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Investigation: Matthew Nimetz: Impartial Macedonia mediator or deep state agent?

The role of Matthew Nimetz in the longstanding conflict between Greece and its northern neighbor may purportedly be that of an impartial mediator, but his past and present endeavors and many conflicts of interest reveal otherwise.

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Summary

  • Nimetz performed his legal clerkship under a Supreme Court justice who co-founded an organization promoting eugenics and which maintained Nazi ties.
  • His diplomatic career began during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, under whose watch came the U.S.-supported coup which brought a military dictatorship to Greece in 1967.
  • Nimetz’ legal career has included partnerships at firms which have represented the likes of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase.
  • Nimetz was in charge of Greek-Turkish and East Mediterranean affairs in the U.S. State Department between 1977-1981. During this time, the U.S. arms embargo towards Turkey was lifted.
  • Nimetz proposed the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” as a temporary name for Greece’s northern neighbor in 1995, then used this name against Greece more recently, stating that Greece already accepted a country name which included the term “Macedonia.”
  • Nimetz is the former COO of General Atlantic LLC, which was a shareholder in Denmark’s Saxo Bank, which operated a banking subsidiary in Greece at the same time that Nimetz was the UN’s “special mediator” between Greece and “FYROM.”
  • Nimetz is a trustee of the Central European University (CEU), based in Budapest and founded by George Soros.
  • Nimetz is the founding chair and current board member of the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeastern Europe (CDRSEE), based in Thessaloniki, which operates the “Joint History Project.” This project, among other things, publishes history textbooks which are promoted to governments all across the Balkans. These textbooks recognize Greece’s northern neighbor as “Macedonia” and republish nationalist poems of that country.
  • As part of the Tsipras-Zaev deal brokered by Nimetz, the two countries are obliged to change the history textbooks used in their schools to remove “chauvinistic” references to Macedonia.
  • The CDRSEE is founded by George Soros’ CEU and Open Society foundations, the U.S. State Department, the European Union, and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In other words, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided funding to an organization founded by the purportedly “neutral” mediator between Greece and “FYROM” on the Macedonia name dispute.
  • The mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris is another CDRSEE donor.
  • The CEO of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy magazine and which recently proposed that Tsipras receive a Nobel Prize over the “North Macedonia” deal, is a board member of the NGO “IREX,” which is a donor to the Nimetz-founded CDRSEE.
  • Nimetz is a member of the board of advisers of the NCAFP, whose vice chairman Nancy E. Soderberg is the former vice-president of the International Crisis Group (ICG). The ICG proposed, in 2011, the name “Republic of North Macedonia” for Greece’s northern neighbor. The ICG includes amongst its board members George Soros and his son, Alexander Soros.
  • Tsipras admitted in a televised interview that the “North Macedonia” deal was sent to Nimetz for “corrections.” Which “corrections” were made, and why?
  • Has Nimetz truly been impartial in his role as mediator on the Macedonia naming dispute?

Introduction

We are supposed to believe that the entire world is rejoicing at the news that Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his counterpart in “FYROM” (the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”) have come to an agreement where Greece’s norther neighbor will hereby be recognized as “North Macedonia.” Actors such as the EU, NATO, and the U.S. State Department have rejoiced, while Foreign Policy has ludicrously rushed to propose that Tsipras be awarded with a Nobel Prize.

Indeed, we are supposed to believe that this agreement is a great net positive for both countries and for all of humanity, putting an end to a dispute which has been ongoing ever since the unfortunate breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the “independence” of the so-called “Macedonia” in 1991.

Ever since 1994, the diplomat who has been tasked with brokering a solution for the dispute between the two countries is a man by the name of Matthew Nimetz. Initially appointed by the Clinton administration as a special envoy in 1994, Nimetz has served as the UN’s mediator on the Macedonia dispute ever since 1999.

When a diplomat is appointed to a position as a “mediator” in a conflict or dispute between two countries, one is led to believe that said diplomat is neutral and impartial, not siding with either party. Is this the case with Matthew Nimetz in the case of the Macedonia dispute, however? Who exactly is Matthew Nimetz, and what is his background? The following paragraphs will be quite revelatory.

Early beginnings in “diplomacy”

According to Nimetz’s biography, he was born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family in 1939, and graduated from Williams College, a small, private liberal arts college located in Massachusetts, in 1960. Such small liberal arts schools are favorites of the U.S. State Department for the purposes of recruiting future diplomats, in the mold of well-read and purportedly “idealistic” youth who want to “change the world” (but seemingly always within the confines of the existing order).

Nimetz immediately went on to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar — the scholarship program established by the racist colonialist Cecil Rhodes — prior to commencing his legal studies at Harvard, where he became editor of the Harvard Law Review, a position which was later also held by Barack Obama.

Upon Nimetz’s graduation from Harvard, he began a two-year legal clerkship for U.S. Supreme Court justice John Marshall Harlan II, son of John Maynard Harlan, who himself was a Supreme Court justice for more than three decades and who is considered one of the most influential justices in the court’s history. Harlan II and Nimetz both attended the same college at Oxford (Balliol College), whose alums also include Adam Smith and the (until recently) foreign minister of the UK, Boris Johnson.

The first of many detours begins here, as it is worth examining who Harlan II was. In 1937, Harlan II was one of the founding members of the notorious Pioneer Fund, infamous for its promotion of eugenics — a practice favored by the Nazi regime in Germany, and by many in North America at the time. At least two other founding members of the Pioneer Fund — Wickliffe Preston Draper and Harry Laughlin — seem to have maintained at least some ties with the Nazi regime. Draper met with leading proponents of eugenics during a visit to Nazi Germany in 1935 and expressed enthusiastic support over the concept, while Laughlin was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Heidelberg less than a year after the enactment of the Nuremburg Race Laws. Indeed, Laughlin is quoted as stating that the United States and the Third Reich shared “a common understanding of … the practical application” of eugenic principles to “racial endowments and … racial health.”

One additional founding member of the Pioneer Fund, Frederick Osborn, wrote in 1937 that the Nazi Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring was “the most exciting experiment that had ever been tried.” Still another founding member of the Pioneer Fund, Malcolm Donald, was also a former editor of the Harvard Law Review. See a pattern? One of course might wonder why Nimetz, who is Jewish, was so comfortable working with a justice who was a founding member of an organization that was so close to the Nazi regime.

Immediately following his clerkship in 1967, Nimetz was able to secure a position in the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson, initially as a member of his domestic policy staff. Clearly Nimetz didn’t have to worry too much about sending out copies of his resume and waiting for the phone to ring. What happened in 1967 though? This was the year that the U.S. and Western-backed military junta overthrew the democratic government of Greece.

