► Show Top 10 Hot Links

Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

ISIS’s female Gestapo wreaks terror on their own sex

by 1389AD ( 58 Comments › )
Filed under British Islamic Jihadists, Islamic Supremacism, Sharia (Islamic Law), Syria, UK at July 13th, 2015 - 7:00 am
Yazidi and Christian women being sold as ISIS slaves
A group of captured Yazidi and Christian women are chained together and marched to a sickening sex slave market where they are sold to become wives for Islamic State fighters

Daily Mail (UK): They bite and whip any woman who steps out of line and force girls to become sex slaves. Most shocking of all? SIXTY of them are British

The loud knock on the family’s farmhouse door was at midnight as they got ready for bed. Outside, five Islamic State fighters, Kalashnikovs hung on their shoulders and faces hidden by black scarves, were searching for girls to kidnap.

‘We opened the door and they saw my wife’s teenage sisters Sabiha and Sajida. The fighters told us they were going to steal them because they were beautiful,’ says Kafi Osman, anger still burning in his eyes at the memory.
‘We cried and the girls wept as they were led outside and driven away in an open truck. We have heard nothing of them since.’

The girls’ kidnap in the northern Iraqi town of Makhmur came as jihadis from Islamic State (also known as IS and Isis) took control of it street by street. They beheaded men, raped women and then captured their trophies of war — virgins to be sex slaves or jihadi brides.

The Osman family now believe that Sabiha, 18, and Sajida, 16, are prostitutes in Raqqa, a seven-hour drive across the Iraqi border in Syria and the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, awash with jihadi fighters.

It is a place of medieval barbarism, terror, torture, abuse and odious controls over the 100,000 women who live there. Some women are trapped in the city against their will.

They did not escape before IS marched in two years ago, building a Sharia court on the football pitch and imposing a regime where grisly public executions take place by stoning and crucifixion in the main square after mosque prayers on a Friday.

Others are radicalised jihadi brides from the West, including three pupils from Bethnal Green, East London, who were pictured last week walking in the town with a woman minder in a burka holding a Kalashnikov.

The third group of women are the unfortunates kidnapped in enemy territory by IS fighters, taken to Raqqa, and imprisoned in a life of sex slavery.

Whatever the reason for living in this hellish place, all women are prohibited from going outside or travelling without a male relative. Islamic State imposes a strict dress code demanding all females from puberty upwards wear two gowns to hide their body shape, black gloves to cover their hands, and three veils so their faces cannot be seen, even in direct sunlight.

Women have been publicly buried alive in sand for breaking the code. One former Syrian schoolteacher trapped in the city told Channel 4 in a documentary, Escape From Isis, to be aired next week: ‘We have no freedom. We cannot go out on the balcony or look through the window. They will arrest a woman if she wears perfume or raises her voice. A woman’s voice cannot be heard.’

The teacher told of her horrifying capture by the city’s ruthless all-women police unit, the Al-Khansa brigade, created to enforce IS rules. ‘They said my eyes were visible through my veil. I was tortured. They lashed me. Now some of them punish women by biting. They give you the option between getting bitten or lashed.’

As many as 60 British women, including Aqsa Mahmood, the 20-year-old Glaswegian woman who left her family to become an Islamic State apparatchik last year, are thought to be members of the brigade. They are paid up to £100 a month, a fortune in the Islamic State bad-lands.

One former Al-Khansa enforcer, a young Syrian woman called Umm Abaid, told the filmmakers how she had led a normal life until the arrival of IS and the imposition of Sharia law in Raqqa, once a cosmopolitan city where the sexes mixed freely.

‘I went to school, to coffee shops,’ she said, ‘but slowly, slowly my husband [a Saudi Arabian IS fighter killed in a suicide bomb attack] convinced me about Islamic State and its ideas. I joined the brigade and was responsible for enforcing the clothing regulations.

‘Anyone who broke the rules, we would lash. Then we would take her male guardian, her brother, father or husband, and lash him, too.

‘Even when I was off duty, if I was with my husband in the car and we saw a woman dressed wrong, he would stop and tell me to deal with her.

‘I remember one woman walking with her husband wearing a robe with images on it. We arrested her and took her to the Al-Khansa base. I lashed her with my own hands.’

