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Friday, December 15, 2017

GERMANY RESPONDS TO ALBANIAN “NAZI” STATUES

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

by Sasha Uzunov

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



STATUES -
Xhem Hasa:




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

Aqif Krosi Recani:

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

BEJTA - the man behind the two statues !




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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


Balli Kombetar militia


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

TEAM UZUNOV COMMENT:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

 More at links here and here and here and here  

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Related story: BULGARIA’S HOLOCAUST DENIAL - link here

Related story: BULGARIAN AGREEMENT - link here 

Thursday, December 07, 2017

MONTENEGRIN (MINUS) - BULGARIAN (PLUS) SCENARIO ?


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

by Sasha Uzunov

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

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

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

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

MONTENEGRIN (MINUS) SCENARIO IN MACEDONIA? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To recap: 

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

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

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


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

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


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


BULGARIAN SCENARIO ?

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

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


CHURCH TAKEOVER?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

















Tuesday, October 17, 2017

OHMSS - DID LAZAREVSKI BRING DOWN MACEDONIAN GRUEVSKI GOVERNMENT?

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



by Sasha Uzunov

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

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

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

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

The OCCRP story

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

FRENEMIES? Zaev-Vucic

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

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

LAZAREVSKI CLAIMS?

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



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

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

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

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

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






Thursday, October 05, 2017

ZAEV & ORBAN - can they get along?

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s advisor Bojan Maricic.

by Sasha Uzunov

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

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

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

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

Serb President Tomislav Nikolic’s tough stand on illegal immigrants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 March 2016 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LEAKED EMAILS REVEAL DEEP US ROLE IN MACEDONIA




by Sasha Uzunov
Skopje, Macedonia

A high ranking British source has given Team Uzunov leaked emails from USAID, a US government aid agency, detailing the funding of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Macedonia obsessed with attacking so called Macedonian nationalism but deliberately ignoring Albanian nationalism and Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia. One of the leaked emails is from Delina Fico, the ex wife of controversial Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, the man behind the Tirana Platform, which aims to federalise and partition Macedonia.

Ms Fico is with the East West Management Institute, a US thnk tank closely linked to USAID and responsible to handing out millions in US tax payer dollars in “aid.”


The emails involve discussions between Ana Piskacheva of USAID office in Macedonia, and Ivona Krstevska from National Youth Council of Macedonia (NYCM) - an NGO obsessed with attacking Macedonian nationalist monuments as part of the controversial Skopje 2014 project started by the previous Nikola Gruevski government.

The emails reveal the close collaboration between USAID and NYCM. In one of the emails Ms Krstevska reveals meeting some very serious players involved in some very serious games and getting an undertaking to be funded by USAID.. In one of the emails, Ms Krstevska reveals that during a meeting with USAID individual questions were not able to be asked. In another comment she jokingly admonishes a colleague for being interested in the money rather than the activism.




































Pavle Bogoevski (above), one of the leading Colour Revolutionaries in Macedonia, later elected to the Macedonian Parliament at the December 2016 election. Falsely accused by Serb Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic of fomenting trouble in Serbia and in response Bogoevski revealed he was of Serbian heritage who doesn’t protest againt Serbian nationalism.

"Малку познато за мене, јас сум четвртина Србин. Баба ми е родена во прешевскиот крај, имам роднини и често одам таму.”

If Bogoevski is an “internationalist” why does he feel the need to tell people about or to advertise his part ethnic Serb heritage but attacks others for being proud of their ethnic Macedonian heritage? That’s a contradiction - in fact its chauvinistic. 

The Colour Revolution, a “civic” movement in Macedonia, funded by USAID in part, began in 2015 ostensibly to protest against corruption within the then Macedonian government (2006-16), a coalition of the conservative Macedonian party VMRO-DPMNE and the Albanian nationalist party DUI, led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. A series of leaked secret recordings alleging corrupt behaviour by PM Gruevski were released by Opposition Leader Zoran Zaev from SDSM, the Social Democrats, which gave the European Union and the US an opening to intervene, forcing Gruevski to resign and for new elections to be held. But interestingly no secret recordings involving alleged corrupt behaviour from DUI leader Ali Ahmeti were ever released.

