October 2016.

"A lot of money was given by Moscow. They had weapons, people from inside, special teams,” Sindjelic testified, alleging that payments totaling some 200,000 euros ($235,000) were to be used to organize the plot and purchase weapons.

Prosecutors have argued during the trial that two Russian military intelligence operatives for the Kremlin, Shishmakov and Vladimir Popov, organized and coordinated the coup attempt from neighboring Serbia. In addition to the charges handed down to the 14 defendants of creating a criminal organisation with the aim of undermining Montenegro's constitutional order, Shishmakov and Popov have also been charged with terrorism.

The two remain at large and are being tried in absentia.“Part of the plan was to eliminate [then-Prime Minister Milos] Djukanovic," Sindjelic testified during questioning by prosecutors.
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Russian intelligence has been very active in the Balkans for decades. Its usual modus operandi is to operate via Serbia and Serbian intelligence officers. In Macedonia, the local intelligence service is firmly in the US camp. So any kind of activity in Macedonia would have to involve Serbia. 

On April 27, 2017, the Macedonian Parliament came under attack by protestors refusing to accept Zoran Zaev forming a government, after a two year political crisis ostensibly about corruption but has turned out to be something different - changing Macedonia’s name and identity.

TEAM UZUNOV has covered this story in enormous detail - see the link here 

To recap: 

“The revelation that an intelligence officer, Goran Zivaljevic, from Serbia’s Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia was spotted inside that country’s parliament on 27 April during a physical confrontation which saw leader of the Social Democrats (SDSM) Zoran Zaev attacked and bloodied and his deputy Radmila Sekerinsa yanked violently by the hair has set off tongues wagging about Russian involvement in allegedly provoking the incident.”

CHANGING NARRATIVE OVER RUSSIAN SCARE? Conflicting alibis? Caught in a lie? 

A pro US NGO or think tank, the Atlantic Council some days ago released a report full of nasty, racist references to Macedonians a “Slavs” who were being assisted by Russia to allegedly undermine the peace and stability of the Balkans. What was noticeable was the change in the narrative - what began as Russian interference via Serbia in Macedonia - became direct Russian “interference” in provoking the attack on the Macedonian Parliament. link to the report here 


The first US narrative of Russian "interference" via Serbia in Macedonia was unsustainable for the most obvious reason that some of the key supporters of the US and NATO in Macedonia are people of Serb background - Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska, pundit Borjan Jovanovski, Levica (the Left) movement Leader Branimir Jovanovic whose range of views align with those of Serb nationalists in Serbia (who are not necessarily in favour of NATO)...

That the narrative has now changed to just Russian interference in Macedonia comes as no great surprise and indicates US manipulation.


One of the consultants to the report is Bulgarian academic Dr Dimitar Bechev, who some time ago compiled a tendentious “Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia” which strongly implied or inferred that Macedonians as a nationality were created by Yugoslav ruler Marshal Tito post 1944. Such a view is seen as insulting and ignored a large body of evidence which demonstrates a Macedonian consciousness way way before 1944.


BULGARIAN SCENARIO ?

Be that as it may, the Russian scare has served a purpose in ramming down the throats of Macedonians a so called good neighbourly relations agreement with Bulgaria, a NATO ally, to the detriment of Macedonian identity. Bulgaria’s World War II collaboration with Nazi Germany has now to be treated with kit gloves in case Sofia becomes offended and “breaches” some of the conditions of the agreement; there also can be no mention of ethnic Macedonians in Bulgaria. Whilst the Republic of Macedonia has submitted meekly to Bulgarian demands - read US strategic interests -- Bulgaria has been very aggressive in getting Albania to proclaim the existence of “ethnic Bulgarians” in that country with the intention of taking over or absorbing the existing and legally recognised ethnic Macedonian minority in Albania. Sofia has even tried to make inroads into Kosovo and claim the Gorani people - muslims who are also claimed by Macedonia and Serbia but who are not ethnic Albanians.

More on the Bulgarian agenda here - link & link & link 


CHURCH TAKEOVER?

The pressure has not stopped on this assault on Macedonian identity. The Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church has in a bizarre move asked the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to become its “Mother Church.

The Macedonian Orthodox Church broke away from the Serbian Church and declared its independence in 1967 but no fellow orthodox churches, purely for chauvinistic reasons, has recognised its status. In the late 18th century whilst under Ottoman Turkish rule, the Ohrid Archbishopric, the foundation stone of the Macedonian Christianity, was abolished and later the title given to the Serb church. 