Umm fled to Turkey after IS tried to force her to remarry within weeks of her husband blowing himself up.

The terrifying brigade even stops buses to check women passengers. If one is found breaking the code, all the passengers are forced to get off and the bus is refused permission to proceed. The driver can be lashed because he let the woman on board.

Some of the Al-Khansa members operate undercover, posing as housewives, mingling in the crowds to listen for any dissent.

They also run brothels where kidnapped girls, like Sabiha and Sajida, are expected to satisfy fighters returning from battle. Those who have escaped, by a miracle, say they have slept with 100 different fighters in a few weeks.

Even girls who have gone willingly to Raqqa, thinking they were going to marry one fighter, have found they are expected to spend a week with their new ‘spouse’ before they are ‘divorced’ by an Islamic cleric and married to another fighter for a week.

And so the marriage merry-go-round goes on.

Yet, incredibly, still more Muslim girls and women from Europe, and notably the UK, are arriving in Raqqa to join IS. What can possibly induce them to run away to join its ranks?

Emily Dyer, a research fellow with the Henry Jackson Society, a respected Westminster think-tank, spends hours each day tracking social media messages sent to the West by jihadi brides.

‘The fighters are seen as lions and wives as lionesses raising future jihadists,’ she says. ‘Joining up is seen as an adventure for girls who are bored with life here. You cannot overestimate the seductive attraction of IS to some of them. They see Muslims being attacked abroad and want to do something about it.

‘Even the violence and sexual abuse against women don’t seem to stop them leaving. In Britain, they are exposed to a barrage of brainwashing on social media coming from the Islamic State. It tells them that not supporting the “cause” is wrong. There is strong moral pressure on Muslim women to go and play their part in building an IS caliphate.’

Explaining the recruitment process, she says: ‘Their friends come online with a cool new identity and tell them it is paradise, with groceries supplied, medical help for free, a place to stay. They meet a fighter online, he proposes, and says come to Syria.

‘It sounds an attractive option when being a Muslim woman in the West may be a hard prospect.’ Emily suggests the possible difficulties: perhaps a forced marriage, a limited life outside the home, and a lack of freedom compared with their non-Muslim peers.

Once they arrive, their dreams can be shattered. Emily’s analysis of internet messages shows that many jihadi brides find Raqqa a shock. Under IS prohibitions, single women live in all-female safe houses called maqqars. If they are married, they must be only mothers or housewives unless selected to be IS ‘enforcers’ or fighters.

A girl tracked by Emily on Twitter said: ‘I’m fed up. They make me do the washing up.’ Another said: ‘I’ve done nothing except hand out clothes and food. I help clean weapons and transport dead bodies from the front. It’s beginning to get really hard.’ One complained: ‘My iPod doesn’t work any more. I have to come back [to the West].’

A fourth wrote: ‘They want to send me to the front but I don’t know how to fight.’

Another grim glimpse of life in Raqqa emerged last weekend from Amira Abase, who was 15 when she and fellow Bethnal Green GCSE pupils Shamima Begum, 16, and Kadiza Sultana, 15, ran away from home in February. Two of the girls have since married jihadi fighters, although they refuse to say which of them is still single.

Amira, in messages on Twitter and Kik Messenger (an encrypted service) said that women in maqqars are forbidden access to mobile phones or the internet. They are then prepared for marriage to a jihadi, even if they are young teenagers. ‘The Prophet Mohammed’s favourite wife, Aisha, got married to him when she was nine,’ she said.

She advised British girls wanting to join IS not to tell their families, to bring as much money as possible, ‘lots of bras’, black khimars (long Islamic dresses) and black niqabs (full face veils) — ‘you can’t leave the house without a niqab.’

It was fear of IS’s treatment of women that led Kafi Osman, a 27-year-old Iraqi Kurd and Muslim, to flee with his 44-year-old wife Balqesa and children, Sara, four, and Elaf, three, the day after Sabiha and Sajida were taken.
After a month hidden in the back of a truck, which crossed into Turkey then drove through Eastern Europe and Germany, they arrived on the northern coast of France. They had paid £16,000 in cash, which Kafi had hidden at the family’s farmhouse, to an Iraqi agent.

‘How could we stay in a town run by the Islamic State when we have our little daughters to protect? We were frightened the fighters would want them too.