To get a sense of the position of Lyndon B. Johnson towards political developments in Greece at the time, one needs to go no further than to an infamous outburst by Johnson towards then-Greek ambassador in 1965, after the latter rejected Johnson’s plan to divide Cyprus into Greek and Turkish parts, as a solution to the ongoing disputes between the two countries:

Fuck your Parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If those two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked… We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. Ambassador. If your prime minister gives me talk about democracy, parliaments, and constitutions, he, his parliament, and his constitution may not last very long… Don’t forget to tell old papa-what’s his name what I told you [referring to Greek Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou].

Fuck your Parliament and fuck your constitution. That’s the language used by the so-called “leader of the free world” and “progressive hero” Lyndon B. Johnson, towards Greece with regards to another issue of national importance. Then the proposal was for partition of Greek territory, today with the Macedonia issue, there is a partitioning of Greek history and cultural identity and the invention of a new ethnicity, language, and nationality out of thin air, one that is now apparently “racist” and “chauvinistic” to deny.

Of course, two years following Johnson’s outburst, the Greek junta came to power, a military regime whose attempted overthrow of the Cypriot government in 1973 opened the door to the Turkish invasion and occupation of almost 40 percent of the island which continues to this day. This was precisely the partitioning that Johnson screamed about in his rant.

As another quick aside here, it bears noting that fake savior Yanis Varoufakis, who rammed through austerity as Greece’s finance minister in the first half of 2015 while maintaining a “radical” and “anti-austerity” facade in the public eye, was invited for two years, spent the two years before his political appointment as a “visiting professor” at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin (which happens to also be my doctoral alma mater). Varoufakis was the second-highest paid visiting professor in the University of Texas system at the time, with a salary of $100,000 (more than many full-time faculty members) according to data which was publicly available at the time in the Texas Tribune. Varoufakis was brought to Texas by economist James Galbraith, also a part of the LBJ School. Keep that name in mind for later. Of course, Varoufakis also supports a compromise on the Macedonia name issue, going as far as to describe it as a “patriotic obligation” for Greece. What a surprise.

Strategic posts

Returning again to Nimetz, he remained part of the Johnson administration for two years, prior to moving on to the private sector, specifically to the major law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. With eleven offices and revenues of over one billion dollars annually at present, this firm has maintained longstanding relations with the likes of J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America (banks which “man of the people” Barack Obama informed us were “too big to fail”), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and more recently Microsoft, Google, and Facebook — together champions of so-called “net neutrality” whilst simultaneously engaging in systematic censorship online.

Once again Nimetz likely did not need to send out too many resumes or go to too many job interviews to land this position — nor did he seem to have much trouble becoming a partner at this prestigious firm (within just four years).

Even in the private sector, Nimetz continued his involvement in politics. For instance, in 1974 and 1975, Nimetz worked on the electoral campaign of Hugh Carey, who was soon to become governor of New York State and who in 1981 married the wealthy Greek-American real estate mogul Evangeline Gouletas. Carey later became a special adviser to president Bill Clinton.

Between 1975 and 1977, Nimetz was a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. For those who are not familiar, what exactly is the Port Authority? It is the owner of the three international airports of the New York City area (JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty), it operates the ports of the New York City area, and it was the owner of the World Trade Center and current owner of One World Trade Center. The Twin Towers had just been completed in 1975 and were in the process of being developed and populated. Airports and harbors imply trade, and trade is intricately linked to geopolitics.

Nimetz’ relationship with the Port Authority was indeed rekindled more recently, when in 2007 then-governor of New York Eliot Spitzer nominated Nimetz to again serve as a commissioner. Following the public disgracing of Spitzer (who once described himself as a “fucking steamroller“) and his subsequent resignation, Nimetz’ candidacy for the post did not progress.

Return to diplomacy, end of the U.S. arms embargo against Turkey under Nimetz’s watch

In 1977, Nimetz was appointed by the administration of U.S. president Jimmy Carter as Counselor of the United States Department of State, under then-Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Who was Cyrus Vance? He had also been a member of the Johnson administration along with Nimetz, is a member of the Trilateral Commission, and later served on the board of directors of IBM, Pan American World Airways, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, U.S. Steel, and The New York Times, and as a trustee of the Yale Corporation, as Chairman of the Board of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Vice Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. Vance had also practiced law at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, just as Nimetz had. Vance’s son is today a district attorney in Manhattan. As we will also see, Vance played his own significant role in Greek affairs in the coming decades.

What were Nimetz’s responsibilities at the State Department between 1977 and 1981? His purview included the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations. Why is this significant? In 1978, under Nimetz’s watch as the Carter administration’s official in charge of Greek-Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean affairs, the U.S. arms embargo against Turkey was lifted. This embargo was implemented in 1975 following Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of almost 40 percent of Cyprus.

It is also interesting to take a look at other issues under the purview of Nimetz during his time at the State Department, which included U.S.-Mexico border affairs (hold on to this thought, as well as to Nimetz’ previous role in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey), and the Micronesian status negotiations. How did these negotiations turn out? According to Hellenic Insider contributor Déborah Berman-Santana:

The US dragged out the Micronesia negotiations for over 20 years, long enough to break down plans for an independent Federation with sovereignty over the surrounding ocean (a no no for the US), divide the Micronesians into fake “associated republics” with no sovereignty but UN votes, payoffs of compliant locals and assassinations of leaders, torpedoing reparations for nuclear testing, etc.

One therefore may wonder whether Nimetz’s role has been not to solve disputes but to perpetuate them, at least until one of the parties is sufficiently weakened.

Following his tenure in the Carter administration, Nimetz returned to the private sector for the next 19 years, joining another high-profile New York law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, almost immediately becoming partner. To provide a sense of where this firm is coming from, it is listed as the third-biggest donor to U.S. Senator and current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (another Harvard Law alum) between 1989-2018. That “top ten” list of donors also includes Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, and Lazard — brought to Greece by the aforementioned Varoufakis and by the previous two governments to advise the country on implementing the austerity agreements with the “troika.” Another Schumer donor? George Soros.

Nimetz again continued his involvement in politics and particularly in matters of foreign affairs while in the private sector, however his return to politics in earnest came in 1994, when president Bill Clinton appointed Nimetz as his special negotiator for the Macedonian issue.

Now, what was happening during this period? The breakup of Yugoslavia was fully underway by this point, war was being waged in much of the region, and “Macedonia” had itself declared independence in 1991. And beginning that year, one of the individuals who was prominently involved in negotiations between the different sides in the Yugoslav conflict was none other than Cyrus Vance himself.

Getting involved with “Macedonia”

It was Nimetz who, in September 1995, oversaw the temporary accord between Greece and its northern neighbor whereby the temporary name “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” was assigned. Nimetz has since used this temporary accord against Greece. In an interview broadcast earlier this year by Greece’s ANT1 TV, Nimetz stated:

“One has to be realistic. Right now the name of the country in the United Nations is Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. So the name Macedonia is in the name now in the United Nations and recognized by Greece with that name. Over 100 countries recognize the name as Republic as Macedonia, so it has Macedonia in the name, for most countries.”