To understand Balkan politics, you have to understand that the Church or religion is regarded as an unofficial column propping up national identity event though secularism is the order of the day in most Balkan states, perhaps with the exception of Greece, where it is part of the state.

So the strategy in having the Bulgarian Church as a “Mother Church” to allegedly assist the Macedonian Church in gaining recognition is not the real objective. But more say to undermine Macedonian identity even more. It is no secret that Prime Minister Zaev’s “father confessor” is influential Macedonian Bishop Nahum (Naum) who has pushed the link to the Bulgarian Church or more likely being used as a conduit by PM Zaev.

BILINGUALISM - backdoor to bi-national Macedonian state? Federalisation? Making Albanian the second official language of Macedonia.

As part of the Tirana Platform, an Albanian nationalist agenda in Macedonia coordinated by Albania, Kosovo and the Albanian Bloc in Macedonia, making Albanian the second official language in Macedonia is one of the demands, despite the Ohrid Framework Agreement more than satisfying Albanian rights in Macedonia. In order to come to power with the Albanian Bloc as his coalition partner, Prime Minister Zaev has agreed to making Albanian the second official language. Critics are warning that it is setting up the country for federalisation and eventual partition in doing so.

It is important to note that in 2007, (link here) the US Embassy in Macedonia warned against implementing a “Kosovo style” bilingualism which has Serbian on par with Albanian as a second official language. The US Embassy warned against comparing Macedonia with Kosovo.




Yet we have to ask, why has the US “acquiesed” to such a policy now if it is aware of the dire consequences of bilingualism in Macedonia? More on the Albanian agenda here link & link & link


Vietnamesque ring?
WE HAD TO DESTROY THE VILLAGE IN ORDER TO SAVE IT - We had to destroy the Macedonian state in order to save it? 

Team Uzunov can only speculate but a unitary Macedonian state appears to be a thorn in the side of US foreign policy in the Balkans, when in reality it shouldn’t be. It’s more a case of the least resistance: that is it is easier to bully or pressure Macedonians in giving up their name, identity, and their unitary nation state, than say trying to convince Bulgaria, where there are four US military bases, Greece, and the Albanian Bloc to give up their demands in relation to Macedonia.

So the name of the game -- and this is where the Russian fear comes in handy -- is to induce Macedonians to give up so  much in order to be safe from a non-existent fear.

















Tuesday, October 17, 2017

OHMSS - DID LAZAREVSKI BRING DOWN MACEDONIAN GRUEVSKI GOVERNMENT?

OHMSS - On His Macedonian Secret Service - George “Lazenby” Lazarevski 



by Sasha Uzunov

EARLIER SERB SPY STORY casts doubts over new spy claims? - can Borjan Jovanovski / George Lazarevski’s claims be believed? 

Former Macedonian intelligence officer George Lazarevski says he was one of the spies who leaked the secret recordings which brought down the Macedonian government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, implying that he was acting on his own rather on the orders of a foreign intelligence service, according to a USAID funded news website, OCCRP.

USAID is the official US government run international aid agency. see link here for its recent operations in Macedonia…

The leaked wiretaps were later used by Macedonian Opposition leader Zoran Zaev to bring down the Gruevski government in 2016 and eventually take-over as Prime Minister during what became know as the Colour Revolution movement, largely funded by the West. 

The OCCRP story

"Lazarevski was one of the three Macedonian intelligence agents who helped topple the allegedly corrupt and authoritarian regime of the then-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski by leaking hundreds of thousands of audio files. The recordings had been made by regime loyalists from his agency while illegally wiretapping thousands of Macedonians over three years.

"Lazarevski had known about the massive interception of conversations -- which took place without court orders -- since 2008. But when he saw special forces raiding A1 TV, a station that had been critical of the government, he finally had enough.

"“It was a shock for us,” Lazarevski remembered.

““I did not expect to experience such a thing in Macedonia,” he told OCCRP.”

Surprisingly, in all the claims of corruption against Gruevski, probably true in some or most cases, his coalition partner from the Albanian nationalist party DUI, Ali Ahmeti, ended up smelling like a bouquet of roses. It beggars belief that somehow Ahmeti, a former terrorist who started the 2001 war in Macedonia, wasn’t involved in any of the action or taking a piece of the pie. It has been a very selective look at corruption, bypassing Ahmeti, the other Albanian parties as well as SDSM, the Social Democrats of Macedonia, Zaev’s party. Ahmeti has a powerful patron in the United States. That’s his trump card. 