The jihadis took over Makhmur in 20 minutes, killed the men, and then began knocking on doors looking for girls to steal.’

Continue reading…

Russia vetoes Srebrenica resolution

by Husky Lover ( 6 Comments › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, Balkans, Headlines, Hezballah, Islamists, Kosovo, Serbia at July 9th, 2015 - 9:54 am

Russia vetoed a UN resolution to recognize the Serb victory at Srebrenica over Bosnian Muslims, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah as “genocide.”

Russia vetoed a draft UN resolution Wednesday that would have recognized the Srebrenica massacre as genocide, saying it unfairly singled out Bosnian Serbs for war crimes.

Britain had put forward the text to mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre of 8,000 Muslim boys and men by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.

Angola, China, Nigeria and Venezuela abstained from the vote at the 15-member Security Council while 10 other countries voted in favour of the text that also condemned genocide denial.

The Russian veto was welcomed by Serbia’s president, who said it was “a great day for Serbia,” but the head of the Mothers of Srebrenica group accused Moscow of “supporting criminals, those who killed our children.”

Good on Russia for blocking this pro-Islamic crap. It’s funny that many Americans who claim to be such holy Christians despise the one nation on the planet that stands up for Christians.

The Latest on Greece.

by coldwarrior ( 202 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Europe, Open thread at July 5th, 2015 - 6:00 am

Today is the big day in Greece. This article sums it up perfectly, do have a read and enjoy the show.

 

Whether Greece votes yes or no, the euro cannot survive in its current form

Best case scenario? The EU will undergo years of painful convulsions, precipitating a new treaty that imposes greater centralisation and restrictions on the fiscal independence of nation states

Whether Greece votes to back or reject austerity on Sunday, the euro in its current form is dead, and rightly so. The defective structures that underpin it have been shattered by the Greek nightmare, and trust within Europe is at a low ebb. Even a yes vote would not undo the damage, and a no vote would lead to an almost immediate Greek departure from the euro.

Germany’s best-selling newspaper, Bild, is a great barometer of opinion in the eurozone’s dominant power: it is staging its own, fake “referendum” among its readers, asking them whether they want to continue bailing out Greece or whether they should cut them off. There are no prizes for guessing which way the paper’s furious readership is inclined.

Meanwhile, in Athens, the levels of hatred towards the Euro-establishment from supporters of the “No” side are remarkable; it is hard to see how any meaningful negotiations will ever be possible if Syriza remains in power. For all of those deluded Europhiles who believed that enforcing an artificial, imperfect currency on 19 different, divergent nations was a good idea that would help bring about peace, friendship and prosperity, the events of the past few weeks have surely been devastating.

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras

The Eurosceptics were right; the problem now is that in the best case scenario the region will undergo years of painful convulsions, precipitating a new treaty that imposes greater centralisation and restrictions on the fiscal independence of nation states. Such a move would outrage Eurosceptics, needless to say, and could lead to a collapse of the whole project if it is rejected by voters, but it is the only hope for the single currency’s long-term survival. Reopening treaties properly would create a major opportunity for the UK, albeit one that may come too late for David Cameron’s renegotiation.

So what are the options after the Greek vote? If they vote No, it’s game over for Greece’s membership of the single currency. The country’s banks don’t have enough money to last for much longer, and there is little reason why the European Central Bank would wish to extend them billions more if it is snubbed by voters. Either the banks would have to stay shut, which means that the country will run out of food and essentials as it becomes impossible to pay for imports, or depositors would have to be bailed in, wiping out a large chunk of their wealth but recapitalising financial institutions.

The only other alternative would be for the Greek state to introduce IOUs and then a new physical currency, while re-denominating all Greek bank accounts into drachmas. The national debt, which is owed in euros, would explicitly be repudiated, triggering a major crisis and inflicting vast losses on the European Central Bank, IMF and other creditors. The new drachmas would, of course, plummet in value, and it would be hard to avoid widespread chaos and hyperinflation if the government is forced to crank up the printing presses to pay for its bills.

Long-term, however, a Grexit accompanied by a sound new currency could help transform the economy – but that would require a sensible, credible economic policy, rather than more of the same left-wing rabble-rousing.

If, on the other hand, Greece votes yes, the government will collapse and new elections called. The Europeans would pump money into the Greek banking system, allowing branches to reopen. But sensible Greeks would continue their run on the banks, draining the economy.