The Yugoslav conflict finally came to a close in December 1995, just a few months after the interim accord between Greece and “FYROM,” with the Dayton Accords, whose chief architect was the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Richard Holbrooke. Upon Holbrooke’s death in 2010, a “heartfelt” obituary was published in The Guardian by economist Peter Galbraith. Who is Peter Galbraith? He is a former State Department diplomat who, among other things, “discovered” that Saddam Hussein was “gassing” the Kurds (and who has supported the breakup of Iraq into three states, while also playing a role in the creation of Iraq’s new constitution in 2003, following the Bush administration’s invasion of the country).

Peter Galbraith was also the former U.S. Ambassador to Croatia during the crucial 1993-1998 period. He is the son of the Nobel Prize-winning economist John Kenneth Galbraith and brother of economist James Galbraith, who is based at the aforementioned Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. Galbraith was an adviser to Varoufakis when the latter served as Greece’s finance minister, a founding member of Varoufakis’ DiEM 25 “movement,” and has repeatedly defended Varoufakis’ inexcusable actions in the press. In the world of globalism, “it’s all in the family.”

Furthermore, Peter Galbraith was also a former candidate for the governorship of the state of Vermont. Keep Vermont in mind as you continue reading.

In 1999, Nimetz became the United Nations’ special mediator for the Macedonia issue following his nomination by the then-Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan, the same Annan who was the architect of the “Annan Plan” for Cyprus which would have, among other things, led to the maintenance of a permanent Turkish military presence on the island, or if you prefer, would make permanent the presence of the island’s current occupying force. The plan was (rightly) rejected by Greek Cypriots in a referendum, while it was (again not surprisingly) approved by Turkish Cypriots. The Greek “rejection” of a “solution” to the Cyprus issue is now used as a “weapon” of sorts against the Greek side, implying that it is the Greeks who do not desire peace and reconciliation on the island.

That’s how Nimetz attained his position as the United Nations’ special mediator for the Macedonia name dispute. However, aside from his questionable diplomatic past, Nimetz has also long been involved with other organizations and initiatives which belie where his true allegiances lie while calling into question his impartiality regarding the Macedonia issue.

Globalism, NGOs, George Soros, and clear conflicts of interest

To begin with, it should be mentioned that Nimetz is listed as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which will appear many times in the coming paragraphs and whose influence over such things as the mainstream media is well-documented.

One highlight of Nimetz’s resume is his former position as director of the Nature Conservancy. Who works for the Nature Conservancy today? Maria Damanaki, as the NGO’s global managing director for oceans. And who is Damanaki? She was purportedly involved in the “resistance” against the Greek military junta and was the voice of the famous pirate radio broadcast by students from inside the occupied Athens Polytechnic Institute during the student uprising, shouting out “Edo Polytechneio” (“This is the Polytechnic”). She parlayed her “resistance” into a political career, and is a former member of the Synaspismos political party (which was the predecessor to SYRIZA) and PASOK (the Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), out of which Synaspismos later split.

In 1994 and 1998 Damanaki was a candidate for mayor of Athens, finishing second in 1998. In 2009, Damanaki was named Greece’s representative to the European Commission, while the following year Damanaki was elected as the EU’s Commissioner-designate for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, a position she held until 2014. Despite earning 400,000 euro annually in this position, Damanaki maintained her parliamentary pension at a time when Greece had been forced to enact the first and second memorandum agreements, implementing harsh austerity cuts for those not fortunate enough to be professionally involved in saving the planet as Damanaki was.

Nimetz, between 1986 and 1994, also served as the Chairman of the United Nations Development Corporation (UNDC), as an αppointee of former New York City mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins.

Nimetz is also a trustee of his original alma mater, Williams College. He is also a director of the Revson Foundation, founded by Charles H. Revson, the founding president of Revlon Cosmetics. Nimitz, between 2009 and 2014, also served as chair of the advisory board of SUNY Global/The Levin Institute of the University of the State of New York, named after Neil D. Levin, the former executive director of the aforementioned Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Nimetz is also the co-founder and former head of the World Resources Institute, which boasts offices in the U.S., China, Brazil, Indonesia, and India, and which puts forth “policy solutions” for a “sustainable economy” and “sustainable cities.” The institute’s current president, Andrew Steer, is the World Bank’s former special envoy for climate change, while the organization’s board members include other former World Bank personnel as well as the ex-president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón.

In addition, Nimetz — who seems to have his hands in everything — is a member of the board of an NGO known as the Landesa Rural Development Institute, an organization which purports to support “land rights” for the world’s poor. One of the senior advisors to Landesa is none other than Bill Gates.

On Nimetz’s Landesa bio, he is listed as an Advisory Director and former Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of General Atlantic LLC, worldwide growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support for growth companies.

Indeed, Nimetz’s time at General Atlantic includes another conflict of interest with his role as a “neutral mediator” between Greece and “FYROM.” As has been revealed — but never reported in Greece or by Greece’s foreign correspondents — General Atlantic, during Nimetz’s time at the company, invested in a Danish bank known as Saxo Bank. Saxo Bank has a Greek affiliate, which however was never disclosed by Nimetz in reports filed with the UN (see here, here, and here for example). Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN’s Secretary-General, was confronted with this obvious conflict of an interest at a press briefing earlier this year and denied any impropriety on the part of Nimetz.

Nimetz also is the former director of Renren Inc. and its subsidiary, Oak Pacific Interactive the second-largest operator of social networking sites in China. Nimetz, in addition, is a former board member of KCG Investments (Knight Capital Group), formed in 2013 with General Atlantic as a major shareholder, while Rene Kern, General Atlantic’s Managing Director, joined KCG’s board. KCG Investments was a global financial services firm engaging in market making, high-frequency trading, electronic execution, and institutional sales and trading.

Additionally, Nimetz also served as the director of Pennsylvania-based supermarket chain Weis Markets Inc., and has served as the director of Ability Resources, Inc., a third-party administrator of life and health insurance products, in addition to involvement with Zagat Survey, Inc., and Multiplan, Inc. Bloomberg also lists Nimetz as the director of the European Institute of Public Administration.

But wait, it gets better still! Since 2017, Nimetz is also a trustee of the Central European University (CEU), based in Budapest. The founder of the CEU is none other than George Soros, while the CEU openly promotes Soros’ “open society” initiatives. Recently, the continued operation of the CEU has come under threat by the government of Viktor Orban in Hungary, and one of the leading figures opposing Orban’s stance towards the CEU is Kati Marton, wife of the late Richard Holbrooke (previously mentioned) and former wife of longtime ABC Evening News presenter, the late Peter Jennings.

Soros remained chair of the CEU until 2007, and was succeeded by Leon Botstein, who at the time was president of Bard College in New York State. Why is this significant? Bard College is the home of the Levy Economics Institute, whose president since its establishment in 1986 is economist Dimitri B. Papadimitriou. Papadimitriou, who has taught at Bard since 1977, has also presided over Congressional committees, previously studied at the New School, infamous for its connection to the Frankfurt School and what is known today as “cultural Marxism.”