The author of the OCCRP article is Borjan Jovanovski, a prominent Macedonian journalist of Serb background, who was part of Serb-Macedonian “collective team” involving Serb journalist Stevan Dojcinovic of KRIK, an affiliate of OCCRP based in Belgrade which “broke” a Serbian spy scandal story alleging Russian-Serb interference in Macedonia, allegedly inciting the 27 April 2017 attack in the Macedonian Parliament on Zaev and his deputy Radmila Sekerinska., who was violently assaulted by having her hair yanked. The culprit has since been quite rightly jailed (see photo below):


But the whole story smelled right from the start. Team Uzunov acting on a tip from a British source that something was being cooked in Macedonia, contacted Jovanovski about two weeks before the parliamentary attack asking if he was aware of possible Russian-Serb interference in Macedonia. He aggressively denied such a scenario. See link here

Jovanovski is also known for his aggressive anti Macedonian and pro Serb-Yugoslavist views, which the US Embassy in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, has not denied. see link here and here

A fortnight passed then all hell broke loose and Jovanovski was claiming Serb-Russian interference in Macedonia. How and why did he change his view so quickly? How was it possible to put together the story so quickly if only weeks before he was denying such a possibility? 

However, he refuses to back up his claims by holding or calling for a protest outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, even though he has called for protests against all Hungarian Embassies in Europe over Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s tough stance on illegal migrants.

FRENEMIES? Zaev-Vucic

But the story gets more interesting… the Zaev government has endorsed the man allegedly at the centre of the parliamentary attack, Serb President Alexander Vucic, whose embassy and whose intelligence officer are implicated. This remains very strange, almost sounds like collusion.

It’s no coincidence that this fear of “Russian interference” in Macedonia via Serbia was used as a pretext by incoming Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimtrov to get into NATO as quickly as possible, even if it meant changing Macedonia’s name to appease Greek nationalist demands; give in to the Albanian nationalist bloc in Macedonia over bilingualism which would mean federalisation and eventually partition; and giving up its ethnic minorities in neighbouring countries such Bulgaria with a so called but one-sided “Good Neighbourly Agreement.”

LAZAREVSKI CLAIMS?

If the whole basis for the Serb Spy story is dodgy then it places a large question mark over the credibility of Lazarevski and his claims; that he hasn’t been put up to it by a foreign intelligence service to cover its tracks. Consider this: who would be the most likely candidate as the foreign intelligence service behind Lazarevski and the whole wiretapping scandal in Macedonia?



CLUES? - RENDITION OF EL MASRY- close US-Macedonian intelligence cooperation…

Macedonia is firmly in the Western camp. You might recall the Khaled El Masri rendition / torture scandal from 2003.

The innocent German Lebanese man arrested in Macedonia at the behest of the United States and handed over to the CIA. El Masri was taken to Afghanistan and “rendered" on the mistaken belief he was an Islamic terrorist. 

The European Court of Human Rights later awarded El Masri compensation when he sued the Republic of Macedonia and was scathing in its judgment of El Masri’s mistreatment. link here 

UBK is Macedonian intelligence and it regularly consults on counter-terrorism with the United States, namely the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).






Thursday, October 05, 2017

ZAEV & ORBAN - can they get along?

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s advisor Bojan Maricic.

by Sasha Uzunov

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is the politician you either love or hate. It’s no secret that he has been very close to ex Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski and in response reviled by supporters of the current Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev. The question is can Hungary and Macedonia still work together in light of Macedonia wanting to join the EU and NATO, both of which Hungary is a member?

The very close relationship between Orban (left in photo) and Gruevski (centre) - see link here

PM Zaev’s closest advisor Bojan Maricic, back in his role in an EU funded NGO, attacked Orban by  demanding Orban return his Order of Macedonia medal, awarded by President George Ivanov, over the Hungarian PM’s “authoritarian” rule. see link to story

Joining the invective against the combative Orban has been very influential Macedonian journalist of Serb background Borjan Jovanovski. Jovanovski demanded that protests should be held outside every Hungarian embassy in Europe over Orban’s tough stance on illegal immigration.