Worse, Greece would be unlikely to get the comprehensive debt write-off it needs, and bailout negotiations would drag on, with the country eventually plunging into another crisis. The Greeks may even elect another hard-left government, guaranteeing another showdown.

Sunday’s vote may be too close to call, but we already know that there will be no winners from the referendum, only losers.

allister.heath@telegraph.co.uk

 

Is This The End for Greece? What of the EU?

by coldwarrior ( 244 Comments › )
Filed under Bailouts, Economy, Europe, Open thread, Politics at June 22nd, 2015 - 7:00 am

Last days of Pompeii, indeed! Monday morning means decision day in EUland over the Greek crisis. If Greece defaults, they are out of the Euro and the erstwhile “Ever Closer Union” will begin to unravel Interestingly, back in 2000 this was the topic of my Master’s Thesis in Econ which stated that a common currency and common central bank is inappropriate, ineffective, counter-productive and will fail where disparate and divergent  monetary policies are needed for the pursuit of national interest and where there is divergent economic behaviors and realities that make a single interest rate appropriate. The EU is not and will never be a United States of Europe regardless of what the bureaucrats in Brussels want everyone to believe. And now there is a study that proves it, wonder if i got cited in the notes or not? 😉

Keep your eye on the news, this could have an effect even here in America.

 

‘Last Days of Pompeii’ in Greece as crunch time approaches

The restaurants of Athens are full and no-one is panic-buying, but Greeks cannot be sure if their banks will last the week

Greeks do not know for certain if their banks will stay open next week, nor even whether euros or drachmas will emerge from cash machines beyond this month.

But in the graffiti-stained streets of Athens, alongside the shuttered windows of countless abandoned shops, the bars and restaurants are full of people trying to forget their troubles.

“You do get the sense that it’s like the last days of Pompeii,” said Marie-Therese Iatrou, a 49-year-old Athenian. “It’s like ‘sod it, I’m going to go out and have a drink with my friends’. Someone said they haven’t paid for their electricity or their rent, but they’re going to go out.”

As Greece moves inexorably towards the peak of its national crisis, the atmosphere in Athens says much about the ordeal of the country’s people. There are no visible signs of panic – at least not so far. No queues have formed outside banks; no crowds are panic-buying from supermarkets.

Instead, ordinary Greeks are overcome by weariness and fatalism. “There’s a level of fatigue and cynicism because this has been going on for five years now,” said Ms Iatrou. “We’re reaching the stage of resignation: that whatever is going to happen – let it happen.”


A man walks past graffiti reading “Free Greece from the European prison” written on the wall of an abandoned house in Athens

And what could happen in the coming days is the macroeconomic version of an avalanche. The worst-case scenario would begin with a run on the banks, forcing the government to impose capital controls and restrict all withdrawals.

The first boulders of this particular landslide may already have tumbled down the mountainside. Last Friday alone, Greeks withdrew €1.5 billion (£1.1 billion) from their accounts, bringing the total spirited out of the banking system last week to €5 billion (£3.6 billion).

The European Central Bank has responded with an emergency injection of €1.75 billion (£1.2 billion), which should ensure that Greek banks open their doors on Monday. What happens from Tuesday onwards is anyone’s guess.

The next stage of the avalanche would be a failure to repay €1.5 billion (£1.1 billion) to the International Monetary Fund by the due date of 30 June. If that happens, events could then unfold with inexorable power. A formal default could make Greece’s membership of the euro – and perhaps even of the European Union – impossible to sustain.

So it is that ordinary people must endure a profound sense of uncertainty. “It’s like living with lead in your stomach,” said Ms Iatrou. “You can’t plan ahead: you can’t be secure in the knowledge that you will get your pension. We simply don’t know what’s going to happen next week or next month.”

By chance, the eye of the storm in Greece happens to coincide with the beginning of the holiday season. This summer, about one million Britons are expected to visit a country where nothing is predictable from one week to the next.


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Visitors to the Greek islands this year might conceivably begin their holidays with euros in their wallets and go home with drachmas. In between might come a tumultuous period when capital controls lead the cash machines to run dry – and the government suspends all movement in and out of the country.