Papadimitriou, between November 2016 and February 2018, served as SYRIZA’s minister of economy, development, and tourism before resigning (reluctantly) in disgrace after it was revealed that Papadimitriou along with his wife, Rania Antonopoulos, who was the SYRIZA government’s alternate minister of labor and social solidarity, were each receiving a generous rent subsidy from the Greek State for their residence in Athens, claiming that they were permanent overseas residents. Antonopoulos resigned as well following these revelations. Notably, Papadimitriou and Antonopoulos were the wealthiest couple in Greece’s parliament.

Antonopoulos has also long been an economist with the Levy Institute and a member of the faculty at Bard College. She, like her husband, also completed her studies at the New School. She is a former adviser to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and to “UN Women,” and is a proponent of “feminist economic theory.” As a researcher at the Levy Institute, her proposed “Greek New Deal” (later touted by Varoufakis and James Galbraith) promised the creation of up to 550,000 new (minimum wage) jobs, which of course have never materialized during the three-plus years of the SYRIZA government. Antonopoulos also famously wrote in SYRIZA party-owned newspaper Avgi in 2016 that the third memorandum agreement, signed by the SYRIZA-led government after it ignored the result of the July 2015 referendum, was “a blessing.”

Rewriting history one textbook at a time

Even more egregiously, Nimetz, in 2014, was the founding chair and later director of an organization known as the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeastern Europe (CDRSEE). Nimetz remains on the organization’s board of directors to this day. Despite being based in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city and the capital of the Greek prefecture of Macedonia, this organization is virtually unknown to the general public in Greece. And yet its role is extremely significant to the Macedonia issue — and to Greek cultural and historical maintenance.

The CDRSEE describes itself as “a non-governmental, non-profit organization that seeks to foster democratic, pluralist, and peaceful societies in Southeast Europe.” Among other initiatives, has promoted a “Joint History Project” with the support of the EU. This project is described as an effort to “change the way history is taught in schools in the Balkans,” and one might be tempted to wonder whether such a “joint history” includes, for instance, a “joint history” of Greece and “Macedonia.”

The answer to that question is very likely “yes.” As was revealed by Nina Gatzoulis, general coordinator of the World Pan-Macedonian Congress, history books released under the auspices of the CDRSEE’s “Joint History Project” make repeated references to “Macedonia” and to a “Macedonian nation.” Published under the oversight of Panteion University professor of modern and contemporary history Christina Koulouri, the CDRSEE has released three books which purport to promote “balance” and “objectivity” in the teaching of the history of the Balkan region, and “reconciliation” between its peoples.

How do these books apparently achieve this objective? One example comes from a section titled “nations and states,” which includes the national anthems of the countries of the Balkans. For Greece’s northern neighbor though, its national anthem is not included and in its place, a nationalist “Macedonian” poem attributed to Gjorgi Pulevski and titled “The Historical Roots of the Macedonian Nation” appears. This poem refers to the “Czar” Alexander and to “our” ancient Macedonian kingdom.

In other words, these “joint history” textbooks, under the guise of “tolerance,” are promoting the ultra-nationalist historical revisionism of so-called “Macedonians,” despite a wealth of evidence that Alexander the Great, as opposed to “Czar” Alexander, was indisputably Greek. And here another danger arises: while the Tsipras-Zaev deal purports to protect “Macedonian” claims against ancient Hellenic civilization, the hard-line position of “Macedonian” nationalists has been that ancient Macedonia and figures such as Alexander the Great were not Greek.

The covers of three history books produced by the CDRSEE’s “Joint History Project.”

It should also be noted that while the aforementioned nationalist poem has been attributed to Pulevski, no original manuscript has been found of the poem, which was written in Bulgarian instead of in the so-called “Macedonian” language.

A “Macedonian” nationalist poem published in place of the “Macedonian” national anthem, in a history book published by the CDRSEE and translated into Greek.

The CDRSEE’s history books have been translated into the Greek language, as can be seen in the accompanying image, and are being targeted for usage in Greek schools. And here one would be correct to ask another question: with the Tsipras-Zaev deal specifically stating that textbooks and other educational materials in use by the two countries will be reviewed for “irredentist” and “chauvinistic” material, will the CDRSEE, founded by the purportedly “neutral” Matthew Nimetz, stand to benefit by providing the new, “historically correct” textbooks that will be used by schools in both countries?

As for Koulouri, her curriculum vitae shows a long history of involvement on committees responsible for school history textbooks in Greece — during a period (since the late 1990s) when the teaching of Greek history in Greek primary and secondary schools has been gradually diluted. Specifically, her CV describes, as part of her 17 years of involvement with the CDRSEE, such highlights as organizing workshops “on how to teach sensitive and controversial issues in history in Southeast Europe,” “assessment and editing of alternative teaching materials…as part of a new method in history education,” “coordinating the editing of local editions in seven Balkan countries,” and “coordinating the development of alternative teaching materials…in Kosovo and Montenegro.” It bears noting that Kosovo is not even recognized by Greece. In addition, Koulouri has participated in a similar “shared history project” between Greece and Turkey

What is perhaps most notable and striking about the CDRSEE is a look at who funds this organization. The list is enlightening, featuring a globalist who’s who which encompasses:

  • The European Commission
  • The U.S. State Department
  • The European Commission’s “European Neighbourhood Policy And Enlargement Negotiations,” headed by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who was in the Prespes region for the signing of the Tsipras-Zaev deal and could barely conceal his glee.
  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • The National Endowment for Democracy
  • The European Agency for Reconstruction
  • The European Fund for the Balkans
  • The aforementioned United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
  • The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (which was in existence between 1999 and 2008 and of which “Macedonia” was a member. This body created a “South-East Europe Regional Energy Market” with the participation of Greece)
  • The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (so much for Switzerland being “neutral”)
  • The Austrian Development Agency (ADA)
  • The Austrian Ministry for Education and Cultural Affairs
  • Norway’s Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Norwegian People’s Aid
  • Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • IrishAid
  • The Principality of Lichtenstein
  • The Balkan Trust for Democracy (under the aegis of the German Marshall Fund)
  • The Central European Initiative
  • The Institute for Sustainable Communities (co-founded by Madeleine Kunin, former governor of Vermont and former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland during the Clinton presidency). Where have we seen Vermont previously?
  • The United States Institute of Peace (founded by the U.S. Congress and whose experts include the chair of the Police Restructuring Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina and former head of the legal department of the International Civilian Office in Kosovo, a former National Endowment for Democracy fellow, and a former assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID and current member of the Council on Foreign Relations)
  • The Winston Foundation for World Peace at William and Mary University (another liberal arts college favored for recruitment by the State Department)
  • ING Insurance
  • IREX (a nonprofit whose board members include the managing director of the Bush-affiliated Carlyle Group, the vice president of content acquisition for Comcast — which owns NBC, a former USAID director and Google executive, a former communications director of USAID, the former Senior Advisor of International Education for USAID and wife of former Iowa governor and presidential candidate Tom Vilsack, a former U.S. State Department official during the George W. Bush administration, a former vice president of the Carnegie Corporation, the former executive director of the previously-mentioned “UN Women,” the CEO of the FP group — publisher of Foreign Policy, the chair of Refugees International and a former reporter for Time, CBS, CNN and NPR; and the former Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs and former deputy secretary to Bill Clinton during his presidency)
  • Sabanci University (Turkey)
  • The University of Bucharest (Romania)
  • And last but not least, the George Soros-founded and affiliated Open Society Foundations, Foundation Open Society Macedonia, Open Society Institute Sofia, and Central European University.