In December 2016 elections were held with VMRO-DPMNE gaining the most seats but unable to form government - straight after the election on 7 January 2017 - Macedonian Orthodox Christmas - the various Albanian parties, including DUI,  from Macedonia congregated in Tirana, the Albanian capital, proclaimed what became known as the Tirana Platform, a deliberate list of unjustified nationalistic demands that could not be realistically met without the eventual dissolution of the Macedonian state, as the price for giving its support to any Macedonian party in forming a coalition government. Eventually SDSM formed government with Albanian support and with an undertaking in making Albanian the second official language of Macedonia, the first steps in formal federalisation and partition of Macedonia. see link here

The Zaev government later signed a “good neighbourly agreement” with Bulgaria, a US ally and member of both the EU and NATO, which in effect surrendered Macedonian identity and history to Bulgaria and gave up concern for ethnic Macedonians in that country. This was the price for gaining Sofia’s support for Macedonia in joining the EU and NATO, which has been blocked by Greece. see link here 

On 27 April 2017 a violent confrontation broke out in the Macedonian parliament with alleged Russian interference via Serbia but oddly no protests were ever held outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje, the Macedonian capital. Ironically, some pushing this claim of Russian interference via Serbia hold Serb nationalist views despite being pro US. see link here

Talat Xhaferi, a Macedonian Army officer who deserted to join the ethnic Albanian terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army offshoot in Macedonia during the 2001, was controversially elected as Parliamentary Speaker by SDSM. In 2013 he became Defence Minister under the Gruevski government.

The Russian scare became the pretext for newly appointed Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov to get Macedonia into NATO and the EU as quickly as possible even if it meant surrendering Macedonia’s name and identity to do so.

2016 - Porta Macedonia in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, under 
attack from the Colour Revolution. Photo: BBC

US FUNDING / SUPPORTING RACISTS HIDING BEHIND INTERNATIONALISM?

Macedonian monuments, depicting Ancient Macedonian history, were targeted with paint but Albanian nationalist monuments were untouched. Many of the leading activists are of Serbian background, Borjan Jovanovski, Pavle Bogoevski, Branimir Jovanovic, and current Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska who have attacked Macedonian nationalism but have refused to protest outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over rising Serbian nationalism and alleged interference in Macedonia.

Jovanovic, a Serb from the Macedonian town of Kumanovo, is one of the founders of the Levica (Leftist) Movement which purports to be a Marxist movement though its name and ideas have been ripped off from the Yugoslav Levica - set up by the wife of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic in the early 1990s. Jovanovic has since become an economics advisor to the current Macedonian government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, heavily endorsed by the United States.

In an official statement from the US Embassy in Macedonia (which you can see below at the end of the story), the spokeswomen doesn’t deny that the individuals mentioned above are racist but says they have a right to their identity or view. It’s an odd statement to make. Perhaps a Freudian Slip? An inadvertent admission of the US Embassy and USAID using people with a genuine hatred of Macedonians?

In 2016, a visiting Croatian politician Marijana Petir, a Member of the European Parliament, was hit with a protest organised by Jovanovic’s Levica  against for endorsing Nikola Gruevski but Serb politicians such as the then President Tomislav Nikolic who have endorsed Gruevski were unmolested during visits to Macedonia. see link here 

Some Macedonians see this as a form of racism and point to examples in Australia where white Australians who attack Australian Aboriginal identity are liable to racial vilification charges.



ALBANIAN MONUMENTS IN MACEDONIA UNTOUCHED - hidden agenda?




The Colour Revolution’s rationale was to protest against corruption and nationalism in Macedonia but it deliberately focused on so called Macedonian nationalism, which in 2,000 years has not started a war. Some critics see this as a deliberate plan to force Macedonia to change its name and federalise the country to satisfy Greek, Bulgar and Albanian nationalist demands.

Macedonians have historically been the victims of brutal Greek, Bulgar and Serb colonialisation beginning in 1912-13 with the partition of their country after 500 years of Ottoman Turkish occupation.

In 1991 Macedonia broke away from Serbian dominated Yugoslavia and declared its independence and has been blocked by Greece at every stage - touchy about its mistreatment of its Macedonian minority.