Travel agents have sought to play down any concerns and reassure British holidaymakers. A spokesman for Thomas Cook said that all contingency plans were in place, adding: “We’re prepared for any scenario.”

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said there was no need for anyone presently heading for Greece to rebook for another destination. “Any switch to a new currency would take time and Euros would likely be accepted in the interim,” said a statement from ABTA. “This is an unusual situation – but the industry is experienced in handling unusual situations.”

The one piece of advice is that travellers should take enough cash in euros to last for their entire holiday – just in case the banks collapse halfway through a summer break.

Meanwhile, frantic efforts are underway to secure a deal between Greece and its creditors before the IMF payment falls due in 10 days’ time. The aim of the talks is to release enough of the €7.2 billion (£5.1 billion) in Greece’s existing bailout fund to allow the country to avoid a default.


A woman walks past a graffiti called ‘Death of Euro’ by French street artist Goin in central Athens (AFP)

But the “troika” of creditors – consisting of the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank – want Greece to agree to raise tax revenues and cut spending before any of this money can be disbursed.

So far, these demands have collided with the obduracy of Greece’s hard-left government, which has promised to avoid any further austerity measures. Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, has doggedly resisted the troika – while carefully holding open the possibility of a deal.

Leaders of the countries in the Eurozone will gather for an emergency meeting in Brussels on Monday. A senior ally of Mr Tsipras raised hopes for these talks by sending a conciliatory signal on Saturday.

Alekos Flabouraris, the Greek Minister of State, said that his government would present a revised plan to its creditors. “We will try to supplement our proposal so that we get closer to a solution,” he told Greek television. “We are not going there with the old proposal. Some work is being done to see where we can converge, so that we achieve a mutually beneficial solution.”

Mr Flabouraris added: “I am among those who believe that we are heading towards a solution.”

If no agreement is reached and a metaphorical avalanche sweeps away Greece’s membership of the euro, then Britain could find itself paying some of the bill. In one of his first acts as Prime Minister, David Cameron persuaded the EU to exempt Britain from funding bailout programmes for Eurozone countries.

However, this provision does not protect Britain from supporting an EU “balance of payments” assistance scheme running into billions of euros. If Greece falls out of the euro and needs help to pay for essential imports, then Athens could apply for money under this scheme. If so, Greece would receive loans backed by the EU budget – to which Britain is a big contributor.

Under this scenario, Britain would be unable to block support for Greece because the decision would be taken by a qualified majority vote in the Council of Ministers. In the past, the “balance of payments” support scheme has released billions of euros to help various EU members, including Latvia and Romania.

As the clock ticks down to the moment when Mr Tsipras must either accept a deal or risk an economic landslide, he is doing his best to maximise his options. The prime minister was still in Russia on Saturday after a long meeting with President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg on Friday.


Alexis Tsipras speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin at an economic forum in St Petersburg (AP)

Mr Tsipras has agreed to allow Russia to build a pipeline that will carry natural gas to Greece. The Kremlin has denied any intention of providing Greece with the general financial support that would might save the country in its hour of trial. Russia has economic troubles of its own, raising questions over whether Moscow has the money to rescue Greece even if Mr Putin wanted to do so.

But the very fact that Mr Tsipras has dealt directly with Mr Putin is designed as a warning to the rest of the EU. If they spurn Greece, then the prime minister is signalling that his country might switch its loyalties away from the Western alliance and into the embrace of Russia.

These concerns clearly weigh on Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. Last week, she declared that a deal with Greece was still possible, adding: “Where there is a will, there’s a way.”

Mr Tsipras himself has repeated his insistence that an agreement will happen. “All those who are betting on crisis and terror scenarios will be proven wrong,” said a statement from his office during his visit to Russia. “There will be a solution based on respecting EU rules and democracy which would allow Greece to return to growth in the euro.”

If a deal is not struck by the Eurozone governments, then the next – and, almost certainly, final – chance will come at a summit of all EU leaders starting on Thursday. That could be the moment when Europe’s leaders will have to decide whether to open their chequebooks or cast Greece into the cold.

 

They say, eventually the truth always comes out

by Husky Lover ( 290 Comments › )
Filed under Europe, Russia at June 8th, 2015 - 1:41 pm

Guest Blogger: Doriangrey


In general it is where the American public has found itself with regards to its politicians and the media that is suppose to hold them accountable.
They say, eventually the truth always comes out.
Rate This

They say, eventually the truth always comes out. You just never really know when it will.