The above list does not include the various Greek” sources of funding for the CDRSEE, which includes:

  • The “Hellenic” Ministry of Foreign Affairs (under the aegis of Minister Nikos Kotzias)
  • The Municipality of Thessaloniki (under the mayorship of globalist darling Yiannis Boutaris)
  • The A.G. Leventis Foundation
  • The Cyprus Federation of America (which maintains extremely close ties with the U.S. Democratic Party, including Senator Robert Menendez, who has faced corruption charges. Its membership and leadership includes Philip Christopher and Nikos Mouyiaris, former owners and publishers of the now-defunct pro-PASOK diaspora newspaper “Proini,” based in New York City, whose one time editor, Michalis Ignatiou, was the longtime U.S. correspondent of the pro-austerity, pro-PASOK Mega Channel television network in Greece. Christopher’s niece is employed by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Business Channel, while Proini also once included within its ranks Chrysanthos Lazaridis, former adviser to ex-Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras; and Alexis Papachelas, executive editor of the pro-austerity, neoliberal Kathimerini which also publishes the English-language eKathimerini. Papachelas studied economics at Bard College at the same time that the aforementioned Papadimitriou taught economics at the same university. Papachelas has also attended the Bilderberg meetings in the past. He recently appeared alongside Tsipras on state broadcaster’s ERT panel discussion on the “North Macedonia” agreement).
  • The Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (whose longtime chairman, George A. David, has been a regular in the annual meetings of the Bilderberg Group)
  • Titan Cement (whose CEO, Dimitris Papalexopoulos, is a regular attendee of the Bilderberg meetings, including this year’s conclave)
  • The National Bank of Greece (repeatedly recapitalized by Greek taxpayers)
  • Greece’s Alpha Bank (repeatedly recapitalized by Greek taxpayers)
  • Samaras and Associates (based in Thessaloniki)
  • The Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki
  • The Greek-Turkish Business Council

In turn, the CDRSEE’s private donors include Matthew Nimetz himself, Greek attorney Stathis Potamitis, shipping magnate Pekin Baran (a member of a Turkish think tank known as the Global Relations Forum), the late John Brademas (former Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, former president of New York University, former chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and former board member of the New York Stock Exchange and the Rockefeller Foundation), businessman Nikos Efthymiadis (vice president of the CDRSEE, Honorary Consul of the Netherlands in Thessaloniki, and Chairman of the STABILITY PACT/Business Advisory Council for Southeast Europe), businesswoman Stacey A. Polites (Elastrak), Alex Gus Spanos (the billionaire chairman of the A.G. Spanos Companies, owner of the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers, and one of the top donors to the campaigns of George W. Bush and a Bush family friend), Rigas Tzelepoglou (president of the Thessaloniki Business College), and Spiros Voyadzis (οwner, Partnerships for Finance and Development).

Many of the aforementioned individuals participate in an annual conclave which could be described as the Greek edition of the Bilderberg Group, the Delphi Economic Forum. These individuals include Nikos Mouyiaris, Nikos Efthymiadis, Alexis Papahelas, Dimitris Papalexopoulos, and Maria Damanaki, in addition to a veritable all-star team of leading Greek and foreign politicians, businesspeople, bankers, journalists, academics, clerics, military leadership, and ambassadors far too numerous to list here. As mentioned earlier, it’s “all in the family” as far as neoliberalism and globalism is concerned.

To illustrate just some of the above connections, consider that David Rothkopf, the CEO of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy, is a board member of the IREX NGO. IREX is listed as a donor of the CDRSEE, where Nimetz is a founding member, former director, and current board member. Foreign Policy, following the Tsipras-Zaev deal, has suggested that Tsipras be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At the same time, the Trump-Kim peace deal and the reconciliation between North and South Korea, for instance, are treated with hostility by the same press establishment, and by the “markets.”

In another example, we see that Nimetz is a trustee of the Central European University (CEU), which in turn is a donor to the CDRSEE, as are the Open Society Foundations of George Soros, who established the CEU and was its initial chair. His successor, Leon Botstein, was previously the president of Bard College in New York. Bard College is the home of the Levy Economics Institute, whose founder and president Dimitri B. Papadimitriou was, until recently, Greece’s economy minister, while his wife, a senior economist with the Levy Economics Institute, was alternate minister of labor in the same SYRIZA-led government. Journalist Alexis Papachelas, who appeared alongside Alexis Tsipras in his televised interview immediately following the “North Macedonia” deal, was once a journalist with the Greek diaspora newspaper Proini, whose owners are members and past presidents and board members of the Cyprus Federation of America, which is also listed as a donor to the CDRSEE. “All in the family,” as we see once more.

What should be evident here is a stunning conflict of interest on multiple levels, calling into question Nimetz’ impartiality towards Greece and his suitability for the role of “mediator” between Greece and the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” He is the founder, former director, and board member of an organization which, in the textbooks it produces, has long referred to Greece’s northern neighbor as “Macedonia.” His textbooks have reproduced nationalist texts of “Macedonia” and made references to a “Macedonian ethnicity.” And the agreement which he brokered includes a specific clause which makes reference to the revision of school textbooks and other educational materials in both countries, as they pertain to the teaching of history. The CDRSEE produces history textbooks, under the auspices of the “Joint History Project.”

Furthermore, the CDRSEE receives funding from an outfit, IREX, one of whose board members is the CEO of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy and which has called for Tsipras to receive a Nobel Prize as a result of the “North Macedonia” agreement, brokered by Nimetz.

Another noteworthy factoid is that the FP Group is itself a division of The Slate Group, which also operates Slate.com and which itself is owned by the Graham Holdings Company, formerly The Washington Post Company (which owned the newspaper by the same name, as well as Newsweek magazine). This company has branched out into other industries, including health care, manufacturing, and energy. With regards to the latter, Graham Holdings purchased, in 2013, Forney Corp. Based in Texas, Forney manufactures equipment that monitors and controls the combustion of coal, natural gas, and other materials. This equipment is sold to electric utilities for use in power generation plants.