When Macedonia broke away from Yugoslavia, the traditional pro Serb-Yugoslavist grouping in Macedonia split into two factions - one remaining aligned with Serbia and anti US and the other throwing in its lot with the US. Both factions are opposed to an independent Macedonian culture and deliberately use the mis-label of “nationalism” to describe any assertive Macedonian behaviour. This faction tries to present itself as “internationalist” and pays lip service in criticising Serb, Albanian, Greek or Bulgar nationalism. Criticism usually amounts to a Tweet or an article only but no protests. Protests are directed at Macedonian “nationalism” instead.

Prominent media and political individuals such Borjan Jovanovski, Pavle Bogoevski, Branimir Jovanovski, and Radmila Sekerinska belong to this latter faction.

A monument to an Albanian nationalist and Nazi collaborator Xhem Hasa in the ethnic Albanian village of Simnica in western Macedonia has remained immune from any paint balls or protests. Nor have there been any complaints from the EU or the US for that matter.

Nazi collaborator Xhem Hasa

Likewise monuments to the Kosovo Liberation Army in Macedonia prior to 2006 have also been given a wide berth by “activists” and silence from Brussels and Washington.

Below photos taken prior to 2004 show a KLA monument on the Slupcane-Matejce road, outside Skopje, the capital.




In 2001, the KLA together with its local offshoot in Macedonia the National Liberation Army of Macedonia (NLA) led by Ali Ahmeti led an invasion of Macedonia to take territory in creating a Greater Albania. Initially the Macedonian security forces, including Army conscripts and reservists, where on the back foot and suffered casualties but managed to regain the initiative and were poised to destroy the KLA at the battle of Aracinovo, just to the north of Skopje. By then the US and NATO intervened to save the KLA as both a military and political force. The KLA evolved into the DUI political party led by Ahmeti.

The narrative then changed to cover Western duplicity in creating and funding the KLA. The Ohrid Framework Agreement was signed in 2001 which in effect created a de facto Albanian state within Macedonia; in 2004 territorial reorganisation of Macedonia took place which confirmed the ethnic division of Macedonia. Macedonian majority cities in the west such as Struga and Kicevo were handed over to the Albanian bloc by combining the surrounding Albanian villages, thereby creating artificial majorities.

The KLA which wanted to create a Greater Albania with a large chunk of Macedonian territory, was then transformed into “freedom fighters” and civil politicians who were later given a controversial amnesty by the Gruevski government (2006-2016).

The actual percentage of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia remains unknown as no census has taken place in over a decade. Figures range from 12 to 20%.

Ms Shannon Martinez from the OTS, a branch of USAID in Macedonia and cc’d in the above mentioned emails, was contacted for comment but as yet no response has been received by TEAM UZUNOV blog.

The OTS remains in charge of the overall USAID campaign in Macedonia and is situated inside the US Embassy in Skopje. 

Ms Ivona Krstevska of NYCM was also contacted for comment but is away from the office.

Critics of the US’s role in Macedonia are concerned that Washington might unduly influence critical local elections set for mid October this year by handing out money to activists and NGO to ensure an SDSM victory which would then facilitate making Albanian the second official language of Macedonia and change Macedonia’s name to appease Greek demands, all of which would lead to Macedonians losing their identity, their country becoming federalised and partitioned amongst Kosovo, Serbia and Bulgaria as a result. see link here 

UPDATE:

Response from Shannon Martinez - will not comment and has left it to the US Embassy in Skopje to respond…

UPDATE:

US Embassy declines on camera interview but responds to our questions:

We decline your request for an on-camera interview.  Please find answers to your questions below.  You may attribute these responses to me:  Laura Brown, Spokesperson, U.S. Embassy Skopje.

Thank you,
Laura Brown

Official - SBU 
UNCLASSIFIED

From: Sasha Uzunov [mailto:@hotmail.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:36 AM
To: Skopje Embassy Press; Baily, Jess L;
Subject: Seeking media response to questions

Attention US Embassy in Macedonia

I am seeking a formal response on camera from the US embassy spokesperson relating to the following questions. I am available to come to the US Embassy with my camera gear to record - 

1.      Why does the United States fund or support people of Serb background in Macedonia (ie. Borjan Jovanovski, Pavle Bogoevski, Branimir Jovanovic, Radmila Sekerinska etc.) who attack Macedonian identity? Is the US Embassy and USAID aware such attacks are racist? 