Well, apparently some of it got out back in May, and, well, apparently almost nobody noticed the significances. In an article released on the 28th of May 2015 in WIRED the truth behind the European Union and the United States attempt to overthrow the Government of Ukraine and install a Western Puppet regime. At first glance, the most obvious reason seemed to be, (was obviously intended to be mistaken for the reason) was the Russian oil/natural gas pipelines through Ukraine and the prices Russia was charging Europe for oil and natural gas.

Well, WIRED accidentally spilled the beans. WIRED thought all they were doing was following up on bits of information released by Edward Snowden.

“Torus”: has one word in a Snowden leak revealed a huge expansion in surveillance?

Well, it turns out there was a bit of covert intelligence information in the WIRED article that went way beyond what the authors of the article realized they were bringing to light. What they exposed was the real reason behind the EU, US and Russian power struggle over Ukraine. It goes back to the Cold War and its about as James Bond as it gets.

Here is what WIRED accident exposed.

First you have to know something about Torus before this little 2 paragraph accidental bit of information makes any sense, or why it is responsible for the EU, US and Russian conflict in Ukraine.

What is Torus?

In literal terms the word can mean “doughnut”, though from the slide it appeared that this doughnut has special properties — namely being a critical new means by which to grab all of the world’s communications that still travel through space. “Torus increases access”, one cryptic slide suggested.
Getty Images

We looked, and we found. Torus is a brand new kind of satellite espionage, capable of soaking up calls and messages and data from 35 satellites at once. The dishes themselves don’t look too different to familiar space tracking dishes, and can be hidden inside giant white globes — radomes. But look more closely and the power of the doughnut emerges. Specifically, a Torus dish can monitor 70 degrees of the sky, without moving. Mathematically, the dishes are a combination of a parabola with a sphere, shaped to relay multiple signals focussed from space into an array of different listening horns. Once collected all the different facets of modern communications, from Facebook to fax, are separated and sifted and filed away in giant data centres, such as NSA has recently built near Salt Lake City.
Getty Images

Over the last eight years, we believe our research shows, western spy agencies have built six new Torus collectors in the UK, Cyprus, Oman, Australia and New Zealand. Their locations are diverse: deep in the Australian outback, in Lord of the Rings territory in New Zealand’s South Island, and on the Devon coast in England.

About 400 commercial communications satellites now orbit over the equator 24,000 miles above the Earth’s surface, carrying data and telephone signals to remote areas, ocean cruise liners, and privileged passengers in the air. All are targets for what a leaked NSA document calls the “New Collection Posture”.

The agencies already have more than 200 traditional tracking dishes scattered around the planet — we counted them all, using Google Earth and other online image sites. The online images show that numbers of listening dishes have doubled since about 2000. The six new doughnut dishes can double this up again, and “collect-it-all”, as claimed in Top Secret Snowden slides, potentially increasing snooping capacity by up to 200 satellites.
The long history of Torus

And here is the little jewel WIRED let slip.

But the Russians got there first, we found. The grandmother of all doughnut dishes had been built first by the former Soviet intelligence service in the final years of the Cold War, before 1990. Lurking in Ukraine wheat fields 15 kilometres from the Black Sea port of Odessa, the Ovidiopol-2 spy base may once have been the electronic jewel in the KGB’s crown. Former Russian spies say they called it “the Comb”.

Standing 10 storeys high and 80 metres across, the Ovidiopol-2 listening antenna appears to have been equipped to track at least 20 western satellites at once. After the USSR broke up, it was handed over to the Ukraine government’s foreign intelligence service (SZRU). The site is still in use, and now includes a second Torus.

Did you get it? What is at stake here, in this little rumble in Ukraine, is the former KGB’s and now Russia’s most powerful and largest covert information collection tool and storage database. There it is in a nutshell, a prize that the EU (NATO) and the US simply could not afford to not try to capture. And one that there was never any chance that Vladimir Putin would not make every effort to prevent their obtaining.