Here, one simply needs to recall that the Tsipras-Zaev deal includes a specific clause for cooperation between the two countries on the construction, development, and operation of oil and gas pipelines. One may further note that the “Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe,” which was in existence between 1999 and 2008 and of which “Macedonia” was a member, was a donor to the CDRSEE. A lasting legacy of this body is the creation of a “South-East Europe Regional Energy Market” with the participation of Greece). And at this time, while all of Greece was focused on the “North Macedonia” agreement, a new austerity multi-bill was passed in Parliament in June, placing 25 billion euros’ worth of public assets as collateral, while foreseeing the privatization of Greece’s Public Power Corporation (DEH). Stavros K. Goutsos, the CEO of DEH, was one of the speakers at this year’s Delphi Economic Forum.

What is also egregious is the fact that the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was purportedly negotiating with the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” over the name issue, is listed as a donor to the very organization, the CDRSEE, founded by the mediator in the name dispute, Matthew Nimetz, an organization from which Nimetz has not absolved himself as he remains a board member. Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in other words, has funded an organization founded and directed by Nimetz, of which Nimetz remains part, which has long recognized Greece’s northern neighbor as “Macedonia” and which may stand to benefit from the “revision” of history textbooks in both Greece and the country which may soon be known as “North Macedonia.”

Continuing this thread of potential conflicts of interest, Nimetz is also a member of the Board of Advisors of an outfit known as the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP). Described as “a nonprofit policy organization dedicated to the resolution of conflicts that threaten U.S. interests,” the NCAFP “identifies, articulates, and helps advance American foreign policy interests from a nonpartisan perspective within the framework of political realism.” How can Nimetz serve as an impartial, neutral mediator if he is simultaneously a member of the board of an organization which seeks to “advance American foreign policy interests”?

Notably, the NCAFP’s leadership includes Paul Volcker (former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System), and more notably still, a certain Nancy E. Soderberg, who is the committee’s vice chairman. From 2001 until 2005, Soderberg served as the vice president of the International Crisis Group (ICG), which in 2011 proposed the name “Republic of North Macedonia” for Greece’s northern neighbor. Other NCAFP board members have served as Vice Chairman of Global Banking for Citigroup and Undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury for International Affairs, former associates of the RAND Corporation, and are members of the Council on Foreign Relations.

As the Council on Foreign Relations has appeared several times in this investigation, it bears noting that recently, Julian Assange tweeted an image showing the CFR’s links to major media holdings. Many of those outlets have correspondents based in Greece or who regularly report about Greece, almost all of whom have not concealed their excitement over the “North Macedonia” agreement while, for instance, ignoring the austerity bill passed by parliament last week and instead reporting that Greece is on the road to economic recovery.

Note that Foreign Policy appears above, as do many other prominent outlets. This may therefore help explain why practically all of the mainstream media outlets — and their correspondents based in or otherwise reporting on Greece — have barely concealed their excitement over the “North Macedonia” deal.

However, what about the International Crisis Group mentioned earlier? On its board, we find both George Soros and his son Alexander Soros, in addition to a globalist all-star team which includes former Swedish prime minister and foreign minister Carl Bildt (who served as a mediator during the Yugoslav conflict, as the EU’s Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia, co-chairman of the Dayton Peace Conference, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UN’s Special Envoy for the Balkans), Wesley Clark (former U.S. presidential candidate endorsed by the “leftist” Michael Moore, and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, who led the bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999), Wadah Khanfar (former Director General of Al Jazeera, which has repeatedly chastised Greece and other European countries for their “treatment” of “refugees” while Al Jazeera’s parent government hasn’t taken any in), Wim Kok (former Dutch prime minister), former U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, Javier Solana (former Spanish foreign minister, former NATO Secretary General, former EU Commissioner, and Distinguished Fellow at the aforementioned Brookings Institute), and former U.S. Treasury Secretary and president of Harvard University “Larry” Summers. The president of the International Crisis Group, Robert Malley, former Special Assistant to the President during the Obama administration, has followed virtually the same academic path as Nimetz, attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, as well as Harvard Law School.

It should also be mentioned that two “Greeks” also find themselves on the International Crisis Group’s board of trustees, including former U.S. Congresswoman Olympia Snowe and Maria Livanos Cattaui, former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce. What else does Livanos Cattaui do? She is on the global board of the Open Society Foundation of (who else?) George Soros.

Indeed, to be specific, both George Soros and son Alexander are on the Open Society Foundation’s global board, along with (surprise!) some other familiar names, including Leon Botstein, the aforementioned president of Bard College and member of the board of trustees of Soros’ Central European University. Another board member, Ivan Krastev, is also a member of the board of trustees of the now-familiar International Crisis Group in addition to being a founding board member of the European Council of Foreign Relations and former executive director of the International Commission on the Balkans. All in the family once more.

Some further peculiarities

In Tsipras’ interview on Greek state broadcaster ERT soon after the agreement was reached, he stated that both he and Zaev sent the deal to Nimetz for “corrections.” Say what? Exactly what “corrections” were made by Nimetz? And were these “corrections” approved by Tsipras and/or Zaev, or were they unilateral? Tsipras did not clarify his statement, nor did the softball government-employed interviewer on ERT.

What is nevertheless interesting though is that Nimetz has a long history of finding himself in positions which pertain to border and frontier disputes, and in regions which also happen to be known for trafficking of all sorts: drugs, humans, and more. Nimetz was at one time responsible for U.S.-Mexico border issues at the U.S. State Department. He was a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the airports and harbors of the New York City area. And the region which includes “FYROM” as well as Albania — and the significant Albanian minority within “FYROM” proper — is notorious for drug and human trafficking. What does Nimetz know about these issues and what, if anything, has he done to combat such issues all these years?

Therefore, having examined Nimetz’ history, his diplomatic and business connections, and his prior positions both in the public and private sectors, numerous serious questions arise as to Nimetz’ impartiality, the many potential conflicts of interest which can be identified between his role as “special mediator” on the Macedonia issue and his positions on numerous corporate and non-profit boards, his prior stance towards Greece and Greek national issues dating back to his role in charge of Greek-Turkish affairs in the U.S. State Department during the Carter administration, and the ulterior motives he may have had in brokering the 1995 agreement which led to the name “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and which was then used by Nimetz against Greece by claiming that the name “Macedonia” had already been accepted for inclusion in the name of Greece’s northern neighbor. Is it simply a coincidence that Nimetz’ Thessaloniki-based NGO, the CDRSEE, produces school history textbooks for the Balkan region, recognizes “Macedonia” and a “Macedonian nation,” and that the Tsipras-Zaev deal brokered by Nimetz includes specific provisions for the revision of school textbooks in both countries?