We fund organizations, not individuals.  We recognize a person’s right to articulate their identity. 

2.      The US Embassy and USAID have remained largely silent about Albanian nationalist monuments in Macedonia in particular a statue to a Nazi collaborator Xhem Hasa erected in the village of Simnica near the town of Gostivar. Why? 

We have not commented on monuments in Macedonia.  Those are sensitive issues for the people of this country to decide among themselves.  

3.      Many of the USAID funded civic groups in Macedonia have deliberately focused on Macedonian monuments but ignored Albanian monuments. Why? 
See above.  We will let groups speak for themselves.

4.      Many of the USAID and US funded or supported activists in Macedonia are of Serb background refuse to protest outside the Serb Embassy in Skopje over rising Serb nationalism but attack so called Macedonian nationalism? Isn't this blatantly biased, chauvinistic and downright racist? 

We will let groups speak for themselves about issues of identity. 

5.      What role is USAID playing in secretly settling illegal migrants in Macedonia via the Young Lawyers association of Macedonia?

We know of no program to secretly resettle migrants in Macedonia.  Our funding to MYLA is a matter of public record.

6.      Controversy still exists over the election of Talat Xhaferi as Parliamentary speaker. It has been alleged that US Ambassador Baily had a special detachment of US Marines guarding his residence prior to the parliamentary incident on 27 April 2017 this suggests or implies some kind of complicity. Is this allegation true? 

Ambassador Baily was not in Skopje on April 27 but in the United States.   Marines do not guard his residence.

7.      It has been alleged that US Ambassador Baily and some Western diplomats were gathered and waiting in the foyer of the Marriott hotel in Skopje just as Xhaferi was elected and rushed to recognise him, suggesting beforehand coordination and planning. Is this true?

Ambassador Baily was not in Skopje on April 27.   Many diplomats that evening were attending a reception for Dutch National Day (Birthday of King Willem-Alexander) at the Marriott Hotel.

8.      The local elections of 15 October in Macedonia remain crucial as they are seen as giving the current government of SDSM, if it wins, the green light to make Albanian the second official language which would lead to inevitable federalisation and eventual partition of Macedonia and the name change to satisfy Greece. Allegations have been raised that USAID and OTS will be funding civic groups during the election for SDSM to win. Is this true? 

We support the unity and territorial integrity of Macedonia, and have for 26 years.  Here is Amb Baily’s most recent statement on the law on languages.  For more info on our assistance programs, please see https://www.usaid.gov/macedonia.

9.      The US has been supportive of a Bulgarian agreement with Macedonia which clearly negates Macedonian identity. Why?

Here is the State Department statement explaining our support for the agreement:  

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/08/272975.htm.

10.  Croatia was pressured by the US and the EU to remove its veto against Serbia joining the EU but the US hasn't done the same in pressuring Greece to remove its veto against Macedonia. Why the blatant biased policy?

The United States supports the UN process for Greece and Macedonia to find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of Macedonia’s name.  We would like to resolve that issue so that the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia can realize their ambition of joining NATO and the EU.  It’s not for us to comment on issues between Serbia and Croatia.

UPDATE: 

From Sasha Uzunov
Fri 22/09/2017 9:13 PM
To: 
Skopje Embassy Press (usembskopjepress@state.gov)
Cc: 
shannonmartinez@
bailyjl@state.gov

Clarification - that should be OTI not OTS - would the US Embassy comment on OTI role in the lead up to the local elections in Macedonia on 15 October ? 


I'm unable to find the link to Ambassador Baily's statement on languages in Macedonia. Can you please provide the link?
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TEAM UZUNOV COMMENT:

Freudian Slip? Racism towards Macedonians -

In the US Embassy's answer to questions 1 and 4 the US Embassy does not deny that these people are racist but says it's a question of their identity...or their individual view. That's an interesting and odd admission to make... perhaps a Freudian slip ! It's like saying that the Ku Klux Klan's racist behaviour towards African Americans is a matter of white identity or an individual opinion or view. Shocking.


Would such behaviour be tolerated in the US or in Kosovo by the US authorities? And what does it tell you what they really think about Macedonian identity when they fund and defend these people’s behaviour towards Macedonians which they don't deny as being racist !

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Related story - UK RANCOUR OVER MACEDONIA NAME CHANGE -  link here