(Cross Posted @ The Wilderness of Mirrors)

 

Serbia, NATO, and Russia

by coldwarrior ( 174 Comments › )
Filed under Chechnya, History, Open thread, Russia at May 26th, 2015 - 7:00 am

An interesting and accurate look into why Putin still has great numbers in Russia, Slavs don’t forget the past so easily:

Russia still angry about Serbia

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at a concert marking the 80th birthday anniversary of Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, in Moscow, Tuesday, Feb. 1 , 2011. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

The West frequently asks itself, “Why is Russian President Vladimir Putin so popular? He has harmed their economy. He has stifled the free press. He has destroyed the political opposition. We don’t get it.” Anyone asking this question exposes themselves to the criticism of short term thinking and a lack of appreciation, or ignorance, of history, even though the root cause of Mr. Putin’s popularity happened only 16 years ago.

The NATO intervention in the former Yugoslavia is the genesis of Mr. Putin’s power. This article is not meant to comment on the morality or appropriateness of NATO’s actions, only the consequences within Russia. Slobodan Milošević presided over a reign of terror in several of the Yugoslav provinces; that is a fact. He used mass media to delegitimize certain ethnic groups and accused them of fascist tendencies, setting up justification for military action. Sound familiar? He turned a blind eye to genocide, especially in Kosovo, and supported ethnic cleansing of Kosovo for Serbia. He was eventually extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and died in prison of a heart attack before the trial was concluded in 2006. In 1999, NATO initiated a 2-1/2-month-long, high-altitude bombing campaign of Serb military targets in Kosovo in an attempt to halt the Serbian ethnic cleansing and mass killings of non-Serbs in the region.

However, under President Boris Yeltsin, Russia vehemently opposed NATO’s actions. In fact, Russia vetoed approval for NATO intervention at the U.N. Security Council, to no avail. The Kosovo campaign was the first time NATO had acted unilaterally without U.N. approval. Mr. Yeltsin even leaked that he had ordered Russian Strategic Rocket Forces to retarget their missiles against countries that were involved in the NATO bombing of Serb forces in Kosovo. “I told NATO, the Americans, the Germans, don’t push us towards military action. Otherwise there will be a European war for sure and possibly world war,” Mr. Yeltsin barked on Russian state television.

But alas to Russia, she was humiliated as NATO acted with impunity in a former Soviet satellite state. Russia could do nothing; its military at the time, during the economic upheavals of the 1990s, was too weak. Multiple NATO countries, using more than 1,000 aircraft from bases mainly in Italy and Germany, as well as naval forces, NATO flew 38,000 bombing missions over Kosovo. The Serbian forces were forced to withdraw from the breakaway region. Russians have long memories and they never forgot this. This new assertive alliance, acting on their border in any fashion it desired, unnerved the Kremlin.

Many times over dinner with Russian friends in Moscow, the conversation inevitably turns to politics and how NATO acted unilaterally on Serbia. The morality of the question aside, that point of view is right.

Mr. Putin learned from this lesson.

When the war in Chechnya flared up, Mr. Putin was quick to take advantage of the situation. He won the war, as well as the second Chechen conflict, brutally and effectively. He understood that Russians want a strong leader, someone who will convey strength to the world and regain Russia’s role as a great world power. Mr. Yeltsin’s actions to pick Mr. Putin as his predecessor is history.

Now let’s fast-forward to the future, to NATO expanding into Eastern Europe, the Baltics and the Balkan states. This action further humiliated the Russian security establishment and the Russian people in general. The tipping point was the threat of Ukraine joining the alliance and the European Union. Mr. Putin had rebuilt the Russian military and was ready for the opportunity and he seized it, Crimea, or Krim, as the Russians call it.

In this one well-thought-out and efficient operation, Mr. Putin touched the humiliated soul of the Russian people and they will never forget it. That is why Mr. Putin enjoys 80 percent-plus approval ratings. That is why Russians will forgive and endure any short-term economic hardship Mr. Putin’s Ukraine adventures will cost them. That is why Russians will let go of any democratic leanings they had in the past. Democracy was not pleasant for Russia. Russians would much rather have a leader who makes the trains run on time and can stand up to perceived Western aggression. For as they say in Russia, anyone who wants democracy left a long time ago.