Further questions also arise: why has the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs been providing financial support for an NGO which was founded by the purportedly “unbiased” Nimetz and which recognizes Greece’s northern neighbor as “Macedonia”? Why is such funding also provided by the Municipality of Thessaloniki under its mayor, Yiannis Boutaris? What is the role of the international press and of figures such as George Soros in the Macedonia dispute, as evidenced by the many connections between NGOs Nimetz participates in, and Soros and the global press? Furthermore, was the “North Macedonia” name agreed upon as far back as 2011 or even earlier, and finally rolled out today for specific diplomatic or geopolitical reasons, such as, say, a fear that with Euroskepticism and “Trumpism” gaining ground in Europe and SYRIZA’s support continuously weakening in Greece (despite its purported “economic success story”), the time was now for the EU, NATO, and Nimetz to finally announce an agreement?

More questions still: what is the SYRIZA government gaining from this agreement and indeed why are they suddenly so desperate to “solve” longstanding foreign policy disputes such as this? Furthermore, what’s in the deal for Zaev and his country? Was Zaev, who did not win the December 2016 elections in his country, installed precisely to see this agreement through, and for what ends?

Or could it perhaps be that the Tsipras-Zaev deal, with the many hurdles that it still faces before ratification, is meant to fail? If so, what will follow a collapse of the Tsipras-Zaev agreement?

In looking at Nimetz’ diplomatic history, was he perhaps installed as “mediator” due to a prior history which could be considered questionable with regard to his stance towards Greece? Indeed, was he placed in the position he maintained for over a quarter century due to a history of not resolving longstanding disputes, such as the issue of Micronesian independence? Is the fact that Nimetz has often been placed in positions which concern border regions and areas with a high degree of trafficking coincidental, or is there something more to the story that we are not being told?

Ultimately, all of the above questions boil down to this concluding query: was Nimetz truly impartial in his role as “mediator” or are the many potential conflicts of interest identified above enough for the Tsipras-Zaev deal to be considered invalid?

Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

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‘Hell on Earth’: MSF doctor tells RT of rape, violence, inhumane conditions in Lesbos refugee camp

One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

Alex Christoforou

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Via RT


One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

The overcrowded camp on the island of Lesbos, built to accommodate 3,100, houses around 9,000 people. “It’s a kind of hell on Earth in Europe,” Dr. Alessandro Barberio, an MSF clinical psychiatrist, said, adding that people in the camp suffer from lack of water and medical care. “It is impossible to stay there,” he said.

According to Barberio, asylum seekers are subjected to violence “during night and day.””There is also sexual violence”which leads to “mental health issues,” he said, adding that all categories of people at the camp may be subjected to it. “There is rape against men, women and children,” and the victims of sexual violence in the camp often have nightmares and hallucinations, Barberio told RT.

Asylum seekers in Moria “are in constant fear of violence,” and these fears are not groundless, the psychiatrist said. “Such cases [of violence] take place every week.”

There is “one toilet for 72 people, one shower for 84 people. The sanitation is bad. People are suffering from bad conditions,” Michael Raeber, an aid worker at the camp, told RT. They suffer from mental health problems because they are kept for a long time in the camp, according to Raeber.

“There is no perspective, they don’t know how their case will go on, when they will ever be able to leave the island.” The camp is a “place where there is no rule of law,” with rampant violence and drug addiction among the inhabitants, Raeber said.

In its latest report, MSF, which has been working near Moria since late 2017, criticized the unprecedented health crisis in the camp – one of the biggest in Greece. About a third of the camp population consists of children, and many of them have harmed themselves, and have thought about or attempted suicide, according to the group.

Barberio was behind an MSF open letter on the state of emergency in Moria, released on Monday, in which he writes that he has never “witnessed such overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions.”

Calling the camp an “island prison,” he insisted that many of his patients in the camp are unable to perform basic everyday functions, “such as sleeping, eating well, maintaining personal hygiene, and communicating.”

A number of human rights groups have strongly criticized the conditions at the camp and Greece’s “containment policy”regarding asylum seekers.

Christina Kalogirou, the regional governor of the North Aegean, which includes Lesbos, has repeatedly threatened to shut down the facility unless the government improves the conditions. On Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that Greece will move 2,000 asylum seekers out of the severely overcrowded camp and send them to the mainland by the end of September.

Greece, like other EU states, is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since WWII. According to International Organization for Migration estimates, 22,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Greece since the start of this year alone.

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Greece: “Humanitarian Aid” Organization’s People-Smuggling

Greek NGO evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece.

The Duran

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Authored by Maria Polizoidou of Gatestone Institute:


  • Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) describes itself as a “Greek nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and humanitarian aid in times of crisis….” It has reportedly abetted the illegal entry into Greece of 70,000 immigrants since 2015, providing the “nonprofit” with half a billion euros per year.
  • ECRI evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece. In addition, its members created a business for “integrating refugees” into Greek society, granting it 5,000 euros per immigrant per year from various government programs (in education, housing and nutrition).
  • With the government of Greece seemingly at a loss as to how to handle its refugee crisis and safeguard the security of its citizens, it is particularly dismaying to discover that the major NGO whose mandate is to provide humanitarian aid to immigrants is instead profiting from smuggling them.

Migrants arrive at a beach on the Greek island of Kos after crossing part of the Aegean sea from Turkey in a rubber dinghy, on August 15, 2015. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

On August 28, thirty members of the Greek NGO Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) were arrested for their involvement in a people-smuggling network that has been operating on the island of Lesbos since 2015. According to a statement released by Greek police, as a result of the investigation that led to the arrests, “The activities of an organised criminal network that systematically facilitated the illegal entry of foreigners were fully exposed.”

Among the activities uncovered were forgery, espionage and the illegal monitoring of both the Greek coastguard and the EU border agency, Frontex, for the purpose of gleaning confidential information about Turkish refugee flows. The investigation also led to the discovery of an additional six Greeks and 24 foreign nationals implicated in the case.

ERCI describes itself as:

“[A] Greek nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and humanitarian aid in times of crisis. ERCI’s philosophy is to identify the gaps of humanitarian aid and step in to assist in the most efficient and impactful manner. Currently ERCI has 4 active programs working with refugees in Greece in the areas of Search and Rescue, Medical, Education and Refugee Camp Coordination.”

In spite of its stated mission and non-profit profile, however, ECRI — according to Greek authorities, has earned considerable sums of money from its serving as a conduit for illegal activities. ECRI evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece. In addition, its members created a business for “integrating refugees” into Greek society, granting it 5,000 euros per immigrant per year from various government programs (in education, housing and nutrition). ERCI has reportedly abetted the illegal entry into Greece of 70,000 immigrants since 2015, providing the “non-profit” with half a billion euros per year.

This revelation, however, does not begin to cover the extent of the illegal activities surrounding the entry of migrants into Greece. In 2017, for instance, Greek authorities arrested 1,399 people-smugglers, some under the cover of “humanitarian” operations; and during the first four months of 2018, authorities arrested 25,594 illegal immigrants.

More worrisome than the literally steep price paid to people-smugglers by the immigrants themselves — or that doled out by the Greek government in the form of integration subsidies — is the toll the situation is taking on Greek society as a whole.

According to Greek police statistics, there were 75,707 robberies and burglaries reported in 2017. Of these cases only 15,048 were solved, and 4,207 were committed by aliens. In addition, the police estimate that more than 40% of serious crimes were committed by illegal immigrants. (Legal and illegal immigrants in Greece make up 10-15% of the total population.)

In 2016, Greek prisons reportedly contained 4,246 Greeks and 5,221 foreigners convicted of serious crimes: 336 for homicide; 101 for attempted homicide; 77 for rape; and 635 for robbery. In addition, thousands of cases are still pending trial.

In a recent heart-wrenching case on August 15, a 25-year-old college student from Athens — on a visit home from his studies at a university in Scotland — was murdered by three illegal immigrants while he was out touring the city with a female friend from Portugal.

The three perpetrators, two Pakistanis and an Iraqi ranging in age from 17 to 28, told police that they first attacked the young woman, stealing money, credit cards, a passport and a cell phone from her purse, but when they realized that her phone was “old,” they went for the young man’s phone, threatening him with a knife. When he tried to fend them off, they said in their confession, they shoved him and he fell off a cliff to his death. After the interrogation, it transpired that the three killers were wanted for 10 additional robberies in the area.

In an angry letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, members of parliament and the mayor of Athens, the mother of the victim accused Tsipras of “criminal negligence” and “complicity” in her son’s murder.

“Instead of welcoming and providing “land and water” to every criminal and dangerous individual with savage instincts,” she wrote, “should the state not think first of the safety of its own citizens, whose blood it drinks daily [economically]? [Should the state] abandon [its citizens] to ravenous gangs, for whom the worth of a human life has less meaning than the value of a cell phone or a gold chain?”

Although those were the words of a grieving mother, they are sentiments widely felt and expressed throughout Greece, where such incidents are increasingly common.

On August 29, two weeks after that murder, six immigrants in northern Greece verbally assaulted a 52-year-old man on the street, apparently for no reason. When he ignored them and kept walking, one of them stabbed him in the shoulder blade with a 24-cm (9.4-inch) knife, landing him in the hospital.

Two days earlier, on August 27, approximately 100 immigrants, protesting the living conditions in their camp in Malakasa, blocked the National Highway for more than three hours. Drivers stuck on the road said that some of the protestors went on a rampage, bashing cars with blocks of wood. To make matters worse, police on the scene said that they had not received instructions from the Ministry of Citizen Protection to clear the highway or protect the victims. Gatestone was told upon further queries, that there was no official statement from the police or the ministry, just the drivers’ statements.

With the government of Greece seemingly at a loss as to how to handle its migrant crisis and safeguard the security of its citizens, it is particularly dismaying to discover that the major NGO whose mandate is to provide humanitarian aid to immigrants is instead profiting from smuggling them. The recent arrest of ERCI members underscores the need to scrutinize all such organizations.

Maria Polizoidou, a reporter, broadcast journalist, and consultant on international and foreign affairs, is based in Greece. She has a post-graduate degree in “Geopolitics and Security Issues in the Islamic complex of Turkey and Middle East” from the University of Athens.

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Turkey’s Latest Power Grab: A Naval Base In Cyprus?

“If Greek-Turkish tensions escalate, the possibility of another ill-timed military provocation could escalate with them… Moreover, such a conflict might open up an even greater opportunity for Russian interference.” — Lawrence A. Franklin.

The Duran

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Authored by Debalina Ghoshal via The Gatestone Institute:


  • The possibility of a Turkish naval base on Cyprus does not bode well for the chances of a Cyprus reunification deal, particularly after the breakdown of the July 2017 peace talks, which were suspended when “Turkey had refused to relinquish its intervention rights on Cyprus or the presence of troops on the island.” Turkey has 30,000 soldiers stationed on Cyprus, the northern part of which it has illegally occupied since 1974.

Turkey’s Naval Forces Command has “submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that Turkey should establish a naval base in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” according to Turkey’s strongly pro-Erdogan daily, Yeni Safak, which recently endorsed the proposal for the base in an article entitled, “Why Turkey should establish a naval base in Northern Cyprus.”

“The base will enable the protection of Northern Cyprus’ sovereignty as well as facilitate and fortify Turkey’s rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, preventing the occupation of sea energy fields, and strengthening Turkey’s hand in the Cyprus peace process talks.”

Having a naval base in northern Cyprus would also strengthen the self-proclaimed “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which is recognized only by Turkey. Cyprus is strategically important: a naval base there would give Turkey easier access to the Eastern Mediterranean’s international trade routes and greater control over the vast undersea energy resources around Cyprus. In the past, Turkey has blocked foreign vessels from drilling for these resources; in June, Turkey began its own exploration of the island’s waters for gas and oil.

This is not the first time that Turkey has set its sights on the area’s resources. In 2014, Ankara dispatched surveillance vessels and warships to Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to search for hydrocarbons. This incident took place just before the leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt deepened their an energy-cooperation, “freezing Turkey out.” As soon as the accord was signed, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades blasted “Turkey’s provocative actions,” saying that they “do not just compromise the peace talks [between Greek and Turkish Cypriots]… [but] also affect security in the eastern Mediterranean region.”

At the time, UN-brokered reunification negotiations, which had been renewed after a long hiatus, ended unsuccessfully yet again, as a result of Turkey’s search for hydrocarbons in the EEZ. According to a November 2014 report in the Guardian:

“Turkey’s decision to dispatch a research vessel into disputed waters last month not only resulted in talks being broken off but has exacerbated the row over drilling rights.”

The possibility of a Turkish naval base does not bode well for the chances of a Cyprus reunification deal, particularly after the breakdown of the July 2017 peace talks between Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. The talks were suspended when “Turkey had refused to relinquish its intervention rights on Cyprus or the presence of troops on the island.” Turkey has 30,000 soldiers stationed on Cyprus, the northern part of which it has illegally occupied since 1974.

Another factor that may be contributing to the Turkish Navy’s desire for a base in Cyprus is Israel. Aside from Ankara’s extremely rocky relations with Jerusalem, Israel and Cyprus have been working to forge an agreement to join their electricity grids and construct a pipeline to link their gas fields to mainland Europe. Although they are in a dispute over development rights of one of these gas fields, Aphrodite, they are invested in reaching a solution that will not damage their increasingly friendly relations.

Erdogan’s considerations should concern NATO, of which Turkey, surprisingly, is still a member, and the rest of the West. As Lawrence A. Franklin recently wrote for Gatestone:

“If Greek-Turkish tensions escalate, the possibility of another ill-timed military provocation could escalate with them. The ability of NATO to respond to other conflicts in the area could be affected, as well as NATO air and naval assets based in both countries. Moreover, such a conflict might open up an even greater opportunity for Russian interference.”

Debalina Ghoshal, an independent consultant specializing in nuclear and missile issues, is based in India.

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