Serb President Tomislav Nikolic’s tough stand on illegal immigrants

Orban also stands accused of conducting espionage against Macedonia. A former Macedonian intelligence officer Alexander Dinevski has levelled charges against him. Dinevski was convicted of espionage in 2014 and went to prison. He claimed he was a victim of then PM Gruevski. Oddly, the current Zaev government hasn’t overturned Dinevski’s conviction. background to Dinevski story here

The level of intense animosity aimed at Orban has been remarkably high in comparison to say Serbian politicians. For instance when Serb President Tomislav Nikolic called for exactly the same tough approach to illegal immigrants, there were no calls for protest outside all Serb Embassies in Europe by Jovanovski. In fact Jovanovski stubbornly refuses to call for any protest outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, despite claiming to be an internationalist. Likewise Maricic. (see below for more details).

Serbia is alleged to have interfered in Macedonia at Russia’s bidding. Jovanovski one minute says there is no Serbian interference, next minute says there is Serbian interference. It’s hard to know either way because of the inconsistency in Jovanovski’s views. see link to story for more here

In another example of inconsistency a protest was held in Skopje, Macedonia against Croatian MEP Marijana Petir for endorsing Nikola Gruevski last year. When Serb President Nikolic, who has been a strong supporter of Gruevski, arrived in Macedonia in the same year, no protests were held against him. see story here

TEAM UZUNOV blog contacted Zoltan Kovacs, Orban’s spokesman, for a response over the appointment of Maricic as PM Zaev’s advisor. Kovacs has instead passed it on to the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Ministry for comment. As yet no response has been forthcoming.

The question remains can PM Zaev have any working relationship with Orban, a critical NATO ally in Eastern Europe, if his supporters and advisors hold an animosity towards the Hungarian PM not displayed towards other politicians in the region who stand accused of similar if not worse transgressions?

Alexander Vucic, Serbian Prime Minister now elected as President, has locked up over 80 political opponents and journalists as part of a campaign to clamp down on dissent over his rule. see link to story here

Kosovo strongman Hashim Thaci presides over massive crime and corruption involving the vile trafficking of human organs (see link here), something which Orban is not known to have been involved in.
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TEAM UZUNOV blog contacted Bojan Maricic 2016 and received a response but he wouldn’t answer the questions we posed to him:

9 March 2016 

Bojan Maricic: Thank you for your message and I am sorry for the delayed answer. The questions you ask demand extensive elaboration, so please give me few more days to clean-up my schedule and write you back. By then, I need to tell you that you have very interesting approach analyzing the phenomenon of cultural hegemony in Macedonia. With some of your statements I agree while some I see as reductionist but let me elaborate on this in my answers.

Question 1: I have noticed you haven't said much about the Serbian nationalist antics of Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and his Prime Minister Alexander Vucic. Any reason why?

Question 2: You haven't for instance called for demonstrations outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over the 14 May 2015 rehabilitation of ultra nationalist Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic who was anti Macedonian, Croat and Albanian, nor the provocative comments from Serb foreign minister Ivica Dacic over Macedonia's support for Kosovo's UNESCO application. Could you explain why? 

Question 3: It would appear both major parties in Macedonia, VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM still view BELGRADE as a powerful influence in Macedonia. You have a controversial US-Serb businessmen by the name of Veselin Jevrosimovic who owns a large chunk of the Macedonian media (newspapers and one tv station) and is pro PM Gruevski and you had SDSM recently use on "trial" a controversial Belgrade PR company called Ruskin & Hunt, whose managing director Miljan Skecic was connected to indicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj.

Are you concerned that the Serbian tabloids which spin such virulent anti west sentiment have enormous influence in Macedonia and Macedonian politics? In your opinion what can be done to counter the hostile propaganda from BELGRADE?

Question 4: On New Years Eve 2016 all four commercial TV stations in Macedonia played hour after hour after hour of Serbian turbo folk music and I have received many complaints from Macedonian artists who say the Macedonian entertainment industry is being deliberately strangled by the government who have a vested interested in importing the likes of Ceca etc. Your thoughts on this "re-Belgradisation of Macedonian culture?"

Question 5: It's very rare in any modern democratic state for the President or the Prime Minister to appoint a sibling (brother / sister) or a cousin as the Chief of Intelligence. Isn't it outrageous for PM Gruevski to have had his first cousin Saso Mijalkov as Intelligence boss? Your thoughts on the so called "putsch?"

Question 6: Nothing from you on Greek governing party Syriza trying to block Croatian MEP Marijana Petir from establishing a Euro Parliamentary group, Friends of Macedonia. Any Reason? Croatia and the Croatian communities abroad took an active role in lobbying for diplomatic recognition of Macedonia in 1991-92 whilst SERBIA opposed it.
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TEAM UZUNOV SPECIAL REPORT FROM MACEDONIA - Inconsistent Internationalism?