Russian Victory Day 2015 Parade OOT

by Macker ( 58 Comments › )
Filed under Communism, History, OOT, Orthodox Christianity, Russia, World War II at May 9th, 2015 - 10:00 pm

Say what you will about Pooty…the Russians know how to put on a Parade! Here’s the 2015 День Победы Version: 70 YEARS! Run time is approximately 1:21:34.

More than enough time for The Ночь Открытая Tема!

It’s a GIRL For the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge!

by Macker ( 1 Comment › )
Filed under Headlines, History, UK at May 2nd, 2015 - 8:32 am

Go to this page and I DARE you to find ONE…just ONE celebrant from The Religion of Peace™. I rest my case.
Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

#Caturday, April 11, 2015: Missing Cornwall cat living large in pasty factory

by 1389AD ( 194 Comments › )
Filed under Caturday, Food and Drink, UK at April 11th, 2015 - 2:00 pm
Woosie with Helen and Phillip Johns
Returned: Stunned owners Helen and Phillip Johns suspect Woosie lived on a diet of pastries after spending the last three years in a Ginsters pasty factory
Photo: Thomas Last – SWNS.com

No, it’s ‘pasty’ – not ‘pastry’ and definitely not ‘pasta’!

Daily Mail (UK) has the story:

Cat went missing for three years but was found hiding out in a Ginsters PASTY factory where it had piled on the pounds with a diet of pastries and sandwiches

  • Tomcat Woosie disappeared in 2011 from the family home in Gover, Cornwall
  • Owners Helen and Phillip Johns had given the seven-year-old up for dead
  • But workers at a nearby pasty factory had been pampering the runaway
  • The cat, renamed George, was fed a diet of pastries and sandwiches
  • Once svelte feline has piled on the pounds during his three-year wander

Story here.

Also see:

 

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Antarctica

by 1389AD ( 156 Comments › )
Filed under Orthodox Christianity, Russia at April 2nd, 2015 - 10:09 pm

1389 Blog had a brief story on this church in 2013:
The Most Remote Orthodox Church in the World.

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Antarctica
Russian Orthodox priest Sophrony Kirilov, walks to the Holy Trinity Church, on King George Island, Antarctica. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Telegraph (UK): The church at the South Pole

Sophrony Kirilov pulls hard on the strings of the heavy Russian bells from inside the world’s southernmost Eastern Orthodox church, calling to Mass anybody wanting to pray on this remote Antarctic island.

Hieromonk Sophrony Kirilov ringing bells
Priest Sophrony Kirilov pulls on the strings of the heavy Russian bells
(Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

The 38-year-old Russian priest is clad in a loose black robe and a vest dotted with patches of penguins and seals, marking his four years of service at the bottom of the world. Although he often misses his family and the dark winters are hard, Kirilov says there is no place he feels closer to God than in this frigid land.

“In the world there’s no tranquility and silence. But here, it’s quiet enough,” Kirilov said inside the Holy Trinity Church.

The small wooden building is perched precariously on a rocky hill above a smattering of pre-fabricated houses for scientists and service workers who call this frozen continent home, at least part of the year. Kirilov, who also works as a carpenter and mason at the Russian Bellingshausen base, says his passion for Antarctica is deeply connected to his love for the lonely building.

Russian priests here rotate in for yearlong stints, primarily to celebrate Mass [more properly called Liturgy] for the workers on the Russian base, who number between 15 and 30 at a time. The priests also welcome any of the island’s other inhabitants, about 100 in winter when temperatures can plunge to -13 Fahrenheit (-25 Celsius), and 500 in the still-chilly summer months.

The greyish clapboard church was first built in Russia from Siberian cedar planks treated to withstand the frosts and harsh wind. It was then disassembled and shipped log-by-log, “like Lego blocks,” to Antarctica, said Alejo Contreras, a Chilean Antarctic explorer who witnessed the construction and consecration in 2004. To protect it from strong winds, it is bound to the nearby rocky mountain with chains.

In the summer, tourists and the staff of the international stations brave strong winds to hike up here, leaving snowy, muddy boots at the entrance. Some pray in silence, standing or kneeling because there are no pews in the boxy interior, while others marvel at the gold-leaf iconostasis screen of icons painted with bearded saints and winged angels in vivid colors.

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church Antarctica iconostasis
The inside of the holy Trinity church (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

During Sunday service, Kirilov reads from the scriptures in Russian and sings in an angelic voice…

Continue reading…

Also see: